Any responses to Mr Cameron’s speech?

Mr Cameron has recognised that the EU is not working for the UK. He is setting out the new kind of relationship he wants with emerging Euroland, and has offered a referendum on the results of a renegotiation.

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  1. Lord Blagger
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    So which powers are coming back to the UK?

    Given the Tories are in power, why wait until the next election? Ah yes, you will be out of office is the conclusion.

    • Disaffected
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      I am beginning to wonder whether he is rational in his thoughts as there is no consistency or coherent logic to what he says.

      We are told that the speech has been six months in the making. When it was being considered the vote for an in/out EU referendum went tot he HoC and he made a three line whip to vote against it. He has also said that as long as he is PM he will argue to stay in the EU. HE has given powers to the EU when he has not had to so ie EU arrest warrant. Citizens can be arrested and taken to other parts of the EU for offences that do not exist here FFS.

      He promised a referendum on the EU constitution, called the Lisbon Treaty, before the last election and then reneged on it. He had a chance in the autumn of 2010 to make changes to it, he chose not to.

      And now after all his failed cast iron promises and U turns he expects the public to believe him for something that might happen midway through the next parliament. What utter contempt he shows the public.

      Jog on Dave, the public are not for turning. UKIP secures out of the EU. Not false promises on something that might happen. Based on his track record I would not trust him.

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 23, 2013 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

        No one trust him he has proven himself untrustworthy many times over. Say one thing, do the opposite, Cameron – we have seen it again and again. There is little point in him saying anything at all as sensible people just assumes from experience that he will do the opposite.

      • alan jutson
        Posted January 23, 2013 at 9:04 pm | Permalink


        I agree, so many mixed messages it is totally confusing to everybody, even those who he plans to negotiate with, let alone the population of UK..

        I think he is trying to be everyones friend, and all things to all people, and that simply does not work when you are going to be involved in hard negotiations, and they will need to be hard, in order to get anything at all.

        One thing not mentioned in any of these proposals is the actual cost (reduction in cost) of membership, pray do not tell me we are happy with our present payment schedule/amount.

        From my point of view it all seems too little, too late, and too weak.

        Now a referendum in this parliament (before the next general election) may change my mind.

        • Duyfken
          Posted January 24, 2013 at 6:12 am | Permalink

          Too much euphoria has been evident in the responses to Cameron’s speech by such as Messrs Hannan and Carswell. There is so much left unsaid about the run-up to the promised referendum that one should not take it as the answer to every EUsceptic’s prayers.

          Most interesting will be seeing how the Labour Party finally (after contortions already manifest) decide to react; my guess is that, as the next GE approaches, it could find itself forced into supporting the promised referendum also.

          EUsceptics should press Cameron to name a final date – eg by end of 2014 – for the implementation of any renegotiated EU terms, sufficiently in advance of the referendum itself to be seen by us the public whether such new terms provide anything worthwhile. Equally, Cameron should now state categorically what his “red lines” are to be—if he has any!

        • Disaffected
          Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:47 am | Permalink

          First, if he was serious then he should stop any increase in the EU contribution for the next five years. No more mass immigration from inside the EU, no more directives from the ECHR and above all UK law to have primacy in every respect for five years. Let us have something to believe in him. If he is serious this should not be a problem, after we might leave therefore why have 5 more years of misery imposed on us?

          • Disaffected
            Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:49 am | Permalink

            What I suspect is that he is gambling that the Eurozone countries will have to change and there will not be a need for a referendum in the UK because change will have to happen inside the EU for it to survive.

  2. Terry
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Yes. Yet another dithering act from the PM. Why will it take so long to formulate and negotiate a plan of demands, when he can call an extraordinary meeting of the heads of EU member States and put it to them for a vote. Regardless of the outcome from that meeting, a referendum should be set for next year for the British people to decide once and for all if we want to be ruled by an unelected group of Brussels Marxists.

    A common market is what we wanted not political jack boots.

    • zorro
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      To even consider believing him, you have to accept that he would actually negotiate anything worthwhile. There is no guarantee that he will negotiate anything within the timescale. He will then say he could only get a tiny concession but it’s better than nothing ….so now IN or OUT choose….there will be the mother of all propaganda efforts by the usual suspects with all kinds of threats. He will then say he cannot guarantee what will happen if the public says NO…..He is calculating that not enough people would vote so that a low turnout would have no legitimacy and that there would be no majority to leave. He will cook it one way or the other.

      It’s impossible for any rational, logical person to put any credence in his statements.


      • Mike Stallard
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 7:29 am | Permalink

        Zorro – you have put it better than I could have put it myself!

  3. Captain Crunch
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    What happens if he can’t negotiate what he wants?

    Will he have a referendum and campaign for a “No”?

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      Well he doesn’t want very much does he – and he won’t be in power soon anyway.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      Captain Crunch–With great respect you have to understand that Cameron hasn’t a clue what he wants–it’s as plain as the testicles on a bow-wow that he will make a song and dance out of it, achieve very little and say that that is enough. There isn’t a snowball in hell’s chance of his ever campaigning for Exit.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 23, 2013 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

        He could say something like this, suitably updated:

        “We explain why the Government, after long, hard negotiations, are recommending to the British people that we should remain a member of the European Community.

        We do not pretend, and never have pretended, that we got everything we wanted in these negotiations. But we did get big and significant improvements on the previous terms.

        We confidently believe that these better terms can give Britain a New Deal in Europe. A Deal that will help us, help the Commonwealth, and help our partners in Europe.

        That is why we are asking you to vote in favour of remaining in the Community.”

        And there must be some other potentially useful material amongst all the other lies in the Labour government’s pamphlet for the 1975 referendum:

        • Timaction
          Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:02 am | Permalink

          This speach is much-a-do about essentially nothing. Its only purpose was to “outfox” the UKIP vote, whilst behind the scenes chats with “Angela” etc will have reassured them its fullsteam ahead once the 2015 elections are out of the way. As a famous advert once said, “Where’s the beef?” There isn’t any red lines on net contributions, mass migration, CAP reforms, fisheries reform, just very broad brush talk of reduction in regulations, competition in the world etc.
          We all know this is a political Union and we can trade without being in it. Still talking about finishing the “single market” after 40 years!If it was so good all countries would be queing to join. The very fact that America wants us in is purely for their benefit, not ours. Talk of trade treaties via the EU makes me feel how lowly we have shrunk, controlled by unelected bureaucrats who offer us the occasional crumb at huge cost, directly through our contributions and indirectly costs in billions to pay the net costs of the minimum wages/benefits of our Eastern European friends for their health, housing and education costs. So how far advanced are are the plans for controlling the unmanageable numbers from Romania and Bulgaria next year, or is it a wait and see policy?

        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted January 24, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

          @Denis Cooper: And Cameron may have good achievements to show as well – all the integration and enhanced cooperation anywhere in the EU between now and 2017 may be presented as de-facto repatriation of powers (“See what they do as EU, and what we’ve opted out, giving these powers back to the people most competent to exercise them, our British parliament and British government!”)

          Fudge! I just love it! 🙂

      • Mark B
        Posted January 23, 2013 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

        He may not know what he wants, but his masters do.

        And so do we.

  4. Richard Ede
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    British relations with Europe and relations between the British are all different aspects of the same question. How can the Scots in 2014 make a meaningful decision about the present Union of the British without knowing what its future relations with Europe might be? Is it intended that the Centenary in 2016 of the Easter Rising should come and go without the people of the British Isles as a whole having their say on a Union which could end the Partition of Ireland and produce a Union with all the British might be content? Is the English Model for a British Constitution never to be questioned?

  5. lifelogic
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Better than nothing just – but he will not ever be able to deliver it as he know well. Rather like the one cast iron promised before the election. He clearly will get nothing of substance from the negotiation with his absurd approach and clear lack of any real enthusiasm.

    Good blog from Delingpole on Obama’s drivel the other day.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      Well he says some of the right things, but he will not be in power after the next election he could not even win the last one and still has not sorted out the boundaries. Anyway he never does what he says anyway as we all know. At least UKIP and the sensible perhaps 90 MPs in the Tory party have got something out of him. Clearly for the speech to have any credibility he needs to enact legislation now, well before the election. He will not and cannot do this alas.

      It has about the same value as a promise from me that I will climb mount Everest, backwards, on one leg, 3 years after I am dead.

      • zorro
        Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

        I think that your promise is still more likely than his……


    • Bazman
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      Still believing Dingbat and his references to that unbiased and scientific site Watts up with that run by Fox News stooge Antony Watts and then coming on this site and taking about real science and proper engineering with no green fantasy by left wing tree huggers who read the guardian? How thick are you? Thats not an insult, but an observation. Have go at defending Dingbat and Watts. Even if it is just for yourself. If you cannot do this then why do you quote and revere them? You must be some sort of right wing religious (ideologue-ed). The opposite of the left wing nutcase you claim to despise but never the less the same coin. Ram it.

  6. David Jarman
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    He is concerned that he will not win the next general election and this is nothing less than a bribe. The truth however is, the EU will fall apart because it can’t help itself get more out of control year on year. It is just a matter of time. If more people knew (why-ed) Edward Heath (words left out ) got us in, in the first place I am quite confident there would be at least a 99% vote to leave. etc

    • David Jarman
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      Edit – Now we know where your loyalties lie!

  7. English Pensioner
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    He’s made it clear that he wants to stay in the EU. He wants to hold discussions with people who don’t wish to discuss the matter of reform and if, and it’s a big “if”, he wins the next general election we will get an In/Out vote.
    He should be setting out, in some detail, all the reforms that he expects in advance of any negotiations, so that the public can decide whether they consider that these reforms would be enough, and, in due course, discover the extent to which they are agreed.
    As far as I’m concerned it is all “smoke and mirrors” designed to get him re-elected on the basis that (at present) they will be the only party to offer a referendum. It all “sometime in the future” when we need action now. Seemingly he can bring forward proposals for “gay marriage” within months, but there is nothing but prevarication over the EU which is far, far more important.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Permalink


    • Martin C
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      Sorry but I think Cameron’s done a good job, and I’m a UKIP supporter. As usual, the superb Dan Hannan hits the nail on the head. To those of you in these comments asking why there isnt a referendum now, simple: its not in Cameron’s gift. There is precisely no chance whatever that he can get Labour and the Lib-Dems to allow through a bill to have an In-Out referendum now let alone repealing the 1972 European Communities Act. Never mind the coalition; the Yellow Turncoats would walk as one through the NO division and Cameron is intelligent enough to realise it.
      Instead the deciding factors at the next election are going to be very simple: If you want any chance of an In-Out referendum then you have to vote Conservative.

      • Mike Stallard
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 7:32 am | Permalink

        …..and then what?

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

        Cameron clearly would not give the country an in/out referendum now, even if it was within his gift. He has made that quite clear.

        “If you want any chance of an In-Out referendum then you have to vote Conservative”. I would not exactly expect a fair one even if the Tories were returned as looks somewhat unlikely. Clearly Cameron we be voting not to leave come what may. After all we would not like to suffer as the Swiss and Norway do. It must be such a pain to have a strong currency, sound finances and a GDP so very much higher per head.

        Reply Mr Cameron has said he wants to be able to vote Yes because his renegotiation has been successful> He has not said he will vote Yes whatever the circumstances.

        • Brian Tomkinson
          Posted January 24, 2013 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

          Reply to reply,
          Of course he hasn’t, but who believes that he would ever vote to leave the EU when he has repeatedly told us that we are better in it?

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted January 24, 2013 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

          Personally I doubt that any set of circumstances will ever arise under which Cameron would vote to leave the EU.

      • Julian Foster
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

        Oh dear! You’ve fallen for Cameron’s con trick. If elected, he will get repatriated a few trivial matters and claim a magnificent victory. He will then campaign vigorously with Milliband and Clegg to present an eloquent, but specious, case for remaining in Europe. Because the whole “establishment class” will rally round them, they will win the referendum. That’s it for at least two decades! There is only one course of action and that is to vote UKIP at every opportunity to frighten the lives out of MPs and cause them to become more Eurosceptic. It’s worked well thus far, but don’t throw all the good work away by falling for Cameron’s very clever plot.

  8. Ken Hall
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for wanting to listen to our views Mr Redwood. Please feel free to reply to my email address on the following questions which seek clarification of the Conservative Party’s position.

    As a long-term conservative who is in favour of withdrawal from the EU in it’s current form, but interested in seeing what could potentially be re-negotiated, I need to know the answer to the following:

    So what would happen in the unlikely event that:
    (A) Cameron wins a general election in 2015 then
    (B) renegotiates our position in the EU then
    (C) we have a referendum on that position in 2017 and then
    (D) We vote “IN” and then
    (E) our renegotiated position in a new treaty is then vetoed by other EU member states?

    It took 10 years for the Constitutional Treaty to become finally ratified as the Lisbon Reform Treaty and this next Treaty will be a LOT more contentious than that one.

    There is no way in hell that Cameron can renegotiate a new treaty in which we will get our demands met AND have it ratified by all 26 other EU member state’s governments by the time of a referendum in 2017. That is OBVIOUS. To even pretend to suggest otherwise is to treat the British electorate with contempt and treat us like fools.

    So will he delay the referendum indefinitely until his renegotiation is ratified into a treaty by all other member states?

    Or will we have a referendum on a renegotiated position which could still be vetoed by these other states? In which case the ONLY safe vote would be for “OUT”.

    Or IF his negotiation fails entirely? What then? Will he support withdrawal? Or is all this a big cynical trap to keep us all IN a Federal EU? Claiming that after we vote in, and after our renegotiated position is then vetoed by another member state, that we will be stuck in, with EUrophiles claiming that we voted to stay in, so we are going to stay in, no matter what!

    We need the answers to those serious and pertinent questions before the next election. My decision as to vote Conservative or UKIP will depend upon it.

    • rd
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      Ken you raise something I have myself considered and that is suppose Mr Cameron gets all he wants from the Europeans – or at least says he has got all he wants. That may well be not all that the British people want… but let’s say hypothetically that we say “ok” to Cameron’s renegotiated relationship. What stops subsequent EU treaties over -ruling or going around our opt outs? This has happened before and you can be sure they will try to subvert any deal Cameron is ready to make later – probably starting the next day. They lost the Constitution and brought it back as Lisbon… No matter what they agree with our Prime Minister in any negotiations do you seriously trust them not to try to over rule later?

      For myself I do not have that faith and remain firmly in the UKIP camp but of course you must decide for yourself.
      Reply Any future Treaty transferring powers would need to be agreed by the UK government and approved by the voters in a referendum.

      • Jon Burgess
        Posted January 23, 2013 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

        But if we rejected it in a referendum ,like Ireland Denmark and France before us, we would be asked to vote again until we gave the right answer.
        From what I can see there are not many in the EU that seem to want to negotiate with ReferenDave.

      • Ken Adams
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        Mr Redwood; I think you overstate the value of “Any future Treaty transferring powers would need to be agreed by the UK government and approved by the voters in a referendum.” as there is no automatic trigger. The worry is a real one as the EU has shown it is adept at getting around blockages and of course a lot would depend on the party in power at any given time, so it is a very valid question, how would we ensure that Mr Cameron’s settlement is future proofed.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      As for your (E), if the governments of all the other EU member states had signed the new treaty so that it could be put a UK referendum then it’s very unlikely (although not impossible) that any of them would change their mind afterwards, but maybe it would also have to be approved by referendum in one or more of the other EU member states, despite all efforts to avoid that, and in that case there’d be a chance that it could get scuppered.

  9. paul
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    The problem is that this referendum will be almost 5 years away and has a caveat on a Tory majority with Dave being at the helm….they say 1 week is a long time in politics, well 5 years with such a caveat is the never-never.

    I was too inexperienced when Thatcher gave her “No, no no” speech…..only now do I fully understand her conviction and good sense, and that of her protégés in the early/mid 90’s.

