How a single market differs from a free market


       Bill Cash, Bernard Jenkin and I will be talking this morning about the differences between the internal or single market of the EU and a free market, or the common market that many UK voters thought they were signing up to in 1972-5.  Bill and Bernard have written a piece explaining the nature of the EU single market.

       All you need for a flourishing free market is the simple rule established in the Cassis de Dijon judgement – if a product is of merchandisable quality and can be offered for sale in one country, it can also be offered for sale in the other countries of the free market area. If France approves a French product for sale in France, the UK authorities should be prepared to accept the French decision and allow it to be sold in the UK. 

       The EU has developed something more and something different from this idea. They have used the concept of a single market to erect a vast legislative structure. They have sought to transfer more and more regulation from individual member states to the EU. They have sought to define, influence and control many products, services and industries in the name of the single market. They have  claimed that we need to harmonise laws, standards, employment rules, health and safety rules and much else besides to have a “fair single market. ”

          The single market programme was meant to have concluded in 1992. The member states solemnly signed up to around 300 Directives under qualified majority votes in order to complete the single market. There was a fanfare to launch it. We were all told it would make the EU as a whole richer, and would greatly expand the trade between the EU members.

           Instead, trade with non some EU countries grew more quickly than trade between the UK and the rest of the EU. The EU decided that it would take many more than 300 new laws to have their kind of regulated single market. They decided their market had to be a social market and include labour law. They saw all types of regulation as being part of the single market, from energy and renewables through to safety matters. Member states lost more and more powers and the EU gained more and more in the name of the single market. Some twenty years after the so called completion of the single market large law codes are still being wheeled out in the name of completing the single market.

            I suspect that most UK people and much of UK business does not want a single market if that means EU legislation on everything from food standards to transport, from financial services to health and safety.  We want a freer market, a common market, that allows trade but still allows member state decision making and differentiation.

           We should heed the European Parliament Fact Sheet which describes the current phase of Single market evolution. It says:

“The requirements of European integration suggest that the internal market should eventually culminate in a fully integrated market on national lines ….a single currency, a harmonised tax system, integrated infrastructure, complete freedom of movement of persons and legal instruments to operate effectively throughout the market”

           I am sure that this is what they are creating. I am not sure that is what so many UK advocates of the “Single market” have in mind.

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  1. Brian Taylor
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Switzerland,Norway and others not in the single market manage to sell there goods and services to the EU and other parts of the world without paying a high price to join this expensive club.
    The question of influence is a smoke screen as most of the trade regulations are sorted by the WTO end others before the EU adopt them,and thanks to the Lisbon treaty next year will see more decision’s taken by Qualified Majority Voting,so even less influence than Norway have,as the guide the rules on fisheries for the WTO see today’s blog by EUReferendum.

    • Peter van Leeuwen
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      @Brian Taylor: What I read is that Norway’s net EEA contribution (per inhabitant) is higher than Britain’s net EU contribution. Going completely outside (just WTO) would then be cheaper for you. Apparently you think that the cost outweigh the benefits.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 17, 2013 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        What you read is incorrect.

      • zorro
        Posted January 17, 2013 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

        Interested to see the source of your figures….I suspect that Norway’s net per capita EEA contribution might have gone up because of enlargement….’The EFTA countries that are part of the EEA do not bear the financial burdens associated with EU membership, although they contribute financially to the European single market. After the EU/EEA enlargement of 2004, there was a tenfold increase in the financial contribution of the EEA States, in particular Norway, to social and economic cohesion in the Internal Market (€1167 million over five years).’….


    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      ” … and thanks to the Lisbon treaty next year will see more decision’s taken by Qualified Majority Voting …”

      Not true, as far as I’m aware; the change will be to the way QMV works, not to its scope.

    • Bob
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      From Dan Hannan’s blog…
      “Guy Verhofstadt unintentionally makes the case for British withdrawal:

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 17, 2013 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

        @Bob: Although I love Guy Verhofstadt, who in his tone is far more polite than a Nigel Farage, and although it should be oké to take the mickey out of the British occasionally, what he describes in this clip is actually what Malcom Rifkind already calls an “EU à la carte“. To me it is obvious that with an ever enlarging EU, you are bound to get even more variety in future. Maybe the “enhanced cooperation” procedure is already a kind of “opt-in”. The Dutch position would be to take subsidiarity far more seriously, not to have special favors for one country, or e.g. the City of London. That would conflict with the Single Market, which Britain claims to promote and it led to Mr Cameron lwft isolated at the december 2011 summit.

        • David Price
          Posted January 18, 2013 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

          Presumably this would entail cancellation of all special favours for other countries as well, for example the Netherlands where the ban on incandescent light bulbs hugely benefits Philips …

          Or perhaps, cancelling the CAP which benefits France so more than others. I am sure there are lots of other arrangements which benefit one country more than others, so why this obsession with the UK?

    • uanime5
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      We pay a price because we want to be able to influence EU law, the EFTA countries don’t pay this price but have no influence.

      The WTO only sets out the minimum standards for trade regulations and countries are free to require higher standards. So just because the UK meets the minimum standards required by the WTO doesn’t mean that they’ll meet EU standards.

      • APL
        Posted January 17, 2013 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

        uanime5: “We pay a price because we want to be able to influence EU law”

        Who is the ‘we’?

        Ifyou want to influence French, German or Dutch law, go and live in those countries.

        By the way, actually how much do you think you influence British law?

        uanime5: “EFTA countries don’t pay this price but have no influence.”

        You’re doing very well it’s only the middle of January and you have a 100% record of inaccurate or misleading statements.

        • uanime5
          Posted January 18, 2013 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

          “We” refers to the taxpayer.

          Just because you don’t like my comments doesn’t make them wrong. If you have any evidence that the EFTA countries have any direct influence over EU laws then either post it or admit that you’re the one making inaccurate or misleading statements.

          • Tony Baverstock
            Posted January 19, 2013 at 4:30 am | Permalink

            Look at any number of posts on over the last few week to see Norway has more influence over EU regulation than the UK.

      • Mark B
        Posted January 17, 2013 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

        @ uanime5

        Please read the link below, and please bookmark it, so that you do not forget.

        Section taken from link above reads:

        “The EEA EFTA States have not transferred any legislative competencies to the EEA institutions and they are unable, constitutionally, to accept direct decisions by the Commission or the European Court of Justice. “

        • uanime5
          Posted January 18, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

          What is your point?

          The EFTA court is used instead of the European Court of Justice and the EFTA is still bound by directives and regulations from the European Parliament.

          • Mark B
            Posted January 18, 2013 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

            My point is that you claim that being part of the EU gives ‘influence’. When more and more agreements are being made above that of even the EU which participating countries turn into law, and that included the EU. Norway benefits by being on these international committees and helping to shape international agreements which then become law. Other areas of EU law are created by the Commission. As you can see from the graph from the link I provided, the EFTA member states are able to influence EU through various EEA committees. If Norway was part of the EU, it would not have a place on the international committees and with regard to the EEA committees it would have to differ to the ‘common position.

            EFTA/EEA member states have greater influence at various stages long before any EU laws are passed.

          • Mark B
            Posted January 18, 2013 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

            Ooops ! forgot this:


            “The EEA Agreement contains provisions for input from the EEA EFTA side at various stages before new legislation is adopted.”

      • zorro
        Posted January 17, 2013 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

        What EU laws have we influenced for the UK’s benefit and what has that influence cost us since 1972? I mean really what is the showstopper for the UK which would have adversely affected our economy (and, of course, been worth all the contributions) had we not been in the EU for the last 40 years?


        • uanime5
          Posted January 18, 2013 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

          We influence laws through the UK’s commissioner, MEPs, and ECJ judge. Just because the UK doesn’t get its way on everything doesn’t mean we have no influence.

    • i.stafford
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      Switzerland and Norway have different relations with the EU. The three EEA countries not in the EU are Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein. These three are in the single market. Switzerland is not.

  2. colliemum
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    With everything being regulated from Brussels, for the sake of “The Single Market”, I have the feeling that there are far too many countries who must feel like the ugly sisters, having hacked off their toes or heels just to fit into that fabulous slipper.

    This storm of regulations is indicative of a mindset which regards ordinary people as constitutionally incapable to lead their own business affairs, indeed to lead their own lives.

    While I’m not exactly fond of using national stereotypes, I do think that this bureaucratic over-reach, over-regulation, is indicative of both the French and German administrative mindset, coupled with the insouciance of the French (‘there may be rules, but we don’t need to regard them’) and the pernickety of the Germans, where one mustn’t cross the road unless one steps off the kerb with the right foot!

    How and why we ever succumbed to this, i shall enver know …

    • Wilko
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      The glass slipper was a test for truth & transparency. Was Greece inveigled into the EU on a spurious footing, by some slippery bunch, with palms greasier than the Ugly Sisters’ breakfast?

  3. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Interesting points, but no thank you! Not in my Europe. Over-regulation should of course be undone and there are concerted efforts and EU policies in that direction, but we don’t need a system of “not so fair” competition that converges on the lowest common denominator of civilization and social protection. We certainly need no “law of the jungle” style capitalism that a few more extreme of your colleagues seem to suggest. Social values are worthy of some protection. Worker rights have been broken down a lot recently (only temporary contracts, no proper pension provisions) and it is a mistake to think that laissez faire capitalism and this “ultimate freedom” will only bring wealth. It didn’t in 2007. This is one of the reasons that complete abolishing of a work time directive (from the current directive with many opt-outs) will not fly, it would cause unfair competition. Countries with good worker protection can still be very competitive as the Nordic countries are showing us.

