The requirements for a new relationship with the EU


          For many readers of this blog the new relationship wanted with the EU is very simple – the same relationship as all other independent countries around the world have with the EU today. Many now just want us to leave.

           The Liberal Democrat and Labour parties, currently accounting for around half the votes in polls want no renegotiation. They think the current relationship is just fine. Most Labour and Lib Dem MPs failed to vote for the Referendum Bill put through the Commons by the Conservativve MP  Mr Wharton. Their leaderships refuse to offer either a new relationship or a referendum on our current arrangements.

           The Conservatives have set out a clear policy of negotiate and decide. Many fear they would not be able to get much improvement in our current terms. If that is the case then the country can simply vote to leave.  If by any chance a good deal was on offer, then the c0untry could vote to accept it. The most important thing is that whatever is done is endorsed by the British people in a special vote.

          The issue arises, what kind of renegotation would a Conservative government undertake? The leadership has recently made clear it would entail taking back control of our borders and benefit system. It would also entail removing  the impulse to ever closer union from the different Treaty the UK was prepared to sign. That is progress. Added to it, many  as a minimum would want the proposal of the European Scrutiny Committee that we should have a Parliamentary procedure to amend or disapply any European rule or law that does not meet with the approval of the UK Parliament. That way UK Parliamentary sovereignty can be re-established, and one Parliament could no longer bind a successor by consenting to an EU measure.

          In recent weeks 3 senior Judges have made clear their concerns about the way the European Court of Human Rights  are seeking to overrule Parliamentary supremacy in a number of important areas. This could be significant too, as we seek to find a way at last to give the British people a new relationship and a proper say in how they are governed. It is interesting that some  Judges think the ECHR is gping too far in asserting jurisdiction, and removing the old certainty where Parliament passed a law and our judges interpret it. This could lead on to similar worries about ECJ matters, especially as the European Court is seeking to make human rights matters for them as well.



  1. Mark B
    December 19, 2013

    It may be true that the Lib Dem and Labour parties leaders may want to stay in the EU, but the same can also be said of Cameron and your party. You have told us here often, that there is no desire in this Parliament for a withdrawal from the EU. I do not think you can just look at the three main political parties, and just say its pro or anti EU, it more complex than that.

    Referendums in this country mean nothing. No government can be bound by a referendum like they can in say, Switzerland. ie This proposed referendum is just nonsense, tossed to the masses like some rancid meat for political gain gobble up.

    Your third and fourth paragraphs really do worry me. Why ? Because it shows that both you and many of your colleagues simply do not understand what is going on around them. You do not understand the EU and the principle of the ‘acquis communautaire’. And that for the UK to trade with the rest of EU it needs to be part of the Single Market/EEA or have bi-lateral arrangements like other countries, which would both take time and be very complex. Under the terms of the EEA comes the ‘Four Freedoms’, one of which is the freedom of movement of people. This intern means access to jobs and, if needed, benefits. You cannot do anything about this, and you must surely know this ? We also do not need to have a vote to leave the EU – see above. All we need is Cameron to use his powers of the Royal Prerogative and submit a Article 50 to the EU, thereby forcing them to renegotiate a ‘new relationship’ outside the EU.

    But hey, look on the bright side. You know that most of the populace have been, and are being kept in total ignorance of what is being done to them. Only now is the true horror of what it means to be part of the EU coming into peoples minds. You cannot hide it anymore, and that we now see 650 ‘Little Emperors’ all running around without any clothes on and our Home Secretary basically throwing in the towel over immigration.

    And when the EU finally goes for full political, fiscal and monetary union, what then ?

    1. Sue
      December 19, 2013

      Hear Hear!

    2. Acorn
      December 19, 2013

      “The issue arises, what kind of renegotation (sic) would a Conservative government undertake? The leadership has recently made clear it would entail taking back control of our borders and benefit system.”

      The trouble is the government (any colour) hasn’t got a clue where to start a renegotiation. You mention it every other day, borders and benefits will play well in the tabloids; but, I for one have no more idea now what the plan is than in May 2010. Please be aware that whatever citizens say to pollsters, they will be voting against another recession in their household, not the EU renegotiation.

      As a starter for ten, why not go through the Presentation “The major bilateral agreements Switzerland-EU”, at . Then, less talk talk, more walk walk.

      BTW. Fred C Thayer warnings for deficit reducing neo-liberal Treasury guys, ultimately hoping to reduce the national debt:

      1. 1817-21: In five years, the national debt was reduced by 29 percent, to $90 million. A depression began in 1819.
      2. 1823-36: In 14 years, the debt was reduced by 99.7 percent, to $38,000. A depression began in 1837.
      3. 1852-57: In six years, the debt was reduced by 59 percent, to $28.7 million. A depression began in 1857..
      4. 1867-73: In seven years, the debt was reduced by 27 percent, to $2.2 billion. A depression began in 1873.
      5. 1880-93: In 14 years, the debt was reduced by 57 percent, to $1 billion. A depression began in 1893.
      6. 1920-30: In 11 years, the debt was reduced by 36 percent, to $16.2 billion. A depression began in 1929.
      7 Deficit reductions, 1971-74, led to the recession that began at the end of 1973.
      8 Deficit reductions, 1977-80, gave way to a recession in 1980.
      9 Deficit reductions, 1987-89, were followed by the 1990-91 recession.

      1. petermartin2001
        December 19, 2013


        Its good that the relationship between debt and deficit reduction and recessions which inevitably follow is starting to recognised. I’m not advocating that Governments spend wastefully or recklessly but it is important that they do know what they are doing when they aim for a surplus.

        It is the same story in America too. President Clinton had a surplus in the late 90’s which triggered the recession of the early 2000’s. Its not just a co-incidence. A surplus in the government sector has to be mirrored by a deficit in the non-government sector. A large part of this is the domestic private sector. If this goes into deficit , that’s a sure sign of trouble ahead. That is what happened in the USA in 2007.

