A pretend Parliament?


          How many EU laws and decisions does it take before people admit we no longer are self governing?  This was the central question I asked during the recent Parliamentary debate. Law by law, Directive by Directive, decision by decision, our democracy is being taken away.

            Of course Parliament remains sovereign for the one single reason – it could always repeal or amend  the 1972 European Communities Act. The day  that option becomes impossible or too remote for anyone serious to contemplate, then we have to accept that sovereignty has passed from our islands to Brussels. An In/Out referndum promised by a party that could win a General Election keeps that idea very much alive as an option.

           This same process of democratic erosion and centralisation has affected the other member states as well as the UK. Why is it only the UK that worries about it? There are a variety of reaons.

           On Thursday evening I was on a panel answering questions about the EU economies  and the Euro. The Moderator when asking the first question characterised it as one needing a European to answer first. She passed it to the Dutchman on the panel, saying he was European. It was as revealing as the moment as when I was asked if I had visited Europe recently by someone who thought I was too Eurosceptic. Even the most Euroenthusiast of UK citizens do not automatically see themselves as Europeans. They see Dutch, German and French people as Europeans, but not us Brits. The EEC was sold as a trade agreement, and so it remains in many British minds. It is not a warm feeeling in most British hearts.

          UK history is different from the history of so many continental countries. Invasion and occupation by Italians and French was two millenia and one millenium ago. In more recent history the Uk has defended her liberties and defeated continental aggressors, be they Spanish, French or German. As a result we do not fear the large neighbours as so many EU countries do. We also think that post 1945 the main powers on the continent are peace loving, and well behaved thanks to NATO and the US powerful watch. We do not think another western European war is at all possible, with or without the EU.

            The keenest members of the EU are the poorer countries. They join to get their living standards up closer to the rest. They join to benefit from subsidies and transfers to them from the richer countries. It is a transfer or subsidy union. They welcome EU laws, because they anticipate the EU law will be better and more consistent than the law codes they were used to under Russian tyranny or the rule of the Generals.

             The UK has to pay many of the bills for the subsidies, so the subsidy union is not popular here. The UK has plenty of laws of its own, and knows it can always change governments and lawmakers if it does not like its domestic laws. It sees EU interference in the lawmaking process as undemocratic and annoying.

             The UK is a gobally engaged island. It is a dynamic place that grasps the huge changes that the rise of Asia and the dominance of the internet are causing. It means we will always have a different view of the EU from the rest. It also means we will not join their monetary, fiscal and political union. We do need a new relationship as soon  as  possible.

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  1. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    I happened to watch your speech which I respect as a very sincere and emotional plea. Rather to my surprise there were also a number of pro-EU speeches, especially towards the end of the debate. I remember this Welsh MP who very much declared himself as feeling a “European”, as well as British and Welsh (you’d already left the chamber).
    There are some points where I’d disagree with you:
    While we see centralization now , it’s a misconception to think that there can only be centralization in the EU. Is the US a story of never any decentralization? Isn’t there devolution in your own union (UK)? The Dutch are more optimistic about a two-way channel, as e.g subsidiarity could provide.
    The UK is indeed different from many continental countries, but I’d shiver at the thought that in principle a 30% popular vote at the ballot box could provide a party an overall majority in parliament, making it the “dictator” for the next five years. You may deny supranational democracy, but at least the European Parliament is perfectly proportional.
    I will say that I enjoyed watching parts of your H.o.C. as wel H.o.L. debates on the EU. There was quite a wide spectrum of opinions, and I even saw my first ever UKIP representative! How did he make it to the H.o. L.?

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      One day you will take off your rose-tinted glasses about the EU but, I fear, it will then be too late.

      • lifelogic
        Posted February 3, 2013 at 5:05 am | Permalink

        It is too late already Cameron was the last chance and he ratted on the voters, lost the, sitting duck, election and will surely lose the next one – probably for two terms or more.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted February 3, 2013 at 8:32 am | Permalink

        @Brian Tomkinson: if you don’t mind that in the meantime I’ll continue to have a very happy life. May be I’ll just keep wearing them 🙂

        • lifelogic
          Posted February 3, 2013 at 10:00 am | Permalink

          They must be very powerful those rose tinted glasses. Are you sure they are safe to wear while driving, this as you clearly miss so much of what is actually going on?

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted February 3, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

          Peter–Do you imagine we are arguing about your being happy? If you say you are happy in the Netherlands I for one believe you, but so what exactly, what has that to do with us in the UK? You seem a reasonable enough chap but you might as well be in Timbuktu and say you are happy so far as I am concerned. This is or at least was England. Changing gear, instead of telling us about your happiness, are you able to answer my question (asked twice in fact), below, on how an offshore Euroeuro can apparently be prevented, as has been threatened? Be much obliged.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted February 4, 2013 at 6:11 am | Permalink

            @Leslie Singleton: all I did was reacting to Brian’s (repeated) suggestion of me being too naive, as a co-European.
            I’m not naive about the offshore euro trade and have argued before that over time (ie longterm) I see it diminish:
            1- the euro has clear political aspects
            2 – the ECB is about managing risk to is financial infrastructure as part of its duty.
            3 – the City (the UK) has been the most anti-euro hub on the planet. (Number 3 is my personal view)
            This could be managed very gradually so that the UK has time to gain strength in other areas like industry.
            Cameron causing a Brexit risk premium over all investments in the UK for at least the next five years may not be that helpful. The world’s largest hedgefund (its manager) was speculating last week that Poland might overtake the UK in EU influence.

    • Timaction
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      Mr Redwood you also pointed out very clearly that we don’t have to be in the EU to trade with it. Full stop. Point proven, that it is a hughly costly bureacratic, undemocratic political union. Good luck to our European friends, trade and friendship, nothing more!
      The mainstream parties meed to understand that the rest of the spin is……….just that. I’m amazed that in the age of the internet they think they can hide the rest of the “ever closer union” bit!

      • lifelogic
        Posted February 2, 2013 at 11:55 am | Permalink

        Indeed but the interest of the political elite and those of the public are divergent and those of the elite will prevail as they have the levers of power. The few democratic controls left are so weak. So we will get the absurd HS2, the EU and even the EURO eventually – whether we want it or not I suspect.

        With all the wheels oiled by cast rubber, say one thing do the opposite, politicians. There is no shortage of them it seems.

        • Disaffected
          Posted February 2, 2013 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

          299 tax increases and no public spending cuts to date. I wonder why the debt is increasing? I must enrol for a PPE course at Oxbridge! AKA, How to borrow money, pay interest and waste it.

          • lifelogic
            Posted February 3, 2013 at 10:03 am | Permalink

            How to profit personally in politics, while making a pigs ear of the economy and while damaging the economic prospects of everyone else.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted February 2, 2013 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

        @Timaction: trade & freindship and nothing more could of course be the outcome after your referendum. I do get the impression that in this internet age, the anti-EU pleading had been much more prevalent than the pro-EU arguing. That may have bcaome like that after anti-EU opinions weren’t properly represented in your parliament. E.g. UKIP followers had (have) no representation in your H.o.C. and thus not much else than internet to continue their struggle for UK independence.

      • Disaffected
        Posted February 2, 2013 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

        Baroness Warsi said on Question Time in relation to the intervention in Mali that it was an EU training mission. No one picked her up on it. JR, is this correct? EU defence force practicing for the future? Where does it leave Cameron’s referendum pledge?

        Clarke using language of fear in the most strongest terms on the radio the other day. He also appeared to speak firmly for Cameron’s intention about not leaving the EU. Who should we believe?

        As for UKIP, it is the only choice left open to us. The three main parties are vying for the same centre left socialist position. Cameron is a walking disaster, after the gay marriage vote this week more will leave the Tory fold.

        Reply: I think she meant UK trioops are there to train African soldiers to do the fighting and police work.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 3, 2013 at 10:03 am | Permalink

          Looking for something else I happened across this on the EU Parliament website:


          “Mali: “It’s a shame that the EU’s tactical battle groups are not being deployed””

          “France’s call for support in its campaign against Islamic militants in Mali has been met by mixed reactions from other member states. Although the EU has offered to train the Mali army, the EP’s security and defence subcommittee said it should also use its tactical battle groups, which are military units that the EU can rapidly deploy for international intervention. We spoke to chair Arnaud Danjean, a French member of the centre-right EPP group, about Mali and the common EU defence policy.”

        • lifelogic
          Posted February 3, 2013 at 10:06 am | Permalink

          Cameron clearly thinks just like Ken Clarke but thinks it is better politics not to say so and try to deceive. It won’t work twice.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      “Rather to my surprise there were also a number of pro-EU speeches”

      Why should that surprise you?

      For decades the pro-EU leaders of the three main parties have been doing their best to block potential candidates who are known to hold the wrong views on the EU, so of course among those they’ve allowed to enter the Commons there will be some who strongly support the destruction of our national democracy and our subjugation in a European federation.

      It’s even worse in the Lords, where older traitors have been permanently installed with no reason to fear the electorate and in too many cases with every reason to fear losing their EU pensions.

      • lifelogic
        Posted February 2, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

        “pro-EU speeches” is a bit of a misnomer. They are usually just repetitive statements, dishonest statistics and waffle. Things like 50% of our trade, a seat at the table, there is no alternative, the ERM and EURO were great but not at the right time/rate, we benefit hugely from all the regulation and fees – all the usual guff. No substantive arguments are ever put.

        I see Charles Moore has a good article today “This-Equality-obsession-is-mad-bad-and-very-dangerous”


        If we could just kill the renewable/warming religion, the enforced “equality” religion and the ever bigger state, taxes and regulation religions we could perhaps start some real recovery. Needless to say all still BBC obsessions, one assumes they have Cameron’s man at the Beeb, Lord Patten’s full approval.