    • a-tracy
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      Most PAYE workers in the UK thought they had a pension provision and social protection via the National Insurance contributions they and their employer made, currently 12% employee’s contribution and 13.8% employers over the lower earnings limit. We were conned into thinking half of that was used for our personal state pension stake and we just needed a top up if we wanted more, we’re now discovering it will probably be a means tested benefit in the future!

      Public sector workers are told that their 5% contribution over the lel (after the 1.5% discount they get on NI) to their final salary pension is sufficient to guarantee them a significant pension in retirement often at the age of 60 with spouse transfer so we are in a pickle because even with NEST private pensions wont return a reasonable standard of living in retirement for the majority of workers because the funds keep getting robbed by successive governments. Was NEST an EU compliance issue?

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      Peter – absolutely correct. Well said.

    • peter davies
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      PVL or Peter Van Mandelson whatever your real name is – the point is that countries vote in governments, not managers to run their country according to the wishes of the majority of the electorate, otherwise you may as well do away with national governments altogether and just appoint a load of bureaucrats (Oh forgot – Italy and Greece have already done that!).

      The only way you will have a peaceful Europe is by having a group of countries living side by side trading with each other freely but managing their own affairs.

      All this Centralist EU nonsense is making everyone poorer due to the amount of effort they have to put in to comply with ever increasing bits of red tape, health and safety, employment law this and that, all this fake green religion as @lifelogic calls it – the end result which we are seeing now is adding to the cost of employment and production making all in the EU less competitive thus sending yet more jobs to the far east and ultimately doing nothing for the environment.

      Remember the former Yugoslavia? This was a falsely stitched together smaller version of the EU held together as a socialist state by force in Tito’s time, we all know what happened later. I’m not saying the EU will do the same but if too many people get impoverished as a result of this social engineering experiment then it could happen.

      “laissez faire” capitalism in the 2007 example was not as you say, this was more to do with over regulation and setting the capital holding requirements by the banks far too low and failing to understand the complexity of financial transactions. Over regulation no doubt stopped those in power being able to see the “wood from the trees” so many did not see this coming. In the case of the UK this is probably more down to incompetence by the Politicians and their cronies in the Treasury who designed these regulations during the period leading up to 2007/8.

      • uanime5
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

        Unskilled, labour intensive jobs are going to the far east because companies are looking for the cheapest labour possible. Unless the UK’s living standards decline to the level of China and India they won’t return.

        Yugoslavia fell apart because the non-Serbian inhabitants didn’t like the Serbian dictatorship. As the EU is a democracy that countries have freely joined it won’t collapse.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      It’s not “your” Europe, Peter, and more than it is “my” Europe.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 17, 2013 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        @Denis Cooper: I meant of course my EU, which actually is currently also your EU. Let’s hope we can make it into “our” EU. Or should that be our EEA?

        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted January 17, 2013 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

          @Denis Cooper: Now that you’ve booked your Amsterdam ticket in vain, you can always come over and drink to peace in Europe with me. Both whisky and whiskey available, and no, I didn’t have any yet. 🙂

      • Bazman
        Posted January 17, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        Certainly not ‘our’ country. Belongs to an elite and a bunch of multinational tax avoiders. Cheers Guv.

        • APL
          Posted January 20, 2013 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

          Bazman: “Belongs to an elite and a bunch of multinational tax avoiders.”

          They arrange their tax affairs in a legal manner outlined and facilitated by the EU and our Political class..

          (Attacks a named MP for alleged tax evasion -ed)

      • Edward
        Posted January 17, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

        Denis, well said
        I hear people saying on here how we must “obey” European laws and regulations.
        When I grew up the only person I had to obey was my Queen.

        • Bazman
          Posted January 18, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

          Was she your Mum?

          • Edward
            Posted January 18, 2013 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

            A distant relative, actually.

        • Bazman
          Posted January 19, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

          You mean she shook your hand before nanny took you to bed?

    • uanime5
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      I agree. I suspect that if the UK every left the EU the quality of working conditions would massively decrease as Conservatives make it easier for companies to abuse their employees in order to compete with the low wages and poor working conditions in China.

      Reply: Don’t be so vindictive in your comments

      • JimF
        Posted January 17, 2013 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

        You have a choice.
        1 Allow access for Chinese etc goods to your market and immigrant labour and cause mass unemployment here
        2 Block access to your markets by Chinese etc, block immigration and keep poorer folk overseas in their former starvation conditions and keep your people fully employed at above true market value
        3 Regulate your labour market sufficiently to allow fair employment but not so heavily to cause mass unemployment as is happening in the EU. Regulate access to your market to give work for the Chinese and choice for your consumer without causing mass unemployment by either excess immigration or excessively liberal market access for goods.

        Surely 3 is better, regulated by the UK in the UK interest?

        • Bazman
          Posted January 18, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

          Since when has large multinational companies employed Chinese peasants in this country and what makes you think they pay the market rate for employees in this country or those rates are related to their profits?
          By default you are saying that their is more workers than jobs, so how does making them more desperate create more work? Plundering this country and not paying their dues needs to be addressed not just simplistic blaming of the world markets which are in no way free anyway.

      • Bazman
        Posted January 17, 2013 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        A race to the bottom would take place with the workforce being blamed for bring ‘inflexible’ and not looking after the interests of the country now that we are independent. The very basis for many wanting to leave is to erode workers rights, standards of product and working practices. No mention of whether companies owned by European nationals would move to areas of cheap labour in Europe though. Funny huh?

      • Edward
        Posted January 17, 2013 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

        The standard of living isn’t too good in Spain and Portugal and Greece with the kind of unemployment levels people of my generation hoped were for ever consigned to history.
        This EU superstate is depressing the standard of living of millions of people.
        If it were growing and a success I would support it but it isn’t.
        I’m with Bob Crowe

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 17, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

        Well there might be much less undercutting of their wages from “migration”, and fewer silly regulations and more efficiency means more companies will expand, more job availability and thus higher pay and better conditions.

        • Bazman
          Posted January 18, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

          Your laughable ideas that companies will share? Where is your evidence some are even cutting pay dispute large profits. How does that fit into you fantasy?

          • lifelogic
            Posted January 18, 2013 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

            They will pay more if they cannot get the people they want for less. It is just supply and demand the more jobs available the higher wages.

        • Bazman
          Posted January 19, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

          Tell that to the metal trades. Skill shortages and lower wages than the 90’s. More free market fantasy from you.

          • Rustylink
            Posted January 19, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

            n case you hadn’t noticed, the metal trades are in decline thoughout the developed world so we should expect fewer jobs and lower wages in that sector.

          • Edward
            Posted January 19, 2013 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

            Ive worked in this area of engineering for many years and your claim of wages being lower than the 90’s is a fantasy.
            Also I see no great skills shortages, but if you have proof then do let us know.

          • Bazman
            Posted January 20, 2013 at 11:11 am | Permalink

            Just Google welder skill shortage and for your information welders in the late 90’s were on average paid about a tenner an hour. It’s now less. The offshore industry has been actively reducing rates for years despite a very real skills shortage. They also expect you to pay for your own tests, safety certificates and much more. You have to be desperate to do this work which is often dirty dangerous and generally bad for the health for low wages. Might as well just do supermarket work.Hence the preference for though often less skilled, cheaper Eastern European labour. Ram it.

          • Bazman
            Posted January 21, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink
          • Edward
            Posted January 21, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

            You have focussed on one specfic area of engineering that was always a small part of the whole trade.
            The figures for wages for welders you mention, were inflated greatly by welding work done in the boom time of the North Sea oil industry which has now passed.
            Welding is a also a skill that has declined recently, as automation and other new technologies like thin metal castings are able to make complex shapes which previously had to be welded together from many different parts.

          • Bazman
            Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

            Engineering wages in general are poor compared to other areas such as financial and seen as a trade where you get dirty. Interesting to see how welding a ship or nuclear submarine or a power station has been overtook by automation or thin metal casting? The automation and deskilling is always happening as has since the invention of the process. Robots do literally not come up for air all things being equal. However there is very real limitations to how far automation and semi automation can be used as all things are not equal.What if the process needs manual repair? Your going to need a welder and they do not work for minimum wages and are well known for telling employers to ram it amongst other antics. Hence the skill shortage. Ram it.

          • Edward
            Posted January 22, 2013 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

            What a strange argument Baz,
            In one post you claim wages are depressed compared to the 90’s and then you say there are skill shortages and then you say how welders can exploit their power with their employers as they are a very scarce resource.
            If I didn’t know you better, I would be thinking you didn’t know what you were talking about.

      • Bob
        Posted January 17, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

        ” I suspect that if the UK every left the EU the quality of working conditions would massively decrease”

        Disagree. The UK is a world leader on humanitarian issues.

        • lifelogic
          Posted January 18, 2013 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

          More jobs would mean employees could get another job if they did not like the current one.

        • Bazman
          Posted January 19, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

          Since when has work been humanitarian? Lifelogics fantasy is based on there being more jobs within a commutable distance than there is workers. If there is then outside labour is brought in to undercut the locals. Not real or ‘sensible’ lifelogic as you well know.