        Anyone interested in this might want to Google the terms ‘three sector balances’ and also the work of Wynne Godley at Cambridge University.

    3. alan jutson
      December 19, 2013

      Mark B

      Having spent the last couple of weeks abroad and out of the loop so to speak, the most simple solution would seem to be opt out of absolutely everything, other than those things we we would wish to keep, as the keep list would be much shorter than the dump list.

      Problem with any otf the above is many of our elected representitives would find some sort of a reason for us to keep everything given the chance.

      The simple solution is have a referendum on in-out now, and if a majority vote for out, our Government would be able to negotiate from a position of strength.

      Yes aware the figures in Parliament do not at the moment stack up John, but that is not our fault, given we can only vote for those who stand at election time.

      Just out of interest, had many conversations with many fellow passengers during our holiday, every single one wanted us to get control back, and cease our open borders policy.

      Mr Cameron are you listening, only a couple of weeks to go !!!!

    4. Denis Cooper
      December 19, 2013

      “All we need is Cameron to use his powers of the Royal Prerogative and submit a Article 50 to the EU …”

      Well, I wonder what would happen if Cameron did that off his own bat.

      Article 50 TEU starts thus:

      “1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.

      2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention … ”

      Other member states might reasonably question whether that notification should be accepted as constitutionally valid if it came from somebody using the Royal Prerogative on his own initiative without the Queen having authorised him to act on her behalf in that way – and it is the Queen as our Head of State who is one of the “High Contracting Parties” to the EU treaties, not any politician – and/or in defiance of the wishes of the majority of MPs, and/or in defiance of the wishes of other members of the Cabinet, and even if that somebody had previously been appointed by the Queen to be her Prime Minister.

      1. Mark B
        December 19, 2013


        I am sure you are correct. But my thinking is thus: we were never given a referendum to join the then EEC. The Queen happily allowed the government on the day to sign the treaty of accession based on advice given too her. The same advice can be given that it would be in the UK’s long term interests, since the EU no longer resembles that which we first joined, and that it might be better for us to seek a new relationship, and such a relationship can only be obtained via Article 50.

    5. lifelogic
      December 20, 2013

      Even if the UK does ever gets a referendum and does actually vote the right way (despite all the propaganda that will be put out by the political parties, the EU and the BBC), I still double if the EU would ever escape. Voters would just be told to vote again on a revised deal until they got it right. A re-elected Cameron would clearly have all his heart and soul in such an approach.

  2. Brian Taylor
    December 19, 2013

    Dear Mr Redwood,
    Are you happy that the FO are in charge of negotiating the terms for this new arrangement,which could drag on for years after 2015?
    Aged67 I voted to stay in the Common Market in 1975 and remember well the the wave of support that came from the Press and BBC and fear that we could have the same situation again.
    A vague list of concessions a wall of support from the usual suspects and the yes vote keeps us paying to belong to what should be a Free Trade Area and I think the key here is the word FREE.
    Let’s hope the age of new ways to be informed will get the information out to more of the voters than in 1975!

    Reply If the FO fail to negotiate well we will simply vote for Out.

    1. Duyfken
      December 19, 2013

      “[W]e will simply vote for Out.” I wonder when that might come to pass, what will be the colour of government at such time, and what would be the chance of the motion being carried. I regret to suggest that Mr Redwood is chasing shadows and whilst he and his Tory brethren pursue this path of trying to renegotiate terms, time is being wasted. Mr Taylor is a young 67 and on this basis may never see a successful vote for Out, certainly I of more advanced years shan’t.

    2. matthu
      December 19, 2013

      I think the scenario Brian Taylor was painting was one of the FO failing to negotiate well and the people nevertheless failing to vote OUT because of the the ovewhelming bias of the cabinet, the press and the BBC.

      Reply For heaven’s sake! If we cannot trust the people nor the politicians we might as all give up.

      1. Hope
        December 19, 2013

        No, but you and others could clean up parliament and instill public trust in the office of MP and minister. The lack of standards is depressing and equalled by the lack of action after successive promises. If you and the others continue to do nothing then you lose trust and confidence of the people.

        Cameron pledged for early legislation for right to recall And recently abstained from the vote, Cameron ordered a three line whip to prevent an EU referendum and now thinks the public should believe him after he has also made it clear his heart and should is in Europe and will not lead the country out of the EU. Perhaps you and the other MPs need to stop treating the public like idiots and call article 50. No one trusts Cameron, get it?

        To show exaspiration when you have continued along a tired route of asking politely and getting nothing causes more frustration to the public than you can imagine especially as MPs are paid to represent our best interests and unanimously fail to deliver. We are fed up to the back teeth of self interest and MP greed and want better representation.

      2. matthu
        December 19, 2013

        No-one mentioned trustworthiness, John.

        I simply alluded to a perceived bias in favour of remaining wedded to the EU.

        And I don’t think that even you would suggest that
        a) the BBC, admirably led by Lord Patten
        b) the press
        c) the majority of the cabinet, including our PM and deputy PM
        are not in favour of remaining within the EU.

        The surprising thing is why this rather straightforward observation should evoke such a response from yourself?

    3. Roger Farmer
      December 19, 2013

      The totally abysmal performance of the FO throughout the Middle East for the last twenty years does not bode well for the people of the UK if they are let anywhere near negotiating our future relationship with the EU.

      1. Tad Davison
        December 19, 2013

        Well said Roger, but I would go back a lot further. The FO haven’t been fit for purpose for many decades, yet I don’t see Hague as an antidote to it, just a patsy.


        1. lifelogic
          December 20, 2013


  3. Mike Stallard
    December 19, 2013

    “If that is the case then the country can simply vote to leave.”

    Afraid not. Read the small print of article 50. To leave: any country first applies, then the matter goes through the Council, without the applicant country being represented. It then needs to be ratified by the European Parliament which, of course, only considers business which has been put to it by the Commission. This is not going to happen.

