The EU base of some of our troubles


Some critics on the site claim that I along with other MPs fail to point out that many policies which miscarry or do damage are required by EU regulations and directives. I find this a most curious criticism when I spend a lot of my time pointing to the EU underpinnings of the way we are currently governed.

It is clearly true that EU requirements limit any UK government’s ability to control our borders and to limit migration from other EU countries. It is self evidently the case the Labour’s dear energy policy based on windfarms , the closures of cheaper generating capacity and high taxation of “carbon” was embedded into EU law during the last decade which  now gets in the way of the UK following a  cheap energy policy. It is also true that the Environment Agency have used various pieces of EU legislation as a reason for their policy of retreat from protecting rural areas from flood. The fact that the Dutch have behaved differently under the same laws implies the EA’ s interpretation of these laws is not the only one.

It is not the case that EU law requires the government to build HS2, though there is a “European network” of fast trains with lines on the English map as well. It is disputed the extent to which European law prevents us from having the benefit system of our choice, and the extent to which the EU makes us keep terrorists here under the articles of the European Convention of Human Rights.

What is certainly true is that the tentacles of the EU now stretch into many parts of government. It is possible for people to erect a case against any particular course of action in any given field based on EU law. Even well intentioned policies that are thought to lie outside EU prohibition or influence may be turned by the European Court into EU matters. Modern Ministers have nothing like the power of their predecessors, because they are constantly having to see if what they want to do is compatible with EU rules. It is not a great way to govern a great country.

Ministers should have more freedom of choice, and the electorate should decide whether they have exercised that power well or not. The trouble with so much bureaucratic power in the EU is that electors feel more and more impotent to change things. Voters may disagree with what is being done in their name. They cannot kick out the officials who designed the EU legislation. Any given country is unable to force change in laws we do not like. It is a very undemocratic model.



  1. Brian Taylor
    February 9, 2014

    Dear Mr Redwood
    Do you think we will have a clear idea before the next election on the progress being made with regard to the new arrangement with the EU?
    I accept that as of now the only party offering a referendum is the Tory Party but do you think we will even by then a clear idea of the details and have anything to vote on by then or will it be as I remember it in 1975 a lot of vague promises and fear of coming out of the single market?

    1. matthu
      February 9, 2014

      The latter.

      None of the three main Westminster parties want to open up a debate on the EU.

    2. Hope
      February 9, 2014

      If some of JR’s claims are correct, then one has to ask why Cameron has kept so many pro European Labour politicians in quangos and as advisers? It does not stack up to any scrutiny. jR has good intentions, but he seems out of touch with those at the top of his party and he still believes what Cameron says. That is matter for him of course, the rest of us gave up a long times ago based on fact and his actions, U turns, failed promises and insults. No rational sane person could believe a word Cameron says.

      Last week Cameron gave £18 million pounds of UK taxpayers’ money to the Eau to promote closer union when he promised not to. This was highlighted by one of his MPs. In contrast he imposes state press regulation. Today it is reported that two UK born citizens are fighting extradition to the US when foreign criminals are allowed to remain here because of the ECHR. What has Cameron done about the. British bill of Rights, scrapping ECHR? Sweet FA as normal.

  2. Arschloch
    February 9, 2014

    I thought Mrs Thatcher introduced “special advisors” into departments to overcome the innate conservatism of the civil service. Why are ministers not having their eyes opened by their SpAds that the EU way is not the only way. Or even ministers asking themselves “how many divisions does Barroso have” if they feel confined by EU law? You cite a Dutch example, I have given an earlier example of Belgium deporting EU benefit tourists and others Germany deciding to build power stations that burn lignite (the real dirty stuff). To me it appears that that the EU is a paper tiger. For the liberal establishment it is a convenient excuse for them to tell the voters sorry but their is no other way EU law demands it.

  3. Lifelogic
    February 9, 2014

    The UK was a fairly undemocratic model, even before the EU intervention. This with first past the post, candidates chosen by party (and more loyal to party than electorate). Also MPs, prime ministers and parties who choose to forget any promises made to the electorate the day after they are elected. Inheritance tax, tuition fees, the EU and eliminating the deficit for recent examples.

    The EU has diminished democracy further hugely and puts power in the hands of un-removable bureaucrats, lawyers and unaccountable courts. Taking it still further away from voters, less local, more top down, totally undemocratic and slowing the whole process down so much it becomes virtually useless.

    Why do you say Labour’s dear energy policy based on windfarms? This was clearly idiotic as can be seen after five minutes of thinking on the back of an envelope. The coalition is still paying absurd subsidies to on shore and off shore wind and PV installations. This putting expensive and ugly white elephants, all over the country and pushing up bills for everyone.

    Just how many Tories voted against the absurd climate change act? Five was it not?

    Christopher Chope, Philip Davies, Peter Lilley, Andrew Tyrie, and Ann Widdecombe.

    Cameron’s was meanwhile planning his hug a husky photo shoot and his vote blue, get the greenest government ever drivel.

  4. Martin
    February 9, 2014

    You complain about EU rules what about Westminster rules?

