Mr Clegg – stay in the EU for cheap champagne! Does he really think that is top of people’s list of needs?

  I see Mr Clegg has just come out with his case  to stay in the EU.  One of his four reasons  is so you can drive to Calais to buy cheap champagne. It shows just how out of touch he is if he thinks most people have champagne on their shopping list, and have the money to pop over to Calais anytime they have run out. Clearly the air in the Cabinet Office is very rarified.

         The deal he cites looks dear to me if you take into account the travel costs.   It’s also not a very green way of doing the up market shopping.  He at least has the decency to remind us his party “is unambiguously the party of In” and he thinks most Conservatives want out .  Most people do not have the price of champagne on their mind at the moment and would not put it in their top four concerns over the EU.  Unaffordable energy bills and EU migration would be nearer the top of most people’s list. Hasn’t he understood the Parliamentary rows about energy costs? Is he determined to block all efforts to have more affordable energy, as he powers on with his moral leadership of the anti Carbon dioxide brigade?  Indeed, one of his four main reasons to be in the EU is to guarantee dear energy.


             He repeats  the old lie we have often debunked that 3million jobs depends on it!  Does he seriously think France and Germany would want to stop trading with us, given all the jobs in their countries that depend on it? He says that because criminals cross borders we need pooled justice. Has he ever heard of extradition warrants? Can’t criminals cross the border into Switzerland or Norway as well as into France?  He says that “Many problems like climate change can only be tackled if we work together” – Why doesn’t he try working on that with the US and China, the world’s two largest emitters? And his fourth main reason is so he can buy cheap champagne at Euro 12 in Calais!  I looked up champagne at local  supermarkets in England and found some for £12.49 – that I think works out considerably cheaper than travelling to Calais to buy it at 12 Euros, the price Mr Clegg recommends!

    As Mr Leeuwen has rightly reminded us, like it or not, we are in the EU. As members we form part of the electorate for the European Parliament. Our UK Ministers participate in the Council of Ministers meetings. The Council of Ministers and the Parliament between them make the decisions on new laws and are meant to guide and watch over the official government, the unelected Commission.

          The pro European minority in the UK who regularly say they need to make the case for our membership usually just threaten us with the view that if we left we would lose our trade with the EU. They see the main point of our membership as  being to buy and sell things with the rest of the EU. Most people who have  not so far regarded the EU as the main issue to settle when they vote seem to take this view. They find many of the laws and decisions of the EU they know about  as annoying or silly. They have little idea of just how much power and influence the EU now has. They go along with it because they want to keep the trade and fear a loss of jobs if we left. The usual phrase older  people use is “I voted to belong to a common market. That’s what I want”. Younger people rub along with the EU, as they have been told it is important for jobs and prosperity.

       If you ask people what they want the EU to do, by a large majority they will say “Less”. They want it to spend less of our money, take less of our tax revenue. They want it to pass fewer laws. Indeed they now want it to repeal many laws it has needlessly or vexatiously passed so far.  They want a trade arrangement, but they do not want the overarching government Mr Leeuwen points out we now suffer under.

         The minority of pro Europeans do not dare advance the case for a European government. They usually deny such exists. If they ever venture beyond the trade argument, it would be to praise the EU for pursuing a green agenda which is rapidly becoming toxic politics as people work out that just means uncompetitively expensive energy for our homes and factories.

          Occasionally they try to tell us the EU offers us peace!  That is the ultimate absurdity, looking at the last 60 years when the USA has kept the peace in Europe through NATO, standing up to the communist tyranny and ultimately forcing it to accept it had lost the arms race and the economic race without a shot being fired. I do not recall the EU helping us win the battle of ideas against militant and militaristic Marxism from the USSR. Once again that was left to the Eurosceptics and the Americans, groups the pro Europeans seem to despise.

           All the time we remain in the EU I want it to cut its spending, reduce  its laws and its interference in our daily lives. I want it to have a big repeal of many of the laws we either do not need or can make for ourselves. I want it to stop spending money on just about everything. It is better to spend our own tax money as we see fit. I do not want a European criminal justice system, a European army, a European foreign policy or a European migration policy. That Mr Leeuwen is why many of the UK voters are irreconcilable to the current EU. That is why we do not regard it as our government. It does the opposite of what we want, and seeks to wind us up at every available opportunity. We feel locked into a mechanism we did not seek, did not approve and which never does things for us.

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  1. lifelogic
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    Indeed the EU lot do not have a single rational argument for the benefits of the EU. Outside the EU we would still have duty free, so alcohol when travelling would be cheaper still!

    I never know why people spend so much on champagne, most people cannot tell the difference between it and fizzy water mixed with wine and a little pure alcohol when it is well chilled. Anyway far cheaper, more interesting and equally good Italian, other region French etc. ones are available.

    Well I do know actually, the reason is that they do not want to be seen to be being cheapskates in front of their family & friends. The same reason they waste money on £100,000 cars rather than second hand £2000 ones that do the job just as well. Even though they will be worth almost nothing in hardly any time.

    Switzerland and Norway look like very good reasons to get out to me.

    Cheaper energy, more competitive, self determination, control of our own borders, fewer and better regulation, free trade, little debt, no deficit, cheaper borrowing, 50% richer what is not to like?

    Not only that but we have many advantages over Norway and Switzerland. We are larger, speak English, have sea ports and good historic connections around the world.

    What does no Greater Switzerland, Heart and Soul Dave think? Can he come up with a single rational reason. He hasn’t so far.

    • Hope
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Vote Miliband get old Labour, vote Cameron get New Labour. No choice from Osborne’s strategy. I want a conservative government, I will vote UKIP.

      • BobE
        Posted October 13, 2013 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

        So do I now. Although there is little hope I must vote for out asap.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 13, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

        Indeed Miliband will be worse but not very much worse than Cameron. And at least we will not have to watch him ratting a second time like we would if Cameron won.

        Tristram Hunt did not sound too bad as he signalled a Labour large policy shift on free schools. He is a private school boy, but then Trinity College, Cambridge & History so at least not another Oxford PPE person (a shame it is not Physics or Engineering but still).

        The price the UK will just have to pay I suppose for electing Cameron as party leader.

        • David Price
          Posted October 14, 2013 at 5:02 am | Permalink

          According to a report by Toby Young in the Telegraph Labour are up to their old tricks and simply camofalging their lefty intent. According to Young Mr Hunt told a BBC reporter that Labour would give local authorities the veto over the establishment of free schools. It appears this slipped his mind when he was talking on the Marr show.

          Do you seriously think the LAs won’t use the veto whenever they can?

          • Hope
            Posted October 14, 2013 at 9:53 am | Permalink

            Cameron has followed and gold plats so many of New Labour’s policies it is hardly surprising. The main laws are directed by the EU and the government of the day do the fringes of government to keep the illusions alive that we are a separate nation with sovereignty.

            Osborne’s strategy is straight choice between old labour and new labour. However the public can choose a conservative alternative- UKIP.

    • Hope
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Well said LL.

    • Bazman
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      Doesn’t make sense if you are writing this from France as you are does it? LOL!

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 13, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        I do not live in France I just have a holiday home there. Tax is far too high in France.

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 13, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

          Mind you some of their public services do actually work, sometimes.

        • Bazman
          Posted October 13, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

          It’s London and/or France my point is that you tell us where you live you will find this used against you in your ludicrous and absurd pointless arguments. How can anyone be so secretive that they cannot even tell anyone which country they live in.? Pathetic.

          • Max Dunbar
            Posted October 13, 2013 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

            So what’s your real name Bazman?

          • lojolondon
            Posted October 14, 2013 at 5:14 am | Permalink

            So, someone living in France can’t want the UK out of the EU? And someone who owns property in Europe can’t want the UK to leave?

            Have you thought about how absurd your arguments are?

          • Bazman
            Posted October 15, 2013 at 5:44 am | Permalink

            Your real name is not the same as not telling your country of residence is it? Why would anyone hide there country of residence Is he being pursued by the security services or is he some sort of spy? No Being against the EU and living in France as a choice erodes any arguments against absurd right wing anti socialist policies given the nature of France. This is why he tries to hide this. Pathetic elitist fantasy that hides whenever challenged. Mainly just (wrong ed) like the Daily Mail though.

          • Edward2
            Posted October 15, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

            Another nonsensical post Baz, continuing your effort to try to close down debate on this site until the only voice we are allowed to hear is your dull repetitive left wing ranting.
            You will never win because your arguments do not stand up to scrutiny and that is why you regularly resort to personal attacks.

      • Edward2
        Posted October 13, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

        Perfect sense actually Baz, if you really think about Lifelogic’s often stated opinions.
        LL is very much pro Europe but complains about the negative effects of the monster bureaucracy that is the EU
        Two very different things.

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 13, 2013 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

          Indeed I like Europe a lot, my wife is Italian we have had a holiday home in France for 20 odd years. I just hate the huge, pointless damage the malignant and antidemocratic EU is doing, trying to destroy it.

          • ChrisS
            Posted October 13, 2013 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

            Like LL, I have a Holiday Home in France, in my case the Limousin Region.

            I love the place but owning a home in the EU does not mean that one has to be any kind of supporter of “Ever Closer Union”

            In France the damage caused by lack of competition and stifling bureaucracy is very evident.

            On the other hand, in the 12 years I have been going there, every section of the road network on my 398 mile journey from LeHavre has been upgraded or resurfaced including almost 150 miles of new dual carriageway.

            But then to pay for all this, public spending is at an unsustainable level of almost 50% of GDP. Hollande is certainly not going to reduce it anytime soon.

            In the end we will end up leaving because the idiots in Brussels will never give up their dream of a European Superstate.

          • peter davies
            Posted October 14, 2013 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

            Thats the whole point. We all love Europe and to visit stay. It doesn’t mean that we have to become the same country.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      My goodness we have Chris Huhne back on tv (the Sunday Politics) talking the usual drivel on energy and in favour of press regulation too – have we not had enough of this dreadful man and Ed Davey on Marr too for good measure. Lots of balance from the BBC as usual.

      • Edward2
        Posted October 13, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        Indeed Lifelogic,
        I do find it amazing that Mr Huhne and Ms Jackie Smith are still asked to appear regularly on the BBC.
        Are there not more interesting and deserving commentators?
        Bearing in mind their previous records.

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 13, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

          Indeed and John Major is pulled out by the BBC as some sort of wise sage! This when his record is to be wrong on almost everything of substance (and never to even apologise). Then to bury the Tory party for three and a half terms (so far).

          “I don’t have a shred of regret about entering the exchange-rate mechanism.” John Major

          Perhaps he could have asked all those who lost their homes and businesses with his 17%+ mortgage rates what they thought of it.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted October 13, 2013 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

            And then people wonder why I can’t stand Major and his kind. That man set the Tories back thirty years, along with Clarke, Howe, and every other weasel that should never have been allowed anywhere near that once great party.


          • jw
            Posted October 22, 2013 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

            Thatcher joined the ERM for two primary reasons, one is that she was running out of Chancellors and the second is that the Government needed to get a grip on inflation. Major advised, as others had done and Thatcher agreed, that a policy of low inflation was needed. They were right IMO, high inflation damages investment, pensions and businesses.

            Major’s putting inflation at the heart of Government policy worked and the markets knew that. The economic figures he left in 1997 were unheard of in a generation, and the growth continued into the new century. Thatcher never got interest rates to a low level, it was Major that did that, and that was sustainable growth. Thatcher never had interest rates as low as when Major left office in 1997.

            The ERM was never permanent, especially given the single currency that was on the horizon, and we left under unfortunate circumstances. But the economy was growing before we left and IMO it was the mechanism which prevented inflation from rising. In that, awkward system as it was, it did its job.

            It is thanks to Major that we secured an opt-out from the Euro so we never joined. He left the economy in a better shape than he found it, just as Thatcher had done. It’s not clear why he should apologise for doing that. Thatcher certainly had a series of economic disasters, but again why should she have apologised for overall improving the economy?

            Major didn’t set the party back, disunity did. That disunity was present under Thatcher, Hague, Duncan Smith and Howard. That is what the party should learn from.

            Reply It was the results of the ERM, not the disagreements about the EU that led to defeat in 1997. The polling is clear – the Conservatives lost massive support when the government left the ERM. It lost no support at all during the long battles over Masstricht.Sir John’s passion for the ERM was deeply damaging to jobs and output, and meant the Conservatives lost the next 3 elections.

      • Richard1
        Posted October 13, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        The BBC makes a big effort to promote certain failed politicians/activists, almost all on the left, of whom it approves. Ken Livingstone was one such – given endless airtime to try to topple Boris. Alastair Campbell is very much another at the moment. It seems that Chris Huhne, presumably due to his global warming fanaticism, is to be the latest. There is no case for him to be given such a platform.

        • Tad Davison
          Posted October 13, 2013 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

          Well we’re all being invited to comment on BBC current affairs. I suggest we make our views known.


        • lifelogic
          Posted October 14, 2013 at 6:01 am | Permalink

          Indeed Alastair Campbell endlessly interrupting and taking complete rubbish through people, and with nothing of interest or often even true to say.

          When is the (part nobbled) Chilcot Inquiry into this absurd war on a lie finally going to see the light of day?

