The background to Mr Cameron’s speech on the EU


           As Parliament broke up for Christmas many Conservatives stayed behind to discuss the nation’s  big issue – what would a new relationship with the EU look like? How can it be brought about? How can we make a start in this Parliament, when no party has a majority?

            President Obama and the UK establishment’s recent intervention to tell us the US does not want the UK to leave the EU was a foolish piece of spin. Try to bully Eurosceptic Brits, and we become more determined, not less. It was a crushing irony that the President of the land of the free and the Leader of the Free World should be telling its former colonial  power to stay in a dependent relationship with the EU. Mr Obama is understandably proud of those English gentlemen living in the USA in the eighteenth century  who threw off government from London, so why does he expect us to accept so much government from Brussels?

           Similarly, various continental threats that the UK would no longer be able to trade with the EU part of the continent serve to unite British people in wanting a looser relationship, or wanting out altogether. No-one sensible believes the threats. The UK would want to allow French and German goods to still have access to our market. Arrangements would be made. They could be made by a new agreement, or under world trade arrangements.  Germany would not wish to lose sales of her popular cars in Britain.

           Many Conservative MPs now agree that the matter of UK membership will not wait until the 2015 election to be resolved. Nor do we think that there will come a time when the continentals need a new Treaty, maybe in 2014, which offers a better  chance for a UK renegotiation. After all, there is a new fiscal Treaty going through for the rest of the EU right now, because the UK rightly refused to sign it, and witheld consent for it to be a proper EU Treaty.  The UK has to accept that the EU is in a state of constant and agitated renegotiation of many of its terms and functions, with a view to hastening full economic, political, fiscal and banking union. That is why the UK has to make a start on establishing this new relationship now.

           The balance of forces in this Parliament  provides a big majority against immediate withdrawal from the EU. Lib Dems are federalists. The overwhelming majority of Labour MPs wish to stay in. There is a group of Conservatives prepared to vote to come out immediately, but most Conservatives wish to negotiate with the EU before letting the nation decide whether to stay in on new terms or to leave.   That also seems to be the majority view of the British people. A handful of Conservatives, like many in the other parties, wish to remain in come what may.  Tomorrow I will look at Mr Cameron’s options for the speech




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  1. AngryEnglishJon
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    A good article. I too was horrified to hear Obama poking his nose into British affairs; bloody clown that he is. Out ot the E.U. with a referendum BEFORE the next election; yes Clegg, Huhne? Cable et al will vote against though I believe a lareg number of Socialists will vote for. Oh to see Van Rumpuy and Barroso’s faces when they realise their set up is going to lose £57,000,000 A DAY!

    • uanime5
      Posted December 21, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      You’re truly deluded if you believe that the UK pays the EU £20,805,000,000 per year. Due to all the rebates the UK has the net cost is £3 billion, not £20 billion, and this amount could easily be raised through a minor increase in the amount that the rest of the EU pays.

      • Edward
        Posted December 23, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

        Gosh, I wish you could be my accountant uni, your ability to manipulate figures is astonishing.
        I dont know where you get just £3 billion from its different to all the official Government figures.
        But as its you, it must be true.

    • Disaffected
      Posted December 21, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      JR forgot to mention that Cameron was going to stop the rest of the EU countries from using the EU institutions. Therefore he actually did not achieve what he claimed nor did he fulfil both parts of his alleged veto that never was. There were two parts to his claim and one part did not get a look in. How about his alleged stance on Strasbourg, he caved at the first hurdle because it might upset the French- really.

      Whatever Cameron says will not be believed he might as well hold his breath. Look at all the U turns, look at all the unfulfilled pledges/promises, look at his Europhile stance, his Europhile policy advisors, his Europhile ministers and whips and then ask yourself: would you trust him? Jr you are well intentioned I am sure or you want to keep your position alive in the Tory party. The rest of us have had enough there are only so many chances you can give a person and Cameron has used them all up.

  2. Public Servant
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    I suspect that all of the main parties will be forced into offering a referendum in the next Parliament. It is also looking more likely that Labour will form the next government. By the by, there was an interesting piece in yesterday’s Evening Standard suggesting the UK is the laggard of Europe in terms of economic recovery. There are big buy signals flashing for Italian, Irish and even Greek equities. Even Norman Lamont is buying Europe.

    Reply: This site does not give investment advice, and cannot endorse your assertion.

  3. Pete the Bike
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    The EU and our incredibly incompetent leadership is killing Britain’s economy.
    Our share of world trade had dropped from 4.6% to 3.5% in ten years. Our competitiveness has dropped by a similar amount.
    This is due to the massive cost of the public sector and it’s awful regulation of every part of our lives.
    We used to pity the Soviet Union for it’s huge bureaucracy and control over it’s citizens lives, now they’ve thrown off the burden Russia’s share of the world economy has increased 178% in those ten years.
    Why can our government not connect the dots, and why are the taxpayers not rebelling? I can only assume it is their almost total lack of economic understanding or knowledge of recent history.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 21, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      Our share of world trade has dropped because the BRICs are producing more goods (such as Chinese textiles) and there has been an increase in outsourcing to developing countries. This is why the share of world trade for developed non-EU countries has also been falling.

    • Bazman
      Posted December 21, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      How much of the money has the average Russian seen in this expending economy? Another comparison that you should bear in mind.

      • APL
        Posted December 23, 2012 at 9:22 am | Permalink

        Bazman: “How much of the money has the average Russian seen in this expending economy?”

