Please do not try to promote parties on this site


         As there are no elections for the rest of this year – unless by elections come along – I wish to use this break from the hustings to revise my approach to posting party political material.

          In future if someone writes in saying in terms Vote x party (including Conservative) or vote for Y individual I will not post any part of  that comment. All the main parties have their own websites and propaganda facilities you can use for those purposes.

          If someone writes in with a summary or cross reference to a party’s stance on an issue  with nothing new or critical to say about it I will not post that either, unless it is needed as part of the debate because what that party says is under examination. Again, we can all look these up on the relevant websites.

         It is any way better if you wish to post pro party material to do it from a regulated site. As we get nearer to a General Election it is even more important that all such postings should be through a regulated site making proper expense returns, with an imprint on the material under Election law.

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  1. Dan
    Posted May 13, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Methinks you are running sacred of a certain party….

  2. me
    Posted May 13, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Fair enough, but it’s too late now, the hare is running.

  3. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted May 13, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    I happened to watch your “daily politics” which for me as a foreigner was hilarious: There was a Mr. Peter Boone claiming that UKIP was a much larger party than LibDem and a Mr. Nigel Farage pleading to get “his democracy back” (i.e. leaving the EU). So how well is this Boone idea reflected in the H.o.C. (there have never been any UKIP seats for the last two decades) and what does this say about UK “democracy”? There is some interesting EU myth-bashing in the current issue of Foreign Affairs (“Think Again: European Decline”), but no doubt the divided Conservative party is already too much immersed in party-political issues.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted May 14, 2013 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Peter–And in what way does that impinge on the fact that 82%, I think it was last time, of the people (screw the politicians for being out of line) want a say and that the vast majority of them are negative? I watched Daily Politics too and have commented on that programme somewhere here. Bone was scrupulously accurate and Farage most certainly did not “plea” for anything. You won’t go far wrong overestimating the hatred that the Brits are acquiring towards what you have done.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted May 14, 2013 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

        @Leslie Singleton: I never wrote I was against any referendum (your 85%?), I just mocked that Farage said (maybe not “pleaded” but said) “I want my democracy back” versus the curious state of British democracy. And Peter Boone did discard the LibDem as just a very small party compared to UKIP and that also made me laugh. If you call skewed remarks on the bases of some council elections scrupulously accurate, I rest my case, no use continuing this discussion. It’s only due to EU democracy that Farage has had any exposure in Britain. If I may quote this ForeignAffairs article I alluded to in my post, your American friends view the EU as “plenty democratic”.

        Reply To us democracy is the ability to kick out politicians who have failed us, put in new ones, and change any law or policy we do not like. The EU prevents us doing that, which is why in due course the UK will either negotiate a new relationship or will leave the EU anyway.In the UK the people are sovereign. In the EU the lawyers and Commissioners are closer to being sovereign.

        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted May 15, 2013 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

          Reply to reply: Commisoners can and have been kicked out, so what is different. The same for the members of the European Council. (Recently Monti was kicked out by the Italians).
          Fishery policy has just been changed.

          Democracy does imply accepting it when you don’t have enough votes to change policy or kick out politicians. It is a bit like accepting that the Tories don’t have enough votes by themselves to force through this referendum law. Democracy demands majorities to make things happen.

          • Ken Adams
            Posted May 18, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

            Peter you miss the point in our democracy we can remove both the mps and the laws they have passed, one of the basic tenants of our system is that one government cannot bind a succeeding parliament.

            When a party leaves office all its unfinished business falls, there is none of this carrying on with the same policies of the previous administration. In our system candidates do not simply stand for election but they tell us what they intend to do if they gain power, so not only do we have a choice of MPs we have a choice of policies, an incoming government can change any of the previous governments laws and take the country in a totally different direction. As this government did with ID Cards they simply scrapped all the previous governments plans.

            The EU prevents our system working as it should because for instance no incoming administration can offer any polices that go against agreements already made by previous administrations at an EU level, unless they also say we will leave the EU. The best they can do is to say we will try to get something changed in the EU.

            Democracy relies on choice remove the choice you have removed the democracy the EU removes choice.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 14, 2013 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      It might have been Karl Marx who said, ‘achievement is no measure of potential.’ That Mr Farage’s party doesn’t currently have any Westminster seats, doesn’t mean they never will, and disaffected Tories are beginning to see his alternative as an attractive proposition, as it answers their needs.