      • James Matthews
        Posted October 13, 2013 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

        Yes. Eric Joyce also turned up on The Daily Politics (avec dog). The only disgrace the Corporation now recognises is politically incorrect language (even in private- see Carole Thatcher). Drunken brawling in the nation’s seat of government – no problem

    • Timaction
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      A good article Mr Redwood. Unfortunately your leader is not listening. It was reported today that 650,000 EU migrants are here in the UK claiming benefits. This costs us UK taxpayers an estimated additional £1.8 billions for our NHS. With an estimated 9.3 million others who were not born here how sustainable are our public health, housing, education and other public services? Despite the Governments claims to “reform” the system to stop the abuse the EU intends to take us to court. Just when are the mainstream leading politicians going to grow a backbone and stand up for the British and just refuse to go along with this Marxist dictatorship? Forget referendums we just want out, but nothing is changing except higher taxes, energy bills and vast house building on the greenbelt to look after foreign people! Utter madness. Our current Liblabcon leaders do not do patriotism.

    • Anonymous
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps Mr Clegg could tell us how travelling hundreds of miles to buy cheap Champagne helps our green targets.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 14, 2013 at 6:05 am | Permalink

        Perhaps he would suggest cycling to France (thus fueling your journey with say steak, french fries and the said champagne – in a hugely inefficient manner).

        Or taking a high speed train, again very energy inefficient.

    • Richard1
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

      The analysis above does not consider that a seasoned Eurocrat such as Mr Clegg probably spends c. £70-80 per btl of champagne. He probably thinks that a person of his importance should drink vintage champagne or one of the over-marketed big labels (crystal etc). Purely on economic (and personal) grounds therefore, his conclusion may be correct.

  2. Brian Taylor
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    How do we get to where we want to be, and win an election?

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      No chance what so ever without a UKIP deal and a new compass or brain for Cameron.

      UKIP on 18 % I see they will clearly beat the Tories in May 14.

  3. Normandee
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    Thats good, get angry, get so frustrated that next time you cast one of your waste of time votes in the HoP you are tempted to use an expletive to see if that can make it have more effect. But don’t, ever, even consider leaving the party that is driving the integration forward, after all it’s better to be a “social democrat” in Europe than a new conservative in a free country isn’t it?

  4. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    Rather handicapped with only an android tablet in the multiculteral town of Marseille (great new museum), I’ll attempt an initial reaction: during the fifties and sixties, the Dutch politicians were much more geared to transatlantic cooperation than continental cooperation. The autonomous thrust of economic development drew it more and more into the EU. Something similar happened to the UK at a time it’s economy was weak. These autonomous developments, together with the emotions of people, will decide what will happen in 2017. Business people (and bankers!) are already making the case for EU membership, Britain is already being more listened to than before and can cite several successes as your government does. I’ll gladly put a bottle of champagne to share with you on a (as I see it) positive outcome. (No blogging allowed on the aeroplane)

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Marseille, great new museum perhaps but the murder capital of France I read, and not that far from my French holiday home.

      You say the emotions of people, will decide what will happen – well not in the UK where they clearly will be given no real say in the matter and certainly not one held on any fair basis , question, timing, BBC lack of bias or fair funding for the against side. They have not been since Wilson’s fraudulent “common market” referendum in 1975. I was too young to vote but was for out. This as the people on the out side seemed so much more intelligent, rational and logical than the general emotional drivel presented the other side.

      Not in many other countries where, if they get it wrong, they are simply told to vote again.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      I’m curious about something Peter. Given all the ‘advantages’ of Britain’s continued membership of the EU, do you happen to know how much it has cost us thus far? That is to say, how much we’ve actually got out of the thing, than we put in since 1973?

      And projecting that forwards, how much is Britain’s membership likely to cost, were we to stay in?

      I think that would tend to be more relevant than being able to buy cheap champagne in Calais, or not having to change a currency every time we go abroad (as another mentioned elsewhere)


      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 13, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

        Peter’s android tablet might not be able to handle such a large number as the cumulative cost to the UK of its EEC/EC/EU membership.

        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted October 13, 2013 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

          @Denis Cooper: I’m glad you at least don’t hold me (my brain) incapable of handling large numbers. 🙂
          The number to look for is the cost-benefit comparison from an unbiased source. (there are of course intangible aspects to consider as well, which for you weigh heavily towards leaving and for me in another direction)

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted October 14, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

            Clearly that “unbiased source” could not have any connection at all with government departments which are adamant that we must stay in the EU for political reasons, or with political parties with the same prejudice, or with companies or any other bodies such as so-called charities which themselves benefit from EU membership and are quite indifferent to the effects on others, or with academics who hold Jean Monnet chairs or are otherwise financially compromised.

            For myself I take a moderate view on the economic costs to the UK of EU membership. I have noted the absence of new and credible studies concluding that there are overall benefits, and the progression over time first to studies saying that the economic effects are minor or broadly neutral and then to studies trying to estimate the net costs, some of which use methodologies which seem rather questionable to come up with estimates of the costs which seem exaggerated.

            The latest estimate by Professor Tim Congdon on behalf of UKIP is reported here:


            and his conclusion is that EU membership is costing us about £170 billion a year, or 11% of GDP.

            Well, I’m not 100% convinced that the economic benefits of leaving the EU would in fact be as much as £170 billion a year; although to be fair over the years I’ve seen various estimates ranging from £50 billion to £400 billion, and Professor Congdon may well have it roughly right.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted October 14, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper: I have seen ludicrous claims before but relating unbiased reporting to UKIP beats it all. How can I take you serious now, if you cannot distinguish propaganda?

          • lifelogic
            Posted October 15, 2013 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

            Are there any benefits at all – I cannot see any. Certainly non worth destroying democracy for.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted October 15, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

            You can read his report, Peter, and criticise his methodology if you think it defective.

          • Mike
            Posted October 15, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

            Any cost / benefit analysis is going to be skewed by the bias of the author.

            I am rather interested in how much we’ve given the EU since 1973 however…. In particular what percentage of our national debt is due to the EU payments.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted October 16, 2013 at 11:41 am | Permalink


            First you have to decide whether to use the nominal figures from earlier years, or use some method of updating them to get a measure of their present value.

            For example in 1973 the gross contribution was £181 million, but taking into account inflation that would be equivalent to £1660 million in 2010.

            Then you must decide whether to use the gross contribution, the gross contribution less the rebate, or the net contribution after taking into account both the rebate and money returned to the UK for subsidies and capital projects.

            This study used the gross contributions less the rebate, for reasons it explains, and it updates the numbers for earlier years in two different ways, which it also explains:


            The first way simply used the GDP deflator index to try to account for price inflation, and then the UK’s total gross contributions less rebates between 1973 and 2010 came out at £267 billion in 2010 pounds.

            The second way was more complex because it tried to take into account both inflation and the change in value due to economic growth by using a share of GDP index, and then it came out as £380 billion in 2010 pounds.

            The title of the article is:

            “The UK’s Missing Sovereign Wealth Fund”

            and it asks the question:

            “What if the UK, instead of handing over its EU Budget Contributions to Brussels, had invested the cash in a British Sovereign Wealth Fund ?”

            with the answer:

            “That fund would today be one of the biggest in the world”.

            “The calculations in this study are that UK Contributions to the EU Budget between 1973 & 2010 totalled £ 380 billion in 2010 values, around 42% of the UK national debt at March 2011. By 2014, at projected 2014/15 values, the total is estimated to be in the region of £ 550 billion. Had the £ 380 billion at 2010 values been invested in a British Sovereign Wealth Fund, instead of being spent on and by the EU, that fund would today have been approximately the same size as the world’s two biggest sovereign wealth funds, those of Abu
            Dhabi and Norway.”

            It seems open to question whether the author should have used the £380 billion figure rather than the £267 billion, although apparently it is a recommended methodology, and of course there is the counter-argument that if we hadn’t agreed to make those payments to Brussels we wouldn’t have got such benefits from freeing up trade, but then again there are the counter-counter arguments that the costs of the Single Market may well exceed its benefits and that the cost of our budget contributions is only one small element in the total costs of our EU membership.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 13, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        Who cares about currencies, we just pay on cards anyway – though the banks do still over charge on conversions and fees, lack of competition and confusion marketing again.

        Are there any advantages at all for the UK? I can see there are some good pensions with special tax rules for failed politicians like the Kinnocks, Britton and Patton – but anything actually positive for the UK’s huge fee whatsoever?

        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted October 13, 2013 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

          @Lifelogic: Maybe there is just one interesting benefit for the UK, in this case Mr Lifelogic, in that he can indeed freely reside in his holiday home in France. As a EU citizen you have the “Right to free movement and residence”. Still I would never have the audacity to consequently declare towns in your holiday residence neighborhood a murder cities 🙂

          • lifelogic
            Posted October 15, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

            Well I was just looking at the statistics on recent murders in Marseille.

            No one ever really stopped the British from residing or having holiday homes in France, even before the EU. Why would they ever have wanted to, providing they could support themselves and were not of criminal intent?

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 13, 2013 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

        @Tad Davison: I”m well aware that the Dutch cost to the EU (per capita of course!) is higher than the UK cost, but what matters here is the difference between money cost and money benefits. The Netherlands have been fighting their corner and have managed to make the money benefits a multiple of the cost. I see no reason why a competitive UK couldn’t do the same. The UK has a problem though in providing non-biased statistics, because there seem not to be independent sources. Only stating a deficit in trade of goods and always “forgetting” to mention a surplus in exporting services is just one example of a slightly poisoned “facts” environment. One may only hope that this will improve.

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 15, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

          What Money Benefits for the UK are there?

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted October 15, 2013 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

            Since the UK joined the EU:
            * UK economy 2.5 times bigger
            * GDP per capita has more than doubled
            * 4.5 million more people in employment
            * Increased productivity
            source – your own manufacturers organisation (EEF)

            Reply: And how much better would it have been if we hadn’t joined? Switzerland and Norway did better

    • libertarian
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 10:50 am | Permalink


      By Business people in the UK you would mean the tiny tiny minority of giant corporates with something to lose I guess, because the reality on the ground as survey after survey shows is the 4.8 million small and medium sized enterprises that make up more than 90% of UK business are solidly in favour of leaving the moribund, bureaucratic and undemocratic EU.

      • sjb
        Posted October 13, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        Well, a survey conducted in Jun-July of this year [1] claims 77% of SMEs want to remain in the EU.


        • lifelogic
          Posted October 13, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

          Well my businesses certainly don’t. I was not asked. The CBI are a bit like the BBC on the EU. It is largely big business that like it. This as it kills the competition for them through excessive regulation.

        • libertarian
          Posted October 13, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Permalink


          Oh dear !

          The CBI ,you know the organisation that doesn’t allow small businesses to even be members and who are Pro EU conducted this survey. The firms that they classify as SME are NOT SME’s at all they are just the smaller corporates in their member databases.

          They surveyed 400 of THEIR members ( out of 240,000 members)

          For balance there are 4.6 million small businesses in the UK

          I’m talking about surveys conducted by Chambers of Commerce, small business federations, and the other organisations that ACTUALLY represent small businesses

          • Edward2
            Posted October 13, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

            Well said Libertarian.
            For years the CBI has supported only their big business members and has done little to support the needs of the millions of small companies who are the biggest employers in the UK.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted October 13, 2013 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

            Good on yer! Put ’em right Lib! These lop-sided people with their selective and dubious facts and figures need bringing down a peg or two!


          • sjb
            Posted October 14, 2013 at 8:24 am | Permalink

            The survey was conducted by YouGov.[1]

            I found two definitions for an SME: section 248 Companies Act 1985 [2] and the European Commission.[3]

            All 160 organisations meet the employee criteria[4] and at least 69% meet the turnover criteria, although the percentage is likely to be even higher because another 28% fall in the 10 – 100m band[5] and so straddle the thresholds.

            [1] A link to their survey (pdf) is on the CBI’s webpage (see url I provided earlier)
            [4] see Q13 of the fieldwork, SME column
            [5] see Q14 of the fieldwork, SME column

          • libertarian
            Posted October 14, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Permalink


            Nice try old son

            The Poll was conducted by YOUGov on behalf of CBI

            I read the survey you linked to AND the small print

            The CBI ONLY admit businesses with a turnover of £10 million pa upwards and only then if they are deemed OK from a growth point of view

            That is NOT a small business.

            You can try all you like but I deal with 100’s of true small businesses every day and I see the results of the quarterly surveys done every quarter by the various small business support organisations.

            There are 4.2 million small businesses with a t/o less than £10m they are the backbone of our economy, employ a very large percentage of private sector employees and contribute the most in taxes.

          • Edward2
            Posted October 14, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

            Once again, very well said Libertarian.

            This is a classic example of how the media would lead with a headline that on greater investigation can be seen to be faulty.
            The CBI only represents the very biggest companies and not the millions of small businesses who employ the majority of people in the UK.
            Yet they are portrayed in the media as the voice of all employers. in the UK

        • libertarian
          Posted October 14, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Permalink


          A few links to balance the CBI survey

          Even the highly PRO EU pro Euro FT admit that 77% of UK business wants to renegotiate our membership of the EU.

          In ALL of these surveys of businesses none of them have more than 26% of business who wish to see the EU continue as is.

          I would say that makes the non tax paying big corporates of the CBI look pretty poor wouldn’t you?

          • sjb
            Posted October 15, 2013 at 8:09 am | Permalink

            Perhaps you were misinformed about the CBI’s minimum £10m turnover membership rule because 53% of the 160 SMEs in the survey of CBI members had a turnover up to £5m and 16% were in the £5-10m bracket.[1]

            Turning now to your links. The co-chairman of Business for Britain authored the Telegraph piece. Even he is not advocating that we leave the EU … at least for now.

            Your second and third links refer to British Chamber of Commerce (“BCC”) surveys. In the Q2 2013 (most recent?) BCC Business EU Barometer “54% responded that full withdrawal from the European Union would impact negatively on their business (down six points).”[2]

            That seems difficult to reconcile with your original claim that UK SMEs “are solidly in favour of leaving the moribund, bureaucratic and undemocratic EU.”