    Whilst Camerons position is infinitely preferable to that of Millibands, it is still too little, too late to those people living in towns facing wave upon wave of East europeans competing for employment and public services.

    Romania/Bulgaria open the gates next, it will not be pretty and I suspect UKIP will gain significant traction in forthcoming elections of ’14/’15

    • Deborah
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      I agree with Paul.

  10. Sue Doughty
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    If this goes through and we vote to come out he has to close down UKIP (according to its own articles of association), all its debt become due for immediate settlement and Farage loses his job.
    He is grinning like an idiot about that prospect

    • Mark W
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think Farage is personally ambitious, he is ambitious for his aims. At the next election only UKIP offer withdrawal per se. So this changes nothing for me. It sounded nice but it won’t happen. We are in a minority of one.

  11. Iain Gill
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    I think he has missed the mood of the country. The decent majority are fedup with immigration and the lack of substance from the political class regarding what exactly we are going to do about it. The decent majority are fedup with the “aid” budget being protected while cuts are made at home. The decent majority are more bothered about lack of democracy for England within the UK. The decent majority are fed up with multinationals earning money here but paying tax on it in tax havens. Europe is not the dominant issue for the decent voters and is not the only reason UKIP are gaining ground. Cameron is unlikley to win the next election and is not up to the job.

    • Terry
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      What the so-called ‘majority’ seem to forget then, is that the root cause of most all of the problems you have listed emanate from the EU and EU directives.

      • Mark W
        Posted January 23, 2013 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

        Exactly! Farage was on fire on question time in the former labour seat of Lincoln and the audience swung behind the lady from Boston who spoke out about the massive immigration levels in the town that privileged lefties like Prof Beard from relatively nearby Cambridge arrogantly ignored.

        The pathetic smear of racial prejudice to neuter debate on immigration is receding a little but the problem of the EU being the main problem is not linked. I hope the Romanians and Bulgarians go to Islington, Notting Hill, Hampstead and Cambridge. See how the rich lefties like seeing poor immigrant families living three families to a small terrace house and working at slave labour wages. But it won’t happen and no one will take a day trip to Boston to see for themselves either.

        • Mark W
          Posted January 23, 2013 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

          I better clarify. I obviously think the EU is the problem, but the link is not widely understood or reported.

  12. ralphmalph
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    I am a better of outer and I want to say that I am someone who has run business operations around the world including Frankfurt and Milan.

    I support the Prime Ministers speech this morning because the EU is fundamentally not working and he is right to highlight the social spending, the loss of competitiveness and the high unemployment (still rising).

    Having said that the after the Lisbon referendum cast iron guarantee climb down, I do think he has a trust issue here, especially with a promise in 2017.

    So I think that instead of just drawing up the legislation for the referendum in 2017 I would recommend that he actually tries to get this legislation passed this government. If he succeeds then the trust issue is overcome and if it fails the whole country will no that Labour and the lib dems killed it.

    Having said that I fully understand the election campaign will be vote Tory get a referendum so it is a bit six of one and half a dozen of the other.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      Basically Cameron is trying to SELL us a referendum which we could demand and get as of right if we had a citizens’ initiative system like that in Switzerland, his price being our votes for his party’s candidates at the next election.

      He could get Hague to introduce a Bill for a referendum before the election, and dare the Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs to vote it down, but if that succeeded he would have given us the referendum free and would no longer be able to sell it to us, and obviously he doesn’t want that.

      It’s tawdry, disgusting and anti-democratic.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

      The EU is working, and it is working the way in which it was intended. To replace Nation States’ with a Supra-National State.

      If that is you goal, then fine. But we have been told that it is all about trade. It is NOT.

      If you just want trade, then you can easily access the Single/Internal Market via other routes. You do not need to hand over large swaths of your sovereignty to do that.

      • Mike Stallard
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 7:38 am | Permalink

        This is totally right (Christopher Booker and Richard North proved this years ago).

      • Dr Dan Holdsworth
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

        No, the EU is not functioning as designed. The initial design was set up to trade debt forgiveness for ceding sovereignty to the EU, and failed as soon as modern methods of commoditising debt were developed. The EU regionalisation plan was similarly designed to erode each nation’s internal structures in favour of the EU ones; this again failed (not least due to our entrusting John Prescott with the implementation of it, whose heroism-by-incompetence really deserves to be officially recognised).

        EU leaders quite often have a rabbit-in-the-headlights sort of look when confronted with EU-derived problems. This is entirely sincere; they really don’t have a clue what to do or how to fix things, and really only ever put problems off for a little bit longer each time.

        Cameron’s negotiation of return of powers will mostly fail, partly because the man’s a fool, but mostly because the EU politicians have far, far bigger things to worry about. The EU stands on the brink of disaster, and its leadership haven’t got the faintest idea what to do to get out of this predicament. Cameron standing about burbling at them doesn’t stand a chance when compared to a real and present danger.

  13. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Firstly, of course, we have no idea whether Cameron will be Prime Minister in 2017, although this grubby little manoeuvre is clearly intended to increase the chances of that happening and indeed that is its main purpose.

    Secondly, we know that a promise from Cameron is worthless, and remains worthless even if it is put into a Tory election manifesto.

    Thirdly, if he does get re-elected and he does then attempt a “renegotiation” and he does then hold a referendum, there is the great danger that it would be a re-run of the 1975 referendum and with the same outcome.

    Fourthly, what will be happening in the EU over the coming years while we are being denied a referendum?

    The UK government apparently thinks that it is in UK interests to stand aside and not only allow but encourage the eurozone to be turned into a federation, which under the present EU treaties is then legally required to expand from the present 17 to (N – 2) countries where N is the number of EU member states, N set to rise from the present 27 and possibly approach 40, and only the UK and Denmark having an “opt-out” from ever having to join the euro; and where will that leave the UK in the longer term?

    Fifthly, why does Cameron refuse to ask us the fundamental question of whether we wish to continue further with the process of “ever closer union” mandated by the present EU treaties, and ask us that now before there are any more negotiations on possible treaty changes for whatever purpose?

    There is really nothing here for those who believe in British national sovereignty and democracy, only for the eurofederalists.

    • Peter van Leeuwen
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      @Denis Cooper:
      Ad 4th ) – Britain IS standing aside the eurozone, so how could it act otherwise than as a spanner in the works, which, I’m sure would backfire on Britain. You shouldn’t wish for that.
      Ad 5th ) As I once did to you Cameron pinted out that this is about the “peoples” of Europe, not necessarily the countries of Europe, and therefore a different interpretation can be put forward.

      Britain is much valued by a number of EU countries for its efforts to complete the Single Market and as a sometimes partner in foreign affairs. That value can be used in discussions. (The UK cannot threaten to leave Schengen, leave the eurozone or stop with judicial cooperation, so it can only bring limited negotiation small change to the table)

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

        The UK government could and should act in the long term interests of the UK, which are certainly not being served by the idiotic policy of helping to preserve the present eurozone intact so that it can later expand until eventually it also engulfs the UK.

        The process of “ever closer union of the peoples of Europe” mandated by the EU treaties is necessarily promoted through the deliberate actions of the governments of the member states which are parties to those treaties; if it wasn’t then it would just be a natural, and much slower, process, which is not what is required for the purposes of federation foreseen in the 1950 Schuman Declaration as we discussed recently.

        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:33 am | Permalink

          @Denis Cooper: Oops, your first paragraph does puts you on a direct collission course with the eurozone, an admitted political project to counter a German re-unification, but also a great future single currency market for the UK for which it didn’t have to pay any bail-outs. How ungrateful ! 🙂

          Concerning your second paragraph, although Schuman was a federalist, the future construction of the hybrid EU is not determined, it may also become more of a confederation, or, my personal prediction, a very complex hybrid (intergovernmental – supranational) with a variety of relationships accomodating a variety of member needs. The core (eurozone) will be strong, but even inside it there will be variety – as the recent FTT opt-in initiative illustrates.
          It is a major reason for me to welcome the debate which Cameron will promote within the EU, even though ther are urgent euro-issues to resolve. I’m sure that the Dutch will (mis)use Cameron to score their own results within the EU construct, although in the end they will always side with Germany and France. Look on a map at Rotterdam and its rivers for a clou. (I just hear that the UK is very important for Dutch export, so do keep sending your containers via Rotterdam!)

    • sjb
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

      @Denis Cooper
      I am intrigued by the legislation, a draft of which Cameron promised would be produced “before the next election.” [1]

      In particular, in the event of a ‘No’ majority vote, will the legislation have provisions that are automatically triggered to commence the withdrawal process or, perhaps more likely, will the referendum only have advisory status?


      • Dr Dan Holdsworth
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

        The legislation is worthless; no British parliament can bind any future parliament in any way. Ditto the manifesto promise; the Labour party have already admitted that manifesto promises are aspirations rather than cast-iron promises, and I doubt that the Tory manifesto will be any less tenuous.

        Basically all we’ve heard is Cameron stand up and babble for quarter of an hour, and furnish us with a set of completely unreliable promises. We know we cannot trust him; we can’t trust ANY politician to do any act at all, and can judge the soundness of their word only retrospectively. I’ll believe him after I see the referendum bill passed, and not before.

        • sjb
          Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

          Fast-forward to 2015. The draft legislation is bound to come under scrutiny during the general election campaign.

          If the referendum is advisory then a majority ‘No’ vote might not be enough; for example, if the turnout was very low then Parliament might decide this was insufficient for such a major constitutional change.

          The Scots voted for a devolved assembly in a 1979 referendum but a simple majority was not enough; it had to gain the support of at least 40% of the electorate.

  14. Liz
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    A good speech – which David Cameron nearly always delivers – whether he can deliver any concrete EU renegotiation is another matter – we shall have to wait and see! One good thing is that Labour’s & LibDem’s responses were very poor and did not reflect the public’s opinions – only their own personal ones.

  15. Sean O'Hare
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    It is your reaction we would like to have JR.

  16. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    From a Dutch europhile perspective this wasn’t a bad speech for me. It was difficult to find anything I would already now strongly disagree with. I hope that Cameron will be granted a bit of wiggle room by EU partners, so that there is something he can take back to present as a “victory”. Most likely the only instrument for repatriation will be re-interpretation of the subsidiarity principle, so that it will result in repatriation to all EU members. More opt-outs just for the UK will not be so easy, if at all possible. The Netherlands is partner to Britain for completion of the Single Market, so is Germany I believe. Still I would advise (unsolliciteledly) to already start studying possibilities for an EEA-plus alternative, as I’m not so sure, that Cameron would win his referendum in 2018 .I think he will always campaign for “in” rather than present a negotiation result as a failure – thus deserving an “out”. A Single Market Council can even be formed between an EEA-UK and the EU (giving the UK an equal status to the EU might please some British patriots), but of course it could only advise or operate on the basis of unanimity. More involvement of national parliaments is another item on which Cameron would find the Netherlands on his side.
    However, all this will take second stage to the matters of getting the eurozone right and the further integration measures within the eurozone. If Britain were to leave the EU this might be at a time that there already will be a US-EU free trade treaty, which will in trade terms compensate some of the regret of a leaving Britain for the Netherlands.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      You wrote: ‘I hope that Cameron will be granted a bit of wiggle room by EU partners, so that there is something he can take back to present as a “victory”.’
      Don’t worry that is all part of the plan, just as it was in 1975 when the self-same trick was played on the British people. Cameron has no intention of allowing the UK to leave the EU. The pro-EU propaganda machines are already in action and will turn up the volume in 2015.

    • peter davies
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      One of the most sensible things you have said on this blog.

      There is no real reason in my opinion to have an EU going down the current road and an EEA which only deals with shaping rules and laws in the ‘Common’ or ‘Single’ market and does not overlap into domestic social policy of any kind.

      All we need is free trade without all the other stuff, no more no less.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      So you would support a fundamental change to the EU treaties to remove the commitment to a process of “ever closer union”?

      “We understand and respect the right of others to maintain their commitment to this goal. But for Britain – and perhaps for others – it is not the objective.

      And we would be much more comfortable if the Treaty specifically said so freeing those who want to go further, faster, to do so, without being held back by the others.”

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:41 am | Permalink

        @Denis Cooper: “Removing”is cumbersome, re-interpretation could, in my view, be done without treaty change. I heard this re-interpretation suggested in Cameron’s speech! The Dutch VVD (not my party but the largest) also wants some repatriation of powers, although it expresses this differntly: “let the EU concentrate on the most important tasks and bring other competences back to the national level, using the subsidiarity principle much more”). NB VVD is coalition partner, it doesn’t dictate govt policy). For the rest I already wrote that in my reaction to your post before reading this reaction of yours.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted January 24, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

          Removal would be “cumbersome”?

          No, removal would be simple, as would replacement by a clear statement that all member states are fully sovereign states and intend to remain so forever, and are making this treaty only for limited and strictly necessary purposes of co-operation, not in order to gradually merge themselves into a new country; and that would be far more reliable than further attempts to get “re-interpretation”.

          We’ve already been through that and we know that it doesn’t work, see my comment on the next thread.

          This is what Cameron actually said:

          “We understand and respect the right of others to maintain their commitment to this goal. But for Britain – and perhaps for others – it is not the objective.”

          Do you get that?

          “But for Britain … it is not the objective”; it may be for you and for other eurofederalists, but even our suspected closet eurofederalist Prime Minister has now publicly declared that it is not for Britain, whether or not he really believes that.

          “And we would be much more comfortable if the Treaty specifically said so freeing those who want to go further, faster, to do so, without being held back by the others.”

          So now he should follow through on that, and get the commitment removed from the EU treaties.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted January 24, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper: Yes I get it ( But for Britain – and perhaps for others – ) means he realises that he’ll most likely be in a minority of 1 or 2 like in December 2011.
            The part that triggered me was: “. . . “lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe”. This has been consistently interpreted as applying not to the peoples but rather to the states . . . ” which already suggests the possibility of re-interpretation.

            Any treaty change is cumbersome

            Your alternative is so totally unrealistic that you might as weel start yesterday forming your own club (like the UK in 1960 formed EFTA in response / competition with the then EEC).

            Without a realistic scope and realistic advisors Cameron’s attempt would be a non-starter.

            Reply Mr Cameron assumes there will be a new Treaty to accommodate the impulse to greater union in Euroland, so why not change other things at the same time for non Euro memebrs?

    • oldtimer
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      I suspect that re-interpretation of the subsidiarity principle may well be the method tried because this could be said to apply to all members and not be termed “cherry picking”. It might even appeal to some other EU members. It could also provide a way to sidestep the implications of qmv – which is a fundamental issue.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        @oldtimer: the subsidiarity principle could be used to weaken existing centralization. We also see the emergence of a kind of opt-in (examples – EU patent and financial transaction tax). That said, some new centralization will become necessary for certain aspects in the eurozone. But you aren’t part of that.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

        Well, you can see my comment about that on the next thread.

  17. Paul Margetts
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:40 pm | Permalink


    Who? What? When? Where?

    As vague as ever.

  18. A.Sedgwick
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    It is ridiculous to suggest a referendum in four years – what planet is Cameron living on.

    Two elections in the meantime will give more opportunity for UKIP to flourish, he is really to UKIP what Gordon Brown was to the Conservatives in 2010.

    The chances of his being in power in 2017 are very low, especially with the Libdems reneging on boundary changes.

    We do not know what is on the agenda for renegotiation.

    The EU will probably change dramatically by 2017 and our requirements will not be high on their collective agenda.

    This speech is a classic Cameron wishy washy approach and the long date removes any merit in his argument.

    His credibility with many remaining and more likely ex Conservative voters will not recover without a straight in/out referendum before 2015. Such a date will concentrate his mind on the agenda and those of the EU power brokers. He may, as a committed Europhile, produce a winning package. It seems that only genuine Eurosceptics want a referendum, when the chances of an out vote, especially when the vested interest and scare money starts the real propaganda, are very tight at best. So why are the Europhiles so nervous of a referendum? Maybe, just maybe, they are frightened the electorate will see the EU as a House of Cards.