      • APL
        Posted January 17, 2013 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

        JR: “Don’t be so vindictive in your comments.”

        uanime5 cannot help being vindictive, just as uanime5 cannot avoid being wrong.

      • uanime5
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        John given that the apprentice wage, which undercut the minimum wage, and workfare were Conservative ideas (though they were supported by the Lib Dems) I have little doubt that the Conservatives would reduce wages if not stopped by EU law.

        I also believe they would remove health and safety laws, discrimination laws, and a whole host of laws designed to protect employee rights if the EU was preventing them from doing this.

        Tell me John since the 2010 elections have the Conservatives introduced or planned to introduce laws that will benefit employees? Laws proposed by the Lib Dems or the EU don’t count.

        Reply Raised Income Tax allowance and cut Labour’s NI plans.

        • lifelogic
          Posted January 18, 2013 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

          They could help employees far more by creating many real jobs and growth, halving the state sector and getting expensive quack religions out of energy productions, and deregulation in general.

          • Bazman
            Posted January 19, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

            Put halve the state sector on the dole sending the economy into a spin and then have them employed by private companies with less work because half the state sector workers are on the dole costing the state a fortune in benefits? How sensible is that?

        • Bob
          Posted January 19, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

          “apprentice wage, which undercut the minimum wage,”

          The payback comes when you’ve passed the apprenticeship. When I left school, the wage offered for an apprentice was just enough to defray your travel costs, anything more was from the Bank of Mum and Dad.

          Only kids who were serious about learning new skills would consider applying, the others would choose unskilled work and depend on the generosity of the state to see them through old age.

          • Edward
            Posted January 19, 2013 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

            Indeed Bob,
            Apprentices are investing in themselves for a well paid future.
            Just how much do students at college or university get paid whilst they are learning their trade for 3 years or 2 further years if they go onto post graduate level?

          • Bazman
            Posted January 20, 2013 at 11:15 am | Permalink

            Might have done in the past. Much less so now. It depends what the trade is in. Many companies want to pay unskilled rates for tradesman. It’s what they have always wanted except they are now getting it. Reduce unskilled wages and benefits to increase the gap? That don’t spend in Tesco so ram it

          • Edward
            Posted January 22, 2013 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

            Just a few posts ago you are claiming there are skill shortages which are enabling skilled people to get better wages.
            Now in this post they are being exploited by wicked bosses.
            Make your mind up.

  4. Steve Cox
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    A commentator in one of the newspapers a few days ago made a very good point about the EU single market and the vast mountain of regulation that goes with it. It is primarily a deterrent to the success of smaller companies, the ones that many people say are the life blood of the British economy as they provide the bulk of employment. Large companies and multinational corporations are used to dealing with this sort of complexity and have whole departments set up to manage it. Indeed, he made the point that the big corporations are often in favour of this sort of excessive over-regulation, as it is likely to put off their smaller competitors who are not set up to deal with it. This probably explains why we hear so many of the leaders of large companies pronouncing in favour of the EU and its single market, as it directly benefits them by reducing the competition. So next time read about the chairman of some multinational (and foreign-owned) carmaker telling us that full membership of the EU is essential, or the bearded, (words left out) boss of a certain airline telling us the same thing, we should remember where their interests really lie (and that’s not necessarily in Britain;s best interests), and take their statements with a few pounds of salt.

    • oldtimer
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      I agree with your analysis. Big companies have the resources to track and lobby the legislation and regulations that come from Brussels. Small businesses do not. I get the impression that the imposition of demanding testing regimes are often calculated to favour big companies and to handicap smaller businesses.

    • Peter van Leeuwen
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      @Steve Cox: if that commentator is right, how come that Dutch SMEs report earning 120 bn euro (a fifth of Dutch GDP) with exports within the EU? Dutch SMEs are among the strongest supporters of the Single Market (even though they don’t like too much regulation.
      As an aside, it is reported today that Norway has put import duties on Gouda cheese making it twice as expensive in Norway! (protection of local farmers) Luckily there are some rules in the Single Market and this will now be contested.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Indeed a conspiracy by bureaucrats, pressure groups, big business and politicians against the interests of the public, tax payers and smaller businesses.

    • peter davies
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you Steve, the problem is that when these types of people speak – the media, politicians and many people tend to listen. You could say the same about the US Administration who made a statement about the UK and the EU, only to read between the lines and conclude that it would not be in the US interest for the UK to leave the EU.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      The UK Government could easily fix all the problems you mentioned by providing more help for small businesses.

      Your conspiracy theory that big businesses want to be in the EU to reduce competition, rather than because it gives them a larger market to trade in, isn’t fooling anyone.

      • Edward
        Posted January 17, 2013 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

        Its fooling me.

        • Bazman
          Posted January 19, 2013 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

          Many big businesses here might just leave to low cost EU countries. After all most are foreign owned anyway.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      It would be helpful for these prominent people, when telling us what is in Britain’s best interests, to declare any vested interest they may have, rather like MPs have to declare their “interests” and remind fellow Members of that interest when they speaking in the Commons.

      The “vested interest” must include donations to political parties.

  5. Mike Stallard
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Do you remember when people were confusing the deficit and the debt?
    Well the same goes for the single and the common market. English people on the whole want the Common Market.
    It is not on offer.

    • Timaction
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      Exactly. It is all a smoke screen to mask our EU and politicians real ambitions. The choices:
      1. Superstate.
      2. Leave the EU.
      Everything else is either delaying 1. or 2. There is no half way house as our politicians would want us to believe. Everyone else in Europe is saying this.
      It has never been about trade and always about “ever closer union”. The Europeans have always known this it was our UK mainstream parties who have lied and only now the cat is out of the bag they are still trying to mask the worse extent of there deceipt, lies and treaties they’ve signed against our wishes and mandate! Once the full extent of the lies are well known what future do the mainstream parties have? None!

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      Mike – Interesting that you say English people.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      I think they more want what they misunderstood to be the Common Market, but even then a majority of Britons didn’t want it. That was why Heath bounced us into it without daring to ask us in a referendum, so that afterwards voters could be propagandised into accepting our membership as an irrevocable fait accompli.

      And even to the extent that the reality of the Common Market ever matched its British advocates’ account of what it was, that changed significantly not so many years after the 1975 referendum when one of its strongest advocates during that referendum, Thatcher, pressed for and achieved the abolition of national vetoes through the Single European Act, and once again she did not dare ask us whether we agreed with that.

      • zorro
        Posted January 17, 2013 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

        You’re right Dennis – Bounce us in, and then lie and threaten to keep us there – The usual question on QT tonight…..’It’s pointless asking us about a referendum because we don’t know enough about the advantages or disadvantages’…….So obviously, the politicians don’t need to do anything because the public won’t dare make a choice – they just accept the fait accompli after a few veiled threats….


  6. lifelogic
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    There can be no doubt that the EU is heading for a single country and one clearly lacking any real democratic controls or even a demos. The single market has been used as a trojan horse to move slowly in this direction and to generate well paid parasitic jobs in the UK and Europe. Also to drag more and more powers to bureaucrats and away from any voter control.

    The question is why the politicians, over half the Tories, the Libdems, Labour and the BBC have been so keen to cheer all these evil developments on, while hiding them from the voters. The country would have been so much better of without them, without Major’s idiotic ERM experiment, the EURO, CAP, and all the restrictive laws that tie the hands of the productive or force them to subsidise idiotic “investments” in wind and the likes.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      I see the daft Jeremy Corbyn at PM’s questions asked Cameron to support rent controls (or the theft of landlord’s property assets and the decimation of the supply of rental property as it should more properly be seen). I half expected the soft socialist, Cameron to support such counter productive controls but, at least, did not do that. He is after all, already setting insurance premiums by law and the government gender religion and electricity prices according the renewable religion.

      Alas it seems we will now get rent controls from Labour shortly after 2015 – thanks to Cameron who is surely burying the party at the next election for several terms . What is the value of another “cast iron” promise of a referendum from Cameron. Firstly he clearly cannot be trusted to ever do what he says and secondly he will clearly be gone and half the Tory party with him?

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 17, 2013 at 7:56 am | Permalink

        I see on Wiki that Jeremy Corbyn does have a sensible brother – Piers Corbyn who is sound on the global warming religion – as one would expect from someone with a first-class honours degree in physics from Imperial College London.

        Could he not, perhaps, have a word with his brother and explain what effect rent controls would have on the supply or rental property.

        • lifelogic
          Posted January 17, 2013 at 8:05 am | Permalink

          Wiki says – In 2008 Piers Corbyn went even further than being skeptical, and took an absolutist, certain position by stating, … “CO2 has never driven, does not drive and never will drive weather or climate. Global warming is over and it never was anything to do with CO2. CO2 is still rising but the world is now cooling and will continue to do so.”

          Good for him C02 is clearly just one minor factor and it has not warmed since then.

          • Vanessa
            Posted January 17, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

            CO2 is plant food. If we cut it by 80% as the law passed by this government states – our food and trees would die.

            Sometime in the past CO2 was 10 times greater than it is today. That is not 10% but 10 x more. Did the planet die ??! I don’t think so.