        • Bazman
          Posted February 2, 2013 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

          Real kitchen supper stuff. Happy with a 100k a year and a holiday home in the in the Cotswolds. Simple life. for modest simple people who are average in every way. BBC sitcom types..
          Charles Moore writes about woman fighting on the front line being regressive for human civilization and then about increasing inequality being regressive also. Really? Have nothing and be happy with it. Don’t remember this rule being one humanity likes to stick too and a few revolutions recently have been about just this idea. The increasing inequality of this countries poor and an ever richer elite exploiting them is not a cause for concern? What planet are you and him on? Is everyone to be happy with getting less and just being told to stop being jealous not a very dangerous situation for the ones in the middle who are neither skint or rich? Another aristocracy is being created against all democratic principals because of this inequality and where is this going to lead? One a world scale this can be seen as a major threat. Give me a reason why they should accept that for the first time in generations their children will have worse lives than themselves? No one will ever accept this. Ever. The communication systems are on the verge of a massive step forward beyond human comprehension and hiding the facts for governments and corporations will become ever more difficult. The riots in London where an eye opener for the police regarding phones for example. Cyber attacks may well be a game changer. Kitchen supper will never be the same and the dinner service ruined. Ram it.

        • Bazman
          Posted February 3, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

          Here’s a comment in this weeks Observer saying pretty much what I am saying. Try reading something sensible instead of your ‘absurd’ ‘not very sensible’ fawning over a non productive 1% and other right wing nonsense lifelogic.


    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      “While we see centralization now , it’s a misconception to think that there can only be centralization in the EU … The Dutch are more optimistic about a two-way channel, as e.g subsidiarity could provide.”

      It’s a misconception to think that “ever closer union” can mean anything other than “ever closer union”, for example “a less close union than we have now”, and it’s another misconception to think that in the face of the paramount commitment to a process of “ever closer union” the apparent reversal, “subsidiarity”, can be anything other than a worthless and insulting sop.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted February 2, 2013 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

        @Denis Cooper: Of course I don’t know when opinion, as expressed through elections, will judge that union between the peoples of Europe will be close enough, but let me point to a simple feature in the Netherlands, which I suspect also can be seen in the UK:
        Depending on government, political opinion and independent advice, I have seen, during my life, competences move from munipical and provincial level to national level and vise versa. You could say that it is done on perceived effectiveness. For instance, the new Dutch government has the word decentralization 13 x in its coalition declaration of 29-10-2012, refering to decentralization of competences (policies and finances) in areas of care, youth, probation, disability, unemployment and railway infrastructure. As said, I remain optimistic with regard to the potential of subsidiarity. Maybe you’ll prove me wrong in 5 years time, let’s see.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 3, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

          How can you honestly cite whatever may have happened within the Netherlands as some kind of model for what could happen within the EU, when you know better than most people that the EU treaties are deliberately designed to operate against it?

          • peter van Leeuwen
            Posted February 3, 2013 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper: You are full of mistrust and I’ll respect that. But my (Dutch) government, europhile as it may be, is perfectly serious about these two-way posibilities in the EU. You may have read our prime-minister also arguing for the possibility of a possibility for countries to leave the euro. This of course will not happen overnight but will take years to argue for. Don’t forget that even something simple as the article 50 (“the ultimate repatriation exercise”) wasn’t there in treaties before the Lisbon Treaty. It runs counter to your argument of this deliberate design in the EU treaties. Apparently the EU isn’t “for life”as still is claimed about the euro.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, but who has proposed the bankrupt US as a role model? It has a crime rate that is through the roof, it fights too many foreign wars and it periodically sets its rotweiller legal profession onto foreign owned businesses. And in case you haven’t noticed, it’s much vaunted constitution is a recipe for paralysis.

      No, we want the UK to be an independent medium sized sovereign nation that trades world wide as much as possible, and doesn’t subsidise crazy wars, backward agriculture and stupid projects. What is wrong with that?

    • sjb
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

      Lord Ashcroft, a Tory peer, conducted a poll after Cameron’s speech with the promise of the in/out referendum.

      The poll found the numbers feeling positive about Britain’s EU membership rose from 18% to 22%; the “better off out” cohort fell from 34% to 26%.[1]

      His Lordship commented: “The Conservatives are no more likely to be seen as united, or to have clear plans to deal with Britain’s problems, than they were last autumn. Not surprisingly, given all this, the promise of an EU referendum has not unleashed a desire for an overall Conservative majority. […] Most people do not pay much attention to politics at all; when they do, let’s make sure they hear something that changes their view of the Conservative Party, not just of Europe.” [2]

      [1] http://lordashcroftpolls.com/2013/02/the-europe-speech-has-cheered-tories-not-moved-votes/
      [2] Ibid

    • Peter Davies
      Posted February 3, 2013 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      @pvl Take your rose tinted glasses off for one minute and you will see that Euro MPs do not have the executive law/regulation making powers in the way the HOC do. That’s the issue, you need accountable law makers, people you can kick out, not appointed bureaucrats that implement our laws

      • uanime5
        Posted February 3, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        MEPs don’t have executive powers because they’re the legislator, not the executive. Separation of powers is considered a good thing in a democracy because it prevents one group from having absolute power.

        Also MEPs are accountable as they’re elected every 5 years and can be fired for misconduct.

        Reply: But they are on a party list which makes firing them by the electors difficult.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted February 3, 2013 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

        @Peter Davies: That is a bit theoretical. Have a look at practice and you’ll see that the HOC is more of a rubber-stamping organisation than the European Parliament which has equal decision and modification rights with the European Council. The European Commission’s right to initiate drafts for regulations, uin practice id often getting instructions (from the European Council) to make proposals for this and that.
        You cannot really compare a treaty organisation like the EU with a country like the UK, but if you underestimate the power of the European Parliament, you’re making a mistake in my view.

        • Peter Davies
          Posted February 4, 2013 at 11:18 am | Permalink

          @PVL Thats the whole point, the HOC is INDEED a rubber stamping organization now. JR pointed this out last week when he described how the percentages of HOC business in divided up now compared to the Thatcher era.

          Circa 80% of laws coming from the EU put together by an unelected executive over which we plebs or even EU parliamentarians from any EU state have a say, that’s the reality. If this goes any further, the HOC and other sovereign state parliaments will be reduced to nothing more than glorified Welsh Assemblies.

          The opposition only vote about legislation which originates in the UK so the policy focus and debate becomes ever narrower domestically because important decisions are increasingly in the hands of people we have never heard of, voted in or even care about.

          They say power corrupts, I’m afraid this arrangement is a huge recipe for corruption in order to run a group of countries to serve the interests of a few and I feel history will salute the likes of the owner of this blog for pointing the reality to the masses.

    • stred
      Posted February 3, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Peter, I have more respect for Holland than most countries and wish the UK had similar abilities in industry, education and town planning. However, what do you think of the EU parliament’s decision to enhance their tax free salaries by political party funding through tax, and deny funding to parties that the liberal/socialist establishment does not like?

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted February 4, 2013 at 6:29 am | Permalink

        @Stred: That’s a difficult one I haven’t read up about yet. Anti-EU parties as such have always been accepted in the EP, so there must be another reason than likability in the eyes of the establishment.

  2. Peter Wiles
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    I think you’ve hit the nub of the issue here. Britain hasn’t been occupied since 1066, and hasn’t been a dictatorship since the 1650s. Almost every other EU country has, and I can’t help thinking that being occupied in the recent past stops them having to think for themselves. It’s a security blanket that, however much they may claim to be democracies, gives them a nice warm feeling which the EU also provides. The British can never share that feeling and will always be stroppy about it until we leave the EU.

    • miami.mode
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      I thoroughly agree.

      You only have to watch the World at War series currently running on the Yesterday channel to realise how numerous countries in Europe have fared over the past 100 years or so.

      In living memory many have been subject to invasion, tyranny or an uncertain future so consequently they welcome the security of the EU – complete with the Euro.

      Our history is fundamentally different with a consequent different mindset and for years to come many of us will not consider ourselves as European.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      What about the dictatorships of King Charles II and James II? What about William of Orange overthrowing the English King James in 1688? Seriously did no one study the period of history between the English Civil War and and industrial revolution?

      How exactly does being occupied in the past stop countries thinking for themselves? At what point did Spain, France, Germany, Austria, or Russia stop thinking for themselves?

      Also just because the England/Britain/UK wasn’t a dictatorship doesn’t make it a democracy. It was more of a plutocracy where the wealthy/nobles ruled, just like Poland was. The only true democracies in Europe were the Italian city states, such as Venice.

      • APL
        Posted February 3, 2013 at 10:31 am | Permalink

        miami.mode: “numerous countries in Europe have fared over the past 100 years or so.”

        uanime5: ” .. overthrowing the English King James in 1688? ”

        So let’s see, according to uanime5 ‘the past 100 years or so’ includes the last five hundred years.

        Is it any wonder it is neigh impossible to have a discussion with this fellow, he/she has the same attitude to the meaning of words as Humpty Dumpty.

        • uanime5
          Posted February 3, 2013 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

          I wasn’t replying to miami.mode, I was replying to Peter Wiles. Do try to read the what’s written rather than what you think people have written.

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted February 3, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

            unanime–Sometimes hard to follow (believe?) what you are saying so if you were to preface your comments by whom they are addressed to it might help

          • APL
            Posted February 3, 2013 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

            uanime5: “Do try to read the what’s written rather than what you think people have written.”

            Good point. However your posts come with a heavy discount so mostly get the attention they deserve.

    • Peter Davies
      Posted February 4, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      That pretty much sums up the approach of the former USSR states who all seem to favour this concept. They lived under totalitarian structures for years after WW2 fought to get out, eventually won their rights of self governance and decided somewhere along the way to put an E in front of USSR and start the whole process over again, albeit this time a posher version with more money.

      Then you look at the likes of Ireland who fought tooth and nail to break away from the UK but are now in the position of having to ask EU permission to authorise their budgets and have been in a situation where the EU choose their national governments.

      As for the Balkans, we see the break up of Yugoslavia in the early 90s then those individual states fighting to get into this club so eventually they will be the same country again, which leads to the question of why did I and many others spend years keeping the peace so they could become free, democratic states?