    We now have a situation where it is is so bureaucratic to hire/employ a part time cleaner that even a Home Office minister can’t keep up!

    The effect of these Westminster rules will have a chilling effect on employers looking to hire staff (with implications on DWP costs as well).

  5. Lifelogic
    February 9, 2014

    “It is not the case that EU law requires the government to build HS2” – So why on earth is Cameron and the Coalition pushing ahead with this absurdly expensive £50B folly when he cannot even protect a few yards of the main line at Dawlish. This would have cost almost nothing to achieve and has clearly has needed to be done for years.

    Can we please not find some decent engineers, dredgers, real scientists, real (non BBC) economists, builders, mathematicians & physicists and get rid of all the parasites, lawyers, lefty charities, global warming exaggerators, bureaucrats, paper pushers, fake green priests, the BBC think loons, the EU and the politicians.

    1. Chris S
      February 9, 2014

      I built and still own one of the houses cut off by the Dawlish sea wall failure. ( It’s the last of the modern houses with the brown window shutters down and my tenant’s red Volvo parked outside ) It’s also the furthest house away from Dawlish town.

      For 166 years the sea wall built by Brunel has withstood the pounding from the sea. Along the stretch that failed, I have never seen any damage done to the wall at all, despite very high seas. Last week was very different.

      The cause of the breach in the sea defences was not the failure of the sea wall itself. A combination of a naturally occurring extremely high tide, strong winds blowing straight onshore rather than from the West resulted in an unprecedented volume of water being thrown onto the railway line.

      This appears to have caused the 3ft wide stone parapet above track level to be washed away outwards because of the sheer weight of water hitting it from the Railway side. That led to the track ballast being washed away and then the wall progressively lost layers of stone, again caused primarily by outward pressure.

      I don’t believe that the unusual combination of circumstances of last Tuesday night were considered very likely and, given the level of risk, the cost of work that would have been required to prevent it would have been far too high.
      I therefore don’t I believe that the Environment Agency is particularly to blame for the failure, nor are Network Rail whose people have always done a fine job of looking after the most picturesque but difficult stretches of railway in the UK.

      However, now that it has occurred, something has to be done to prevent it happening again. In my view the only long term solution, whether one believes we will have a rise in sea level caused by Climate Change or not, is to build a new concrete wall on the outside of the existing stone wall.

      Careful design could prevent much of the spray being thrown onto the track at high tide which has caused maintenance issues for locomotives and the temporary suspension of railway operations in the past, on each occasion for a couple of hours.

      The design of the new wall could also allow for a future increase in its height should this prove necessary at some point in the future.

      I hope that some of Cameron’s £130m of extra funding will be used for that purpose.

      As its a main route, surely there must be a case for a small percentage of our huge net contribution to the EU being used to fund it.

      1. Lifelogic
        February 9, 2014

        The water ground water plus the waves blown over the top, washing away the ground and structures underneath is exactly how I and most engineers would have expected it to fail – I would have thought. It looked dodgy when I went through on a windy high time some 12 years ago.

        Sea levels have been rising rather slowly for a very long time, they have not really accelerated much circa 1.5mm PA.

        The cause of the damage is clearly the rather high tides at the same time as some rather strong storm (with winds in a direction to drown the line).

        The idea that the best thing to do, to prevent similar problems, is to build a few more wind farms and put PV panel of roofs is totally absurd. It will not even make any real difference to World C02 outputs. Whatever nonsense and drivel the BBC and paid government “scientists” come out with.

        Just build a better sea defence or move the track and dredge the rivers. Far, far cheaper and with the advantage that it would actually work and work quickly. Just cancel HS2 and idiocies like the Boris Island planning, the EU tax and the green energy subsidies to pay for it all.

    2. matthu
      February 9, 2014

      The government commissioned a report into the costs and benefits of HS2 … and then sat on the report, presumably because it did not support the view they wanted to take.

      They have since fought tooth and nail to avoid the report being released under FOIA.

      This is not an objectively based policy they are following.

      1. Lifelogic
        February 9, 2014

        You do not need the report, just the back of an envelope to see it is nonsense – just like green energy with current technology.

  6. stred
    February 9, 2014

    Your blog of 6.Feb has some interesting points at the end cconcerning the origin of the decision to stop protecting the Levels and the map showing other areas and the intention to greatly increase the areas turned over to marsh.

    The EU document shows the prescedence of human health and public safety and the map on the CC Committee shows the Levels as ‘hold the line’. Ch 5. 5.4.

    The letter in the DT yesterday from Lord de Ramsey makes clear that it was the arrival in 2000 of Baroness Young, appointed by J.Prescott when things changed from protection of agriculture to nature. He says she called for pumping stations to be blown up! After his letter is a claim from David Jordan of the EA that they aim to protect people, property and land.

    A look at the qualifications of Baroness Young is interesting.

    age 65 and Scottish education, Perth, Edinburgh, Strathclyde.
    NHS admin 1973-91
    Chief Exec RSPB 91-98
    English Nature 98-2000
    CEO EA 00-08
    then Care Quality Commission and CC Afaptation Committee

    David Jordan

    Univ East Anglia
    Studied fisheries ecology
    Oxford Brookes
    Honours in Environmental Biology

    Says it all really.