          • uanime5
            Posted January 17, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

            What evidence is Piers Corbyn relying on for his statements? Could it be nothing; which is why he’s never published any scientific papers on why he thinks global warming is over and wasn’t related to CO2.

          • lifelogic
            Posted January 17, 2013 at 6:12 pm | Permalink


            well he is clearly more reliable than the Met office, it seems, on the recent 15 years of no warming!

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted January 17, 2013 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

            I understand that at least in part Piers Corbyn makes his living from his ability to provide better forecasts than are available elsewhere; he has customers, companies who are willing to pay good money for access to his forecasts because they’ve proved their worth as aids for business planning. Maybe those companies are wasting their money, or maybe they are not; I’m more inclined to believe the latter.

          • Bob
            Posted January 17, 2013 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

            Good news!
            Global warming just isn’t happening: Official

            We ought to start expecting our governments to abandon doomsday scenarios in the guise of popular science in favour of old-fashioned, ‘under-the-microscope’, empirical science.

          • Alan Wheatley
            Posted January 18, 2013 at 11:05 am | Permalink

            Further to Vanessa, above – I think I have this right.

            There is a very large greenhouse in the UK being fed a CO2 rich atmosphere because the tomato plants grow better, being genetically attuned to a higher CO2 content from their evolutionary past.

          • uanime5
            Posted January 18, 2013 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

            Got any evidence for your claims? Thought not.

            We’re talking about man made CO2, not all CO2. So the plants will still have enough CO2.

            Also in the past the planet was uninhabited so it’s possible that high levels of CO2 were bad for it.

          • Bob
            Posted January 19, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

            “Got any evidence for your claims? “

            Sorry about that, but our host seems to have censored an essential link from my comment, which virtually renders the comment meaningless.

            Anyway, if you want the evidence you can google it using the search term global warming isn’t happpening and click on the Commentator article.

            It’s a good news for people that worry about AGW – it turns out that the scientists were wrong.

          • APL
            Posted January 20, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

            uanime5: “We’re talking about man made CO2, not all CO2. So the plants will still have enough CO2.”

            Quelle est la différence?

        • stred
          Posted January 17, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

          Labour are also proposing long contracts and security of tenure. They seem to have no memory of the result of these policies and the lowering of rents to uneconomical levels, as brought in by the Wilson government. Anyone thinking of letting their home while they are away had better think again.

          Also, investors in buy to let at present high housing values needs to consider the costs of their proposed registration and councils imposing standards, holding deposits and charging tax on empty property. Most landlords make about 5% on the property value and have to comply with tenancy law which is already heavily in favour of the tenant. How can people still believe that tenants can be chucked out on the whim of a landlord? Even if no rent is paid and they trash the property it takes at least 6 months and a court order to evict.

          The high rents in London are are result of high property prices and shortages brought about by government policies favouring foreign investment and mass immigration, while reducing or selling social housing. Some of the minority of landlords who flout tenancy laws are from abroad and will probably ignore registration, knowing that they can evade prosecution. If the hugely increased buy to let market is over regulated there will be a mass sell off. Housing values will drop and bad debt will rise. All brought about by more well meaning policies.

        • Bazman
          Posted January 17, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

          He is only ‘sensible’ because he believes in your church of anti global warming. Here’s some A level chemistry for you. Some simple ‘sensible’ science. Le Chateliers Principal which states that: ‘When a constraint is placed upon a system, the system reacts in such a way as minimise the effect of the constraint’.
          Using this, the Earth is the system and the CO2 is the constraint and so the Earth will do its best to maintain the equilibrium that it works in. The Earth is such a complex system that it is not possible to ever believe we can understand how it works and as I have said before a self sustaining eco system however small has never been created by man. The idea that unlimited amounts of C02 and other gasses and substances from the burning of fossil fuel will have no effect or a harmless effect on mankind is religious fatalism and with scientific merit. It would be wise to be cautious. As in..
          ..Rent control, like banking regulation which you now seem to be in favour of, it applies to landlords and property rental companies who do not want to play by any rules, not even their own it seems in the pursuit of profits at any cost to society which they seem to think they have no responsibility for as they rip of their clients in any way they can get away with. Not all but a significant amount to enact or try to enact legislation. Alcohol will be next. They have had their chance and now are going to do it by legislation whether it works or not. The consumer and the taxpayer will be the looser in the free market fantasy world of the right as usual. A do nothing mentality and then panic when something has to be done. Global warming panic will be to late for many of the earths clients and tenants. Ram it.

          • Edward
            Posted January 18, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

            Ref CO2, so what caused the huge variations in temperatures and levels of CO2 before mankind was on this planet?
            And why has the predicted increases in temperatures from 2000 not happened?
            Any ideas?

            Ref wicked landlords
            There are already huge numbers of regulations acting on landlords in the UK
            Your claim that there are no rules is ridiculous.
            A return to having a local authority as your landlord is a return to a dark age.

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 17, 2013 at 10:03 am | Permalink

        Mind you Jeremy Corbyn seems to be sound on Blair’s counter productive wars even if he does not understand supply and demand.

      • uanime5
        Posted January 17, 2013 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

        Well rent controls do prevent rents from dramatically increasing, thus making them more affordable for long term renters and preventing housing benefit from dramatically rising.

        • lifelogic
          Posted January 17, 2013 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

          Only for existing tenants it kill the supply of new flats dead.

        • Edward
          Posted January 17, 2013 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

          I suppose you don’t remember the old days uni, when there was a tiny private rented market due to the restrictive legislation you favour.
          The delights of Council Housing for all, awaits down this road.

          • uanime5
            Posted January 18, 2013 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

            What’s wrong with a small renting sector and everyone else owning their own house?

          • Edward
            Posted January 18, 2013 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

            I’m shocked and pleasantly surprised to hear you agreeing with Lady Thatchers brilliant idea for a property owning democracy, uni.

            Yes, I’m with you.

        • Bob
          Posted January 17, 2013 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

          Housing benefit is to rent inflation what compressed air is to tyre inflation.

          • uanime5
            Posted January 18, 2013 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

            Then why aren’t the most expensive properties in the UK in areas with high levels of people on house benefits?

          • Bob
            Posted January 19, 2013 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

            “Then why aren’t the most expensive properties in the UK in areas with high levels of people on house benefits?”

            Because wealthy people tend to buy rather than rent, and landlord owning property in Mayfair is unlikely to let it to “social” tenants.

            The high rents for the properties that are available to HB tenants in places like Tottenham and Leytonstone are kept high because the money is freely available to pay the rent. The tenant has no incentive to haggle with the landlord because it’s other peoples money that she is spending.

            I personally would prefer not rent to welfare tenants, but if I did I would require a much higher rent to cover the hassle factor.

            This is the real world, not the politically correct egalitarian utopia that you are thinking about. You should get involved.

        • lifelogic
          Posted January 17, 2013 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

          Why not just pass a law to say all landlord should give £50,000 to all their tenants and provide a sky package for them!

          It would just be state authorised theft. Counter productive too.

        • Mark B
          Posted January 17, 2013 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

          It also makes living here in the UK much cheaper for those from poorer countries.

          Further, I think it may even be against EU Law. Property is just that, property. You cannot deny someone their use of their property except in ‘the general interest’.

          See link:

          And if it is a business you ‘may’ be able to make case law as; “paragraph 99 of the grounds) and TEC Article 4(1) and (2), which recognises free competition.”

          See link :

          But as (words lft out-ed) Ed Milliband might say; “All property is theft – unless its mine.”

          • uanime5
            Posted January 18, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

            The European Convention on Human Rights isn’t EU law.

            The “general interest” is such a vague term that it could easily encompass renting property. Especially since the purpose of rent control laws is to prevent rent prices from dramatically increasing.

            All businesses have to comply with national law, so the Government can set the rules regarding what a business can and can’t do.

          • Bob
            Posted January 19, 2013 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

            ” the purpose of rent control laws is to prevent rent prices from dramatically increasing.”

            Food prices are also soaring, so what do you think would happen if the government introduced food price controls:

            a) More food available at low prices?

            b) Less food of lower quality?

            c) Farmers, butchers, grocers and fishmongers giving up work and going on the dole and living in a rent controlled property paid for by housing benefit.

          • APL
            Posted January 20, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

            Bob: “what do you think would happen if the government introduced food price controls”

            The market would reassert itself – the black market.

            Just like drugs, which anyone who wishes can probably get hold of whatever he or she wants within two or three hours, despite the governments price control – effectively making the price of contraband infinite, the actual price of illicit drugs on the street is so I am told very reasonable.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      I see the Daily Mail has today the speech that Cameron should be making written by Dan Hannan and the vague, incoherent, dishonest, message that he most likely will actually deliver – by Craig Brown.

      Both are spot on I think.

      • yulwaymartyn
        Posted January 17, 2013 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        Interesting that Daniel Hannan says on his blog – honestly he does – that the CBI are a bunch of jokers and that their views on business are irrelevant.

        This from a Tory MEP. What a disgrace.

        He also said that I could quote him on that. I am going to send details of the blog to the CBI for onward transmission to the 240,000 businesses that they represent.

        Does JR share these views as well? surely not I hope.

        Reply The CBI do not always get their economic advice right. As Chairman of a member company of the CBI in the 1980s I disagreed strongly with their then consistent advice that the UK had to enter the ERM. Unfortunately the political parties and the Conservative government took that advice and it did untold economic damage to CBI members and the rest of us.