      Even Winston Churchill was once a helpless infant, but his stature grew through childhood, into adulthood, and onto the great statesman that probably saved the world from a terrible fate, where democracy would become meaningless. At first, Churchill found it difficult to persuade people of the burgeoning threat from a particular form of socialism. Funny that history often has a habit of repeating itself.

      You might believe the EU is such a fantastic place, but those of us who have studied history, think differently and are not quite so deluded. We can see the terrible price we have paid for our membership of the EU, and the only positives, are ones our own parliament could have given us anyway, had politicians not given away so many powers without a mandate from the British people.

      I suspect that those from continental Europe who want to keep Britain in the EU, and make light of our intolerance of it, really just want us to keep handing over our money to pay for their waste. They have no real intention of transforming the place into something that works, that is truly democratic, and that can compete globally. Tell me, did you vote for Van Rumpoy, or any of the other appointee bureaucrats, and if not, how do you propose to get rid of the ones you don’t like, or who do a bad job?

      Tad Davison


    • Sebastian Weetabix
      Posted May 14, 2013 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      I think you miss the basic point. The EU was only ever ‘sold’ to the British people as an exercise in free trade; the ultimate intention of ever-closer union was deliberately obfuscated, indeed lied about, by those who wanted to drag us into it. They did this because they knew the populace would never agree to be part of a United States of Europe. Now the penny is starting to drop and we want out. Voting UKIP in local and European elections helps drive the mainstream parties in that direction.

      You seem to enjoy disparaging our system, but we have successfully avoided civil war since 1745, avoided succumbing to Fascism, Communism, Militarism, etc., all the while maintaining our liberties such as freedom of speech, assembly and so on. So perhaps there may be something to be said for it. I for one prefer it to PR and permanent coalition. We can at least decisively throw the governing party out of office if we want.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted May 14, 2013 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

        @Sebastian Weetabix: I only react when some British talk in a disparaging way about the EU, not least Farage, who wouldn’t even have a platform if it weren’t for EU democracy. Allow me to see that as a ridiculous pose. You seem to trust that you are not being lied too right now, I wouldn’t be so confident. Finally, the governing parties have been thrown out of office more often in the Netherlands than in the UK. Just check the last ten or twenty years for that.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted May 16, 2013 at 12:01 am | Permalink

          Peter–Try and absorb that most of us over here could not begin to care less what happens in the Netherlands, indeed in the nicest possible way could scarcely find it on a map and haven’t the first idea what language you speak. Second prize two trips to the Netherlands. I wish you no harm but don’t involve myself in what you are doing, repeat couldn’t care less, and expect the same from you. You ignore the fact that in the last very recent by-election (ie not just Council elections as you imply and the MP’s name is Bone I believe) the Liberals got a derisory 1% and came seventh, also that the Liberals’ MP’s are there only because of a concentration of support (largely ill-gotten) in the South West. It is beyond me why John even allows you (words removed ed) to tell us what you think. Perspective from within the EU is the last thing we need. You force me to be rude: why don’t you mind your own business?

          Reply I like hearing the view from the EU to show us what the federalist case is.

      • Mark W
        Posted May 15, 2013 at 5:55 am | Permalink

        I’m assuming 1745 was a typo for 1645.

        The most crucial part of that century being the final 1689 bill of rights that allows us freedoms that set us apart from out continental friends.

      • Bob
        Posted May 15, 2013 at 7:51 am | Permalink

        “We can at least decisively throw the governing party out of office if we want.”

        How? It appears to me that the LibLabCon Party have a virtual monoply!

    • libertarian
      Posted May 14, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Permalink


      You might find our anti democracy hilarious , but we don’t which is why large numbers of us are trying to change it.

      However it would be useful if you had the first idea of how few members there are of ANY party in the UK. There are more members of the One Direction fan club than all the political parties put together. So one party being bigger than another is a mute point.

      The days of Centrally controlled Empires is over. It was a brief aborhation that lasted a few hundred years in exactly the same way that the previous Euro Empire lasted a few hundred years before imploding on itself. Et Tu Brutus

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted May 14, 2013 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

        @libertarian: I’m sure that democratic participation is a problem in most western countries and I can only hope that new ways of democratic participation (e.g. through internet) will emerge over time. I also know that centrally controlled “empires” don’t have eternal life, but on the other hand the hybrid construction of the EU is a bit more complicated than “centrally controlled” , it is flexible and it is not beyond change. In fact, it is still under construction. The current crisis within the EU (declining public support) may yet bring change for the better (and I don’t mean the EU collapsing).

