Slow going in Euroland


      The latest European Union economic  forecasts for the EU as a whole and the Euro area in particular do not make good reading.

        They reckon unemployment will be above  12% in Italy, above 11% in France, above 25% in Spain and above 17% in Portugal for the three years  2013-15. The average rate in Euroland will be around 12%. Only Germany, amongst the majors, has a more respectable rate of a bit over 5%.

        Outside the Euro the UK, Denmark  and Sweden are forecast to have unemployment  below 8% for the same time period. The non Euro countries as a whole reduce the overall rate of European unemployment compared with the bad results in the Eurozone.

         They forecast an overall fall in output and incomes of 0.4% this year for the Euro area, to be followed by growth of 1.1% in 2014 (0.7%). Germany is forecast to grow 0.5% and 1.7% (2.2%), France 0.2% and 0.9% (1.1%), Italy to fall 1.8% to be followed by growth of 0.7% ( – 1.1%), with Spain falling by 1.3% followed by growth of 0.5% (-0.8%).

          In contrast they expect better results from the non Euro countries. The UK is expected to grow by 1.3% and 2.2% (3.5%), Sweden by 1.1% and 2.8% (3.9%) and Denmark by 0.3% and 1.7%.(2%)

             So why do they think it is so much worse in the Euro than outside?  They accept that banking problems allied to balance of payments imbalances between the member states have led to poor performance. They think banking problems may continue for longer. They say “Frictions related to the reallocation of resources in the process of internal adjustment is still expected to weight on growth….” They also admit that “Bank balance sheet repair is a pre-c0ndition for the normalisation of credit growth” and  “decreasing bank lending volumes  appear to be largely explained by low credit demand, but supply is a binding constraint in some member states…”

             All this leaden prose and jargon is saying two crucial things about their currency zone. Firtly, they did not create a well regulated commercial banking union, and are now paying the price for overextended banks and credit in too many parts of their zone.  Secondly, they did not get the economies into line, so some states built up large trade deficits which they can no longer finance or afford. The result of both these errors is a recession machine. They have to cut bank credit to get balance sheets into shape. They have to slash demand to cut  imports to cut trade gaps.

              Meanwhile  Sweden, Denmark and the UK, the three higher income countries out of the Euro, can follow policies that work better for them. They have 3 years of superior growth to look forward to as a result, according to the EU itself.

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  1. Mike Stallard
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Just two questions:
    1. Can’t anyone in Parliament or in the Civil Service or in the Foreign Office or in Parliament see that over regulation by a distant non (anti-?) British government in our national economics spells death for our economy.
    2. The ghastly deflation in Euroland (=grinding poverty,) is all the fault of the unelected, unaudited, unconstrained European government. Isn’t there anyone – ANYONE – else who can see this?
    To go on conservative Home you would think we were back in the 1950s! sorry 1930s!

    • House
      Posted November 9, 2013 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      It would alone good to highlight how the auto and non Eurozone countries are helping with their unemployment by allowing them to work here and are given tax credits to increase their low paid wages. This is in addition to the 600,000 immigrants claiming benefits because the UK is one of five countries who have a non contributory benefit system. May does not need to commission a report to wonder why so many EU and African migrants chose the UK as their choice of destination. Add free housing, education and health and what a wonderful place the UK appears to be. However, some of us are fed up with high taxes, poor public services and building on every open piece of green land to accommodate them. There has also been no comparison betwee the calibre those British workers leaving to those low paid workers coming in. I do not want to hear about net migration when there is no discernible way of calculating the actual numbers, I want actual facts because I can see the reality of the downward spiral of the country on a daily basis.

      Yesterday we witnessed the madness of Cameron’s overseas aide when India sends a space rocket to mars and we pay millions to them to achieve it. The only conciliation is that the rocket to mars is a fraction of the cost than HS2 which travels from Birmingham to London! He is really not fit for office.

      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted November 9, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

        Well said!

      • Timaction
        Posted November 10, 2013 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

        Excellent post. I now see Mr Cameron is being urged to offer an out option of the EU when unknown renegotiations at an unknown time to determine an unknown outcome, but Mr Cameron will still campaign to keep us in regardless.
        Leading politicians wonder why all trust and confidence in them has gone.
        Our highly qualified are leaving and being replaced by millions of unqualified individuals to perform low paid jobs whilst we pay for 2.5 million unemployed, 1 million of our young people.
        We need patriots not the current leading politicians. Today of all days!

    • Ralph Musgrave
      Posted November 9, 2013 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      “Isn’t there anyone else who can see this?” No I can’t see it (silly me).

      As to the lack of democracy in the EU, how much democracy was there prior to the EU’s birth? Everyone could vote about once every five years for parties which once in power, broke their manifesto pledges. Is that your idea of “democratic Nirvana”? The EU has simply replaced a lack of democracy with an even bigger lack of democracy.

      EZ deflation is actually caused by the inherent problems of a common currency: i.e. the need for uncompetitive countries to cut their costs. And deflation unfortunately is a very slow and painful way of doing the latter. Ironically, and contrary to your suggestions, a HUGE INCREASE in Brussels’s power COULD SOLVE that problem: by ENFORCING a cut in wages, prices and profits in the periphery. The latter would simply be a QUICK way of doing what deflation is currently doing in a slow and painful way.

      • Chris S
        Posted November 10, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

        Ralph, your post assumes that IF there was a Eurozone government the population of the ClubMed countries would accept the imposition of draconian deflation and the taxpayers of Germany, Austria, Finland and the Netherlands would stump up the simply massive amount of cash required to keep ClubMed afloat.

        Put simply, neither group of voters will agree and their elected politicians know it.

        That’s why the Eurozone muddles on. A few months ago the excuse for inaction was the need to wait for Merkel to be reelected, then, the politicians thought, she will put her hands firmly into the pockets of her voters and dish out billions of their Euros.

        They are still waiting for Merkel but my bet is it will not happen.

        “Ever Closer Union” is, politically, a dead duck – even in the Eurozone countries experiencing the disaster that is the Euro.

        The inevitable outcome will be a break up of the single currency.

        It’s only a matter of time.

    • uanime5
      Posted November 9, 2013 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

      What unelected European Government are you referring to Mike Stallard? It can’t be the EU as they have a democratically elected Parliament.

      • William Long
        Posted November 10, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

        But the EU Commissioners are not accountable to, or members of, the European Parliament. They are put in place by the heads of the EU Governments.

      • Hope
        Posted November 10, 2013 at 11:04 am | Permalink

        Not elected by an citizen of any of the 27 nations. Which British citizen voted for Barnoess Ashton, Borrosso or Van Rompouy? No, this is not democracy or the British interpretation of it.

      • lifelogic
        Posted November 10, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

        A democratically elected Parliament largely powerless and with no demos (with many common interests and history) to actually represent.

      • libertarian
        Posted November 10, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Permalink


        Ha ha ha you carry on believing that, democratically elected parliament indeed. With absolutely no power or influence at all

  2. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Bad news for the Euro area. On the positive side, it did wheather the financial storm, didn’t collapse, and will integrate into a strong economic bloc. It will just take a longer time and some more hardship.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted November 9, 2013 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      Is it your goal in life to be a cheer leader for your beloved EU? Are you a disciple sent to spread the word? You certainly seem to have found religion and in your case it is called the EU. Or are you paid by the EU to inundate us with your pro EU contributions?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 9, 2013 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

        Unusually, no instant reply from on high to your questions …

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted November 9, 2013 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

        @@Brian Tomkinson: Why this obsession to think that people are paid to have pro-EU opinions?

        • Brian Tomkinson
          Posted November 10, 2013 at 8:57 am | Permalink

          Thank you for your uncharacteristically delayed response which unfortunately tells me nothing. This is not an obsession but a simple and serious question: Are you in any way in receipt of payment or hold office to promulgate pro-EU opinions, which you do with such frequency and zeal?

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted November 10, 2013 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

            @Brian Tomkinson: of course not and have never done!
            I acquired an interest for Europe when, last century I worked in a small company with British, French and German colleagues and experienced all the cultural differences and complementary talents in this working together.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 10, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

          Eh … because many of those actively expressing pro-EU opinions do stand to benefit financially from doing so, in one way or another?