  7. James Reade
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    The real question though is why does it matter if that judgement on the merchandisability (if that’s a word) of a product is done by the EU, France or the UK? Provided it’s done by one alone, why do we care which set of bureaucrats does it? Why does it bother you that the EU does it rather than the UK? Do you think the UK is somehow better at making these decisions?

    Reply: Because they use that power to replace our democracy with their bureaucracy

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      Because they use the regulations to rig the market, in the interest of those in the know and use it to generate endless, pointless, and undemocratic jobs that reduce efficiency push up costs and kills real jobs.

    • Jon
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

      The chances are you could name the PM, Chancellor, Foreign Secretary, Energy Secretary, Business, Home Office and so on for our country. Now name the same equivalents for the EU and how much have you seen them selling their ideas to you?
      Do you think you have much influence on those EU people? When was the last time you saw them justifying a policy to sell it to you? You don’t see them because they don’t need to sell it to you, you just pay their bills.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      Re reply – that’s the best one-liner I seen!

    • David Price
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      Because the bureaucrat will decide things for the benefit of his country’s companies and voters, not for the benefit of the EU as a whole.

      The ban on incandescent light bulbs for example. Do you really believe that was decided on a purely objective basis?

      Why do you think an EU bureaucrat, ie a French, German, Dutch or Italian person for example, would makde better decisions than a British person. It is not just who makes the decision, it is very much who can be held to account for bad decisions – good luck prosecuting another country’s bureaucrat for negligence or misfeasance or holding them to account.

      • Rustylink
        Posted January 19, 2013 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        Utter nonsense. The bureaucrat (who may be Britih) has virtually no influence or powers as those are carfulyl husbanded by the national politicians who operate the decision making prcesses in the European Council. Those national politicians then delegate anying significant to their own national agences, said to be working to implement Brussels decisions.

        Fear not the Brussels bureaucrat who may be pressing for rationality, good sense and open markets, until cut off at the kness by your very own national politicians touting protectionism and parocial interests.

        Incidently how the hell do you have aopen market unless there is an umpire capable of enforcing some of the rules national politiciasn (behind close doors) have agreed?

  8. Andyvan
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    “If France approves a French product for sale in France, the UK authorities should be prepared to accept the French decision and allow it to be sold in the UK”
    Why do we need the product “approved” by the “authorities”? If someone has made a product they believe to be marketable and it proves faulty or dangerous they would be liable to penalty under civil and criminal law for any loss of injury to the purchaser. Why would they sell something that destroys their brand and leaves them liable for damages? In which case what purpose do the “authorities” serve other than their own need to extract money from the taxpayer and consumer? Or are we so stupid that we cannot make buying decisions for ourselves? Caveat emptor still applies despite do gooders desire to protect us from our own actions.

    • Peter van Leeuwen
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      @Andyvan: Let’s say that I could make and sell a very cheap and tasty “beef”burger in the Netherlands, even though it doesn’t just contain 100% beef. Then, by the logic of this blog, I can promote it in the Britain as the best original 100% beef burger, and at a very competitive price. Before you know, and lacking common rules, I’ll storm the British market with cheap, low quality products, being able to present them as real quality products. (chocalate containing less chocolate, so-called green products not really being green at all etc.)

      Reply: No, you would have to conform to UK regulations concerning product description.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        @Mr. Redwood: Point taken, but I now fear that, as an imagined Dutch SME, I’d have to conform to potentially 26 differing regulations. Would 1 regulation, as in a single market, not be better for me?

    • peter davies
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      You do need standards, otherwise for example you may find harmful products finding their way into the system, for example fake tan products used in some countries such as Latin America and the far east have caused bad side effects for many.

      What JR is saying is that each country has its own instruments for ensuring things like this don’t happen but the EU has taken over most of this work in the name of the single market by systematic stealth thus taking away functions that should be carried out by individual governments and their institutions which is consistent with the road to merging many countries into one empire.

      • Gary
        Posted January 17, 2013 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        What, potentially 27 different rules and regulations for each product ?

        Actually, I don’t want to see any rules for a product except caveat emptor. But, since there will be rules, lets just have one set. Bureaucracy multiplied is your worst nightmare.

        • Bazman
          Posted January 19, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

          caveat emptor is pretty much the law anyway. However you cannot sell unsafe products or products that do not fit the description. If you bought a tin of tomatoes that tasted bad, legally you could not do anything. However the company usually offers a refund as good will. If you bought a tin on tomatoes and it contained carrots the company would be legally required to give you your money back. Since implied warranties and consumer protections regarding product liability have come upon the legal landscape, the seller is held to a higher standard of disclosure than “buyer beware” and has responsibility for defects which a buyer cannot note by casual inspection. Anyone against this legislation? Warranty until driven off the forecourt? Oh! How the fantasists would cry.

          • Edward
            Posted January 21, 2013 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

            I’m surprised you havn’t heard of the phrase “merchantable quality” in the Sale of Goods Act, Baz
            Your poor quality tin of toms would be covered and you would be entitled to your money back.
            When you take the back, tell them I told you

          • Bazman
            Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

            I meant they were not to the taste of the buyer, but otherwise acceptable quality. To bad for the buyer legally.

          • Edward
            Posted January 22, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

            You can take them back as not suitable for a refund, without there being anything wrong with the goods.
            Some companies say 7 days others go up to a month or two.
            Some say they will only give you an exchange or a credit note.
            I have just returned today, a jumper I bought before Christmas, as not wanted and got a full refund.
            The recent Distance Selling Regulations give enhanced powers to the buyer if you buy on line or via mail order.

    • Bazman
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      We will apply that logic to Chines built cars with little or no crash protection then, and that will be OK? Only the careful driver should buy them?

      • Edward
        Posted January 17, 2013 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

        You would soon realise they were poor products and then you would buy something else.
        Do you really need someone else to hold your hand and tell you what to do?

        • Bazman
          Posted January 18, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

          The customer can tell the ability of a car to resist the forces of crashing in a safe manner by mere observation? They would find out they are poor products after the car had disintegrated on impact. A bit late then, and there is also the safe driver who does not need a safe car of which you are probably one. Maybe we could extend this way of thinking to the aircraft industry with all their absurd and pointless product testing and safety regulations? You would be surprised to know how little the airlines will pay for safe planes. Any extra is avoided if legal. Good to know huh? Considering ticket prices?

          • Edward
            Posted January 18, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

            You dont read the press or look at the internet then Baz?
            Would you really buy such a major product without doing any research?
            And do you think it would be more than a few weeks before the poor reputationof the company was exposed?
            And you’ve not heard of MIRA and their crash testing and the star rating stystem which is compulsory for all car makers?
            And your comments on plane safety fails to allow for the aviation industry being one of the most heavily regulated areas of manufacturing in the world.
            We are talkong about less regulation not no regulation.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      Firstly you’re assuming that the injured person or their relatives would be able to bring legal action against the company. Due to the cost, difficult, and length of time this takes it’s possible that hundred or thousands of people will have been killed or injured before these cases get to court.

      Secondly if the company decides to declare bankruptcy then the people who have been injured or killed won’t be able to get any compensation.

      It’s far cheaper to prevent people from being harmed than having the cost of treating them for the rest of their lives (prevention is better than the cure). I’d recommend looking at the results of drugs that haven’t been tested sufficiently, such as thalidomide, to understand what can happen if there isn’t enough regulation.

      • Bazman
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        Abolish all consumer rights and safety regulations and see where it goes. Get rid of insurance and compensation too. Thanks for that Steve.

        • Edward
          Posted January 18, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

          Who is Steve?

  9. Chris
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    A very clear summary. Thank you.
    With regard to the frequent reference recently in the media to Norway’s position (implying that to have an arrangement as Norway does with the EU is not beneficial to the UK) the article by R North today on his website is very interesting. He deals with the “globalisation of regulation” and emphasises the importance of Norway being in a position to influence organisations higher up in the hierarchy than the EU i.e. global organisations, and in turn able to influence the legislation that the EU formulates, precisely because of its different relationship with the EU and intervenes directly with the global organisation at the formative stage of policy being drawn up. He gives examples, such as with the Codex Alimentarius
    “…In all respects, Norway has greater say in Codex Alimentarius affairs than does the UK. Yet this is the country that is supposed to be subjected to “fax diplomacy” and has “no influence” over EU law. It must simply adopt all the Single Market laws coming out of Brussels – or so we are told. Fortunately, though, we now know different.”

    For those interested, I have copied the relevant section below as I feel it puts the case far more clearly than I could:
    “……This places Codex as a vital standard-setting organisation at a global level, and it is this organisation that dictates the detailed rules on food composition, additives, treatment, processing, hygiene and much else besides.
    Because of the pivotal importance of this organisation to world trade, all 27 EU Member States are all members of the governing Commission. But so is the EU. As the European Community it joined in 2003 and, since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty on 1 December 2009, the EU became the nominal body, taking over the membership.
    With the accession of the EU, though, competence on many of the subject areas is now shared with EU countries depending on the level of harmonisation of the respective legislation. In some crucial areas, the Member States have ceded complete authrority to the EU, allowing it exclusive “competence”.
    Thus, the UK, with massive interests in the food industry, where it needs to retain control over food standards, no longer gets a vote on key committees. The EU votes on behalf of the member states, working to a “common position” agreed beforehand, on the basis of EU position papers.
    Now compare this situation with that of Norway. Fish and fishery products comprise its third largest export sector, accounting for €5.6 billion exports in 2009. With a diversified ocean-going and coastal fleet of approximately 6,800 vessels, the industry as a whole employs between 30,000 and 40,000 people.