      Its not to be a national conscious version of stockholm syndrome, spend all your life in a box, one day that box is opened, you feel extremely uncomfortable and need to go find another box……

      • Peter Davies
        Posted February 4, 2013 at 11:35 am | Permalink

        “Its not to be a national conscious” – replace the word “not” with “got”

  3. Brian Taylor
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    The last sentence (we do need a new relationship as soon as possible) is correct prefablely by the end of this year otherwise the problem of immigration of Romanian’sand Bulgarian’ will be the same Labour faced with Poland and the other eastern countries that joined the EU in2004?.
    I voted to stay in the Common Market in 1975,now aged67 I hope I live long enough to vote leave IF we get the chance!
    What if DC get some powers back? I remember we have been lied to by Ted Heath,Harrold Wilson and all the Great and the Good about The Common Market, the ERM, the Euro,
    It’s about time the MPs earned there money and the Civil Service had some real work to do not just Box Ticking Lawes from Europe.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

      One thing that you will have noticed from the 1974/75 period is that Harold Wilson promised a throrough renegotiation followed by an In/Out referendum. In a very limited way he delivered. However, the items renegotiated were so small that at this distance in time I cannot even remember what they were. Furthermore, the continental powers made it a condition of the renegotiated terms that Harold Wilson’s government would recommend a ‘Yes’ vote. This was a major factor in securing the 2:1 ‘Yes’ vote.

      Given this experience, what is there to prevent David Cameron from behaving as Harold Wilson did? I put it to Mr Redwood that the only way to ensure that we get what we want is to specify our negotiating position (including the ‘bottom line’) in the Conservative Party manifesto of 2015 and to field candidates that will fully back that position.

      Reply: I agree, or accelerate the renegotiation with a Mandate referendum.

    • bigneil
      Posted February 3, 2013 at 12:55 am | Permalink

      as everyone knows – but some in power wont admit to – we are shortly to be (joined-ed) by thousands of people who most of us believe are coming for a free life on our benefits system. there will be some who are genuinely coming here in the hope of finding work – -but the rest will be coming here to freeload (or worse-ed) – -we all know it – the reputation of both countries is (not the best-ed)

      words left out

      also – will the children be required to attend school – (words left out-ed) – OR will they just be allowed to walk around the streets helping their (word left out) parents – -who probably wont get punished (if they misbehave-ed) as it will be deemed in court as “their culture and their human rights” – -by a taxpayer funded lawyer of course !! – how long in school before the kids here – (etc etc)
      to finish – just watched a police program where an englishman was stopped and rigourously questioned as to why he had £150 on him – -will the next load of east europeans – if in the same situation – be able to answer – well officer – we are on english benefits – followed by a reply of – – – of course – sorry to have bothered you sir!

  4. lifelogic
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    We do need a new relationship as soon as possible. Indeed we do but Cameron gave away the last election and simply does not want any UK democracy. Labour, who will replace him, in a couple of years, for perhaps 2-3 terms – do not want any either. So how is it ever to come about?

    Cameron was the last chance, alas he ratted on his promises, put a big state, high tax fake green agenda to the nation and predictably lost.

    It was interesting on Question time BBC1 that virtually the only people in favour of HS2 were the unelected Baroness Warsi and Alan Johnson how can the political class be so in favour of something that make no economic sense whatsoever and when it is supported by almost none of the public.

    Alan Johnson said it will reduce intercity flights, but why does he want to do that, they are more efficient than HS trains anyway, more flexible and less vulnerable to terrorism or the trade unions. As so often the public are right and the political class totally mad.

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      Meanwhile on any questions Ken Clarke claims the UK is not in as bad a position as Greece, Ireland and Portugal – he might have included Spain and Italy too which are in a mess too. Any why might that be Ken?
      Because we did not follow your advice and enter the EURO perhaps? Shame we wasted so much on the ERM he loved so much too.

      Still he is sound, and has been throughout, on both Iraq and on the absurd over regulation of childcare I suppose.

      • Disaffected
        Posted February 2, 2013 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

        Heseltine still advocates the UK joining the Euro and he is an adviser to Cameron!! Clarke, minister without portfolio. Says it all about Cameron’s austerity drive does it not.

        299 tax increases no spending cuts and two years to go before the general election. Not much hope of achieving any of the goals he pledged to the public, however private goals about changing the Tory party are on target I would imagine.

        • APL
          Posted February 3, 2013 at 11:52 am | Permalink

          Disaffected: “Clarke, minister without portfolio.”

          Yea, why is that? Jobs for the boys?

          Or Peripatetic minister for the interest of the European Union?

          Either way, in these times of supposed austerity, Clarke should be on the back benches.

          • Peter Davies
            Posted February 4, 2013 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

            Go one step further – try member of the Bilderberg Group Steering Committee along with Peter Mandelson. I won’t post any links but Google it, there’s a lot of information, the difficulty is verifying how much of it is true.

    • a-tracy
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic, I can see the benefit of HS but for the Northern part of the project from Birmingham to Scotland. Taking a plane from Manchester to Glasgow is a nightmare. You need your passport which I hadn’t anticipated as it was an internal UK flight. The controls to board took ages to get through. The tiny plane couldn’t take off twice causing us to be late, we were stuck in the airport for 3 hours because you have to be there at least one hour before take off. It’s expensive too. The train is slow, the parking expensive, each connection being a good half hour drive from our home. A fast speed connection from Manchester Airport to Glasgow or from Crewe to Glasgow would improve the infrastructure and business opportunities surely? At the moment the train takes 3 hrs 10 to 3hrs 30 mins from Crewe. The train service from Manchester to Glasgow at the moment is awful too, we try not to connect from there because we don’t like standing, over crowded trains.

      • lifelogic
        Posted February 2, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

        Well how many people want to go from Manchester to Glasgow at a given time on a given day at the the very price a high speed ticket would need to cost to break even? Certainly not enough to fill a large train I suspect. Coaches, cars, minibuses, and planes are more efficient in general.

        Anyway HS trains like Eurostar tend to move towards airport type of security too. It is door to door journey times that count.

        • Bazman
          Posted February 2, 2013 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

          How is possible to0 commute every day in car or a coach much further that fifty miles each way? You may well be right on the occasional journey, but many large swaths of the population need to get to work every day and to travel every day by car is not real or practical. The train system is part of the infrastructure of the country and this obsession with making a profit from something that cannot be profitable is a weight on the population. Basically the country is going to have to subsidies the housing or rail system. Your do nothing ideas are based on peole not traveling to work and living near their jobs with the occasional trip by plane or car. If done right a railway system could shrink the size of the country. France Germany and many other European countries have fast cheap and efficient railway systems. You would have been against the national electricity grid citing the same reasons no doubt. Local electricity generation, competition, best voltage, appliance manufactures etc.It interesting that the people in tower blocks are not against it going near to where they live. The kitchen supper eaters however are up in arms. What does that tell you? Come up with some arguments outside a middle class fantasy world thanks.

          • lifelogic
            Posted February 3, 2013 at 4:53 am | Permalink

            @Bazman “You would have been against the national electricity grid citing the same reasons no doubt”

            nonsense – transmission of (rather light) electricity is quite cheap and efficient. Just needing high voltages and some fairly thin wires. Transmission of people, real goods, and water for example is a different problem with different engineering solutions. Local generation does have the advantage that the waste heat sometimes be used with combined heat and power systems.

            People commuting large distances every day is not very efficient anyway. If they really want to do it they should pay the true costs not have the state subsidise the inefficiency.

          • oldtimer
            Posted February 3, 2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink

            French and German railways are not “cheap” as you describe them. They are just more heavily subsidised by taxpayers than in the UK.

        • lifelogic
          Posted February 2, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

          It is door to door journey times, relative costs (both ticket and subsidy) and general comfort and convenience that counts in the end.

          • RIDDI of England
            Posted February 3, 2013 at 11:47 am | Permalink

            I came across this and it set me thinking.
            Perhaps we are missing the bigger picture re trains v planes v cars.
            This 3 part article describes where we are now after 10 years development.
            In another 30 years it could be as common as Shale gas !
            and save us quite a lot of money.


            Its a 3 part article by the way.

            Any thoughts ?

          • Bazman
            Posted February 3, 2013 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

            Not comfortable driving a car for four hours a day and the commuting problems linked to the housing problem. Who should pay for the journey. The employee any chance? The job is often then not worthwhile unless you don’t mid living five to a room… The state is then subsiding business which I take you do not see a problem with. Again not real.

          • lifelogic
            Posted February 3, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

            Well perhaps we shall see – but people certainly need door to door transport for themselves, their goods and passengers much of the time. Trains cannot do this nor can they cope with unusual travel pattens and peaks like Christmas, Easter and bank holidays.

        • a-tracy
          Posted February 2, 2013 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

          I thought the whole point of the project was to create business opportunities and prosperity for the Midlands and the North and spread some of the overcrowding issues away from the South East northward, creating a situation where business people can traverse the UK and home again in one day will boost sales opportunities and help people in a whole range of situations.

          Perhaps not knowing how many people want to go to the NE and Eastern Scotland is why the M1 was never connected right the way up to Edinburgh by motorway and is poorly serviced by A roads creating long journey times for industry and people movement.

          • Peter Davies
            Posted February 3, 2013 at 11:49 am | Permalink

            Its been proven that approaches like this “suck people in” rather than spread the wealth out so the likely outcome is business moving south rather than north.

            This opinion is based on case studies elsewhere in the world

          • a-tracy
            Posted February 3, 2013 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

            John Prescott has written an article on Sunday to say the northern extension is a pie in the sky con trick to get HS2 through.

            This could be resolved by starting the project from Glasgow and Edinburgh southward to Leeds and Manchester first 🙂

        • Peter Davies
          Posted February 4, 2013 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

          There is a need for a decent link to Glasgow, I use part of that line, but as you say from my experience the journey from Crewe to Glasgow is popular but I have yet to see it over capacity.

          Given the cost and time frames I don’t see the case for HS2, update and improve what is already in place would be the wise thing to do.

          It might also be worth looking at studies carried out in other countries, they tend to suck people and business the other way rather than spread business out

  5. Steve Cox
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    “The day that option becomes impossible or too remote for anyone serious to contemplate, then we have to accept that sovereignty has passed from our islands to Brussels.”

    I think it has already passed. When the leaders of all three main political parties are rabid Europhiles you know that it’s passed. Mr Cameron may have made a fine speech that has satisfied many if not most of his Eurosceptical critics, but I’m surprised that so many people appear to have taken him at face value. Firstly, he is a consummate politician whose job is to say what people want to hear and to make them feel better about things, he does not regard his job as being to do what people want him to do as well. Witness the bloated and still growing Overseas Development budget if you want any proof of that. He must know that, given the state of the parties and the gloomy prospects for the coming two years, it is highly likely that a Miliband will be the next occupant of No 10, and his first act will likely be to cancel any plans for a referendum on EU membership. Even if, by some chance, Mr Cameron was re-elected in 2015, I am sure that he will find some means or other to either not hold or else completely fudge any referendum. Labour long promised us a referendum on the EU Constitution, remember, but Mr Brown found a way out of that easily enough. Before the 2010 election, Mr Cameron promised us a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, but he was able to backtrack on that promise easily enough too. So given recent history in these matters, I think it’s being rather naive to believe Mr Cameron’s latest promises are anything other than a means to get some peace and quiet on the subject for a while.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      Well said Steve, and I agree with your analysis.