          But of course that may not be true in your case; maybe you’re just an ordinary Dutch citizen who believes in the EU cause so strongly that he has no hesitation at all about trying to convert people in another country; “a disciple sent to spread the word”, as Brian puts it; a kind of missionary saving the unbelievers from themselves.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted November 10, 2013 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper: you are more a missionary Denis. A fighter for the “good cause”.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted November 11, 2013 at 1:17 am | Permalink

            No, Peter, a missionary is usually somebody interfering in a country other than his own.

        • Hope
          Posted November 10, 2013 at 11:05 am | Permalink

          They are given undeserving hi wages and pensions for life with a condition attached. So yes, they are paid.

        • lifelogic
          Posted November 10, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

          Perhaps it is because the opinions (rather like those of catastrophic global warming and being pro HS2) are so clearly irrational, illogical and poorly argued that we find it hard to accept that they could be held for any genuine reason?

        • libertarian
          Posted November 10, 2013 at 3:06 pm | Permalink


          “Why this obsession to think that people are paid to have pro-EU opinions?”

          er because no person that isn’t dependent on their income , livelihood or power from the EU believes in this monstrosity, now which bit do you work for?

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted November 10, 2013 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

            @libertarian: there is no monstrosity in sight, it is all just in your perception. Haven’t you realised that there are many British too who favor the EU?

          • libertarian
            Posted November 11, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

            Oh Peter,

            There are many British who favour socialism, rascism and other ism’s too so what I’d think their ism’s are monstrous too.

            The EU is a con, if it was that benign it wouldn’t have lied to its citizen about its long term aims, it would have stuck to its own rules on who was allowed in to the Euro, it would have its accounts audited, it would be democratic. It would accept the votes of countries who vote against it rather than re run elections until the “rich result” is obtained. By all means if the Dutch people want to vote for slavery that’s up to them. We want a vote here.

            If and its highly unlikely based on current polls the UK were given a vote and chose to remain in a Federal European Union I would fully accept that result ( then I’d emigrate and take my businesses with me)

    • Edward2
      Posted November 9, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Peter I wonder how your bland statement of at least three more years hardship must sound to the ears of the millions of unemployed Europeans who find their prosperity falling.

      A price worth paying apparently.

      • Bazman
        Posted November 9, 2013 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        As life becomes harder for them as they have less money then surely prices must fall?

        • Edward2
          Posted November 9, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

          They will not better off if they are still unemployed trying to manage on limited welfare and if they are in work and their incomes drop the same as prices drop, they are still no better off.

          • Bazman
            Posted November 9, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

            really?! At least they are skint in the sun instead of here. Wandering around picking fruit and drinking cheap booze. They could set up an allotment, grow food, keep pigs and chickens. Ah! That would be the life..It must be like living in a H.E Bates novel drinking cider and discussing butter…

          • Edward2
            Posted November 10, 2013 at 1:25 am | Permalink

            Not so easy to do if you are living in Madrid, Athens, Rome or Lisbon.

          • Bazman
            Posted November 10, 2013 at 9:47 am | Permalink

            That would be like a permanent holiday. Absorbing culture and interacting with locals at every opportunity. Marvellous!

          • Edward2
            Posted November 10, 2013 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

            A fantasy of the realities of a life if you have no job and no prospects due to the never ending recession in the Eurozone.
            Its easy to be flippant Baz, but its no fun in the sun if your family business has gone bust after decades of hard work or your Bank has sequestrated your life savings.

          • Bazman
            Posted November 11, 2013 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

            A never ending recession in the second and third world is however a good thing helping to lower living costs?

          • Edward2
            Posted November 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

            No it is not a good thing at all.
            The sooner people are able to improve their standard of living the better.
            There is no recession in these areas in fact many are experiencing fast growth.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted November 9, 2013 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

        @Edward2: Of course it is very bad for those people, but this was not an article about the sovereign debt crisis, which caused all this. And the situation of the overstretched banks cannot be solved overnight either.

        • ian wragg
          Posted November 9, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

          The problem in southern Europe was exaggerated by the global financial meltdown. The same result would have occurred in a few years due to the nonsense of the “one size fits all Euro”. Until someone breaks ranks and goes back to their original currency there will be no respite.
          Of course Murkey etc will due anything to prevent this unless it becomes in German interest.
          I see France has been downgraded again, that a country to watch!!

          • Tad Davison
            Posted November 9, 2013 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

            I’ve said that too Ian. Our banks are exposed to a lot of French debt.

            And (Hollande? ed) doesn’t seem to be much of an inspiration. I doubt if he’s quite learned the lesson of the relationship between tax rate and tax take. Higher taxes might sound good, but if they don’t fill the coffers, the policy is wrong. And I note the appearance last week on The Daily Politics Show of the French MP for Northern Europe whose ‘constituency’ includes London. I wonder why so many French ex-pats now want to live here?

            Could that possibly be evidence that high taxes drive people abroad? Surely not!


        • Bazman
          Posted November 12, 2013 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

          Recessions lower costs especially housing. FACT! Only its not is it fantasists…? Oh Dear. LOL!

          • Edward2
            Posted November 13, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

            A recession is where the GDP of a country does not rise.
            It has little to do with prices rising or falling.
            Lower demand may encourage sellers to reduce their prices but it depends on the level of competition.
            Some may try to increase prices to raise more revenue from less sales.
            Housing prices can fall in a recession but if building of new homes falls at a time the population is rapidly growing them again this might not happen.

    • Richard1
      Posted November 9, 2013 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      What it will take, if this is what people in the Euro are really want, is shared responsibility for govt incurred debts, central EU control of tax and borrowing by states and transfers from stronger states such as the Netherlands to poorer ones such as Greece. Do you really want that?

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted November 9, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

        @Richard1: Personally I might have liked something like eurobonds earlier on, but most of the Northern Euro area countries (read: Merkel) want a more strict conditionality first. There are proposals for “contracts” in which structural reform will be the condition for transfer of money or sharing debt.

        • Richard1
          Posted November 9, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

          The logically consistent position is as you say to favour Eurobond issuance by countries with cross-guarantees, and strict conditions and controls over the countries to protect taxpayers throughout the EU. That is a clear federal structure in fact if not name. I don’t know whether there is support for that in the Netherlands, but there certainly isn’t in the UK.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted November 9, 2013 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

            Thank Christ!


          • David Price
            Posted November 10, 2013 at 10:41 am | Permalink

            @PvL: Blair agreed a reduction in rebate on condition of CAP restructuring, the UK met it’s commitment the EU did not.

            By demonstration, those elements in the EU demanding conditionality now have reneged on conditions they agreed to in the past. Further, the EU refused to uphold the agreements so is either partisan or incompetent and so cannot be relied on.

            Words and promises, even “contracts”, from the EU and it’s supporters are clearly worthless and cannot be trusted.

    • alan jutson
      Posted November 9, 2013 at 10:19 am | Permalink


      “….it will take a longer time and more hardship”…

      Yes it certainly will, and if nothing changes, then it will be even longer and harder than you imagine.

      Pray tell me. Do the EU members of that Parliament even look interested in resolving the problems.
      Are they reducing any expenditure, or is it just more of the same.

      In fact, does any EU Member Government Politician look like they care, given they seem all so smug in their own protective bubble of high salaries, pensions, expenses, and dream World.

      Face facts, things will only start to change when the EU population have reached their limit of frustration and start voting for some MP’s in their own Country’s who see an alternative way forward, and that in itself could be a worry.
      In the meantime, the people suffer the results of out of touch politicians policies.

      • lifelogic
        Posted November 9, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        “in their own protective bubble of high salaries, pensions, expenses” and special tax laws too.