        Probably nothing. But going from impoverished communist economy, to an impecunious post communist economy isn’t really a head start.

        The fact is, if I had the option to revitalize an economy, It wouldn’t be my choice to start with a post communist apocalyptic economy, unless I had no choice at all.

        Likewise, if I wanted to reinvigorate the UK economy, the best time to start would not be after a Blair/Brown/Balls utter f***up of the previous decade.

        The problem is the three stooges aka Cameron Clegg and Osbourne don’t even appear to be trying. So we will likely as not have to embrace the Greek scenario in the UK before we can move somewhere better – thirty years if we are lucky.

  4. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    This post makes a good argument, given the relative calm, re-negotiation doesn’t have to wait until after new UK elections.
    EU leaders will move as slowly as possible with their further integration in order to allow the various electorates to be convinced and get used to this. The shock-change of 2004 (from 15 to 25 EU members) was partly to blame for the defeat in 2005 referenda in France and the Netherlands (“change is happening too fast”). The UK might as well start re-negotiation from a coalition government, because a hypothetical purely eurosceptic government wouldn’t get a much better negotiation result from the other 26. Another reason might be that time would be required to find any creative solutions to satisfy UK demands. This process could interleave with the process of gradual further integration of the other 26 and certainly the 17+ eurozone members. This might work for as long as the eurozone isn’t forced into absolute crisis-mode in 2013/2014.
    I notice with satisfaction that one of three potential pro-EU forces is waking up finally, and that Mr Obama points out that this is the age of interdependent relationships. Of course there always will be trade, also if the UK would decide to cut all the ties that binds it.

    • Sebastian Weetabix
      Posted December 21, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      Yes, for once I agree with you. There will always be trade. My ownership of a Mercedes is not due to being in the EU; nor will my German friend Josef cease drinking Laphroaig if we leave.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted December 21, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

        Laphroaig has granted me “life long lease” of several square feet of Islay (1 per bottle) and I have every intention to keep these lands as part of the EU, whatever you may decide for the rest of the UK 🙂

  5. Kevin R. Lohse
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Opinion polls generally indicate that the Electorate want to distance the UK from or leave the EU altogether by a roughly 2/3 majority. Quite clearly, the majority in Parliament does not reflect the will of the people to remain sovereign. My personal opinion is that The EU needs the UK more than the UK needs the EU. Our private sector is responding to the change in the centre of gravity in global economics by increasing trade with nations outside the EU and with government encouragement has created 600,000 jobs. The EU is back in recession while the UK is (just) holding it’s own. If the government continues to reinforce the success of these new or revitalised trading relationships rather than featherbedding the economic failure of the Eurozone, the independence of the UK from the Eurozone will continue to grow and flourish. The unhelpful anti-British ranting of the EU great and good could well have it’s base in the prospect of the UK escaping from the tentacles of the EU economic octopus and demonstrating to those countries hesitating over ever-closer union that there is life outside the EU.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 21, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      Given that the UK’s growth is below the average EU growth I wouldn’t say the UK is doing well. The UK has a long way to go before it can be recover to its 2008 levels, let alone be an example of growth.

      Also the eurozone isn’t harming Germany which has already exceeded it’s 2008 GDP levels.

      • Edward
        Posted December 23, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

        Its nice to be told that at least one of the 27 member nations is doing OK

  6. lifelogic
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Any negotiation under Cameron would clearly be pointless. He clearly wants the UK subsumed under this undemocratic, declining socialist area of top down, over regulation, over taxation and over expensive quack energy and against the clear will of the electorate.

    Has he come up with any reasons for not wanting to become a greater Switzerland yet?

    Will the Tories be behind UKIP in the MEP elections this time?

    • Bazman
      Posted December 21, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      Switzerland is the most expensive country in Europe with a whole raft of laws, social mores, regulations and costs that still has to pay European contributions without a voice. A largely middle class society like Germany unlike Britain….. etc. I could go on destroying your fantasy, but have done so in the past without reply.

      • zorro
        Posted December 21, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        ‘still has to pay European contributions without a voice.’…..Really, as much as the UK does or has a voice (for what it is worth)? Give me a break, it has to comply with certain EU trade agreements but it hardly pays any costs and certainly not on the scale that we do.


        • uanime5
          Posted December 22, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

          Switzerland pays less because it doesn’t have any MEPs and isn’t a member of CAP or the CFP.

      • zorro
        Posted December 21, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        You just have an aversion to cuckoo clocks like Cast Elastic…..


      • lifelogic
        Posted December 21, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        Switzerland is not perfect just far better and richer than the UK per head.

        • Bazman
          Posted December 22, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

          Despite all the absurd regulations, high taxes, welfare and prices? How is this possible?

    • Disaffected
      Posted December 21, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      They would if they believe in Tory values that Cameron is trying to destroy within his own party.

    • zorro
      Posted December 21, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      No he hasn’t but we know that he is apparently also averse to fax machines…..


  7. Chris
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    “…The UK has to accept that the EU is in a state of constant and agitated renegotiation of many of its terms and functions, with a view to hastening full economic, political, fiscal and banking union. That is why the UK has to make a start on establishing this new relationship now….”
    With regard to the above statement, you are absolutely right, I believe. The EU believes in proceeding step by step precisely in order to avoid treaty changes, and as you say this process is underway now, very surely and determinedly. There will be no big moment so many MPs will wait in vain. The changes will have taken place under their noses and by the time that MPs realise this, the situation will be irreversible.