  19. Tad Davison
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    The EU wants Britain to remain a full member. They want us to keep paying to prop up their waste, misappropriation, and profligacy. We can’t do that whilst we remain constrained by the restrictive rules of their making, so the two positions are incompatible.

    Mr Cameron also wants Britain to remain a member, but on different terms. Presumably ones which will make our industries more competitive globally, but again, that is at odds with those in Europe who wish to see businesses shackled..

    The EU itself needs to change in order to be competitive globally and dig itself out of the mess it created, but it appears from what it’s politicians are saying, they are reluctant to do so. They wish to continue with policies that are a hindrance to growth and prosperity. So the British government has much work to do if it is to change the rest of Europe. History suggests to me, it is an impossible task, which leaves Britain’s exit as the only real alternative.

    For 39 of our 40 years of membership, Britain has paid in more than we got out. It has been an expensive lesson, convincing the political classes that joining was the wrong thing to do in the first place, but maybe the penny has finally dropped.

    If the EU has proven anything at all, it is that liberal socialism doesn’t work, however much its proponents might wish otherwise. Britain can have no truck with a failed doctrine, or a wasteful regime that promises peace and prosperity, but delivers just the opposite.

    For me, we need to get out post haste, not years down the line. I don’t trust David Cameron any more than any other Westminster party leader to do the right thing and deliver. My own MP, the Lib Dem Julian Huppert, says now is not the time, yet the slithery Mr Huppert won’t tell us when would be a good time.

    I haven’t yet seen or heard anything to make me return to the Conservative fold, and the Prime Minister needs to do much more to win me over. I grow weary of platitudes and long for decisive action. Britain demands it.

    Tad Davison


    • zorro
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      ‘Mr Cameron also wants Britain to remain a member, but on different terms.’….That’s what he likes to say, but what do Cast Elastic’s actions in government and that of his government machinery actually tell us in practice….I think that he is quite comfortable with the EU reality and is happily complying with its wishes enthusiastically (e.g. gay marriage). The only thing which has pushed him to do this is the progress in opinion polls being made by UKIP and grassroots defections…….and, of course, Tory MPs bending his ears about their weak majorities.


  20. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    There is one point in Cameron’s speech where he questions the process of “ever closer union”, and at least ostensibly he suggests that the EU treaties should be changed to remove that solemn commitment.

    However his analysis, merely that it is being applied to states and institutions rather than to peoples, is spurious.

    And his argument for removing it from the EU treaties is equally spurious – not so much to free some countries from having to accept “ever closer union” if they no longer want any more of it, but to allow other countries to go ahead further and faster, which in some cases they can already do anyway under the existing treaty provisions on “enhanced co-operation”.

    So I find it very difficult to believe that he actually means it, and is not just saying it to deflect criticism from some quarters.

    If he does mean it, and if he seriously intends to follow up on it rather than leaving it as a throwaway line in a long and wordy speech, why doesn’t he ask the British people whether they agree with him that their country should withdraw from its present EU treaty commitment to this unremitting, unlimited and largely uncontrollable process of “ever closer union”, and why doesn’t he ask them that question now?

    Anyway, this is the relevant passage in his speech:

    “Let me make a further heretical proposition.

    The European Treaty commits the Member States to “lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe”.

    This has been consistently interpreted as applying not to the peoples but rather to the states and institutions compounded by a European Court of Justice that has consistently supported greater centralisation.

    We understand and respect the right of others to maintain their commitment to this goal. But for Britain – and perhaps for others – it is not the objective.

    And we would be much more comfortable if the Treaty specifically said so freeing those who want to go further, faster, to do so, without being held back by the others.”

    • zorro
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      There is not a cat in hell’s of that being changed or being removed from any EU treaty. I would say that he is living in cloud cuckoo land except that he appears to have an aversion to cuckoo clocks or talk of the UK being a Greater Switzerland…..


    • Peter van Leeuwen
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      @Denis Cooper: with a re-interpretation, i.e. from stated back to peoples (which can point to culture, sport and many other things) you’d have deflection rather than scrapping or replacing with a Cameron or Cooper text. The latter would be unrealistic, deflection might still work.
      If you cannot beat them (EU fudge makers) join them. Leave principled lawyers at home when you’re dealing with political testing of the water

  21. Julian
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    If the Conservatives win an overall majority – a big if. But it has provoked a positive response from Merkel.

  22. Normandee
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    So where do we start ?,
    1. is it a credible promise ? if he convinces enough strays to come back into the fold and gets re-elected, what then ? will the promise remain the same ?Can he get back into a government without a coalition, Clegg says he will not go into coalition with a party that promises a referendum.
    2. is renegotiation even possible ? many in Europe are saying no. In which case the only way is to go to clause 50, come out and renegotiate a re-entry if we want.
    3There will be further questions when we see the reaction of the labour party, will they offer the same?, and will their offer be any more trustworthy?

  23. Alan Wheatley
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Having watched the whole of David Cameron’s speech live on Sky News my considered assessment is as follows.

    A convincing case was made as to why the EU is unacceptable to the British. It was argued that the EU is currently not homogeneous and that events are forcing further changes, and that it is therefore reasonable and realistic for the UK to negotiate a new form of EU Membership much more to its liking.

    Further, the issue was said to be so significant and of concern that the British people would be given the chance to vote in a referendum: YES to stay in the EU on the new terms or NO to leave. A firm commitment was given to hold the referendum in the first half of the next parliament. This clarity is welcome.

    Cameron emphasised that he took a very positive view as to the practicality of being able to fulfil his objective, but was unforthcoming as to a plan to bring it about other than “negotiation” – but that is what politicians do all the time. So, in reality no more than a statement of aspiration.

    Cameron made a strong argument in favour of the UK remaining in the EU on the basis that this would be best for the UK, and also good for the EU. Completely absent was an appraisal of how the reformed, multi-faceted EU he wishes could function as a viable, coherent organisation.

    As to alternatives to EU membership, while conceding that the UK could manage outside the EU the only vision he had was of a country still focused on Europe. No mention of, say, the Commonwealth, nor of any UK future with a World vision.

    So when it came to the question of how he would vote in the referendum in the event that the best the negotiations had achieved felt far short of the objectives he had set out at the beginning of his speech, the best the could do was not answer question. And when Nick Robinson put the question to him again, pointing that a repeat of his first non-answer would be seen as undermining his whole strategy, he again avoided an answer.

    Well, what to make of Cameron’s 50 minutes on the EU? Three fundamental points were made: (1) the UK should stay in the EU; (2) the current form of EU Membership is unacceptable to the UK; (3) we want a form of Membership that is acceptable to the UK. 1 and 2 are obviously incompatible. 3 looks improbable, likely impossible.

    So even if we do get a referendum it seems likely a Cameron led government will argue for YES, irrespective of the terms. I think the reason Cameron thinks IN the EU is the only future is because he is a Eurofile (by conviction or misjudgement) and because he has not even attempted to seriously consider the alternatives. It is not possible to pronounce on what is best until you have identified and evaluated all that is possible.

    • zorro
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, Nick Robinson exposed his flannel for what it really is….


    • oldtimer
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      A very good summary. I thought the first two thirds or so of the speech were very clear. It seemed to me that he then turned to jelly in the last third, effectively surrendering his negotiating position.

      Nevertheless, politically, it will have some impact on shoring up his position in the Conservative party, on UKIP, on creating a dividing line vs Labour in the next general election and in shifting the terms of the debate within the EU (and for EZ members it is an unwelcome distraction).

      Whatever one feels or believes about Cameron`s motives (I remain highly suspicious) the fact is the terms of political trade have altered and for the better. I welcome that.

  24. Alan Wheatley
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Cameron did not get off to a convincing start as he chose to reiterate the fallacy that peace in Europe after 1945 has been because of the EU!

    • uanime5
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      What do you feel has been the main reason for peace in Europe, given that the ECSC (predecessor to the EU) was set up to prevent wars in Europe.

      • Mark W
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 7:26 am | Permalink

        Cold War, Warsaw Pact and NATO, more recently economics

      • Alan Wheatley
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:24 am | Permalink

        By the time the european nations involved in WW2 had recovered to the point where they might have been in a position to consider a new military conflict, all thoughts were well and truly focused on the threat posed by the Soviet Union. Further, Germany was now in two parts.

        But my point, which you are not addressing, is the validity of the claim made on behalf of the EU (and in its preceding forms) for achieving peace in Europe.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 9:25 am | Permalink

        Unanime5–The Germans have been truly chastened by what they allowed to happen and the number of years that have passed since 1945 has not been nearly large enough for them to begin to get over their shame. Who else was likely to have wanted to wage wage war in Europe since then? Besides, ever heard of NATO? You do say some funny things.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Permalink
    • Sidney Falco
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      He didn’t. He specifically mentioned NATO.

      • Alan Wheatley
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:16 am | Permalink

        He did.

        Mentioning NATO does not justify the claim made for the the EU.

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      Indeed the usual cobblers.

    • Jon
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

      He had a lot of different audiences. He also had to sell to the different audiences. For example Europhiles like to insult the intelligence of anyone who questions the EU. That doesn’t sell their idea effectively or do their cause any good. I viewed that early comment from Cameron as patronising the europhiles but I am very confident it would have been taken as a compliment by the europhiles. After all how many people thought the Nobel prize was an intelligent one?

      • Jon
        Posted January 23, 2013 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

        I mean when the Nobel prize was announced what do you really believe would have been his reaction privately? Now take that and listen to that passage again. He is selling and good on him for doing it.

        • Alan Wheatley
          Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:25 am | Permalink

          Making false claims is not good in any circumstances.

          • Jon
            Posted January 24, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

            Agreed but is politics different? Had the Conservatives carried on telling the truth about the economy they would have lost the slim majority they did get. The voters came back when they said it wasn’t all that bad.

  25. Ben Kelly
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    This speech had elements of Flashman the bully in it. “Give me what I want or I will take my ball away”

    A real statesman would have outlined his vision for Europe, had the negotiations behind the scenes (a visionary would have embarked upon the negations already) and had the referendum legislation ready to be passed on May 8 2015 not the renegotiation legislation.

    At present too many policies are about party politics and not enough about what is truly good for the UK.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      He did come across as a member of the sixth form debating society rather than someone who has been out in the real world and done stuff.

    • A different Simon
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      Ben ,

      Good point about outlining his vision in public .

      He’d probably have found that almost the entire electorate of Europe would have preferred it to what they have now or where they are heading .

      It’s time the Europhiles were honest with the electorates of every country and admitted that the plan is , as it has always been , for the establishment of a new country called the united states of europe and for the individual countries we have now to cease to exist .

  26. Old Albion
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    A totally false promise designed to see off UKIP.
    The EU will not allow cherry picking of it’s rules/laws/directives and un-democratic governence of the (dis)United Kingdom.
    Cameron and the Conservatives will be in opposition by 2015. And of course Red Ed loves the EU.
    An in/out referendum is needed now. But Cameron knows we would vote to leave. So he won’t be offering that.
    Yet another case of politicians putting their career before the interests of the (dis)United Kingdom.

    Reply: Mr Cameron cannot get an In/Out referendum through this Parliament – indeed the Lib dems would block him using governemnt facilities to propose one.

    • Old Albion
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Then he should go to the country, pledging an in/out referendum if the Conservatives are put back in power.

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 23, 2013 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

        Exactly – we only have the coalition thank to his incompetence.

    • cosmic
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      Reply: Mr Cameron cannot get an In/Out referendum through this Parliament – indeed the Lib dems would block him using governemnt facilities to propose one.

      Yes, but his credit’s no good, he’s got to pay in cash, in advance.

      He’s in a difficult position, trying to maintain his balance with waffle.

      If he tried to get an in/out referendum through, it would at least show willing, but he won’t.

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 23, 2013 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

        His credit is indeed worthless.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply: I think he would have won an outright majority had he offered an In/Out referendum in the last general election manifesto. The Lib dems wouldn’t have come into it had it been the case.

      • Christopher Ekstrom
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 5:47 am | Permalink

        JR is in Never-Never Land with his claim that Conservative MP’s swayed Cast Iron. It is increasingly apparent that Cast Iron & Co. regard JR as expendable. The UKIP movement is not “power mad” (Heseltine) or main chancers (davey-boy) or blindly loyal old “Tory” has-beens (JR). If England has a future it’s one lead by UKIP.

    • Roger Farmer
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      But quite bizarrely he can take us to war without the say so of Parliament. Find a mechanism to bring about a referendum.

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

      How would the LibDems block him using government facilities to propose one?

      He is Prime Minister, Hague is Foreign Secretary, how could the LibDems prevent Hague introducing a Bill for a referendum?

      Lock him in a room somewhere?

      Reply: The civil service refuse to work for any Minister who does not have Coalition clearance for a proposal.

      • Christopher Ekstrom
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 5:51 am | Permalink

        So the UK has no real government? Then HM should dissolve this preposterous abortion in defense of the Realm!

      • Roger Farmer
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:29 am | Permalink

        They are a service ,not an executive. Any civil servant refusing a legal order from a minister should be shown the door. Who the hell do they think they are.

      • colliemum
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:04 am | Permalink

        Replying to the replay: “Reply: The civil service refuse to work for any Minister who does not have Coalition clearance for a proposal.”

        Who governs Britain – Whitehall or Parliament?

        If this is the case – and I do accept what you say, John – then Cameron would have done better to let the coalition break up if the LibDems cannot support an In/Out referendum, in spite of having had it in their manifesto, previously.
        He should immediately call for a GE and make an In/Out referendum the main plank of that platform, even if it’s in the wishy-washy form he proposed in his speech.
        With both Clegg and Miliband on record as not wanting a referendum, the Tories might even win a majority …

        I’m sorry, but Cameron does not seem to be very astute when it comes to political strategies.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        So when Cameron said in his speech:

        “Legislation will be drafted before the next election.”

        who will do that drafting if Clegg refuses to allow it and civil servants refuse to do it?

        Will the Tory party hire outside lawyers to do it?

        I put it to you that where there is a will there is usually a way, and if it will be possible for the necessary legislation to be drafted before the next election while the coalition is still in power then it should also be possible for Hague to have it drafted now, so that he could introduce the Bill and dare the MPs of other parties to vote it down.

        Reply: Yes, private sector drafting is an option we might have to use. There is always the optiof of a backbench MP introducing a Bill into the House, but if we are sure Lib Dems and Labour and Nats will all vote against we can also be sure we will lose!
        We have been in active discussion about what Conservative Ministers can and cannot do in government where the Lib Dems are seeking to block them. The Coalition agreement and the civil service support for it implied that only things that got through the Quad as government policy attract civil service support.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted January 24, 2013 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

          “if we are sure Lib Dems and Labour and Nats will all vote against”

          Well, there’s only one way to find out and that’s to do it and dare them to vote against it in defiance of public opinion.

          Make it a referendum on the fundamental question of whether we want to continue further with the process of “ever closer union” mandated by the present EU treaties; as Cameron has now said that he’d like that commitment to be removed from the EU treaties I don’t see how he could object to the voters being asked for their views on the matter.

      • APL
        Posted January 27, 2013 at 9:36 am | Permalink

        JR: “The civil service refuse to work for any Minister who does not have Coalition clearance for a proposal.”


        I have to say I am gobsmacked at that reply. There is no doubt that David Cameron is prime minister nor that Hague is foreign secretary, yet the civil service refuse to work for them because, presumably the civil service disagrees with the thrust of policy!

        Several top people in the civil service need to be fired.

        It’s rather like saying that the civil service refused to take instruction from Margaret Thatcher because she was always at loggerheads with the ‘wets’ in her cabinet!

    • zorro
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply – You say that the Lib Dems can block him from proposing or arranging a referendum….. Does he legally have to get the approval of Parliament to hold a referendum on this issue?