        • Bazman
          Posted November 10, 2013 at 10:05 am | Permalink

          Is that large tax dodging companies refusing to pay the correct tolls for services and education provided by the state which makes their profits possible. Thought not.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted November 9, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

        @alan jutson: The power lies more with the European Council and the Eurogroup than with the European Parliament it seems to me, and more with the governments of the Northern countries at present. Reducing expenditure and resolving the problems are to be done mainly at a national level (e.g. reforming the labour market), but I don’t understand why not much more action at EU level is taken to help the many unemployed young people (e.g. money for apprenticeships and training, more speed in opening the digital market)

        • alan jutson
          Posted November 9, 2013 at 8:53 pm | Permalink


          Sadly the apprenticeships you seek will not happen on the scale we all want, because the EU is increasing the costs on all businesses within the EuroZone, thus making many of them non-competitive in the World markets.

          Having served a fully indentured engineering apprenticeship 50 years ago, I have a great deal of sympathy with the youngsters of today, and the point you make, such little opportunity for them, certainly in the manufacturing industries.

          • Bazman
            Posted November 11, 2013 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

            Even in the boom years they where poaching off each other via agencies. The agencies undercutting each other and blaming the companies with the cost saving passed on as lower wages to the employee. In your day alan the tradesmen were trained by one company who then often left for another to return to the original one with new ideas and skills from competitors. The deal being low wage cheap labour during training with no guarantee of a job afterwards. However the companies decided they did not want to pay anything and the skills shortage filled by low skilled foreign labour, the problems this caused washed over.

    • libertarian
      Posted November 9, 2013 at 10:39 am | Permalink


      Ha ha that is the most self deluding post I’ve read in a long time. Do you really believe that Spain, Portugal, Greece and Ireland didn’t collapse? Really? really? wow no wonder you EUfantasists carry on believing in the face of all the evidence

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted November 9, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        @libertarian: in spite of many Anglo-Saxon prophesies the euro didn’t collapse all the countries in the Euro area want to stay there. That is the evidence to date. That countries and people are hard up is not something I’d deny. People in large parts of the UK also suffer. From Conservative sources I hear about people having to chose between food or heating this winter

        • APL
          Posted November 9, 2013 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

          Per van Leeu: “prophesies the euro didn’t collapse ”

          didn’t won’t.

          • APL
            Posted November 9, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

            Perter van Leeuwen: “prophesies the euro didn’t collapse ”

            didn’t is not equal to won’t.

            The point is the Eurozone problems have not been fixed. There are enormous stresses in the area, 50% youth unemployment 23% adult unemployment in Spain, Lord knows what the figures are in Greece.

            My experience is that many Spanish are turning up in the UK looking for work. The UK economy is only superficially healthy, and only because the government is QE –> infinity.

          • uanime5
            Posted November 9, 2013 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

            Spain has always had high levels of unemployment, thought they were able to reduce it after joining the euro.

          • APL
            Posted November 10, 2013 at 8:42 am | Permalink

            uanime5: “Spain has always had high levels of unemployment”

            Yes, and the British and latterly the German tourist industry helped Spain in that regard enormously.

            But, yes too. Under the Franco regime when the rest of Europe imposed trade restrictions on Spain, they did have high levels of unemployment.

            But I hazard a guess, not quite as high as 20% adult nor 50% youth unemployment.

            I will be willing to defer to your greater grasp of the statistics, just as soon as you provide the plot of atmospheric CO2 concentrations between 1913 and 1958.

            We need to deal with one of your manifold unfounded assertions at a time, old fellow.

        • libertarian
          Posted November 9, 2013 at 7:56 pm | Permalink


          Who cares less about your silly currency? The people of southern europe are suffering yet the EU mandarins couldn’t care less. Yes people in the UK are suffering too especially due to high energy prices caused by ….. Oh yes the insane EU climate scam and closing of perfectly functional real power stations.

          The solution to their and our problems is for an end to the federal european politburo , and end to dictatorship and a return to free trade between consenting countries in Europe

          • uanime5
            Posted November 9, 2013 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

            The people of southern Europe are suffering because their leaders borrowed too much money and unlike the UK couldn’t use quantitative easing to create more money. As a result they’ve had to restructure their economies, unlike the UK.

            The evidence shows climate change is due to man made CO2. Also energy prices are high because the Big 6 energy companies are little more than a cartel.

            Reply When are you going to produce the evidence of your allegation re the energy companies, and put it to the Regulator? The Competition authorities do not share your view.

          • Edward2
            Posted November 10, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

            Your laid back attitude to the current suffering of the impoverished and unemployed in the EU, is similar to the out of touch leadership of the EU.
            Its like you suddenly have become a wicked capitalist right winger when it comes to their plight.

            No need for action to help them, serve them right, is your attitude.

            Members of my family long ago in the past who were proper trade unionists, marched in the thirties to protest over being unemployed when leaders showed disdain and contempt for their situation as you do towards those in a similar position today in the EU

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 9, 2013 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      “It will just take a longer time and some more hardship.”

      I suppose that as long as it’s not your hardship that’s OK.

      Contrary to the expressed opinions of many, including the “Don’t worry, it will all fall apart anyway” school of Tory deceivers, I always said that the eurocrats would do whatever they possibly could, legal or illegal, ethical or unethical, to preserve the existing eurozone intact, and that it was has happened so far.

      The shocking thing is that the UK government has not only co-operated with their efforts to keep the existing eurozone intact while knowing very well that it is legally required to expand to encompass all present and future EU member states apart from two, the UK and Denmark, it has also studiously ignored suggestions from several quarters that the EU treaties should be changed to enable countries to leave the euro without having to leave the EU altogether and to relieve countries which are not yet in the euro of the legal obligation to join it, and instead has given Merkel an EU treaty change she demanded without asking for any other EU treaty changes in return – so much for the Tory line that “The eurozone will need treaty changes and that will be the golden opportunity for us to get treaty changes that we want” – while publicly urging greater federalisation of the eurozone to build up that bloc in solid opposition to the UK.

      It is not easy to think of another British foreign policy to match this in its insanity and in the magnitude of the long-term danger to our vital national interests that it helps to create.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted November 9, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

        @Denis Cooper: I haven’t seen any evidence that majorities among ordinary people ever wanted to leave the Euro, rather the contrary, so it’s a bit cheap to put this all in the corner of eurocrats. The emergency plasters may not have seemed very “legal” in your opinion (which is just one opinion, I have read your numerous posts about it) but in the end all will be legally sound and part of treaty amendments, say as early as 2020 🙂 Don’t underestimate the complexity of finding agreement among so many EU members. You are just angry that your countrymen didn’t try harder to put a spoke in the wheels, but they may have well done what is in the best interest of your country.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 9, 2013 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

          Well, Peter, thanks for your advice, as usual delivered as if from on high, surprising given that your own country is so low lying … but I’m pretty sure that I don’t want my country – my country, note, not yours – being gradually manoeuvred into the euro and therefore into the same degraded position as your country, rapidly becoming little more than a vassal state; and, yes, I am angry that the mendacious politicians leading a party which claims to be “eurosceptic” have not only readily agreed to assist the spread of the eurozone over the face of Europe but have also been vocal in their demands that it should become a federal bloc as quickly as possible, knowing damn well that when they finally get their secret wish and we join it then we too will be subject to all the federalising measures which they are now urging on the peoples of other countries. And do you know what? I think I have every right to be angry about it.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted November 9, 2013 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper: I’m not under the impression giving comments from on high, actually things are pretty bad in my country (due to huge private mortgage debts, an issue left untouched with for much too long). Of course it is about “your” country, but I see more and more evidence in “your”country that more people don’t agree with you at all, for instance, don’t want to leave the EU for all the good reasons. That doesn’t bode well for the referendum result, if there will be a referendum.

            Reply Latest polls show a majority want out.