  8. Timaction
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Your comments reflect what members of Parliament are thinking now but not what the Country are thinking and saying. Parliament is behind the loop and is not reflecting the will of the people. Mr Cameron is quick to impose “democracy” elsewhere in the world but NOT here in England. Most cannot envisage continued membership of an organisation that doesn’t help but hinders everything we want or do. We cannot secure our borders until we leave and why are we paying our taxes for the benefit of European farmers and infrastructure when our poor and pensioners cannot afford to heat their homes?

    • uanime5
      Posted December 21, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      The CBI isn’t recommending that the UK leaves the EU. I wonder why business leaders wish the UK to remain in the EU?

      • zorro
        Posted December 21, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        Too much of an easy cartel for them, and they don’t want to go out and sell as much in the wider world, perhaps?


        • uanime5
          Posted December 22, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

          So you’re claiming that business leaders don’t want to make more money by selling to the wider world, even though they can already do this by being in the EU.

          Your argument has a lot of flaws.

      • APL
        Posted December 21, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        uanime5: “I wonder why business leaders wish the UK to remain in the EU?”

        CBI represents the larger UK and International conglomerates, these organisations just love the barriers to entry into the market presented by the EU to potential competitors. The EU helps to keep prices high and competition under control.

        That’s why.

        • uanime5
          Posted December 22, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

          If the UK left the EU then the UK could make it harder for EU companies to compete in the UK. So by your logic the CBI should be calling for the UK to leave the EU so they can restrict competition further.

          Also these “barriers to entry” haven’t stopped any US companies entering the EU, or Indian and Chinese companies from buying EU companies. Most likely because they don’t exist.

          • APL
            Posted December 23, 2012 at 9:57 am | Permalink

            uanime5: “Also these “barriers to entry” haven’t stopped any US companies entering the EU, or Indian and Chinese companies from buying EU companies.”

            1. US companies have their own well developed domestic market that is more or less the same size or bigger than the European market in total. By the time a US company is considering international expansion, it is already in a financial condition such that it can exploit these regulatory ‘barriers to entry’ to its own advantage.

            2. Buying a company – ??? You really are gormless* sometimes. If you buy a company, then you already have substantial financial ‘muscle’ to do so. Secondly, if you buy a company, you buy the market share it already commands in the market it operates in. Therefor the ‘barriers to entry’ don’t exist for a company already operating in that market.

            Barriers to entry, restrict smaller startup, innovative companies without the financial muscle or connections within the bureaucracy.

            *I will apologies when you start offering sensible reasoned arguments and stop your infantile trolling.

      • lifelogic
        Posted December 21, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

        Leader of big businesses often see the EU as the friend to kill the competition through regulation.

        • uanime5
          Posted December 22, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

          Given that they’re subject to the same regulations, which are designed to encourage competition, I don’t see how they’re going to benefit from these regulations.

          • Edward
            Posted December 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

            Big PLC ‘s and multi national businesses can easily afford the extra costs of EU regulation, and can afford to employ the exrtra compliance managers they need.
            They control their markets and can protect their profits in their comfy cartels.
            Its smaller companies who suffer as they try to break into a market controlled by the big beasts and try to undercut them .
            I’m surprised to see someone with your political opinions support the multi nationals so ferverently

  9. rick hamilton
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    But we have signed the Lisbon Treaty like it or not. Doesn’t that mean if we want a new arrangement it has to be agreed by all the other 26 unanimously? That seems just a fantasy because every other country would then want a special deal.

    As I understand it, Article 50 allows us to give notice to leave and the EU is then obliged to negotiate a new relationaship within two years. Please correct me if I am wrong, but it appears the only realistic way to get the rest of the EU to listen to our concerns would be to tell them we wish to leave.

    The majority of voters ( as opposed to the majority of politicians for whom the EU is a cosy club for elites ) would probably ask for continued membership of the single market, but to get out of the profoundly undemocratic political trap we are in, without the consent of the people ever having been asked.

    • Sean O'Hare
      Posted December 21, 2012 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      There is some debate as to whether Brown’s signing of the Lisbon Treaty was lawful as in doing so he assumed powers that were never granted to him or to Parliament for that matter. However, striking down EU Treaties would undoubtedly result in real chaos so I agree that invoking Article 50 is the only way that we will get to negotiate anything substantive with the EU.

      JR: Could we please have your opinion on the prospects of meaningful negotiations aside from Article 50?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 21, 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      Well, you can read that Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union for yourself, starting on page 43 here:

      And starting on page 41 there is also Article 48 on revision of the treaties, which states for the ordinary revision procedure:

      “2. The Government of any Member State, the European Parliament or the Commission may submit to the Council proposals for the amendment of the Treaties. These proposals may, inter alia, serve either to increase or to reduce the competences conferred on the Union in the Treaties. These proposals shall be submitted to the European Council by the Council and the national Parliaments shall be notified.”

      To cut through some of the obfuscation generated by the government with the aid of its friends in the mass media, the “Lisbon Treaty” is not the sum total of all the treaties through which we are bound into the EU, but a treaty to amend or revise the treaties which were already in force, and that revision of the existing treaties was progressed through the corresponding article in those existing treaties.

