A new relationship with the EU – as our current membership is anti business and jobs


          I have long argued that the government should create a new relationship with the EU. I was pleased  Mr Cameron used this phrase in his important Bloomberg speech. The businessmen who have written today to a newspaper saying it is in our economic interest to stay in the EU on current terms, as always have failed to explain why. The problems with our current membership include the high cost energy, ineffective and expensive regulations and other anti enterprise measures which adversely affect us. The EU is anti jobs, exporting them to other parts of the world by making us uncompetitive.

           To me the phrase a new relationship  means that we want to create a relationship based around the important trade the UK does with other states in the EU. We also may well need to co-operate with the neighbours, through bilateral agreements over pipelines, ferry links, air routes and all the other issues that relate to the conduct of trade and the travel of people between our islands and the continent. I leave open the possibility that we will want to undertake other matters based on mutual  political co-operation, where it makes sense for us and them and where we have a veto over whether to do it or not, just as they would also enjoy a veto.

             I do not think we can mend this broken relationship which many in the UK now find unacceptable, by a few modest treaty amendments. After all, the whole Conservative party voted No to Nice, No to Amsterdam, and No to Lisbon. The Conservative party was forced into accepting Maastricht reluctantly by a past leadership, only accepting it on the basis that we were exempted from the main points of that treaty, by refusing to join the Euro.

              I find it bizarre that the media and some other critics now make out the Conservative party is once again divided on Europe and talking  about something that matters to few people. The party I know is united behind the proposition that we need a new relationship,  and  still united around the view that at least the last three treaties and arguably more were unacceptable in surrendering  vetoes and pushing the federalist agenda.

                  In a democracy one Parliament cannot bind its successors. To recover our democracy we need to be able to reverse EU laws previous governments have adopted, and need to be able to unwind treaties we voted against at the time. Far from banging on about a minor issue, we are seeking to sort out the big issues of border control, migration, extradition, energy prices, welfare eligibility and the rest where the EU now has the power to block or amend what we want to do.

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  1. nina Andreeva
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 5:14 am | Permalink

    Fat chance of any of that changing. Go and ask the Swiss, who are not even in the EU, who is stopping the people’s will that no mosques in Switzerland should have a minaret attached to Them. You need more than Cameron the capon to tell Cathy Ashton, that if France wants to sell its agricultural products here or Germany its cars it will be on the basis of a straight import/export deal with no BS “human rights” strings attached

    • Mark W
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 6:07 am | Permalink

      If I had been called a swivel eyed right wing loon, I’d take it as a compliment. But I think the Swiss let themselves down over the mosque referendum. I see no contradiction between wishing immigrants to culturally assimilate with the host nation and freedom to practice their religion. Shame on the Swiss for a very unhelpful contribution to a difficult subject.

    • Hope
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      The UK cannot even prevent the EU taking another £1.2 billion from the UK taxpayer this year. They keep on and on about tax, how about stop spending! Osborne has a black hole in his numbers and they still have increased international aide by 11 per cent. International health care continues to grow and welfare is also increasing by about £26billion under this government. When Randell asked Boles if it would be better to cut international aide than UK pensions he said that would be “ridiculous”. Well a message for Cameron and chums, you are so far off target it is painful to watch. QMV comes fully into play nexts year in the Lisbon treaty and there is no chance of “influencing” the EU when you are a minority of 1. Now even George should be able to work out these numbers 26 to 1.

      • Bob
        Posted May 20, 2013 at 8:29 am | Permalink


        Don’t forget we’re all in this together.

        Daily Mail reports:
        “Pay review to hand MPs a rise of up to £20,000: Move could see backbenchers earn £80,000 and reignite fury over pay and perks

        Ipsa reports next month and has been looking at rise of £10,000 to £20,000”


        • lifelogic
          Posted May 20, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

          It would be a salary of circa £80,000 plus a pension cost of about another £50K PA per member. So total remuneration would be in the region of £130,000 (they are already over the £100K) the pension entitlement would rise with the salary. Still we are all in it together, except myself as I have left, and have no intention of returning to pay millions in income tax at 45%, GCT of 28% and IHT of 40% to Cameron & Osborne. Just for them to waste it on daft green nonsense, the EU, HS2, pointless wars, propaganda and endless over paid bureaucrats.

          A few like JR and Jacob Rees-Mogg are cheap at twice the price but the vast majority are not. Also high pay (and special tax rules tend to make them place men & woman so they never act in the interest of the voters – but those of themselves and the party.

          Reply These are leaked proposals for the period 2015-20 from the Independent b ody that settles these matters. The idea is MPs will not settle theuir own pay. I also read in the same leak that the current pension scheme would end at the same time.

          • Hope
            Posted May 20, 2013 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

            Independent- please JR come off it. IPSA are not truly independent. 302MPs over paid or fiddled their expenses and only a handful reached court. How many have been arrested for press hacking, Saville inquiry? Policy decisions and a word in the right ear to the police. Otherwise there would have been literally hundreds of MPs arrested.

            Good to see that no English names were used in the 11yr old literacy SAT paper this week. Also a mistake in the maths paper, the numbers could not add up. Another education success for the Tories I guess.

            Reply: MOst of the 302 MPs you mention claimed honestly for items the authorities agreed were covered, only for the rules to be changed retrospectively. Hardly an offence.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted May 20, 2013 at 9:41 am | Permalink

        I’d like the issue of QMV opened up to a wider audience, because I am convinced not many people know what it actually stands for, even less, its implications for the UK. But once the public are fully enlightened, then it’s time for finger-pointing, to ensure the people who delivered it, and their modern-day counterparts, never hold office again!

        Tad Davison


      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 20, 2013 at 10:12 am | Permalink

        “QMV comes fully into play nexts year in the Lisbon treaty”

        I suggest that you look at Box 2 on page 5 here:


        to understand what will actually happen on November 1st 2014.

        Once again we have a hare set running on the basis of a misunderstanding, and I suppose it will be impossible to stop until that date arrives and it becomes clear that it was always a misuunderstanding.

    • uanime5
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      The UK is free to leave the EU and establish a trade agreement, however the UK will be subject to quotas and tariffs. The EU will not give a free trade agreement to any country that doesn’t obey EU law.

      Also human rights is nothing to do with the EU.

      • Hope
        Posted May 20, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        And vice versa. The world is larger than the soviet EUgovernment system. German cars can become very expensive in the UK if they want to play silly games, as will other EU goods. The UK imports more than it exports, the loser-the EU. If the UK leaves watch others follow. Destitution for Spain, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus Hungary and many others.

        If we listened to the Europhile ‘swivel-eyed loons’ the UK would be in a far worse place now if we had joined the Euro as they wished. So before Europhiles call other people names think of their stupidity first.

        • Life logic
          Posted May 21, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

          Indeed why does the BBC etc. give such endless coverage to those who have been proved consistently wrong on the ERM,, the Euro, the EU, high tax borrow and waste, law and order and quack energy. Namely the Libdem thinkers in all parties.

        • uanime5
          Posted May 21, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

          Trade with the EU accounts for 16% of the UK’s GDP, trade with the UK accounts for 4% of the EU’s GDP. So in a trade war the UK will suffer far more than the EU.


          Believing that other countries will leave because the UK leaves is simply naive. Especially when the causes of the problems in these countries are different than the causes of the UK’s problems.

          Replky As you like the EU so much why do you think they would want a trade war if we left?

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted May 21, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

            If it’s believed that the leaders of other EU countries are so stupid and vindictive that they’d start a trade war if we left the EU, shouldn’t it be asked why we’re allowing them to tell us how to run our country within the EU?

      • Nina Andreeva
        Posted May 20, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

        U5 and you think the UK is powerless to impose tariffs and quotas on anyone else? Also when you finish playing your fantasy computer games tonight, Google up the Lisbon Treaty and have a read of the bits that make the Charter of Fundamental Rights binding on member states. The EU is very much involved in the human rights racket

        • Tad Davison
          Posted May 20, 2013 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

          Nina, you’re wasting your breath. This one keeps coming back with the same points over and over again, and won’t listen to the answers.


        • Gary
          Posted May 21, 2013 at 8:38 am | Permalink

          A trade war is the last thing we need. Read some history about Smoot Hawley and its effects on the Great Depression. Many hot wars start with trade wars.

          Also, there is no better way to counter the tyranny of democracy, the trampling of minorities by the majority, without a written constitution and a bill of rights. First past the post, in our case, means a party with less than 40% support gets 100% of power. Democracy as a bludgeoning tool, to paraphrase Wide. Is that what you want ?

        • uanime5
          Posted May 21, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

          The UK can impose all the tariffs and quotas it wants but the result will still be that the UK is poor because it has less access to the EU. Your belief that less trade with the UK’s largest trading partner will somehow result in greater prosperity will not change this.

          While the Charter of Fundamental Rights may be binding on member states that doesn’t change the fact that the European Court of Human Rights isn’t part of the EU. It also doesn’t change the fact that as long as the UK has signed up to this charter the UK will have to obey human rights laws even if we leave the EU. Nina your inability to distinguish between the two just shows that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

          • nina Andreeva
            Posted May 21, 2013 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

            Yeah but I still earn a lot more money than you

          • Edward2
            Posted May 21, 2013 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

            You have been told several times now that human rights are enshrined into the Lisbon Treaty and so is therefore part of our membership of the EU
            Just because you don’t like it doesn’t make it untrue.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 20, 2013 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

        Given human rights are now enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty, it is part of being in the EU.

        • uanime5
          Posted May 21, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

          Given that the UK has signed up to the European Convention of Human Rights we’ll still have to obey it even if we leave the EU. So it’s misleading to claim it’s part of the EU when we’ll still have to obey it if we leave the EU.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 21, 2013 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

            Given that we can withdraw from this if we are an independent nation once more I think you are wrong again, as usual Uni.

      • Chris S
        Posted May 21, 2013 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        uanime5 you are wrong yet again !

        I have thought that maybe, one day, we will find an issue on which we both agree but I’m beginning to doubt it !

        Your argument over trade is preposterous :

        How can you possibly ignore yet again the fact that we have a trade deficit with the rest of the EU ?

        The 26 will no longer try to impose tariffs and quotas on us than they would on any other country within the EEA of which we are a founder member.

        Germany, Italian and Dutch manufacturers in particular have far too much to lose and Merkel will lead the pack in ensuring that socialist protectionists like Hollande don’t do anything to damage trade links with the UK.

        If you don’t now what the EEA is, I suggest you look it up.

  2. matthu
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    we are seeking to sort out the big issues of border control, migration, extradition, energy prices, welfare eligibility and the rest where the EU now has the power to block or amend what we want to do.

    It is “and the rest” that needs to be spelt out in bold.

    We have seen how the EU twist Health & Safety and Security and Human Rights to slip just about any legislation passed us.

    No more.

    • uanime5
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      We have seen how the EU twist Health & Safety and Security and Human Rights to slip just about any legislation passed us.

      Either provide examples or admit that you don’t have any evidence to back up your claims.

      • Hope
        Posted May 20, 2013 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        Billions wasted in pensions for people who have worked in the EU for a few years to keep them onside for the rest of their lives when they leave.

        A sixth of the international aide from the UK is actually spent by the EU on countries the UK would not support. Political ideology that costs a fortune for nothing in return. Swiss seem to be doing okay.

        • Chris S
          Posted May 21, 2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink

          Hope, your point is a really interesting one.

          Dan Hannan did a piece on this only yesterday :

          Signatories to the Pro-EU letter sent to the Indy yesterday were all supposedly ‘eminent businessmen’ . In fact many were were nothing of the sort :

          Dan pointed out that many were retired career civil servants and Brussels officials who picked up plum directorships to add to their gongs.

          Dan said that “We can reasonably assume that, excepting a handful of the usual suspects, genuine business leaders refused to sign”.

          On the subject or fat EU pensions let’s just look at the cash to be awarded to the EU’s “High Representative”, a role in which Mrs Peter Kellner of YouGov fame has been widely recognised as having been a failure :

          Baroness Ashton as she is now was plucked from obscurity and given the job by one G. Brown when he couldn’t find anyone suitably qualified and willing to take the job. (ie David Miliband).

          After five years undistinguished service on allowances and salary of £287,543 pa ( plus expenses ), an EU Commissioner will get a month’s pay (£23,962 !) followed by “transitional payments” over three years of £133,500 a year.