          • lifelogic
            Posted November 10, 2013 at 6:40 am | Permalink

            Indeed you have.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted November 9, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      Peter–Something I have just sent to the Torygraph for you, viz

      According to the so-called Democracy Movement, “the anti-EU movement has not yet come up with a coherent picture of how a post-EU Britain would trade and operate internationally”. Why you should give pole position to this curious view is hard to understand. Government policy has been flat wrong for half a century mostly because of an over-reaction to the loss of Empire and it is about time the pendulum swung back. We should encourage the Continent to merge in to a single new country, capital Brussels, with all speed, after which the UK would be in exactly the same position as for example Canada in relation to America, viz a smaller but significant sovereign economy next to a larger one. I have lived on the border between Canada and America and you can be certain that there is not the slightest desire for Canada to be homogenised in to its bigger neighbour, this despite the ties between Canada and America being infinitely closer than those between us and the Continent. Of course there is NAFTA between Canada and America (and Mexico) and many of us cannot get close to understanding why the UK could not negotiate something similar with the Continent, which is all most of us unarguably have ever wanted. In any event are we or are we not the fifth or so largest economy in the world in our own right, such that the idea that we cannot manage on our own is preposterous? There are many countries much smaller than us who manage perfectly well without an EU and they do so with nothing like our contacts and friends around the world resulting from our common language, history, laws and culture and ideology in general.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted November 9, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        @Leslie Singleton: Yes I could imagine such a future arrangement. The UK can well survive outside the EU. The difference with Canada is that the UK would move from “inside”to “outside”, which is bound to have some effect. The continent will be the stronger party in any exit negotiations, and will make sure not to get worse off. Industrialist who invest in the UK (Nissan was mentioned) will reconsidered their future investments, the City may feel hampered in rendering financial services to the continent etc. How large a price is to be paid by the UK is anyone’s guess. Personally I’d see the UK leaving as a similar mistake to the UK walking away from ECSC talks in 1955.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted November 9, 2013 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

          Peter–Has Canada lost anything from being what you call “outside”? Has New Zealand “outside” Australia etc etc?? You always formally beg the question and as for the problems you reckon the City might face for being offshore, which position has stood it in remarkably good heart for decades, jealously looked at from the Continent, and which I worked in for 25 years myself (Ever hear of the Eurodollar market?) please do not make me laugh. The City is infinitely better outside and the sooner the better before the EU does its bureaucratic ghastly best to stifle it.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted November 9, 2013 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

            @Leslie Singleton: The people in the City, who speak on behalf of the City, appear not to agree with your position.
            How could Canada, New Zealand or Australia lose from being outside, when they’ve never first been “inside”? What I mention about an industrialist e.g. could therefore not apply to these countries.

        • APL
          Posted November 9, 2013 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

          Peter van Leeuwen: “the UK would move from “inside”to “outside”, which is bound to have some effect”

          Yep, we’ll be able to follow the path that Norway treads very successfully. Independent and with the ability to influence the international agreements that the EU implements with it’s never ending regulations.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted November 9, 2013 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

            @APL: SO the CBI is all wrong on this?

          • uanime5
            Posted November 9, 2013 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

            Can you name any EU regulation Norway was able to influence via international agreements? If not then what evidence do you have that the UK will be able to implement these regulations and directives despite having no voting power in the EU Parliament.

            Reply And can you name any US regulation that Germany or France influenced, yet they trade quite well with the US

          • APL
            Posted November 10, 2013 at 9:37 am | Permalink

            uanime5: “Can you name any EU regulation Norway was able to influence via international agreements?”

            ‘Please do my homework for me’, is not going to get you very high grades.

            This is the established hierarchy of international bodies.

            UN — the UK is a member of the UN.
            FAO — Food and Agriculture orginisation

            Three subsidiary bodies

            i) International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC)
            ii) the Office International des Epizooties (OIE)
            iii) Codex Alimentarius

            These three feed into the;

            Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement — (WTO)

            Now the EU is a member of the governing commission of Codex Alimentarius, but so until the Lisbon treaty was the UK, since Lisbon our position on the commission was taken by the EU.

            Norway on the other hand sits as an equal member to the EU on Codex. It therefor has equal influence on the deliberations and decisions to the EU. Whereas the UK with equally important interests in food standards has now been relegated to the second tier.

            So, to answer your question, Norway can influence every and any EU regulation that the EU introduces because it sits as an equal member of the body that defines international food standards at an administrative level superior to the EU.

            Now, I’ve done quite a bit of your school homework for you. When can I expect to see that plot of atmospheric CO2 concentrations between 1913 and 1958?

          • APL
            Posted November 10, 2013 at 9:58 am | Permalink

            PvL: “SO the CBI is all wrong on this?”

            CBI is a lobby group for international conglomerates.

            So, …… Yes.

        • libertarian
          Posted November 9, 2013 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

          Just 9% of Uk total economic trade is with EU counties, so who cares what they think. They sell us more so we in fact hold the upper hand.

          Once we leave we’ll let you know what our rules are for exporting to us.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted November 9, 2013 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

            Nice try, indeed an island could even just trade with itself, and before boats existed maybe that was the case 🙂
            Proportionally (% of your GDP) your export to the continent ares far greater that its export to you. That determines the balance of strength in negotiations, not the absolute numbers.

            Reply Why? Are you saying the rest of the EU is out to get us?

          • uanime5
            Posted November 9, 2013 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

            It’s clear you just made up that 9% figure. 50% of the UK’s exports go to the EU, not 9%.

            Also the UK doesn’t hold the upper hand simply because we import more than we export. If anything it makes us more dependent on the EU.

            Reply Under one half of goods exports, and much less of our service sector exports go to the rest of the EU

          • lifelogic
            Posted November 10, 2013 at 6:49 am | Permalink

            Indeed, and anyway the EU may well use our leaving to try to gain financial advantage, but this is far easier for them to do while we are in the EU and they have a very large degree control of the UK.

            After all if they wish to do the UK down if we leave, they are hardly likely to be more helpful if we stay – when they have far more levers to pull. Look at their attempted their on the city and insurance and daft proposed Tobin taxes and banking controls.

          • lifelogic
            Posted November 10, 2013 at 8:53 am | Permalink

            Peter van is indeed saying the EU are out to get us – if so clearly they are better able “to get us” with the many controls they hold with us in than with us out!

            So more reason to get out!

          • APL
            Posted November 10, 2013 at 9:50 am | Permalink

            Uanime5: “It’s clear you just made up that 9% figure. 50% of the UK’s exports go to the EU, not 9%.”

            Of the 50% of UK exports that go through for example, Rotterdam, I suggest that Libertarian is proposing that 9% of that 50% goes into the EU, the remaining 41% is shipped ROW.

            Still waiting on your plot for CO2 atmospheric concentrations 1913 – 1958, please.

            If you are not going to provide it, then would you admit that your assertion that CO2, levels in the atmosphere have ‘doubled in the last century’, was [a] unfounded and [b] false.

            And, until you can provide the data, you should probably refrain from accusing other contributors of making up their figures.

            There’s a good chap.

          • libertarian
            Posted November 10, 2013 at 11:52 am | Permalink

            Peter and Uanime5

            As I’ve said don’t get involved in Business, you know nothing. Even in Holland 75% ish of economic activity is internal its the same in EVERY country.

            Oh so you mean we buy more ( import) than we export ( sell) so who do you think has the upper hand between buyer and seller? Give me strength you socialists just don’t have a clue.


            I said ECONOMIC ACTIVITY not exports. 82% of economic activity is within internal UK markets, that leaves 18% for exports and of that half goes to Europe therefore old son that is as I said 9%. If you don’t believe me go look it up.

    • cosmic
      Posted November 9, 2013 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      “It will just take a longer time and some more hardship.”

      You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs eh?

      A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.

      Now, was anyone asked whether they were prepared to accept this hardship and how long for?

      I suggest the Euro was a political project designed to force further political union, which it was obvious couldn’t be achieved by seeking consent, by creating an entirely predictable crisis which would scare people into going along with a political goal they would otherwise, rightly reject. It was altogether deceitful and manipulative.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted November 9, 2013 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        @cosmic: The euro (EMU) is certainly partly political, which is well documented. It was forced on Germany by countries like France as a compensation for the German reunification which it feared. Also Mrs. Thatcher was afraid of this unification, tried to prevent it completely, and lost. She actually supported EMU, as evidenced in the Solemn Declaration on European Union (Stuttgart 1983) and more so in the Single European Act 1986. The plans for the euro were already advanced when the Berlin Wall fell, but until then lacked enough political will.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted November 9, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

          Peter–Would have been better if there had been a bit more economic capability rather than political will; besides the main driver was the sheer tediousness of pretending there were still borders on the Continent once people acquired cars. My mother was Italian BTW so I do have a basis for saying this. And all mixed up with German guilt and French fear. None of this is the UK’s fault and we want out.