            [1] See Q14 of the fieldwork

          • sjb
            Posted October 16, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

            Perhaps you were misinformed about the CBI’s minimum £10m turnover membership rule because 53% of the 160 SMEs in the survey of CBI members had a turnover up to £5m and 16% were in the £5-10m bracket.[1]

            Turning now to your links. The co-chairman of Business for Britain authored the Telegraph piece. No survey is mentioned but it is noteworthy that even he is not advocating that we leave the EU … at least for now.

            Your second and third links refer to British Chamber of Commerce (“BCC”) surveys.
            In the Q2 2013 (most recent?) BCC Business EU Barometer “54% responded that full withdrawal from the European Union would impact negatively on their business (down six points).”[2] That seems difficult to reconcile with your original claim that UK SMEs “are solidly in favour of leaving the moribund, bureaucratic and undemocratic EU.”

            [1] See Q14 of the fieldwork

          • libertarian
            Posted October 17, 2013 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

            “Perhaps you were misinformed about the CBI’s minimum £10m turnover membership rule because 53% of the 160 SMEs in the survey of CBI members had a turnover up to £5m and 16% were in the £5-10m bracket”

            Er perhaps the CBI shouldn’t write that on their Who can join page on their website then do you think?

            How many times do you want to be told? I’ve seen the data.

            Please explain how many SME’s do business overseas and why losing all those regulations would hurt their small LOCAL businesses

            As I said only 26% of SME’s wanted the EU as is. That my friend means that 74% SEVENTY FOUR want it CHANGED.

            Which makes a nonsense of CBI propaganda

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 13, 2013 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

        @libertarian: Dutch SME’s are solidly defending EU benefits (in spite of complaints about regulatory burden), how could this possibly be so different in the UK? (Then I see that you discard SJB’s comment because you don’t trust the source. I have seen five SME clips in the ourbiggestmarket site going on record, where are the anti SME’s?)

        • libertarian
          Posted October 14, 2013 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

          Well Peter as I just told SJB I ACTUALLY spend lots of time in SME support organisations and see the data and hear the complaints.

          You ask why are Dutch SME’s in favour? I’ve no idea I don’t live in Holland or have a Dutch business. If you seriously think the EU is anyones biggest market you are deluded about business. 85% of ALL economic activity is INTERNAL so our biggest market by a country mile is in fact the UK !!!!!

    • yulway martyn
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Absolutely correct Peter. Our marvellous English wine sits next to a couple of bottles of French champagne and the Rioja is just below. Variety in wine and variety in life. Simple. Healthy.

      Not fettered by old eurosceptic prejudice and insularity. Life is for living no matter where you are. But if you are European, like me, you have the best of all worlds.

      • libertarian
        Posted October 13, 2013 at 5:10 pm | Permalink


        You really ought to try Chapledown Sparkling Wine ( champagne ) its far superior to the French stuff apparently.

        Not sure why you think being against EU anti democracy and socialist financial incompetence should be classed as prejudice. Or are you saying that you cant be in favour and a supporter of other cultures unless you are in an empire governed by them?

        • lifelogic
          Posted October 14, 2013 at 6:07 am | Permalink

          Yes it seems he is absurdly saying that.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 13, 2013 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

        @yulway martyn: My cupboard looks very much the same as yours (although Britain is represented by Scottish whisky).

        • yulwaymartyn
          Posted October 14, 2013 at 8:00 am | Permalink

          That’s fine Peter. It all sounds highly civilised. Easy isn’t it.

          • libertarian
            Posted October 14, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Permalink


            Actually no its not easy, try selling wine and champagne produced in the UK to France. So much for a single market without trade restrictions

    • outsider
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      Dear Peter van Leeuwen,
      Unlike you or perhaps Mr Redwood, understandably given his dispiriting experiences, I still think it worth a try to make basic reforms to the EU for all rather than focusing solely on the UK. England has been isolated in Europe for most of the past thousand years but we have still exercised helpful leadership at crucial points.

      1) The Netherlands, France and others are also fed up with the “ever closer union of the peoples”. Words are important here because the French word is etroite, which is related to the English strict and that word has been the philosophical driver of policy. I suggest it be replaced by “ever more friendly” (German gutlich, French amical or even fraternal). That would carry a much greater drive to inclusiveness and consensus.
      2) The Commission should no longer initiate policy. Proposals should come from the EU Parliament or Council and then be drafted and any subsequent directive executed by the Commission. The Commission needs to be much better at getting things done rather than telling us all what to do (eg the heartfelt cries of Malta’s Prime Minister over border controls).
      3) Directives should set down only concise principles, leaving all detailed regulations to member states to suit local priorities. For example, there are hectares of costly regulation of public procurement that have little effect in most member states. How many French officials and police drive around in Italian or German cars, or vice versa? One paragraph would achieve as much.
      4) The Council should form a “Subsidiarity Council” made up of one representative from each national Parliament to vet and if necessary challenge or veto any proposed directives.
      5) To adjust for the eurozone, majority voting should be changed so that it always requires a majority of the votes of non-eurozone countries. In case you ask, this would not give the UK anything like a veto.

      I would like to see these or similar reforms included in a “Manifesto of the Nations” to be discussed and debated by members of the Council, the EU Parliament and, one might hope, national parliaments. The threat of Brexit would be useful in timetabling discussion and decisions.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 13, 2013 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

        @outsider: I can agree with much of what you write:
        Ever closer union, just like bible text, can easily be re-interpreted. Smaller countries want the EC to be strong, larger countries van the European Council to be strong, a balance must be found. With a smaller EC, it would become easier to focus on fewer tasks and stick to overall principles. (Parts of ) national parliaments must become closely involved because they are perceived closer to the electorate. A level playing field for EZ and non-euro members must be guaranteed for the Single Market. The further integration of EZ members must be unhindered by non-euro countries.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted October 14, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

          Well, Peter, perhaps you could give an example of how “ever closer union” could be re-interpreted to mean something entirely different from what it plainly says. Then you could explain why we should agree to be bound by treaties which at some point may be held to mean something entirely different from what they plainly say.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted October 14, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper: Very simple Denis and we’ve gone through this before I seem to remember.
            “- determined to lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe”
            First, the European Council can decide that by now “the foundations have been laid” i.e. mission accomplished.
            Second, there is the natural principle of “too close for comfort”. You don’t condemn a married couple to always share a mattress of ever shrinking size, in fact, in a grown up relationship partners give each other room to “do their own thing”. (It may be time to express more regional individuality, now that EU protection is well founded).

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted October 15, 2013 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

            Don’t forget the reiterations in the Maastricht Treaty.


            “RESOLVED to continue the process of creating an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe”

            Article 1:

            “This Treaty marks a new stage in the process of creating an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe”

            Well, maybe the governments of all the other member states of the European Union would be prepared to strike that out from the first article of the Treaty establishing the European Union, and say instead that the process has ceased; but that seems very unlikely, and if they did it would only be to sneak in alternative wording, such as the “United ever more closely” which appeared in the EU Constitution.

  5. davidb
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Since the taxpayers will likely be picking up Mr Clegg’s expenses, it would probably be marginally cheaper for him to buy champagne at 12 Euros than at £12-49 a bottle. For a little more he could buy excellent English sparkling wine – possibly claimable too.

    Visiting the Caves at Moet a few years ago, we learned that the price of champagne is dictated by a number of factors, but that the more expensive ones are made from the first pressing of the grapes. Cheap champagne may be the equivalent of cheap burgers. You get for what you pays.

    Reply MPs cannot claim for champagne!

    • Mark B
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      What about Duck ponds ?

      But since we cannot any longer scrutinise their expenses, we cannot see what the hell they are spending OUR money on.

      Reply No-one ever received money for a duck pond, or indeed ever claimed for one.

      • Mark B
        Posted October 13, 2013 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

        Reply to Reply

        Sorry, my mistake.

        Reply Nor did Peter Viggers either apply for or receive money for a duck house or island.

    • Hope
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      FCO buys it at our expense for MPs to use to entertain, please be accurate JR. Cameron entertains Tory donors at No10 at our expense as well.

      Reply The taxpayer does not pay for drink for party functions!

    • davidb
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      I did not assume for a moment that Mr Clegg would be much interested in the price of his champagne if it was being paid for by someone else. I did assume that in the original article JR included the cost of travelling to France in his calculation – and that he knew £12-49 was more than 12Euros – as to the marginal advantage of buying sub prime wine. My assumption was that those travel costs would be ours. I admit that a buy British policy in the field of sparkling wine would be worthy of our statesmen, and indeed that the quality of the English product which I have tried is far superior to cheap third pressing French wine.

      I apologise for maligning our elected members most profusely.

      I had actually pretty much forgotten the expenses saga. Too much fizzy wine dulls the memory perhaps…

  6. Old Albion
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    You really should consider joining UKIP John. You would be a great asset.

    • APL
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Old Albion: “You really should consider joining UKIP John”

      He’d have to see off Firage first. Who isn’t – by all accounts – an asset.

  7. Julian
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Clegg travelling to France to buy cheap champagne sounds exactly like the sort of tax avoidance he complains about when others do it. i.e. It reduces UK tax receipts while being completely legal.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Surely Osborne would find it Morally Repugnant, just as I find ratting on IHT promises and chucking money down the drain on HS2 and renewable energy grants to be.

  8. Leslie Singleton
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    How do the myriad countries smaller than us go on without an EU and certainly without the EU, one of the ghastliest bureaucratic constructs in the Universe? Why is this not proof that we do not need to be in?? Are we or are we not the 4th or 5th or whatever it is largest economy in the world??? And unlike all those other countries we have friends and contacts round the world, not to mention the language, that those other countries can only dream about. Clegg’s 3 million jobs is simply preposterous. Granted there would unfortunately be a painful transition process getting out but that is a temporary price worth paying to be free of all this nonsense.

  9. PeterA5145
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    An argument which is of little use if you happen to live in Manchester or Newcastle.

    And, for all its alleged benefits, the EU continues to allow the huge disparities in alcohol duties which make cross-border shopping worthwhile.

  10. Alan
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    I am pro-EU. The problem I have when trying to comment on Mr Redwood’s Eurosceptic posts is that I do not seem to lie in the categories of EU supporters that he is attacking. For example, I too do not think it likely that 3.5 million people would lose their jobs on the day after we left the EU. In fact I can see a reason for employment going up, since my suspicion is that if we left the EU the reams of EU engendered legislation would be replaced by a similar amount of UK legislation (probably still based on adhering to EU directives) so that those wishing to export to the EU would have to adhere to the demands of UK exporting authorities as well as those of the EU customs authorities. They would take on more staff to do this, more people are employed, and our GDP goes up. But note – our exports don’t: our productivity would go down. It is there at the margins that I think the real case for the EU need to be made. I think we will be marginally worse off, things will be marginally more difficult, if we leave the EU.

    Take the example of arresting criminals who have gone abroad. Yes, if we leave the EU we will still be able to apply for extradition of a criminal who has gone to Spain, and we can reasonably expect the Spanish authorities to comply. But there will be more paperwork, more court cases, more police officers who have to give evidence in Spain, more lawyers employed to argue the case. The extradition laws were made in an age when travelling to Spain was a serious journey, nowadays people casually go there for the weekend. It is no more sensible to have to apply to a court for extradition from Spain than it is to consider extraditing someone from London to Manchester.

    I actually agree with Mr Redwood’s view on the EU’s role in keeping peace in western Europe in the last 50 years – it was almost irrelevant. But the EU does provide procedures for resolving disagreements between states, so in that sense it may help to prevent future disagreements being settled by violence. It is a reason in favour of the EU, although not an important one – again it is a point where being in the EU is marginally better than being outside.

    Eurosceptics seem to think that the EU is disliked in the UK because it interferes with our lives too much. The only points at which I personally am directly affected is when I travel to other EEA countries or Switzerland. Then I have to stand in long queues because our Eurosceptics prevented us joining the Schengen agreement, and I have to change money from one currency to another (at some expense) because our Eurosceptics prevented us joining the euro. Well, these are not great inconveniences and I can tolerate them, but it would be better if I didn’t have to, just as the whole country will be able to tolerate leaving the EU, but it will mean more inconvenience. I think the changes will not be huge, but they will be for the worse.

    The EU is how western Europe is run at the moment. I think we ought to play our part. If we don’t I think we, and indeed western Europe as a whole, will be marginally worse off. To my mind it is not a life and death decision, and that I think is where my fundamental disagreement with the Eurosceptics lies, because they regard it as a decision of great importance.

    Sorry to go on so long: it’s difficult to make these sorts of arguments concise.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      These things seem attainable without full political matriculation.


    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      “The EU is how western Europe is run at the moment.”
      Who made that decision? The British people were never asked if they wanted to be governed by that foreign body. You say that: “The only points at which I personally am directly affected is when I travel to other EEA countries or Switzerland”. Don’t you realise that the majority of our UK laws and regulations originate in Brussels?
      I think this quote is quite apposite:
      “The most puzzling development in politics during the last decade is the apparent determination of Western European leaders to re-create the Soviet Union in Western Europe.”
      ― Mikhail Gorbachev

      • Alan
        Posted October 13, 2013 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        I was trying to make the point that I do not feel directly affected by the many regulations that originate in Brussels, whereas I do feel directly affected by the two regulations the Eurosceptics introduced – the use of sterling and the border controls.

        I don’t think we are governed by a foreign body. We are governed – and even that is too strong a phrase – by a union of which we provide part of the government. We elect some of its members of parliament and its ‘senate’ consists partly of members of our government. We can leave when we want to – that may actually be about to happen.