  4. Chris S
    Posted May 13, 2013 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Generally a good move : There has been far too much vitriol posted by mainly UKIP supporters recently.

    However I think the debates here will become very sterile if it’s not possible to summarise or cross reference a comment to a party’s stance on an issue, even if it’s stating something that’s not new or is critical.

    I suspect most people posting here on your excellent blog will accept your form of benign censorship. After all, it’s your blog, not ours !

    Reply I am not trying to stop reference to party policies, but saying I am not going to post party propaganda with a Vote for phrase, or even without if it is effectively a party plug or mini leaflet.

  5. Mike Wilson
    Posted May 13, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    So, you don’t want any of your natural supporters, people who may have voted Conservative all their lives, to say the unthinkable – that they are so fed up with the current Conservative party that they are thinking of voting for a party that does represent their views.

    Shutting down their views will backfire on you and your party. If you have an argument, you should argue. If not, your blog will wither on the vine and you and your party will become irrelevant.

    As it is, by 2020 you will not have won an election for 28 years.

    Reply I am trying to ensure people stick to Election law over party promotions.

    • zorro
      Posted May 14, 2013 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply – Oh dear, I do hope that you haven’t been taken into a darkened room and read the Riot Act! You do mention about Electoral Law, though I do think that any exhortations here to vote for whoever (even the Tory Party) are of an amateur nature rather than a polished political statement. I am not a member of any Party so have no axe to grind, but all does is show perhaps just a little bit of worry/paranoia? over what UKIP are saying/doing which would belie what you have previously said about their lack of influence. They have no seats, what are you worried about? Somehow, I don’t think it’s any potential door kicking by the Electoral Commission……’Bruler n’est pas a repondre’


    • Jerry
      Posted May 14, 2013 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      @JR Reply: “I am trying to ensure people stick to Election law over party promotions.

      Considering that John didn’t crack down on this a month or so ago, that the EU elections are a year away and the GE two years away, I find this further comment by him somewhat ‘strange’ even though I agree that the problem of (I suspect) party activists attempting to promote their party needs to be tackled.

      I am left wondering if John knows someth… well let’s not go there.

  6. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted May 13, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    That is going to be difficult to achieve 100% in the main as politics is being discussed and the main parties make up our political structure.
    If we mention individual politicians e. g. Cameron, then all know who he represents and so on and so forth. Cross referencing is ‘ clutterful ‘ especially when one desires a personal opinion and not a quote for another’s argument.
    I expect most will get the hang of it when the comment does not appear. So what you feel legally comfortable with is a more objective approach to discussing topics regardless of which team you play for? well that’s cricket!

  7. barnacle bill
    Posted May 13, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Who got to you John?

  8. Mark W
    Posted May 13, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    As a frequent comment maker to this site who is guilty of this, I believe JR has made a sensible alteration to the rules of debate on this site. I may have to adjust my methods of writing contributions but maybe debate will be more point specific without the party gumph.

  9. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted May 13, 2013 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Will you extend such prohibition to yourself? We are not to be allowed to even summarise any party’s stance on any issue unless we have something “new or critical to say about it”- supposing we just happen to agree with it? Such censorship will stifle debate – presumably that is how you would like it?

    • zorro
      Posted May 14, 2013 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      John, it does sound like censorship. Are we really worried about debating ideas, even Conservative ones?


      Reply No, of course not. I am happy to debate ideas. I am pointing out that if someone puts an attempted party political broadcast here I am not going to post it.Promotions of parties and candidates are governed by election law.

      • zorro
        Posted May 14, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        OK, but sometimes we do have to cross reference official positions on issues to properly argue in context. This in no way should be seen as a promotion or agreement with that position. It is good not to inhibit debate, or unintentionally stifle it.


      • libertarian
        Posted May 14, 2013 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply

        Sorry John are you saying that Cameron is about to go to the country? As last time I looked its May 2013 and the next general election isn’t due until 2015. So there is no electoral law in force as no election has been called.

        As someone rather good once said. I think they’re frit

        • APL
          Posted May 15, 2013 at 7:33 am | Permalink

          libertarian: “Sorry John are you saying that Cameron is about to go to the country?”

          Suppose he wanted to, wasn’t much play made of ‘fixed term Parliaments’ at the beginning of this administration, wasn’t a law passed to that effect?