    As regards food standards and related matters, therefore, it is very much in the Norwegian national interest to take an active part in Codex affairs, whenever fisheries sector matters are dealt with.
    Here, fortune smiles on Norway. Not only is this country an independent member of the organisation, but, it hosts the all-important Fish and Fisheries Products Committee. Thus, it is the lead nation globally in an area of significant economic importance to itself.
    When it comes to trade in fish and fishery product, Norway is able to guide, if not control, the agenda on standards and other matters. The EU then reacts, turning the Codex standards into Community law, which then applies to EEA countries, including Norway. But it is Norway, not the EU, which calls the shots…”

    • uanime5
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      The CFP doesn’t apply to EFTA countries, so it doesn’t matter to Norway whether the EU follows its lead or not. Though given that discarding caught fish is illegal in Norway but legal in the EU it seems that Norway cannot force its policies upon the EU.

  10. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    JR: ‘ We should heed the European Parliament Fact Sheet which describes the current phase of Single market evolution. It says: “The requirements of European integration suggest that the internal market should eventually culminate in a fully integrated market on national lines ….a single currency, a harmonised tax system, integrated infrastructure, complete freedom of movement of persons and legal instruments to operate effectively throughout the market”’

    No! No! No!No!
    Now please get us out of this totalitarian organisation.

  11. a-tracy
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    It will be interesting to see which rules applied to selling beef burgers with horse and pig meat in them?

    If the product simply says Burgers does that mean they can contain any meat in the EU?

    • Bazman
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      Ah! Dodgy burgers. Value cheese single with unbranded chips and the feast is complete.
      Get wife to serve with discount cider/larger and a sullen face. Staying in. It’s the new going out!

    • Bazman
      Posted January 20, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      On a more serious note I see the EU is all for reducing the level of inspection in abattoirs. Currently all meat is inspected to reduce the ingression of feces and other defects such as ulcers into the meat. The FSA backs this. Oh well the cost reductions will be passed onto the customer and we all have faith in the abattoirs not needing absurd regulations don’t we? I said don’t we. I mean what can go wrong?

      • Bazman
        Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

        Merchantable quality in the Sale of Goods Act will suffice won’t it Edward? Caveat emptor and all that. Even in that posh restaurant? I’ll just have some chips and a beer thanks.

        • Edward
          Posted January 22, 2013 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

          Your consumer rights apply everywhere, equallly.
          Posh restaurant or burger bar.
          If your beer or your chips are unsatisfactory you have just as much legal rights to redress as if you paid ten times more in the Savoy for example.
          Dont be so class conscious
          The law applies equally to all citizens wherever they are.

          • Bazman
            Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:47 am | Permalink

            See if you can bear it in mind and put your legal arguments forward as it comes out of both ends.

  12. NickW
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Europe’s contribution to the British taxpayer is to give us horse meat in beef burgers.

    A fitting metaphor for everything European.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

      To be fair Nick, we did try to give them BSE.

  13. Kenneth
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Just as many confuse the single market with a free market, I think many on the Left and the Right have made a mistake (and many still do) of confusing large corporations with small business.

    Large corporations play the system and can lobby governments and quangos to move the goalposts. This is ultimately bad for workers and bad for the economy.

    Small business is the lifeblood of the economy and is the nearest we have to free markets.

    I wish more of those on the Right could see the distortion and damage markets endure from the unfair advantage given to large corporations by the ‘establishment’.

    I wish those on the Left would embrace small business rather than lump it in with large corporations. Tarring all companies, large and small, with the same brush has caused terrible damage and left many without a job.

    The single market has been subject to the pincer movement of socialist dogma from politicians and stifling of markets by large lobbying corporations.

    For an example, take regulations: small business hates excessive and prescriptive regulations as they cause real financial losses. On the other hand, the aversion to regulations from large corporations is short-lived as they often have a hand in writing them and will turn them to their own advantage.

    One of the worst examples is banking where attention has shifted from the needs of the customer to the needs of the regulator. Playing the system is now more lucrative than providing a good service.

    Ultimately, socialist meddling in markets ends up with a wider gap between rich and poor, and leaves us all poorer, with millions out of a job.

    It is the socialists who ultimately are the enemies of the People as they make the unproductive rich richer.

    • Bazman
      Posted January 19, 2013 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      Far be it for me to defend big business as you all well know. However they do provide massive taxes, often good service at a low price and jobs that provide real wages and safety as they are are an easier or at least a bigger target for the government to control. Small companies often pay low wages and have poor conditions and are really at the mercy of the banks and markets for their products and services. The state would be third world in infrastructure if it were not for these large companies providing massive income. What is a couple of quid from a small company going to build? Not much.The problem is that often they start to be parasitical on the state if allowed to do what they like and threaten to withdraw, but as I have said before we do not respond to threats to democracy from corporations, so good day and good luck you know where we are. Other corporations are interested in Get this. Working for us. Ram it.

      • Edward
        Posted January 21, 2013 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

        My argument is that all these big companies were themselves very small once and if you increasingly restrict access to the market by making ever more complex regulations, licences, and other complications you are helping to make monopolies who do no service to the consumer even if they are able to pay higher wages to their workers from their abnormal profts.

        But it is interesting to see you supporting the case for more multi national corporations Baz.

        • Bazman
          Posted January 21, 2013 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

          The days of starting your own Tesco are well gone, supermarkets amongst others are oligopolies so this does not hold water.

          • Edward
            Posted January 22, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

            Rubbish, most of the best known names on the high street and on the internet are under 20 years old and have come from nothing to PLC size in that time.
            There may be many large companies in difficult to enter markets like insurance, banking, fuels, energy and food retailing, but there are still great opportunities to start a small business and succeed.
            Why dont you give it a go?
            If every small company in the UK employed just one extra person, unemployment would be wiped out.

  14. Iain Gill
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    If I get done for speeding on a motorbike in Belgium as a foreigner I have the bike taken away from me by the police until I have paid the fine. If a Belgian national gets stopped for speeding on a bike here they are almost certain to be let off without a prosecution as the fixed penalty system does not work for foreign nationals and the alternate is too much like hard work for the police.

    I get kicked out of Denmark if I dont have the money to support myself, Danish nationals here would be given state benefits.

    Germany protects its intellectual property tightly, we give it away.

    Germany would not tolerate hundreds of thousands of Indian nationals in its country on ICT work visas but has been instrumental in treatys with India which will force even larger numbers of Indian national workers to be allowed into the UK.

    On the other hand in Belgium, Italy and Spain I can get seen by an English speaking doctor the same day, given first rate money no object treatment, and not the third world shambles of constant waits and rubbish treatment I get here. So Europe isnt all bad 🙂

  15. forthurst
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    “…complete freedom of movement of persons…”

    Why does a single market required free movement of persons? Even presupposing the necessity of a single system of law concocted by Brussels bureaucrats such that we can ensure that our doctors are all equally badly trained and that our patients are correspondingly likely to be put more at risk by inexperienced medics, why under a system of trade are we required to accept doctors from abroad without the right to test their language, never mind other skills, just because they may be posing as ‘German’? No one is forced to buy a BMW, so why should anyone be abliged to ‘purchase’ a ‘German’ doctor even without a test run?

    Why should our, on the whole, marginally competent politicians be expected to plan for Healthcare, Education, Housing, Social Services, Transport, Benefits and Taxation etc, when our population can suddenly increase by hundreds of thousands, not uniformly over the UK, but in pre-existing hard-pressed conurbations? Furthermore, why should the English ever be expected to put up with it? We know there are some extremely malevolent English hating (therefore not English themselves and sometimes not born here) MPs, particularly but by no means exclusively, on the Labour benches, but surely there are enough MPs, who are not trying their best to trash this country, who can see that what we have now cannot work, and arguably never was intended to?

    • uanime5
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      Under existing laws we can test doctors to ensure that they’re competent for the job. The fact that they’re from the EU doesn’t mean they can avoid tests that people from the UK have to pass.

      • forthurst
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

        unaime5, from the BMJ Careers:

        “The EC’s revisions to the directive [on the mutual recognition of professional qualifications (EC/2005/36)] will allow professional regulators such as the GMC to test the language skills of doctors from the European Economic Area but only [if] it has recognised the professionals’ qualifications. However, the proposed directive also states that the regulator will be able to conduct language tests only “if there is a serious and concrete doubt about the professional’s sufficient language knowledge in respect of the professional activities this person intends to pursue.””

        It is absolutely not clear how a person’s competence can be assumed unless they have previously practised in English or have taken viva voce and written examinations to demonstrate an in depth linguistic ability encompassing all aspects of medical practice.

        Furthermore, the GMC recognises primary qualifications not only from the EU but from medical schools all over the world, but that does not mean that those so qualified have experience in using the techniques or medical equipment used by the NHS , yet their competence is assumed.