        I wonder if Mr Gorbachev actually said what you quote. A very quick search on Google doesn’t disclose where it comes from. Even if he did, he might be wrong. He ended the Soviet Union but originally had no intention of doing so.

        • Mike
          Posted October 15, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Permalink


          So you don’t feel directly affected by taxation, immigration, energy policy and prices, bureaucracy, the common fisheries and agricultural policies or legislation?

          Carry on chaps, Alan hasn’t noticed yet…

    • Normandee
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      And yet you failed Alan.
      your arguements on employment are specious, On the EAW too narrow and the rest are just down to self interest, queuing is about security of borders, we haven’t got any with the EU regs, we might have some outside.

    • Mark B
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      Alan, first of all, please do not apologies. You are entitled to your opinion, and I am sure our kind host would agree with that. But that as far as I am prepared to go, and here is why.

      The article mentions The Deputy Prime Minister and his case for continued membership of the EU. What he, and many others, including yourself have failed to see, is that membership of the EU and trade are two mutually exclusive parts of our membership.

      The EU is a POLITICAL project and has little to do with trade. The trade aspect being the Single Market or, as you correctly mentioned, the EEA. Therefore, when one wishes to discuss the EU and our membership, we should ONLY discuss it in terms of politics and, more importantly, GOVERNANCE. ie Who make the laws by which we are governed.

      It is important to realise that, the EU creates many new laws, and that these laws are adopted by our Government without the will and the consent of the Legislature, ie the House of Commons and the House of Lords. They have simply subcontracted out our means of SELF GOVERNANCE without the consent of the people. This means that the EU has far more say over your life that any of our ELECTED representatives and including the Executive. What is more, they are not elected by ourselves and are not FULLY accountable too ourselves.

      The EU is also moving towards a new Treaty, one which will help solve the crises in the Eurozone. Currently the ECB has no legal means of arranging Bank Transfers between members of the Eurozone, which why they are having some problems. To alleviate this problem that need to set up a framework, but this will require political oversight. Hence they will need to move to FULL political, fiscal and financial UNION. ie a Federal Europe.

      If that is something that you are happy with, then fine. I, and many others who do not wish to be GOVERNED in this way do not. Hence my call for Article 50 and a negotiated and orderly Exist from the EU.

      As for trade and the rules of the Single Market, you will hear an awful lot of people who wish us to remain part of the EU say that we would have no say. Let me tell you straight. My understanding, and it a little more complex that this, is that the EU Commission ‘at first’ propose rules regarding the EEA. At this point the members of EFTA/EEA submit their own proposals. Should they not like what is being propsed, and it does not conflict with the ‘Four Freedoms’ of the EEA they can exorcise a VETO on any proposed legislation – I stress, this is my basic understanding. My point being, things are not as clear as they seem and we, in a EFTA/EAA situation would not be sitting by a fax, that is UNTRUE.

      Further, due to the way GLOBAL TRADE RULES AND BODIES work, an increasing amount of EU Legislation is coming from organizations such as diverse as the Bank of International Settlements (The Basel Agreements) and others.

      Being an INDEPENDENT SOVEREIGN Nation would enable us to influence many world trade rules thereby side stepping the EU and its ‘Common Position’ stance.

      It is regrettable, but necessary, to hand over ones passport when entering a foreign country. But I must ask you. If you tried to open a bank account, or get a job, they too would ask for some form of identity check. And a passport would indeed be accepted as a suitable document. So what is the difference ?

      As for your claim that, “The EU is how western Europe is run . . . .”. That is not so. The EU Governs the affairs of its MEMBER STATES ONLY, not Europe ! And remember, Europe (EU and non-EU alike) is not the world, and the world is not Europe. And I think you will agree with me, that the world is a far, far bigger place and a little more prosperous.

      You also say, “they (Eurosceptics ‘my emphasis’) regard it as a decision of great importance . . . . ” Yes I do. I regard it of vital National importance as to make the Laws by which we are GOVERNED, don’t you ?

      Not all Eurosceptics dislike the EU. I for one see it as a relic of the 20th Century that has little future both for itself and its members. That is another reason why I want out.

      Sorry for the long reply. And if there is anything inaccurate in what I have written, please feel free to correct.

    • yulway martyn
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Alan – I agree with every word of your thoughtful post.

    • Edward2
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      I enjoyed your post Alan and you make some valid points, but I am very disappointed how he EU has turned out since we became members, when I was optimistic that it would be a beneficial thing to join.
      Decades ago I was told to expect a free trade area of friendly nations easing regulations (like the ones you have mentioned) so that prosperity could grow for all.

      Remember it was originally called the Common Market, then the European Economic Community and then the European Community before it morphed quietly into the European Union and one suspects to come is their ultimate ambition:-
      The United States of Europe
      Instead we now see a huge legislative body, which has made trading much more difficult, especially for SME’s.
      The standards of living for many in the EU have declined badly at a time when opportunities for growth in the world were all around.
      Levels of unemployment not seen since the 30’s have returned under the EU’s management.
      Like a local version of the UN, it is over sure of its power, lacking in listening skills, gradually restricting on its citizens and actively trying to reduce the power of the nations it is meant to simply represent.

      I think all the items you mention in your post could equally be achieved by nations coming together and negotiating.

      Its the way the EU has developed to what it is today that makes me anti EU.
      But I am not anti Europe at all.

      • Alan
        Posted October 13, 2013 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

        I think we did get some good results from joining. I remember how awful our economic problems were in the 70s and I think joining the EU and the Thatcherite reforms got us out of that.

        We now have to judge if it’s going to continue to be to our benefit. This time I don’t hope for large scale changes, and I was trying to make the point that I think the benefits will be quite small, but they seem to me to be largely positive.

        • Tad Davison
          Posted October 14, 2013 at 8:33 am | Permalink

          Some of these posts leave me scratching my head. On the one hand, you say that the Thatcher reforms got us out of the problems of the 1970s, but you seem ok with joining the EU that was just as bad as the mess the socialists gave us.

          Have a listen to Margaret Thatcher’s Bruges speech sometime, where she speaks of rolling back the excesses of the state, and not wanting them to be re-imposed by the EU.


        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted October 14, 2013 at 8:52 am | Permalink

          @Alan: Since the UK joined the EU it’s economy has indeed improved a lot. If the UK hadn’t made the mistake of walking away from the talks in 1955, the EU might already have been marginally more as the UK would have liked it. A similar mistake of “walking away” may be made come 2017, which then would only become clear many years later.

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted October 18, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

            My recollection is that the UK economy grew reasonably well between 1951 and 1972, before we joined the EEC as it then was.

      • Mark B
        Posted October 13, 2013 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

        Sorry, but the then Conservative Government under Edward Heath signed the Treaty of Rome which, I believe, had a clause requiring ALL signatories to work for EVER CLOSER UNION.

        It was always about a Federal Europe. It may have changed labels, but the contents were always the same. Just because you did not read the ingredients and you are now not satisfied, doe not make them wrong.

        Caveat Emptor.

        • Edward2
          Posted October 14, 2013 at 8:07 am | Permalink

          It was sold to the population as a common market Mark.
          The words federal and sovereignty were not mentioned nor the intention to change the name several times towards the United States of Europe without further referenda
          We were misled by the leaflets sent to every home and a Prime Minister at the time who reassured everyone that such worries were baseless.
          Looking back now I realise we were conned.

          • peter davies
            Posted October 14, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

            It shows how stupid people are. Politicians always present facts to suit their agendas, people always get taken in by headlines and the few that question the detail are the boring “out of touch” ones.

            Remember “New Labour”?

          • Edward2
            Posted October 14, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

            Naïve perhaps, but stupid no.
            Remember Peter that this was a time when we believed and trusted what our Prime Minister told us was the truth.
            Happy days.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      “It is no more sensible to have to apply to a court for extradition from Spain than it is to consider extraditing someone from London to Manchester.”

      In effect what you are saying is that rather than London and Manchester being in the same country, the UK, and Spain being another country, they should all be part of the same country.

      In fact even within one country transfer of suspects from one part to another may not be automatic; in old cowboy films the baddies might flee across a state line and then the sheriff would have to apply for their extradition, with no guarantee that the application would succeed.

      And that was the position for more than a hundred years, until 1987:

      “In Kentucky v. Dennison,[1] decided in 1860, the Supreme Court held that, although the Governor of the asylum state had a constitutional duty to return a fugitive to the demanding state, the federal courts had no authority to enforce this duty. As a result, for more than 100 years, the governor of one state was deemed to have discretion on whether or not he/she would comply with another state’s request for extradition.”

      • Alan
        Posted October 13, 2013 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        Interesting. I take it that nowadays states do have to comply with arrest warrants issued in other states.

        And of course we have an expedited arrangement for extradition to the USA

    • forthurst
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      Alan. It is disappointing but also reassuring to note that Europhiles can marshal only specious and trivial arguments in favour of remaining in the EU.

      With regard to laws governing the suitability of British produce for export to the EU; firstly it should be noted that, in general, anything we would wish to sell to the EU, we would also wish to sell to the rest of the world. The laws governing the manufacture of produce can be divided into those that relate to health and safety and employment law generally and those that regulate type approval. Once we leave the EU, only those relating to type approval would be relevant as the rest, such as those relating to working hours, would be none of the EU’s business. Take the case of vehicle manufacture, type approval from 2014 is governed by UNECE to which we are one of 53 signatories. Product standardisation is generally beneficial since it reduces overall manufacturing costs and deters artificial barriers to trade. Product standardisation is an international issue which is why it is conducted increasingly on a higher level than the European and in which we would have our independent voice when outside Europe.

      With regard to the administration of justice, I note that your sole criterion is of expediency and that you have failed to consider an hypothetical case relating to someone for extradition to Europe. Until the laws defining what constitutes a criminal offence or what constitute a case to answer or what constitutes a fair trail reaches the standard set by our own criminal law developed and refined over many hundreds of years, the penalty for expediency will be miscarriages of justice. One of the hallmarks of the Bolshevik Empire was the expediency of its justice system backed by the NKDV and a network of gulags.

      On the issue of Borders and currency, you have reduced the issues to those of someone on a package tour, fretting about queues and ‘foreign money’. The ease with which you can pass through borders is also the ease with which people traffickers, illegal migrants, fugitives and terrorists can pass on their way to their favoured destination, often the UK. With regard to ‘foreign money’, those who insist on using it can also insist on their own interests rates, and enjoy exchange rates with other major currencies which make their own industries competitive. Those that share their currency can experience massive housing bubbles and a progressive loss of competitive edge leading to high unemployment, especially amongst the young, and riots. That you would wish such malign consequences on others for your own personal convenience demonstrates the inate selfishness of your arguments.

  11. alan jutson
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 8:04 am | Permalink


    You forget Mr Clegg has a Large EU Pension at stake.

    Not many people want to upset their future provider !

    And yes of course he is out of touch, as many Ministers appear to be.
    How could they be anything else, they live in a bubble most of the time which seems to most of us out here to be insulated from the costs and worries of the real world.

    Sad to say, many politicians have a reputation for being economical with the truth, for not answering a simple question with a simple answer, and for looking after number one first, second, and third, rather than their constituants interests.

    Amazing how many MP’s change their views when they retire or are kicked out, and the party line talk all of a sudden is dropped when their own real views are publicised in a book for which they are paid.
    They are them employed by lobbying groups with which they were opposed, for which they are paid.

    Common link here, money !

    The big task for the Euro sceptic Mp’s is to get out the facts, and overcome what will be a giant EU funded properganda excercise, when and if a referendum is to be held.

    Aware that many of you (Eurosceptic MP’s) may get together when needed to for votes in HOC, but do you think you may be acting together as a group to push the out of EU argument ,when so called promised (if I win the next Election) re-negotiations fail.

    • peter davies
      Posted October 14, 2013 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      I seem to remember Neil Kinnock campaigning against the EEC at some point in the 80s – how pension pots and times change………..

  12. Roger Farmer
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Please face up to reality. Your wish list for change within the EU is not going to happen until a catalyst triggers it. Left to its’ own devices it will probably implode in much the same way as the eastern bloc did. I would judge that its’ present path is unsustainable.
    The question for the UK is, do we wish to be part of the implosion, or well out of it. Even out of it we will be affected.
    The only realistic answer to your wish list is the invoking of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. I suspect that this is what the Barossoes of the EU really fear because it could easily trigger the defection of many other parts of this unholy alliance.
    As it would appear that in excess of 50% of the UK electorate want a referendum on EU membership in 2014 and even more have no belief in Cameron’s vague promise of a referendum in 2017, chances are he won’t be in power, I would suggest you get behind Adam Afiya’s proposal. It is no use bewailing being locked into a mechanism you did not seek or approve of, you have to marshal all the forces at your disposal to rid us of it, even to the point of inciting a rebellion in your party.

    Reply The Wharton Bill unamended would allow a referendum prior to 2015. Mr Afriyie’s amendment is not necessary and would not deliver as neither Labour nor Lib Dems support it. Please try and understand the Parliamentary arithmetic instead of posturing. We have secured support for the Wharton Bill and do not wish to lose that, though securing it is not going to be easy.

    • Bob
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      Clegg “thinks most Conservatives want out”.

      It wouldn’t be the first time he was wrong about something!

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      Mr Afriyie’s amendment is opposed by your leader not just Labour and the Lib Dems. By so doing it is clear that, although there could be a referendum prior to 2015 under the wording of this Bill, there won’t be. This Bill was designed to help shoot UKIP’s fox for the Conservative party’s benefit but it has failed.

      Reply There is little chance of a referendum prior to 2015 because the Lib dems block all such an idea by the current government. That is why Mr Cameron as Conservative leader is legislating through a backbencher.