          That’s more than £400,000 for doing absolutely nothing.

          In 2021 he or she will qualify for a pension of £61,000 pa for life based just on five years in that office.

          We might think that, well, the Treasury will at least get a substantial amount of this largess back in income tax but no.

          EU salaries and even pensions are forever taxed at special low EU rates starting at only 8% and the small amount of tax paid all goes back into the EU budget. The Treasury sees none of this money.

          Is it any wonder ex-officials and ex-MEPs remain on-message ?

        • uanime5
          Posted May 21, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

          None of those examples are related to issue matthu raised.

          Also by your logic all employers are guilty of the same thing as they also give their employees pensions.

      • matthu
        Posted May 20, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

        uanime5: Why not try a more polite approach if you are genuinely seeking information, or are you just naturally agressive?

        One example is the United Nations Security Council UNSC seeking to have Climate Change recognised as a security threat. Had this been successful, all sorts of climate change legislation could have been forced onto the UK by the EU against our wishes.

        The most recent example is probably the ruling about olive oil containers, brought in under health and safety.

        Probably the best known example is the Working Time Directive. At the time this was introduced, the then UK Employment Secretary David Hunt said “It is a flagrant abuse of Community rules. It has been brought forward as such simply to allow majority voting – a ploy to smuggle through part of the Social Chapter by the back door. The UK strongly opposes any attempt to tell people that they can no longer work the hours they want.”

        • sjb
          Posted May 21, 2013 at 11:33 am | Permalink

          UK workers can work longer than 48 hours if they wish to do so, matthu.

          Twenty years ago, it was not unknown for junior hospital doctors covering the weekend to fall asleep over pts.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted May 22, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

            So if we accept the premise of the EU’s working time directive, are you saying our own parliament couldn’t have enacted similar legislation had it been so minded?

        • uanime5
          Posted May 21, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

          My approach has always been to criticise those who make claims without any evidence to back up these claims. Mainly because they can’t provide any examples or provide bad examples.

          Firstly you have no evidence that recognising Climate Change as a security threat would have resulted in any new laws being created. This is just baseless speculation on your part.

          Secondly if the worst the EU does is bring in laws relating to olive oil containers under health and safety laws then the UK has little to worry about. Do you have any examples of anything major being introduced under health and safety laws?

          Thirdly just because David Hunt doesn’t like the Working Time Directive doesn’t change the fact that it was made according to EU rules. Given that the UK’s main objection to this directive was because it would prevent them forcing junior doctors to work 70 hours a week it’s clear that the EU was working to improve employee rights while the UK was actively trying to hamper them.

          In conclusion your failed to provide any examples of EU law being abused to force legislation onto the UK. All your examples show is EU law being made according to the rules that the UK agreed to.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted May 21, 2013 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

            But you won’t listen to any of the arguments.

            Let us take the EU completely out of the equation for a moment. What would we then do for laws?

            It’s obvious, our own parliament would make them, so why have the EU in the first place?

            Catch on?

          • Edward2
            Posted May 21, 2013 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

            You say modestly, “My approach has always been to criticise those who make claims without any evidence to back up these claims.”
            Trouble is your “evidence” is often only believed by you, with some very dodgy and carefully chosen statistics which when properly examined fail the test Uni

          • matthu
            Posted May 22, 2013 at 5:35 am | Permalink

            uanime5: You are obviously completely blind to the over-regulated, excessively cautious, risk averting culture that has built up and which is directly attributable to the EU.

            Why else are you so apparently ignorant of the sort of culture that has led to the creation of a ladder-awareness course, which costs over £200 and is paid by the taxpayer or the consumer depending on whether the ladder user works in the public or private sector?

            The sort of culture that demands an army of inspectors who carry out checks to ensure ladders are safe?

            The sort of culture that demands a whole bureaucracy to document the fact that the inspection has taken place and file and store the paperwork for a period of three months?

            You are apparently unaware of how H&S legislation has morphed into something so bureaucratic, expensive and time-consuming that it treats grown-ups like children.

            You have been blind to the occasions when police officers who would once have stepped in to help people under threat are now expected to conduct a safety assessment before doing so.

            You couldn’t care that trivial but enjoyable pastimes such as conkers have been outlawed by schools terrified of being taken to court, how 800 year old churches have been forced to install bannisters leading up the three steps to the pulpit.

            You clearly support the whole army of insurance policy salesman and lawyers having been built up who depend on this whole over-regulated culture of risk aversion, and how the concomitant cost has been allowed to invade every aspect of our lives, destroying our competitiveness, our entrepreneurial spirit and our British way of life.

            Let me hazard a guess: somehow you are dependant on maintaining the gravy train inside this whole pile of dog mess.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted May 21, 2013 at 5:08 am | Permalink

      Matthu – No-win-no-fee has magnified any problems with EU law.

  3. lifelogic
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    “After all, the whole Conservative party voted No to Nice, No to Amsterdam, and No to Lisbon.”

    Well you do in opposition the problem is what the Tories do when in Government. How are the absurd soft loans to the PIGIS coming along Cameron pushed through to help the Euro for example.

    “The Conservative party was forced into accepting Maastricht reluctantly by a past leadership, only accepting it on the basis that we were exempted from the main points of that treaty, by refusing to join the Euro.”

    John Major led them into accepting Maastricht, many were not reluctant and others just went along, he would have joined the EURO too had he been able to as his absurd entirely predictable ERM disaster showed. Yes these people, proved to wrong time and again, are still pushing for more disasters with Cameron, alas, clearly on their side.

    Before Cameron can do anything much he needs to win an election outright, how on earth is he going to do that with his current course? A UKIP deal is the only option and UKIP could not trust him one inch to honour a deal – due to his earlier ratting and deceptions.

    Reply We would not let him join the Euro – that was why I resigned from the Cabinet.

    • zorro
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      Indeed….the ‘usual suspects’ in the Tory EUphile establishment hold sway and always have done in reality. John and some of his colleagues have managed to stem the tide over the years but we now need to turn the tide.

      John’s post today gives a good summary of what it is all about. We need a workable veto over our political cooperation with others and we must not be thwarted from implementing economic policy by diktats.

      Those who go on about ‘banging on’ do not understand the fundamental point. The EU and its political establishment is THE ISSUE. It stops us acting effectively as a sovereign nation. If Cameron does not understand why people ‘bang on’ about this, he should think about changing his career before others do it for him…..


      • Tad Davison
        Posted May 20, 2013 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

        I agree Zorro. Everything is linked to the EU in one way or another, which is why I disagree with the John Major stoolie, Lord Mawhinney, who said on the Daily Politics show recently, that Europe isn’t the issue, it’s all about the (domestic) economy.


        • lifelogic
          Posted May 21, 2013 at 5:08 am | Permalink

          Indeed, the economic situation is due mainly to the anti businesses policies of the EU, the Euro fiasco, the over priced religious energy scam and the barmy over regulation of everything. The EU is the main issue that prevents any sensible resolution.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      Keep watching the Labour party. People keep saying they’ll have to offer a referendum on the EU too, to have any credibility, but not necessarily. They might not have to. They might just sit tight and ride out the storm. Although not presently doing as well in the polls under Ed Moribund as they ought to, they could have a big victory delivered to them right into their laps by the Tories, as happened in 1997. I blame Major for that defeat, and all the other pro-EU liberals in Tory clothing. History looks like repeating itself.

      Tad Davison


      • sjb
        Posted May 21, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

        The British Election Panel Study interviewed a group of voters every six months during the 1992-7 Conservative Government. Some open-minded contributors may be interested in the findings.

        Picking up your point about history repeating itself, I thought the section on Europe was interesting:

        “[…] voters became more sceptical in their attitude towards Europe. Meanwhile on average they were also more likely to think that the Conservat ives were Eurosceptic. All of this should have meant that the issue of Europe helped the Conservatives in 1997.

        However, the panel shows that only 31% thought that the Conservatives were closest to their views on Europe while 41% put Labour closest to their view? How was this possible?

        Voters had varying views about what they thought the Conservatives’ policy position was. Pro-European voters tended to see the Conservatives as Eurosceptic, while Eurosceptic voters believed the Conservatives were pro-European. In short , many voters thought that the Conservatives’ views were the opposite of their own. This may be a reflection of the divisions that the Conservatives suffered on Europe after 1992.”

        • Tad Davison
          Posted May 22, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

          I did a lot of canvassing throughout that period, and I found that Major’s stance on the EU and the ERM especially, was something the people simply did not want at any price, and I had to just walk away, because I couldn’t argue with them.

          But I also came across this rather perplexing phenomenon. A few (not many admittedly) said, ‘The Tories aren’t Eurosceptic enough for me, I’m voting Lib Dem next time!’

          I wonder how the analysts square that one?

    • Disaffected
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      Even Bob Crow is reported to want out of the EU. Now how about encouraging the other union leaders to force Ed’s hand.

      Remember the rubbish by Brown about British jobs for British workers- when (more EU migrants-ed) come looking for their tax credits and hand outs where will Labour be? The unions need to start thinking before they lose further membership. Perhaps some Tory MPs ought to help enlighten them.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted May 20, 2013 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        That’s true, and let’s not forget who signed the Lisbon treaty!


    • lifelogic
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      Thanks goodness that worked at least.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted May 20, 2013 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

        But for how long LL? You wait until we haven’t got a say in it anymore!


  4. Mike Stallard
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    Well said!
    But the time has long gone since theP.M. Of whatever persuasion is able to fob us off with minor adjustments and a lot of hot air.

  5. colliemum
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    I’ve got a question regarding these EU negotiations which politicians are not given to answer.

    What happens, during those negotiations, to all the new EU Directives, or to demands for more money for this and that new EU project?
    Will we be compelled to obey, will we have to pay more and extra money – or will all these demands and directives be stopped while we negotiate?

    I think in a debate about negotiations with Brussels before a referendum, or alternatively invoking Article 50 of theLisbon Treaty, this question deserves an answer.

    Reply Yes, we are still members until the negotiations are completed under this model.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 6:03 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply: The PM knows that there is enough disquiet in Britain about the EU to warrant a referendum so he is offering us one. There should be a cessation of further directives, demands or changes to our country until we have had our referendum.

      (4 years time is a tin can being kicked up a very long road.)

      • Mike Stallard
        Posted May 20, 2013 at 8:04 am | Permalink

        E-K: Afraid that is not how it works. Tens of thousands of people who are in no way connected with Britain are in Coreper and are busily working towards More Europe. Many of them see Britain as a distant place which is just one of nearly thirty other countries, each with its own problems.
        Stop assuming that the EU is Britain writ large: it is most certainly isn’t and there is absolutely no reason why it should be, is there.
        The Directives will continue and there is no way of controlling them.

  6. Electro-Kevin
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    The BBC is warming up in its campaign against Eurosceptics. Radio 4’s A Tomb with a View was unashamed political bias and has to be heard to be believed. The choking to death of the Eurosceptic was meant to raise a chortle at the end.

    As I have said before – I feel that I identify far more readily with Jamie Oliver than John Bull or the vile Eurosceptic character depicted in the Radio 4 play. Satire and drama is where the most potent BBC bias is.

    Yes. The relationship with Europe needs to be changed. It has morphed beyond all recognition and beyond anything that our people thought that they had agreed to – hence the need to change its name several times.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      Please please get M. Guy Verhofstadt and M. Rompuy and M. Jose Manuel Barroso on the TV as much as possible! They ought to host the Today Programme, to run Newsnight, to be constantly in control of the News Quiz and QI. Stephen Fry ought to offer his many places to them as an act of generosity.
      The more publicity our European colleagues are given, the more the British will warm to their gentle humour, their sympathetic support for UKIP and their rousing calls for the EU to break up into various nations after, of course, a populist referendum.
      (Note for moderator: Did you spot the sarcasm?)

    • Normandee
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      And your recommendations for the BBC Mr Redwood ?

    • Mark B
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      First, we never agreed to anything. That’s because we were NEVER asked. Edward Heath signed us up to the then EEC, telling us it was only about trade. The 1975 referendum under Harold Wilson was about staying in, not joining. We were never given a say over Maastrict, Nice, Amsterdam, Lisbon or the Single European Act, or in fact anything.