    “European Court of Human Rights are seeking to overrule Parliamentary supremacy”

    But of course. The European Court is the fount of justice for the ever closer union. Take that away, and we have unregulated nationalism and populism. In other words, lawlessness. Parliament is no longer sovereign because it is national and nationalism is the past: the past which created two world wars.

    “the new relationship wanted with the EU is very simple”

    Nobody outside the Labour and LibDems wants the present arrangement to continue. What the Commission want has been said ad nauseam. “So let us work together – for Europe.

    With passion and with determination.

    Let us not forget: one hundred years ago –Europe was sleepwalking into the catastrophy of the war of 1914.

    Next year, in 2014, I hope Europe will be walking out of the crisis towards a Europe that is more united, stronger and open.” (Jose Manuel Barroso State of the Union Address 2013.

    1. alan jutson
      December 19, 2013

      Sorry Mike I do not agree.

      If we want to leave, having first given the people a referendum, then we should simply quit our membership with a notice period. Full stop.

      If the EU then want to negotiate, then it is up to us to lay down the terms.

      Pray what will the EU do if we simply leave ?
      Fine us, cut off trade, threaten to invade us.
      I do not think so!

    2. Denis Cooper
      December 19, 2013

      Article 50 TEU starts on page 43 here:

      It is true that the EU Parliament could refuse to consent to whatever withdrawal agreement had been negotiated, but in that case the treaties would simply cease to apply to the withdrawing country two years after the date of its notification that it intended to leave, unless that period was extended by mutual consent.

  4. APL
    December 19, 2013

    It looks like Frau Merkel wants a new relationship between EU member states too. And it looks as if Cameron will be steamrollered into agreeing with it as well.

    Anyone interested should pop over to Richard North’s EU referendum blog to read the detals.

  5. lifelogic
    December 19, 2013

    50% for Labour and Libdems, UK on perhaps 15% and the Tories are on only about 30% in the polls, this as no one believes in them. After the ratting on the EU& IHT, their fake green crap and 299 tax increases who would. Nor do they see them, under Cameron, as being significantly different to Labour. The outcome is surely a Labour government or a LibLab coalition. The Tories surely set to come third in May 14 too.

    Negotiate and decide under Europhile, ratter Cameron just will not wash. He does not even discuss the subject whenever he can avoid it. When he does he just witters on about “no greater Switzerland” and his heart and soul. Then again he even claimed, totally absurdly, to have cut taxes yesterday in PM questions! Reality has so little to do with what actually comes out of his mouth. Still he is making a little progress on Heathwick and the green crap but all far too late.

    1. zorro
      December 19, 2013

      But the Heathwick and ‘green crap’ is only being mentioned now for getting votes in a year or so. His ‘Cast Elastic’ approach to pledges means that such mutterings have little currency…..


      1. lifelogic
        December 20, 2013

        Indeed more pre-election vacuous promises to be ratted on later like Cast Iron and IHT. But as he surely will not win in 2015, he will not have to rat this time.

  6. Ken Adams
    December 19, 2013

    “the same relationship as all other independent countries around the world have with the EU today”

    It therefore follows that the only way to achieve this relationship is not renegotiation but leaving.

    The Conservative policy is not renegotiate and decide, but to use the powers of the state to argue for staying in after a renegotiation, the results of which are not at all clear.

    Reply Most Conservatives will vote for Out, unless there is a very good new deal on offer.

    1. APL
      December 19, 2013

      JR: “Most Conservatives will vote for Out, unless there is a very good new deal on offer.”

      I love the conditional second phrase.

      So what conditions do you envisage that Conservatives would like better than independence?

      Reply A free trade and co-operation agreement that left us independent.

      1. Mark B
        December 19, 2013

        Reply to reply

        Yes you can have that ! You just have to issue an Article 50 request and seek to renegotiate the UK’s relationship. ie Out of the EU but retain access to the Single Market / EEA. Simple !

        FFS man, what is it that is flipping hard that you or 649 of your colleagues cannot understand !

        Reply Easy if we had 330 MPs willing to vote to do that.

        1. APL
          December 20, 2013

          JR: “Easy if we had 330 MPs willing to vote to do that.”

          There are one or two Eurosceptics in the Labour party, have you considered an alliance with them on this specific subject?

          Reply Whenever we table a Eurosceptic motion or amendment they are welcome to vote for it.

  7. Old Albion
    December 19, 2013

    The problem with all of this, has been stated so many times John. In order to ‘grant’ us a referendum, the Conservative party has to be elected in an outright victory 2015.
    That seems very unlikely.
    Besides few of us out here believe Cameron can get or even wants meaningful opt-outs. We need the vote NOW!.

    1. Chris S
      December 19, 2013

      Get Real :

      If you don’t think the parliamentary arithmetic will allow a vote after 2015, how do you expect David Cameron to force a vote through in this parliament when Labour and the LibDems have more votes that the Conservatives ?

      In addition, we have the best chance of winning over undecided voters AFTER an unsuccessful renegotiation and not before.

      I too hope we vote to leave but UKIP supporters posting here simply ignore these facts !!!!!!

      1. alan jutson
        December 20, 2013


        I agree that the maths do not add up at present, but what we have to do is to try and change the mindset with public opinion.

        You only have to change the mindset of TWO people.

        They are Cameron and Milliband.

        If they both think that votes are to be won by offering a referendum, then they will whip there Mp’s to vote that way.

        As you are aware most MP’s are like sheep (our host excluded) so will readily do as they are asked by their leaders

        1. alan jutson
          December 20, 2013

          oops spellings.

  8. Leslie Singleton
    December 19, 2013

    The Conservatives have to state much more clearly what they want from any renegotiation.. What you have written is a good start but unfortunately you are not a member of the Government. While we are at it, (Paste) “….. the same relationship as all other independent countries………..have with the EU………” (Unpaste), puts it nowhere near strongly enough because, as ever these days, it is far too EU centric: what we want, ALL we want, is the same relationship as all other independent countries………….have with EVERY other country.