          It would only be another instance of not trusting a single word that emerges from a politicians mouth.

  10. uanime5
    Posted May 13, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Would I be able to ask what policies the Conservatives MEPs would pursue in the European Parliament in 2014 (when the MEP elections will take place)? Also would UKIP supporters be able to comment regarding anything different their MEPs would do, for example if the Conservative MEPs had policy Y would UKIP supporters be able to respond by saying they have policy Z on this issue?

    • zorro
      Posted May 14, 2013 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      With difficulty it seems……All this shows is that this website has been irritating certain people.


      • zorro
        Posted May 14, 2013 at 8:40 am | Permalink



  11. lifelogic
    Posted May 13, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Off topic, I see Boris thinks that UK workers are lazy, much less productive than Germans, suffer from chronic short-termism, inadequate management, sloth, low skills , a culture or easy gratification and under investment in infrastructure. Perhaps he is commenting on his experience in the 50% over paid and pensioned state sector. An area that he clearly knows best as he is often no doubt agreeing to these over high wages, high sick levels, huge pensions and short hours. Anyway it seems a funny way to try to win votes.

    The reasons are simple.

    Germany has advantages of scale and land connections, a more efficient state sector that spends about 43% of GDP (and rather better) and does not (mainly waste) nearly 50% like the UK’s state sector. In addition their benefit system does not encourage the feckless in the way ours seems especially designed to.

    Every time someone like Boris spends billions on jumped up Olympic sport weeks, half witted subsidised bikes, billions on daft HS trains, £350,000 on each new London bus! or vastly expensive new airport islands in the wrong place. Then he causes exactly the problem he is complaining about. As do the often idiotic health and safely, employment laws in the UK and the expensive and poor UK legal system. Perhaps he should look nearer to home for the solutions.

    Even then German GDP per capita is not that much better than the UK’s could argue that the UK worker are doing very well considering that the government is so keen to kick them all the time. German GDP is not even close to Switzerland’s or Norway’s – just why is Cameron so reluctant to give his reasons for not liking these examples? Perhaps he thinks they have “thrown in the towel”.

    • uanime5
      Posted May 14, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      Germany collects 40.6% of their GDP in tax revenues, by contrast the UK collects 39%. So Germany has higher taxes than the UK, not lower taxes. Germany also has a more generous benefit system and lower tuition fees.

      For those interested the German GDP per capita is $41,513, while the UK GDP per capita is $38,589. Switzerland and Norway have a GDP per capita of $79,033 and $99,462 respectively. They also have more generous benefit systems and there’s a lower income disparity. Perhaps the UK should start adopting these policies, rather than copying the USA.

      • lifelogic
        Posted May 14, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        It is what the government actually spends (and wastes) that actually matters not so much what they raise in taxes. Whatever they spend/waste has to be found by borrowing (with interest) or from taxes.

        Even Cameron now seems to have discovered there is no magic money tree.

        • Thatcher's Iron stil
          Posted May 15, 2013 at 7:02 am | Permalink

          Quite so, I believe the uk is about 45% in 2010 and about 42% now. Which, to paraphrase the great Friedman, “makes the UK 42% Socialist!”

      • libertarian
        Posted May 14, 2013 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

        For once I totally agree with you.

        We should indeed copy Norway and Switzerland…..and immeadiately leave the EU

        • lifelogic
          Posted May 19, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Permalink


      • Edward2
        Posted May 14, 2013 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps the key is in the different relationship Norway and Switzerland have with the EU that is a factor in their prosperity Uni.

      • Bob
        Posted May 14, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

        @uanime5 & lifelogic

        From talking to a German expat recently she said that the German taxpayers get much much better value for their tax paid than the British taxpayer.

        • lifelogic
          Posted May 19, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

          Indeed, when I was in the UK I got little apart from the bins taken away even that was done poorly.

      • Mark W
        Posted May 15, 2013 at 6:03 am | Permalink

        There are reasons that Germany has less problem with benefits than we do. I don’t know when you (uni) lived there but you may remember that sitting around watching Jeremy Kyle in grey track suit bottoms was quite a shameful way to spend ones day. In the UK it’s something to be proud of.

  12. Epimenides
    Posted May 13, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Shut the website down, Redwood.

    Then you can concentrate on renegotiating with the Marxists running the EU – not that you will get within a country mile of any negotiations. I am reliably informed that Cameron hates you.