      Secondly, we do not have a relationship with ‘Europe’. We are a bunch of islands on the western fringes of the ‘continent of Europe’. If by relationship with Europe you mean the European Union (EU), then I yet again must disagree with you. We are not in a relationship. We are a member of a Customs Union and an embryonic Federal State, which has desires for full political, monetary and fiscal UNION with ALL its ‘member states’, and that includes the UK.

      As for your statement, ” ..morphed beyond all recognition..”. All can I say is, what did you expect. The CLUE was in the name European UNION. Not withstanding many were told what this project was all about BEFORE we even joined, back when it was running under the cover of the European Economic Community (EEC).

      Please do not take my post personally. But I will not standby and let some ‘untruths’ mentioned without reply. Whether those untruth are intentional or not.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted May 21, 2013 at 5:12 am | Permalink

        Mark B – Please read the last paragraph of my comment again. You will find that I have not told any untruths.

  7. Mark W
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    Very positive contribution to the debate. I saw your Andrew Marr show interview yesterday where you actually got to make these points without silly interruption.

    This posting would be a good foundation for a “euro sceptic” manifesto as its full of positive direction.

  8. Javelin
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    The EU needs to trade freely with us. If we pull out the EU and the EU leadership starts to restrict trade then the EU economy will suffer and so will the EU dream. If the EU leadership wish to explain to their people that not trading, losing jobs, profits and pensions is what the EU can do for them well the EU won’t last more than a year or two.

    I really don’t think it makes much difference whether we leave the EU now or negotiate with a threat of leaving. Either way the relationship will be based on trade. Just get on and do it.

    • uanime5
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      If we pull out the EU and the EU leadership starts to restrict trade then the EU economy will suffer and so will the EU dream.

      Given how little each EU country sells to the UK as a percentage of their total exports the EU will be able to survive without the UK. The UK on the other hand will not survive if trade ceases.

      • Hope
        Posted May 20, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        Utter socialist rubbish.

      • Jon Burgesd
        Posted May 20, 2013 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        What a pessimist you are uni. The EU is moribund, over regulated, and out of ideas. A big chunk of the rest of the world is growing – and a good proportion of them speak our language. Imagine being free to negotiate your own way on trade so that the deals you make benefit you and not 26 others.

        • uanime5
          Posted May 21, 2013 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

          The UK can already negotiate trade agreements with other countries. We negotiated one with China in 2011.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 20, 2013 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

        I suggest you send this post off to all the French wine makers and German car companies and see if they agree with you that they can survive happily without their sales to the UK market!.

        • uanime5
          Posted May 21, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

          If the UK was their only customer then they might have a problem. However given that they sell their products throughout the world the loss of the UK will not destroy these companies.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 21, 2013 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

            You forget Uni, that Jaguar Land Rover Group also have many worldwide customers and could also survive if they didn’t sell vehicles into the EU.
            Their biggest markets are now China and USA since the economic demise has enveloped many formerly prosperous European nations.
            But none of this is going to happen anyway its just your hoped for fantasy.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted May 20, 2013 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        Where does it say that trade between the EU and the UK will cease if we pull out? I must have missed it.

        • Peter Davies
          Posted May 20, 2013 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

          Its called clutching those straws

          • Life logic
            Posted May 21, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

            Indeed – clearly there must have been no British Trade with French, Germans or Irish before we had the EU.

        • uanime5
          Posted May 21, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

          I never said trade would cease. Just that if it did the UK would not survive, unlike the EU. You really should try reading what I wrote instead of what you think I wrote.

          Reply What then are you saying? Either as I believe the French and Germans will want to carry on with a trade that is in their favour, or you are saying they are vindictive and will stop the trade despite global rules just to annoy us – which is it?

          • Tad Davison
            Posted May 23, 2013 at 7:39 am | Permalink

            And answer came there none………………..

      • Peter Davies
        Posted May 20, 2013 at 8:36 pm | Permalink


        We are talking about leaving the EU not the EEA, or staying in the EU as a trade only relationship. Do Norway and Switzerland have trade tariffs and quotas? I doubt it.

        • sjb
          Posted May 21, 2013 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

          @Peter Davies
          Agriculture falls outside of the EEA. Tariffs and quotas operate – e.g. up to 4,500 tonnes of cheese are tariff free but require lots of paperwork such as certificates and forms. [1]

          Free market advocates who pine after the fjords (wish we were more like Norway) may be interested to learn that apparently 60% of a Norwegian farmer’s income comes from … the Norwegian state.[2]


        • uanime5
          Posted May 21, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

          The UK left the EEA when we joined the EU. Also all members of the EEA have to obey EU law (including Norway and Switzerland).

          All trade only relationships are subject to tariffs and quotas, such as the relationships China and the USA have with the EU. Only those who obey EU law get unrestricted access to the common market.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted May 22, 2013 at 8:00 am | Permalink

            “The UK left the EEA when we joined the EU.”


            “Also all members of the EEA have to obey EU law (including Norway and Switzerland).”

            Switzerland is not in the EEA, and Norway only has to apply about one fifth of the EU laws that we have to apply.

          • Mark B
            Posted May 22, 2013 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

            uanime5 & others

            Please bookmark the following link. Please read the first paragraph. Then tell me whether or not you think that upon joining the EU the UK and others left the EEA.

            Also uanime5 if you reread your post at ‘May 21, 2013 at 3:20 pm’, you said,

            “My approach has always been to criticise those who make claims without any evidence to back up these claims.”

            I have two things to say:

            1) Practice what you preach.

            2) Take a little time to do some research before making such bold and, quite frankly, bogus claims.

          • Mark B
            Posted May 22, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

            Oops !
            missed the link, how embarrassing


            NOTE too editor. if you can put the above in my previous post I would be grateful.

      • Wireworm
        Posted May 21, 2013 at 1:54 am | Permalink

        The Telegraph reports a Goldman Sachs note to investors (link below) in which trade with the UK accounts for 4% of the GDP of the rest of the EU (and 16% of the UK’s). One would imagine that they would not want to lose this. But the note conjectures that a trade deal could not be negotiated if the UK were to leave. We badly need some clarity on this, instead of unsubstantiated bias. Furthermore, in order to vote confidently in the referendum, many people will want to know the terms of an Out trade deal. But how could these possibly be worked out in advance of the referendum, when exit is taboo as far as the EU is concerned? After an exit, rancour may well cloud judgment. The pro-EU side (including the UK’s negotiating machine) will prefer lack of clarity in this respect since it will strengthen their case for avoiding a leap in the dark. Indeed, one can foresee this becoming the essence of their case; it would be a far stronger one than in 1975 when integration was infinitely more limited.


        • uanime5
          Posted May 21, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

          The information by Goldman Sachs indicated that the leaving the EU is likely to hurt the UK more than the EU, contrary to the eurosceptic position that the EU will somehow collapse without the UK.

          Regarding trade deals I recommend looking at the trade deals the EU has given to other developed economies, such as the USA or Canada. These will indicated what sort of quotas and tariffs the UK will be subject to should we leave the EU.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted May 22, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

            ‘…………… leaving the EU is likely to hurt the UK more than the EU, contrary to the eurosceptic position that the EU will somehow collapse without the UK.’

            Don’t you think the EU is making that collapse a whole lot more likely all by itself, or haven’t you seen the problems in France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, and a host of other countries?

            Do you still believe in your EU Utopia, and that it can be made to work without wholesale reform?

            Let me know what you drink, it must be fantastic!

          • Mark B
            Posted May 22, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

            Goldman Sachs did not take into account the UK issuing Article 50 and going for a negotiated settlement with continued access to the EEA as a stated aim. They went straight for an abrogation of the treaties. This is NOT what we are suggesting. Therefore, the position that Goldman Sachs is suggesting is not representative of all those in the Eurosceptic movement.

            Not even I would want to leave the EU without something put in its place. And issuing an Article 50 would enable the UK with continued membership of the EFTA/EEA, access to the Single Market. As for the USA and Canada, they are not members of the EEA, so tariff’s would naturally apply and in turn would be reciprocated. To think that the EU is the only Customs Union to issue tariffs seems a little naive.

            The UK leaving the EU would be a win-win for both parties. The EU can then get on with the job of completing the level of integration needed in order to survive and grow. The UK can still have access to the Single Market / EEA but look further afield to new and growing markets. I do not see the reason to be a member of a Customs Union and a Political Project design by its founding members for FULL political, economic, monetary and fiscal UNION !!

            Unless that is, that is what you wish for. Where I might ask, why don’t those that wish it, come out and say it ? Why hide ?

  9. Old Albion
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    If you truly believe the direction you indicate is the best for the (dis)UK. You and your colleagues need to convince Cameron and give us a referendum (new relationship or out)before the next election. Because we sure as hell won’t get one after it.

  10. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    How could such an agenda as this post suggests ever be satisfied without leaving the EU altogether?
    I cannot really see that happening. (neither the satisfaction, nor the leaving).

    • Sean O'Hare
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      Article 50 is all the rage Peter. Only problem is Cameron won’t hear of it.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted May 20, 2013 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

        @Sean O’Hare: Cameron is not alone. I haven’t even read art. 50 being suggested in any articles in this blog. Article 50 is just a UKIP idea.

        • Mark B
          Posted May 21, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Permalink
          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted May 21, 2013 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

            @Mark B: I’ve known about article 50 for a long time. The point I was trying to make was that it is not suggested in any of the three major UK parties to invoke this article.

          • Mark B
            Posted May 22, 2013 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

            That’s because they do NOT wish us to know Peter. Their main weapon against the people and our, so called democracy is to keep the people ignorant of he facts. This has worked up until now.

            The Political Class, Establishment and the MSM are, I believe, colluding in this. Either actively, or passively. Either way we are not being allowed to debate the means by which we can make an amenable exit.

            The question is, why ? Why do they want political, economic, fiscal and monetary union ?

      • Ken Adams
        Posted May 21, 2013 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

        Article 50 is the only way of making the EU negotiate other than trying to hijack an IGC and that is not certain. But Article 50 is a method of leaving the Union it is not a method that can be used to renegotiate our relationship with the intention of staying in the Union which is what Cameron wants.

        Those who argue for a looser arrangement based on trade whilst remaining full members of the unions are in fact flying under false colours, because what they ask is impossible without completely rewriting the treaties and that is simply not going to happen.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      We could make it happen if we really wanted to. We still have our army, our navy, and our air force, and the words ‘sod’ and ‘off’ are still part of the English language.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted May 20, 2013 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

        @Tad Davison: dear Tad, the continentals are far too civilised to tell the whining, whinging and moaning Brits to s.o.
        You have to go of your own accord.

        • Tad Davison
          Posted May 20, 2013 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

          That’s only because you need our money to pay for your wastefulness!

        • Electro-Kevin
          Posted May 21, 2013 at 5:25 am | Permalink

          Dear Peter – Not so civilized as not to call us ‘whining, whinging and moaning Brits’

          I thought you had more class.

          • Electro-Kevin
            Posted May 21, 2013 at 5:46 am | Permalink

            Further to that, Peter, I have cut-and-pasted for you a comment from A-Tracy (later in this thread)

            The British have been the model of tolerance, generosity, patience and politeness. Clearly you sneer at us from some exalted position far above the immediate effects of such things:

            “Personally being part of the EU project scares me, we seem to have lost control of our own laws when you read all the time we can’t do such and such because the EU say so. We have to pay new settlers all of the benefits that workers in this Country have been paying in to for years. We have to provide free healthcare to everyone from the EU. We have to provide student loans with impossible repayment conditions on the same terms as UK students Ehh! Free tuition in Scotland! We have to pay incomers housing costs if they lose their jobs and pay tax credits for children not in this Country. It seems that all the EU want us for is to pay in but don’t want to give us our equal say, surely your say should be as large as your subsidy? We have to put up more money to support failing EU members when we’re living beyond our means. When do you ever hear about the UK being a respected member of the EU? When do you hear about our laws taking priority and being adapted into EU law – if it happens lets hear more about it.”

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted May 21, 2013 at 10:24 am | Permalink

            @Electro-Kevin: I’m sorry not to live up to your expectations, even though I used decent English words in my description.

            My main comment on what you have added, is that you don’t seem to realise that you (as UK) ARE the EU (together with 26, soon 27 other countries). Your ministers, MPs, MEPs, and civil servants help to shape each and everything that enemates from the EU as regulation or policy.

          • Electro-Kevin
            Posted May 21, 2013 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

            In reply to the highly esteemed Mr Van Leeuwen’s comment at 10.24.