      Tim Akers has recently cited the case of the EU establishing trade ties with countries like Japan, where there won’t be any political ties at all. Therefore, EU political union is superfluous, especially from the UK’s point of view is concerned as we won’t be part of the common currency. Yet they’ll still push as hard as they can to make it one!

      It’s this arrogant, ‘we now best, you’re just the proletariat’ nonsense that gets our backs up more than anything. These pro-Europeans won’t tell us how the EU will benefit the UK, because all their arguments fall down flat, yet they will pull every string, and work every flanker, to draw us ever-closer, even denying our right to have our say.

      I see Ashdown is the latest to come out and say it would be a mistake for Britain to have a referendum on our membership with the EU, so perhaps we need to study those two little words, ‘Liberal’ and ‘Democrat’. One cannot be liberal, if their policies are prescriptive, and they certainly cannot be democratic, if the wishes of the public are disregarded, and they are denied their right to have their say. Oh, and he might like to tell us who voted for him!

      Tad Davison


      • lifelogic
        Posted February 2, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

        The name LibDem is clearly satirical.

        Just as with almost any organisation that feels the need to put the word ‘independent’ or ‘democratic’ it the title.

        • Peter Davies
          Posted February 4, 2013 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

          East Germany used to be called DDR – the second D I believe meant democratic

    • lifelogic
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      Indeed one would have to be very gullible to trust him now?

    • APL
      Posted February 3, 2013 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      Steve Cox: “Mr Cameron may have made a fine speech that has satisfied many if not most of his Eurosceptical critics, ”

      Not this critic.

      I believe actions speak louder than words, this Prime minister has taken no action that might lead me to believe he is a latent EUrosceptic.

      In fact quite the contrary, one example will suffice, his fraudulent portrayal of his pretend veto that Mr Redwood desparately tries to make out was an actual veto.

      As you might expect from someone with experience only of the advertising industry, no substance just ‘perception’.

      An utter waste of time, tax payers money and space.

  6. Martin Cole
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Well done with your intervention in the speech of Mr Cash. Spoken with fire as if you are finally perceiving the depths of the betrayal of the general public by many of your colleagues within the Conservative Party!

    Have you seen the strange commercial on TV by a car insurance company boasting that THEIR coverage includes the EU?

  7. Mike Stallard
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    OK the Italians and French/Normans invaded. Please do include the utterly democratic Vikings who loved their general meetings where justice was fairly delivered before a jury. And, of course, the Stadtholder William III in 1688 who brought all the Dutch love of freedom and parliamentary power with him.
    I cannot think of one continental country (except Poland and possibly the Scandinavians) which came anywhere near these.
    Politicians have taken over the cliche of sleepwalking. I really do think we, if we stay in Europe, are sleepwalking into a terrible tyranny. People thought that was quite impossible in both Italy and Germany at the time of unification too.

    Reply: The ruling class invited William in to rid themselves of a King they did not like. They made William sign away mroe regal powers to Parliament as the price.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      And William resented the conditions laid down by Parliament, but he accepted them because he needed to tap the resources of England for his war with France; he didn’t much like the English and they didn’t much like him, but Mary helped to smooth things over while she was alive.

      • zorro
        Posted February 2, 2013 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

        As you say, the BoE helped finance his spat with the French….


    • uanime5
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      Firstly 7 noblemen promising to support an invasion by the protestant William to removed the catholic king is still an invasion by a foreign power and supporting such as invasion would be considered treason if this invasion had failed.

      Secondly the ruling class contained the king and many other nobles. So an invitation by 7 nobles is not an invitation supported by the ruling class.

      • stred
        Posted February 3, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        At least we got some good architecture out of it.

  8. Andyvan
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    “We do need a new relationship as soon as possible.”
    Absolutely right. So why is Dave waiting years to sort it out?
    Oh yes, party political advantage.

    • JoolsB
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Because Cleggie won’t let him just as Cleggie won’t let him address the English Question which means even if the UK left the EU tomorrow, ENGLAND would still not be self governing and never will be as long as the other nations of this ‘union’ have their own national governments whilst England does not but instead has to make do with a UK Government chosen for it by the rest of the UK and which is full of unelected and unaccountable Celtic MPs making decisions for England alone which will never affect their own constituents. The Tories go on about Europe quite rightly so why not England, the word they dare not utter (except for John & Harriet Baldwin maybe) because just as the UK is subject to foreign rule as long as we stay in the EU, so is England as long as it is denied equality with the rest of the UK, ie. it’s own parliament. England, once the Mother of all Parliaments is now the only nation in the western world denied one. England gave the Conservatives a handsome majority in 2010 so why would we need Cleggie and the duplicitous LibDums or this useless coalition which predominately only governs England as most UK Governments post devolution do nowadays , if England was allowed self governance in the same way the rest of the UK is?

      The EU needs sorting but it’s also about time Cameron and the Conservatives who rely on England for their support sorted out the English Question which sees their English constituents treated as second class citizens and stuff what Cleggie thinks otherwise we can only assume the Conservative party hold England in the same contempt as Labour and the LibDums.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 2, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

        “… England … has to make do with a UK Government chosen for it by the rest of the UK … ”

        England elects 82% of the MPs, so maybe England should wake up and start electing MPs who will be more concerned about England.

        • JoolsB
          Posted February 2, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

          England should elect 100% if it’s MPs in an English parliament in the the same way Scotland votes for 100% of it’s MSPs in the Scottish Parliament and Wales votes for 100% of AMs in the Welsh Assembly, both making decisions in their interests alone without any outside interference. The 119 Celtic MPs they send to the UK Government at Westminster with their second vote, England only gets one, cannot vote on devolved matters for their own constituents, those who voted for them, so why should they vote on what affects England where no-one voted for them? Thanks to Scottish Labour MPs, my kids have to worry about tuition fees whilst their kids and their constituents don’t.

          MPs with English seats are elected on a UK mandate, not English, when was the last time you ever heard one of them say the word England? At present no-one speaks for England despite the majority of MPs sitting at Westminster holding English seats. Only a dedicated English Parliament with MPs elected on an English mandate with an English First Minister putting England’s interest first for a change will suffice – you know, in the same way Scotland, Wales & NI already enjoy. If self determination is good enough for them, then England deserves no less.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted February 3, 2013 at 10:10 am | Permalink

            “MPs with English seats are elected on a UK mandate, not English, when was the last time you ever heard one of them say the word England?”

            As I say, England should wake up and start electing MPs who will be more concerned about England.

  9. WitteringsfromWitney
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    “Of course Parliament remains sovereign for the one single reason – it could always repeal or amend the 1972 European Communities Act. The day that option becomes impossible or too remote for anyone serious to contemplate, then we have to accept that sovereignty has passed from our islands to Brussels.”

    For sure we could repeal ECA1972 but that in itself would not get us out of the EU. To repeal that Act is not impossible but would be entirely pointless because have we not been told that EU law is superior to national law, even national constitutional law?

    That the above is fact means that this country has indeed passed sovereignty to Brussels and with the utmost respect, to pretend otherwise is delusional.

    Reply: Not so. We could get out by Act of Parliament – though this Parliament has no intention of doing that. We got out of the Catholic government from Rome by Act of Parliament in the sixteenth century.

    • Alte Fritz
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      I have long thought that there were parallels between the English Reformation and our absorption into the EU. Admittedly, royal supremacy was achieved by an Act backed by state terror, but the nub of it was an opportunist establishment which was in love with new foreign ideas.

      Then, as now, the English loved their institutions and were forced to abandon them.

      • James Matthews
        Posted February 2, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

        Well that’s one view of the reformation. Those new “foriegn ideas” made us more independent of most of our European neighbours, however, and more inclined to look further afield. The curent foreign idea has contrary effects.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      I wouldn’t say England was governed by Rome since the only thing the Pope had influence over was whether to grant an annulment.

      • APL
        Posted February 3, 2013 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

        uanime5 : ” the only thing the Pope had influence over ”

        No, that was the principle issue that triggered the schism.

    • WitteringsfromWitney
      Posted February 6, 2013 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      Mr. Redwood,

      Forgive me appearing to be argumentative but surely you are not correct?

      The UK signed an international treaty (Lisbon) and as such are bound by that treaty – one in which exit can only be conducted through Article 50. I would also suspect that various clauses of the Vienna Convention have an impact on abrogation of the Lisbon Treaty too.

      I trust you will be able to spare the time for a full response setting out your reasons why you feel repeat of ECA1972 is all that is required and also to answer the points I raise.

      Many thanks.

      Reply: The EU only has force in the UK thanks to the 1972 Act. A repeal of that Act would cease the powers of the EU in the Uk. It could also be done in the way you suggest. Either way, it requires an act of sovereign will by the UK Parliament. If we repealed the 1972 Act the EU would nto send an army to complain.

  10. Jon Burgess
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    And so we come to the nub of my argument against the EU. Parliament is no longer sovereign and our law is made by a foreign jurisdiction which we have no power to change by democratic means.

    In another time this would been seen as the national defeat that it truly is- brought about by the ignorance, complicity or downright deviousness of successive governments but without the will or ascent of the people.

    This is why there is no love for the EU here and why we will eventually be out of it.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      Parliament remains sovereign, the supreme legal authority for the United Kingdom, but most of its current members no longer have the patriotic spirit to exercise that sovereignty when to do so would conflict with any obligation that arises under certain international treaties, obligations which by the extraordinary character of those treaties are quite unpredictable and potentially very damaging to their country and its people.

      Maybe if there was an EU Directive which required every British MP to stick his head in a bucket of water then they would refuse to accept that obligation under the EU treaties, but short of something like that most of them will always accept whatever the EU throws at them.

      • lifelogic
        Posted February 3, 2013 at 4:58 am | Permalink

        Most would go for the bucket of water so long as it was only for a minute or two every day I think. And they had a financial bonus for it “with special tax rules” and expenses for a new hair afterwards.