      Purely by chance that was also numbered as Article 48 in the Treaty on European Union, on page 34 here:

      and it started:

      “The government of any Member State or the Commission may submit to the Council proposals for the amendment of the Treaties on which the Union is founded”

      but without carrying on to say:

      “These proposals may, inter alia, serve either to increase or to reduce the competences conferred on the Union in the Treaties.”

      That is a new sentence inserted through the Lisbon Treaty, which came into force on December 1st 2009.

      There is no legal bar to Cameron proposing any EU treaty change he wants at any time he chooses, without passively waiting for other member states to “create an opportunity” by proposing treaty changes they want – Merkel doesn’t do that when she wants a treaty change – and there is no legal reason why Cameron’s proposed treaty change should not involve the repatriation of powers to the UK, as a simple example a new protocol to exempt the UK from the Common Fisheries Policy.

      • zorro
        Posted December 21, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

        Exactly, but I will eat my hat if he suggests in practice one proper repatriation of powers (through use of Article 48) that we have asked for…..


  10. Elliot Kane
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    I don’t think the majority of Britons want ‘renegotiation’ at all, to be honest, John. We realise it’s a complete waste of time. As François Hollande recently admitted, the EU does not return powers to nation states.

    All this ‘renegotiation’ stuff seems to come from Europhiles, like David Cameron, who are presumably playing for time in the hopes that they will never have to offer the in/out referendum that the people of Britain actually want.

    Well, technically I think most of us just want out, but a referendum is the only fair way to be sure, so…

    We want free trade. We don’t want any of the rest of it and we certainly don’t want to become a province of a federal superstate.

  11. APL
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    JR: “Conservatives stayed behind to discuss the nation’s big issue – what would a new relationship with the EU look like?”

    Let’s have what Norway has, a actual ability to veto EU directives. Yes, a real veto, not the imaginary veto the Cameron pretends to wield.

    So, there it is. We simply advise our ‘partners’ of our intent to leave under the provisions of the Lisbon treaty, and apply to join the EEA.

    Bingo! we have all the so called ‘benefits’ of EU membership, with none of the restraints.

    Why is it none of the EUrosceptic Tories know this? Is it because they are Tories first and only play at being EUrosceptic?

    You know, play time just around General Election time.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 21, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      Norway can’t veto EU directives because they don’t have any MEPs. If you meant EU treaties then Norway can’t veto them either and has no control over what’s in them. However Norway has to obey all EU directives and treaties.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 21, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

        Your last sentence is incorrect.

        • APL
          Posted December 22, 2012 at 12:47 am | Permalink

          Denis Cooper: “Your last sentence is incorrect.”


          As we have come to expect from Uanime5, his first sentence is incorrect too, the one in the middle is pretty meaningless as well since Norway could care less about treaties between parties not including Norway and an organization of which it chooses not to be a member.

          • Bazman
            Posted December 22, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

            You would like to leave Europe in order to follow a race to the bottom. Switzerland and Norway are modern countries. Norway was guaranteeing paternity leave to new fathers when the British equivalent was to allow the proud swain an afternoon off to get bevvied with his pals. Its maternity leave rights grant new mothers a quantum of paid leave that would cause apoplexy at Conservative Central Office and among the members of the CBI.
            This is not your way forward is it? The allowing of minimum standards low wages with an emphasis on the horse and sparrow theory is what you and the likes of you want.
            You can ram this story and then tell us more about your fantasies.

          • uanime5
            Posted December 22, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

            Just because you don’t like something doesn’t make it wrong.

            Norway has to obey EU law if they want to be in the EEA, regardless of whether this law is a treaty or directive.


          • APL
            Posted December 23, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

            Bazman: “You would like to leave Europe in order to follow a race to the bottom.”

            Even within the terms of your own sentence it is senseless!

            Leave Europe?
            I suppose you mean the European Union?
            Perhaps you haven’t read many of my posts, but I’m gonna surprise you. Yes.

            Bazman: “a race to the bottom”

            Doh! I would like a good standard of living too. So no.

            But then a ‘race to the bottom’, assuming you mean of the international league of economic competitiveness, is what we are engaged in now.

            We could only do better by leaving the European Union.

  12. Wilko
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Needs bend iron. Demand causes commerce. The incompetent & restrictive EU regime is destined to go into free-fall under the weight of what freedom seekers choose instead.

  13. Atlas
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    The problem, as I see it John, is that Cameron has lost any credibility on this matter. I expect carefully spun words but no substantive action from him.

  14. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    I will be interested to see exactly what Cameron says in this long-delayed speech.

    I will also be interested to see where he makes it and to what audience.

    British politicians have developed a bad habit of making such speeches in foreign capitals, not at home; and isn’t it time they realised that it is entirely inappropriate to use a visit to a primary school or a hospital to make important policy announcements?

    No doubt as always his speech will be very carefully worded in order to deceive the public, and while it will not stand up to any reasonably well-informed critical examination it may actually succeed in stringing along Tory party MPs and members and supporters for a bit longer.

    Like that speech he made on November 4th 2009, in which he said:

    “The Lisbon Treaty has now been ratified by every one of the twenty seven member states of the European Union, and our campaign for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty is therefore over.

    Why? Because it is no longer a Treaty: it is being incorporated into the law of the European Union.”