    • Mark W
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

      As the LibDems reneged on boundaries, Cameron should push a bill now for a referendum in this parliament. Wouldn’t Austin Mitchell and Dennis Skinner walk through your lobby? If Cameron made it a confidence issue then stuff the LibDems and the five year parliament. Go to the country now and smash the LibDems once and for all.

      • Christopher Ekstrom
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 5:55 am | Permalink

        Right. Smashing the collection of political weirdos would be one thing with which to credit davey for…but of course he won’t. Really it’s clear that Cast Iron is a Lib-Dem cross-dressing as a “conservative”.

  27. Peter Pennington Leg
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    The cynical inducement to keep supporting the Conservatives will work as neither a bribe nor comfort. Having been fooled in 1975, and frequently since, many of those seeking a political party willing to consider leaving the political union that is the EU will not be fooled again by so nefarious a promise. The speech was clever but pious in that it glosses over the preconditions that (a) those still on the ever closer union voyage are able and willing to “renegotiate” bespoke forms of derogation, (b) that the Conservatives achieve and retain a working majority after the next election and (c) the existence meaning and effect of the referendum in 5 years time on the outcome does what we currently hope it says on the tin which Mr Cameron tantilisingly dangles before us. I doubt it and sadly believe the hemorrhaging of belief in his leadership and the support of the Tory core voters will continue unabated by this consummately political and blithly contrived speech. Politicians can promise the electorate the stars and the moon when they own neither.

    • Winston Smith
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      Very well articulated. I completely agree. Its a cynical political ploy from an unprincipled, ‘placeman’ PM.

  28. Alan Wheatley
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    In PMQs, Milliband asked Cameron if he would guarantee to vote YES come the promised referendum. The reply was “YES”, followed by an elaboration that seemed to say I am not going to give you an answer that question. Miliband thought he had not got an answer, so asked the same question again and got “YES” plus conflicting elaboration again.

    So are we any the wiser? What is the point of PMQs? Does anyone know? Does anyone care?

    Were Member in the Chamber cheering the rely they wanted to hear rather than what was actually said?

    Reply: Mr Cameron said he thought he could negotiate a looser flexible EU for the UK and would vote Yes to that. Clearly he would have to vote No if that proved impossible to obtain.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      John, Do you really expect us to believe that Cameron would say he had failed and recommend leaving the EU? That is just not credible.

    • Normandee
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      “Clearly” ??? this is Cameron we are talking about

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      Re reply:

      I understand what you say but it is not what he said.

      The question Miliband put to him was “do you guarantee to vote yes in the referendum?”. The question was put twice. The first word of the answer both times was “yes”.

      This was memorable because it was so unexpected. If he miss-spoke, as might well be the case in such a circumstance, then I suggest a correction is needed.

      The question was NOT “do you guarantee to vote yes if you get what you want?”.

      I took it the point of Miliband’s question was to put Cameron on the spot over the difficult question of what he would do if he did not get what he wants. I do not recall the word “no” ever passing his lips.

      He said Yes with clear modifications that he expected to get what he wants in the renegotiaiton. As PM he does not wish to speculate on failing to conduct a successful negotiation for obvious reasons.

      • Alan Wheatley
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:47 am | Permalink

        Re reply:

        So we have what was said and we have what was meant to be said. I do not dispute your explanation of the intended meaning. But that brings us to the other aspect of my post – the merit of PMQs.

        I occasionally find time to watch a debate in the House or the proceedings of a Committee, and usually I am impressed with much of what is said, both in content and form. I do not necessarily agree, but that is not the issues.

        PMQs are a stark contrast, where much of the content and form are unimpressive and achieve nothing. I do not object to MPs having some knock-about fun on occasion, but PMQs gets treated as THE Parliamentary event of the week.

        Questions to the Prime Minister is a worthy element of Parliament, but I suggest it would more meritorious if it was reformed as “Back Bench questions to the Prime Minister. Back benchers do ask sensible and relevant questions, and the opposition front bench has plenty of other opportunities to get its message across.

    • Roger Farmer
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      Well he had better get it all wrapped up before the general election in 2015 or he and the conservative party are history. Nobody trusts him which will result in abstentions and votes to UKIP.

      • lifelogic
        Posted January 23, 2013 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

        Indeed trust is all and he inspires none.

    • zorro
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply…..’Clearly he would have to vote No if that proved impossible to obtain.’…..Has he or will he give you a written guarantee….?


  29. Jim Pearson
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Pleasantly pleased, I hope he gets to enact it in 2017.

    • Bob
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      @Jim Pearson
      “Pleasantly pleased, I hope he gets to enact it in 2017.”

      And half way into his “hoped for” new term, so were looking at six years hence. And they say a week is a long time in politics!

      Add to that, manifesto pledges are not enforceable, they are made and broken at a whim or as Gordon Brown’s lawyer put it “manifesto pledges are not subject to legitimate expectation”.

      Don’t set yourself up for disappointment…especially where Cast Iron Dave is concerned.

      • Mark W
        Posted January 23, 2013 at 10:41 pm | Permalink


    • Jon
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

      I’m with you Jim, it was good.

  30. Elliot Kane
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Despite the previous lies by all parties on referenda, I actually believe Cameron this time for two reasons:

    * First, he has stopped trying to pretend he is not a Europhile. By making his own position on the EU totally clear, he is for the first time being completely honest about his affiliations. I take this as a good sign. He’s finally worked out that Britain doesn’t care if he’s a Europhile or a Eurosceptic as long as he gives us our referendum.

    * Secondly and most importantly, by offering a timetable he has given himself no room to renege. His own party will not allow him to weasel out, not only because of principle but also because if he reneges this time then the Tories will be finished as a force in British politics for at least a decade, and maybe longer.

    The interesting thing to me is how long it will take before Miliband realises that he now has no option but to echo and support Cameron’s pledge. Miliband would have to be an absolute imbecile to believe that he can just ignore this, or that the next election won’t become a de facto EU referendum if he tries. I do not think Miliband is that foolish, but even if I am wrong and he is then it’s certain that there are many members of the Labour party who are not. Sooner or later, they must follow where Cameron has led.

    This speech is an absolute game changer. So much so, that I’m surprised Cameron went through with it. I have to give huge credit to UKIP, The People’s Pledge and those Tory MPs (Such as yourself, John) who have worked so very hard to drum sense into the upper reaches of the political establishment. Mission accomplished, there!

    Now comes the really hard part, of course – winning the referendum for the Out side in the face of most of the media and most of the political establishment.

    Please keep fighting the good fight!

    • uanime5
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      If Miliband claims that he won’t hold a referendum and wins the next election then he won’t have to negotiate with the EU for more powers (something highly likely to fail). Miliband would be foolish to support a policy of Cameron that won’t benefit him.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 9:30 am | Permalink

        Unamime5–Except that he will be blown out of the water by his own supporters who apart from all else equate the EU with where we are on immigration (Sorry, inward migration). This WAS England as they used not to have to say.

    • Sidney Falco
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:07 pm | Permalink


      It’s good to hear a reaction from someone who seems to have heard the speech and reflected on what was said rather than spout out all the old insults.

      When people complain that Cameron will say this or say that even if the negotiations fail (in his terms) miss the point entirely. It is what we the people of the UK say in the ballot box that matters.

      To force a sitting PM to offer this referendum is a massive game changer in UK politics – thanks mainly to UKIP and the Peoples’ Pledge.

      If the Tories win the next election there will be a referendum regardless of the outcome of the negotiations.

      For once, I finally agree with Mr Redwood. In practical terms – for Eurosceptics – the only possible way to get the In/Out referendum is to ensure that the Tories win the next election.

      If they reneged on that, it would be the end of the Tory party.

      • sm
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        If they reneged on that, it would be the end of the Tory party, also the country.

        So its down to trusting politicians

        Vote: Conservative get EUfederalist running with a cast iron promise for a referendum
        Vote: Labour get a EUfederalist
        Vote: Liberal get a EUfederalist

        Its time for a referendum simple in/out , at the time of the next election or prior.

        Vote:UKIP get a real democratic choice!

    • lifelogic
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      There is one born every minute I trust him not one inch.

    • Elliot Kane
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 7:15 am | Permalink


      Miliband should have jumped in first. He had plenty of time to do so, but probably expected Cameron would not go so far as to offer a straight In/Out referendum. Which is fair enough – I suspect Cameron caught a lot of people out with that (Not least myself) after the number of times he had said he would not support an In/Out referendum before.

      Thing is, once one party leader has promised a referendum then the entire political landscape has changed. Miliband cannot offer ‘But I Don’t Wanna!’ as a policy without looking like a sulky child. Cameron has essentially admitted that the future of Britain should lie in the hands of the people and by doing so he has also gained a huge stick with which to beat Miliband – until and unless Miliband picks up his own stick, by outlining his own vision for the EU and Britain’s place in it and also offering a referendum.

      Miliband may not gain by making his own referendum pledge, but he loses more and more the longer he delays doing so.



      Thank you 🙂 I agree with most of what you say, of course. You also have clearly thought through what was said and what it means.

      I do not think reneging would be quite the end of the Tory party, but it would certainly be very deeply damaging and would doubtless result in a massive and unprecedented defection to UKIP. I would not be too surprised if UKIP slowly took over as the dominant party of the Right over the following few elections, with the Tories shrinking to a Lib-Dem type rump. I do not think the British people would react at all well to being denied this referendum. It is far too long overdue as it is. It’s a nightmare scenario for the Tories, and also why I think they will keep Cameron on the straight and narrow should he waver. A couple of the more dedicated Europhiles might be prepared to sacrifice all for the EU, but I’d bet they are a vanishingly small minority at this point.



      I wouldn’t trust Cameron myself were he not backed so completely into a corner, believe me! But there’s literally no way out of this one that does not destroy his career and his party. I trust him to be smart enough to know that, and I really don’t think he is the type of person to throw away a career he has worked on his entire adult life.

      More importantly, I trust his party not to support any bid Cameron may wish to make for absolute electoral suicide. Many Eurosceptic MPs are people of principle who will choose country over party loyalty – they have already proved that many times. Many others are careerists who will simply follow the leader in hopes of advancement – but a careerist will never vote for the end of his/her own career, regardless! Sure, there are probably a few highly principled Europhiles who will rebel, but if they exist in serious numbers we have yet to see any sign of it.

    • Julian Foster
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      Keep voting UKIP. It’s worked thus far. It can keep on working.

  31. Wilko
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    David Cameron seems to affirm he will be voting in favour of remaining within the EU, without knowing what the result of intended negotiations would have become, when the time to vote is reached.

    Reply: No, he said he wanted to stay in a reformed Eu which on this speech would be a very different animal. That implies he would vote No if the EU refused to change.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      Just what is this ‘very different animal’ going to look like? If you can’t describe it, you can’t achieve it.

      • Jon
        Posted January 23, 2013 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

        He did describe it in a 5 point plan and its a negotiation. What many know is that you can’t set out the outcome of negotiations prior to the negotiations.

        • cosmic
          Posted January 24, 2013 at 12:09 am | Permalink

          But you have to establish a walk away position and what’s the walk away position? He asks for various repatriations of powers, the others say no, and then what?

          By ruling out exiting the EU, apart from recently as a theoretical possibility he would not want to pursue, he’s destroyed the negotiating position before starting.

          Now why is it that people don’t take Cameron seriously and regard this as a cynical ruse? Could it possibly be the conflicting signals and that he gives the impression of not ‘doing’ Europe but has been dragged into this and everything else is damage control?

          • Jon
            Posted January 24, 2013 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

            The walk away position is that if what the EU and Cameron agree is not enough for the voters then they will vote to leave the EU.

            His incentive is clear as he wants a re negotiated framework for non eurozone countries of which there are a number. The EU want our money, influence and not to create a split by having other countries join the UK in a free trade area.

            Both need to give the UK voters on the referendum something. Now it may well end up by being window dressing to convince the electorate. Thats a gamble they may decide to take.

    • Sidney Falco
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

      Mr Redwood

      I can’t see why people are worrying about how David Cameron would vote in the referendum.

      His vote is counted once only, as for every other voter in the country.

  32. Chris
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    A central tenet of the whole European project is ever closer integration. We signed up to that, and I greatly fear that other EU leaders will have scant regard for Cameron’s requests to change this as it would remove the “cement” of the EU edifice. Reactions to date from EU politicians are not at all favourable, and I believe many EU politicians are non-plussed. They have a completely different concept of Europe from the UK, and as one of them has just said, we haven’t just joined the EU today so why are we now questioning the founding principle of ever closer integration.

    For me, and for so many voters, one of the most important issues is that of mass immigration. What Cameron has said today does nothing towards tackling the problem. I believe that he has been profoundly dishonest with the electorate by not admitting that, as a member of the EU, we will not be able to do anything to stop the regular waves of mass immigration from accession countries. Tinkering with benefits, which is going to be challenged by the EU court anyway, may not help significantly, as free movement of labour is one of the cornerstones of the EU. We are simply not permitted to prevent it, nor effectively control our own borders. We can only employ delaying tactics and these have run out with regard to Bulgaria and Romania.

    Of further concern, is that David Cameron says that he encourages further growth of the EU – most of the countries lined up to join the EU are poorer than the UK, and the pull factors for migrants to come to the UK are very significant indeed. As long as such disparities exist, then the UK, as a member of the EU, will continue to experience mass immigration, which is simply unsustainable. There is already overload on our infrastructure, employment, resources, benefits system and social fabric, and without the Bulgarian and Romanian immigration factored in, we will still have to house and support a population increase due to immigration of mammoth proportions – 7 cities the size of Birmingham apparently in the next 16 years (written in 2012). One can see why Nick Boles states that we have to “concrete over the countryside “:
    The latest population projections – which assume migration of 200,000 a year – show that our population will reach 70 million in just 16 years and two thirds of that increase will be a result of immigration. Those are the bare numbers. What it means is that we will have to find jobs, homes, school places hospital beds and transport capacity for the equivalent of an extra seven cities the size of Birmingham in just sixteen years.”

    My question is, when will the Prime Minister openly acknowledge this situation? If the people are indeed going to get a referendum, they will have to be told (many of them say they do not know enough about the EU to vote!) that if they want to continue being members of the EU that free movement of labour and mass immigration are par for the course, and that we will have to either accept or reject that. The anger amongst the electorate is that our scarce resources are being cut to the bone (e.g. with elderly and sick not being provided for, people suffering hardships as they cannot afford the expensive EU green energy policies, and so on) and yet the UK is obliged to welcome ever more EU citizens over the years and to treat EU citizens as our own, frequently resulting in newcomers being given priority over our own citizenswith regard to benefits and housing, and local workforces being displaced by teams of workers recruited abroad and “shipped in” by various employers. It is no coincidence that there is significant and growing support for UKIP amongst former Labour bluecollar workers.

    What are the Conservatives under Cameron going to do about this?

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

      Three people in my road are leaving the UK for good. One is going to Singapore. One is going to Germany and the other is going to Jamaica. Is this typical I wonder?

      All three are teachers.

  33. Roy Grainger
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    A politically astute move. The LibDem policy is to oppose it depsite having an In/Out vote in their menifesto, and Labour are opposed to a vote “now” (even though one is not proposed “now”).

  34. Slim Jim
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    At least he’s making a move, rather than whining on about how terrible it will be if we leave, undermining confidence, etc. Although playing the long game, he’s also playing at politics, but what’s new? As for promising a referendum, at least it appears to be ‘in/out’, but he is definitely gambling on the timing, as well as the result of the next GE!

  35. Piers Garwood-Baker
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Whilst David Cameron’s announcement of the In/Out referendum impresses me I am entirely disappointed with his decision to postpone it untill after the next general election, (if he wins!). I am still failing to see how Cameron, the Prime Minster who imposed a three-line against voting for a referendum can have changed his mind so rapidly.

    Reply Mr Miliband made clear he will not vote for an earlier referendum, nor will the Lib dems, so we cannot get one this Parliament.