  9. Chris
    December 19, 2013

    I think Cameron has been overtaken by events and the EU will proceed regardless with their agenda. As one EU expert commentator states: “(Cameron is) completely lost … he is chasing after something that isn’t going to happen, and can’t happen. Events have already overtaken him.” In this context worth looking at two key articles about Merkel’s plans for the EU.

    1. Chris
      December 19, 2013

      Apologies, the second article referred to in my comment above should have been:

    2. zorro
      December 19, 2013

      Let’s face it, if you were Merkel, would you take him seriously in negotiations? I certainly wouldn’t if I was her……


  10. oldtimer
    December 19, 2013

    Your position is clear and logical. I support it. What is a matter of reasonable doubt, however, is whether this thinking is at the forefront of the minds of those actually directing and engaged in the negotiating process. It is also clear that the BBC accepts EU cash to promote EU causes. It would surprise no one if the same funding was to be provided to the BBC to push the EU case.

    My impression (it is no more than that) is that there are some other elements in the EU that want to claw back powers from the Commission to the nation states. In short they want to put some substance into the idea of subsidiarity that is already written into treaties. This is likely to provide some support to the UK`s negotiating position where interests coincide but whether it will be enough for your position is unclear. Do you have a view on this?

  11. Neil Craig
    December 19, 2013

    At the last election the LDs had a manifesto commitment to support a referendum (so by definition every honest LD MP voted for it). That means, by the questionable logic of assuming parties represent voters, that those who voted for them must be assumed to support a referendum. All 3 Westminster parties went into the previous election promising a referendum over the Lisbon constitreaty, so, including UKIP & BNP supporters, that is almost unanimity.

    Or we can look at polls to see what people actually want – they show 80% support.

  12. Bert Young
    December 19, 2013

    The hope of re-negotiating a new deal is tenuous , unlikely to happen and , definitely , would not be ratified by the EP . If it were to be agreed , it would spread to each member country seeking their own individual priority leading to to the failure of the EC to apply common rules and objectives to a , then , very uncommon market ; inevitably a break up would occur and Germany ( certainly the strongest and most influential member ) would lose the advantage of the Euro propping up its international success . What we will see is a German led pressure on the UK ( with various dangled promises ) to stay in ; it will be aided and abetted by further USA persuasion . Ideally I want us out of the entire mess , however , I doubt that we have the leadership mettle and skill to make it happen ; meanwhile support must be given to the eurosceptics to press for the return of our own economic and political independence .

    1. Denis Cooper
      December 19, 2013

      The EU Parliament would not be able to stop treaty changes agreed by the member state governments using the ordinary revision procedure in Article 48 TEU, which starts on page 41 here:

      While the EU Parliament would be involved at some stages of the process the final decisions would be taken just by the member state governments:

      “4. A conference of representatives of the governments of the Member States shall be convened by the President of the Council for the purpose of determining by common accord the amendments to be made to the Treaties.”

      Followed by:

      “The amendments shall enter into force after being ratified by all the Member States in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements.”

  13. John Wrake
    December 19, 2013

    Mr. Redwood,

    Anyone who is literate and reasonably intelligent knows that suggestions of re-negotiation and a referendum are political ploys to maintain the status quo. The European Union will not allow re-negotiation in any meaningful way, even if mendacious British Ministers talk about it. The Union also has form on dealing with referenda.

    When will parliamentarians start being honest with the electorate and admit that our entry into the Union was unlawful, being contrary to our Constitution and based on lies, consequently talk about what is legal according to Union law is irrelevant.

    The whole Parliament at present is in denial of this basic fact. Heath lied about the effect of joining on our sovereignty and subsequent Governments have lacked either the will, the courage or the competence to face it.

    There are those in the counsels of the nation, who, for personal gain or doctrinaire reasons want the country to remain in membership. They should be reminded that such a stance is treasonous in the historic sense, and they will have to answer for it to the people, whose sovereignty has been stolen, contrary to Common Law.

    Votes in Parliament by minorities are a waste of time.

    John Wrake.

  14. Alan Wheatley
    December 19, 2013

    I accept that your view of the renegotiation is that come the subsequent referendum a rejection of the renegotiated terms is taken as a vote to leave the EU.

    However, others may take a different view. For instance, a rejection of renegotiated terms could be taken as an acceptance of the status quo – after all, you tell us there is plenty of parliamentary support for things as they are.

    Post renegotiation there are three alternatives: status quo, stay in on renegotiated terms and leave.

    Given all that has been said on the EU and on referenda in general, I think it highly unlikely there will be three choices on the ballot paper.

    What happens if there is no majority for any one option?

    Would a three-choice question be considered biased in the sense that there are two ways of choosing to stay in and only one to leave?

    If the choice is IN (on renegotiated terms) or OUT, then would not those who favour the status quo feel they are being ignored?

    In the JR view of the World things may not be anything like as complicated a picture as I foresee it, but I am sure there is no shortage of vested interests who will do all they can to muddy the waters with the objective of getting their way.

    I still remain of the view that the decision should be a simple IN/OUT, and renegotiation is an irrelevant sideshow.

    Reply It will be a simple In on the new terms/Out.

  15. Alan Wheatley
    December 19, 2013

    As to the ECHR, there seems to be a basic democratic principle missing. Surely in a democracy the people agree to abide by the laws providing they have the ultimate say, through elections, of what those laws should be.

    It seems to me we, in the UK, are being subjected to ECHR laws over which we have no say, and that is unacceptable.

    1. arschloch
      December 19, 2013

      Have a look at the current list judges at the ECHR are we sure we want to get the run around from this lot? Some of them come from states like the UKraine and Albania that since 1989 you still could not call fully functioning liberal democracies. While looking at them individually, because of their ages, most of the ones from the old Soviet bloc would have received their legal training or even acted as judges themselves when their homelands were nothing better than vicious police states. So they have the correct lega pedigree to decide on what happens in the UK?

    2. uanime5
      December 19, 2013

      Surely in a democracy there should be a constitution to prevent the government acting in an oppressive manner and the courts should have the power to strike down any legislation that is unconstitutional. Only being able to vote every 5 years means that you have very few democratic rights.