            One need not use indecent words in order to be rude and to be able to cause offence. As a Eurosceptic I am so well accustomed to being on the receiving end that I let it pass.

            No more.

            The Left. The Europhiles. Both have been able to command the political language by being so ready to go on the offensive through taking offence.

          • Ken Adams
            Posted May 21, 2013 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

            Here I do agree with Peter our problem is not with the EU but with our own governments and political parties.

        • Mark B
          Posted May 22, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Permalink


          Yes, you Continentals’ are so ‘civilized’ (sic) many of our finest and bravest from both the UK and Empire / Commonwealth lay buried in war graves on your continent.

          But please, I don’t want you to think that I am having a moan.

    • Mark
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      I think you have grasped the point: the plan is to leave the EU, not just talk about it.

      I’m sure the Ango-Dutch trading alliances such as Unilever and Shell will survive the experience. The Dutch bring good Calvinist business sense and Delft engineers to the party.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted May 20, 2013 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        @Mark: the remaining question is: who’s plan? Not that of the CBI, nor the city. And does the UK stopped to care about the American opinion?
        Come 2017, in case there won’t be a Labour government, the opinion in the media and among the public might be less anti-EU than you hope for.

        • Tad Davison
          Posted May 20, 2013 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

          …………or more solidly against it! Did you notice the upsurge in support of anti-EU parties in the UK recently?

          People are getting fed up with the EU for a reason, ask a Greek or a Spaniard if they think the EU has delivered prosperity! They don’t live in ivory towers, divorced from reality!

  11. Roger Farmer
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Big business will always take the soft option rather than going out and fighting for new business in an increasingly competitive World. They find an inward looking Europe much easier to operate in, even as at present it is a shrinking market and plays a reducing part in the UK’s commercial activity.
    As to the Europe problem which I see as but a small problem if you really wish to do something about it. Referendum in October this year, and if the result is out invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty with immediate effect. If Cameron can take us to war on a whim then Article 50 should be a doddle. If we then get the trade deal we want with a few extras of mutual convenience, job done. If not bye bye federal Europe.

    • Sue
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      Big business loves the EU. Imagine only having to bribe and lobby one set of politicians rather than 27! Socialism and corporatism go hand in hand, its a backscratching scenario that keeps both parties aloof and rich. The EU is killing capitalism, the backbone of small and medium businesses that keep the wheels of industry turning.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted May 20, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

        LOL I’ve missed you Sue!


      • Peter Davies
        Posted May 20, 2013 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

        Isn’t it funny how the gentleman with a beard who runs trains and planes and has been a long advocate of the EU and wanted us to join the EURO has now decided to base his HQ outside the EU….

      • uanime5
        Posted May 21, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

        Actually many big businesses dislike the EU because it’s more difficult to bribe 27 different Governments with different agendas than 1 Government.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted May 22, 2013 at 8:06 am | Permalink

          Any evidence for that sweeping statement, uanime5?

          You can’t just come out with claims without providing evidence, you know.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 22, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

          Are you actually alleging big businesses in favour of leaving the EU want to do this so they can bribe individual national Governments more easily?
          If you have any proof of bribery and corruption you should inform the appropriate authorities.
          Or are you having another of your fantasies.

    • stred
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      Big business uses regulation and lobbying to make sure that any newcoming competitor finds the process of compliance too long and expensive. If the UK left, their products would still have to comply for the EU market, but they would have less opportunity to rig it. Multinationals would not find this a problem. However, it would be possible for small producers to have relaxed regulation in the UK and grow to a sufficient size to be able to afford EU approval and this would be a problem to the oligopolies.

      Regarding Peter’s comment, it is true that when big business, BBC, and political propaganda plus the EU immigrant vote, postal voting, and the Scottish bias is taken into account, it is likely that a referendum would favour remaining in the EU. And no renegotiation will be possible, only more majority voting to add to the UK’s problems.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted May 20, 2013 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

        English parliament anyone?

        • Chris S
          Posted May 21, 2013 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

          If the Scots vote to stay, alongside European renegotiation, the West Lothian question will come to the top of the agenda of a new Conservative or Conservative/UKIP government.

          If elected, Labour with or without the LibDems will seek to avoid the issue as best they can as, even without fair boundary changes, it will very likely result in a near-permanent majority for the Conservatives in England.
          It’s a scandal that the issue was ignored by Blair and Brown for so long.

      • uanime5
        Posted May 21, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        Actually the EU has been trying to make it easier to start up a business by reducing red tape. They’ve also been trying to harmonise legal systems across the EU to make it easier for businesses in one country to expand into other EU countries.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted May 22, 2013 at 8:07 am | Permalink

          So whose red tape are they (supposedly) trying to reduce?

          • Tad Davison
            Posted May 22, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Permalink


        • Edward2
          Posted May 22, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

          Well if what you say is true Uni, its not working, because as someone who is involved in helping new and small businesses trying to import and export to and from the EU, I can tell you that red tape and restrictive legislation is continuing to get more complex with every passing month.

          Latest new one coming in July 1st is enhanced CE marking legally required on all products that go into construction projects, requiring full traceability in the supply chain and records to be kept for 10 years. There are hundreds more examples but I do not have enough time to list them all.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted May 22, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Permalink


            I’ll attest to that!

            I used to be affiliated to CAFE (Conservatives Against a Federal Europe) and I went to see a friend (whom I won’t name) in the Norman Shaw building close to the Houses of Parliament. He showed me the amount of legislation that had come, and continues to come, from the EU. It wasn’t just the odd book, there were piles and piles of the stuff! One could never hope to get through it in the course of a lifetime.


    • Agincourt
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Very sensible suggestion!

    • uanime5
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      If business leaders are so focuses on Europe why are they encouraging the EU and NAFTA to negotiate a free trade agreement?

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted May 26, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        Because the UK, being part of the EU, is not allowed to negotiate one for itself. Another own goal by uanime5.

  12. WatTylersGhost
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    In order for us to have the faintest confidence in a re-negotiation could you please answer the following.
    The UK government will be negotiating:
    With who?
    About what?

    Just a few specifics might make this little charade a little less unbelievable.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      Good questions Wat! Do you smell another fudge or a Cameron rat?

      In another context, the word ‘clarification’ was very prominent. The British people need clarification, and they need it NOW!

      We need to know answers to all the questions you pose, but something tells me, we’re going to be blinded by snow and BS again.


      • alan jutson
        Posted May 20, 2013 at 8:02 pm | Permalink


        Also very important, who is actually going to negotiate for Our Side.

        The last thing in the World we want is some whimp who will agree to anything but get nothing in return, we have had too many of these in the past.

        All good logical points in this Post John, but one most important missing item.
        How much do we pay for this so called new arrangement ?

        Yes I know this sounds rather basic and crude, but so far not a single person has mentioned any reduction or cancellation of our membership fee.
        As far as I am concerned if we are not to be a full member of any club then we do not pay full fees, that is simple logic.

        Whilst I would agree we should try negotiations first, I would set a 2 year time limit, and then a referendum within three months of that, then what is one the table at that point is what we vote on.

        Personally I think we have about as much chance of negotiating a sensible settlement, as we have of winning the Eurovision song contest, but I am happy to give it a go for the next two years, if for nothing else but to say, well we tried.

        Reply The relationship I have in mind does not have an EU subscription.

        • alan jutson
          Posted May 21, 2013 at 5:02 am | Permalink

          Reply – Reply

          “No EU subscription”.

          Excellent, we think alike, but I have not heard anyone else suggest that yet !

          Guarantee some politicians will still think we should pay full whack for a trade deal only.

  13. Roy Grainger
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    It is interesting that an anti-EU position is being portrayed as being “right wing” – it isn’t – I remember the last EU referendum when heroes of the Left like Tony Benn and Michael Foot campaigned for a “No” vote – UKIPs voting profile suggests they are attracting some working-class Labour voters already, I imagine when Friend Balls takes over the economy in 2014 and we go cap in hand to Germany for a bail-out under whatever terms they will offer then many more of the people’s party will suddenly find themselves in favour of withdrawal – given appropriate circumstances it is a position that can attract a majority of cross-party support, in this sense postponing a vote till 2017 may be seen as tactically advantageous for the No campaign.

  14. Mike Wilson
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    This web site is SO ANNOYING. I just made a post but forgot to put my name and email address in – and the post is lost and you have to re-type it.

    I do web development for a living. This really isn’t necessary.

    • forthurst
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      Mike Wilson “This web site is SO ANNOYING.” It’s your browser that lost your post, either by releasing the buffer or by clearing it despite your transmit having been errored out. I use Iceweasel (Firefox) which does exhibit that behaviour.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted May 21, 2013 at 8:37 am | Permalink

        No. What happens when you click Post Comment is that the page is submitted to the server. On the server a check is done to make sure the email address and name fields have been completed. If they haven’t, an error page is displayed. The error page provides no links to go back to the previous page. You have to click the back button to go back. Whether a browser does, or does not, retain the form information on a previous page is neither here nor there. The web site should have a link on the error page that says ‘Go Back’ and it should reload the previous page with whatever data was submitted replaced in the form fields.

        Far simpler, of course, is to validate this client side with a line of javascript to simply put an alert on the screen for people using javascript in their browser. One deals with the odd user who has javascript turned off on the server. This site deals with empty fields on the server, but does not allow one to recover properly. Weird, this is a WordPress site and it does not have basic functionality.

        • forthurst
          Posted May 21, 2013 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

          I’m not questioning your knowledge of website design, merely pointing out that my browser handles an error return from the server in a way which does not cause me to have to rekey my post.

  15. gina dean
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    When will we get the results of how much the EU costs pros and coins.
    I thought that exercise was on going or has that been kicked in to the long grass.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

      I tried to get the local Lib Dem MP for Cambridge, Julian Huppert, to provide those figures for me Gina, and that was July last year. So far, he hasn’t come up with the goods. Maybe there’s something the pro-EU lobby doesn’t really want us to know.


  16. Mike Wilson
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    I don’t understand Cameron. He could take half the country with him if he pressed for, and made the case for, a referendum now.

    He would expose Labour and the Lib Dems as undemocratic with complete contempt for the British people.

    • Jon Burgess
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      He is pro EU
      He doesn’t want us to leave
      He would vote to stay in
      His political ‘guru’ is Michael Heseltine
      He agrees with Nick
      He is the heir to Blair and the bastard child of Heath

      Think that about covers it!

      • Tad Davison
        Posted May 20, 2013 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

        Spot on! And Cameron is not above chicanery to hide his true intentions.


  17. A.Sedgwick
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Your comments on the AM programme were well reasoned, but the only way the Conservatives can win with Cameron is by dropping this renegotiation fantasy and having the in/out choice by 2015, before or immediately after the General Election. The renegotiation are the exit talks and Article 50, we want out of all the main components of the EU.

    Polls show clear majorites for this referendum and out by Conservative Party menbers and their MPs are largely falling into line, probably against the wishes of the Cameron, Osborne, Hague cabal.

    Cameron should have ended the Coalition when Clegg reneged on the Boundaries Bill and this shows his weakness/desire to remain PM. He should end the Coalition after the private members bill result and go to the Country.

    P.Mandelson seemed rattled by the serious possibility that we could exit the EU, probably also recognising that many Labour voters and trade unionists e.g. Bob Crow want out. Very telling that he was vehemently against giving the people what they clearly want, plus the usual nonsense about financial disasters if we left.

    Cameron does not do bold and there is little chance that he will seize the initiative and this Parliament will stagger on with a strong possibility that three parties will get about 30% of the vote and the Libdems the remaining 10% in 2015.

  18. Leslie Singleton
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    John–I watched you on TV and thought you acquited yourself very well. The problem is your Party not you and that must be a trial for you. I can only suggest you at least consider that once your undertaking to your constituents wears off you stand next time for you know whom.

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted May 21, 2013 at 5:33 am | Permalink

      The Tory Party has been hijacked and the core vote is finally coming to realize it.

      Europhiles should break away from the party – it does not belong to them – not Eurosceptics.

  19. Sue
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Excuse my impudence but, why are you telling us? You’re speaking to the converted! All we have ever wanted is our country and the power to run it given back to Britons. How do you think we feel as we helplessly watch our country being trodden into the ground by a party we thought was patriotic and on our side? Most of us feel conned, let down and downright betrayed. Your leader is a socialist, he’s more Libdem than Tory, get rid of him or you lot will go down in history as the party that finally put the final nail in the UK coffin. What a legacy!