    • Sidney Falco
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      Mr Redwood

      I bet you have torn more hair out of your head today that any time since you entered politics!

      I’ve read thousands of posts from fellow Eurosceptics demanding a referendum and now that Cameron is offering one they still complain!!!

      I have said that I’m going to vote UKIP even though it is a wasted vote because I wanted the exact reason for my vote to be registered. I would not vote Tory or Labour as I felt that neither had a policy to further my aim.

      Finally, Cameron has delivered the goods and I’ll be voting Tory rather than UKIP. (Sorry Nigel. You fought a good fight but sometimes even the best are sacrificed for the greater good.)

      I don’t particularly care about the negotiations and what Dave will say or do.

      I’ll put my trust in the UK public.

      If we get a good enough deal, hell, I may even vote to stay in!

      • Graham
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Permalink


        You’re just the sort of patsy the speech was aimed at – good shot it seems.

      • Julian Foster
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        Don’t fall for the Cameron con trick. If elected, he will get repatriated a few trivial items and then claim a magnificent victory. He will the campaign vigorously with Milliband, Clegg and the whole “establishment” to remain in Europe. They will present an eloquent, but specious, case that will win the referendum for them. That’s it for two decades. There is only one way forward and that is to vote UKIP at every possible opportunity to frighten the lives out of MPs and cause them to become more Eurosceptic. It’s worked very well so far. Don’t give up now and hand the con trick a victory.

  36. Vacant Possession
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Delaying the referendum until 2015 is a blinding move by Dave, he can play the ‘uncertainty over biz with Europe card’ until we are all sick of it and some people believe it even thought we run a trade deficit with Europe and they are unlikely to make it harder to buy Mercedes, Fiat or (heavens above) Peugeot.

    Whilst I am in favour of immigration we need, by the time the next election comes we should be well and truly filled to the gunnels with the type of immigration we don’t need. Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants will be arriving at 50,000 a year according to Migration Watch UK, that’s 100K+ new house & welfare applications to pay for by those of us who are still stupid enough to work.

    That’s instead of a referendum before Christmas, our seas back, our contributions back, a slashing of business regulation, taxation and other forms of government intervention and imposition, the ability to *select* those that we need and want to enter Britain and bar the rest. The wholesale burning of the lib-dem inspired increased cost of energy policies and reinvestment in energy infrastructure to reduce our dependency on energy imports, reduce energy unit costs and reducing our need to get involved in foreign conflict, saving lives.

    Then we can work on doing everything we can to encourage and help those seeking to export. Repeat after me, enable business and export, export export. If you want your energy policy rewritten drop me a line.

  37. Andy H
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Whilst the speech offers a glimmer of hope that we are heading in the right direction, the fact remains that until David Cameron defines what exactly would constitute a successful renegotiation, then there is the strong risk that any minor concession is offered to the public as a victory.

    For us to judge him on his results, we need to know where the line that is being drawn, and then to see if the EU can adapt to this line.

    My personal fear is that this will be a fudge.

    • Sidney Falco
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      “we need to know where the line that is being drawn”

      Surely, it is the people of the UK who will decide if the line is drawn in an acceptable place?

      Whether Cameron plays a blinder and gets a fantastic result or fails miserably is surely irrelevant. The people of the UK will finally have their say. That’s all I’ve been asking for.

      I’ve always said that the only possibility of getting anywhere like the deal that many of us want is to threaten to walk.

      The continental politicians are not stupid. They will already know that is is not what David Cameron will accept. It is what the British people will accept that matters.

      Why do you think that they avoid referendums (or rerun them)? I know one thing for sure – there will not be a rerun of a UK referendum on the EU if we return the “wrong” result.

  38. Atlas
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Hmmm, nice words but can Cameron be trusted?

    For me the matter is not economic – as it seems to be for the Tory pro-EUers, rather it is the central issue of the Nation State and accountability to the UK electorate. Our Continental friends are marching into a cultural blender – I, like many people in this country, am an individualist and wish to remain so.

  39. Paul Cohen
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Get paperback “Au Revoir, Europe: What if Britain Left the EU? by David Charter.

    A very readable analysis which puts many issues in perspective, including the mystery of why member states are willing to subsume their individual identities to a supranational construct.

  40. matthu
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    I was generally favourably impressed but with a few reservations.

    It is time someone admitted that the foundation of the EU was not the single market but “ever closer union”. And that Britain was led (by MPs of the day) down the path of “ever closer union” under false pretences. Muchwas deliberately concealed from the electorate at the time of the last referendum.

    Also, hammering on about Norway having no say in regulations being handed down by the EU is simply disingenuous as it ignores the fact that much of the legislation being introduced by by the European Union is no longer ‘home grown’ and does not even originate in the European Commission, but rather is formulated by sovereign nations and handed down by UN bodies to which they have acceded.

    Therefore each member state of the EU has severally less of a voice in shaping these decisions than independent nations such as Switzerland and Norway since they engage directly with the UN bodies to shape legislation with their own voice.

    Take many of the regulations which affect our car industry, for example. These are handed down by to the EU by the World Forum, the EU’s own major regulations on the general safety of motor vehicles having been replaced with UN Regulations.

    They aren’t EU regulations any more: they’re no longer promulgated in Brussels but in Geneva.

    Of course, the EU has a vote, but so does Norway (even though it has no vehicle manufacturing industry).

    However, despite the UK having major vehicle manufacturing interests we currently have no direct vote on vehicle standards as we do not have a seat at the table.

    Would we not benefit by having a seat at that table?

    Reply: Mr Cameron recognised the significance of “ever closer union” and said the UK does nto want that.

    • Chris
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      What you are saying matthu is highly significant, and Richard North dispels the myth of fax democracy for Norway in several papers, of which I think you are well aware! Two articles, “EU politics: the globalisation of regulation”,
      and “Booker, fax democracy would be nothing for the UK to fear”

    • Mark B
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

      Reply to Reply:

      ‘Ever closer union’ is enshrined in the Treaty of Rome, first paragraph I believe.

      That tells you everything about their (EU) thinking. Just because your leader does not like it, does not mean they are going to change it. They were quite happy to ignore him over the Fiscal Union/Pact, they will ignore him over everything else.

      You need to realize that this is not going to be a vote winner. It might stave off any forthcoming challenges to his leadership if the Conservatives do badly in the forth coming elections, but that is about all.

      I’d guess that Mrs. Milliband is already choosing what curtains to have at No.10.

  41. peter davies
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Sounds fair enough to me

    I thought it was a very well delivered speech – though his case for staying in the EU had little substance, particularly when he chose the Swiss example of not having any influence over EU law – like any other country trading with the EU.

    The question remains whether the EU has it in them to change their ways, I doubt it – too many vested interests.

    At least he has gone for the IN/OUT promise, it should be enshrined into law though

    • Sidney Falco
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      It cannot be enshrined in law as Labour and the Lib-Dems would not vote for it. (Funny as the Lib-Dems were the only party to want an In/Out referendum in principle – before they got a sniff of power of course – some principle!)

  42. Publius
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    I think what we will see now is a concerted effort by the EU to ensure the Tories lose the next election.

    We will also see an escalation of the scare-campaign we have seen over the past days – combined, when the time is deemed right, with a few engineered economic shocks of the type that were used to unseat Berlusconi and to remind the Greeks of who is boss .

    Brussels will not allow something as ephemeral as an elected government to get in their way.

    • peter davies
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      Especially when they have the BBC in their pockets….

  43. Terry
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    After all the hype and the tense delay in making it, this speech has turned out to be a damp squid in the falling snow. I
    t really is meaningless and I will have to agree with Hesletine’s sentiments on this one. Just this one.

    • Kevin R. Lohse
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      Right sentiments, wrong reasons.

    • Jon
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      I’m intrigued what you would have liked him else to say?

  44. Adam5x5
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    The only thing I think when hearing Cameron talk of this referendum is
    “Can this man be trusted to deliver what he’s promising?”

    We’ve had numerous promises from Cameron regarding a multitude of things – vote on Lisbon treaty, bonfire of quangos, end of war on motorist, a reduction in the number of powers allowing govt to enter a home, etc

    None of these have come to pass. No vote, just as many quangos as ever, ever increasing parking fines/fuel prices. But luckily the government can still enter my home to check that my plants aren’t sick… /sarcasm

    I hope we get a referendum soon. But I’m not sure Cameron is capable or willing to deliver.
    I’m not even sure how Cameron could regain the trust he’s lost so far…

    • Chris
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      ….and check up on your fridge…

  45. Kevin R. Lohse
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    All sizzle and no sausage from Cameron as usual. Given all the caveats, he continues to promise us nothing. The man is not to be trusted. Loyalty is a two-way street, and Cameron has been both manifestly disloyal to the voluntary party and treats those MP’s who disagree with him with utter contempt. Traditionally, the Conservative party is ruthless in dealing with leaders who fail to meet expectations. That ruthlessness should be revived in the near future.

  46. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    This was an attempt to make a virtue out of a necessity. Your party has lost and is losing support. This is Cameron’s attempt to stem the flow. He clearly has no intention that the UK should leave the EU. Nothing will happen before the election and that is all this is about – the Conservatives winning the next election. Lord Ashcroft wrot on conservativehome: ‘The principal benefit of our referendum policy is not that it gives our campaign a headline; it is that it allows us to put the issue to rest and move the conversation on to what the voters want to discuss. Europe is important and we have a clear view about it.’ In other words you have kicked it into the long grass and the view is that your leader and your party are committed to staying in the EU. Having participated in the 1975 referendum I am not taken in by anything I have heard today. The strategy is to get your party re-elected and then turn on the pro-EU propaganda to ensure that you get the vote to stay in. Cameron isn’t going to say he failed in his renegotiations. Just like Wilson he will declare success. The fact remains that we have three main political parties who are dedicated to remaining in the EU. What are you going to do in the EU for the next 2 years? How much more immigration are you going to allow?

  47. MajorFrustration
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    As an example, say you contract cancer and then wait five years before commencing treatment – does that make sense?

    • Sidney Falco
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      As much as being in the EU.

    • Jon
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

      Yes, one doesn’t have to tender for the democratic vote of cancer cells. They don’t have a brain as we would recognise it and don’t pay taxes.

  48. Stephen Southworth
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    I see the German Chancellor is a much better politician than any of her counterparts on the continent. She seems to have come out with accomodative words, rather than the predictable knee jerks from her colleagues within Germany, France and the likes of Guy Verhofstadt. She is aware that to shut the door prematurely, will weaken Germany’s own EU ambitions. Changes are coming, and so is a treaty. Mr Cameron is playing a very shrewd and difficult strategic play here, and it could well bear fruit.

    The opposition in this country are going to be left stranded as the Eurozone goes where we can’t follow, and the EU faces inevitable and fundamental reconstruction, and they find themselves in the uncomfortable position of saying to the voters “we don’t trust you to have your say”.

    My vote will return to the Conservative party. We simply must have a mjority Conservative government in 2015. My only worry is that some attempt may now be made to destabilise the Coaltion and force an early vote, or worse to attempt to replace Cameron without an election. The latter is improbable in this country, but the former is a danger. That 5 year fixed term parliament legislation may prove to be the shrewdest Act of Parliament ever!

    Let the People Decide! Back to the Common Market.

  49. Vanessa
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Cameron’s speech is either all lies or all ignorance. He will not have a majority after 2015 and so all this bluff is just hot air.
    He does not seem to understand the EU, which is not the continent of Europe as he keeps wittering about.
    When you sign a treaty you sign up for ALL clauses and cannot pick and choose those bits he thinks we should keep.
    It really is about time this ignoramus either reads the Lisbon Treaty or is advised by someone who has. He talks utter drivel, as he probably knows and as all the EU MEPs etc. are saying as well.
    We have to activate ARTICLE 50 of the Lisbon Treaty which says “We want to leave” and then negotiate our way around all the spaghetti entanglement which we have got ourselves into over the last 40 years.
    He is just a waste of space.

  50. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Thank God for the existence of UKIP!

    • Jon
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      Yes for pushing the issue absolutely. I hope large numbers don’t vote UKIP in 2015 so we loose the right to influence how we live.

  51. Chris
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Other posters have commented that their posts do not get put up till very late in the day. This has happened again with mine, and the whole idea is that comments stimulate debate, and convey information through relevant links in a highly dynamic moving situation. I am puzzled why some are held up. I mentioned that Cameron was not acknowledging the fundamental problem of mass immigration and that it needed to be addressed because free movement of labour is central to the whole EU project. There was nothing offensive, my remarks were reasoned and relevant, and backed up by links where necessary.

    • Bob
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      ” I mentioned that Cameron was not acknowledging the fundamental problem of mass immigration…”

      That kind of information must be suppressed from the discussion, because the influx of millions of immigrants from poorer parts of the EU will be crucial in boosting the pro EU voter numbers.

    • Nina Andreeva
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

      John I would appreciate if you would put up your house rules on what causes a comment to be held up in “moderation”. We have a comment here that suggests the “UN World Forum” dominates the world, which would be surprising to any student of international relations that the UN pushes anyone around. Yet my data on Miliband’s pay packet and state pension liability to GDP which were both sourced were held up.

      Whats even more confusing is that you let straight through comment that suggested you physically assault Geo Osborne, though you blocked a one about Mrs Mensch and her suitability as a MP which were later proved correct.

      Reply I hope I did not let through any urging of a physical attack on someone. Anything which makes personal allegations or attacks on named individuals will be held up as I need to check it or change it. Also anything with references to other sites that need checking, and very long posts may get delayed as I have many other things to do than moderate this blog. I do not hold up views I disagree with.

      • Nina Andreeva
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 7:00 am | Permalink

        It was a suggestion that you hit him across the head with a rolled up copy of “The Economist” which contained an article about elections being successfully fought by getting your core vote out and not wasting your time trying to appeal to groups that will never bother voting for you in the first place.

        Anyway thanks of the clarification and as ever for providing a forum for the discussion of topics that the trust fund kids dismiss as “white trash issues”

    • Mark
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

      Given that JR moderates the posts himself in his own time, I’ve learned a little patience. Only occasionally have I suspected that he delayed approving a post because it put forward a view he found awkward to publish (these are usually not left wing rants and absurdities, but posts that perhaps rather more credibly undermine a position he may have taken).

  52. Jan
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Cameron could be laying down his party for the sake of continued EU membership. If he thinks that the conservatives cannot win the next election anyway (now that the boundary changes are off the menu) it is reasonable to promise a referendum. Labour will come in and Cameron has both the excuse that we the electorate didn’t support him and he looks like a good European because he will have kept the UK in place. A nice job in Brussels will follow.
    UKIP do now have a problem. A referendum now will not pass the commons but a bet on a conservative re-election is unlikely to be a happy one. Especially so if the anti-EU vote is split. The creative answer is for UKIP to ask all its voters to act tactically and, in marginal seats, or in seats where there is an anti EU conservative candidate, to vote conservative.
    UKIP could end up as ‘king-maker’ in a de-facto electoral coalition and Cameron would be committed to re-negotiate.
    No nice job in Brussels to follow, however!

    • JimF
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      I don’t believe so.
      You will find that UKIP supporters need more than just a fuzzy half-promise of a referendum to move. We’d rather see a Labour Government push the country into the abyss, and then restructure in a positive way than allow Cameron & Co carry on in this half-baked manner.

      • Jan
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:25 am | Permalink

        I understand your sentiment and when things are this bad it is easy to reach for the the abyss/reset button. But, as the 20th c has already shown us, the result is most likely to be a surprise, bloodshed followed by a ‘strong man’ and then war.

        I am more keen on affecting change cunningly and gradually in the English way. The abyss is too European for my liking.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      If ever there was an issue where votes should be cast in accordance with ones principles and beliefs, then the future of the UK in relation to the EU is surely it.

    • Julian Foster
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      No…….a UKIP vote every time is the only answer. We must frighten the lives out of MPs of whatever party. It’s worked well so far. We mustn’t give up now. That’s exactly what Cameron hopes for. We mustn’t let his con trick win.