    Censorship is the last bastion of the defeated.

    • Jerry
      Posted May 14, 2013 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      @Epimenides: Sorry to be so rude but, please grow-up!

      There are several miles distance between wishing to have a open and free debate and some wishing to abuse John’s website as a place to have a rant just to promote their chosen political party. This has nothing to do with censorship, it is about respecting John, his time, his available resources, his/our money and above all those who is serious about debating the issues.

      Try reading John’s blog again, and this time try misunderstand what he is asking.

      Reply Thank you

      • Epimenides
        Posted May 14, 2013 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

        Yawn, I have read what Mr Redwood posted and I do not need any lectures from you. Try reading your incoherent post before you start criticising me. Err, what does [all those who is serious], [and this time try misunderstand what he is asking] (sic) mean?

        Sorry Jerry, you lose. As for [rant] (sic) – take your own advice.

        Also, I never mentioned any other political parties. It is not possible to debate without mention of them or their policies. I have never posted propaganda here.

        Mr Redwood’s guidelines seem to be – post what I want to read or it is censored.

        • Jerry
          Posted May 15, 2013 at 7:01 am | Permalink

          @Epimenides: Yours was a typical rude rant (etc) yes my spelling and grammar is not perfect (I’m the first to admit that) but unlike you Sir I do have (a viewpoint worth considering-ed)

          Oh and no, you might have read John’s blog but you sure as hell have not understood him, he has not said that we can’t name political parties but we need to do so within the construct of a debate, that means putting forward an argument, not just posting a manifesto or having a rant that everyone should VOTE FOR MY PARTY or JOIN MY PARTY, with no more rational than it being the only party that can/should win/govern.

          With id… sorry, people like you around, Epimenides, I really do wonder why John bothers, but it might also explain why so many politicians have given up on such blogs and why the newspaper blogs / comment sections are so unreadable (never mind why so many ISP’s gave up on supporting and policing Usenet). 🙁

    • zorro
      Posted May 14, 2013 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Hopefully not the B……. word


    • forthurst
      Posted May 14, 2013 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      “Shut the website down, Redwood.” etc

      I don’t think JR requires mentoring by posturing ( so and sos -ed)

    • Bazman
      Posted May 14, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      Obviously you are a UKIP supporter or some sort of right wing fanatsist. Give us your views and not you parties election spiel is what he is saying. Trouble is that any points put to you will be ignored as absurd and not sensible etc. When you are proved wrong why do you still believe what you write?

      • Mark W
        Posted May 15, 2013 at 6:06 am | Permalink

        Or when you and uni are wrong you just don’t answer.

        I’m not knocking it, it’s funny and predictable behaviour with left wing fantasists.

        • Bazman
          Posted May 15, 2013 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

          So do tell me what I am wrong on and have not replied to? Do not accuse me of this without basis.

        • Bazman
          Posted May 20, 2013 at 5:49 am | Permalink

          Mark the W. Sounds about right.

  13. javelin
    Posted May 13, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Totally agree. You need to keep the website for debate. People can choose their parties off the back of the debate.

    Had a look at the Daily Mail, Telegraph and Express comments section and there are alot (98%) of comments that express annoyance with David Cameron for not calling an referendum – some are quite angry. It’s worth a look. I guess people can go there if they wish to express or support voting intentions.

    What troubles me about seeing so many negative comments is that this kind of thing is likely to be contagious to people who don’t comment. I think David needs to do something concrete or a lot of MPs will start to get nervous in the next few months.

    • zorro
      Posted May 14, 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      Replace ‘will’ with ‘are’ regarding MPs……


  14. James
    Posted May 13, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    A first sign of panic?

  15. Jerry
    Posted May 13, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    John, I personally welcome this, I have felt for as long time that many are more interested in the promotion of their chosen party (policy) than debating the issue to hand. Quite frankly many of the calls for you to jump ship and cross the floor are also a way of promoting such parties -a “Come and join us” message- but that will be for you to decide. That said, all I ask is that in the coming week or so you make it clear what you are removing because you feel it has legal or other issues and what breaks your embargo on promotion, in that way the readers and the poster of the comment will be able to understand you moderation methodology.

    Oh, and I hope your debate in Oxford was a success?