  11. Martin
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Who cannot take any decision that upsets Nimbys.?The London airport fiasco which dates back to the 1970s is a case in point.
    Westminster not Brussels has supported and enhanced a so called planning system that is crippling aviation growth around London.

    Air Passenger Duty is another Westminster own goal. What has Westminster got to offer folk in the aviation industry who have lost their jobs recently? A trip to Westminster’s amazing creation the useless pretend-Job Centre Plus office.

    You also state that EU laws are undemocratic. Isn’t this because UKIP are poor attenders at the EU Parliament? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/7881559/British-MEPs-have-worst-European-Parliament-attendance-record.html

    On the subject of subsidies it is worth pointing out that the agricultural subsidies mostly go to rural seats. Any idea how much our own allegedly euro sceptic DEFRA Mr Patterson’s farmers get from Brussels? 23 Million Euros.

    Are agriculture subsidies a waste of money where ever they come from?

  12. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    JR: “We do need a new relationship as soon as possible.”
    What a pity we shan’t be getting one. Your leader thinks he has done enough for now to silence his critics and stem the flow of support to UKIP (little does he know). The next stage of his re-run of the Wilson plan, in the unlikely event that he is Prime Minister after 2015, will be to convince us that he has obtained ‘concessions’ after his ‘renegotiations’ and strongly recommend that the UK remain members of the EU. If he were to succeed, that would deliver the UK to the EU and accelerate the progression of taking the UK from being a self-governing trading nation to a servile member of a totalitarian united states of Europe. Soon afterwards we would be forced to abandon the pound and join the euro. Predictably, your colleague Clarke has already fired the starting gun for the pro-EU propaganda machine assisted by Mandelson. Is it not obvious to you that the only way to avoid that fate is to leave the EU as soon as possible? Or is that the ‘new relationship’ you desire?

  13. alan jutson
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Complete posting lost because I forgot to double check name and e mail was filled in above (usually automatic), attempted to return (as requested) to fill them in and resubmit, but 20mins of work lost.

    Not got time to repeat in full, so will pass.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      I’ve made the same mistake several times, being so used to my name and email address already being filled in, and I’ve not only lost comments but I’ve also been told that a comment seems to be a duplicate …

      • alan jutson
        Posted February 2, 2013 at 10:43 am | Permalink


        Yes it does not do what it say’s on the tin, you have to start completly again !!

        Frustrating when its a long post which you have given a lot of thought to.

        Guess I should have checked given site has had a revamp recently.

        Choice was a bacon sandwich or a reposting before going out.

        No contest. !

        • David Price
          Posted February 3, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

          For longish posts on websites I always enter and edit them in a text file using notepad or whatever then copy & paste to the web form..

        • APL
          Posted February 3, 2013 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

          I believe you each need to go into the Privacy settings tab and change the tab there to ‘I consent’.

          Then we are all in compliance with the EUropean Union directive on ‘cookies’, oh joy!

    • Bob
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      Try hitting the back button.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 2, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        Tried that, and it didn’t work.

      • alan jutson
        Posted February 2, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Permalink


        I did.

    • forthurst
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      It is a mistake to assume that JR’s site can control the behaviour of your browser.

    • Bazman
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      Use the ‘back’ button. If you forget. Problem solved. Is annoying though.

      • alan jutson
        Posted February 3, 2013 at 10:02 am | Permalink


        When you hit submit

        Screen pops up to say fill in required fields

        IE name and E mail address

        But when you hit the back button to do exactly that, your comment has been lost/deleated.

        • Bazman
          Posted February 3, 2013 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

          It must be your browser. Try Firefox. Best browser in my opinion.

        • stred
          Posted February 3, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

          Why is it that whenever a computer geek is brought in to improve things, they get worse?

        • sjb
          Posted February 3, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

          I wonder if you are using Internet Explorer because I found the same problem. But using Firefox the ‘back button’ returns you to the ‘Post a Comment’ section with the opportunity to enter details in the Name and Email boxes.

  14. Vicky George
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    I voted Conservative in the last election on the strength of some promises off Mr Cameron, hardly any of which seems to have been acted upon, probably because he allied himself to Mr Clegg who will surely be consigned to the dustbin of politics after the next election. If Mr Cameron is expecting that his rather loose promise of a vote on the EU will get him re-elected then I’m sorry to say he is doomed (along with his Party) to disappointment.

    I voted “Yes” to a Common Market and I could see the reasoning behind that. However I would never have voted yes at all had I been able to see how it would be twisted into something that is referred to as the EUSSR by a lot of people. Not once along the way has any Party in power given us a vote on these changes.

    Yes I want a vote on Europe but I want it before this Govt. gets consigned to the backbenches and the only relationship I want is either back to the original conception of a Common Market or I want out. Switzerland and Norway seem to be able to rub along without joining. Between them, Messrs Cameron and Clegg have ensured a Labour victory in the next election in which case God help us all.

  15. The PrangWizard
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    I’m in a ‘bricks through windows’ mood again. I weakened after Cameron’s announcement of a referendum, but I am now back on track with my total opposition to our membership of the EU. I saw Mr Redwood in the debate the other day and it would seem to me he ‘sees red’ too on the issue. So for the avoidance of doubt I want out and I want out now. No compromise.

    The people continue to be lied to, one of Blair’s advisors whose name I just can’t recall was saying the other day on Sky News that Britain has throughout its history wanted closer ties with the nations of the continent. Lies, blatant lies. He got an easy ride from Murnaghan. We’ve spent most of our time trying to fight them off. We failed in 1066, and the people of England suffered untold horrors, murders and torture, and to this day the descendants of the thugs of William the Bastard still hold vast swaths of England, stolen from their rightful owners.

    The arguments for freedom from the influence of the EU hold just as good for the people of England in their demands for a parliament of their own. Why do Scottish, Welsh, and NI MP’s have the right to vote in English affairs? WHY? It is completely unacceptable, but it shows how much control others have over all aspects of English life through the British parliament and through British Institutions, which they does not want to relinquish. It may have to be torn from their grasp.

    There must be a parliament for England as a first step towards freedom and democracy for the people of England. Only then will there be a renaissance, when we can believe in and identify with our own nation directly, rather than through British masters.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      Unless the descendants of all the lords who supported William the Conqueror only married foreigners then they’re likely to have married the local, making them more English than foreign.

      • oldtimer
        Posted February 3, 2013 at 9:55 am | Permalink

        Many of them married each other which, coupled with primogeniture, reinforced their hold on their estates. If or when that no longer worked to protect the family estates, many married American heiresses to revive their fortunes.

  16. MajorFrustration
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    JR you are preaching to the converted. At best it provides hope but more likely nothing will happen and this country will trundle on – same old same old. Unless there is a change at the top of the party the public will be fed the same jam tomorrow sob story.
    Whilst the policy towards the EU is important we have a party that gets hung up on trvial policy issues – gay marriage, – policies that sends out mixed messages – MoD spending. A party that promotes austerity yet the debt still climbs and laughably we borrow to provide for our overseas aid budget. Wev have immigration problems and more in the pipeline yet we have still not sorted out exisiting issues.
    Lets not blame it all on the coalition. So, changes at the top should be made now – it will be no good sucking up the the voters in 2014 – in the hope that they will swallow the story of “sunny uplands are in view come 2016”

  17. Iain Moore
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Oh we have realised a long time ago we weren’t self governing, why else has there been a precipitous decline in people bothering to participate in our sham elections? So much sovereignty has been striped from us Parliament can’t do much, and people have realised this.

    Here you get the distinct feeling that the establishment? moneyed classes? found democracy very much to their dislike. I mean having the plebs interfering in their money plans , what ever next? Well we have seen what next, for the establishment have rolled back the hard won franchise won by the people, that won the right to vote for the working man, the older woman in 1918 , and then fully franchised when young women got the vote in 1928. But our enfranchised democracy only last 45 years, before the powers of our Parliament were, one by one, being stripped away and handed to another elite, this time in Brussels, who our establishment felt more in common with than the people of Great Britain. First it was fishing and agriculture that went, by Lisbon they had everything including the kitchen sink, leaving us a sham democracy.

    But as for our Parliament remaining sovereign, that is only in theory, with a professional political class who are obsessed with playing political games, and not wielding power, and the Lisbon treaty that places EU law supreme to our law, it would take serious revolution to free ourselves. So our Parliament is not Sovereign and as such an Act of Treason has been committed against our constitution, of which the 1689 Bill of Rights states….. “no foreign prince, person, prelate, state or potentate hath or ought to have any jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence or authority ecclesiastical or spiritual within this realm” for the EU has been given pre-eminence here.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      By that logic parliament would have committed treason in 1714 by having the Hanoverian prince George become king of Britain.

      • oldtimer
        Posted February 3, 2013 at 9:59 am | Permalink

        The Hanoverians arrived by the invitation of Parliament and under conditions controlled by Parliament.

      • stred
        Posted February 3, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

        You don’t teach history do you? Frightening thought, especially with fees being so high.

  18. oldtimer
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    You have described the situation we are in perfectly. We are on a very slippery slope with no crampons. It will end badly – as such situations usually do.

    I suspect that there may well be people in other EU member states that feel the same way, but they are probably in a minority without the means of effective political opposition. The repeat referenda in France, Holland and Ireland that squashed the opposition to the EU`s new constitution is clear evidenceof that.

    The prospect of Brexit may concentrate the minds of other political leaders but I remain dubious that it will produce enough change in EU arrangements to make continued membership tenable.

  19. adams
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    We need a new relationship . something like the one that existed in neo-lithic times .
    Trade and trade only . libLabCon ( EU puppets ) are the enemy now .

  20. Credible
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    It’s a shame we take the arrogant attitude that we are so much better than everyone else. I don’t see any evidence for that. Certainly there are serious issues with the EU that need to be addressed and Britain may well take a different view from the others on some aspects for good reasons, but that does not make us superior.
    I believe the first modern style democracy in Europe was in Poland !

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      Seeking to remain different is not the same as claiming to be better.

      • James Matthews
        Posted February 2, 2013 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

        Exactly, but a fact that Europhiles are unable to grasp (or pretend they are – they are much given to sophistry).