    Which was an odd thing to claim, given that as far as the EU is concerned the amending Treaty of Lisbon was and still is a treaty, and it was and still is included in the collection of treaties on the EU’s official website as a separate legal document, fifth one down from the top here:

    And in line with Article 6 in its Final Provisions it had been ratified by the UK through its own separate instrument of ratification, which could still be revoked.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 21, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      Indeed it will be an anti EU line with escape clauses for him so he can defraud the public again. He has zero credibility, it will not work twice. Will he mention a greater Switzerland or mention the GPD per capita and all the other favourable statistics for these countries – I rather doubt it?

  15. Bruce, UK
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, you have never struck me as foolish. I must, therefore, ask why it appears that no one from any party and especially yours does not propose an Article 50 solution. It would surely remove the UK from “ever closer union” and allow the looser trade-based relationship that your leader claims he wishes.

    Or, are we just seeing another instance of Conservative mendacity?

    Reply: There are very few votes in Parliament for an Article 50 approach. We are trying to find a way forward that can attract support.

    • Chris
      Posted December 21, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

      It is being put forward that most people do not want an Article 50 approach, and that MPs are just reflecting what they think their constituents want. Perhaps the flaws in this analysis will finally be brought home to these MPs when they suffer a humiliating defeat at the European Elections and later the 2015 election, with voters supporting UKIP in sufficient numbers to rob the Conservtives of a victory. This disaster could be averted (and disaster it will be as David Cameron has all but destroyed the grassroots base of the Conservative Party) but sadly the leadership and many MPs seem determined not to listen to the real message from the electorate, and to acknowledge the depth of feeling against our EU membership. If anyone is in any doubt as to the extremely serious state of the Conservative Party membership and support structure, see the Andrew Pierce article today, which reveals the brutal truth of the state of the Cons party, “in the field”, where it matters: “Does anyone want to be a Tory MP any more?” by Andrew Pierce

  16. Sue
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    They will NOT re-negotiate. Even now, they are complaining that Switzerland is too independent. They simply cannot stand the fact that some countries’ wish to self-rule.

    The only way we will get what we want is to follow THEIR rules and Invoke Article 50. That is, of course, why nobody mentions it.

    • Disaffected
      Posted December 21, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      Spot on. It is only the Westminster bubble. They forget they are there to serve us the people not their personal whims and greed.

  17. Neil Craig
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    “renegotiation” isn’t going to gappen because the EU isn’t interested in any real renegotiation. It is really just a way of trying to kick the issue into the long grass. As you point out if the Tories don’t do something about it that the people of Britain approve of before 2015 the party’s support will suffer even worse than currently.

  18. A Different Simon
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Would the EU be happy for the Out campaign in a referendum to screen excerpts from European Parliament proceedings ?

    Cathy Ashton’s condescending attitude towards dissenters and lip service towards democracy would pretty much do the Out campaigns job for them .

    And Barrosso’s bumbling to run down the clock of allocated time to ensure that an issue is never addressed .

    If that didn’t work the out campaign could treat voters to the full force of the Welsh Windbag and his wife and son’s troughing as they betray Britain .

    People need to be shown that the EU is the tight integration of the state with multi-national corporations and banks , i.e. national socialism and is actually against the workers , not on their side !

  19. Terry
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Whether we stay or whether we go, should come down to the basic P/L account.

    Just what do we get out of the EU? Is it profitable for GB plc or is it merely a political platform where old National Leaders can reinvent themselves and secure a cushy job for the rest of their working life?

    I see the EU in Brussels as the undesirable, unwarranted middle man for GB plc. They take a cut from our business deals but give nothing in return but swathes of Red Tape and heaps of socialist dogma. The EU is nothing but an extra layer of civil servants who seem to know nothing about anything but are experts in the demolition of member nations.

    Is it any wonder that Obama wants us to stay with this Socialist regime? By recommending we stay, he is actually saying that he prefers us in a weakened community that has been falling behind the rest of the world since the 1970s. He is frightened of how successful we will become when we lose the constricting chains of Europe. Obama should learn to respect his greatest ally and keep his nose out of our business. It’s called diplomacy. A quality his administration has in short supply.

    • uanime5
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      The UK isn’t the US’s greatest ally as we don’t have large amounts of oil.

      • Edward
        Posted December 23, 2012 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        By your logic Venezuela and Iran would be the USAs greatest allies

        • Bazman
          Posted December 23, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

          Or Saudi Arabia..?

  20. Demetrius
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    The world turns. The USA has been the pre-eminent colonial power and we have been but a dominion. The EU is more like the old Tsarist Regime which allowed Bolsheviks to run the government. Russia operates through its oligarchs, rather like the old Honourable East India Company. China does trade with conditions rather like the old Portuguese Empire. We still have Empires but the present crop are a lot less responsible or sensible.

  21. Bernard Juby
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    His speech should tell Hollande (Merkel’s puppet) to read his history and that a Treaty is NOT for life – just as long as the party’s to it agree.
    Now we no longer do we either change the Treaty or break it – simple as that.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 21, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      Maybe Hollande has forgotten that his predecessor Sarkozy agreed that future EU treaty changes could run against the general trend of “ever closer union”.

      The last paragraph of Declaration 18 that the representatives of the EU member state governments attached to the Final Act of their amending Lisbon Treaty:

      “Equally, the representatives of the governments of the Member States, meeting in an Intergovernmental Conference, in accordance with the ordinary revision procedure provided for in Article 48(2) to (5) of the Treaty on European Union, may decide to amend the Treaties upon which the Union is founded, including either to increase or to reduce the competences conferred on the Union in the said Treaties.”