      • Bazman
        Posted January 19, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

        Ive been to few dentist in my time and I can tell you for sure that many EU dentists are here to learn their trade here in the NHS. The trade has been run down so much that all the good ones are now private. If any dentists want to tell me it is not a trade then have go and see how far you get. Interesting to see how many have expensive cars and light planes as their hobby. Most drive Porsche’s so what does that tell you?

        • Edward
          Posted January 21, 2013 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

          Train to be a dentist Baz.
          Where there is a scarcity there are abnormal profits to be had.

          • Bazman
            Posted January 22, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

            You can be my very first customer. Cheap rates. It won’t hurt me a bit.

          • Edward
            Posted January 22, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

            Thanks for the offer, I’ve thought about it Baz, but on balance I think I will stick with my man in Harley Street rather than being your first customer.
            I can leave my teeth with him and when I come back they are valeted to perfection.

        • Bazman
          Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

          I thought he would want to make it last all afternoon in your case? I’m half way through my training now as I have pulled out my collection of old and rather extensive performance motorcycle magazines and will graduate as soon as I have built up a respectable collection of performance car and light aircraft ones. Tatler, Country Homes and Vogue would be useful to have in the practice too. I refuse to compromise on standards and have Readers Digest.

  16. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Somewhat off-topic, writing about Cameron’s speech tomorrow, here:

    Liam Fox says:

    “First and foremost we need an unambiguous declaration that we cannot continue to support the concept of “ever closer union”.”

    My response is fairly predictable:

    “Not unless the British people want to support it, which is why I would like a referendum with something like this printed on the ballot paper:

    “”Under the present treaties of the European Union the United Kingdom is committed to a process of “ever closer union” with the other countries in the European Union.

    Do you wish the United Kingdom to continue further with this process of “ever closer union”?”

    And we should have that referendum BEFORE Cameron attempts any renegotiation, preferably later this year.”

  17. David John Wilson
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Most of the rules eminating from Europe had or should have had similar rules within the UK. Of course the rest of Europe will produce slightly different rules but we should be prepared to accept that. The problem in the UK is that we are not prepared to accept the rules that Europe produces for the single market, we have to rewrite and adapt them to our own requirements. Most of the changes are unnecessary and are of little advantage to the consumer.

    We need not to take back these rules into UK control, but to accept a lot more EU rules without reworking them. It is the cost of all the reworking that needs to be got rid of.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      “The problem in the UK is that we are not prepared to accept the rules that Europe produces for the single market, we have to rewrite and adapt them to our own requirements.”

      Nonsense: all those single market rules are accepted as a matter of course, as part of the UK’s “treaty obligations”, and where it is necessary they are implemented through legislation.

    • Jon
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

      How about the latest from the EU. Banning rating agencies from properly rating the creditworthiness of a countries debt in order to pass off debt from say Greece as A rated. Ring any bells? Banks packaging up toxic debt with others to hide bad debt on their books?

      Heard any MPs in this country calling for some of the reasons for the crash to be duplicated again?

  18. Leslie Singleton
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Apart from all else (which means apart from a great deal), it is the sheer incredible degree of totally OTT and unnecessary regulation that flows so freely that is hard to continue to stomach. The merely civil-servant-type exceptionally well-paid jobs(not)worths in Brussels have a vested interest in churning this stuff out. Rules on how bent bananas must be straight (or strait for all I know) say it all. I am aware that there has been some debate about whether such rules actually exist but that is not the point–with the EU it is extremely easily believable that there are such rules–probably a thousand pages of them.

    Has anyone given a thought to the obvious detrimental effect on investment and competition? Perhaps it doesn’t matter to the big swinging Richards who have made it to the top of multinationals, because multinationals will have hundreds of people to see to such things but what about the smaller business thinking of starting to try and sell in to the much vaunted single market, how many of them are going to be daunted, or simply not have the time to get on top of the plethora of rules or be unwilling to risk falling foul of them or simply become sick of the whole thing? Personally I know I simply couldn’t be bothered.

    The people of the UK had no reason to suspect that this level of baloney would be forced upon them and are only now just beginning to think about it and wonder goggle-eyed at it all. Call us slow on the uptake if you like but we assumed that what would come at us would be reasonable and the EU is not.

  19. Barbara
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    We need to be able to trade freely and without having to ask whom and where we can trade with. The currant situation means businesses are not able to do so freely, and have to ask for permission to trade with outside countries, this is no good at all, we need to be able to reach any country if we have some thing to sell, and vice versa. The EU has become a monster, full of laws we don’t need, and dictatorial. That is the one thing that grates the people of this country, the never ending laws and interferance. Would we be better of without it, I think we would and businesses. Many have been on TV this am, telling of the worse will happen if we leave the EU, Clegg, Cable, all the usual people who have a vested interest in us staying in, but none said they’d let the people of this nation decide for themselves. What does that tell you about democracy within our own state? Cameron is to make a speech tomorrow, if it does not give the nation what they are seeking, he will fail. Negociate by al means but there has to be a time limit on those negociations, people don’t want to wait another five years at all, in fact Cameron should, if he respects this nation and its people, he will give us one during the last 6mths of the coalition. Settle it before the next election so we know where we stand. Camerons’ support would treble if he did that, that’s assured. If he doesn’t he won’t get in, fact.

    • uanime5
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      How many outside countries are there left that we need to ask for permission to trade with? If the answer is none then this problem no longer exists.

    Posted January 17, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    I have often thought that the model of civil servants issuing directives from the centre is derived from the Napoleonic system. Any comments?

    • Jon
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

      It was no different from the elders in a village in Peru deciding to issue beads each representing a value so trade could be done with travellers. The same could be said of the ancient Egyptians and the Raj and so on. The trouble with governments is they don’t know when to stop.

  21. Graham Swift
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    I think this article should be forwarded to the Leader of the Opposition. Having listened to the clueless idiot this morning being interviewd by James Naughtie on the Today programme , it is quite clear that Miliband has little understanding of the EU and all that it involves . On the understanding that he is able to read , this might possibly teach him something.

  22. The PrangWizard
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Much is said in these EU debates about national interest; my point is about the related issue of national identity.
    I heard Alex Salmond, Scotland’s First Minister saying in the Scottish parliament today that he has learned that ‘a number of Scots’ are among those being held hostage in Algeria and he was concerned about them. Quite correct for him to do so for which he should be applauded. He called others ‘UK nationals’.
    My concern is about the Englishmen among the hostages. Are any of our English MPs in English constituencies asking if there are any and how many? Are any trying to get their worries out in the media to show the people of England that someone is worried for their compatriots?
    If not why not? Some say they speak for England, are they speaking up for Englishmen in peril, or are they satisfied with ‘British’? Are the English to remain forever invisible?
    Until they come forward and speak assertively for the English, putting them first as Alex Salmond is for his compatriots, they cannot be regarded as true English. They are merely part of the British Establishment paying lipservice.
    We must get the British out of England, and an English parliament is the only way to do it.

  23. Mark B
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    It is, and has always been the aim of the European Federalists to use Economics as a tool for further integration.

    I am surprised that you, Mr. Redwood MP, seemed surprised.

    It has been evident too many since 1992 and Maastricht. The clue was in the new name for the EEC/EC, ie European UNION.

    As an aside, Jean Monnet, one of the founding fathers’ of the EU, was an economist. As history has always shown, he who controls the money, can control almost anyone and anything.

    Reply: I am not surprised!

  24. derek spence
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    good article and very neatly summarised by one of your respondents with the term “single market” vs “common market. European fact sheet vs Cassis de Dijon judgement.

  25. Vanessa
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    My last comment has been obliterated – not sure why. I shall try this one. Did anyone watch the programme on “Why the industrial revolution happened in Britain” ? Nothing was a better advertisement for why we should get out of the EU. (not “Europe” as most MPs tell us – that is the continent and I am opposed to the GOVERNMENT – there is a difference, though I am sure Cameron hasn’t a clue what that is). The programme showed why our parliamentary democracy allowed us the freedom to invent and experiment with ideas with the aristocracy piling in with money. France tried to do it with a direct monarch and was squashed – nothing was allowed.

    • Atlas
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Permalink


      I agree – the programme really did point out the fatal flaws of France’s approach to matters. And I think the Bismarkian thinking behind a ‘Greater Germany’ is not much better.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      Yes, I too saw the programme and came to the same conclusion.

  26. Wilko
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Many of the things sought by people wishing to leave the EU seem similar to those freedom-seekers strive to obtain.

    • Bazman
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      Lets see how free they are without a job or a job with no rights and poor pay.

      • Edward
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

        Like they have in Spain Portugal Greece and Italy right now then Baz.

  27. brian
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Thank you John for once again providing some clarity into the debate.

  28. Andy
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    In simple terms the EU has created thousands of penpushers and very few doers who are prepared to get their hands dirty

    • Jon
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

      I was mused by the EU bureaucrat strikers end of last year when there was a meet to discuss the budget. I remember looking at this jewellery clad hair expertly designed dressed in designer cashmere overcoat and so on striking for a higher than 6% increase to their budget. A different type of striker in Brussels to the ones I’ve seen in this country.

  29. uanime5
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    The problem with the Cassis de Dijon judgement is how do you determine what constitutes “mechanisable quality”. If all that’s requires is that it’s legal to sell it in one country then the country with the laxest laws for these products would be where companies would first sell these products in order to bypass the more stringent laws in other countries. As a result national laws on quality are effectively useless and companies will begin a race to the bottom on quality.