    • Jon Burgess
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      Well said Sue, but even the Tories that we thought agreed with us aren’t listening. Renegotiate is a dead end. We know it, they know it but it is a useful diversion to make them look Eurosceptic while the tentacles get ever tighter.

  20. Liz
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    One interesting thing in the media coverage of the European debate – apart from failing to link the connection between our membership of the EU and people’s concerns over the economy and immigration – is that when the Europhiles are wheeled out they are never asked if they have a financial incentive to promote and defend the EU – which many of them do, including the BBC itself. Without thkis knowledge the public is being misled. Big business will always prefer being in the EU as they can afford to cope with all the regulations, passing the coists onto the consumer, and it prevents cheeky start up competitors!

  21. Roger Farmer
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    I note in the Independent that UK big business is all in favour of staying in the EU. They say that each household benefits to the tune of £1200-£3500 just because we are in the EU. I look forward to receiving my cheque. In truth the benefits do not get beyond the big business. Their interpretation of the amount of the benefit is so imprecise as to be meaningless.
    They further say that we have to deepen the single market to include digital, energy, transport, and telecoms. They have had twenty years to achieve this but from where I sit most of the traffic has been in the other direction.
    They also say we should be reforming the EU. Great but I would point out that the EU does not wish to reform itself and change from an inward looking socialist federal state. With a one in twenty six vote strength there is fat chance of this happening.
    Business fears that by the UK leaving political EU with it’s minefield of restriction and interference, we automatically finish trading with the EU. Do those who run Mercedes, BMW, VW, Renault, Fiat, Ford, General Motors, not to mention all the food, power and others accept that they will no longer be able to sell in the UK. These businesses would not allow their EU leaders to be so stupid. A trade agreement along the lines of EFTA would soon evolve. It is also as much in the interests of Europe to encourage areas of cooperation in the fields of transport, defence etc., as it is in ours. Having read the article concerning the fears of UK big business, I would ask what are they afraid of in the rest of the big wide world with whom our trade is growing while that with the EU is shrinking.

    • Peter Davies
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

      Read Dan Hannan’s post in the Telegraph to see who those ‘big business’ names are, then it makes more sense.

    • uanime5
      Posted May 21, 2013 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      The fact that you have no idea why business leaders are opposing leaving the EU undermines your argument. One major problem business leaders will face is that their EU imports and exports will become more expensive, which will harm their businesses.

      Our trade with the rest of the world is increasing because these UK big business are selling more to the rest of the world. So they’re probably not afraid of the “big wide world”.

      Also EFTA countries have to obey all nearly EU law, even though they have no influence over this law.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 22, 2013 at 8:10 am | Permalink

        “Also EFTA countries have to obey all nearly EU law, even though they have no influence over this law.”

        Why do you keep repeating this, when it has been repeatedly refuted?

  22. Chris S
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    I too saw your interview with Jeremy Vine. Could he be the one remaining BBC interviewer without socialist or LibDem leanings ?

    You are absolutely right, there is unity in the Conservative Party on the need for a referendum. Everyone except for Ken Clarke should be able to sign up for the current policy, provided that they feel they can trust the PM. Sadly this is the problem with getting UKIP on board.

    I don’t know the answer but I suggest that we have to take the debate a step forward by discussing and agreeing in detail the minimum requirements required for an acceptable settlement for England, Wales and N. Ireland to remain in*.

    It will then be important to get DC and the cabinet to sign up for it. I have said this before and in reply you set out in very broad terms your own Red Lines. I fear that this is not enough. A great deal of detail needs to be set out but this should not be too difficult.

    I suspect that you, I and most of our other friends posting under this subject believe that DC will be unsuccessful in obtaining a satisfactory settlement. The extent of the Red Lines is clearly where there is room for disagreement but it is important to pin DC down on this issue sooner rather than later.

    I see no reason why Brussels, Paris and Berlin should not know how we stand in advance. It will strengthen DC’s hand if the Red Lines are clearly established and polling here shows that there is a big majority supporting them.

    Barroso, Hollande, Merkel and Co will know they have to come up with the goods or our electorate will be very likely to vote to leave. If they openly dismiss the Red Lines as impossible, we can save ourselves a lot of time, obtain a formal rebuttal and go straight for an earlier referendum in 2016. It will also save us a few £bn in net contributions.

    * The Scots will be making their own decision but if they vote to stay in the UK they will have to accept the will of the majority.

  23. Chris
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    I believe there is only one answer to establishing a new relationship and that is by invoking Article 50. Nothing less will be effective. Yet another example of the mockery of the whole relationship we have with the EU is afforded by George Osborne’s defeat with regard to the budget, and yet again the UK having to provide more extra money to the EU coffers. See the excellent article by C Booker in D Tel:
    “…How symbolic it was that just when those 114 Tory MPs were voting to deplore the omission from the Queen’s Speech of any mention of an in/out referendum on the EU, the EU’s finance ministers in Brussels were voting for UK taxpayers to give another £770 million to this year’s agreed EU budget, with a further £400 million to follow. George Osborne had gone over to Brussels determined to resist this additional demand, but was derisively outvoted. UK taxpayers must therefore fork out a further £1.2 billion, making a mockery of that ancient and jealously guarded rule that money can only be taken off them by agreement of the House of Commons. ..”

  24. a-tracy
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    “The businessmen who have written today to a newspaper saying it is in our economic interest to stay in the EU on current terms, as always have failed to explain why”

    Richard Branson had a go on his blog summarised below:

    1.If we leave Britain could be an Island completely adrift in 20 years time.
    2. Germany and ourselves could b the two key Countries to the restructure of Europe.
    3. The EU is Britains biggest trading partner and the EU’s market dwarfts the US and China.
    4. We must be at the centre of the EU to forge new partnerships with emerging markets of Latin America and Asia.
    5. Becoming a peripheral country on the edge of Europe will damage the long term prospects of British Business and the UKs ability to attract new international companies to employ people here.

    Perhaps the Eurosceptics should address the pro camps assertions rather than just saying we’re right you’re wrong.

    Personally being part of the EU project scares me, we seem to have lost control of our own laws when you read all the time we can’t do such and such because the EU say so. We have to pay new settlers all of the benefits that workers in this Country have been paying in to for years. We have to provide free healthcare to everyone from the EU. We have to provide student loans with impossible repayment conditions on the same terms as UK students Ehh! Free tuition in Scotland! We have to pay incomers housing costs if they lose their jobs and pay tax credits for children not in this Country. It seems that all the EU want us for is to pay in but don’t want to give us our equal say, surely your say should be as large as your subsidy? We have to put up more money to support failing EU members when we’re living beyond our means. When do you ever hear about the UK being a respected member of the EU? When do you hear about our laws taking priority and being adapted into EU law – if it happens lets hear more about it.

  25. sjb
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    JR wrote: The businessmen who have written today to a newspaper saying it is in our economic interest to stay in the EU on current terms, as always have failed to explain why.

    They claim Britain’s membership is “estimated to be worth between £31bn and £92bn per year”. Limitations of space presumably precluded them from providing a reference, so perhaps this will follow in due course.

    They contend that if we left the EU we would lose out on the proposed EU-US Free Trade Agreement, “which could be worth as much as £10bn per year.” In addition, outside the EU we would no longer benefit from the existing 37 free trade agreements. They further claim that “[r]enegotiating these would be costly, time-consuming and the UK alone would lack the colossal bargaining power of the EU.”

    Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/letters/letters-the-benefit-of-european-union-membership-outweighs-the-cost-8622571.html

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 22, 2013 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      I would very much like to know the source(s) of their claim that EU membership is worth between £31bn and £92bn, as all the studies I have seen in the past decade has shown it to be a net cost and have only disagreed of the magnitude of the cost.

      • sjb
        Posted May 22, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps I missed it, but surely at least one journalist must have asked how they arrived at the figures.

        Business for New Europe has a website but I have not had the time to search there – over to you ;-:

        The In/Out debate would benefit from an independent analysis of the pros and cons of membership. Also, now that we have so many tv channels, I would like to see in-depth debates of, say, 2-3 hours where we get to hear from experts about, say, how long it would take to set up bilateral trade agreements, the likely terms, quotas etc and how this compares to the single market. Perhaps even visit a range of businesses – not just some huge multinational – to discover how they think the proposals would help or hinder their enterprise.

  26. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    I agree wholeheartedly with all the points especially the need to veto under trove.

  27. Ken Adams
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Yes but can we renegotiate all of those things and remain in the EU? Many of us think the only way of achieve these aims would be to leave the EU and negotiate from outside. Do you really think that the EU is going to allow Mr Cameron to hijack an IGC called in order to take a big step towards further integration and open up the idea of unpicking all the treaties.

    As we think this it is impossible to reach the postilion we want and remain in the Project we see those who claim it can be done as dreamers at best, but in reality they want to keep this country as full members of the EU and are using the renegotiation as a ploy to achieve that end with no intention of actually negotiating anything of substance. But making a big spin and using the full powers of government campaigning for a yes vote, a re-run of 1975.

  28. michaelmph
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Never seen so many typos in any article or post on the web. Doesn’t your WP programme have a spell-checker?

    • forthurst
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      michaelmph: boring

    • alan jutson
      Posted May 21, 2013 at 5:13 am | Permalink


      It proves JR is human, and makes errors just like the rest of us.

      Given JR takes the trouble of posting every day with his thoughts, ideas and questions (the only MP I am aware of who does) and at the same time leaves himself open to argument and questioning.
      I am more than happy for a few typo’s to be excused without comment.


  29. Paul H
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Good article.

    However, given your contemplation of unwinding treaties, are you willing to reconsider your previous repeated defence of Cameron’s reneging on his “cast iron” moment?

  30. Mark
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    I ntoe that the BBC quietly snuck out a report at the weekend that the science may not be settled on climate change after all.


    Among the gems revealed without comment are:

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported in 2007 that the short-term temperature rise would most likely be 1-3C (1.8-5.4F).

    But in this new analysis, by only including the temperatures from the last decade, the projected range would be 0.9-2.0C.

    The article doesn’t make explicit what “shorter term” means, except that it involves a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere, but it would appear to be a century ahead from their IPCC reference. This is, the upper end of the projection is now the 2 degree target they wanted at Copenhagen being met or undershot with no further action whatsoever.

    This latest research, including the decade of stalled temperature rises, produces a range of 0.9-5.0C.

    “It is a bigger range of uncertainty,” said Dr Otto.

    “But it still includes the old range. We would all like climate sensitivity to be lower but it isn’t.”

    No kidding. It’s getting so wide as to be useless: do we await the next projection that says +/-10 degrees C?

    And the real killer:

    The authors say there are ongoing uncertainties surrounding the role of aerosols in the atmosphere and around the issue of clouds.

    That is to say – their models are known to be wrong, and they haven’t a clue how to fix them.

    The BBC recently made a big effort to apologise for slandering the Help for Heroes charity on the little watched Newsnight programme. It’s past time that they apologised for foisting “the science is settled” nonsense with at least that prominence every time they do a climate change piece.

    • Edward2
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      I predict a post from Uni stating that as there are 12,000 “pal reviewed” papers from scientists all saying that we are doomed, the science is settled and you are therefore wrong

      • uanime5
        Posted May 21, 2013 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

        Well of these 12,000 papers less than 2% said climate changes wasn’t man made. So the consensus is clearly that climate change is man made.

        Also the fact that your don’t understand how peer reviewing works doesn’t make it wrong.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted May 22, 2013 at 8:15 am | Permalink

          And two thirds of the papers expressed no view at all.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 22, 2013 at 8:17 am | Permalink


        • Tad Davison
          Posted May 22, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

          Then do us all the service of telling us how you interpret it. Could it per chance work something like the pro-EU lobby who go around saying what loons these Euro-sceptics are, and patting each other on the back for being part of the jolly boys club, but having no firm basis for their beliefs?

    • uanime5
      Posted May 21, 2013 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      1) If you use a temperature range from the past 10 years you’re obviously going to get a different predicted temperature rise than if you use data from the past 100 years.

      2) Nowhere in this article does it claim that the short term temperature increases involves doubling the levels of CO2. Though scientists have tried to calculate how doubling the level of CO2 will affect the global temperature. It seems that you haven’t understood the article at all.