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

      Poland – not really – it was, to be frank, chaos!
      The absolute veto didn’t help really and the Lithuanians were pretty distant from the Polish.
      Swedish, French, Saxon royals weren’t that interested.
      Not surprisingly, there was very little public money and all the castles fell into disrepair just when they were needed too. At a time of cannon and battlefield discipline with firearms, the Poles were still winged hussars with lances on horseback.
      It was only when Poland began to reform itself that it had to be got rid of. It was really just an empty space between rapidly growing Russia, Prussia and Austria.

      • uanime5
        Posted February 3, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        The winged hussars were effective because they were made up of nobles with the best armour, weapons, and horses. Their main advantage was that their lances were longer than pikes, so they could defeat pikemen even with a frontal charge. Without the support of pikemen musketeers were vulnerable to flank attacks by light cavalry, so they could easily be routed. It wasn’t until the end of the 30 years war (1618-1648) that pikemen were no longer needed in a modern army.

  21. Atlas
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 10:56 am | Permalink


    Do you know the position of the ‘Stalking Horse’ Adam Afriyie on the EU issue?

    We may get our In/Out Referendum sooner… and that would remove the uncertainty caused by the present 5 years time-scale.

    Reply Mr Afriyie is not a stalking horse, and he has n ot opined in public on EU matters. He assures us he is a very loyal supporter of Mr Cameron.

    • Bob
      Posted February 3, 2013 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

      Yes John, we know that’s the official line, but unofficially just between us, when will Dave be getting his P45?

  22. Leslie Singleton
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    As always it is the “simple” basic questions that fox me. A day or two ago I read an article saying that it would be the end of the world and all the rest if we left because, best I understood, the Eurozone would not allow offshore (meaning British) Euro payments to clear, this, the article said, because Euro payments would have to clear in the Eurozone (controlled by the ECB) and British payments would not be allowed to clear and that is without even mentioning the new transaction tax.

    I lived and breathed for a long time in what was then, and may still be, called “The Eurodollar Market” in London (and of course it was not just in dollars). There was and is no question (as my boss explained to me early on) but that “a dollar only means anything in America” and that the ultimate dollar clearing was in America but, as I remember, half the point of the Eurodollar Market was to escape American domestic control and Reserve Requirements (tax was never even mentioned that I remember). And this wasn’t anything minor–it was one of the reasons there were so many branches of American Banks in London.

    Could somebody please have a go at explaining to me why it will all be so potentially different with today’s “EuroEuro” (ie the Euro Offshore, ie the Euro in London)?

    • stred
      Posted February 3, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      Maybe this is why my savings in Euros with a French bank have still not been transferred to a British bank’s Euro account, despite the request being made before Christmas. I was told that it had to be done on the net. The codes took a month, then the internet refused the transfer and I have had no answer to emails for another week. Let’s hope they actually have the money and haven’t lost it.

  23. Bob
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Your essay hits the nail squarely on the head.

    In the final sentence you say “We do need a new relationship as soon as possible”.

    I wholeheartedly agree, but do you honestly believe that David Cameron intends to deliver the kind of “new relationship” that we have in mind?
    I don’t.
    He appears to do the opposite of everything he pledges.

    He said we would recognise marriage within the tax code, but instead of that he introduces an unmanifested policy of allowing homosexual weddings. I don’t recall a clamour for this, I don’t even recall a word being spoken about it prior to the election by any political party. Why do you think that would be?
    I suspect it’s because the policy is a Common Purpose one, and as we know Common Purpose don’t stand for election, they propagate cuckoo style.

    And while we’re on the EU subject, how many countries are contributing resources to the EU’s Mali expedition?

  24. Neil Craig
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    ” it could always repeal or amend the 1972 European Communities Act”

    An incisive point. We have had a copnsiderable amount of ink spilt on how to leave the EU, mostly on invoking article 50 opf the Lisbon treaty and negotiationg, over a period ot years, an exit. This is not hopw soeverign states do it. it is not even how non-sovereign entities like the constituents of Yugoslavia did it – they had referendums and pulled out in months or Bosnia’s case, days, woth enthisiastic EU support.

    Anything more complicated than that is an acceptance before the argument, of EU sovereignty.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      It’s not unusual for an international treaty to have a provision on withdrawal, for example that each country agrees to give six months notice of its intention to withdraw from the treaty.

      Just as an example which came up on google, here’s the 2001 statement by which the US gave notice that it was withdrawing from the 1972 ABM Treaty:


      In theory each country could still abrogate the entire treaty overnight, including any withdrawal clause requiring it to give a certain period of notice, but for the sake of good order they all agree that they will give that notice.

      However Article 50 TEU in the EU treaties is different, because the EU treaties are different in having set up a court whose members took upon themselves to proclaim that the EEC/EC/EU treaties had established a new legal order superior to the national legal orders of its member states, and that court is not excluded from having jurisdiction over the Article 50 withdrawal process.

      In 2004 when Jack Straw was asked whether Article I-6 in the EU Constitution:


      “The Constitution and law adopted by the institutions of the Union in exercising competences conferred on it shall have primacy over the law of the Member States.”

      extended to the constitution of the United Kingdom, he replied, Column 888 here:


      “Of course it does, in so far as laws of this Parliament lay down our constitution … ”

      Even without that having been formalised in the legally binding parts of the present EU treaties it seems likely that the ECJ would not shrink from entertaining complaints that a UK notice of withdrawal from the EU under Article 50 somehow contravened our national constitution, and whether or not such complaints were eventually dismissed they could serve to delay the process of withdrawal, possibly in the hope that there would be a change of UK government and the new government would revoke the notice of withdrawal from the EU.

  25. Michael Read
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Wind and water. Gay marriage is a fundamental breach of the political contract. It undermines your claim for democratic legitimacy. The Conservative party will be out in 2015. God help us. Milliband doing a deal in the national interest with Clegg. Thanks Dave.

    • Bazman
      Posted February 3, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      I fail to see what gay marriage has to do with anyone who is not gay. Rabid supporters of personal freedoms against gay marriage and seeing no contradiction in their own bigotry. If you take away the sex it is really down to taxation and money. For example if two old sisters lived together and the tax laws where to force them to sell their home when the other one dies would that be right? No, but that s not why the anti gay marriage people are so anti. Tell us why you are or is that the secret?

  26. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    As a British citizen (and Welsh) I regard the following comment as pertinent to the debate about the UK in Europe today:

    I can still only half believe that I was myself an unwilling witness to my country’s abnegation of its own national independence… I am not to know whether it is destined that my fellow countrymen will be contented with the status of a European province now, will accept that henceforward this nation is unworthy or incapable of being an independent sovereign state like Iceland or Zambia…

    Mr Enoch Powell addressing the Swansea East Conservative Association on 17 June 1977.

  27. Acorn
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Top Secret: NUTS2EU Special Forces to all 271 EU Regional Governors Designate.

    Message reads:-
    Financial crisis proceeding to plan expect fiscal union by 2015. ECB ready with Euro Bond substitution for member state debt at that time. Keep low profile buying up Greek; Spanish residential property meanwhile.

    Member state nationalism is slightly elevated particularly UK. Expect the latter will not be a problem after mid 2015. If UK syndrome spreads be prepared for Plan B.

    Plan B (code named NUTS2EU) involves creating civil disturbance in as many NUTS 2 level Regions as possible. Regional Governors Designate will be required to enact charisma attack on local populace when HQ displays the correct Euro lottery numbers as previously advised.

    Trial run charisma attack in London has gone well with Boris far more popular than rest of Ministers put together. All 271 EU NUTS 2 Regional Governors should emulate Boris.

    Full planned to be complete by 2017. From that time it will be “un-European to refer to the legacy “nations” by their old names like Spain; Italy UK etc. Catalonia; Tuscany; Provence and England will become common. Each having its own Regional Council and Governor. Each sending one delegate to the EU Parliament.

    Meanwhile, until the day when we truly become the United Regions of Europe, C.O.R. will continue to operate out of the Delors building, Brussels but may move to Strasbourg because the local brew of Stella is considered superior.

    Message ends ——————-
    Daft yes; I think. But no dafter than anything else I am reading lately. Remember, all this EU fuss is just to distract you from the crap order the economy is in, and the coalition hasn’t got a clue how to get us out of it. 😉 😉

  28. Alte Fritz
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    We are promised a referendum which few see happening unless the outcome (to remain in the EU) is a foregone conclusion. I think we have long passed the point at which repeal of the 1972 Act has become purely theoretical, a constitutional fiction. It would be great to be proven wrong about this, but can anyone construct a realistic, credible set of circumstances in which it will happen.

    Meanwhile, as Mr R so rightly says, there is a whole world out there.

  29. Robbo
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    “Invasion and occupation by Italians and French”

    C’mon John, the Normans weren’t French even if over the centuries the French kings conquered all of Normandy except for the Channel Islands.

  30. Chris
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Not only do we fund poorer states within the EU already but also countries lining up to join the EU e.g. the UK has contributed over £80 million to help upgrade Turkey’s sewage system in order for it to be brought more inline with the standards in the EU.

  31. behindthefrogs
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    The issue is not that the UK is losing its democracy as a result of laws being passed in Europe. The only problem is whether Europe is sufficiently democratic with too many of these laws being passed without our democratically elected representatives having sufficient control.

    We could equally argue that too many UK laws are passed in parliament and should be in the remit of our local councils. At least with local councils we have a better chance to meet and interact with our representatives on a weekly basis.

    We should be reducing the power of parliament and moving it to a democratically elected European parliament and local councils.

    • James Matthews
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      Quite possibly, if we wanted to be part of a country called Europe and governed locally in the most divisive conceivable postcode lottery way, but most of us don’t.

  32. Leslie Singleton
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Something I wrote seems to have completely disappeared. Sob!! I wrote at much more length seeking a better understanding how it can be that we can, so I have read, be prevented from running a “Euroeuro” offshore market in London when the EuroDOLLAR market, escaping American domestic control and Reserve Requirements (never any mention of taxes as I remember) works or certainly did work like clockwork–and big time too–one of the reasons why there were once so many Branches of American banks in London–mostly gone now but only by reason of the demise of American Regional banks following the changes in the Interstate Banking Laws.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted February 3, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      Well, I won my bet with myself–that there would be no answers, at least not so far, to my question above, which was not in the least rhetorical–I just wanted and want to understand how an offshore Euro zone can be controlled in the way now threatened. If it can indeed be done that would fly in the face of what “offshore” means in this context. BTW I have just remembered that the Article I referred to was AE-P in the Torygraph.