    • Jerry
      Posted May 13, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Oops, sorry for the formatting, made a bit of a ‘Tag Soup’ of the HTML 🙁

    • stred
      Posted May 14, 2013 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      Some suggestions to ‘jump ship’ are not from UKIP members but from previous Conservative voters who are sick of a government which has trampled on everything they voted for. They would like to see a new Conservative government and UKIP’s policies align with what they thought they had supported. Libdem voters included a lot of students and their parents and lecturers who saw them rat on and triple fees. They will be doing the same thing and voting for any party which allows a person to obtain a degree without a debt the size of a mortgage.

  16. Leslie Singleton
    Posted May 13, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    I have just watched some sort of Daily Politics show (mainly Bone and Farage) and (assuming it is still allowed to talk like this) I was amazed to hear that Electoral Law was changed two years ago, apparently such that joint candidates are now allowed (two parties, one candidate on the ballot paper). This seems to me to have enormous possibilities. Is there any reason you – and everybody else because it was news to me – haven’t given this a fair or indeed any ventilation?

    • stred
      Posted May 14, 2013 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      What a gift from heaven! Now local party members can get together and decide which prospective MPs with the right policies can endorse each other. Combined support is way ahead of Labour and Dummy has wrecked the Dums.
      Someone should start an internet political dating site for secret meetings down the pub. Order the Immodium no 10.

      • Jerry
        Posted May 15, 2013 at 7:11 am | Permalink

        @stred: This seems to be a very out-dated concept to me, the Labour party tried running an internal version of what you seem to be suggesting back in the 1970s, it allowed “Parties within a Party” to stand as Labour candidates rather than as their own (such as how Militant members did).

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted May 16, 2013 at 12:12 am | Permalink

          Jerry–Always a pleasure but you do not seem to be on top of the difference between two different parties collaborating and a singly party seeking to handle splits. Hard to imagine where the comparison you see comes from. Besides nobody is going to be forced to vote for a candidate representing two parties so it is just another option. Of course Cameron can try and block it happening (it is of course most unlikely to happen in other than a few constituencies) but as ever he may face a price when he finds he has very little support in relation to the joint candidate. Every danger it will just blow up in his face like so much he does.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 16, 2013 at 9:15 am | Permalink

            @Leslie Singleton: How can anyone represent two parties, how would this work, whilst voters in a eurosceptic constituency might agree that the two parties both support a EU exit how about gay marriage, fox hunting, crime and punishment or perhaps taxation? For example how would a joint UKIP/Conservative MP vote on tax policy, against or for, after all the Tories seem to want to keep the current multi-level tax system whilst UKIP policy if for a Flat-Tax system, another Joint MP might be faced with one party favouring the existing Council Tax system but the other want to bring in a system based on a local income tax…

            One needs to think about the whole manifesto of policies, not just those with common cause, any “Marriage of Convenience” will surely fail on the differences and not the similarities.

  17. alan jutson
    Posted May 13, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Permalink


    Understand your viewpoint, particularly when you are paying for this site yourself, and not claiming any Parliamentary expenses for it.

    I think you have been quite tolerant with some of the comments made, although I am sure most of them have been made out of sheer frustration with the existing governments non performance on so many matters.

  18. Hope
    Posted May 13, 2013 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    JR your stance is perfectly understandable and should be adhered to. However, it could be viewed that you brought this on yourself by saying the only way to get a referendum was to vote for your party. Clearly this is not correct and there are alternatives to your suggestion. In fact the responses clearly demonstrate an overwhelming majority do not believe Mr Cameron whatever option he puts on the table. His views have become incoherent nonsense against his actions to date and his stark contrasting comments- blogger Dennis has given many examples which illustrate why this is the case.

  19. stred
    Posted May 13, 2013 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    This seems fair. Why should you promote other parties? On the other hand, there is nothing to stop the promotion of not voting in certain directions or complaining that the person we voted for last time has reneged on everything they lied about.

    Also, the best stuff is the technical/financial debates.

  20. Mike Stallard
    Posted May 13, 2013 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    First of all, I want to say, as a long term user of this excellent site that it is usually one of the very first I look at. For informed, insider information of what if actually going on in the Houses of Parliament, it is invaluable. It is refreshingly free of jargon, lies and spin. It is the place to go to for the relevant figures too. So well done!
    Second, I too am getting a bit fed up with UKIP being the only answer. It isn’t. Nothing is. What matters is to take a long, cool look and that is just what this blog (and others too) are very good indeed at. Politics is the art of the possible.
    So – a positive thank you.