      Also human right are granted to all people and cannot be removed whenever inconvenient because no one had the right to remove another’s human rights.

      1. Alan Wheatley
        December 20, 2013

        Human rights do not occur naturally, by contrast with, say, rain and mountains. Human rights are the invention of humans, and, unsurprisingly, there is no universal agreement throughout humanity.

        There is also the issue of how to resolve a conflict between the human right of one human and the human right of another human. We tend to think judges are good people to make such tricky decisions on our behalf, but we tend to want judges to decide within parameters set for them by majority opinion.

  16. Roger Farmer
    December 19, 2013

    The whole ethos of the European project has been hijacked by those who believe in a vision of Europe which does not involve the people of Europe. Communism in a different guise. In the process they are creating a raison d’etre for the sort of extremism, born of frustration, that the originators of the European project had aimed to eliminate.

    The anti democratic hierarchy of Europe ie. the commission and, in the UK the LibDem /Con/ Lab and Civil Service cabal around Parliament, do not want the people to participate. They prefer a compliant, unthinking herd of drones. I often think that the Education, Education, Education of New Labour was a smokescreen to cover the dumbing down of education and the creation of that generation of drones. Half the member countries of the EU are net dependants, like the Labour heartlands of the UK, so they will not be voting to leave. Meanwhile the crass uniting of currencies in the Euro has pushed great swathes of the southern European population into hopeless purgatory.

    The task of re-directing Europe onto a fully democratic path is monumental. I suspect that there is very little chance of it happening without some form of popular uprising. My vote is for leaving all the political baggage of Europe on the dockside and concentrating on a trade only relationship with cooperation in other areas of mutual benefit.

    Re-negotiation is a myth. The powerbrokers of Brussels will not allow it. Cameron’s promise to effect it is a hollow one, because he is most unlikely to be in power after 2015

    1. cosmic
      December 19, 2013

      The EU has never deviated from its original purpose of creating a single European state where democracy (despised as populism and blamed for causing two world wars) was disarmed and left for show.

      Apart from democracy being something the EU was set up deliberately to avoid, another fundamental problem is that there is no EU demos, that is a body of people who identify with each other as one, having a shared history, culture and aspirations. This was pointed out in the early 70s by Enoch Powell. This goes a long way to explain the farce of the European Parliament.

      I agree that re-negotiation is a myth because if it is not to be purely nominal, as with Wilson’s supposed better deal in 1975, it would go against the very purpose of the EU which is ‘ever closer union’ (obviously meaning political union) as set out in all of the treaties.

      The other myth is that the EU is a trading arrangement which has become political and has gone wrong, so all that needs to be done is to return it to its proper purpose. The intention was always political and talk of trade and economics was a disguise to get people to go along with a political scheme they would not vote for as an honest proposition.

    2. Sean O'Hare
      December 19, 2013

      I have to disagree with your first paragraph. What the EU is becoming is exactly what the founding fathers envisaged, although they are slightly behind on timescale.

    3. Mark B
      December 19, 2013

      The ‘creators’ of the EU always wanted Nation States to become united under a single Supranational State. This is, and has always been, the aim. To suggest otherwise is a little naive to say the least.

    4. uanime5
      December 19, 2013

      Meanwhile the crass uniting of currencies in the Euro has pushed great swathes of the southern European population into hopeless purgatory.

      These countries has economic problems before they joined the euro and would have had the same problems even if they hadn’t joined it.

      The task of re-directing Europe onto a fully democratic path is monumental.

      Not really, after all they have a more representative system of electing MEPs than the UK. I’d say the main reason why Commissioners are appointed, rather than elected, is because heads of state (European Councillors) don’t want to give up their power to appoint commissioners.

  17. Graham
    December 19, 2013

    On the same theme on what logical basis do Ukraine qualify to join the EU? going straight onto EU welfare.

    Also heard on RT that Cameron was a cheerleader for the EU by encouraging them to join.

    Is this the same Cameron who is leading us into the fray?

    We are really stuffed.

    1. Rods
      December 19, 2013

      Hi Graham,

      Ukraine does not qualify for EU membership. It is a free trade agreement much the same as Norway and Switzerland enjoys.

      Part of the agreement is a long list of EU conditions for the modernization of and compliance of the Ukraine to many European standards, including the release of Yulia Tymoshenko. Initially the deal will be better for the EU than the Ukraine with Ukraine’s trade balance with the EU expected to be worse for the first few years before it improves with a more open modern country attracting greater global external investment.

      Unfortunately, with Ukraine’s main export markets of the EU and Russia at about $20bn each, Russia has being playing hardball with selective import restrictions for ‘quality and technical’ reasons.

      In my opinion Ukraine’s president has not played his hand very well, where it is never a good idea to jilt the bride at the altar, hence the current demonstrations in Kiev.

      Out of necessity the president has now made a new agreement with Russia for cheaper gas, which the Ukraine government heavily subsidies, so people can afford to heat their homes and Russia has also agreed to buy $15bn of Ukraine’s bonds, which will provide urgently required short term funding.

      1. Graham
        December 19, 2013

        Thanks for the insight.


  18. Kenneth
    December 19, 2013

    My red lines:

    We must regain full control over our borders

    Have full control over all government policy and decisions

    Have full control over all judiciary and legal matters.

    Have full control over external relations, whether trade, security or anything else.

    Stop any payments to the eu.

    Withdraw from the single ‘market’ so that we can make our products in whichever way we wish to. Of course products going to eu countries would presumably still need to comply with eu rules

    What I would maintain, if possible, is co-operation on transport links and telecoms, as they can benefit from Europe-wide planning. I would also suggest we allow some pooling of overseas embassies in less important countries.

    We should couple this with the maintenance of the friendliest possible diplomatic relations with all European nations while nurturing and rekindling relations with Anglosphere countries, Far East and Africa in particular.