    • Roger Farmer
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      I well understand the arithmetic. We have a majority of MPs from all parties who have taken it upon themselves to defy the will of the electorate. I conclude that they do it to feather their own nests either for positions in the party or financial gain. They are wielding absolute power in the face of the electorate. Think back to Charles I who took such a stance, and what resulted. If his modern day equivalent, Cameron, persists in his “I know best”, he will be out on his ear along with the conservative party in 2015. If you think you can get back in on the strength of economic recovery, think again because such recovery does not have time to filter down to the majority of voters. The vote will relate to uncontrolled immigration from the EU, energy costs, rail costs, the fantasy HS2/Dome project, and an overwhelming sense that as a country we no longer control our destiny. Parliament is in denial of democracy.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      Well, the possibility of another Tory MP introducing a Private Members’ Bill for an EU referendum was discussed here in the early spring, preferably for a mandate referendum, but with little expectation that it would pass through both Houses of Parliament, the Commons and the Lords.

      It was intended more as a PR exercise to show up Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs as inveterate opponents of the British people being allowed a direct say on the EU, itself a worthy purpose and one which could have been to the advantage of the Tory party, and with a slim chance that it might actually become law.

      However it would have been “another Tory MP”, not the first, because if you recall John Baron had introduced a Bill with a similar purpose as James Wharton’s Bill on February 6th 2013:

      However that Bill never got a Second Reading; he had originally named March 1st as the day for that, but it was later changed to April 26th, a day when Parliament would not be sitting.

      That didn’t stop Cameron holding out the hope of just such a Bill in the run-up to the local elections:

      without thinking it worth a mention that he had allowed John Baron’s Bill to die the death only a few days before.

      Just another example of why we cannot trust anything he says.

  13. ian wragg
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    It is not we who are “posturing” but the clowns in Westminster. There is overwhelming support amongst the electorate for an EU referendum but “call me Dave” says it’s not in our interest.
    He will carry on in this vane until you have let enough immigrants in to provide a yes vote as this would seem to be the idea.
    Question. Would EU immigrants be allowed to vote in an IN/OUT referendum???

  14. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Those of us old enough to have voted in the 1975 referendum will see that those advocating our membership of the EU will always try and make it a matter of trade and jobs. Heath said in 1973 “there are some in this country who fear that in going into Europe we shall in some way sacrifice independence and sovereignty. These fears, I need hardly say, are completely unjustified”.
    As Christopher Booker reported in the Telegraph April 2012 he discovered in the National Archives a confidential 1971 memorandum released under the 30 year rule, clearly written by a senior Foreign Office official, headed “Sovereignty and the Community”:
    “With chilling candour, this paper (from FCO folder 30/1048) predicted that it would take 30 years for the British people to wake up to the real nature of the European project that Edward Heath was about to take them into, by which time it would be too late for them to leave. Its author made clear that the Community was headed for economic, monetary and fiscal union, with a common foreign and defence policy, which would constitute the greatest surrender of Britain’s national sovereignty in history. Since “Community law” would take precedence over our own, ever more power would pass to this new bureaucratic system centred in Brussels – and, as the role of Parliament diminished, this would lead to a “popular feeling of alienation from government”.
    It would therefore become the duty of politicians “not to exacerbate public concern by attributing unpopular measures… to the remote and unmanageable workings of the Community”. Politicians of all parties should be careful to conceal the fact that controversial laws originated in Brussels. By this means it might be possible to preserve the illusion that the British government was still sovereign, “for this century at least” – by which time it would no longer be possible for us to leave.”
    Certainly, these instructions have been followed by politicians in the intervening years. Even now most politicians will never discuss the main reason for opposition to membership of the EU which is the surrender of our parliamentary sovereignty to a foreign power. We want to be a self-governing country which trades with the world.

    Reply I voted No in 1975 because I read the Rome Treaty, which made it quite clear they were going to be taking over a lot of our right to self government.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      So did I, but many MPs, even today, keep up the lies and deny a loss of self-governance

  15. Tad Davison
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    As I see it, the power of the Eurosceptic argument is unassailable. As Roger Farmer rightly says, the EU will implode anyway sooner or later because (my words) it’s house is founded upon sand, so it’s best the UK isn’t a part of the looming disaster which has already begun. But our collective problem, is how to counter the very effective campaign of misinformation put about by the pro-EU lobby, aided and abetted by that good old trusted and totally impartial British institution, the BBC.

    I find the older generation generally have a handle on the EU and its excesses. The more cogent of our younger generation, can see what’s happening too, and know there’s a better way. But there’s a lot of people who have known no other way than the EU, and we need to redouble our efforts to show them things can be done better, cheaper, more democratically, and altogether more efficiently. In that, we need a level playing field and equal air time.

    I am eternally grateful for men like Nigel Farage and Roger Helmer, who have the guts and the strength of character to take the fight to the enemy despite limited air time. People know what they stand for, and they consistently win the intellectual argument. So where are the Tory big-hitters? Why aren’t they coming out and using every opportunity to make the case for withdrawal or renegotiation, rather than leaving it to those on the fringes?

    Making the case for withdrawal from the EU, or at the very least, a renegotiation of our terms of membership with specific areas clearly defined, is absolutely vital, but it’s just not happening, and the likes of the out-of-touch Clegg just keep spouting nonsense and getting top billing. How does Clegg keep getting away with his assertion that so many British jobs depend on our membership of the EU, with no effective counter argument?

    I’m still waiting from July last year, for the local Cambridge Lib Dem MP, Julian Huppert, to tell me how much the EU has cost us since we joined in 1973. He knows he dare not go there, and his reticence is deplorable. And until we get some sort of conduit by which we can get the Eurosceptic message to a bigger audience, these people will win, regardless of how compelling our Eurosceptic argument.

    Tad Davison


  16. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    I can’t believe that Mr Clegg was being serious. It was probably just a flippant remark to demonstrate integration. We do however need legal control over our land. We need democracy, but not at the expense of our British way of life and ethics. We do not execute people in this country, we do not have any bias against same sex relationships, we believe that women should be equal in all aspects of life, we do not think that any type of abuse should be allowed including the use of women, we believe in freedom to live within OUR laws, we do not agree with those who wish to enforce their views on others. We are British and are quite happy having the choice of either supermarket champagne or Calais local . We believe in self restriction of the growth of our families and it can be noted that at once we lived at an average of 2.2 children . We took responsibility for not putting more weight on the state. Immigrants believe in having more and more children. Our way of life is being eroded.

    Reply It was a considered argument in his latest email letter, not a flip comment.

  17. John Wrake
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,

    Your post sets out the case for leaving quite clearly.

    May I reply to Alan’s comments?

    His point about a possible increase in legislation is not really valid. Paper required to export to the E.U. already exists, but it would no longer be needed for exports with other destinations. Currently, the figures are skewed, since wider-world exports through E.U. ports like Rotterdam are classed as exports to the E.U.

    On criminal matters, extradition is only part of the question. Alan has conveniently forgotten the iniquity of the European Arrest Warrant, under which, British citizens must be arrested simply on the say-so of an untested continental accusation.

    The E.U.s role in peace-keeping is entirely fictitious and current attitudes towards Southern European Nations by the E.U. are already stirring the sort of resentment which has led to war in the past. Risks to future peace in Europe are more important than attitudes of sixty years ago.

    If the only direct affect of the E.U. on Alan is making him stand in a queue when he takes a continental holiday, he is clearly someone who is never involved in putting out the dustbins or having to use his local Post Office! Incidentally, your local Post Office will change your currency without any charge.

    Alan may feel that government by the E.U. is no big deal. There are those of us who remember the time when we could get rid of governments whose members misbehaved, when Police Officers were not immune from prosecution like their continental colleagues and when we had the right to decide those we allowed within our borders – a time when our Queen was our Supreme Authority, having promised to uphold our Laws.

    Personally, I don’t mind long arguments so long as they address the facts.

    John Wrake.

  18. Richard1
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    I agree with your article except the derision regarding peace. Seen from outside in the 1970s and 1980s, the EEC did appear to the peoples of Eastern Europe subjugated by socialism, a desirable model of democracy and free markets. Whilst it was of course the US and NATO which kept communist forces from overrunning Europe, the existence of an association of democratic market economies was an inspiration to those who so bravely resisted dictatorial socialism in Eastern Europe.

  19. Bert Young
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    If you were our PM and leading the political initiatives of this country I would be very pleased . Alternatively if your political outlook and priorities were those believed in and pursued by David Cameron I would be very pleased ; unfortunately they are not . I appreciate that the coalition is a noose around our necks at the moment and what we see and experience from it is a far cry from the heart of Conservative land . I would like to believe that once into clear water the Conservatives would deliver us from the evils of the EU ; trouble is they are under the whim of a europhile leader who is not going to allow the exit to happen ; that is the nub of the matter . My business idiom was always ” if you want to create change , you must always start at the top ” . I don’t need to spell out the rest of my advice .

  20. Gina Dean
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    I wonder whether a deal has been done with the EU for us to wait till there has been an improvement in the eurozone.
    This is why we will not be given a say till so much later.
    It would make much more sense to be given a say at the next general election, that way those that doubt that the PM will hold a referendum will be silenced.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      Gina, I’m wrestling with that one. At the heart of the problem, and the way the EU works, is a nasty little four-letter word called debt.

      ‘Vote for me, and I’ll improve you living standards’ was the cry from those wishing to get elected, without really spelling out how they were going to do it. And those who told the truth and didn’t promise jam for everybody tomorrow, were left out in the cold and unelected.

      We still have those ‘jam for everybody’ people running the show, and that nasty old debt just doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. So how might things improve?

      I know this much, if the yanks don’t kick the can further down the road and raise their debt ceiling next week (again), things in the EU could soon get a whole lot worse, very quickly, and by an order of magnitude.


  21. Douglas Carter
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Just a slight point of order John – and I don’t believe it’s pedantry.

    You’re slipping into the habit of referring to ‘Pro-Europeans’.

    Personally I would like the UK to withdraw from the EU but I also am quite happy to ascribe myself the title ‘Pro-European’. Whilst I appreciate your mistake is easy to make, and is an easy title under which to debate – it’s also a fairly malign instrument used by the opposing side of the debate to notate their opponents as ‘anti-european’.

    ‘European’ is a geographical identity. ‘The EU’ is a level of administration – no more, no less.

    In my personal terms, Eurosceptics are ‘Anti-EU’ hence I prefer the term ‘EUsceptic’. Perhaps in the same way that you yourself John will campaign for smaller government. You may be sceptical of the manner in which the UK Home Office operates but that doesn’t make you ‘anti-British’.

    I would request of you John, that you keep the discipline in language and stop using the term ‘Pro-European’, and encourage your allies to take similar steps. Those in favour of the EU do not have sole custodianship of pro-European sentiment.

    • Terry
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      I accept when the phrase, “Pro-European” is used in this particular context, it means Pro-European Union and absolutely nothing else. I thought everyone saw that, too.

  22. English Pensioner
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Surely criminals cross the borders because of the EU and the lack of controls. It would be less easy for them if we had the proper border controls of a totally independent country. As for jobs, surely there would be more if we didn’t have to put all major jobs out to tender in the EU – new railway trains are being built in Germany rather than here.
    And I don’t like champagne, I prefer a decent pint of “Rebellion” bitter from the local Marlow brewery any time!

  23. Tom William
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Reminds me of a former leader of the Lib Dems, Paddy Ashdown, at the time of the debate about the Euro. He said that if you took £50 (I think) and travelled round Europe changing your money into local currencies you would end up with nothing….

    I doubt whether our wealthy Deputy Prime Minister ever drinks cheap champagne.

    Reply And why would you keep changing your money but never spending it! That would be a completely mad way to spend your time and your money. You change the amount you need in each country.

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      In fact, of course, you would use your credit card and their machine would change your money for you. I just wish people like Ashdown and Kenneth Clarke would get out and about a bit more.

  24. Bazman
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Champagne and think of all the other products avalible when you are there? France is practically an English middle class ghetto these days, a bastion of Champagne socialism enjoyed by many a British right Winger who will espouse how the French know how to live without doing much work. A lesson to us all. Stop a French man from smoking his Gauloises or Gitanes in a cafe’ and speeding. Never happen. Its all very sensible and so unlike out absurd British system. This is one of the top spots for middle class holiday destinations .“We could actually live here!”, “we could work remotely!”, “we could rent our place in Clapham and live off the income!” As for green issues. During the summer I often ride a high powered and pointless motorbike to the coast to eat chips, so Cleggy with his Champagne and me with my cham-pag-ne are fellow travellers.
    Europe? Marvellous!

    • Anonymous
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      Bazman – The ‘absurd’ British system is the one affected by politicians and judges adhering to the EU.

      The superior French system is the one ignoring the EU unless it can profit from it.

      Fellow travelers to the coast, you and he ? I can’t see Cleggie holidaying in Skeggie somehow.

      • Bazman
        Posted October 13, 2013 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

        The superior French system is the one ignoring the EU unless it can profit from it? It’s the French way. I was offered a Skeggie 1970’s night at Butlins last week in the pub actually. Cheap for those that can afford it. Expensive for those that cannot..Ram it.

  25. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    That’s quite a declamation, JR, and perfectly correct but clearly contrary to the views of your party, or at least the views of those leading your party.

    However I am not going to join those calling for you to transfer to UKIP, as you are more valuable to the cause staying in the Tory party.

    On the other hand I wonder whether you would consider joining some of your colleagues by signing up as a supporter of Better Off Out?

    Actually that “some” is in fact only 4 of the 303 Tory MPs: Douglas Carswell, Philip Davies, Philip Hollobone and David Nuttall.

    Reply I have often said we would be better off out than in under the current terms.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      Ah, “under the current terms”.