    • Jerry
      Posted May 14, 2013 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      @Mike Stallard: I totally agree with your second paragraph, no single party has all the answers on anything, least of all the EU.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted May 16, 2013 at 12:14 am | Permalink

        Jerry–In case you. and Mike, haven’t noticed, you can only vote (still) for one party at a time.

        • Jerry
          Posted May 16, 2013 at 9:28 am | Permalink

          @Leslie Singleton: I think what Mike was suggesting and if so I agree, that the issue of the UK’s relationship with the EU needs cross-party support in the end, not just a single parties manifesto commitment, hence the need for a referendum on which the whole of Parliament then works for the expressed wishes of the people.

    • Dan
      Posted May 14, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      I’ve never once called for JR to jump ship to UKIP.
      What I have wondered, without ever getting an answer, is just how long JR can remain a member of a party which doesn’t deliver his wishes on EU matters. When does the country come before party?

      • Jerry
        Posted May 15, 2013 at 7:25 am | Permalink

        @Dan: John can do more from within a Tory party that doesn’t currently share his or our views, yes the Tory party is not eurosceptic enough today but who knows what next week, month or year will bring, look at what happened with the “Gang of Four” (who jumped ship from the Lab to form the SDP) compared to those on the moderate wing of the Lab party who toughed it out through the ‘Militant’ years.

  21. MickC
    Posted May 14, 2013 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    I’m sorry to see this approach being adopted-it does rather smack of you having been leaned on.

    Quite obviously straightforward “vote for x party” comments should not be posted-but I’ve not seen any on here in any event. I have seen many comments along the lines of “I’ll now be voting UKIP because its policies are better/more Conservative on the following points……” This seems to me to be perfectly valid comment.

    Rather than telling (former?) Conservative supporters that they are unable to enter into debate on one of their MPs websites, you leadership would be best advised to adopt Conservative policies-in which event we would vote Conservative.

    Naturally, the problem is not confined to the Conservative party-it is a disease all parties have contracted.

    Reply I have not been leaned on. If anyone wanted to lean on me they would have tried before elections, not after them! Yes, I have allowed people to say vote xxx and to go into simple reproduction/euology of a party position. I will now decline to post that, as you can read it on the relevant party site if you wish.

  22. Electro-Kevin
    Posted May 14, 2013 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Radio 4 yesterday – telling us how generous the EU was for ‘funding’ science projects within the UK. No mention of the fact that the UK is a net contributor to the EU. The unasked question being what would happen if we left the EU ? I had to turn off such bunk.

    And so it will go. The scare stories dressed up as EU success stories and these scares will become more overt as time passes by.

    Mainstream politicians will fall into line. There will be no choice but to remain in the EU and the Tories will sell themselves on ‘not being Labour’ once more.

    I can see why you’re all worried about the public being given real choice and there being real competition and why you might not want to give free ‘air time’ to it.

    A small but popular organisation will need funding in order to get decent publicity. I can see that I’m going to have to actually join The Party Which Cannot Be Named and give it some money.

    I think our EU membership is safe (unfortunately.) I am not so sure about the Tory party though – I think that this is unfortunate too.

    • stred
      Posted May 14, 2013 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      What is the difference between the three people chosen by BBC Newsnight to debate the EU referendum last night. Nadine Dories , Stephen Dorell and Dr Cooper?, the official adjutant of Herr Von Rumpey. The latter has amuch higher salary, pays no tax on it and is not elected himself while working for a president who is not directly elected.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted May 14, 2013 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      PS, Having read your responses to commenters I understand your position better.

      I never have (and never would) question an omitted post of mine – knowing that you’re busy – and I’ve learned to trust your good editorial discretion.

  23. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted May 14, 2013 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    John – Will bashing the BBC still be allowed under your revised constitution for this site or is BBC bias a non-political issue?

    • Life logic
      Posted May 14, 2013 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      Not bashing just pointing out their absurd overall bias and agenda – fake green, big government, big tax, expensive energy, anti real science and economics, pro EU, arty tosh.

      • Jerry
        Posted May 15, 2013 at 7:41 am | Permalink

        @Lifelogic: Yes, let’s just brush everything we don’t like under the carpet!

        I don’t agree with all the BBC says or broadcasts [1] (same with Sky & ITN etc.) but I accept that they are reporting what others are saying or have said, nor do I believe that most people still believe that “Aunty knows best”, it is just far to easy these days to find out what others think.