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted November 10, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

            Peter–Back to your earlier comments, First, are you saying that having been inside but decided it didn’t work so became outside again we are somehow forever stopped from emulating Canada, NZ etc in regaining the broad sunlit uplands of being outside? That would be an odd logic–a sort of (hostile?) warning (to Switzerland for example) that, as EUmaniacs see it, and despite Article 50, if one joins it is for all time no matter what–we are not quite there yet, Thank God. Secondly, since you know so much about us, I assume you have read the many factual articles demonstrating that the CBI has been absolutely wrong about absolutely everything. Thirdly, be informed that Trade, though important, is not everything. All things considered, it was difficult for us immediately following the demise of Empire (“not found a role” and all that twaddle) and difficult too for the rest of the Empire (The English-speaking peoples) to know, individually, which way to point as regards Britain but all that has long since settled down now and we can surely work out something better with them. The days of its taking 6 months and a hazardous journey to cross the world are long gone in case you haven’t noticed.

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted November 11, 2013 at 5:57 am | Permalink

            Postscript–It’s just dawned on me that you think that the CBI are something to do with the City, which they are not–you could say almost the opposite in some ways (Industry vs Finance).

        • cosmic
          Posted November 9, 2013 at 6:13 pm | Permalink


          The fact that the Divine Margaret was in favour of the ERM is neither here nor there. She made many mistakes as she later admitted.

          It still comes down to the point that this was a political move to force change by a quite foreseeable crisis and there was a definite recklessness as regards the social consequences. e.g. allowing Greece to join the Euro and turning a blind eye to the fiddled figures.

          Now generally, when a project serves two ends, a public one – economic – and an actual one – political – , neither are served very well.

          Also it is not my view that it’s legitimate to bring about sweeping social and political changes by sleight-of-hand.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted November 9, 2013 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

            @cosmic: The fear for a re-united Germany was very real, and in view of history, very understandable as well. Having Germany integrated in the EU and the EZ is much preferable to the alternative.

            Reply Why? What was peace loving democratic Germany going to do if not in the EU?

          • lifelogic
            Posted November 10, 2013 at 6:52 am | Permalink

            She made many mistakes as she later admitted!

            Appointing John Major as the prime example.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted November 10, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

            Reply to reply: We would have to ask Mrs. Thatcher or Mr. Mitterand, or even Mr. Lubbers (still alive), but the fear for a too powerful re-united Germany is a matter of public record by now, and for one, having had parents who lived through WWI and WWII, I can imagine that.

          • libertarian
            Posted November 11, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

            So Peter

            It seems your rationale for a Federal European Union is to prevent Germany invading Holland again!!!!

            Well one why would they want to? Germany is a far different place now than it was. You think that in order to do that you have to subjugate the interests of the Dutch to an amorphous centrally controlled Empire is the way.

            Personally I would have thought stronger NATO membership was a better bet

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted November 10, 2013 at 3:23 am | Permalink

          Mrs Thatcher agreed to the Single European Act because she wanted the Single Market and as much free trade as possible. She somewhat cynically signed various declarations of unity, thinking foolishly that they would never happen.

          The man who pushed for entry into the ERM, a half way house to the Euro, was John Major. Major was unsackable – and knew it – because Nigel Lawson had resigned and Mrs T could not afford to lose two Chancellors in quick succession.

          The end for Mrs T came in 1990, given momentum by an interview that the late Nick Ridley gave to The Spectator when he thought he was off the record. He called the EU a German racket and thought that France was pusillanimous in not standing up to Germany. Everybody know that what Nick Ridley said was what Mrs T thought.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted November 10, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

            @Lindsay McDougall: It’s fine with me that you want to excuse Mrs. Thatcher (she cannot defend herself now), but as a head of government she cannot be “not responsible” for what happens on her watch. Besides, 1986 is preceded by this Stuttgart declaration of 1983, which she also signed.

        • David Price
          Posted November 10, 2013 at 11:46 am | Permalink

          You portray the EU as an exercise in fear and distrust, not to mention demonstrated greed for power.

          Why would anyone oluntarily join such a disaster, what possible benefit would it be for us to be involved in such a poisonous association?

          Do you really believe that such a mentality truly reflects the wishes of the people in the EU countries?

      • lifelogic
        Posted November 10, 2013 at 6:55 am | Permalink

        Indeed the EURO was a political move to subvert the wills of the peoples.

        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted November 10, 2013 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

          @lifelogic: obviously you represent the will of the people? 🙂

          • libertarian
            Posted November 11, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

            No Peter

            The only two countries allowed a democratic vote on joining the Euro BOTH voted against. Sweden and Denmark both of whom have been proved absolutely right to have done so.

            No one else was given a democratic choice. So based on the number the EU asked v me and Lifelogic we win 2-0 !

    • forthurst
      Posted November 9, 2013 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      “It will just take a longer time and some more hardship.”

      Do you have a time estimate? Hint: the soviet socialist utopia had failed to be achieved after 78 years when the Wall came down. It is not as though the bolsheviks didn’t try; they imported a new ruling class of self-identified superior beings to replace the Slavic ruling class whom they murdered; they tortured, murdered and starved to death millions of Slavs; they really tried very hard, but unfortunately just like the EU, they failed because their economic policies were unsound.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 9, 2013 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

        1957 + 78 = 2035.

        I don’t think we can wait that long.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted November 9, 2013 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

        @forthurst: The EU is completely different from the USSR. If you fail to see that, I cannot really help you.
        Hve you noticed that all current EU members did their best to become (be qualified to be) EU members? Your country is no exception, even if now some British have second thoughts.

        • forthurst
          Posted November 9, 2013 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

          “The EU is completely different from the USSR.”

          We’ll see. The collapse of the USSR was extremely unpopular with its political elites; We’ll see how willingly the political elites of Europe move aside when the peoples of Europe give them their marching orders. The auspices aren’t good considering the recent experiences of Greece and Italy.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted November 9, 2013 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

          Peter–But only because we were lied to right and left, as, in particular, that traitor Heath freely admitted. Also, independently of that, how could we have predicted the bureaucratic out-of -control over-regulated monster that the EU has become? Bankers to expect us to keep these treaties in place which is all it is. Thousands of treaties have been walked away from over the years in and with the rest of Europe if you have read any history, or even if you haven’t . With one bound Jack was free.

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted November 10, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

            Postscript–Bonkers not bankers! Sorry!!

        • lifelogic
          Posted November 10, 2013 at 7:02 am | Permalink

          It is clearly not the same but History does not repeat itself exactly it merely rhymes. The similarities, a lack of democracy, lack even of a demos, special tax rules for the unelected elite, distant rules from on high and tractor production targets (HS2train, gender neutral insurance and Carbon).

          • Bazman
            Posted November 11, 2013 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

            Will that be large corporations? You could not tell the difference between the smelly stuff and clay can you?

    • peter davies
      Posted November 11, 2013 at 10:29 pm | Permalink


      “It will just take a longer time and some more hardship” I bet that statement makes the Greeks, Italians and Spanish so glad they entered into this fantastic thing called the EURO – keep on dreaming……..

  3. Arschloch
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    I always like to look at your Pravda like articles on how great the UK economy is with a jeweller’s eyepiece. For starters how about youth unemployment directly against that of Sweden and Denmark? We know Germany gets it right with their apprentice system. Instead we tell youngsters to go and get a degree (usually from a dubious “university”) run up a load of debt, knowing that the graduate careers are not there in the first place. Looking a bit closer at employment in the UK, what is the average hourly rate, how many hours worked and what is the total participation of the labour force? Any growth here tends to be with low skill, low pay jobs.

    And British banking is well regulated? Then why are events like the Co-Op still happening? When will RBS finally be able to get a rid of its Irish ulcer? Please talk to us in your role as a fiduciary rather than as an MP, Osborne should be able to speak for himself. You know that since 2008 the banks here and in America have bigger balance sheets (ex RBS and HBOS) and a bigger exposure to derivatives so its only a matter of time.