      Like all such Declarations that Declaration 18 is not itself legally binding, but the relevant treaty articles are legally binding, and Sarkozy had agreed to the insertion of the new sentence:

      “These proposals may, inter alia, serve either to increase or to reduce the competences conferred on the Union in the Treaties.”

      into Article 48 TEU on revision of the EU treaties.

    • Christopher Ekstrom
      Posted December 21, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      Break it.

  22. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Ever since Dean Acheson famously said “Britain has lost an Empire but not yet found a role”, the US has desired that Britain should America’s representative in Europe. The view articulated by Preseident Obama has been American policy, particularly when the Democrats are in power, for a very long time. When we get a new relationship with the EU we should also acquire a new relationship with the US, a business relationship, not a special (dependent) relationship. The US government should be told to stop meddling in Northern Ireland and to stop treating British business operating in the US as a milch cow. It is also high time that we stopped seeing Russia as a Communist power but as a country whose policies are shaped by the reality of its national situation.

    • Sebastian Weetabix
      Posted December 21, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      My candid view is the Americans should mind their own ruddy business.

  23. Alan Wheatley
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    As to the “view of the British people”, this seems to me a continuing conundrum.

    We are continually told by people quoting polling results that the EU features well down on the list of issues that concern voters. Obviously not for all voters, but with the EU having such a dominating impact on all our lives it seems strange the voters are not more concerned.

    Perhaps the explanation is that although the EU impact is very significant it is also remote, or at least what goes on in Brussels seems remote. So for voters who do not closely follow these matters the strength of the linkage is not apparent.

    Some of the issues that do come from Europe and make a popular impact come from one or other of the European courts rather than the EU explicitly, and so, rightly or wrongly, cause and effect is unclear.

    Also, as long as the the debate over being in or out of the EU is couched in terms of financial gain or loss for the Country, companies or individuals, you can be sure there will be no shortage of experts via the media outlets telling us that it is best to be IN or OUT. And of course you never get to the bottom of the argument, so the whole analysis and argument becomes academic and irrelevant for most people.

    I think the IN/OUT case in terms of democracy would be easier to follow and easier to decide which appeals most. Perhaps that is why we hear so little about it.

    However, the situation is dynamic, and over coming months the view of the British people may change. We will only really know the true majority when the people decide.

  24. pipesmoker
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    I believe the Americans have always wanted us in there to keep an eye on what the colleagues are up to and that maybe one of the problems that those of us who didn’t want to join in the first place are up against?

    Wishing you all the best for the festive season and lots of jollification.


  25. Jon Burgess
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    In your last paragraph you forgot to mention that the vast majority of your party also wish to remain in the EU. Your leader has clearly stated that his is his position. Renegotiation is a delaying tactic, nothing more. The Article 50 position has been flagged here many times as the way to get what it is you say you want – free trade agreement and the ability to opt in to whatever EU regulations you want, without the compulsion. Why is this not your party’s policy?

    The fact that it isn’t helps me to conclude that I do not trust your party on this issue.

    • lifelogic
      Posted December 21, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      Clearly the Tory party is not to be trusted, we have had Heath, Major & Cameron even Mrs Thatcher was heading the wrong way for much of the time on the EU.

  26. rd
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    If we do not have an ‘out’ option in any referendum then it’s another lie.

  27. uanime5
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    If the UK is to have a new relationship with the EU it would be helpful if the demands were based on something likely to happen, rather than a fantasy where the EU gives the UK everything the UK wanted in exchange for nothing.

    As I see it there are two other relationships the UK could have with the EU.

    1) A relationship like Norway and Switzerland where the UK has access to the single market, has to obey all EU law, has no influence over this EU law, and doesn’t have to pay for being in the EU.

    2) A relationship like the USA and China where the UK has limited access to the single market, doesn’t have to obey EU law (except laws regulating goods sold in the EU), and doesn’t have to pay for being in the EU.

    Any talks about getting back powers from the EU or not having to obey EU law without the UK having to make any sacrifices is nothing more than a fantasy that will never happen. The EU will not give the UK special exemptions for no reason.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 21, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      Your point 1) is incorrect.

      • uanime5
        Posted December 22, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

        Care to elaborate or are you just upset that there isn’t a way to have all the benefits of being in the EU without having to obey EU law.

        • APL
          Posted December 23, 2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink

          uanime5: “Care to elaborate … ”

          The Norwegian solution is all the elaboration you need. They have access to the European market, and can veto European regulations via athe mechanisms of the EEA.

          uanime5: ” upset that there isn’t a way to have all the benefits of being in the EU without having to obey EU law.”

          Helle Hagenau 12 December Newsnight: “No, we [Norway] are not governed by fax because the European agreement, the single market agreement, that has a clause when we can veto a directive if we don’t like it; and we have done that.”

          You see, there is.

        • APL
          Posted December 23, 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

          Written in English for the benefit of us foreigners, by those nice Norwegians. One wonders why no one in the Tory party appears to be aware of this??

          Unless of course they do, but don’t want anyone in the UK to know.

          The Norwegian ministry of foreign affairs web site:

          Article 6.1.4 The right of veto

        • APL
          Posted December 23, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

          article 6.1.4: “So far, this right has not been exercised.”


          article 5.1.4: ” This is partly because when EU legislation is to be integrated into the EEA Agreement it is submitted to the EEA Joint Committee at the final stage of an extensive process of information and consultation between the contracting parties.”