      I think we both know that there is no chance of getting new terms for continuing EU membership which would make it acceptable to either of us, so why not say that now and sign up to being Better Off Out?

      Reply I voted to come out when we last had a referendum and I am spending time trying to get us another one. Why are you never satisfied and always posing some new test? What does “signed up” mean to Better off out, when it is obvious we would be better off out?

      • ChrisS
        Posted October 13, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        If we really want to have a chance of winning an in/out referendum it will be a lot easier after the large group of undecided voters on who the result will depend have clearly seen Cameron try and fail to gain significant concessions.

        We all know that Brussels is going to give us almost nothing and certainly not a rolling back of even the most recent powers handed over by Blair and Brown.

        We might well lose an in /out referendum held now and that would be a disaster : there would be no mandate to stop a headlong rush into a full blown European Federal State and inevitably the Euro, in the unlikely event it survives.

        Let Cameron have his chance. It is up to PMs such as you, John, to ensure he is properly pinned down and committed to a suitable set of red lines. He would then have no choice but to back the “out” campaign if he fails.

        It would be much easier to defuse the arguments but forward by UKIP if the red lines were established before the General Election thus improving the chance of achieving a true Conservative Government and ensuring the referendum actually takes place.

        After an unsuccessful renegotiation it will then be a lot easier to win the Referendum.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 13, 2013 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

        It’s nothing to do with my personal dissatisfaction, JR; it’s to do with the objective reality that if the terms of our EU membership were changed so that I could agree to us staying in then it would no longer be anything like the present EU, and while the governments of some other member states might go along with that others, especially but not only Germany, would never accept such a transformation. So there is no point shilly-shallying about with false hopes that Cameron might somehow get them all to agree to the fundamental rewriting of the EU treaties that would be required: the chance of that happening is so close to zero that we might just as well say now that we’d be Better Off Out.

        Reply Fine, many do say just that. The issue is how you bring about the change we want!

  26. Anonymous
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Federalists often state that the EU prevented war in Europe. Sadly it is sometimes the case that wars have to be fought in order to stop invasion. Otherwise a country could end up with foreign occupation a change of culture, law, currency a loss of agricultural and fisheries rights and the loss of sovereignty and self governance.

    Thank goodness the EU protected us from all of that.

    • Anonymous
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Slavery is back in this country too, John.

      • Bazman
        Posted October 13, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

        Their ’employers’ can often be seen in large cars with personalised number plates facing raids on their businesses by immigration officials.

  27. yulway martyn
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    John – your post is exactly why we should stay in the EU. To listen to the old worn out eurosceptic arguments that everything about the EU is bad is simply wrong and tiresome.

    Its not about all or nothing. Why do eurosceptics not get this? There is some good and some bad. British governments and the British people need to be selective.

    Why can’t British people go to Dieppe for the weekend; buy French champagne, stay locally at some hotel, learn a few French words, buy some cheap plonk for 5 Euros a bottle, nice bit of cheese etc and then come back to the UK and later in the week make a nice treacle sponge or some other marvellous English puddings. English puddings are some of the world’s best.

    Variety is the spice of life. We are off to Berlin at half term. Next half term (mid winter!) we have booked Cleethorpes in a caravan, Alaska next summer and the Crimea on a specialised history trip. Variety.

    • Douglas Carter
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      …’the old worn out eurosceptic arguments that everything about the EU is bad’…

      Absolute nonsense.

      And if you base your debating bedrock on that, then you’re completely unprepared for that debate.

      • yulwaymartyn
        Posted October 13, 2013 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        I presume you are a eurosceptic. ?

        Then please tell me something as a eurosceptic that you find good about the EU. I would be genuinely interested.

        • Douglas Carter
          Posted October 14, 2013 at 8:46 am | Permalink

          My opinions of the EU are academic in this case. The point in discussion is your own tendency to surrogate a falsified standpoint of EUsceptic opinion which does not represent reality.

          If you have to ascribe to your opponents mythical and non-existent points of view to justify your own opinions, then attempting a discourse with you on that basis would be a literal waste of screen pixels.

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Do you imagine that before the EU, British people didn’t go to Dieppe, buy French Champagne etc?

      • yulwaymartyn
        Posted October 13, 2013 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

        No but I do remember exchange controls, credit controls, limits to foreign exchange being taken out, french francs and all the regulations and rules including duty free. I remember British lorry drivers en masse stashing british bank notes in the dashboard. Now we just need to get rid of the passports fiasco and Dieppe (which is nearer to where I live than most of the UK) will be even easier. Simple. Less regulation. Less hassle.

        Reply Credit and exchange controls were removed by a UK government, not by the EU

        • yulwaymartyn
          Posted October 14, 2013 at 8:09 am | Permalink

          And are wholly incompatible with membership of the EU.

          See also the Capital Liberalisation Directive of 1988 and in particular the CJEU 88/361/EEC.

          Indeed it can be argued that, following our leaving the EU, it is highly likely that a UK government (probably a labour government) will reintroduce some form of restriction of capital outflows. Yet another reason for staying in.

        • stred
          Posted October 14, 2013 at 10:35 am | Permalink

          This year, although I have owned a holiday house nearby for 25 years and had an account with the bank next door, I was instructed to close my french euro account within 2 months and remove a large amount deposited for a renovation project. I knew the staff by first names and had used the account to pay bills. The reason was that head office had decided it did not want accounts held by non resident foreigners.

          It then took almost 2 months to establish identity requirements for a transfer, including a visit to their office in London. This branch also refused to open an account. I was forced to put the money into a government owned bank in the Isle of Man, from where I pay my bills in France. Such is the state of fraternite.

    • Tom William
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      Forgive me if I take your “arguments” seriously, as I assume they are meant to be, but it is not necessary to be in the EU to love much of Europe and its culture, food, architecture, scenery etc. What has this to do with having the majority of our laws made by unelected bureaucrats?

      Is this the best you can say about the EU?

      • Tad Davison
        Posted October 13, 2013 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        Tom, these people exasperate me. They come out with such bilge. Why is it, they seem so impervious to reasoned logic?

        No matter what we say, no matter how comprehensively we demolish their arguments, they still can’t see the wood for the trees. It’s as if they have a completely different view of the world around them. The EU is a slow-motion car crash waiting to happen. In fact, it has already started to unravel, but like Lemmings, the supporters of it still head towards the precipice.

        The only way they could get the UK to accede to it, was by hiding the truth and getting us to sign away our right to self-determination with underhanded practises and stealth. And it’s still going on, and the fools will still vote for it.

        I wouldn’t mind betting they can’t tell chalk from cheese, because they have to be absolutely mad, but there’s nowt so queer as folk. Trouble is, they’re going to take us down with them unless we fight them hard at every opportunity.


        • yulwaymartyn
          Posted October 13, 2013 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

          Its not a war Tad – its a debate. Its a pity you feel so exasperated.

          I go on these sites because I am always anxious to learn from those opposed to my views. Maybe you should do the same – read blogs more favourable to the EU. Birds of a feather do flock together but, as said earlier, a bit of variety is always healthy.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted October 14, 2013 at 8:47 am | Permalink

            I DO read blogs on other sites, so that I can get my information from all sides of the argument, and that’s how I am able to come to a balanced conclusion. If those arguments don’t stack up, I’ll say so. And unfortunately for those in favour of the EU, their arguments are so easy to demolish.

            But you say it’s not a war. Yes it is! It’s a war of words, and I’m fighting it because want my country back!

            It has been stolen by people who had no right to give it away in the first place, to people who have proven themselves incompetent, and thereby imperilling its future.

            I hope that gives to an insight into the depth of the antithesis towards the wasteful and bureaucratic European Union. Were it not so, and destined to self-destruct, bringing poverty and desperation to millions of people both now, and in the future, I too would be championing it’s cause.


          • Edward2
            Posted October 15, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

            Tad, I feel your passion for this subject and agree with every word you have said.
            Like you I am hugely disappointed that the original ideals of the Common Market have been hijacked and we have now a socialist legislative body that is trying to rule rather than listen.
            Like you I look at the greatly reduced living standards and high levels of unemployment of those living in fine nations like Spain, Portugal, and Greece with a sense of sadness and despair.

    • alan jutson
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      yulway martyn

      Agree with you that variety is the spice of Life.

      Had two holidays in France this year, so spent a month there, had a very enjoyable time on both occassions, but that does not mean I have/want to marry them, and share everything with them, and allow them to tell me how I should live in my home back here in the UK.

      So really do not understand your point.

    • matthu
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      yulway martyn – the good things you are extolling are there because of Europe, not because of the EU. Europhiles like you purposefully conflate the two.

      If the UK leaves the EU, British people will still be able to go to Dieppe for the weekend; buy French champagne, stay locally at some hotel, learn a few French words, buy some cheap plonk for 5 Euros a bottle, nice bit of cheese etc and then come back to the UK and later in the week make a nice treacle sponge or some other marvellous English puddings. English puddings will still be some of the world’s best.

      • yulwaymartyn
        Posted October 13, 2013 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

        Exactly. So enjoy all the above and get rid of the silly rules and regulations that currently divide the member states. These invariably hold up business and prevent wealth creation such as standing around at Heathrow arrivals hall for longer than it takes to fly in from Frankfurt as happened to me last week.

        Hopefully on another point the EC will also get rid of the ludicrous European roaming charges soon as well. Travelling from EU to UK should be as easy as travelling to Kent from Sussex.

        Abolish the regulations and enjoy the deserts!

        • Mark B
          Posted October 13, 2013 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

          The EU is about Governance not trade. The movement of peoples is to do with the EEA. I am all for removing regulation and barriers but not just so a few can enjoy a better life at the expense on the many.

          That is just selfish.

    • Edward2
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      But ym
      Your own tired arguments about the nice French food and wine or the nice architecture in Germany is very much a minor a side issue.
      We do not need the EU to go on our holidays.
      We could go on our holidays in Europe before the EU was created.
      The question is do we want to be part of a United States of Europe.
      Ruled not by ourselves in Westminster but by others further away.

      • Bazman
        Posted October 13, 2013 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

        One mans EU red tape is another mans two week paid holiday.

        • yulwaymartyn
          Posted October 13, 2013 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

          I think you wil find that as soon as we leave the EU there will be a jobsworth of British background awaiting in the wings. We are already talking about 27 trade deals with the other EU countries, Nigel Farage is already openly discussing work permits etc. Endless red tape. Do yo seriously believe that once we are “unshackled from the corpse” there won’t be someone there with the proverbial clipboard.? Thatcher saw that one coming and ditched exchange controls etc.

          • Edward2
            Posted October 14, 2013 at 8:39 am | Permalink

            Red tape is not the main issue.
            Why does running our own nation by ourselves worry you so much?
            There are many very successful nations who trade all over the world without problems.
            Our future could be richer outside in the whole world once again.
            I would be pro EU if I saw it greatly improving the standard of living and quality of life of its citizens.
            But it is not

        • Edward2
          Posted October 13, 2013 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

          Paid two week holidays for workers were introduced in this country, decades before the Common Market was trying to interfere in the way we do things.

          • Bazman
            Posted October 15, 2013 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

            Yonks ago. We as in the servants need to become competitive with the third world who see Sunday afternoon as a day off. Sunday night? As if. Never ever apply to the rest. Get that. 9 till 5. Weekend sacred. You know who you are. Ram it as you often have and will continue to do! LOL!

          • Edward2
            Posted October 16, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

            “yonks ago….etc etc”
            What on earth is this ludicrous nonsense meant to mean?

          • Bazman
            Posted October 16, 2013 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

            Read it slowly just because or pretending not to understand something will not help your arguments and that applies to the rest of you. Middle classes with education do not understand? What does this tell you?
            Ram it.

    • ian wragg
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      That’s precisely what we do but I don’t see why we should have every aspect of our lives governed by an alien species. We did it before the EU and will continue long after its implosion.
      Social unrest is just around the corner even in the UK if Cameroon et al keep defying the electorate.

      • yulwaymartyn
        Posted October 13, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

        Social unrest will dissipate if there is true movement of people and labour between the member states. Its happening already; labour shortages in Germany are being addressed by large number of Greeks and Spanish moving to Germany.

        Social unrest is caused by excessive regulation of people and capital.

        • Bazman
          Posted October 13, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

          Plundering by an elite has been proved to be a major cause of social unrest in recent centuries. However this plundering by an EU elite is yet to meet the levels of a countries own elite. Economic apartheid and a financial aristocracy supported by many this site is not an alternative to the EU. The electorate do understand right wing fantasy.

        • Edward2
          Posted October 13, 2013 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

          And conversely ym, if there is no regulation of the movement of millions of people you are could also get unrest as well.
          We shall see soon, just how happy those put out of a job due to the arrival of new workers from nations where the standard of living is a fraction of some other member states makes them feel.
          Its Ok for the wealthy ruling EU elite to say its all good for freedom but they fail to see the rising resentment in many EU nations to this policy of no borders.

          • yulwaymartyn
            Posted October 13, 2013 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

            Yes Edwards I agree with you. That is why freedom of labour and capital movement within the EU must be entirely unrestricted. As soon as there are seen to be limits, discrimination etc that is when the trouble starts. Those displaced here in the UK can go to where there are labour shortages elsewhere within the EU. Of course this is limited at the moment which is why each member state should bring in changes to the supply side of the labour market.

          • Edward2
            Posted October 14, 2013 at 8:22 am | Permalink

            Yours is a recipe for unrest, chaos and anarchy.
            The flow of millions of people from the poorest nations to the richest nations needs to be managed to ensure jobs are available, as well as homes, hospitals, schools and energy capacity etc
            To blandly say you must leave your nation of birth if you can’t now manage to earn a living as a result of millions of people suddenly arriving, is breathtaking.