      3) Your attempts to claims that a 0.9-5°C increase in temperature could ever become a -10°C to +10°C temperature change shows just how little of the article you understood. No where in this article does anyone claim the average temperature could fall.

      4) Your claim that all climate models are wrong because scientists don’t know how aerosols and clouds effect the atmosphere is utterly ridiculous. Not knowing how aerosols and clouds effect the atmosphere does make any of the information regarding how CO2 effects the atmosphere wrong.

      In conclusion your prejudices against climate change have caused you to ignore what the article is actually saying and instead you’ve tried to twist it into something that supports your ideology. However it’s quite easy to debunk your claims by actually reading the article.

      Also here are some quotes you decided to omit Mark because they didn’t support your ideology:

      But long-term, the expected temperature rises will not alter significantly.

      The authors calculate that over the coming decades global average temperatures will warm about 20% more slowly than expected.

      Is there any succour in these findings for climate sceptics who say the slowdown over the past 14 years means the global warming is not real?

      “None. No comfort whatsoever,” he said.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 22, 2013 at 8:17 am | Permalink

        “Your claim that all climate models are wrong because scientists don’t know how aerosols and clouds effect the atmosphere is utterly ridiculous. Not knowing how aerosols and clouds effect the atmosphere does make any of the information regarding how CO2 effects the atmosphere wrong.”

        I ask again, do you, personally, have any scientific training or experience?

  31. Kenneth
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Good post which I agree with.

    The reason large corporations like our membership of the eu quango is because it protects them from the real market. However, our economy is heavily dependant on smaller businesses. Not only that, but if large corporations continue to use the eu as a way of avoiding competition they will increasingly become less competitive and at the same time become ‘too big to fail’ – an unhealthy mix.

    It was good to see you having a pop at the BBC on tv at the weekend. Peter Bone had a couple of bites as well.

    BBC is the hand that feeds politicians (unfortunately), so having a bite at it is a very noble and public spirited thing to do. Thank you for that.

    • uanime5
      Posted May 21, 2013 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      Being in the EU makes big businesses more vulnerable to competition, not less. If the UK wasn’t in the EU then big businesses would be even more protected against competition from smaller businesses.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted May 22, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

        Explanation, rather than affirmation would do nicely.

  32. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    “… at least the last three treaties and arguably more were unacceptable in surrendering vetoes and pushing the federalist agenda.”

    I make it six founding and amending treaties plus a clutch of accession treaties.

    Of all those treaties, only the first, the Treaty of Rome, was endorsed by a referendum, retrospectively, and the basis for that popular consent was destroyed by the next treaty, the Single European Act.

  33. Martin
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    I find your comments on border control worthy of exploration.

    1) We have more immigrants from outside the EU than inside. (Mind you sections of the press are trying to talk up EU immigration).

    2) Better off visitors from China are put off visiting the UK because of the visa hassles.

    3) Our universities need foreign students as a source of income. The policies of some to ban immigration will destroy jobs.

    4) The UK doesn’t check passports on exit. Schengen does. No wonder UKBA haven’t a clue who has left the country.

    5) As anybody brought up near the coast knows there are hundreds of unchecked small piers which are an easy entry point for the really determined bad people.

    In short the what UK government does is poor – you want to give them more power? To do what? Make people stand even longer in meaningless queues at Heathrow?

    Extradition – I think Mrs May’s problems are with the ECHR which isn’t an EU institution.

    • Kenneth
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      Surely the answer for all entrants to the UK who do not hold a UK passport is for a refundable bond to be paid on entry and for this bond – I would suggest about £30,000 – to be paid back when the entrant leaves again.

      As you suggest there are often beneficiaries when someone come to the UK, whether that is a university or the tourist trade or retailers etc.

      I see no reason why these beneficiaries cannot put up the bond or join a collective industry scheme to do so. As long as the entrant does not outstay their welcome or get on the wrong side of the law, the universities and other beneficiaries can reap the benefits while immigration is controlled.

      As for illegal entry points, I believe the best thing is to bring our armed forces back from their foreign adventures and give them the task of patrolling these entry points.

      Much safer for them, reassuring for their families and good value for the taxpayer.

      • Martin
        Posted May 21, 2013 at 5:55 am | Permalink

        I think that expecting visitors to the UK to post £30K bonds is impractical. It would also invite other countries to retaliate against the UK. I don’t have £30k in ready cash to post when I visit say France. I suspect most visitors to/from the UK are in the same situation.

        As for the armed forces to guard the coast, this was tried in world war 2 and there are countless examples of spies who got ashore. They were mostly all caught by superior intelligence and sometimes luck.

        • Kenneth
          Posted May 21, 2013 at 9:05 am | Permalink

          Since the bond would be fully refundable it would just require underwriting. As I said, the beneficiaries could cover the bond. In your case, perhaps the French tourist industry, or for a business trip, perhaps your own company.

          The only people who would be required to actually stump up ready cash would be those who cannot find an underwriter for their visit. If you think about it, this would be quite rare as most people are law abiding.

          If you had been back and forth to France a few times with no problems, your underwriting cost would be very low.

          As for patrolling, I am talking about increased patrolling to catch illegal immigrants. Comparing this with spies backed by a large military enemy is a whole different matter.

    • sjb
      Posted May 21, 2013 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

      Heritage + theatres + depreciated currency should equal lots of tourists spending money creating jobs + growth. So what do we do? We make the visa process complicated.

      By contrast, a Schengen visa permits the tourist to visit 26 European countries. Incidentally, if anyone has the stats I would be interested to know how many tourists coming to Europe apply for both visas.

      In last week’s FT, the immigration minister did not appear to hold out much hope for a joint application process.

  34. they work for us
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Thank you John for an excellent piece on the EU.
    The restaurant olive oil bottles rules shows again that we can have no expectation of commonsense from the Eurocrats and their bureaucracy.

    On the topic of “wide eyed loons” – who “owns the conservative party” and calls the shots on policy?

    Are the canvassers and leafleters just grunts who should feel privileged that they are allowed to serve the party hierarchy and whose services can be dispensed with.

    Or is the local conservative party association “in charge” because without its support -membership fees , canvassers and leafleters no candidate would be able to fund a campaign and stand for election.

    Local associations and local party chairmen must take back charge. Tell them their fortunes and if needed deselect any MP who does not represent your views (e.g modernisers) and don’t accept new nominees from central office. Threaten to put up an independent conservative if central office try to browbeat you. – You get the drift.

    Again who/ what actually is the Conservative party?

  35. NickW
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    If Parliament were to assert it’s sovereignty by repealing the enabling laws which bind us into the EU, we would be in the position of needing a “Unilateral declaration of Independence”, to get us out of Europe. If they don’t want us to escape their political prison, that is where we will end up anyway.

    If I was in Government I would be making clandestine contact with politicians in Spain and Italy, whose governments and people can now also see that the EU is all pain and no gain.

  36. swiveleyedloon
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    If it is feasible ever to “unwind treaties”, why did the ratification of the Lisbon treaty by the Brown government provide an excuse for David Cameron to renege on his cast-iron promise to give the British people a referendum on it?

    If he thought it right, prior to ratification, to hold a referendum on the Lisbon treaty, that surely implies that he thought that some parts of that treaty were not in Britain’s interests (or did he plan to hold a referendum and recommend acceptance?). Why then could Mr. Cameron not share with us now those parts of the treaty that he objects to, and use that as the start of the “shopping list” that he thinks such an unnecessary part of a negotiation.

    • sjb
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

      @swiveleyedloon (#1?) wrote: Why then could Mr. Cameron not share with us now those parts of the treaty that he objects to […]
      Not only us, but I understand Brussels are rather in the dark about what precisely he wants to renegotiate.

      Bearing in mind all those years in opposition, it seems rather odd that the Conservative leadership never got around to drawing up a detailed document so they could hit the ground running on returning to office.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

      Cameron could probably start with undoing the treaties of Lisbon, Nice, Amsterdam, Maastricht, and not forgetting, Rome. I’m sure a lot of people would support him if he did.


  37. Martyn G
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    A great many people, including we are told ex-Labour supporters, resent the effects on their lives and communities arising from uncontrolled immigration of peoples from within (legal) and without the EU countries (illegal) immigrants.
    Last week 9 flour-covered non-EU illegal immigrants were quickly caught after excaping from a lorry whose last load had been flour. The Home Office said: ‘When suspected illegal immigrants found on lorries are arrested by police, we respond quickly. ‘We work closely with police to tackle illegal immigration. Where someone is found to have no legal right to remain in the UK we will take action to remove them.’
    Soon afterwardsm a Home Office spokesman refused to discuss the nine arrivals in detail but suggested that the four who were set free would have been given transport to a hostel where they would be housed rent-free. They would be given information on how to apply for benefits for asylum seekers, which would start with cash payments of £36 a week, and be told to check in regularly to dissuade them from absconding again.
    And then the stunner that I suspect few have heard mentioned before – The Home Office spokesman claimed to “have no figures for the number of clandestine arrivals caught in Kent because immigration control centres were in France and Belgium, not England”. So are we to blame Belgium and France for our home-grown incompetent and inept control of immigration? Those nations may not care a great deal about who they let through to the UK, so long as they get out of Belgium and France, surely?

    • Chris
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      Stories like this make a joke of the UK govt’s immigration restrictions. It is good that you are highlighting nonsenses like this, Martyn.

  38. Tad Davison
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    If anyone hasn’t already seen it, I recommend listening to the BBC’s Daily Politics Show, broadcast this lunchtime, as it relates directly to this discussion. I’ll defer my own comments and observations – for now!


  39. MichaelL
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Do you think the actions of the Conservative party are more or less likely to make this happen?

    Say you have two choices:

    Option 1) support PM who has promised a referedndum, go to the polls united, hope for majority and hold referendum.

    Option 2) get all exicited about it, demand a referendum now …. and here is the strange thing … knowing that it would be impossible as you don’t have enough backing in parliament. Then worsen your chance to win a majority at next election.

    Seems like bank bench Tories have gone for option 2) and diminish the chance of achieving what they’d like.

  40. Wokingham Mum's
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Off Subject
    Gay Marriage
    Tim Loughtons amendment might be designed, contrived or a lot of things but it is right and fair.
    We support Gay marriage and strongly support Tim Loughton amendment to extend civil partnerships to heterosexual couples. The bill cannot go forward without this amendment.
    If we’re talking equality the bill has to be amended.
    If it is not, same sex couples get more rights/liberties than heterosexual couples. One inequality exchanged for another. The choice of marriage or civil partnerships should be available to all.
    This is an opportunity to get relationship law sorted out and to ensure every committed couple, no matter of gender, have equality and protection under the law.
    To pass into law this bill has to be fair, just and non bias.
    Sorry but it can’t go forward without this amendment.
    It’s called Equality.

    Reply I will vote for this equality amendment if we get a vote on it.

    • Wokingham mums
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Permalink


  41. Normandee
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    If these business men could operate more cheaply in the EU they would be off like a shot, their care and concern is hypocritical and only concerned in saving themselves the cost of moving.

  42. Julian
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Clearly a new Conservative leadership is needed – one that reflects the party view.

    • Jon Burgess
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      But Cameron does represent the parliamentary party view – that the majority of Tory MPs would vote to stay in. It’s just the public that don’t agree, but don’t worry. They are trotting off to UKIP in ever greater numbers.

      Reply I doubt that a majority of Conservative MPs would vote to stay in.

      • Jon Burgess
        Posted May 21, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        Well, we’ll probably not get to see, but based on past voting patterns there are probably about 30 ‘outers’ another 50 or so probable ‘outers’ and the rest will just do what the whips tell them to. And if there ever is a vote to leave, the Tory whips will make them vote to stay in, otherwise that will mean Cameron will have failed to re- negotiate anything. And whilst that might be the case, you can rest assured that the EU will concede some fig leaf to make it look like a success. Whether you like it or not, your party’s aim is to stay in the EU and your colleagues will mostly vote for that outcome – hence UKIP get my vote!

  43. Vanessa
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    John, I have just watched your talk on the Marr Show. What strikes me is that although you sound measured and determined you must realise that for Cameron to say he will renegotiate BUT we must stay a member of the EU is a fool’s paradise. He cannot negotiate from a weak position – incentives do the EU Commission have to give anything back if they know we do not threaten them.