    1. Mark B
      December 19, 2013


      With all due respect. Are these red lines of yours similar in anyway to those of President Obama ? ie written with ‘invisible’ red ink !

      You will not get any of the things you request because, one one Member State get one power back, they will all want powers back,and that would be the end of the ‘Project’.

      Access to the Single Market /EEA is vital to trade. Yes it comes with some not very nice conditions, but will serve us well initially. Having access does not mean we will have to make all our good to their specifications, unless we are selling too them.

  19. Vanessa
    December 19, 2013

    If you read EUReferendum you will see a piece on Merkel’s call for a new Treaty. I quote it below.

    “But this discounts the fact that what Mrs Merkel has in mind will require a fully-fledged treaty convention, which puts the negotiations out of Mr Cameron’s reach. Yet he is still pushing for his fatuous referendum and is prepared to use the “nuclear option” of the Parliament Act to force the EU Referendum Bill into law before the next election. This is a complete waste of time.”

    So much for Cameron’s understanding of the EU and his renegotiations.

    1. Denis Cooper
      December 19, 2013

      A Convention would not be the final step in negotiating treaty changes, that would be the Intergovernmental Conference, as mentioned above:

      “4. A conference of representatives of the governments of the Member States shall be convened by the President of the Council for the purpose of determining by common accord the amendments to be made to the Treaties.”

      Followed by:

      “The amendments shall enter into force after being ratified by all the Member States in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements.”

  20. Rods
    December 19, 2013

    In my view, the only acceptable agreement is a free trade agreement with the EU, so Parliament is the UK’s supreme governing and legislative body, with MP’s that are elected and accountable to us.

    Where the EU has a president, a commission president and commission, who are the only people who are able to create and introduce legislation into the European Parliament and are not directly electable and accountable to the EU population, there is a massive democratic deficit at the top. The only democratic part and in my opinion, it is little more than a talking shop and rubber stamping system is the European Parliament. This system of governance has more similarities with the old Soviet system than that of a modern democracy. Without the checks and balances of having to justify your governing record, to be reelected by the people there is in my opinion much bad and unnecessary legislation introduced by the EU commission.

    Personally, I think the free movement of goods, some services and people has one of the few benefits of EU membership. However, we need to have control of our borders, to stop benefit tourism, by people coming here without the means to support themselves and to be able to remove and stop the reentry of people who have abused the privilege of living in the UK by breaking our laws.

    Unfortunately, the EEC was hijacked mainly by the French with Delors and Mitterrand morphing it into the EU. The EU’s excessive regulation and social policies have done much damage to all of Europe, which can be seen in a declining percentage of world trade through the loss of international competitiveness, low growth and high unemployment.

    1. Mark B
      December 19, 2013

      You do not need to be a member of the EU to be a member of the Single Market / EEA. Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein are members of the EEA and enjoy its benefits without the excessive political meddling of the EU.

      There has never been a corruption or the ,morphing of the EU. Full political, fiscal and monetary union has ALWAYS been the aim. They just did not tell anyone.

    2. uanime5
      December 19, 2013

      Where the EU has a president, a commission president and commission, who are the only people who are able to create and introduce legislation into the European Parliament and are not directly electable and accountable to the EU population, there is a massive democratic deficit at the top.

      You seem to have ignored that all the Councillors are democratically elected and they decide who is appointed to the Commission. The commissioners also have to be approved by the European Parliament. Thus there’s no democratic deficit.

      You also seem to have ignored the democratic deficit in the UK where the House of Lords is full of unelected peers who can claim a full days pay for 40 minutes of work.

      The only democratic part and in my opinion, it is little more than a talking shop and rubber stamping system is the European Parliament.

      Well it’s clear you have no idea how the European Parliament works. MEPs are free to accept, amend, or reject any bill from the Commission.

      This system of governance has more similarities with the old Soviet system than that of a modern democracy.

      How exactly is a system composed of elected leaders of member states and a democratically elected parliament like the old Soviet system?

      Without the checks and balances of having to justify your governing record, to be reelected by the people there is in my opinion much bad and unnecessary legislation introduced by the EU commission.

      You seem to have ignored that Commissioners can be removed or not reappointed. Also what governing record are you referring to?

      You also ignored that the European Parliament can reject or amend bad or unnecessary legislation.

      The EU’s excessive regulation and social policies have done much damage to all of Europe, which can be seen in a declining percentage of world trade through the loss of international competitiveness, low growth and high unemployment.

      The declining percentage of world trade is due to the BRICS and other countries developing their economies faster than the EU. Also Germany isn’t suffering from a loss of international competitiveness, low growth, or high unemployment. Though the UK is suffering from these things due to the Government’s prolonged austerity plans.

      1. Edward 2
        December 20, 2013

        Your articles in support of the EU are becoming increasingly desperate Uni.
        I would like it to be successful in bringing economic growth, prosperity and employment to its citizens but it is not.
        I think you like it because you see it as a socialist construct but it looks like a way of creating a new rich elite class at the expense of the people to me.

  21. The Prangwizard
    December 19, 2013

    You are on about that ‘new relationship’ again. Although you mention ‘out’ from time to time. I remain unclear and unconvinced by what you write and what you mean. There are regular examples which come to light in all walks of our lives about how the EU seeks to intrude further without express authority and you wring your hands, but you must know that no negotiated settlement where we stay in will be a static ‘new relationship’. Being reasonable with the EU and hoping to get something worthwhile is like being reasonable with someone like Hitler, and thinking we have achieved ‘peace in our time’. And it isn’t enough that the EU intrudes into lives within the EU; it now intrudes into the lives of people in the Ukraine and tells them what’s best.
    The cancer of the EU will continue to invade the body of the UK. That part which we have cut out under your hoped for plan will simply come back.
    The only new relationship that will work to the long term benefit of the UK is the one where we are completely on the outside.
    But never mind, don’t worry, we are just the people, simple angry people who don’t really know what’s best for us. But look around, where have the Establishment, whether it be in the NHS, or in management of our borders as examples, known best? Who are the leaders and fellow travellers who have been punished? They are still there. The report out today on the surgeon is another example where nothing was done when wrongdoing came to light.
    The people have had the correct views, but were either ignored, patronised or treated with contempt.