          • Bazman
            Posted October 14, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

            Those displaced here in the UK can go to where there are labour shortages elsewhere within the EU? The British unemployed can leave for the poorest parts of the EU to find work, or the richest? Often the reason they are unemployed is because of a lack of skills and being a peasant in the poorest parts of Europe is often due to a lack of skills too. So where are you going with this idea? Are they going on a busmans holiday? LOL!

        • stred
          Posted October 14, 2013 at 10:57 am | Permalink

          This summer my friendly Spanish tenant told me that there were so many young Spanish unemployed people coming to find work in our area that ‘we had better do something about it or the will all be here’. After he left we let a friend of his stay in the empty property as a caretaker, and he asked some well educated young Spanish ladies around for a party. At one stage it seemed that the local language was Spanish. Even passers by were talking Spanish as my son passed the time making friends with them in the front garden. They were all trying hard to get jobs and taking unskilled work although they had degrees in law and other subjects. However, I was unable to accommodate them as I do not accept Housing Benefit, to which they were entitled. The girls had also been able to claim unemployment benefit here more easily than in Spain. etc ed

          • Bazman
            Posted October 15, 2013 at 5:54 am | Permalink

            Obviously this harsh benefit system works by sending them abroad to find work. In this case it sound like our gain as these types of people are not here to claim benefits, but to find work. However in this case middle class work and the British middle class have are large sense of entitlement, so will not live under their own harsh rules will they? Many of these Spanish will be sharing houses and working in bars here as they look for professional work. OK if they here to pick potatoes, but not to be solicitors.

  28. APL
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    JR: “One of his four reasons is so you can drive to Calais to buy cheap champagne. ”

    Why do you have to drive to Calais? Because the British government puts a 1000% excise duty on imported alcohol.

    Of course this assertion by Clegg illustrates his ignorant infantile world view, Calais isn’t very far from London, but it’s a damn sight further to drive there from Manchester, not to mention how NOT GREEN it is to drive several hundred miles to buy cheap alcohol in order to circumvent* a tax imposed by the British government.

    Mr Redwood, would you be so kind as to ask Mr Clegg if he is encouraging everyone in the country to take measures to avoid UK taxation?

    That seems to me to be at variance with his previous pronouncements on tax avoidance and living the ‘Green’ life.

  29. Antisthenes
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Your article sums up well why eurosceptics want to reform the EU or quit it if the reforms do not go far enough, which of course they never will. It is obvious that winning the eurosecptic case is easy but actually making enough people vote to leave is quite the opposite impossibly difficult. There are too many who either do not care, do not understand and/or gullible to the mendacious scare tactics and obfuscations of politicians like Clegg, RedEd and Barroso.

  30. forthurst
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    “Variety is the spice of life.” … so why do you want an homogenised Europe ruled by Brussels? Your arguments are frankly bizarre; you are quite obviously off with the fairies.

  31. Richard Roney
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Well said.

  32. John Wrake
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    reply to yulway martyn – if you are convinced that membership of the E.U. is solely concerned with variety of food and holiday destinations, there is little hope that you can engage with serious thought. As for variety, I have been a regular visitor to my French son-in-law in France, speak the language and have also lived and worked in Germany.

    From your references to half term holidays, it would appear that you are a member of the teaching profession. I just hope that you don’t teach History. Given the depth of your argument, I think that you must be very young.

    John Wrake

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted October 14, 2013 at 8:19 am | Permalink


      Its mainly about the four freedoms but as JR dwelt at some length about Champagne I thought I would add my contribution.

      I note you think I may be a teacher and very young. Somewhere in there is an enormous compliment although I suspect that was not what you intended.

      I am sorry to say that I am middle aged and self-employed. I am also a parent so we stick to half term holidays as I believe in educating my children and supporting teachers.

      I am a little concerned that you think a teacher could afford the holidays that we are taking. Alaska will come in at around £11,000 including the motorhome hire, Cleethorpes about £350, Berlin about £1200 and the Crimea will be about £2000.But hey, it is only money – what price for an education.

  33. matthu
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Interviewed on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, Mr Davey was asked if onshore wind turbines provide value for money.

    He replied: “Absolutely. They only get paid when they are generating electricity.”

    And yet:

    “According to the REF figures, enough wind-generated electricity to power 10,000 homes was “dumped” by the National Grid last month. A total of £3.6 million of constraint payments were made to wind farm companies in April [2013], the highest monthly total since September 2011.

    “EDF charged between £89 to £149 for every megawatt hour (MWh) of energy that was not produced, compared to £50 per MWh the company would have received for selling it.”

    So what are we to conclude, Mr Redwood? Are government ministers telling us the truth or not? Or are they simply being slippery with the truth?

    • stred
      Posted October 14, 2013 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

      Also, the Sunday Telegraph reported the excessive subsidies to the energy companies and gave figures from the Renewable Energy Foundation. An example is SSE subsidy £213- sales 160-income 373-costs 96- surplus 277.
      This is denied by the director of policy for Renewable UK. He says the initial outlay can take a long time before a profit is seen.

      Surely, it is possible to present straightforward accounting including running costs and depreciation. Any other industry would. Are these included in costs or not, and if so what are they and what is the actual excess subsidy. Please could someone, who knows what he is talking about, clear this up.

  34. ChrisS
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t yet heard any official in the EU confirm that they have abandoned their quest for “Ever Closer Union”

    That would be a start.

    How about asking Clegg, Barroso, Van Rompuy and others this question at every opportunity ?

    If the answer is No, that’s all the confirmation we need.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      Back when it was still worth saying it, I repeatedly urged that we should first have a “mandate referendum”, before any renegotiation was attempted, and that the question should get to the heart of the matter by asking whether we wanted to continue with the process of “ever closer union” prescribed by the present EU treaties, and that we should have that referendum as soon as possible, and that if the LibDems would not agree to a government Bill for that purpose then Cameron should support a Private Members’ Bill.

      Some accused me of trying to sneak the UK out of the EU because if the answer was “no” then other EU governments would never accept that the UK could be freed from that commitment while remaining in the EU.

      More recently our Dutch commentator has said differently, that he thought those words could be removed from the treaties; but I can’t see that happening without the same principle being reinserted even if with alternative wording.

      • ChrisS
        Posted October 13, 2013 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

        Dennis, your idea of an enabling referendum is logical and I can see that it has some merit.

        However there are two problems :

        1. David Cameron couldn’t get the necessary bill through parliament if he tried : both Labour and the LibDems would conspire to vote it down.

        2.Even if the enabling bill could be passed, the voter in Dunny-on-the-Wold doesn’t like to be bothered by having to vote too often. I suspect that even though you and I will be first in the queue, the turnout would be very low unless it were to be held in May 2014 at the same time as the Euro Elections.

        It couldn’t happen on that date because the Conservatives, Labour and the LibDems would know that the question would increase turnout for UKIP and that’s the last thing that any of the big three wants to see.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted October 14, 2013 at 11:41 am | Permalink

          Your point 1 applies to the Wharton Bill for an “in-out” referendum after the next general election just as much as it would have applied to a Bill for a “mandate” referendum before the general election. If anything the Wharton Bill has even less chance of getting through both Houses than would have been the case for Bill for a referendum asking the fundamental question of whether we wish to continue with the process of EU integration; it would have been more difficult for Labour and the LibDems to raise reasonable and convincing objections to us being asked that question as a preliminary for any renegotiation, and therefore it would have been more damaging to them if they had blocked it. Even so, I would have been surprised if such a Bill had actually been passed by both Houses. However the time for that has gone; Cameron decided that the Tory PR exercise would not be a Private Members’ Bill for a mandate referendum but for a referendum after the next election, and that is that.

          On your point 2, I don’t think there would have been any problem getting people to vote in a referendum on whether they wished to continue with the process of EU integration prescribed by the present EU treaties, and then some years later voting again on whether they were content with whatever new treaty arrangements had been negotiated.

  35. Terry
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    I fear school kids are being brainwashed with EU clap trap. It suits the socialist teachers unions to fit in with the EU dictate and their members appear to solidly promote the EU in the classrooms of the UK. School kids don’t read the broadsheets nor the tabloids but they have to listen to their teachers and clearly, they are influenced by their teachings. Mr Gove has his hand on this (I hope) to prevent such indoctrination, reminiscent of Pol Pot’s educational regime whereby the children were taught to love their State and despise their parents. Surely, if not checked, we shall end up with that problem but hopefully, without the mass murders that followed there in Cambodia.

    I see the EU, in political terms, as an alien virus that is spreading across the populations and all but seizing their hearts and souls. Something neither Napoleon nor Hitler nor Stalin could achieve with guns and bullets but the peaceful EU dictators are making phenomenal headway to the same end. Total control of Europe and Europeans.

    And as history has proven, it is down to the Brits to put a stop to their megalomania and eventual totalitarianism. We cannot afford to let them win. Never.

    • Anonymous
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      It does mean that chocolate coins can be ‘minted’ in the style of the Euro and sold to a much wider market at Christmas.

      That’s another plus for being in the EU.

    • Credible
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      You are concerned about indoctrination in schools and hope that Mr Gove is doing something about it. What do you want Mr Gove to do? Sack any pro EU teachers and don’t let any others join the profession? Set up surveillance of classrooms to make sure the ‘correct’ philosophy is taught.

    • Mark B
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

      “I see the EU, in political terms, . . . ”

      Which, may I add, is the correct way to look at it and debate it. It is about Governance and who makes our laws. This is a political project an we need to talk about it in political terms and not in terms of trade and personal fulfillment.

  36. Elliot Kane
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    I think that any cause whose supporters constantly and consistently lie about it on every opportunity is not one that has a great deal of merit. It can’t, else why the lies?

    I am sure many Europhiles are sincere in their belief that forcing the many and diverse peoples of Europe into a single empire controlled by a bureaucratic dictatorship is a good thing. I just can’t see how or why.

    I don’t see how laying waste to Southern Europe through a stubborn refusal to backtrack on the Euro is a good thing, either.

    Maybe it’s me. Maybe I and the other Eurosceptics are lacking vision, and a Europe brought to its knees and unified in penury is a good thing. Somehow, though, I doubt it.

    • Mark B
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

      The problem with the EU as I see it, is that those living today lack any real understanding of its history. The concept is actually quite an old one. It is not without its merits, given the time and the events that helped it into being. One of the reasons for its wide acceptance on the Continent I believe, is that they have been at war with each other for so long, and so many times, with countries and Empires coming and going, that anything that offers ‘stability’ is worth trying.

      into this mix comes the UK. A nation that doe not quite fit the make-up of the original five member’s. It was this lack of ‘commonality’ that Charles de Gaul instantly recognised and may let to him preventing us from joining in the first place.

      But eventually we did. And we have been trying to fit into a system of Governance ever since.

      This has made it harder on the people because, for us to accept it, certain information about its true intentions where kept from us.

      As the Eurozone moves to a Federal Europe, this will become harder for all, especially those in positions of power to accept. But it is the inevitable conclusion of our continued membership.

      • Elliot Kane
        Posted October 14, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        The history is actually easy enough to understand. The nations of Europe kept fighting each other, over and over, with a continued escalation that culminated in two world wars.

        In complete terror of what another conflict might bring, the EU was born. The problem was seen as the nation state, and the solution to eradicate the problem by eradicating the nation state.

        Wrong diagnosis, wrong answer. Which is what ultimately leads us to the mess the EU has become.

        The problem was never the nation state, but the hubristic stupidity of too many of Europe’s political leaders, too many of whom saw war as a first resort for any aim rather than something to be avoided unless there is literally no other recourse.

        But a group of politicians are not going to see themselves as the problem.

        In any case, the EU is a solution born of terror of a misdiagnosed problem that ceased to BE a problem with the birth of NATO and the start of the Cold War.

        NATO absolutely guarantees that any ‘Great Power’ who starts a war with any other will lose far more than they could ever hope to gain. That right there is enough to guarantee they won’t fight.

        But blind terror still rules the EU, hence the drive to ‘ever greater union’ whatever the cost, and the fact that certain politicians keep trotting out the old line about ‘the EU is the only way to stop more wars in Europe’. It’s a mistake rather than a lie, because they honestly believe it to be true.

        This misdiagnosis is also why blind political hubris is being allowed to drive the nations of Southern Europe into a state where rebellion and war are MORE likely, with the Euro almost literally driving their economies into the ground.

        The answer to the problems of the EU is genuine humility from its leaders: an admission that they have got so many things wrong and need to undo whole rafts of dire legislation, beginning with the diabolical mistake that was the Euro.

        But to do that, the leaders of the EU first have to correctly diagnose the real problem: themselves. What the chances of that are, well…

        To sum up: the EU is a misconceived and poorly executed solution to a problem that no longer exists. Worse, the way it is run almost guarantees the kind of conflicts it is supposed to stop. Any people will only suffer so much before they rebel, and much of Southern Europe is suffering badly with no end in sight.

        I think the EU will implode messily, one day. ‘All empires must one day fall’, as Reagan so memorably said. He was right then and he’s right now. I just hope that when the EU goes down it doesn’t do too much damage to the nations of Europe. The peoples of Europe don’t deserve to be punished for the folly of their political leaders.

    • peter davies
      Posted October 14, 2013 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      Its important to remember that the Balkans were a stitched together set of countries with one currency and look how that ended up. If the Euro had worked then it might be accepted for a time – but forcing large groups of people into poverty can only lead to one conclusion.

      It still surprises me that so many people in Greece and Spain still put up with it.