          Because Norway gets what it wants without being in the European Union.

          Giving the lie to treacherous deceitful ‘Tories’ like Kenny Clarke who say ‘we must be in the EUropean Union to influence the EU. There we are, Ken Clarke is a liar.

  28. Rebecca Hanson
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Well done to UKIP who managed to get Nigel Farage to turn up to vote on fisheries policy.

    We can now look forward to gradually increasing fish stocks and lower prices for fish in the future after years of declining stocks both before and during the EU.


    Happy Christmas everyone.

  29. David John Wilson
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    There is of course the other option. Stop moaning about the EU. Stop rewriting every new stutute that they pass and accept them as written. Get rid of the huge levels of bureaucracy that Westminster produces and use the thinner cheaper layers that Brussels provides.

    If we stopped duplicating, double thinking and rewriting we could halve the cost of the civil service and save many times what we contribute to the EU.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 21, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      You can’t accept Directives as written, because what is written is a statement of EU requirements for national law; and you can’t always accept Regulations as written for the similar reasons that it may be necessary to amend national law.

      Article 288 TFEU on legal acts of the Union:

      “To exercise the Union’s competences, the institutions shall adopt regulations, directives, decisions, recommendations and opinions.

      A regulation shall have general application. It shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States.

      A directive shall be binding, as to the result to be achieved, upon each Member State to which it is addressed, but shall leave to the national authorities the choice of form and methods.

      A decision shall be binding in its entirety. A decision which specifies those to whom it is addressed shall be binding only on them.

      Recommendations and opinions shall have no binding force.”

    • APL
      Posted December 22, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      David John Wilson: “If we stopped duplicating, double thinking and rewriting we could halve the cost of the civil service and save many times what we contribute to the EU.”

      I am with you on the first part, but I’d look at it a different way. Yes, let’s stop duplicating the beaurocracy, let’s abolish the MEPs dismantle the network of spies and civil servants in the UK that advise and report to the EU.

      Let us expect our MPs and civil service to do what just about everyone thinks they do anyway, govern the country.

      They could even set up a parliamentary select comittee to review some of the more sensible intiatives originating from international fora, to decide if the measures are suitable for or beneficial to the UK economy.

      Really, all we need is one civil service, one set of leglislators. All we need is for them to do what they are paid to do!

      • uanime5
        Posted December 22, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        dismantle the network of spies and civil servants in the UK that advise and report to the EU.

        Let’s not blame imaginary enemies simply because there is evidence that being the EU is good for the UK.

        • APL
          Posted December 23, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

          uanime5: “because there is evidence that being the EU is good for the UK.”

          Produce the evidence.

  30. peter davies
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Pulling out of the EU then joining EEEA/EFTA seems the way forward to me – re negotiating terms is pie in the sky, just ain’t going to happen. Under EFTA you still get the free movement of goods and people to a degree making all the scare mongering about trade groundless.

    How many politicians in the HOC really understand the options including the terms of the EEEA?

    Posted December 21, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Our esteemed and democratically elected leader wishes to have his personal views and opinions forced upon his party and the electorate and will cling to power until shortly the people replace him as prime minister at the next GE and thus ensure his party ceases to be as the current and major contributor to government or even te next absolute administration!
    What will the new labour prime minister do, having been handed power on a plate just because his predecessor demanded that his arrogance (what me he would say to his mirror the following day?) was more important than the welfare of the people he claims to represent.
    I was on the list of prospective parliamentary candidate in 1968 (and missed out adoption by three votes to contest an admittedly no-hope seat and then hope for a marginal at the next GE) and had I been elected, I would now be voting for out!
    In 1967 Ted Heath personally (face to face) persuaded me to vote for entering the European Common Market, which I then did.
    That is all I voted for and not the resulting European Power based in Brussels.
    I have never been allowed to vote for the current arrangements and nor have the rest of the UK. – ask them please and as soon as possible!
    Let us invoke Article 50 now – even today – and start the clock running. We could still change our minds, consider what was offered or still get out!
    How I wish all MP’s could be polled anonymously for their real views on Europe without any of them (of all political hues – oh yes!) risking party censure or electorate disapproval (perhaps, or if any more likely just their constituency executives) and without risking their future promotion or retention of existing promotion (oh dear, MP’a are not that ambitious, surely!).
    Perhaps our Westminster representatives would be shown to be actually not be so different from the obvious, if not yet proven wishes of the people (remember them? – what a novel idea!)
    Oh yes let us do a ‘Norway’ as I originally voted for and still would if allowed, provided it, too, wasn’t subsequently and undemocratically adulterated!

  32. Antisthenes
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    There is not a snowballs chance in hell that the UK can negotiate the repatriation of any meaningful powers back from Brussels. It can avoid some of the laws and regulations that will be imposed on those states that are going to participate in the integration process but not even all of those and over time none of them. The end result will be that the UK will be entangled in all the rules, laws and regulations of the EU but without influence and only a member in name only to be used and abused. The UK must first leave then negotiate a return on conditions that will mutually benefit both parties. As there is little that is mutually beneficial then the UK will inevitably never return.