  53. Derek W
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Mr Cameron made it quite clear that he will be ambivalent to the end. Decisions will not be made.This speech was simply an attempt to scupper UKIP.

  54. Paul
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    JR “Mr Cameron has recognised that the EU is not working for the UK”.

    He’s only 20 years behind UKIP and everyone else who understood the real reason why the EU was created.

    First of all, the only reason he has made this speech and committed himself finally to an in/out referendum is because UKIP is taking so much support from his party. It has very little to do with his own backbenchers. Today highlights UKIP’s growing success. However, there are two major problems with his commitment to hold a referendum in 2017;-

    1) He won’t win a majority or enough support to lead another coalition so this referendum won’t happen anyway.
    2) Despite the referendum announcement, his speech highlights just how pro-EU he is. He believes wholeheartedly in staying in the EU. UKIP, therefore, will continue to grow.

    Cameron needs UKIP support. He will not get it. It’s no longer just about the EU. UKIP members and supporters, like myself, are not happy with any of his policies or the way he operates.

  55. Mike
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me.

    From a three line whip a couple of years ago to admitting that UKIP was right all along. The man has a credibility problem, as well as a trust problem.

    It is rather sad to see otherwise intelligent commentators falling over themselves to congratulate Cameron on his brilliant move. They hope the public has forgotten his rotten pledge or his rather recent arguments in favour of the EU ( which is suddenly unacceptable in it’s current guise) or for that matter his standing amongst the plebs.

    It is particularly sad to see Mr Hannan taken in.

    He promised to win the debate… Let him try…. I for one would honestly pay good money to see Nigel Farage rip him to shreds, though the chances of Cameron agreeing to an open debate with him are about as good as his latest cast iron guarantee bearing fruit. Come to think of it I have yet to see Cameron win any form of debate on any subject.

    I suspect Cameron has merely hastened his own decline, imaging the fury on the back benches if UKIP’s figures keep going up….

    • Wilko
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      Cast iron does not bear fruit, but can corrode. Rust crumbles into dust, blown away with moist hot air. Both rust & bad fruit turn brown. Brown was unwanted & turned away.

  56. Bob
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    He could have just shortened the speech and said “I agree with Nigel”.

    • Sidney Falco
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      When did Nigel say that he wanted to stay in the EU?

    • Deborah
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      Nigel would do something about it.

    • Jon Burgess
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 9:54 pm | Permalink


      But as we all know, he definitely doesn’t!

      And how could a metrosexual, hug a hoody, never really had a proper job but went to a good school, pretty straight kind of guy like ReferenDave agree with a swivel eyed (etc ed) like Nige?

      Keep the faith people – UKIP truly is the only answer.

  57. Bert Young
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    I saw the speech and was disappointed . I cannot get my head round the time scale involved for the UK to obtain the sort of relationship we all believe is right . The only choice we can make is to completely disregard the bureaucracy and diktat of the EU and face the consequences . The French are masters of this and we should do the same . DC will not win the next election on his promises , or indeed , his style of leadership . I’ve had enough of him and want him replaced at the earliest opportunity.

  58. Sebastian Weetabix
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad he made the speech and I’m extremely glad it will be in/out rather than in/in. But… what happens when Brussels says ‘no’ to repatriation of powers, as they surely will? If he means it when he says that he doesn’t want to leave the EU, then he has no negotiating position. Perhaps like Harold Wilson he thinks he can come back with the modern equivalent of ‘Anchor Butter for all time’ and kid us all into voting ‘yes’.

    Equally UKIP’s idea that we can just repeal the ECA and wander off is just bonkers, when you consider the vast number of global trade treaties and regulations we are part of only due to our membership of the EU. All these will have to be sorted out. Ultimately we will end up invoking Article 50 and leaving. He might as well get on with it and just give us an in/out referendum now, rather than wait 4 years. But he voted against that as recently as last year, didn’t he?

    My basic problem with Mr Cameron is I do not believe him.

  59. Barry Sheridan
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,
    Mr Cameron’s speech was typically manipulative, in essence a meaningless promise of something in the future, one that has little chance of him being able to deliver, even if he wanted to, because he will not be in office. It is a pity he spends so much political capital on being clever in this manner. All he has really done is waste a golden chance to reflect and work in the national interest.

    It is clear given the strength of the debate and obvious antipathy towards the EU at the moment that Britain needs to make this decision now. Whether this bothers Europhiles such as Mr Heseltine or the leader of the US government is irrelevant. Should the nation decide we would be better off out then we can try to introduce the sort of policies that will promote growth while resisting the endless tide of meddling bureaucracy that is turning Europe in a hopeless wasteland.

  60. Pleb
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Dear John, What are the views of you and your Eurosceptic MPs on what he has promised?

  61. matthu
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    IF the UK were to leave the EU – would it suddenly make sense to tax EU pensions? Just wondering. ..

    (I am sure Mandelson and Clegg would be able to tell us.)

    • Jon
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

      If we left it would be outside our jurisdiction to tax but they will be taxed as earned income IF paid here. The EU pensions are extremely lucrative, for a tiny extra contribution they can double their 2/3rds indexed salary pension and then near double that when they go back to the EU to do another stint as Glegg will no doubt do.

  62. Roger Farmer
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Time for a reality check. The promised referendum in 2017 supported by the about turn on the promise of a Lisbon vote will not convince anyone. The conservative vote will abstain or go to UKIP, the consequence of which will be a labour government after 2015 with all the incompetence and thin lipped envy that it has always brought in the past. The best you can look forward to John is years in opposition.
    The only action now is for the conservative parliamentry party to remove said europhile Cameron from office on the grounds that he has failed to respond to the wishes of those who elected him. Once done we should then have the referendum in 2014, it being the only way to re-elect a conservative government. If the party are not up to it they may as well trip the main switch in the UK because democracy is dead.

    Reply Conservatives are not in a majority so we cannot put through a referendum on our own.

    • Deborah
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      Please stop regurgitating that same response.
      Why would the Conservatives need to do it alone? You know that the referendum has supporters in the other parties.

      Reply: Look at the n umber of votes for an In/Out referendum last time some of us tried.

  63. Bill
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    I don’t agree with those who dismiss the speech out of hand. I think that is to fail to understand how democracy work or how political change takes place over years not days.

    In my view, if the Conservatives can now collect the 7% (?) of votes that would have gone to UKIP, we can hope for better things.

    I cannot understand how UKIP supporters can keep banging about the need to vote for their one-policy-party since any competent analyst knows they have absolutely no hope whatever of securing a majority at the next General Election.

    • Bernard Juby
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      If you think that UKIP ais a one policy party then try reading their Manifesto!

    • Mike
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      Neither do the tories….

    • Bob
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Permalink


      You clearly have numeracy issues.

      The policies are listed on the UKIP website for all to see (or in your case, count).

      • Bill
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        Well, let’s be clear. It is called the UK Independence Party. The Green Party is about environmental issues. UKIP is about independence from Europe. That is why it has the name it has.

        I will have a look at its policies, however.

    • Sidney Falco
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      I agree Bill.

      I’m still voting UKIP in 2014 but will vote Tory in 2015 – I was going to vote UKIP.

      As I said elsewhere – in a military campaign – sometimes the best are sacrificed for the greater good – sorry Nigel.

      • Vanessa
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:41 am | Permalink

        Sidney – in 5 years time anything could have happened! The tories will implode with DC as their leader and UKIP could have grown even more in stature (it took the SNPs 50 years to reach government). I don’t think tories will be a relevant party in 2015, the EU will have done so much damage to our economy we will be clamouring to leave!

    • Julian Foster
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      UKIP is a conviction party. The old parties are convictionless opportunists. UKIP is not, and must never be, a single issue party. Check their website. All of us who do not believe in a federal Europe, should vote UKIP. We need to show the many spineless MPs of all parties that their seats are in danger from UKIP votes. It’s a policy that’s worked well to date. We must keep up the pressure and not be conned by Cameron. Incidentally, the most recent council byelections are showing a UKIP vote of 20%+. We are nearly there!

  64. Barbara Stevens
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Well Mr R, Mr C as made some effort to meet the countries demands, but its got to many loose ends for me. I’ve heard from some of the other member states today, and they’ve all said, no, yet we’ve not heard what Mr C would demand. It appears they are saying NO before they get to the table. I can’t see any way forward with this attitude. In France they were asked if they like us in the EU and would they agree to us leaving, 73% said yes. It appears they don’t want us either, like we don’t want them. Of course its the 55 million per day they want, and no problems or challenges. Well they won’t get that.
    On the actual speech, nothing concrete, no actual items to negociate mentioned, and another promise. Well if he does not win the next election, what then? He will leave us still in and at the mercy of Miliband. Unforgiveable.
    Why do we have to wait five years for a decision? This referendum could be held in the last six months of this coalition, and surely he knows what he wants to repatriate now. The other members only have to say yes or no, then we can hold the referendum. I don’t agree we have to have their permission, we are a free state, and we elect MPs to arrange, and make decisions for us. At the moment a lot of them are letting us down. Cameron should go into this discussion laying his terms on the table, he as to be bold, decisive, and direct. Some how this appears a pigs dinner to me, nothing solid, only promises, which we know Cameron is not to clever keeping. Let the people decide before the next election, and settle it once and for all, its got to come to it, so better sooner than later.

    • Wilko
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      If 73% in France agreed to our leaving, it could mean they accepted that a nation wishing to leave, should be allowed to do so. Others might agree to France leaving if it preferred, rather than conferring any specific dislike.

  65. uanime5
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    So if Cameron wins the election in 2015 he’ll try to negotiate more powers in/by 2017 and if he doesn’t think he’s gotten a good deal there’ll be an in/out referendum. Well I guess we’ll have to wait until 2015 to hear what powers he wants back and whether the other EU countries are going to allow the UK to have special powers that they don’t have.

    Personally I believe that the poor state of the economy is more likely to result in the Conservatives being voted out than an EU referendum is likely to have them voted in. Decreasing unemployment with negative growth indicated that something is very wrong with the country.

  66. Alan Wheatley
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    David Cameron is arguing for a different type of EU, one that allows nations to have a membership in a way that best suites them. He argues that the EU needs to be reformed, and that this would be good for the EU. Perhaps most radically he argues that while “ever closer union” can be an acceptable objective for some nation it can not be an objective for the UK, and possibly not for others. His vision is of a multi-faceted EU; one EU but different for each member state, or group of like-minded states.

    Clearly a membership organisation that gives each member what it wants yet pulls together to exert maximum influence is very attractive. But is it possible? Leaving aside the difficulty of achieving agreement for such a form of EU, it is worth considering the practicality of how such an organisation could work.

    For a start, how do you draw up the rules? It is likely that the various areas of regulation will not be mutually independent; life is not like that. So how do you cater for all the conflicts? How, indeed, do you understand the rules. And then how is is decided which nation complies with which rule? And as the UK will have established the precedent of withdrawing from some of the rules how do you cope with nations seeking to change which rules a state complies with. It seems to me an administrative nightmare.

    What about budget contributions? Presumably if nations have different involvements with the EU they would expect only to contribute to the extent that they are beneficiaries of the EU involvement to which they have signed up. How do you decide on budget contributions in such an arrangement?

    How will the Commission function? How will the Council of Ministers function? Who attends what meetings, and for what part of which meeting? Who has a vote or veto on what, and what majority is needed?

    And so on, and so on……..

    If David Cameron is genuinely going to seek to reform the EU in a way that will result in UK membership not being cursed by the difficulties he has outlined, then to be credible he must to make clear how such an organisation will work. As it is, the notion that the EU can accommodate the UK objectives he has highlighted while the EU objective remains “ever closer union” seems to me policy made in fairyland.

    • Chris
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      Regarding your last sentence, I believe David Cameron is well aware of that, as are the European politicians. So that leaves our MPs and the electorate. Do they realise that? I hope that integrity, common sense and gut instinct all play their part when they make their judgement, plus an awareness by politicians that they are meant to represent their constituents.

    • APL
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      Alan Wheatley: “If David Cameron is genuinely going to seek to reform the EU in a way that will result in UK membership not being cursed .. ”

      Let’s consider the success Cameron has had reforming an administrative structure he actually has some control over, the UK civil service, Zero.

      Now consider his chances of reforming the EU bureaucracy where there is every chance that players of equal stature (France, Germany) don’t want change, nor do they most especially want any change of the nature Cameron is proposing.

      These proposals are either a deception intended to gull former Tories back to active support of the party in time for the next election. Whereupon if successful and the Tories win, you’ll all be thrown to the wolves again, or unsuccessful, people like John Redwood will trot out the old canard, the EU just doesn’t ‘play on the doorstep’.

  67. Credible
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Above all else David Cameron wants to be prime minister after the next election. This announcement of a referendum after the next election is likely to gain some votes and put Labour in a difficult position. It will reduce pressure from Tory Euro sceptics and make his position as leader more secure as well as not upsetting European leaders too much for now. It means he can kick some difficult decisions down the road. This is all about David Cameron trying to retain power and has nothing to do with his principles, whatever they are.
    Do we believe it anyway? “We will stop the top-down reorganisation of the NHS.”

  68. Leslie Singleton
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    I reckon we already know all we need to know, and then some, about the EU, which of course is not going to change much by reason of Cameron’s latest positioning, to vote now. As you know, I have never got close to understanding why we shouldn’t accept that the Continent is going to become one country and for the UK, as a wholly independent country, to aim to negotiate and trade with that new country under something like NAFTA or ASEAN. And don’t you just love Ashdown and Co telling us “if we are not careful etc” when the majority now want what he is trying to scare us with? And as for Milliband–he is of course simply despicable.

  69. Smithers Jones
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    If David Cameron had given this speech on the 4th November 2009 instead of breaking the ‘cast iron guarantee ‘ he would now be leading a Conservative majority government and likely preparing for a referendum having renegotiated the UK relationship with the EU.

    Instead we are wondering whether or not to believe more Jam Tomorrow promises from someone who is not well known for keeping a position on such matters for very long. 5 years is a very long time in politics and what Cameron has offered is extremely vague other than repeatedly insisting he wants the UK to be at the centre of Europe.

    Not only that but as yet I haven’t heard that Ken Clarke has thrown his dunny out of his pram and resigned from the government. Without such an occurrence its hard to believe what Cameron is proposing is Eurosceptic at all….

    In anycase as a dedicated Eurosceptic I really cannot see how someone so clearly pro-European such as Cameron can credibly negotiate in the best interests of this country and given the number of times he professed his dedication to the EU his claims of Euroscpeticism are risible.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      Correct, his abject surrender on November 4th 2009 probably did for him and his party and all of us.

      • Christopher Ekstrom
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 6:09 am | Permalink

        Little davey is forever Cast Iron; a dem-socialist wanna be. Destroyer of the Tories. Chancer & traitor. The loser to Pa Brown. Clefts lickspittle. A national disgrace.

    • APL
      Posted January 27, 2013 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      Smithers Jones: “I haven’t heard that Ken Clarke has thrown his dunny out of his pram and resigned from the government.”

      Deserves emphasis.

  70. JimF
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    1 Cameron has left himself open to the charge of years of uncertainty by the delay
    2 Cameron has a credibility deficit-he has 4 years during which “the situation can change” and he can change his mind again.
    3 Cameron has been shifted by the increasing poularity of UKIP. But UKIP isn’t just about shuffling deckchairs on the Titanic and then holding a referendum on whether to man the lifeboats.

    We also need to have a shift in the democratic system in the UK – UKIP will undoubtedly be pushing not JUST for leaving the EU, but for
    -direct democracy-
    -bringing our education & training systems out of a socialist malaise-
    -supply side reforms to get the economy moving in preference to printing money-
    -tax reforms for businesses and individuals towards a flat tax-
    -ditch gay marriage-

    Mr Cameron, you’ve made a start but you have an awfully long way to go to catch up….