    Reply I have often talked about the negatives you raise. This article is not in praise of the UK but a reminder of just how much damage the Euro is doing.

    • lifelogic
      Posted November 9, 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      What he spends hours giving all the negative of the UK economy. They are:

      Over expensive energy, over expensive property, over taxation, over regulation, over bloated and hugely inefficient state sector, too many payments to the feckless (to augment the feckless), far too much EU, daft employment laws, absurd green energy subsidies, the daft wasting of money on idiotic things like HS2 and the vision of Miliband & Unison in 2015.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted November 9, 2013 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

        lifelogic–Assume you meant Unite not Unison, the latter verging on being reasonable compared with Unite. Also, I tried to give you some comments on the pulchritude of candidates, or at least MP’s, as requested, but, from their non appearance, it appears that our esteemed host didn’t like them. No doubt out of the question to treat females in any way different, silly me. I thought what the boss of Ryanair had to say yesterday on the differences between men and women was wonderful especially the bit about mothers wanting to stay at home. If the Good Lord and Mother Nature had wanted identity, He and she would not have made two sexes. How can that be argued against?

        • Bazman
          Posted November 9, 2013 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

          He might be trying to save a his airline going down in a Ratner spin with comments like that. Flew with Rayanair a few times and clocked them for what they are. Not cheap.

        • lifelogic
          Posted November 9, 2013 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

          Yes sorry Unite but perhaps Unison too.

          Clearly men and woman are different statistically in almost every way you care to measure every statistic you can find show this. From crime figures, height, life expectancy, the type of cars they buy, accident statistics, the subject they choose to study, the jobs they choose to take up, the magazine they buy, the films and tv they watch. Google can probably work out peoples gender reliably within a few key presses on their search engines.

          Only a complete twit like Cameron would introduce daft laws like his gender neutral insurance law. Unless he is
          going to start changing genetic structures his daft fake “enforced equality” laws just waste people’s time and money. They will even cause pointless deaths on the roads.

          I am all in favour of female professors of physics, maths and everything else when they compete on merit, but not the second rate, usually lefty token ones the BBC often wheels out in desperation.

          I heard a Woman politician on the BBC the other day say something like “I got here on Merit and from an all Woman list” so logic was perhaps not her strong point as one might expect of a politician.

          • Bazman
            Posted November 10, 2013 at 10:02 am | Permalink

            Maybe white men should compete on Merit too or is this beyond your academic though process.? White middle aged men have many advantages given to them and not by merit either. This idea of painting them as some sort off oppressed minority is for the birds. In many cases in schools the girls are outstripping the boys academically, but then fail at some point in the future. Why is this. They all get boyfriends and get married. Could be… The ones who do not. They are just not clever enough….?and so on.Would this simple ‘logic’ apply to race issues. When clearly some minority groups do worse in society than the mainstream population?
            Righty simplistic Pseudo Fox News ideas for purple faced Colonels and yourself. No reply? Have a think and change you ideas if you are so clever. In the meantime.
            Ram it.

          • Bazman
            Posted November 10, 2013 at 10:51 am | Permalink

            And on Unions as the Share of profits in GDP hits new highs the wage shares hit new lows, so they do not seem to be doing much do they. You believe that any labour should just undercut each other in order for companies to increase profits and any attmpts to collectivity sell this labour and improve their lives is in some way holding employers to ransom. What do you think they work for. For fun or charity?

    • Arschloch
      Posted November 9, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      OK John the Euro may be strangling the life out of the PIGS however it will nothing be like the calamity here when the neo Keynesian chickens come home to roost

  4. lifelogic
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    “The result of both these errors is a recession machine” Indeed a self inflicted wound (just like Major’s idiotic ERM but far worse). The UK too was also encouraged to inflict this on itself by the BBC, the CBI and countless other establishment fools. The same fools, in general, who inflict high “renewable” energy prices, daft employment laws, the EU and the ludicrously large and dreadfully inefficient state sector on the UK and the rest of the EU.

    Off topic it is very depressing that the NHS spends £700 per birth £500M on compensation, costs and lawyers in relation to its poor quality maternity care. The solution is simple make patient pay for their own insurance it they want it and make them sign to accept no other compensation. It could even be insurance they just pays out regardless of blame. Then we can use the £500M for better maternity care and to instigate an open error reporting system to make sure the often dreadful NHS improves.

    That way we have fewer lawyers always a good thing, fewer tragic accidents, fewer people locked into years of distressing legal actions, fewer NHS cover up and defend bureaucrats and £500M more to spend on providing Maternity care. Oh and far fewer negligently damaged babies and mothers.

    What is not to like?

    • arschloch
      Posted November 9, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      The NHS would not find itself in such a precarious situation if some people considered themselves fit enough to become a mother in the first place. As things stand the NHS now spends quite a large sum kitting itself out to deal with super heavyweight mothers to be (they come from all races by the way), have a read of the article of how healthy their babies are too. We must not forget the babies born with foetal alcohol syndrome either or those born to mother who smokes. Its never the mother’s fault the baby is born with complications and there is also some lawyer at hand to convince a compensation tribunal likewise.

      • lifelogic
        Posted November 9, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

        Indeed well it helps with this too. Patients either accept new no compensation terms from the NHS (they can arrange their own compensation insurance if they wish, on terms suitable for the risks they pose) or they can go somewhere else for maternity care.

        The NHS secrecy & cover ups in these matters or negligence is one of the main obstacles to improvement in the service. If the NHS staff could be more open about errors when they occur (with proper open and honest reporting) they might start to take more action to actually prevent these avoidable tragedies. If they were not paying huge compensation cost, admin fees and legal fees out then this would help greatly too.

        • lifelogic
          Posted November 9, 2013 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

          Of course in Cameron’s insane “equality insurance” world such maternity risk insurance for women would have to cost the same as Men’s Maternity risk insurance – soon perhaps it would have to the be some for all ages too?

    • uanime5
      Posted November 9, 2013 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

      The reason that maternity compensation is so high is that if the NHS makes a mistake and a child is disabled for life then they have to pay enough compensation to last the for the child’s lifetime. Your plan to make patients buy their own insurance against errors made by the NHS has no prospect of working and would lead to a public outcry if any politician ever tried to implement it. Seriously what insurance company is going to insure a baby when if anything goes wrong they’ll be paying compensation for over 70 year.

      • lifelogic
        Posted November 10, 2013 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        Lots of insurance companies would, you just decide how much or a pay out you want if something goes wrong and pay the premium they charge after they assess the risks. Just like life cover, critical illness cover or travel accident cover. Premium would reduce as the NHS improved.

        If one pays for house contents removals you often give up your rights to sue and take insurance instead in just the same way.

        The system would cause far fewer such tragedies as we would have open reporting, more medical staff and equipment & all paid for by fewer parasitic & largely self serving lawyers. So why would there be a public outcry – surely they want fewer tragedies, more medical staff, simple payouts from insurance without years of risky litigation and fewer lawyers?

        An outcry from lawyer perhaps yes!

        • lifelogic
          Posted November 10, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

          Perhaps the lawyers can just retrain as care workers, nurses, doctors, teachers, cooks, cleaners or builders – something more productive, I am sure they would be happier that way.

          • Bazman
            Posted November 12, 2013 at 6:34 am | Permalink

            In other words get a real job. Maybe you need to take this advice too as you do not seem to do much real work yourself.

          • Edward2
            Posted November 12, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

            Delegation is the art of management.
            Why did a hole yourself when others will do it for you.

          • Bazman
            Posted November 12, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

            He must delegate anything that needs any sensible thought then not just work.

          • Edward2
            Posted November 12, 2013 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

            Its not just physical work that can be delegated.
            Intellectual work can also be delegated to others to do, instead of yourself.