    They will never renegotiate with Britain and give any “competencies” back because then they will have to deal with other countries who will want their own little tweaks in their membership – surely, he has the brains to see what he is saying is idiotic in the extreme?

    It makes the EU commission laugh out loud about us but behind closed doors !

  44. Bickers
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    The EU (not alone BTW) has created the environment that allows the likes of Google, Facebook & Apple to generate £billions in revenue and very cleverly avoid paying the sort of taxes they would have to if they were domiciled in the UK. It also stops entrepreneurs in the UK competing with large corporations; how can they do so when they have to pay high levels of corporation tax & the corporations can avoid them.

    The EU is a corporatist State whose reams of regulations suit large companies who can afford to have large legal & HR teams to comply with the red tape. How can SME’s compete in such a stifling, bureaucratic environment?

    • Chris
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      A very important point, but something that Margaret Hodge and many politicians are unwilling to make, or are they so ignorant about the workings of the EU that they simply do not know?

    • uanime5
      Posted May 21, 2013 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      Actually this is due to the UK’s poor tax laws, not the EU.

      • Edward2
        Posted May 22, 2013 at 8:17 am | Permalink

        Actually Uni, this is caused by the Single Market which allows multi national companies to set up their HQ in one member state and trade in all member states paying their main taxes in their HQ nation.

  45. Anne Palmer
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    No Parliament may bind another went out of the Window when EU Treaties were ratified.

    Regarding the rest and proposed alterations. As the EU has all planned out until 2050, I doubt anything will be changed. Probably more and deeper integration into the European Union. It is also doubtful that the people of this Country will tolerate continuing voting and paying for two Full to the Brim Houses in Parliament when all THEY can do is obey EU orders like the REST of us are supposed to do. This, especially since Mr Cameron has divided England into EU REGIONS of the European Union.
    (Just google in, or what-ever) MIND THE GAP EDUCATION INEQUALITY ACROSS EU REGIONS See page 144.) This was and is yet another layer of alleged Governance-is it all to keep every Country in the EU too poor to ever get out of the EU?

  46. Alan Wheatley
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    The EU issue for me is first and foremost one of democracy. The EU is inherently and fundamentally non-democratic because there is no EU demos.

    It is interesting that these businessmen do not consider democracy an issue. Perhaps for them the World is different. Leaders of big business are in a position where it is likely that they will be listened to. If they wish to make a particular point it is likely they will be able to make it in person to a leading party political figure. So they count far, far more than my one vote in the ballot box.

    And if our country goes down the pan, as internationalist they will be able to move elsewhere. Likely they already have one or more bases elsewhere. So while they may well quite legitimately be able to claim to be pro-British and doing all they can for Britain, for them the downside will be a soft landing, while the rest of us will have to grin and bear it.

    I want my democratic country back.

    • Jon Burgess
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      I too only ask that I am able to vote for or not vote for those who seek to tax me and make my laws. Not much to ask, but something that Ken Clarke cannot grasp or answer. How about you, Uni?

      • Tad Davison
        Posted May 20, 2013 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

        Uni thinks the EU is very democratic, isn’t that right Uni?

        Uni even voted for Van Rumpoy!

        • uanime5
          Posted May 21, 2013 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

          Hypothetically speaking if I voted for Cameron to become an MP and Cameron voted for Herman Van Rompuy to become president of the European Council have I voted for Van Rompuy?

          • Tad Davison
            Posted May 22, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

            But you see, this is the knub of it. Politicians have been putting their names to game-changing treaties, and allowing the appointments of commissioners, supposedly in our name, when they ought really to have consulted the people on matters of such gravity and import.

            You will of course remember that the Lisbon Treaty was said to be 99% the same as the EU constitution which that nice and democratic Mr Brown was going to give us all a say on, but they dotted a few ‘I’s and crossed a few ‘Ts’ here and there, called it something different, and absolved themselves of any wrong-doing. A little bit more of a reference to the people might not go amiss eh?

      • uanime5
        Posted May 21, 2013 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        You vote for MEPs who make EU law and MPs who make UK law. So which laws are you complaining about?

        • Tad Davison
          Posted May 22, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

          We vote for a UK government. When that government makes a pigs ear of it, we can vote to get them out of office. We vote for our MEPs, yet when the EU makes a pig’s ear of it, we can’t change it, because our own MEPs are in a minority.

          Now here’s the interesting bit. The continental MEPs have made MORE than a pig’s ear of it, hence all the social upheaval and unemployment in places like Greece and Spain, so we’d rather not go along with people who are so patently wrong.

          One size clearly does NOT fit all. Their way, is patently the wrong way, and unless we can finally have things done the right way, perhaps it’s best we just come out of it and leave them to it.

        • Jon Burgess
          Posted May 22, 2013 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

          MEPs dont make EU law, Uni. The Commission does. And the Commission isn’t elected by you or I, hence the fundamental democratic deficit in the EU that I object to.

          I want the laws I am subject to, to be passed in Westminster by the elected parliament of the British people, and I want that law to be sovereign. I do not want to be subject to any law made by a foreign power, because that is what happens to a conquered people, and I have not been conquered, nor has my country been conquered.

  47. Alan Wheatley
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    I hear several people arguing that it is important the the UK remains a member of the EU because with 50% of our trade with the EU we would be foolish to put that at risk.

    If 50% of our trade is with the EU I would argue it is foolish to be so focused on the EU. The UK should trade widely throughout the World so that if one area goes through hard times the adverse impact on the UK will be minimised.

    What irony: Britain prospered unprecedentedly by trading world-wide when the trade and communications routes were driven by sail power; now we have intercontinental jets and the world wide web we can’t see beyond Europe!

    • uanime5
      Posted May 21, 2013 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      Given that the UK makes a large number of products that developing countries either can’t afford or don’t need we’re limited to the developed world, most of which is located in Europe.

      • Chris S
        Posted May 22, 2013 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        Oh dear, here we go again.

        The very fact that they are DEVELOPING countries means that there will be an increasing need for the kind of products the UK and Germany make in both the long and short term.

        The crucial issues are that the population in the developing world is far larger than the population of Europe and it is growing, both in population, aspiration and economic strength.

        Europe, on the other hand has a decreasing indigenous population and it’s economy is not growing.

        Where would you rather be doing business over the next 20 -30 years ?

      • Edward2
        Posted May 22, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

        You do come out with some rubbish Uni. I can hear UK business owners laughing at this post of yours.
        World markets, other than the EU, are huge, mainly untapped and growing markets.
        We make a huge variety of products and services at all price points for both rich and poorer nations.
        If you look at world population most of the “developed world” is not inside Europe.
        But don’t let facts get in the way of your odd political views

      • Tad Davison
        Posted May 22, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

        Now what was it that John McEnroe used to say?

      • Tad Davison
        Posted May 22, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

        I’m genuinely intrigued. Are you Polly Toynbe in disguise?

        It would answer a lot of questions if you were.

  48. John Wrake
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,
    The problem of our present relationship with the E.U. is that it is unlawful. It has come about as the result of actions by our leaders in both Conservative and Labour Parties and a negligent electorate which has condoned those actions. Neither Monarch nor Parliament has the right to surrender the Sovereignty of the nation to any foreign power, for Sovereignty belongs to the people. The people give it to the Monarch on trust, in response to the Monarch’s promise at the Coronation to rule in accordance with our laws and customs. The Monarch in Parliament i.e. in concert with the people’s representatives, exercises that Sovereignty in ruling the nation. That the people’s Sovereignty is only on loan is made clear by the usage being limited to the lifetime of individual Monarchs and the lifetime of a Parliament, after which, that temporary ownership must be renewed.
    Our Constitution makes abundantly clear that to surrender our sovereignty to any foreign power is treason. Parliament is NOT the owner of our sovereignty, yet has behaved as though it were.

    We must return to the Rule of Law as set out in our constitution, before we consider changes to the current unlawful arrangements. A growing number of people now recognise this and are insisting that if their current representatives will not comply, their representatives must be changed.

    • Martyn G
      Posted May 21, 2013 at 5:07 am | Permalink

      Quite right and in fact our Ministers have broken their oaths of office, whereby they swear to “defend all jurisdictions and authorities belonging to her Majesty against all foreign powers”.

      It couldn’t be clearer, in giving away our sovereignty they have each broken their oath of office and cannot therefore be trusted not to do so again. Some might consider this to have been treasonable activity on their part.

  49. forthurst
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    The EU has introduced a “Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL On the production and making available on the market of plant reproductive material (plant reproductive material law).

    This is a typical example of the constraint of trade which lies at the heart of the EU. The EU now wants the right to decide what seedspersons can sell and consequently who would be breaking EU law by selling varieties other than those presently registered and approved by a new agency. It is very obvious that what lies behind this is pressure from chemical companies that have now branched out into the production of GM seeds to have their products exclusively certified for commercial growing, or in other words for the force-feeding of humans, at some time in the future; after all, who else would want this?

    I have a particular dislike of GM varieties which purport to be resistant to herbicides. In the first place, the purported mode of action, in which the plant allegedly is stimulated to outgrow its strength and thereby wither and die is incorrect. What actually happens is that the ‘herbicide’ passes through the plant into the soil where it kills off the micro-organisms that facilitate the plant’s uptake of minerals, hence indirectly starving the plant to death. Since the ‘herbicide’ is active in the soil, it is hence not destroyed as soon as it reaches the soil, as claimed, and furthermore through its mode of action it is clearly a biocide; it is no surprise, then, that agricultural land and runoffs, therefore, become contaminated with a toxic chemical.

    It has to be wondered as to what GM modification can be engineered into a plant that affects organisms in the soil; it actually comes as no surprise that crops for consumption, so engineered, contain high levels of dangerous chemicals and very poor levels of minerals, or in other words the plants might survive mineral starvation as a result of engineering, but they will hardly be safe or beneficial as food.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 23, 2013 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      Thank you for the info Forthurst. You deserve a reply for bringing this to everyone’s attention. I might in turn bring it to the local MP’s attention, as he claims he is totally against such things. Please keep me posted.


  50. uanime5
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    The businessmen who have written today to a newspaper saying it is in oureconomic interest to stay in the EU on current terms, as always have failed to explain why.

    If you had actually read their letter you’d know that they list several reasons including: the UK’s membership of the EU being worth £31-92 billion each year; deepening the Single Market to include digital, energy, transport, and telecoms could boost Britain’s GDP by £110 billion; a potential Free Trade Agreement between the EU and US worth £10 billion per year; and that by leaving the EU the UK will need to renegotiate all 37 free trade agreements that the EU has negotiated on our behalf (given how small a market the UK is compared to the EU it’s clear that these trade agreements won’t be as beneficial as the one negotiated by the EU).

    The problems with our current membership include the high cost energy, ineffective and expensive regulations and other anti enterprise measures which adversely affect us.

    Energy costs our high because the Conservatives sold our energy industries to foreign energy companies in the naive belief that the free market would lower costs. The fact that other countries in the EU aren’t having the same energy problems indicates that the problem is due to the UK’s energy market, not EU law.

    I also noticed you failed to explain which regulation and anti-enterprise measures are causing the UK problems. Given that you criticised business leaders for not explaining things the least you should do is provide a list of the top 5 most problematic regulations.

    Reply We would not lose our trade with the rest of the EU if we left, and we could have our own free trade agreements with whom we wanted, more qucikly and easily arranegd than the EU manages.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure this has been answered before. What is it with these people?

      • Chris S
        Posted May 22, 2013 at 10:55 am | Permalink

        I can’t believe that uanime5 actually believes all the s**t he writes here.

        I think he posts contributions just to wind us up.

        The best response will surely be not to bother arguing the case, just point out in as few words as possible how wrong he is then ignore him.

        • Tad Davison
          Posted May 22, 2013 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

          You could well be right Chris. I’ve asked the question, ‘Are you Polly Toynbe in disguise?’

          Margaret Thatcher too had a reputation for not turning, but at least she would listen and take on board all the facts before making her mind up. This one does it the other way around. Makes their mind up, then even when presented with the facts, doesn’t change.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 22, 2013 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

          Chris S
          With the left, their opinions are like an alternative religion. Its not about politics. No amount of facts and figures and rational argument will deflect them from their cause.
          They are not open to debate and a change of heart.
          They are zealots who see anyone who dares to argue the alternative, as deluded people to be despised and ridiculed and abused.