    • Jon
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

      Its interesting how some of the arguments are similar to the debate in Scotland and their referendum.

      Did Labour and their deconstruction of the UK lead to the Scottish referendum on the UK. Has that English democratic deficit in Parliament stoked an English need for more Nation hood? The arguments in the Scottish and Welsh assembly are a parent child relationship with Westminster. The English have one big parent to teenager issue with the EU.

      Pan this out a bit and just how Blairs reforms have led to referendums here might they spread across Europe? If the UK gets more powers will some other countries feel they have a democratic deficit? Lets call it a contagion for the non eurozone countries. It will take time but the non eurozone countries may have more in common?

  71. Bernard Juby
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    Now we have it!Cameroon is officially Obama’s pet poodle!
    “A Downing Street spokesman said: “The US wants an outward-looking EU with Britain in it, AND SO DO WE.””my emphasis).
    Does this man have a Death wish?

  72. Acorn
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Is there an EU regulation / directive that makes it illegal for persons to send e-mail in German and French saying – interpreting a Google translation – “why don’t you just (get-ed) out of it now. (words left out-ed) just why does a BMW cost more in the single market UK than it does in the single market Germany.

  73. Sidney Falco
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    I’m chuffed to bits about this announcement.

    A clear promise with no wriggle room.

    I was going to vote UKIP at the next GE but will definitely be voting Tory now.

    I will still vote UKIP in the 2014 European elections so there is no ambiguity about my wishes.

    If the Tories win the next election and the referendum result is to stay in I hope we all accept the democratic will of the UK people and accept defeat and move on. I couldn’t stand my twilight years going over the old arguments again. After all, that is what democracy is all about.

    Oh, and congratulations in applying constant pressure on this issue. I still believe that it was the swing to UKIP and the Peoples’ pledge that forced the change of heart.

    • mike
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 1:50 am | Permalink

      If for any reason we lose a referendum vote we’ll simply take a leaf out of the EU dirty tricks book and have another one!

      Either that or we’ll see some rather respectable young gentlemen throwing bricks.

    • Julian Foster
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

      Oh no! You’ve fallen headlong for Cameron’s con trick. If he wins the election, he will get repatriated a few trivial items and then claim a magnificent victory. He will then campaign with Clegg and Milliband and the whole political “establishment” for a vote to stay in Europe. His eloquent, but specious, arguments will win the day and the argument will be lost for at least two decades. The only answer is to stick to one’s convictions and keep voting UKIP. It’s frightened the MPs so far. Let us keep up the pressure. I take no pleasure in it as I have hitherto been a lifelong Conservative supporter, but they no longer merit my vote. UKIP is the only way forward if we are to avoid a federal Europe.

  74. Chris
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    Not the sort of press that David Cameron wants from Der Spiegel.

    Opinion: Europe’s Scaredy-Cat

    By Christoph Scheuermann in London

    Fear drove David Cameron to promise Britain a referendum on EU membership. Fear of his party, fear of voters, and fear of the EU itself, which he neither fully understands nor has ever really been interested in. He wants Europe to be a free trade zone with beach access. He missed an opportunity on Wednesday to haul Britain back to the center of Europe….

  75. Electro-Kevin
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    My response to the speech:

    Well done to Nigel Farage and to the Tory party eurosceptics for forcing the issue. Particularly UKIP which offers a box on the ballot form for protest without having to vote for extremists.

    I do, however, think it’s a case of jam to-morrow and a lot of powers will be taken by the EU in the meantime.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

      UKIP works in your favour, Mr Redwood.

      It offers a serious opportunity for voters like me to register a protest without resorting to the odious BNP.

      Something which the party-within-a-party Eurosceptic Tories cannot offer and which adds serious weight to their position.

      Why else do you think you’re being listened to ?

      If this is – as they say – a non-swing issue then why the speech and why wall-to-wall the news coverage ?

      Reply : It is Conbservative MPs who have persuaded the PM to move position through our votes and voices.

      • mike
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 1:58 am | Permalink

        If you are right John then we should see fireworks as Cameron ferociously negotiates his bottom off no?

        You would I hope agree that this must happen soon, rather than 2 or 3 years hence? This is of course if the brave band of 50 odd have changed attitudes with their votes and voices.

        If not then I cannot see that your assertion holds water.

        Talking of water am I right in asserting that it was tory party policy in opposition to repatriate our EEZ with regards to our fishing fleet?

        Would you like to wager on whether Cameron gets this back between now and the election?

        If not that particular thorny issue, name your own. The speech was remarkably light on exactly what he was seeking to achieve in terms of powers repatriated.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

        Reply to Mr Redwood.

        Thank you. You and all on your side of the party.

        Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  76. Antisthenes
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    I have said before that having a referendum after the next election is of no use to euro-sceptics as the chances of it occurring is zero because Labour will be in government (god help us which I also reiterate). Apart from which it is so far in the future that it allows more damage to be inflicted by the morons in the politburo in Brussels and being evermore entrenched in the integration project that recovery and extraction is nigh impossible. So the speech was not only meaningless it was also short on detail It did not explain how the UK can negotiate being part of the single market and at the same time avoid being sucked into the EU integration project whilst still a member of the EU. If David Cameron is serious that he only wants to be part of the single market and nothing else then EFTA / EEA or just EFTA as the EEA does seriously undermine a nation’s ability to veto EU regulations. A lot can happen in the next few years most of it I believe will be bad so I suspect euro-sceptics opportunity will come much sooner than what the PM is offering but cannot deliver.

  77. zorro
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    Party Political Broadcast just on TV – Cameron – ‘We are paying down Britain’s debts’…..Yet more lies from him. He hasn’t paid back any debts. His government is continually overspending, QEing, and adding to the debt.


    • zorro
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      How can I trust him on Europe when he comes out with such a statement…..


  78. The PrangWizard
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    It is a considerable step forward. It has been acknowledged that there are serious concerns among the people and elsewhere in the nation about our membership of the EU. I am for complete exit but I am prepared to think about the PM’s statement although I need more time before I come to any firm conclusion, there are many aspects to consider.
    I am disappointed however that so many people who have been demanding a referendum and official recognition of their concerns are coming out immediately to pour scorn and take a critical line.
    There is also the question of how much the Conservatives may gain politically.

  79. Lady Carole
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    Only way he will be in power is to negotiate NOW and hold referendum BEFORE next election ,sorry this is just another cop out ,if the conservatives want to win get rid of the man

  80. Jon
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    I have a very different view from many of the comments on here. I think it was the most fundamental and ballsy speech on the EU from any PM I’ve known.

    He mentioned what the problems were and emphasised a wafer thin UK support for EU which he will hope will gain some bargaining power.

    If I put myself in the shoes of a europhile or an EU bureacrate its not a speech I would have liked.

    I think it does put the party on a front foot and will provide some problems for the other parties.

    All is in the negotiations over the next few years. It is right to let the eurozone pan out so the public can see the resulting federal nature of it before there is a vote. Many eurosceptics would have preferred to have had a vote years ago resulting in no change to the terms and being locked in for good. Thankfully that didn’t happen. I think he should be praised for what he has presented, the delivery is for another time.

    • Jon
      Posted January 23, 2013 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      Life is not about getting everything you want, thats the world of the toddler its about getting the best of what can be achieved. Cameron could do with support now to drive this through.

      • Alan Wheatley
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 9:27 am | Permalink

        You seem to be ignoring the possibility that life for the UK could be better outside the EU. It is daft to think of the UK’s future being determined by a relationship, of what ever sort, with the EU. The World is much bigger than that.

        • Jon
          Posted January 24, 2013 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

          It could very well be better outside the EU. My point was what can be achieved at this time in reality. Would it be wise to turn down a cup of water in a barren desert because your dream was a jacuzzi. Possibly it could be but what are the odds?

  81. Wilko
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    Even if the In/Out referendum occurs, perhaps a majority ‘Out’ vote might not commit the Govt to act. Its purpose might be limited to entitling the electorate to express its collective decision, which Govt could take into account in deciding, yet choosing on balance to stay ‘In’ instead.

  82. David Langley
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    It seems to me that UKIP is acting as a sort of ACAS, “Arbitration and Conciliation Service” in this EU mess. Standing alone with no influence save that of being the one with no axe to grind but able to bang the heads together of parties supposedly with each others interests in common. No legal position to determine the outcome but increasingly with every turn and twist playing a stronger and stronger role.
    Camerons speech was clear and told me what I wanted to know and confirm. He is just a diplomat and scared stiff of making a mistake that will haunt him for ever. Playing the middle of the road and keeping his can kicked down the centre for as long as he can.
    Cameron wants a further five years in Government, all his Tory MP’s want a further five years in government, thats called survival and self interest.
    His promise to run a Referendum is pure blackmail plain and simple, vote me in you get what you want.
    The renegotiation is supposed to be based on the competency review Hague the Vague is running now. I think most of us on this blog would be able to have that finished now and handed in to teacher.
    The approval of this content for renegotiation will take ages and then be put forward to all the countries in the EU 28 or more. most of them lapping up our money. The idea being that they will agree without condition what we want, no derogations, no compromises, just a plain yes.
    There is not a cats chance in hell this will run. By this time the Tories will be a disaster area, I personally will probably have snuffed it by then.

  83. JimF
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 8:59 pm | Permalink
  84. forthurst
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    It’s hard to pick out the most inane segment in this speech, a speech given by someone who reveals absolutely no grasp of real history as opposed to received propaganda, but this must be a contender:

    “Some members, like Britain and France, are ready, willing and able to take action in Libya or Mali. Others are uncomfortable with the use of military force.

    Let’s welcome that diversity, instead of trying to snuff it out.”

    Where in the Treaty of Rome are we committed to attacking a foreign country because one member state fancies getting their hands on its resources?

    Noteworthy is Cameron’s failure to grasp the nettle of uncontrollable immigration from ex-Bolshevik Empire states where the law came from the barrel of a gun rather than
    a thousand years of evolutionary progress.

    Meanwhile, Nick de Bois MP has become alarmed at the haemorrhaging of talent from this country, talent that adds value obviously, rather than that sported by Cameron and his ilk.
    Apparently GB Ltd is losing its brain thanks to the lack of opportunities offered to useful eaters.

  85. albion
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    What exactly are the powers Cameron is hoping to ‘repatriate’ to the UK?

    If he is so worried about Europe’s lack of competitiveness, he is free to do the following:

    – abolish the minimum wage
    – abolish corporation tax
    – abolish the FSA

    He could take these measures tomorrow without the EU being able to do anything about it.

    Just imagine the boom in foreign investment and financial innovation these simple measures would bring.

    The UK would quickly become a shining beacon of free entreprise and the model of a modern economy to such basket cases as Germany and Holland.

  86. mart
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    Renegotiate? No thanks. I want out.

    And why is the referendum suggested for 5 years’ time? One year would be more than enough time to have the debate and hold the referendum.

  87. Bazman
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    Left the stereo blazing!

  88. Monty
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    A referendum in wibble years time. Maybe.

    Here’s an idea for a kind of a Black Swan event. What if some wealthy person were to start a movement to hold a national referendum, using volunteer staff for invigilation and the count, following all of the normal controls that govern elections (apart from postal votes)? After all, the electoral registers are public domain data.
    Just imagine that. An announcement that an organisation have taken a snapshot of the electoral register of every constituency in the UK, with a view to announcing a citizens referendum within the next say six months. And that private premises are being booked to act as polling stations, and computers are running off the voting cards.
    The public don’t have to plead with anyone for a referendum, we could do it all by ourselves.

  89. Mark
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    If he is serious, he will establish now a separate department to handle renegotiation. Its first job will be to collate the measures we wish to see unwound, and those in the pipeline we want no part of. It should have a cross-departmental remit, so that a coherent picture can be established.

    A secondary purpose of the department would be to establish what might need to be renegotiated in the event that the public vote to leave the EU altogether, and to establish negotiating positions.

    If the negotiators are well prepared in advance they will stand a chance of success. If they are not, they will fail miserably.

  90. adams
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    “Mr Cameron has recognised that the EU is not working for the UK ” and Mr Cameron is not working for the UK either .LOL. If EU relationship change is possible in the ever closer union we are signed up to ,why were the renegotiations not started a year ago .
    Rest easy John . FPTP will see you and the LibLab through the 2015 turbulence . Renegotiation and referendums are so much hot air . 250K east Europeans arriving next year ? Who cares / Not the LibLabCon that’s for sure .

  91. Jon Burgess
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    As usual, Peter Hitchens says it more eloquently than I:

    “The only proper or reliable way for this country to leave the EU is for a major political party to pledge unequivocally to leave the EU in its manifesto, for that party to be elected with a working majority and to proceed. We must continue to ask why a view so strongly supported, both by facts and logic and by large numbers of people, is so poorly represented at Westminster, and why we have political parties which speak for the elite and not for the electors.”

  92. Ian Hills
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    A referendum on the results of a renegotiation….if and when the other member states agree to renegotiate our terms of membership. As Cameron knows, they won’t – this is yet another ploy to win votes back from UKIP at the next election. Meanwhile the government keeps giving Brussels new powers, even in between treaties.

  93. Mark W
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    Witness the power of UKIP. Without a single MP they have forced a Tory prime minister to offer a referendum in an election manifesto.

    If you want rid of the EU you’d have to be insane to not support UKIP now. They are the only credible party with secession on the table.

    Reply We did that, not UKIP

    • mike
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 2:27 am | Permalink

      If that is true John, and it is something you have asserted many times, it is worrying…

      A minority of the tory party are willing to rebel, about a sixth of the parliamentary party. You can add a few labour MPs but no more than a handful.

      Oddly enough 1 / 6 th of the electorate now says that they intend to vote UKIP with another 20% considering it.

      What influence exactly do you think UKIP have? It appears from your replies to be none which doesn’t appear to make any cogent sense.

      Comments from tory voters seem to be, frankly, rather desperate and pleading. Willing themselves to believe Cameron’s latest promise and hoping others will too. Willing also that UKIP’s much maligned flock will forgive Cameron his insults and broken promises and back him in 2 years time.

      Do you honestly think the desperation is due to a policy success on your part?

      Reply: As you know from his few comments on the topic of UKIP Mr Cameron does not have a high opinion of their political salience.

      • mike
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:03 am | Permalink

        Could you explain why this is?

        Is it because we is plebs?

        • Winston Smith
          Posted January 24, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

          It is because the LibLabCon elite drink, dine, sleep and live in the same enclaves as the media elite, who will propogate their agenda. LibLabCon are also able to sell honours and influence to wealthy donors, and thereby, able to spend £ms on elections.

          • Mike
            Posted January 24, 2013 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

            John’s response does tend to suggest that Mr C has no respect for the common man….

          • APL
            Posted January 27, 2013 at 10:46 am | Permalink

            Mike: “John’s response does tend to suggest that Mr C has no respect for the common man….”

            It’s mutual.

    • Mark W
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      JR, maybe my late night comment was a little brash and didn’t pay enough attention to the fact that about a third of the parliamentary Tory party did play their part. I think it only fair to also state that you are a fair player as you could easily have not displayed my post, but you don’t run from arguments.

      Was it 81 Tories in the referendum Lobby. I know there were more, well one, who would have but didn’t for good reason.

      Whilst I conceed that yourself and colleagues have put pressure on Cameron I still think the fear of UKIP is the principle reason behind this. Maybe it will pay off. A friend of mine who is a Labour supporter made his mind up yesterday to switch to UKIP. Possibly heat of the moment, who knows. I believe Cameron is playing on people like me who are sworn to UKIP but just may with the pencil in my hand in the solitude of the ballot booth, return to the fold. Who knows, I wouldn’t put money on it either way.

      But for now, I still believe the real pressure is the fear of UKIP and that is my game. I only hope that UKIP don’t stand against any of the 81 in marginals, especially some of the younger intake.