  33. Barbara
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    The problem with renegociation is we have to have all members agreement before we can forge ahead. I’m very worried, like many others, we won’t get a referendum and let the electorate decide how we go forward; the Conservatives may not win the next election and will leave this nation at the mercy of Labour, and the colluding of Lib Dems, who change their minds like the wind. Can all Conservatives really accept that if they do leave this question open, we will be left for another five years at the mercy of Labour or another coalition. It must happen before the next election so the question is settled once and for all. Miliband would have to adhere to the country’s wishes even if he hated having to do so. I’m all for trade between nations but not ruled by one bunch who only want us for the contribution we make, nothing else. Its time we stood tall and made our own decisions and stepped forward as a whole nation alone, it could be the making of many.

  34. Christopher Ekstrom
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    This is more like it, Mr. Redwood! Perhaps the good old bulldog spirit needs only to be chided by the worst & most obvious phonies like Nerobama to emerge stout-hearted. My only objection is your assumption that the current occupant of the White House has an affinity for the Founding Fathers. On the contrary, for the first anti-American “prez” those are just dead white men.

    You should outline the benifits withdrawal from the EU will bring to England. It’s not just about the obvious political self-determination that England requires; England is going to reap enormous rewards. Amazing how the good news has been hidden by the Quislings.

  35. Freeborn John
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    One of the concerns I have about the reports of Cameron’s upcoming EU proposals is that the timetable for a referendum comes so late in the next parliament (2018) that any delay will scupper it. Delay in negotiating a treaty only needs one state to hold things up and them we will be into the last year of a parliament where the very pro-EU House of Lotds could scupper this. It seems to that cast-iron Cameron and vague Hague are once again trying to hint at action on the EU while actually playing the long-grass kicking game.

    Also should Labour copy the Toru policy would it not be better to ensure Cameron goes down to a crushing defeat in 2015 and is replaced by a real eu-sceptic who could argue more credibly for EU withdrawal in a referendum to be held mid-term during a labour government whose unpopularity might result in more items against the Labour-backed federalist camp.

  36. Monty
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    There is one aspect of EU law that I want to see the UK government break. End of the coming year, we will be facing unrestricted immigration from Romania and Bulgaria. We need to break that committment to free movement into the UK, and we need to do it soon. Before that deadline.
    For once, lets close the stable door before the horse bolts.

    • zorro
      Posted December 21, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      Very little chance……about as much chance as Cast Elastic’s posturing when the Greek situation was getting hot. He was stating that he would stop Greeks entering the UK if necessary….LOL


  37. Jon
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    I’m sure if some un elected bureaucrats in Brazil set set up an expensive office to run affairs from I’m sure President Obama would join it and relinquish the US constitution as would Canada and all the others?

    I mean its not as if he’s finding any trouble at the moment with any part of the US constitution as it is.

    If we get a chance to vote on a changed relationship with the EU I’m concerned the block pro EU vote from Scotland might scupper it.

    As is France would want their wines taxed highly when exported to Britain.

  38. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted December 21, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    JR: ” most Conservatives wish to negotiate with the EU before letting the nation decide whether to stay in on new terms or to leave. ”
    This is either a pipe dream or a cynical way of tricking people to vote to stay in the EU just as happened in 1975. Who believes that the government would ever conclude that their renegotiations had been unsuccessful and would recommend leaving the EU? Cameron has made his position clear – he wants the UK in the EU. We now have another leader, Obama, for whom we have no ability to vote telling us what to do. Let’s face it we are being pulled into a federal organisation. The Eurozone is becoming the fiscal and political union at the centre of the EU. We will subsequently be told that we must do the same or lose our influence as members of this anti-democratic racket. None of the three main aprties in Parliament is prepared to be really honest about this. The reason for this is that they are out of line with public opinion and therefore operate by stealth in the final surrender of our Parliamentary sovereignty.

  39. David Langley
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    A good post and stimulated interesting and useful contributions. I seem to remember that Brown and Ed Milliband signed the last EU treaty. I wondered why Ed got the Labour Leadership over his more telegenic and articulate brother, I wonder who really are his main sponsors besides the Union bosses who interestingly have not enjoyed too much of Eds tenure to date?
    In any event surely the only way Cameron can find his path back to having a chance to recover and win the next election must be a public statement and reaffirmation of the core policies we need.
    The recovery and growth back to some kind of health and wealth we should have by now is to disavow the pathetic and time wasting new ideas that have wasted his credibility and considerable energy that should have have been concentrated on the few big issues.
    We should add up all the waste of money policies that are sapping our economy and morale and put those monies in to the projects that are sitting on the back burner.
    I admit our country is now appearing overcrowded and dirty and the roads are packed and poorly maintained. Recent flooding has shown we are largely concreting over land and building in flood plain areas, the resulting scenes look like Bangladesh. Not enough investment in proper local planning and flood relief schemes. I drive through ethnic communities that ignore health and safety at the basic levels and shops and refuse from fast food outlets pollute the pavements and landlords fail to maintain their properties.
    Additionally when our government and policy makers hand over the responsibility for the maintenance of our land to foreign and basically unelected federal EU government we have lost WW3. We are all encouraging fiscal irresponsibility and possibly worse by our denial of our civic and national responsibilities. When the Queen visited the cabinet the other day, I would have loved to pen her address. It would include the facts about how her prerogatives had been diminished and how the attack on her sovereignty was too much to bear and how she was going to call on her most loyal and trusted members of her country to arrest and confine to the tower present company until policies had been laid before her sufficient to her historical and National duties as laid down by statute and to the pleasure of her people at a new National Election.

  • 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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