    • David Price
      Posted May 21, 2013 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      The letter (of four paragraphs) has no detail, no explanation, no justification of the claim that the UK benefits £31 – 92b a year, such a range suggests a vague calculation and not stating the balancing costs makes for a very dubious case. It may be in the signatories interest to be in the EU but they have made no case at all for the UK to do so.

      The £110b digital, energy and transport market opportunity is not extant, the letter merely suggests it might be developed.

      We already have a trade agreement with the US who is our largest trading partner at present. What additional benefit do you claim the EU-NAFTA agreement will offer?

      WRT energy costs you conveniently ignore the costs of the wind generation fiasco and the significant “government obligations” levy put on everyone’s bill by Labour – Ed Milliband and DECC which have been reported to far exceed any profit made by some energy companies. You also fail to mention the disasterous stewardship by Labour of our energy requirements and their total lack of planning and execution to secure sustainable energy supplies, other countries in the EU did make plans.

  51. Paul
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    The only bit of the Bloomberg speech which Cameron truly believed was when he said he would fight with all his heart and all his soul to stay in the EU. His heart is not in a referendum or renegotiation, it is in saying anything to stay in power and gay marriage. I’m sure, in his heart, he would have sided with Mandelson rather than with you on the Marr show yesterday. Cameron is a dreadfully weak and inept leader, he has to go sooner or later – replace him with M Gove or P Hammond and I’m sure there will be a Conservative majority in 2015 and the in/out referendum we all want. To lose against the A-Level student lookalike E Miliband will make the Conservative Party a laughing stock.

  52. Chris
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Whatever the Cons Party try to do, they will have to act radically, quickly and decisively, as it appears the electorate are rapidly losing interest and trust:
    Survation Politics, Government & Current Affairs
    How Has Political Opinion Changed Since Before The Local Elections? Fieldwork May 17th-18th
    May 20th, 2013
    Fieldwork May 17th – 18th
    General Election Voting Intention, Change Since Survation poll May 1st

    Conservative: 24% (-5)
    Labour: 35% (-1)
    Liberal Democrat: 11% (-1)
    UKIP: 22% (+6)
    Other: 8% (nc)

    • Tad Davison
      Posted May 20, 2013 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

      Get a load of that Peter Van Leewen! The drift in the UK is AGAINST pro-EU parties!

      • Peter Davies
        Posted May 21, 2013 at 9:43 am | Permalink

        The problem with this is that it would only take around 32% to let in the clueless labour party to finish their wrecking job.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted May 21, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

        You probably saw my blog about the meeting in Frimley Green to select Conservative candidates for the MEP elections next year. One of the would be candidates asked the audience of about 160 people two questions. “How many of you are happy with our current relationship with the EU?” Two hands went up. “How many of you would vote to come out of the EU if a referendum were to be held now?” About 60% of the hands went up.

        This was an audience of Conservatives, most of whom opposed a pact with UKIP. So the question remains – how to unite Eurosceptic opinion? My view is that the Conservative Party should aim to repeal our Acts of Accession to the Maastricht, Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon Treaties on day one of taking office, without any referendum. Instantly, whole swathes of areas of EU competences and shared competences would be done away with in UK law, automatically cancelling many directives and powers of the European courts. Also, the Euro would become a de facto currency, not a de jure one.

        Negotiation on other matters such as the CAP, the CFP and EU expenditure could then follow.

        This ought to satisfy most UKIP supporters and get them to vote for the only Eurosceptic Party capable of winning. However, you tell me; you’re a UKIP man.

        • Tad Davison
          Posted May 22, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

          I think I’d probably go along with that Lindsay. I voted UKIP last time, but I have said, and will continue to say, I will vote for ANY party that promises to get us out of this God awful fix. It then boils down to a question of credibility, and can the Tories be credible with Cameron at the helm?

          After all, Mr Cameron DID say he wants to remain in the EU. But we desperately need to know the new and redefined terms. And the clock is steadily ticking down to QMV, the Euro elections, and the General Election in 2015.


    • Chris S
      Posted May 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Left of Centre :
      Labour: 35% (-1)
      Liberal Democrat: 11% (-1)
      Total 46%

      Right of Centre :
      Conservative: 24% (-5)
      UKIP: 22% (+6)
      Total 46%

      The only problem is that under FPTP, UKIP will probably gain no seats and even if the parties stay on these figures, the unaltered constituency sizes will give labour even more seats than the Conservatives. Thanks Nick !

      Result : A disastrous Lib/Lab coalition after 2015. Economic meltdown and even more dictat from Brussels will follow.

      John, with the Euro elections certain to boost UKIP still further and the Conservatives losing at least two votes to UKIP for every one lost by Labour , things are only going to get worse.

      There simply has to be a deal.

      Other: 8% (nc)

  53. Jon
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    The BBC and the like are out of touch, they just need to look at the polls.

    The debate going on in the Conservative party is the debate most of the population who have some interest in how we are run are having. The Conservatives reflect what the population are thinking. The Lib Dems and Labour who want us to have no say and speed towards more EU control do not reflect the population.

    Within the figures the polls throw out I suspect that many of the people who don’t vote are in the don’t know or do’t care camp. Those with views of either out or a different relationship which accounts for 50% of the polls are the likely to vote.

    I hope the Conservatives don’t back track because of what the BBC and media depict, they don’t reflect what the voting public are concerned about or want.

  54. Anne Palmer
    Posted May 20, 2013 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    As many-not just me, no longer trust a REFERENDUM on this Subject perhaps it is time to use the coming General Election in 2015 as the REFERENDUM we have been denied? As as we know for certain all three major Political Parties want to remain in the EU-forever, we must vote for those Political Parties or Organisation that want OUT of the EU. It matters not if none have ever Governed before, for ever since 1973, no British Government has governed this Country according to its own Constitution. I would even settle for the Monster Raving Loony’s rather than those that want to remain in the EU. The only people I would vote for that are in Parliament at present are all those so called Eurosceptics /Back benchers that have been true and brave enough to be true to their sworn Oaths of Allegiance.

  55. Duncan
    Posted May 21, 2013 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    John, you are dangerously “behind the curve” – only way is to get out of the EU before 2014 and negotiate what we want from there – bearing in mind that no one, in today’s world, will eschew the chance of trade.

    Latest poll: Tories 24% UKIP 22% Be scared John, very scared.

    • chris S
      Posted May 21, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      “only way is to get out of the EU before 2014 and negotiate what we want from there”


      Many of us probably have some sympathy with your desire to get out of the EU as soon as possible but neither you or the zealots of UKIP have provided any possible road map to show how this can be achieved in this Parliament.

      We live in a (flawed) democracy and we have to be realistic :
      Politics, after all, is the art of the possible and the parliamentary numbers simply don’t stack up.

      There is absolutely NO WAY that any anti-EU bill, even a referendum enabling bill, is going to get through the House of Commons this side of the General Election. Even if every single Conservative MP was on side, Clegg and Miliband are there to ensure it will not happen.

      It can only be made to happen in 2015/16/17 IF the Conservatives and UKIP work together and gain a working majority AND they then win the referendum.

      I challenge anyone reading this to post a reply here explaining how it can be done during the lifetime of this parliament.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted May 22, 2013 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        You have a serious point Chris, and you illustrate the difficulties very well. And although I have no need to answer this, as you’re a decent sort, I’ll try put my own candid thoughts down, to help it along, and so that others might be encouraged to do the same.

        JR says the Tory party is a united Euro-sceptic party, but you wouldn’t think so judging by the events of the past week, and that is precisely what the Europhiles are hoping for. Divisions and rivalries have surfaced, unnecessarily. Things were put up for discussion, that need not have been debated at this time, and that smacks of poor timing, and equally poor leadership on Cameron’s part.

        We Euro-sceptics have to rely on the strength of our arguments, and due process, even though those who have taken us down the road to ever-closer integration, haven’t always been that ‘clean’ in the way they operate. We have been railroaded into the present situation by less than scrupulous politicians, who in my view, are nothing short of traitors, but that doesn’t answer your question.

        Perhaps if France falls, that is to say, their economy crashes in line with the other dominoes, and people then see how exposed our own banks are to their debt, anti-EU public opinion might be given a big boost. We might then find there is such a momentum, that other political leaders have to take note and at the very least, offer a referendum of their own, but I won’t hold my breath. The Lib Dems were all for it whilst they didn’t think they would have to deliver, but have changed their tune, and Labour will just bide their time and let the others fight it out.

        To achieve anything at all, will take a concerted effort. There will, in my view, have to be a coalescence of the Euro-sceptic movement to give sufficient numbers to overcome the others in the first past the post system. But there are so many things to overcome. Whilst the BBC gives oxygen to people like Ms Sandy Toxic, and allows her to ridicule our position, but then only gives a few seconds to our host on the Andrew Marr show, it’s going to be hard going.

        I find myself wishing the inevitable EU implosion will happen sooner rather than later, but because we have been so bound up in the thing, when that goes belly-up, we’ll get dragged into it too. So maybe nothing short of catastrophe and vast social upheaval on these shores, will get the Europhiles to change. Yet there is a chink of light at the end of the tunnel. If enough people make a solidly Euro-sceptic stand at next year’s Euro-elections, the others will have to take notice. Can David Cameron show his Euro-sceptic colours by then, and tell us precisely what he intends to renegotiate? I doubt it. Will the Tories replace him as leader by then? I doubt that too.

        The country is running out of options and well as time.


        • Chris S
          Posted May 24, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

          I don’t disagree with anything you have said, Tad.

          Being in the finance business all my career, I was expecting the Eurozone to implode at any point over the last three years. The markets appear to have fallen for the garbage coming out of Brussels and Eurozone capitals but when you actually talk to fund managers, they openly discuss countries crashing out because none of the problems have been even addressed, let alone solved.

          This is still the case !

          France is next in line and I’m pretty sure that’s where the buck will stop. Of all the European countries, France is one of the least governable. Every time a President has tried to address problems, there are riots on the streets and they have backed down.

          In the presidential election campaign, Hollande made promises he must have known he could never deliver and the economy is falling apart round him at an ever faster rate than expected. He won’t address the issues because politically he knows he can’t.

          I’m not sure which will come first, riots on the streets of Madrid and other Spanish cities over youth unemployment approaching 60%, riots in France when Hollande can no longer duck the issues or more trouble elsewhere. Slovenia perhaps ?

          One thing is certain, every time a crisis emerges, it’s much worse than the one before.

          Merkel won’t agree to any more German taxpayer’s money being spent on propping up lame ducks before her election in September and it will be a very hard sell afterwards : even if she loses, public opinion won’t allow the SDP to take a much softer approach.

          Then there is the German Constitutional Court decision due anytime which is likely to rule that the “unlimited” purchase of debt by the European Central Bank as being undertaken this year is illegal under German Law. The court has already imposed a limit of €160bn on German contributions but nobody seems to have challenged Draghi on this.

          Heads are being buried in the sand of beaches all round the Mediterranean.

          At some point, meltdown can’t be ruled out.

  56. David Langley
    Posted May 21, 2013 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    My big worry is that our MPs voted us in to the various EU treaties and have been supine ever since. 80% of their jobs is now being done in Brussels and they are just a fig leaf as they do not either understand the EU or seem to care.
    When the country votes to leave the EU and repeal all the binding treaties, we will be left with a parliament that has lost the ability and will to run GB PLC. It will be a shambles in parliament and it will be some time before our new leaders rise from the ashes. There is no handbook to guide them and none is being prepared. The ECJ and the EU together have managed to stitch us up. We will be classed as Lepers by the EU politicos, and they will do everything they can to make our lives misery. I have read the link placed by a poster regarding the possibility of withdrawal and the likely effects of getting out. Bring it on!

  57. Javelin
    Posted May 21, 2013 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    The highest risk in the EU is youth unemployment in the Med countries.

    Every year that goes by creates a larger rump of potential revolutionsries within the EU system.

    Think about it like a bonfire being stacked up next to your house.

  58. Vanessa
    Posted May 21, 2013 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    It would not really matter what “competencies” were renegotiated because the Lisbon Treaty has a SELF-AMENDING clause which means they can decide amongst themselves whatever was changed and put it back again or to whatever they wanted.

    When the Lisbon Constitution was voted down by French and Dutch they went away and told us it was changed. All they did was to take out the flag and anthem “Ode to Joy” but, as we all know, both have been reinstated !

  • 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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