      Reply There were 81 of us who voted for the referendum and 19 who abstained, against a 3 line whip.
      I can assure you on the basis of the conversations I have had with the Conservative leaders that UKIP was not on their mind when drafting the Europe speech. Their main preoccupations leading to this speech have been how to respond to the torrent of legislation and Treaty change from the Euro area designed to complete the much greater Euro union. They have been seeking a way to position the Uk inside the trading arrangements but outside the greater union. They have also had on their mind the strong feelings in the Parliamentary Conservative party urging them to define a new policy and make a big speech on the subject. The phrase “a new relationship” emerged from these MP discussions, as did the enthusiaism for a referendum. There has been much discussion of all this between MPs and Ministers over the last month. The Conservative party as well as the national interest was on their mind. Their pollsters tell them UKIP will not do well in 2015 and that they need to win back Labour and Lib Dem voters.You may disagree but I can assure you that is what the Conservative leadership thinks.

      • Winston Smith
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

        The main pollster, Peter Kellner, is married to one of the EU chiefs, former (left winger-ed), Baroness Ashton. (suggests he is using polls pro EU but the piece actually shows him trying to understand reasons for sharp fluctuaitons in In/Out results in a neutral way-ed)

      • Mark W
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        Whilst I really struggle to believe UKIP was not a factor, I will take you at your word because of previous experience. I’ve known you make comments before, against a tide of common belief that I actually knew to be factually correct.

        This then leads me to believe that maybe the EU will allow this to roll the way of the UK to have a core Eurozone, maybe not who’s in it now, and a flexible tier for countries like us and maybe Sweden, Greece, Norway who will be more like Canada and Mexico, whereas Germany and France will be like Ohio and Connecticut.

        However UKIP have a part to play in this story. Who knows where this will go. Maybe the Tories will not stand in hopeless seats and let UKIP be the lone right wing party against labour in the urban north.

        • Alan Wheatley
          Posted January 25, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

          Bear in mind Conservative policy is to stay in the EU and for a referendum vote to be YES. In stark contrast UKIP policy is to leave the EU and for a referendum vote to be NO.

          Several media commentators seem to be thrilled with the thought that by offering a referendum Cameron has provided what UKIP are seeking, but for UKIP the referendum is but a means to an end.

  94. Peter Lloyd
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    1. Vital speech and reflects the mood of the British people as it has been for many years
    2. Brave speech in that he went further than he needed to have done as he has the establishment against him
    3. The surge in UKIP poll support had a big effect on the strength of the commitments made in the speech
    4. Big risk is a repeat of the 1975 situation when the changes negotiated were minimal and people were not told the truth about the nature of the EU project.
    5. Risk that Cameron doesn’t believe what he himself is saying and will reverse position after the 2015 election

  95. Christopher Ekstrom
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    UKIP is surging. The cat is out of the bag. Via con Dios, Cast Iron. A wretched, lying speech & a promise that will hang him (finally!) on his own petard. God Bless you, Nigel Farage.

  96. David Price
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    A good start if he means it, but what is key are the deeds not the words. If this isn’t just a cynical attempt to stave off criticism for 5 years then we need to know who is leading this negotiation, what are the goals and material content, what is the plan.

    No-one will have any faith in an exercise which potters quietly along then offers some low grade outcome after 5 years of silence. An early step should be stopping unfettered immigration from any country …

  97. oldtimer
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    His speech has changed the terms of the political debate. That is to be welcomed. It will come down to votes and ability to command the confidence of those wielding the votes.

    In the HoC that is the increasingly large bloc of Conservative MPs who want changes on Europe. Your pressure and that of your like-minded colleagues has achieved that shift.

    In the country at large I believe that UKIP `s influence will continue to be manifested through the MEP elections next year. My expectation is that UKIP will do even better next time than last time. This will concentrate Cameron`s mind and, probably, the minds of his EU counterparts.

    It is clear from comments by many inside the EU that they do not understand UK political history, the issue of national sovereignty and the strength of feeling against absorption into a political body run by qmv and the Brussels bureaucracy. The same can said about Clegg and Miliband, who have put themselves in the wrong place on this issue. If the UK electorate wants better terms, they must keep on pushing the issue by whatever electoral means that are available.

    Reply: UKIP’s showing at the last European elections did not influence Mr Cameron. He forecast and looked instead at their poor showing in the 2010 election.

  98. Julian Foster
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    I am delighted that we are to get a referendum (if the Conservatives win the election), but very cynical about Cameron’s motives. I suspect a ploy simply to win votes from UKIP. If he wins the election, he will gain trivial concessions from Europe, and then present them as a massive victory which will lead him to claim that Britain must remain a member of the EU and he will campaign vigorously for this. I do not trust his motives and urge support for UKIP at every opportunity. I say this after a lifetime support for the Conservatives who have let the people of this country down so badly. If Cameron is serious about significant repatriation of powers, let him state clearly what they are to be. All he has mentioned is the Working Time Directive. Is this the best he can offer?

  99. Demetrius Skortou
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    I heard the speech, David Cameron gave on the EU, promising the British people an in/out referendum on Europe, after the next election.

    However, all this depends on, his party winning the next election and if the EU wants to concede powers back to the UK.

    Personally, I cannot see EU member states handing back any powers, when the European Union has spent 40 years taking away all these powers, from the British people without their consent.

    What does the EU mean by further integration into the EU?

    Not once in 40 years, has the EU ever spelt out in specific terms to the British people, exactly what they want us to accept, 5,10 years down the line?

    Does the EU want; a European armed force, police force, tax control & harmonisation, control over the business activities of London’s square mile, increases in our yearly budget to the EU, control over immigration, more money the EU wants to keep trying to bail out the likes of Greece, Italy, Spain, etc?

    What do the bureaucrats in Brussels actually want from us? Why don’t they write out, a list of EU type policies, so the British people can have a much clearer idea, exactly what we would be voting for, if the Conservatives win the next election in 2015 and give us that in/out referendum?

    It seems clear to me, that those within the EU want the British people to sign a blank cheque and walk blind into the unknown of further integration into the EU!

    Why can’t the British people have this in/out referendum, the same time as the local council elections this summer?

    How are we going to cope with up to 29 more million migrants from Bulgaria/Rumania in 2014? Where are they going to live and how much more costs, is this going to put on our benefit bill, which currently stands at £200 billion a year?

    No wonder a significant number of British people are angry & confused over this EU, they don’t know exactly what more policies, Brussels Bureaucrat’s are going to impose over the next five years?

    We know that, in 5 years time, we would of paid another 70 billion pounds into this EU & more immigrants, into this country, the British people didn’t vote for in the first place!

    The reality is; I have as much chance as finding the Holy Grail, on the planet Mars, than David Cameron has of winning the next election & giving the British people an in/out referendum on the EU!!!!

    What exactly, would we be voting for or against in an in/out referendum on the EU in the first place ??? Why can’t we be told?

    I believe I speak for the vast majority of British people, who are sick to death of these British/EU politicians treating us all like little children, of witch, certain facts of life, have to be kept!

    Yours Sincerely,

    Demetrius Skortou

  100. Freeborn John
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Bottom line is that the speech represents a red letter day for EU-sceptics but we still need to win the referendum (if Cameron/vague Hague deliver on it) and that battle must now commence.

    I think Cameron will get a big poll bounce because of this, but I don’t think those who voted UKIP in 2010 will switch, especially if Labour matches the referendum promise which I believe they will do. The switchers will only come from soft-UKIP supporters who did not vote UKIP im 2010 but have told pollsters since then that they will, and from Labour and LifFem voters who can’t stomach these parties’ EU policies. And that fundamentally means the Tories will lose again im 2015 because 3-4% voting UKIP is enough to see the Tories post-Maastricht losing streak extended.

    We cannot trust the LibLabCon politicians on the EU and all must acknowledge that this referendum rubicon was only crossed because sufficient numbers voted UKIP to deny Cameron a majority in 2010. That must happen again in 2015 such that Cameron is replaced by a real EU-sceptic who can campaign to take us out. Everything must now focus on winning this referendum and Cameron as leader represents an impediment to that goal. If Labour matches this referendum pledge then UKIP supporters must stay loyal in 2015 to ensure an even better red letter day of national liberation.

  101. Bazman
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    The idea that Cameron and the Tories will still be in power and that the EU will let a cheap labour camp and it’s victims exist outside the EU with access to its markets in five years time is about as likely as the foreign companies staying after an exit, which is not going to be the result of the referendum proposed by a Tory government not in power by one in power to spook the foreign owned companies from coming or staying here. Ram it.

    • Mark W
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      Well the one thing none of us can really know is the effect on foreign business. Technically in the minds of proEU fantasists foreign companies will run now as it’s uncertain times. But what if they don’t.

      One set of foreign businesses that will still trade here is people that need to be on the street like Starbucks. But what about BMW, they’ll still need dealerships on UK soil, as will many large employers. So will imported goods need dockers and truck drivers. Construction will still be here, so if we lose a car plant will this not be balanced by waving bye bye to the east Europeans who have driven wages on the floor as the working time directive and minimum wage are unenforcable in practice. As ever, looking forward to ramming it!

      • Bazman
        Posted January 25, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

        Starbucks and car dealerships. Big employers and tax contributors? Dockers? Are there still any left? The trucking industry will be the first to go. Yeah. Right.

  102. The PrangWizard
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Someone has to get Cameron to say he will be prepared to campaign for ‘No’ vote if he does not get what has told us all is necessary and vital. My fear is that whatever changes he may get, however weak they are, will be trumpeted and asserted as good for us all and therefore please all of you mugs vote ‘Yes’.
    I remain of the view that completely out is in the best interests of Britain, and England in particular, because anything less means that we will be drawn back in.
    He has lied today claiming that his goverment is getting the debt down. Just plain stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

  103. John Wrake
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,
    It is all too easy to get tied up in argument about a referendum’s date, origin, terms, possibilities, etc. and to forget what is really required – the exit of the U.K. from an organisation whose aims, attitudes, government, laws and practices are inimical to the wellbeing of this country. Our membership originated in a lie about no loss of sovereignty and the lies have continued. It is easy to blame our politicians – not so easy to accept our individual responsibility for those we elect and then fail to hold to account, not to keep ourselves informed of what they do.
    It is past the time for political monoeuvres where the E.U. is concerned. We want OUT and it is up to you and your fellow M.Ps. to organise it in a peaceable but effective manner. If you cannot do it, others undoubtedly will.

  104. Wilko
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    Laws exist to protect people. The EU acts as if so much is at risk, new laws must be constantly generated to fix protection in every direction. Often the risks they envision are mere ghosts. The scope of what they rule is far beyond what we want or afford.

    Money demanded for unwanted protection could be described as a protection racket. Some protection-payers have found that paying up may be less worse than the consequences of resisting.

    Although the money is a matter of principle, some UK citizens might think it would be better to pay up, and save the EU needing to provide its unwanted protection. If we pay them and they drop unwanted rules, their precious income is maintained at less cost. They would gain efficiency; we would be less encumbered with nuisance. Whereas the UK would bear the cost, its people would be free.

    Some people fight to gain freedom, whatever the cost. Perhaps the EU as a Nobel Peace Laureate should liberate the UK free of charge.

  105. Martin
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    Unless we are all very surprised and get the Common Agricultural Policy reformed I suspect all we will get is some window dressing in the form of the lettuce designation rules or something equally earth shattering. Mind you it will all be dressed up with much spin e.g. there will be so much powers coming back that MPs will be jolly lucky to get even Christmas day off.

    I can imagine old Harold Wilson (if he were still around) thinking – been there – done that.

  106. Alan Wheatley
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    I have given further thought to the speech and what other have been saying.

    David Cameron has said that he believes that the best future for the UK is as a member of the EU. But he has come to realise that the EU as is, and even more so as it will become under pressure from Euro-Countries, is not what the UK wants. He rightly points out that the EU is currently not homogeneous. And if there has to me substantial changes within the EU to accommodate the Euro-Country requirements, then why not also changes to meet UK requirements.

    There is a certain logic to this strategy. However, the EU is not so much an example logical politics as of ideological politics. For the strategy to work solutions are required for two major problems.

    Firstly everyone will need to be convinced that the EU Cameron foresee can possibly work. He is advocating a union in which the eurozone is for ever closer union and the surrender of more powers along side the UKzone which is for moving apart and the repatriation of powers. These seems to be two zones with objectives that are at odds, and in what sense they could operate compatibly in a union I do not know, and it will be up to Cameron to prove.

    Secondly Cameron can only achieve his objective if other member states agree. No matter how sensible and reasonable the strategy may seem to him it does not follow that others can be persuaded to see things the same way. I recall a previous time when the Conservative counter to ever closer union was enlargement on the basis that the more states in the Union the less regulation there would have to be for it to work. This was an enormous miss-calculation, as events have proved. There has always been, and remains, the irritation that the UK view of the World is not that of Mainland Europe.

    If Cameron does manage to unite the Conservatives and the Country, and make the rest of the EU happy and UKIP inconsequential, then he will have preformed an escape from the hole in which he finds himself that far surpasses anything Houdini ever achieved!

    • sjb
      Posted January 25, 2013 at 6:31 pm | Permalink


      There are not going to be two zones. By 2017, nearly all member states will probably be using the euro with the risk that the Eurogroup acts as a caucus. Remember when Cameron exercised the ‘veto’ a few months ago? The fiscal compact treaty still came into effect – outside the EU.

  107. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted January 26, 2013 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    Mr Cameron has not yet said what is the negotiating position, what the bottom line is (minimum recovery of powers), and who will have the final responsibility for specifying these in our manifesto.

    It’s not going to be him. We’ve been lied to too often by Harold Wilson and by many pro-European Conservative politicians ever to trust them again.

    No. The bottom line in particular is going to be specified by the Conservative grass roots and Mr Cameron is going to be TOLD what to put in the manifesto – or else. This process should be completed early so that we can purge the Conservative Party’s candidates list of people who refuse to support it, and line up a list of 500 Eurosceptic Life Peers in case the House of Lords gets uppity.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted January 26, 2013 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      And my bottom line is:
      Repeal of the commitment to ever closer union
      Repeal of our Act of Accession to the Maastricht Treaty
      Repeal of our Act of Accession to the Amsterdam Treaty
      Repeal of our Act of Accession to the Nice Treaty
      Repeal of our Act of Accession to the Lisbon Treaty

      That gets rid of all the Euro-Federal stuff from British Law at a stroke. Once the continental nations accept this as a fait accompli, the rest of the renegotiation
      should be manageable if protracted. Euro-Federalism? Just say ‘no’.

  108. bigneil
    Posted January 26, 2013 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    couple of things

    mr cameron promises a referendum if he gets voted back in – -whats to stop him just “changing his mind” if he actually got voted in again?? – – years of lies by politicians show that nothing would – or could – be done – -people have lied and lied for years to get voted in – -then effectively stick 3 fingers (inflation ) up to the people who voted for them

    and second point – -why when any EU country has financial problems – -does angela merkel go?? – -has germany been elected to run the EU – -or is it a case of germany just “self promoting” themselves by stealth – -where – – if they keep turning up automatically then the rest of the EU just accept and assume that germany has total control on EU finances ??

    I have seen this effect at work where a group of equal status men ran the warehouse – -then one started turning up in a shirt and tie – to do a manual job ?? – and conveniently decided – himself – to do the office workside – -no managerial interference – -but this left “his” side of the manual work for the others to do – -which caused the others resentment as sometimes the manual job involved getting dirty and wet. – -eventually the position was created for him and he was (officially ) put in charge – -not because he was the best – -but – -as one manager told me when i questioned why this farce had been allowed to happen – -HE was the one who turned up in a shirt and tie – -????? – -he made so many mistakes that his manual colleagues still had to do half the office side for him – -and it ended up with the manual people either swapping department or leaving to get away from him- -what a ridiculous situation – – but is this what is happening – – germany taking over by letting the rest sit back???

  • 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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