      • sjb
        Posted February 3, 2013 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

        Is this the article?

  33. Alexis
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    I do not accept the transfer of sovereignty outside sovereign states. I will not have a choice forced on me and then pretend it is what I would have chosen, or that it is somehow acceptable to do this.

    No-one asked the British people what they wanted. They were lied to and cheated into this malign and false arrangement: they are still being lied to and cheated by self serving civil servants, self serving politicians, and self-serving lobbyists. This is happening across Europe.

    What is really the point of asking other countries to accept democracy whilst depriving your own country of the same? To see how many lies a gullible population will swallow, perhaps.

    There is democracy, or there is dictatorship.

    There is no ‘democratic deficit’. There is no half way house.

  34. alan jutson
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    I see Mr Cameron is promising a 40% increase in our foreign aid contributions for the next 20 years in his latest speech, from 0.5% of GDP to 0.7%.

    Given we already contribute to the EU foreign aid programme (if I am not mistaken) and we have desperate people here, with more desperate people waiting to come over next year, I have to ask, does he live in the same world as the rest of us.

    Borrow to give away, ABSOLUTELY NUTS !

    He needs to grow a pair and sort out the waste here first.

    • Bob
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      “Borrow to give away, ABSOLUTELY NUTS !”

      How long before even their most ardent supporters realise that the Tories have completely lost the plot?

  35. Pleb
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    The EU is a forth reich

  36. Rebecca Hanson
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Can we move education policy to Europe?


    That’s not actually what I would want if we had anything vaguely coherent which was actually effectively designed to work in favour of the education of our children going on here but since Cameron for some reason known only to himself doesn’t appear to be able to sack Gove what else can we do?

    Have Tories reading this blog notice that you do actually have a Tory MP in place who is in touch with the real world of state education? He’s called Andrew Percy. Why are you letting Gove appoint his unelected friends into the DFE instead of bringing in people like Andrew? Or is he unpromotable because he talks about the real word instead of parroting what those who have not a clue what they’re talking about want him to say? Tim Loughton sounded extremely capable and credible in his select committee debrief. Why’s he gone?

    • uanime5
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      Along with healthcare so that successful hospitals aren’t punished because another hospital has gone bankrupt.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 3, 2013 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        So is it now Labour party policy that the National Health Service should be brought under EU control?

        • uanime5
          Posted February 3, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

          Unknown. Is it now Conservative party policy that the National Health Service should be brought under private control?

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted February 6, 2013 at 2:46 am | Permalink

            To privatise our health services fully would involve about 10% more doctor time. This very crude assessment comes from having recently spent a week in each of two Hampshire NHS hospitals. Competition is to some extent “wasreful” but you need a little bit of slack in the system to get proper scheduling and a decent level of service.

            At the moment the attitude of NHS staff is: “You are a patient so your time has no value. We on the other hand are THE nationally appointed health service and our time is very important.”

            Now just imagine that the nasty stalinist monopoly is broken up and try it my way: “I am a customer and you are A supplier of services. You will schedule appointments and operations for my convenience and you will use your best endeavours to stick to the schedule. My time IS valuable.”

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 3, 2013 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      “Can we move education policy to Europe?”

      Firstly, “Education, training and youth” is already one of the many policy areas of the EU:


      and I’ve no doubt that the eurocrats would be very happy to take complete control of all aspects of education throughout the EU.

      Secondly, I presume that you want to call in foreign assistance because you can’t get what you want through the British democratic system.

      Well, I am under no illusions about the grossly imperfect nature of our present national democratic system, and maybe it’s wrong that your arguments are not being heard and acted upon, and maybe in the short term the EU would offer to give you what you want to gain your support, but you should also be under no illusions about the anti-democratic EU providing a better system of government than we could devise for ourselves.

  37. Alan Wheatley
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Agreed. I could not have put it better myself.

  38. JoolsB
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Permalink


    I’d be interested to know why my comment has been censored. Is it because I pointed out that even if the UK leaves the EU, England will still not be self-governing until the English Question is addressed or is it because I pointed out the Conservatives are treating England with the same contempt as Labour? Just wondering.

  39. Alan Wheatley
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    To all those posters above afeared that the next government will be Lab or Lab/Lib, there are other alternatives.

    One could be a minority Conservative government able to win a no-confidence vote with the assured support of the third party, who are not the LibDems. A condition of support being assured could be a veto on who is leading the Conservatives.

    • Christopher Ekstrom
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 6:59 pm | Permalink


  40. Muddyman
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Democracy is a myth, no such concept is allowed within the vast majority of countries, indeed it is actively forbidden in most. What we have varies from state to state, ours is working toward a Police State, the US has almost achieved it, and the EU moves slowly but surely towards Dictatorship. The people have no influence or voice in these actions as they have allowed professional politicians to take over the asylum!.

    • Christopher Ekstrom
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      Sadly the UK is “ahead” of the USA in the destruction of freedom category (but not that much). Should you wish to purchase a handgun you must do so illegally on the street. But at least you won’t have to bother with the paperwork!

      • Bazman
        Posted February 3, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        Wouldn’t be spur of the moment purchase though and you would have to go through some background checks and wait for a while. Heavy caliber and rapid firing fully automatic weapons would for most be prohibitively expensive for most even if you passed the checks. The purpose of the purchase being to murder large numbers of children would not be approved. Big Vern would get into trouble. Real trouble. Ram it.

  41. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    I still would like to listen to views of all the EU member Countries given the proposal that new conditions for the UK are a strong possibility and catch their moods to assess whether ratification would be easier than some suspect. With that information or rather with insight we might be in a better position for an in/out referendum.

  42. David Langley
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Phew, filled in the bits above.
    Well thanks for the summary of what most of your contributors seem to know already, what we want to really know is, has Cameron got a plan for ditching the EU, because if we do get a chance to get out and we do vote in the majority he better be ready to enact the acts and have all the paperwork ready.
    Of course most of us know that we are on a big loser, what are the odds of us getting our freedom from the undemocratic EU from any colour of Parliament? Any bookies gone on line with the odds yet? No chance in my opinion without a virtual revolution or the potential loss of hundreds of Conservative seats. We need therefore another conservative leader on the out ticket, someone who will break ranks and tell the British public the truth of what we are in and their mission to make it right. The cash to escape is already in the budget namely the subscription and the foreign aid.
    By the way Peter Van L the cloggies tried to demolish London once with their Admiral De Ruyter firing on us to no avail of course. Since then we have saved your spongy country a few times. We enjoy close ties and cross fertilisation of troops and expertise. You have had great disappointment with venal Royals just like us, and we both enjoy good paintings and the odd happy baccy over some oranjeboom. The problem is you have no time for your flag but I would happily die for my colours.

    • uanime5
      Posted February 3, 2013 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

      Admiral De Ruyter managed to attack England’s main naval base (Chatham) and had he destroyed it this would have set English naval power back a century. Just because he showed mercy doesn’t mean he couldn’t have destroyed it, just like he destroyed much of the Royal Navy.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted February 3, 2013 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

        unanime–Any time now you are going to say that the Armada and Trafalgar didn’t happen or that they were a plot by right wingers to destabilise the Continent

      • Bob
        Posted February 3, 2013 at 9:57 pm | Permalink


        Who’s side are you on?

  43. Barbara
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Mr R, I agree with most of your assumptions, but you are one of the few who see the dangers of this European expriment. Many of us have known for years and have spoken out, to no avail. Going a bit off subject, today we learn Mr Cameron has said we will be paying aid to Africa for another 20 years, who as given him permission to do this? Certainly not the electorate. He’s now increasing the aid up to 11 billion from tomorrow, as I understand; while we have no tax breaks for married couples here, child benefit cut for some, and many begging in food banks to feed their families. Many countries are cutting back not increasing. They realise their own are suffering and acting accordingly. Mr C is doing the opposite and against the wishes of this country. I’m afraid he is in danger of being thrown out, or Conservative MPs should reflect upon this very seriously, or many more will go with him if they don’t. Personal beliefs have no place in politics, not while you use the people’s tax collection or borrow to furnish them. It as to stop. I remember Conservatives talking about Gordon Brown and his spending on aid, Cameron is becoming much worse. Gay marriges is a silly item to worry about, this spending spree is much more serious, and is causing distrust, contention, and the party to splinter and lose members by the dozen. How long can this go on?

    • sjb
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

      I don’t know about 20 years, but the Conservative Manifesto for the 2010 General Election promised, on p117: “A new Conservative government will be fully committed to achieving, by 2013, the UN target of spending 0.7 per cent of national income as aid.”

      You can see how it is being spent by clicking here

      • Bob
        Posted February 3, 2013 at 10:07 pm | Permalink


        Did I read correctly that we have budgeted £1.4 billion in India?
        and a billion pounds in Pakistan?

        If we have so much spare cash, then why do our students have to pay tuition fees? and why are we closing hospitals?

        This is lunacy!

  44. rd
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    You talk about the erosion of Parliamentary sovereignty as being important but the erosion of power in Parliament actually devalues the worth of normal peoples votes. In effect my vote has increased value if I vote UKIP because it increases the pressure on other Parties to restore value to my vote. Who gave Parliament the authority to devalue British democracy? Not the people.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 3, 2013 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      The paradox is that German defeat in the First World War led to the collapse of an autocratic system of government, but the Germans failed to make the transition to a stable democratic system of government and instead allowed extremists to take control and start the Second World War; but that failure on the part of the German people has since been used as an excuse to effectively disenfranchise the British people, who were in no way responsible for starting that war and whose system of democratic government, imperfect though it was and still is, was a crucial factor in enabling them to defeat the extremists put into power by the German people.

      • uanime5
        Posted February 3, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

        If you had studied Germany history between WW1 and WW2 you would have learned that Germany did have a stable democracy and it wasn’t until the 1929 stock market crash that extremists started to get into power in many European countries.

        Had Germany used the UK system of government Hitler would have found it much easier to come to power than the proportional representation system used in Germany.

        • Edward
          Posted February 4, 2013 at 8:25 am | Permalink

          A remarkable rewriting of 20th century history.