  22. formula57
    December 19, 2013

    Exempting the UK from Corpus Juris, the EU plan for a single legal system, seems essential too in order to avoid surrendering rights and safeguards won through Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights and later laws. Corpus Juris amongst other woes removes Habeas Corpus and can be reasonably viewed as an attack upon our civil liberties.

  23. Tad Davison
    December 19, 2013

    I’m sure they won’t mind me using this, provided everyone subscribes to their daily newsletter as do I, but the following came directly from Open Europe and is telling.

    ‘New Open Europe briefing: Open Europe’s EU war games show that Cameron risks defeat in Europe unless he ups his game;

    Mats Persson: Jumping from headline to headline is a sure way to end up pleasing no one
    Open Europe has today published a new briefing containing a comprehensive analysis of the first session – the reform and renegotiation scenario – from last week’s simulated UK-EU negotiations. The exercise showed that sweeping EU reform is fully possible. However, bringing the simulation back to reality, Open Europe concludes that David Cameron has fallen behind the curve in Europe, currently suffering from poorly joined up initiatives and short-term thinking. The briefing sets out ten specific lessons that David Cameron can learn when negotiating a new deal with the EU. The Times trails the briefing, noting that Open Europe drew the conclusion “after extensive conversations with Whitehall figures, European partners and conducting a real-time ‘war game’.”

    Writing in the Times’ Thunderer column, Open Europe Director Mats Persson argues, “The good news is the appetite for change across Europe is growing. The bad news: Mr Cameron risks wasting the opportunity,” outlining three problems the UK government has to address. He adds, “Mr Cameron should appoint a lead negotiator or an EU reform task force to co-ordinate work across all departments and tour national capitals testing ideas…Jumping from headline to headline may work for domestic issues but on Europe, it’s a sure way to end up pleasing no one.”

    On Conservative Home, Paul Goodman argues, “[Mats] Persson is not reflexively hostile to the Government, and his account is grimly credible”, concluding that the lack of a strategic vision owes to “a terror at the top of the Government of opening up the question of what and how much any renegotiation will aim to achieve.” Separately, the Telegraph reports that Cameron has told the 1922 Committee of Conservative MPs that he is preparing to use the Parliament Act in order to force the EU Referendum Bill through the House of Lords and into law before the 2015 general election.’

    Curiouser , and curiosuer! Welcome to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party!

    Tad Davison


    1. Mark B
      December 19, 2013

      I think you final sentence summed up those on OE and their ‘war game’ perfectly, even if you may not have meant too.

  24. Remington Norman
    December 19, 2013

    The problems are threefold: first, it seems clear that no negotiation is possible without our first invoking art 50 of the EU constitution and signalling a clear intention to leave; this David Cameron has repeatedly said is not his intention – we should be at the core of Europe.

    Second, and more fundamental, is a deep distrust that a cosmetic renegotiation would be packaged to look like fundamental change and presented to the public as such when in reality it was nothing of the sort. The EU have shown themselves past-masters as such subterfuge.

    Thirdly, even if a decent package were forthcoming, the EU would not stick to their side of the bargain (remember the promised to fundamentally reform the CAP as a carrot for reduction in the UK rebate – nothing happened).

    So fundamental distrust of Cameron and the EU from bitter experience. People have had enough lies and deceit and simply want out. Once free, we could negotiate terms at leisure from a position of strength.

    1. Mark B
      December 19, 2013

      Correct on all counts. I thank you sir.

  25. JM
    December 19, 2013

    I think that the deal on offer is almost incidental. The real problem with Europe is that we were mislead by our politicians when we were first asked to vote on it. Ever since then it has been a festering boil. It needs lancing. It is now clear what Europe is about: ever closer union towards a united states of Europe. The public need to be told this clearly and then asked is that what you want? If we do, we do it with our eyes open after an honest (cloud cuckoo land?) debate. In such circumstances, it is to be hoped that that will end the debate for a very long time. The problem is that until we are given another vote the issue will fester. I suspect that the Labour and Liberal parties are not keen on a vote for different reasons. I am prepared to credit the Liberal party with the genuine motive that they do not want to come out at all and like it as it is. I suspect that Labour perceive that Europe is more of a problem for the Tories than it is for them. It has been a constant source of division and bitterness within the Tory party, which is death at an election. Labour are making the grubby calculation that the Tories have a problem which works to their electoral advantage.

  26. Brian Tomkinson
    December 19, 2013

    Will you ever tire of publishing this renegotiation nonsense? You must know that your leader is determined to keep the UK in the EU as well as the majority of Conservative MPs. This is just a cynical electoral ploy to which you add your voice in the hope of giving it more credibility with the public and get your party re-elected. Politicians have betrayed the British people for over forty years and show no sign of stopping. Your problem is that many people have seen through your leaders glib talk and zero action. Messrs Cameron and Crosby will be pleased with you though- keep blowing those dog whistles.

    Reply There is no need to be grumpy because I and my Conservative friends have made progress in a cause you say you wish to support. We are doing this because we believe in it, and because it has to be done from inside Parliament. What Parliament bound us to, only Parliament can get us out of. That is why we have worked away to get a government pledged to give us an In/Out vote. Why not support that? There is no better realistic offer which can save us.

  27. Atlas
    December 19, 2013

    Just as in the USA where “Interstate commerce” is the route used for Federal take-overs of States’ laws, so the “Single Market” is the EU’s equivalent.

    Cameron is wanting to have his cake, eat it, and still have his cake if he thinks we can access to the EU’s market but be unaffected by the parts of the EU’s legislation.

    “One ring to rule them and in the darkness bind them” as JRR may have said.