    I suspect labour laws were introduced because a country that treats their employees well by requiring that they received fair pay, can’t be arbitrarily fired, and ensures they have safe working conditions would be at a disadvantage when competing against a country that makes cheaper products by forcing their employees to work like slaves in unsafe conditions. Thus another race to the bottom on employee treatment was prevented.

    If you want free trade you have to ensure that all countries are competition on a level playing field and that one country that abuses its people can’t gain an advantage.

    • Edward
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      But for your idea of pan national control to be effective, you would need to do this world-wide, uni.
      I suppose you would like the idea of a socialist world government.
      Just think how much you would save on elections.

      • uanime5
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

        Actually all you need to do is put tariffs and quotas on the countries that don’t meet the standards of the trade bloc and it will be just as effective as world-wide standards.

        • Edward
          Posted January 18, 2013 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

          But Uni,
          Then they will respond by placing tarrifs on us and then world trade will decline and then we all get poorer and unemployment rises.
          And who decides who is given the legal power to decide what the correct standards are?

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      China already offers this environment.
      With regard to quality the market usually decides what constitutes reasonable quality especially in these days of peer review forums. No need for myriad regulation.

      • Bazman
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        The toaster still has to not be able to electrocute you. A £200 washing machine might be of poor quality and value for money, but still has to be safe by passing standard tests and conforming to certain safety standards, as in regulations. This is not open for negotiation by the customer.

        • Edward
          Posted January 18, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

          You are assuming a UK outside the EU having no regulations.
          Bit of a fantasy I think.

          • Bazman
            Posted January 18, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

            Steve Hilton put forward as one of his crackpot ideas to abolish consumer rights so presumably he would not be against erosion of safety regulations?

          • Edward
            Posted January 18, 2013 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

            Sorry Baz but you are wrong.
            He didn’t want to abolish all safety regulations, just to reduce the complexity.
            Subtle difference.
            If ever you tried to introduce a product you invented, onto a world market you would soon realise just how many different rules and regulations there are to comply with before your product could be offered for sale.
            Its an expensive and time consuming business.
            An unsafe product will very soon be discovered and then have to be withdrawn.
            The costs to the producer of trying to sell an unsafe product is huge and for most businesses results in commercial disaster.

          • Bazman
            Posted January 19, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

            History is littered with unsafe products being brought to market and the companies trying to suppress the danger. Cars, fridges, etc in the race to be first in the market and to make profits. He wanted to abolish all consumer rights as he said” To see what happens”. Reducing complexity in the right wing world usually means diluting or abolition in the long run. Your faith in companies and the market is blind.

          • Edward
            Posted January 21, 2013 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

            Your answer proves my point perfectly.
            You know about these companies who have stupidly put unsafe products onto the market.
            They are soon found out.
            Most have ceased trading as their reputation is then ruined.
            You consider the extreme where there would be no rules.
            I am hoping for a little less regulation, that all.

  30. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    As an aside: The Dutch finance minister (as from tomorrow candidate to succeed Mr. Juncker as eurogroup chairman) has just said that the Dutch government doesn’t favor opt-outs for EU members but that a good debate about subsidiarity will be very welcome, and no comments about a Cameron speech not yet given, just confirming that Mr. Cameron will be very welcome.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      The speech has not yet been given, but doubtless a draft text has already been widely circulated – governments of other EU member states, probably that of the USA as well, and the heads of EU institutions – and any objections will have been noted and suitable amendments made. At the end of the queue to know what their Prime Minister will say in this vitally important speech, the British people.

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted January 17, 2013 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      Such a civilised nation Peter. I had a marvellous time in Amsterdam last year with my children and on the way back we laid some flowers at the grave of Guy Gibson VC who was killed and buried along with his navigator in a small market town in the Netherlands in 1944. Of course his grave is immaculate and tended by both the Dutch and British authorities. The best of both nations.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 18, 2013 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

        @yulwaymartyn: As it should be. I understand that in at a monument in Ieper Belgium (WWI) the Last Post is still played every evening.

  31. Atlas
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    The EU can be likened to the film ” A Nightmare on Elm Street ” – pure and simple.

  32. Sidney Falco
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    Why is is that so many people (and especially politicians) in the UK fail to understand that our main problem with the EU is that the most powerful of the continental countries WANT to become a single state. That has always been their aim.

    We tried to counter that by enlarging the EU to incorporate the old Warsaw Pact countries. This has led to an influx of East Europeans to the UK (and other EU countries to be fair) which has now caused even more anti-EU sentiment in the UK.

    Why can’t politicians realise that we entered a club, tried our best to mould it to the way we wanted, but we are going to lose. Both Germany and France want to eventually become a single country.

    As a country we need to decide if we want in or out. This al a carte nonsense in just that – nonsense.

    • P O Taxpayer
      Posted January 18, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Sidney Falco – When you write “Both Germany & France want to eventually become a single country” is this the wish of the people of France I wonder or just the politicians knowing what’s right for the people without even asking them?

      Germany has tried on several occasions to “unite” the countries of Europe by force of arms and ultimately failed but the “peaceful” method the “United States of Europe” may well succeed in the short term. One day all the people of the EU will wake up to realise that this monster is creating very high unemployment and actually enslaving the vast majority for the benefit of a few.

      The current high standard of living enjoyed by many in Europe has been financed by borrowing and debt and they are still doing it. The bubble will burst and when it does the 1930’s depression will be boom time in comparison. Europe as a major manufacturing centre is being over taken by China, India and other smaller far east states who sale their goods into the World without all the red tape cost adding socialist and climate change nonsense being daily invented by EU dictators. The posturing of the EU grandees is rather similar to Nero fiddling whilst Rome burned.

  33. Terry
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    What I do not understand is, ” why”? Why did National leaders sign up to this “Full Monty”? Countries like the UK did not need any help to trade with the world so why would we want to use this grotesquely inefficient middleman, at great expense, to do it for us?

    I have no doubt that both France and Germany joined entirely for their own ends and not for the future of European Nations. Much like an investigation into a murder the question “who benefits the most”? Crops up.

    Certainly it was in France’s best interests to join up and capture 50% of the EU budget with the CAP. And Germany? Well, who benefits most from the single currency? No one can compete with German efficiency but competing Nations could undercut their prices when they had their own currency. But they gave that advantage away when they joined the Euro zone.
    What made these once independent Nations do this? (allegations deleted-ed)If the Eurozone is not doomed then there are huge, sinister, forces at work and the problems will be left for another generation to resolve. Again and they will hate us for it.

  34. Jon
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    Africa is on our doorstep and the recipient of so much aid. What the Africans themselves ask for is not aid but the ability to trade with Europe its neighbour. My understanding is that the EU makes it near impossible to do so through its complexities and regulations. That potential trade would do more for the people on the ground than the billions in aid.

    Lets hope tomorrow produces a road map for the majority who didn’t want more than a common market. I don’t think the europhiles are endearing themselves to the
    voters, I think people see through their extremist views and threats of disaster. A second term is there for the taking if people are convinced after tomorrow.

  35. Normandee
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    How safe do you feel in your seat ?, I suggest that you feel very safe, because that is reflected in some of your attitudes to the direction this country takes. Were you to feel less safe you might be prepared to work harder to prevent losing it in 2015, and constantly saying ” it’s not my fault, it’s the others” would not be my recommended way of achieving that.

  36. Jon
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    Did you clock the tough restrictions against ratings agencies on government debts and the ability to sue them. This is the madness of the EU with the effect of punishing savers and investors in order to promote bad debt.

  37. petestapleton
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Nothing is more important than that we govern ourselves and control our own borders. Why politicians allowed major transfer of powers to the dysfunctional EU is beyond me.

  38. Alan Wheatley
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    I largely agree. However, the Cassis de Dijon judgement is too simple, or if it is accepted some unwelcome consequences also have to be accepted.

    Take animal welfare in farming. If a country introduces regulations for its farmers that improve animal welfare but put up costs, then those farmers are at a disadvantage compared with farmers in other countries who do not have to comply with animal welfare regulation and the consequential costs. In a totally free market the consequence is that farmers with higher costs imposed on them go out of business.

    And the further unintended consequence is the exact opposite of the animal welfare objective.

  39. Rebecca Hanson
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    John, why do you believe it’s better to have a free market (where when something is identified as being dangerous in one country and is outlawed with products becoming more expensive, consumers are then tempted by cheaper products with the dangerous component still present because the legislation doesn’t exist in other countries) rather than a single market where there is a constant dialogue about these issues with common standards being established?

    Reply The single market protects the strong large companies at the expenese of the rest and at the cost to the consumer.

    • Rebecca Hanson
      Posted January 19, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      I think the strong large companies can profit most from a common market rather than a single market as they are the companies which can rapidly relocate their production into countries with weaker regulation.

      But the way in which they benefit from behaving in this way contributes nothing positive to society. It just creates financial incentives for countries to have low standards and to allow dangerous practice.

      Companies which are operating efficiently and effectively with high professional standards (which operate to the advantage of consumers) benefit more from the single market as they don’t need to compete with substandard products or companies which are aggressively relocating to exploit differences between standards in different countries.

      Why do you think otherwise?

  40. Sophia
    Posted June 24, 2013 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    Why viewers still make use of to read news papers when in this technological globe everything is available on web?

  • 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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