  45. merlin
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    The UK Parliament is now definitely behind the curve. It is now a transitional Europarliament, in other words a local council chamber representing the Eurogovernment. GB is a region of the new and important country which is the European Superstate. This is how GB is seen from a european perspective, the sad thing is that many MP’s are blind to the reality. The EU moves on and GB is unaware of this, but will be dragged, kicking and screaming into the future which is a region called NW region 8 ( speculation). All 3 main party leaders are europhiles, all political parties are pro EU. Big business, the CBI, the TUC, are pro EU. The referendum will be yes to the EU, an absolute certainty, if there is one, which I doubt. The only possible hope for the Nation State of Great Britain is UKIP, anyone, like me, who believes that GB would be better off out, are welcome to join. All the old parties are happy to hand over over our great and glorious country to a foreign power. It so reminds me of the Great Speech by Oliver Cromwell in the Rump Parliament. The greatest illusion to me is that MP’s think that they have power, the power now resides in the EU, which is where most of our laws are made, and our future is decided. My contribution is polemical and is meant as a wake up call to MP’s and anyone who is seriously interested in GB remaining a Nation State in the future. My own position will always be that GB will be better off as an Independent Nation State, similar to the USA, China, or Brazil, and not compared to Norway or Switzerland. I believe in my my own country Great Britain, and this is all that matters to me.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 3, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      MPs do have the power, they just lack the patriotism to use it.

  46. Teresa
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    It strikes me that as well as the rational arguments presentedf here, there is an underlying emotional issue about personal control. I don’t want my family to make decisions for me, my family objects when the town council makes decisions they don’t like, the town council feels oppressed by the district council, the district council thinks the county council mis-allocates resources, the county council dislikes government decisions, the government objects to rules from the EU. The bias in favour of personal autonomy is powerful but can be, and often is, trumped by recognition of group benefits. The problem is the benefits are largely hidden in respect of membership of the EU, so people fixate on the negatives and use them to prop up what is in fact an emotional response. And why not, you might say!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 3, 2013 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      The benefits of EU membership are so well hidden that they are impossible to discover. I can’t immediately think of anything gained through the EU that could not have been done without having to destroy sovereign national democracies across Europe, but then the destruction of the sovereign national democracies of Europe and their replacement by a sovereign European federation has always been the primary purpose of the EEC/EC/EU project.

      As explained by Arnold Toynbee even before the war, according to Lindsay Jenkins, page 51 of her 1997 book “Britain Held Hostage – The Coming Euro-Dictatorship”.

      “Perhaps his most outspoken and revealing talk was at Copenhagen in 1932 when he set out his views on the nation state.”

      “He broadcast his disloyalty to the nation state: “If we are frank with ourselves, we shall admit that we are engaged on a deliberate and sustained and concentrated effort to impose limitations upon the sovereignty and the independence of the fifty or sixty local sovereign independent States ….. The surest sign ….. that this fetish of local national sovereignty is our intended victim is the emphasis with which all our statesmen and our publicists protest with one accord …. at every step forward which we take …. that the sacred principle of local sovereignty is not really being encroached upon and its sphere of action reduced and its power for evil restricted. It is just because we are really attacking the principle of national sovereignty that we keep on protesting our loyalty to it so loudly” ”

      “How should it be done? Toynbee said “I will merely repeat that we are at present working discreetly but with all our might, to wrest this mysterious political force called sovereignty out of the clutches of the local national states of the world. And all the time we are denying with our lips what we are doing with our hands, because to impugn the sovereignty of the local national states of the world is still a heresy for which a statesman or a publicist can be …. ostracised and discredited.” “

  47. Max Dunbar
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    “We do not think another western European war is at all possible”. Not like Mr Redwood to make unwise predictions such as this.
    Unlikely but not to be ruled out between northern European states in the near future. Highly likely within western states and spilling over to other neighbouring states through intervention or contagion. The Spanish civil war was contained but highly internationalised at the time. Violent internal conflict within Britain is a distinct possibility for different reasons. The tinderbox is dry.

  48. Christopher Ekstrom
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    I agree with every word you wrote, Mr. Redwood. But your misleader certainly does not. I do not think it too extreme to note that Cast Iron is rather hoping many in your age group are, shall we say, unavailable to cast a referendum ballot. I cannot understand how you remain loyal to that traitor.

  49. zorro
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    All these things are so very true, but we need committed parliamentarians to force the issue wherever possible in the face of a growing globalist crackdown……..I would prefer us to use our sovereignty effectively while we still have it. A new relationship needs to happen a lot quicker than the one mooted by Cast Elastic…..


  50. uanime5
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    Given that only a small percentage of Parliamentary acts and statutory instruments are influenced by EU law it’s clear that they only contribute to a small amount of Parliament’s time and that the UK Government still has a large amount of influence over things such as raising tuition fees, privatising the NHS, changing everything education again, reducing employee rights, and HS2.

    The UK was also involved in the hundred years war against France, with the aim of this war being to conquer all of France; and various attempts to conquer parts of the Netherlands, specifically Holland (Anglo-Dutch wars). There was also conquests by the Vikings and Dutch (William of Orange) which lead to English leader being replaced.

    The poorer countries have to modernise before they can join the EU (that’s why Turkey hasn’t been able to join despite trying for 50 years). As a result the difference between these countries and other EU countries will be less and they will need less subsidies.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 3, 2013 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      But according to the October 2o10 Commons Library Research Paper which can be downloaded here:


      about half of our new laws now come from the EU.

      It’s true that many of them don’t take up Parliament’s time, simply because they don’t go anywhere near Parliament.

      • uanime5
        Posted February 3, 2013 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

        This is what the research paper says on the front cover:

        “In the UK data suggest that from 1997 to 2009 6.8% of primary legislation (Statutes) and 14.1% of secondary legislation (Statutory Instruments) had a role in implementing EU obligations”

        Where exactly in the research paper does it say 50% of the UK’s laws come from the EU?

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 4, 2013 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

          You’re deliberately missing the point that many, in fact most, EU laws don’t go anywhere near Parliament.

          As stated on page 22:

          “These figures are indicative of the impact of EU legislation on national law-making but they are not the full story. For example, they do not take account of EU “soft law” or the overwhelming majority of EU regulations, which can be several times the number of directives (see tables on page 12), and which are usually adopted in the Member States by measures other than laws.”

          To be perfectly clear, however, EU regulations are legally binding and just as much laws as those passed by Parliament.

          Which leads on the table on page 24, which gives annual figures for the percentage of new laws in the UK which have derived from the EU, including regulations, and the average is about 47%.

    • M.A.N
      Posted February 3, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      The uk parliament has a tiny influence on policy now , most is rubber stamped eu dictats rubber stamped by Whitehall. See recent piece on this by a certain mr redwood couple of weeks ago. In fact michael give was surprised by the far reaching effect of eu legislation in his ability to influence policy. HS2 is eu derived. As for dust bowls like turkey, I as a Taxpayer neither care nor am interested in thier modernisation. The political elite seem to think we are interested in such guff, futhermore that we can pay for it.

      • uanime5
        Posted February 3, 2013 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

        You might want to read the research paper posted above by Denis Cooper which shows that only 6.8% of primary legislation (Statutes) and 14.1% of secondary legislation (Statutory Instruments) were effected by EU laws.

        • Edward
          Posted February 4, 2013 at 8:30 am | Permalink

          You are forgetting to include all the directives.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 4, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

          You might want to read it yourself, beyond the front cover.

          The (expenses resigner-ed) Denis MacShane was also fond of quoting the lower figures produced by an earlier report, even though as a former Europe Minister he knew perfectly well that it had ignored the great mass of legally binding EU regulations which are not even seen by Parliament.

          Here is his carefully worded reply to a question in 2002:


          “Mr. Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many legislative measures have been enacted in the UK to implement European Union legislation in each year since 1992. [86478]

          Mr. MacShane: It would entail disproportionate cost to research and compile the number of legislative measures enacted each year in the UK directly implementing EC legislation.

          17 Dec 2002 : Column 756W

          The picture is complicated. Some EC measures are directly applicable in the member states. Others require incorporation into national law. This is sometimes done by legislation, but on other occasions by administrative means. In yet other situations, domestic legislation which is being amended for other purposes, may also incorporate changes to reflect EU directives. This makes it extremely difficult to determine how many legislative measures have been introduced in the UK as a result of EC measures.”

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 5, 2013 at 10:19 am | Permalink

          Reply submitted here but not published.

  51. Bazman
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    We may well need a new relationship with Europe, but not the dehumanized one put forward by many on this site. A claw back of workers right legislation in order to reduce costs. A reduction that will not effect them they think.

  52. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    I agree with most of what you but we cannot afford to allow a 17 Member State federation (a German empire in all but name) to form on our doorstep. Germany plans that it will be a political union with monetary union based on a hard currency, a common fiscal policy without transfer payments, and common defence and foreign policies. The German Chancellor and Foreign Minister have already set this process in motion.

    We have every prospect of the 5 PIIGS bailing out of the Euro zone, together with France and Belgium, who have underfunded public sector pension commitments that they cannot possibly meet. A 10 Member State Euro zone without a military component may be negotiable with Germany. They want a political union but they desperately want the parasites off their backs.

  53. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    I never cancelled my e-mail details in the first place; you did. And my comments have twice been deleted, so you can for now do without them.

  54. Bazman
    Posted February 3, 2013 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    Love ramming it? You should.

    • Edward
      Posted February 3, 2013 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      You truly are the Oscar Wilde of this site.

      • Bazman
        Posted February 3, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

        I do think that is greatly exaggerated..

      • APL
        Posted February 3, 2013 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

        Edward: “Oscar Wilde”

        Oh come on, Oscar Wilde was funny.

  55. David Langley
    Posted February 3, 2013 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Tony Blair on the Marr programme today said it all. He said that because China and India had massive populations we could not compete in manufacturing etc. Therefore we have to be part of the EU to have the manpower to compete. Hence no doubt the fact that we are swamped in many parts of our country with immigrant labour. Legal or illegal it probably didnt matter to Blair.
    Mot once in his interview did Blair use the word democracy, or even pretend that countries had to self determine their futures and suffer the pain of realisation what democracy means as we have and are doing now. No if they were having the birth pangs we had, they must be “helped” on to the right path. The usual rhetoric used to justify his megalomania and greed.

  • 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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