      • libertarian
        Posted November 10, 2013 at 11:58 am | Permalink


        I agree that patients buying their own insurance is silly, they don’t need to as to answer your question EVERY insurance company offers that its called Public liability insurance and professional liability insurance. Every company no matter how small up to the largest including NHS has to have this cover and health professionals are also required to have professional liability insurance

  5. Mark B
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    From John Redwoods article:
    They say “Frictions related to the reallocation of resources in the process of internal adjustment is still expected to weight on growth….”

    This is not going to go away, ie the problems for them remain and need to be fixed. This can only be done with full financial and fiscal union. This in turn needs democratic oversight and legitimacy. This can only come about by the member states of the Eurozone moving to a full Federal State setup.

    That means a new Treaty. Some very expert commentators like Dr. R. North at EUReferendum predict that the process for this may start in the spring of next year.

    Once it becomes clear that that is the direction on the EU, I think we will begin to see a change in national attitudes. The Political class have, shall we say, been economical with the actualité in the past, and trust is at a very low point. I hope that people will not be gulled yet again over the EU. We need honest and open debate so that we can make a reasoned and informed decision as to our future. The Political class and the Establishment have got many things wrong, it is therefore high time that they started to lsten.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 9, 2013 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      But like many others Richard North seems to have missed the quiet start of the process of EU treaty change in 2010.

      More or less every day I get at least one google alert relating to developments with the European Stability Mechanism or ESM, and all that springs from the EU treaty change that Merkel demanded in late 2010 and got agreed through European Council Decision 2011/199/EU of March 25th 2011, “amending Article 136 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union with regard to a stability mechanism for Member States whose currency is the euro”.

      There was something close to a total media blackout on the very existence of that treaty change which the UK government had given to Merkel free gratis and for nothing, with Hague quietly using his new “referendum lock” law to block a referendum on it, and both Houses of Parliament quietly agreeing beforehand that the UK government could consent to it and then just as quietly passing an Act to approve it once it had been agreed:

      “European Union (Approval of Treaty Amendment Decision) Act 2012”

      “An Act to make provision for the purposes of section 3 of the European Union Act 2011 in relation to the European Council decision of 25 March 2011 amending Article 136 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union with regard to a stability mechanism for Member States whose currency is the euro.”

      So when you write in your last paragraph:

      “Once it becomes clear that that is the direction on the EU, I think we will begin to see a change in national attitudes … I hope that people will not be gulled yet again over the EU …”

      I’m afraid there’s the problem that unless the mass media decide that it should become clear then it will not become clear, and so people may indeed be gulled yet again, not only by their publication of misinformation but also by their refusal to publish important information.

      • Mark B
        Posted November 9, 2013 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

        Dennis, once again I am in your debt. At this rate, I will have the finances of a Eurozone member.

        Many thanks.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted November 9, 2013 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

        I’m ashamed to say I missed that one too Denis, but many thanks. I’ll have to see what the Lib Dem MP for Cambridge has to say about it, but I won’t hold my breath. He supports the EU, but won’t enter into dialogue about it with his constituents (not this one anyway. If I were him, I’d be only too eager to demolish the Eurosceptic argument, but therein lies the trouble – he can’t!)

        But what about the Tories?

        Surely if anyone needs proof that they will cheat and twist to suit their pro-EU agenda, this is a pretty good example.


  6. Richard1
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Gradually the conclusions of this grim experiment are becoming clear. The Euro can never work without substantial fiscal transfers such as we have within the UK, cross- guarantees on borrowing by states, and because of that, central control of taxation, borrowing and spending by states. As they now also recognize, even with these measures, growth will not come back until there has been a restructuring of the banking sector with recognition of losses and recapitalization.

    The big question for us in the UK is can we be insulated from the costs of this whilst still a member of the EU? We can’t avoid the negative effect of low EU growth, but we will need to be careful we don’t get a big bill, as countries such as Germany the Netherlands, Austria and Finland surely will, for the grand Euro reckoning which lies ahead.

  7. PeterMartin
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    A key problem with the Euro is fiscal policies being conducted by National Governments whereas monetary policies are controlled by the ECB. Governments have become separated from their currencies. A country that issues its own currency can meet all future obligations, if its currency floats freely, if its borrowings are in its own currency. Thank goodness the UK never joined the Euro! Iceland too can be well pleased they’ve been totally independent.
    Having said that sensible policies are still necessary to avoid inflation being a problem.

    There’s no worry about high inflation in Greece, Ireland, Spain and Portugal of course. They have to meet EU fiscal rules and have little control over monetary policies. This would be fine if, like Germany, they were net exporters with strong economies. Sadly, they aren’t. An outflow of funds necessary to pay for imports has to come from somewhere. It can’t come from Govt – they have to balance their books (or close to it). It has to be borrowed at high interest rates or it has to come from their private sectors who are becoming progressively poorer.

    Its hard to see how the smaller peripheral nations will ever recover unless the EU change their fiscal rules or they leave the Euro.

    • uanime5
      Posted November 9, 2013 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

      Given that the Icelandic currency was essentially worthless after the 2008 recessions and has still lost a lot of its value I doubt that the people of Iceland benefited much from having an independent currency rather than the euro.

      • PeterMartin
        Posted November 11, 2013 at 7:05 am | Permalink


        The Icelandic Krona fell to about half of its pre GFC value against the Euro. That’s not the same as being worthless. It has since recovered slightly from that.
        It doesn’t mean that prices doubled overall – just the prices of imported items.
        Unemployment in Iceland is now 5.6%. Inflation is 5.3%
        Unemplyment in Greece is 27.6% . Inflation is -2%
        Which figures would you prefer?

      • petermartin2001
        Posted November 11, 2013 at 8:52 am | Permalink

        To the moderator:
        I recently made a comment regarding the exchange rate, inflation and unemployment levels in Greece and Iceland which was entirely factual but seems to have been censored.
        I’m happy to discuss what might be the offending content and make any corrections if any of my figures are incorrect.

  8. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    The percentages must be based on certain age categories. For example ,upper employment age limits in the UK have risen allowing more to become included in that percentage.

  9. oldtimer
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Your term “recession machine” neatly sums up the EZ as it presently exists and operates. That can only change with reform of the way it exists and operates. That reform appears as far a way as ever. The German political class responded very angrily to the suggestion, by a Eurocrat, that Germany`s huge trade surplus was part of the problem. Nor will they take kindly to the idea that the solution to banking debt is more inflation. Nor will they readily accept the idea of huge transfer payments from the German taxpayer to other members of the EZ. The outlook, in the absence of change and reform, is continued slow decline both relatively and, for some, absolutely. Factor in the high costs of EU energy policy and demographic trends and it is difficult to be optimistic.

  10. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Where would we be if we had followed the advice of those luminaries who said we should join the euro? Many even now still think we should. I presume that by highlighting these forecasts you are trying to bring some balance to the economic arguments being bandied around about our EU membership. It will fall on deaf ears amongst your colleagues, in particular Cameron, who has nailed his flag firmly to the EU mast however eurosceptic you might like to describe him.

  11. Bert Young
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    I don’t understand why you moderate some of my responses to your blog ; more often than not , I support and add to the views you express . Yesterday I was able to provide an informed insight to the Nissan subject that I thought added weight to the argument that they would be ill-advised to follow Mr. Ghosn’s threat of pulling out of the UK . So often you permit responses that are way off topic – many are responses to other responses ; do you think I am being too sensitive on this matter ? . Today I couldn’t agree with you more about the imbalances that exist within Euroland and how sensible it is for us to keep well away from any further sort of integration . I’ll stay quiet if you wish .

    Reply No, I am grateful for your contributions. I am still considering your one from yesterday as it makes reference to the unpublished views of a named individual, which always makes me careful – for the poster as well as for the site.

  12. The PrangWizard
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    As for growth here in England, it seems Milliband is setting Tory policy again. He said he would confiscate builders’ land if they didn’t build, Nick Boles is saying he will confiscate their Planning Consents. There’s not much difference. Just shades of red and authoritarianism.
    I am not a UKipper. The Tories say don’t vote for UKIP, it’ll let Labour in. So What?

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted November 9, 2013 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      You are correct, there is barely any difference amongst LibLabCon. They are like identical triplets and in effect we have become one party state in Westminster.

      • BobE
        Posted November 9, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

        Brian there is one other party that might try harder.