        [1] I might approve of the BBC, its concept and how it is funded but I am at the same time one of its true critics, not just having a rant at ever opportunity simply because it has not told me about what I have already decided I want to believe/hear

  24. John Wrake
    Posted May 14, 2013 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood, this seems a most sensible move in view of the major elections in the pipeline. It will have the added benefit of returning discussion, in both blog and comments, to facts political and economic rather than opinions and exhortations.
    The fact that must be faced is that British politicians of all political colours, supported by unthinking citizens who have elected them, have purported to have given away what they do not own.
    To give away what you do not own is a contradiction in terms.
    The written parts of our historic Constitution are quite specific. The sovereignty of this nation is given to the chosen Monarch in response to that Monarch’s promise to govern in accordance with our laws and customs, the promise being made in the form of the Coronation Oath and the gift ratified by the Acclamation, both taking place in the Coronation, itself a Christian Service of Worship according to the rites of the Church of England.
    No one may hold public office in this nation before swearing an oath of allegiance to the Monarch and by it, agreeing to abide by those same laws and customs.
    The problems facing this nation have arisen because men and women have broken their oath, because they claim that the Constitution is outdated and purport to change it, because they treat our Customs and Ceremonies as mere play-acting and entertainment, because they have broken the Common Law.
    Until the leaders of the nation return to conformity with the Law as set out in our historic Constitution, the problems can only continue and grow. Our representatives must make that choice as individuals, for it is as individuals that the Law judges us.

    John Wrake

  25. David Price
    Posted May 14, 2013 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    I think you’ve been remarkably tolerant of the overt campaigning that’s increased over the last couple of months. The way in which topics have become swamped with a particular flavour of comment always seemed a bit cheeky to me considering that the promoted party does not provide it’s own open forum where everyone could debate their policies and proposals.

    Thank you for all the thought and effort you put in to this blog together with a light touch in moderating posts. It provides a welcome and unique perspective on events and access to the political goings on.

  26. John Wrake
    Posted May 14, 2013 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,
    I am sorry to find that, though my previous comment on your plan to remove party-political comment from this site was in favour of your move and the rest of my comment made no reference to political parties, but was concerned solely with factual statements, you appear to have removed it.
    The facts to which I referred may be uncomfortable for many. Until we are all prepared to face uncomfortable facts and change our attitudes as a result, neither post nor comment, however erudite, will provide pointers to the solution of present problems.

    John Wrake

  27. Normandee
    Posted May 14, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    How can you debate without comparison ? how can you quote without reference ? As I read it, this site is to become a bulletin board for a conservative party struggling desperately to survive it’s own stupidity and dishonesty.
    You have questioned the direction of the conservative party yourself, can we assume that will stop ?

  28. Anthem
    Posted May 14, 2013 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    From now on, I will refer to UKIP as Voldemort (the party that cannot be named – not even by the Prime Minister himself).

    Seriously though, I think you have been most tolerant of the pro-UKIP propaganda on this site thus far, especially considering your own situation.

    We’ll just have to play a bit dirtier in future. The Eton boys won’t enjoy that, either.

  29. Roy Grainger
    Posted May 15, 2013 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    John: It is your blog and you can make any rules you like, but I a bit perplexed about the election “law” reason you give – are you saying we were breaking the law last week in posting material, or that we weren’t last week but we are this week ? Does the law apply even when no general election has been called ? What are the specific laws in force for the EU elections ? Can you direct us to the relevant legislation so we can understand the exact rules ? Thanks.

    Reply Any promotional material in a pre election period has to be authorised by the election agent/party, and the costs/expenses of publishing it identified in the election return.

    • Bob
      Posted May 15, 2013 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      “Reply Any promotional material in a pre election period has to be authorised by the election agent/party, and the costs/expenses of publishing it identified in the election return. “

      I thought you paid for the blog out of your own pocket?
      How exactly are you breaking the law by mentioning your opponents?
      It doesn’t make any sense.

      Reply: You have to report the costs of your propaganda whether you incurred them directly or they were provided deliberately or inadvertently by someone else.

  30. Thatcher's Iron stil
    Posted May 15, 2013 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Surely this approach, to barring freedom of expression, is a little against the individualist and liberal ideology I had you pegged as being a follower of? Are you just anti party reference or also ideology or party member reference as well? More importantly, had you supped from the water of life when you wrote this post?

  • 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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