    Essentially I am puzzled why little things, like having to have car headlights even in summer, have been pushed through the EU. If the Swedes find it is dark in winter then they could have just simply turned their headlights on as and when – like the rest of us used to be able to do. This little thing shows to me that half the problem with the EU is our own civil-service going native in Brussels and using the EU to get things they crave but no UK Parliament would have accepted.

  28. ancientpopeye
    December 19, 2013

    Well balanced observations Mr Redwood, but a awful lot of us just do not believe what the PM says any more, especially about Europe.

  29. backofanenvelope
    December 19, 2013

    In my newspaper this morning there was a photograph of 3 Anglosphere prime ministers have a quiet lunch together before Mandela’s memorial service. New Zealand, Australia and Canada. No sign of Cameron or Obama. I find that quite interesting. Perhaps we ought to connect with our natural allies.

  30. Chris
    December 19, 2013

    There is no possibility of renegotiation. Cameron has been overtaken by events, and on the agenda is a new treaty, with first an intergovernmental convention. The whole focus of this will be every closer union/integration. There is no possibility of renegotiation of membership terms. The rules to date are non negotiable, and the future is mapped out as one of closer integration, not of fragmentation or pulling back in some chosen domains. Why cannot our politicians recognise this blunt truth? Merkel has confirmed the blueprint for the EU and what the next stage in the process of integration will be i.e. the treaty change. We either sign up to that, with no ifs or buts, or we reject the concept of ever closer union, and invoke Article 50.

  31. Iain Gill
    December 19, 2013

    looking at the percentages like that does not really help, and I really dont think Europe is the only issue. for the voters its immigration not just from Europe but all immigration. we have the Conservatives, Lib Dems, and Labour all essentially in favour of ongoing large amounts of immigration (although they often spin otherwise when it suits them for electoral gain). and we have the public massive majority in favour of radical cut back in immigration, it is this simple divergance of opinion between the electorate at the political bubble that is at the heart of the problem. and it is this underlying problem that makes anything possible at the polls with regard to UKIP. this is a much bigger issue with the real people than where the mass of rules we are subject to are made, as mostly the public regard all the politicians whether in the UK or Brussels as useless.

  32. uanime5
    December 19, 2013

    The issue arises, what kind of renegotation would a Conservative government undertake? The leadership has recently made clear it would entail taking back control of our borders and benefit system.

    There’s no prospect of ever getting this as the freedom of movement is one of the four fundamental freedoms of the EU. Perhaps they should try to negotiate something they’re likely to get.

    Added to it, many as a minimum would want the proposal of the European Scrutiny Committee that we should have a Parliamentary procedure to amend or disapply any European rule or law that does not meet with the approval of the UK Parliament.

    No chance of getting this either. The EU isn’t going to give the UK the ability to ignore any EU law they don’t like because all member states would want the same privilege.

    Also given that many Conservative MP believe that half a million people using food banks is a good thing and that the poor battling over discount food is funny it’s clear that many MPs not responsible enough to be given more power.

    In recent weeks 3 senior Judges have made clear their concerns about the way the European Court of Human Rights are seeking to overrule Parliamentary supremacy in a number of important areas.

    Why are they concerned about this? When the UK signed up to the European Convention on Human Rights it was clear that the UK wouldn’t be allowed to ignore human rights any more.

    This could be significant too, as we seek to find a way at last to give the British people a new relationship and a proper say in how they are governed.

    How exactly is being governed by politicians who want to violate people’s human rights a good thing? Human rights are one of the few ways the average person has to fight against Parliamentary abuses.

    In other news one third of disabled people trying to get help with the bedroom tax are having their applications rejected. I predict the Conservatives will be forced into another embarrassing u-turn.

    Reply Nastier than usual to make false allegations about Conservative attitudes to food banks. Food banks were set up and Labour and more have been set up under the Coalition, partly spurred by a change of government policy to include referral of people in need to foodbanks by offices of the state providing benefits and other support, something Labour did not do in office. And yes the Coalition has put up the amount paid in benefits substantially despite the fall in unemployment, as no Conservative wishes to see people go cold or hungry in our relatively rich country.

  33. Kenneth
    December 20, 2013

    Mark B

    Having access does not mean we will have to make all our good to their specifications, unless we are selling too them.

    My understanding is that all our manufacturing must meet eu standards, regardless of destination

  34. petermartin2001
    December 20, 2013

    It’s worth remembering that it was not the Conservatives, who were most divided over Europe. It’s worth remembering too that there has already been one referendum. The 1975 referendum on EC membership was called by Harold Wilson after party disagreements and a referendum was seen as the only possible solution. Wilson then suspended ministerial responsibility and allowed ministers to campaign as they chose. David Cameron may well be forced to consider the same option.

    Michael Foot’s anti EC stance was the causes of the SDP split in 1980. Those divisions have not entirely been forgotten.

    There is still a strong body of opinion within the Labour Party which regards EU membership as unnecessary economically and anti democratic in nature. Many Labour Party supporters, who were previously against EU membership, will feel that having been members for so long, that it’s a lost battle that should not be re-fought. It is important that they should be be alienated. Their votes may still be important.

  35. Stevie
    December 20, 2013

    Why not do it the easy way, first change the Prime Minister then opted out of the Europe

  36. Lindsay McDougall
    December 20, 2013

    Your list and that of the Fresh Start group of MPs have things in common, which is good, but there are as yet no ‘red lines’. No one is telling the other EU Member States that unless we get this, this, this and this, we will recommend an OUT vote. Ultimately, the EU will only negotiate seriously with a pistol at their heads.

    Still unrec0gnised is the fact that the Maastricht, Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon Treaties have not served to complete the Single Market, but to mess it up. As a result of these treaties, major areas of competence have been surrendered to the EU, and the result has been a vast increase in Directives and regulation, to the detriment of genuinely free trade. Truly, the Single Market that was created by the Single European Act was far closer to what we want. This is why my ‘red lines’ include the UK repealing our Accession to these four treaties.

    Reply I have always made clear I cannot accept Nice, Amsterdam, Lisbon.

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