      • Elliot Kane
        Posted October 14, 2013 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

        Not just the Balkans, either. A lot of problems in the Middle East are caused by several groups being artificially stuck together in one ‘nation’ when they have no sense of even being one people. The same could be said of much of Africa, for that matter.

        Nations where the people don’t feel like they belong together do not tend to function well, sadly.

      • miami.mode
        Posted October 14, 2013 at 11:35 pm | Permalink


        In very recent memory both Greece and Spain were dictatorships and many nations throughout Europe have suffered a lack of democracy so it is no surprise that their people see safetyin a unified Europe. We have not had these problems in the UK.

        It is the grand plans of the EU elite that are ruining things and let’s hope that if the EU and/or the Eurozone begin to disintegrate that it doesn’t end up like the Balkans.

  37. David Price
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    Just seen a report that Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions, has on BBC1 Andrew Marr show publically rejected suggestions from Conservative ministers that the Human Rights Act should be replaced.

    Is a (senior) civil servant allowed to make such a public statement against the policy of the government?

  38. Paul
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    The only thing I admire about Clegg was his real desire to raise the tax threshold. On the EU, immigration, criminal justice and green energy he could not be more out of touch with ordinary people if he tried. It is bizarre that a man who lost his party MPs at the last election dictates UK politics to such an extent. Roll on 2015 when the Lib Dems are wiped out.

  39. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    The EU contribution to peace is well described and acknowledged, and doesn’t need defending. It should not be confused with other concepts such as preventing war with a perceived threat outside, (the USSR). Peace doesn’t emanate from armies or nuclear deterrent.

    • peter davies
      Posted October 14, 2013 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      So are you implying that there would have been conflict in Europe had it not been for the EU? I don’t remember them having much input into Bosnia or Serbia/Kosovo.

      Just to remind you Bosnia was a UN operation, then bought to an end by NATO and Serbia was NATO led.

      The ideological arguments against communism were won by Regan/Thatcher – nothing to do with the EU.


      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 14, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

        @peter davies: I don’t remember the USSR nor Bosnia being part of the EU. I’m not implying anything of your statement, but let me imply now that you may not understand that peace is something else than the absence of war.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 14, 2013 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      Yeah, even got a Nobel prize for it.

      What a joke.

    • libertarian
      Posted October 15, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      Oh dear

      You think the EU has bought peace to Europe?

      Since 1945 there have been more than 20 wars, insurrections, revolutions, terrorist independence movements and uprisings in Europe. Some peace.

      Still I suppose that sums up the EU, make it up and expect people to believe you.

  40. Martin
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps Mrs May should cancel her Telegraph tomorrow as she might be upset at the story they are running about Mr Osborne in China.

    Apparently we are going to be using the Schengen form!

  41. Roy Grainger
    Posted October 14, 2013 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    Actually the ability to buy cheaper champagne in France demonstrates that the EU is not working at all – it demonstrates market inefficiencies due to differing levels of national taxes on alcohol, and restrictions on the free movement of goods across EU borders due to national excise duties and limits on the amount of alcohol individuals can import. To be logical Clegg should be complaining about this situation, not praising it.

  42. James Reade
    Posted October 14, 2013 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Simply based on your title alone, it’s really quite amusing to think that repeated polls tell us that the general public don’t list the EU even near the top of their every day issues. So perhaps the question really ought to be turned on you and the bickering Tory Party. Why eat yourselves up once again over an issue that is secondary to most to most people?

    Oh and before some lackey of yours pipes in and tells me that magically all the other issues people list higher than the EU would be resolved if we left, let me remind you and them that we’ve grown inside the EU, and that we’ve enjoyed periods of high unemployment and low growth outside as well as inside the EU.

    Reply As you so clearly dislike me and the Conservative party you should be delighted if we talk about the EU when you think it does not interest voters. As the economy, immigration and energy regularly top the polls of matters of interest, they all seem to me to have large EU interference in them which needs resolving.

    • Edward2
      Posted October 14, 2013 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      You have failed then James to notice the increasing time spent by leaders of all political parties debating the referendum issue.
      Then there is the rise in popularity of UKIP especially in the forthcoming European elections.
      Europe is an issue which is rising towards the top of many voters list.
      Even if when polled they umsurprisingly come up with domestic issues first.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted October 14, 2013 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      Well I’m right with you John, but I think you’d be the first to say that I’m hardly a Lackey of yours. I’d be only too pleased to read what James has to say about the EU or any other issue for that matter. You never know, he even might come to understand why so many of us feel as strongly as we do.


    • Tad Davison
      Posted October 14, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      And another thing……….

      Sky News is running with a big story today on immigration. It is said to be the leading issue with voters. I’m just wondering how that is not linked to the EU and the ‘open doors’ policy of the last government?

  43. Richard
    Posted October 14, 2013 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,

    I agree with everything you say except for your first paragraph :

    “I see Mr Clegg has just come out with his case to stay in the EU. One of his four reasons is so you can drive to Calais to buy cheap champagne. It shows just how out of touch he is if he thinks most people have champagne on their shopping list, and have the money to pop over to Calais anytime they have run out.”

    An increasingly large part of the electorate are not paying any direct taxes and as a result they now no longer care which of the 3 main socialist parties are in power.

    Of far more importance to them is indirect taxation, such as alcohol duty, and Mr. Clegg is attempting to use the benefit of buying cheap alcohol in France as a reason to remain in the EU.

    Unfortunately Mr. Clegg has made a mistake here because the Champagne would be even cheaper if bought duty free which would be the case if the UK were to leave the EU.

    In fact the bringing back of duty free drink would be just the sort of issue which would sway large numbers of electors to vote for the UK to leave the EU.

  44. peter davies
    Posted October 14, 2013 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    When a polician starts using the champange analogy he really is scraping the bottom of the barrel.

    I read somewhere that this “3 million jobs” being peddled around being questioned and is widely used by the Dept Of Business but apparently goes back to some unverified study with highly questionable assumptions carried out some 13 years ago – though nothing else has been forthcoming (not the same author as the WMD document by any chance?).

    One problem is that people fail to understand that pulling out of the EU is not the same as pulling out of the EEA. Most of the single market rules which apply to product standards and internal trade without quotas and tariffs apply to goods so from a trade point of view nothing would change apart from the fact that the UK would not have a say in shaping the rules on goods sold to the EU.

    Is this a problem? I don’t think it is because you could well say the same about goods exported to the US or Asia.

    If you retain full EU market access I just cannot see what the problem is. There must be some brains that read this site who can tell us the REAL reasons for EU membership without the usual drivel.

    Reply If someone seriously thinks all our exports to the rest of the EU would go on leaving, presumably all our imports would go as well, so we would create many more jobs here to make the things we could no longer import! That would make us much better off.

    • peter davies
      Posted October 14, 2013 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      If the logic goes like that then that’s a fair point. £50 PA extra economic activity to stay within the UK – it just doesn’t stack up. In all seriousness the one thing that may be lost are the Euro clearing finance activities in London which I think are kept in the UK under EU trade rules, around 8000 jobs or so depend on them (I believe).

      A drop in the ocean when you factor in agriculture, fishing and potential new FTAs around the world.

      BTW nice to see the EU loving Richard Branson has moved himself and his businesses outside the EU after being so vocal on the subject – he would not have had a cat in hells chance if he was starting out now in the UK with all the high costs and red tape.

  45. miami.mode
    Posted October 14, 2013 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Just a small point John and I hope it’s not like a case of teaching grandmother the proverbial, but the € symbol can be accessed on most modern keyboards by holding the Alt Gr key whilst pressing the 4 key.

    In your third paragraph I initially read it that Nick Clegg wanted to shop at a place called Euro 12 in Calais.

  46. uanime5
    Posted October 14, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    He repeats the old lie we have often debunked that 3million jobs depends on it! Does he seriously think France and Germany would want to stop trading with us, given all the jobs in their countries that depend on it?

    If tariffs were introduced between the UK and the EU then there would be job losses in the UK. No company that mainly supplies products to the EU is going to locate themselves in the UK when they can locate their company inside any of the other EU countries to avoid these tariffs.

    Given that products from the UK will be more expensive it’s likely that France and Germany will be able to acquire extra business by selling their products to customer who can no longer afford to buy UK products or are unwilling to pay extra for UK products.

    The pro European minority in the UK who regularly say they need to make the case for our membership usually just threaten us with the view that if we left we would lose our trade with the EU.

    I wouldn’t say the pro-Europeans are a minority. In the 2009 MEP election 27.7% of the population voted Conservative, 16.5% voted UKIP, 1% voted NO2EU, 0.5% voted UK First, and 54.3% voted for pro-EU party. In the 2010 MP election Labour got 29% of the votes and the Lib Dems got 23% of the votes (52% in total), while the Conservatives got 36.1% and UKIP got 3.1% (39.2% in total). So just because the number of seats won doesn’t give the pro-EU politicians a majority doesn’t mean the country is anti-EU.

    Also trade is likely to be reduced it we go from being part of the EU to being completely outside it. The EU doesn’t allow countries that don’t obey EU law to trade in the EU without restriction.

    They have little idea of just how much power and influence the EU now has.

    Did the EU treble tuition fees? Nope.
    Did the EU introduce free schools and academies? Nope.
    Did the EU introduce 3 year benefit sanctions and workfare? Nope.
    Did the EU privatise the energy industry, Royal Mail, or the NHS? Nope.

    Seems that the UK still has a lot of influence over the major areas.

    They want a trade arrangement, but they do not want the overarching government Mr Leeuwen points out we now suffer under.

    Given that we can only have the current trade agreement by obeying EU law there’s no point demanding all the benefits of being in the EU with none of the drawbacks.

    If they ever venture beyond the trade argument, it would be to praise the EU for pursuing a green agenda which is rapidly becoming toxic politics as people work out that just means uncompetitively expensive energy for our homes and factories.

    Given that the UK is having this problems while other EU countries are not, it’s more likely that this is caused by UK laws rather than EU laws.

    That is the ultimate absurdity, looking at the last 60 years when the USA has kept the peace in Europe through NATO, standing up to the communist tyranny and ultimately forcing it to accept it had lost the arms race and the economic race without a shot being fired.

    While shots weren’t fired in Europe there were several proxy wars in Afghanistan, Vietnam, Cuba (Bay of Pigs invasion), and Nicaragua (Contras and Sandinistas).

    • Edward2
      Posted October 14, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      “No company that mainly supplies products to the EU is going to locate themselves in the UK when they can locate their company inside any of the other EU countries to avoid these tariffs”

      This depends on whether the probable low tax regime in a UK outside the EU, versus the tariffs you imagine may be added by a vengeful EU, makes it worthwhile them staying. My view is we could easily make it worthwhile them staying.

      “The EU doesn’t allow countries that don’t obey EU law to trade in the EU”

      Wrong on two counts, first any good which meet EU importation regs are able to be imported and sold throughout the EU and UK manufacturers are adept at meeting these requirements.
      Secondly there are world trade agreements signed by the EU which would stop the EU from trying to be difficult towards the UK

    • peter davies
      Posted October 14, 2013 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      Why do you constantly go on about Tariffs when you must know that there is the EEA on which free trade is mainly based also ignoring the trade deficit the UK has?

      Also check your facts on the Royal Mail – do a bit of digging and you will find a postal services EU directive.

      While shots weren’t fired in Europe there were several proxy wars in Afghanistan, Vietnam, Cuba (Bay of Pigs invasion), and Nicaragua (Contras and Sandinistas). ” How on earth has this anything to do with the EU? Most of this was more to do with the fight against the communist ideology, (led mainly by the US) you are clearly a fan of which is what the EU is turning into a version of.

  47. ChrisS
    Posted October 14, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Total rubbish yet again from our friend uanime5.

    He does churn it out !

    Only two point of many I could make :

    There is no possibility of tariffs being imposed on British Exports as we will always remain a member of the single market like Switzerland and Norway. Would the Germans want to see tariffs imposed on their exports to the UK with whom they have a trade inbalance favourable to them ?

    “Given our country is having problems others aren’t” :

    Have you looked at what is going on in France, Italy, Greece, Portugal and Spain lately ?

    As I said utter rubbish from start to finish.

    • Edward2
      Posted October 15, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      Indeed Chris I agree.
      Those with views like Uni use the method of saying a lot, but then try to shout down any who reply.
      The best arguments are with those on the other side of the political debate.
      We must be determined to counter their false ideology.
      Foe example, where has socialism got any society in history, except to totalitarianism, poverty and misery for its citizens and a complete lack of individual freedom.

    • peter davies
      Posted October 16, 2013 at 10:56 am | Permalink


      The 3 million jobs thing is something being cheaply thrown around that no one has owned up to the source of the data.

      If I may post a link this is how Wikipedia defines the EEA:

      “It was established on 1 January 1994 following an agreement between the member states of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the European Community (which became the EU). It allows the EFTA-EEA states to participate in the EU’s Internal Market without being members of the EU. They adopt almost all EU legislation related to the single market, except laws on agriculture and fisheries”

      This implies that we would still have to regulate goods to what the EU states though that presumably is for inter EU trade and would have no say how they are shaped – I doubt we have much now.

      It also implies that the UK would still be at the end of EU tentacles so wouldn’t be an end in itself but a beefed up EFTA with the UK in its ranks would surely carry more weight and bargaining power.

      This fact alone shoots the down the pro EU argument in my mind though there is still the issue of being affected by reams of EU regs which would need to be addressed.

      No easy answer but the first step HAS to be EU withdrawal.

  48. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 1:46 am | Permalink

    Excellent, so will the ‘red lines’ of the Conservative Party’s official renegotiation stance be published before the Euro elections, before the General Election, or nor at all. Stand by for a thrashing in any election where they are not published. People are not prepared to buy a pig in a poke these days.

  • 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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