        • Brian Tomkinson
          Posted November 10, 2013 at 9:06 am | Permalink


  13. Atlas
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    John, I’m certain that the EUluvvies will not let something so boring as economic facts get in the way of their ‘New Roman Empire’ pipe-dream.

    From a historian’s view it can be seen that the attempts of the Romans to hold their borders – and their failure in that endeavour – has its parallels with all the illegal immigration, boat people etc, we are constantly told about on the news today.

  14. Tad Davison
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Come on in, the water’s lovely – and then drown in the EU mire!

    What is it these pro-EU people don’t quite get about the EU’s massive failures?

    Yesterday, we saw the Lib Dems, and people like the Labour MP, Capes, try to stop the rest of us having the right to our own self-determination in a referendum by talking out a perfectly reasonable private member’s bill. I have lots of personal reasons why I don’t want to belong to the place, and I want my long-denied right to have a say on our membership, but I’d like to remind the liberal left of something that seems somehow incompatible with their pro-EU agenda.

    They are reputedly against corporatism and the influence of big business (and that has some merit in my view). Some very clever people say that an ever-expanding EU, and Britain’s subservience to it, is all part of the one-world, globalist, big business corporate agenda whose aim is to enslave all mankind except an exclusive elite.

    We must therefore ask ourselves this very pertinent question. Especially given the EU’s abysmal economic and social record, WHY would LABOUR and the LIB DEMS want anything to do with such a thing, and then try to thwart the democrats amongst us at every turn?

    I suggest readers do a little research, and a good place to start would be to watch Aaron Russo’s film ‘America Freedom to Fascism’ (freely available to view on YouTube), and maybe take a look at the Bilderburgers, to see what these corporatists are up to before they come back with an answer.

    For Labour and the Lib Dems to try to prevent the ordinary UK citizen having their democratic say in a referendum on the EU, calls into question the very validity of their claim to be FOR the PEOPLE, and I hope the voters will remember that fact at the next election.

    These ‘SAY ONE THING, DO ANOTHER’ politicians like Labour’s Capes and the filibustering Lib Dems, have blown it. It’s time the electorate got wise to their double standards.

    Tad Davison


  15. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Off-topic, JR, please could you briefly explain how much time is left for Mr Wharton to get his Bill through all remaining stages in the Commons?

    The Telegraph says:

    “There are now just five days in the House of Commons to pass a bill which would the way for an EU referendum, after which it will fall by the wayside.”

    While the BBC says:

    “The first in three days of detailed debate on Mr Wharton’s bill concluded with Conservatives and Labour arguing over parliamentary tactics.”

    As I understand the Third Reading often follows straight on from the conclusion of the Report stage and with little further debate, so is it possible to reconcile the BBC saying in effect that there are now only two days left with the Telegraph saying that there are five days left?

    Reply Two more days have been allocated to this Bill, which business managers think should be enough. Getting it through the Lords may prove to be even more difficult than the Commons given the balance of forces there. It would be surprising if Labour let their MPs talk this out completely. We did get through one major grouping of amendments, and are part of the way through the second and most contentious grouping.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 9, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for that clarification.

      I think Labour and the Liberal Democrats are rightly wary of exposing themselves to public opprobrium over this; from their point of view it would be safer to talk it out in the Commons than actually vote it down, but it would be even safer to get their supporters in the Lords to do the dirty work.

  16. Antisthenes
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    The euro crisis is far from over and has only two likely outcomes. They are very bad or terrible. Which one depends on which policy is followed Germany’s which is closer union and continued austerity or soon to be France’s allied with the periphery countries who are in deepest trouble which is closer union without austerity. Neither will be wholly successful because of the imbalances the euro is causing. Of course the latter is going to be the terrible out come.

    We should be monitoring France very closely because if in 2015 RedEd enters downing street we can be certain that the same fate awaits the UK that is currently afflicting France under Hollande. What we are seeing there is hard socialism at work and the devastating effects it has on the economy and society. The left never learn that their policies and practices never work and what is worse too many of the electorate do not either and allow them to be voted back in time after time to wreck havoc.

  17. Antisthenes
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    The euro crisis started in the smaller countries like Greece and Ireland and has been rolling across Europe like a juggernaut moving up the scale to Spain to Italy and now it is rolling into France. I do think that those non-elected EU technocrats, commissioners and presidents should have twigged by now that there is something seriously wrong with the euro and EU models and that the structures have been built on very shaky foundations.

  18. Bob
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,
    Could you ask your webmaster to set a longer expiry date on the cookie “comment_author_email_”.


    • lifelogic
      Posted November 9, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      Yes please.

  19. uanime5
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    1) Many of the EU countries who will experience low growth over the nest few years have recovered far more of their pre-2008 GDP than the UK. Mainly because they didn’t have 0.2% growth for 3 years.

    2) UK unemployment levels are below the EU average because the unemployed were forced to go on the Work Programme for 2 years, which removed them from the unemployment statistics because they were “in training”. That’s why benefit costs keep rising.

    3) There’s no guarantee that the UK’s growth will be sustained over 3 years, especially if it’s built on savers spending their saving before they become worthless and the banks using a government scheme to prop-up the housing market.

    Reply Try looking at the output figures for Italy, Greece, Spain , Ireland – they are far worse than the UK’s since the crisis.

  20. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted November 10, 2013 at 3:11 am | Permalink

    Part of the problem in the Euro zone is that Germany is extremely reluctant to make transfer payments to weaker Member States or weaken the Euro. This is not just Angela Merkel’s will but that of the German electorate. Greece will probably have to default in about a year’s time and that will be a manageable event. The real difficulties are the Spanish fiscal deficit and Italian debt. Spain has made a big dent in its fiscal deficit but it is still high; whether that country will tolerate more pain is problematical. The Italians are in denial. They repeatedly assert that their budget is in ‘primary surplus’, which means that if you ignore the interest Italy is paying on its debts then its budget is in surplus. So what? The debt interest is there.

    So watch Spain and Italy, countries that are too big for Germany to bail out (never forget that German Federal debt is about 80% of GDP). If the ECB buys Spanish and Italian bonds in serious quantities, then the Euro will fall.

  21. Bazman
    Posted November 10, 2013 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Would any of the fantasists like to entertain us with hidden codes and messages with each Euro note?

    • Edward2
      Posted November 10, 2013 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

      Its no fantasy :-
      Behind the apparent uniformity of the euro currency it is possible to tell the country of origin.
      Coins are clearly marked. Notes are seemingly identical, but each serial number contains a prefix showing which country issued it.
      The serial number also contains a secret clue to the country which issued the note. The clue lies in what is known as the digital root of the serial number. This can be calculated by adding together the digits, then taking the result and adding its digits together again and so on until a single digit is left.
      Here’s an example. On a note the code reads X50446027856. The X immediately indicates that the note is German, but a second test is to add the digits. So (5+0+4+4+6+0+2+7+8+5+6) gives 47. Add these digits (4+7) gives 11. Finally add these digits (1+1) gives 2, the code number for Germany. Some countries share a code number.
      The 11 digit serial number on every note begins with a prefix which identifies which country issued it.
      German notes begin with an X, Greek notes start with a Y, Spain’s have a V, France a U, Ireland T, Portugal M and Italy S.
      Belgium is Z, Cyprus G, Luxembourg 1, Malta F, Netherlands P, Austria N, Slovenia H, Slovakia E and Finland L.

      Hope you find this entertaining Baz.

  22. jon
    Posted November 12, 2013 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Good to see growth.

    Slightly off topic but still Euro based. The Financial Transaction Tax. The Treaty of Rome stated in somewhere like Section 9 (ii) b sub sect R with accompanying appendices (allow for a bad memory) that the assets of one nation state cannot be transferred to become the assets of another nation state. In lawyer speak in the appendices pensions are defined as a nation state asset. Now the FTT would be a tax on that asset direct to the EU to then distribute that part asset as it sees fit thereby transferring a nation state asset.

    There have been further Treaties (I’ve found more interesting reads so not read) but if such a fundamental important amendment had changed then I think we would have heard about it.

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    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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