    1. stred
      February 9, 2014

      Oops. Adaptation. Mr Jordan is now claiming they have been successful, rather as Lord Smith thinks that praising the hardworking staff on the ground and ignoring the policy at the top is going to fool people. Now almost everyone is blaming climate change. I hope they look at the statistics for flooding as far back as the Exeter floods and others that have happened since the 60s, but then it will have to be rising sea levels. 40mm in a century?

      I am so glad that my house in France on a flood plane is not influenced by the Environmentalists behind the scenes and that the council have cracked it with dredging, culverts and a barrier.

      1. lojolondon
        February 9, 2014

        It was two short years ago when the UK had widespread droughts. That was blamed on climate change. Now the floods – climate change too. We have a hot summer, a cool summer, a mild winter or a very cold winter, all due to climate change.
        Time for some common sense, please.

        1. uanime5
          February 9, 2014

          We had droughts because the increased global temperature made the summer much hotter, resulting in more evaporation.

          We’re having floods because the increased global temperature made the sea hotter, resulting in more storms.

          In summary raising the temperature of the planet makes the weather more extreme.

          1. Lifelogic
            February 9, 2014

            Actually a bit warmer up to about 2C is a net positive on balance, but anyway it has not warmed for the last 17 years anyway.

            What will you say after say 10 more of little change?

          2. Edward2
            February 9, 2014

            So what you are claiming Uni, is that global warming created higher temperatures and greater evaporation which led to drought.
            Whereas recently you tell us global warming has again caused greater evaporation but now this is causing not droughts but more rain and floods.
            It seems you now have every eventuality covered.

          3. Hope
            February 10, 2014

            And the ice age came about because………. No man C02 then Uni.

            All they green quackery delusional talk is just that. Climate change has happened since the world begana nd no doubt continue, but it should not be used an excuse to fleece and scare the public for political motives.

          4. APL
            February 10, 2014

            uanime5: “In summary raising the temperature of the planet makes the weather more extreme.”

            and of course, lowering the temperature of the planet ( as you’d like to do by fruitlessly trying to reduce CO2) would make the weather more extreme, and colder.

            How much colder would you like it to be? North pole cold? South pole cold?

      2. Lifelogic
        February 9, 2014


        Blaming it on the vague “Climate Change” is meaningless, unscientific, moronic, drivel.

        Do they mean the catastrophic anth. global warming, carbon dioxide devil gas, absurd exaggeration religion. Or just that the climate changed from last month and rained rather more this month, as it has done often throughout history?

        The fact that they do not even say surely shows how dodgy these modern day soothsayers are.

      3. APL
        February 9, 2014

        stred: “Now almost everyone is blaming climate change”

        How ’bout ‘Lord’ Smith suggests to the Dutch, they abandon their land reclamation projects? See what response he’d get from them.

      4. Hope
        February 9, 2014

        Read Christopher Booker’s article int he DT and Richard North’s finding. It is truly depressing that the Tories have, once again, kept the pro-EU lefty socialist mantle going. Despite JR’s blog, he seems out of touch with those in his own party and what they have been and are up to.

        It is also no good tryingt o pass e blame onto others, this Tory government has been woeful in every regard. I hate socialism, but given a straight choice by Crosby between Milibanda and Cameron I would choose Miliband at least you know what he stands for even if you dislike it. He also has his own ideas and Cameron has followed his policies despite the rhetoric!!

        1. Mark B
          February 9, 2014

          Sadly, I too have come to this conclusion. Best let things take their natural course politically speaking. The Conservatives have been out of ‘power’ since 1997 (17 years*) and will probably never be re-elected ever again; so untrustworthy have they become.

          * I said in power and NOT in office)

        2. Lifelogic
          February 9, 2014

          I tend to agree, anyway it seems that is what will happen anyway. Cameron has clearly given up even a UKIP deal will surely not work now. I certainly would not want Cameron back just to have to watch him rat on voters a second time with his complete contempt for them.

          Milliband is at least a bit numerate and logical, he might well cancel HS2, he is less of a war monger and hopefully he will try to resist the state sector unions a little. He cannot be much worse than Cameron the UK tax payers will just have to pay the 5% extra tax.

          Will it be for three + terms like Major or for rather longer?

    2. Lifelogic
      February 9, 2014

      Indeed what a dismal list. I would not want to employ them even to organise clearing my gutters.

      1. Edward2
        February 9, 2014

        They would refuse to clear out your gutters Lifelogic.
        Well, without an environmental survey being carried out and many other enquiries being made with other quangos and charities in case any bio diversity might be harmed.
        If permission were required you would have to wait many years for an answer and it could be refused on the grounds that you are interfering with nature.

    3. oldtimer
      February 9, 2014

      I had not appreciated that Baroness Young was CEO of the RSPB before she was appointed as CEO of the Environment Agency. No doubt it is entirely coincidental that the EA approved some £30 million on creating a suitable environment for bird life and only c£5 million on catering for us mere humans.

      Reply That may have happened after she left.

    4. Leslie Singleton
      February 10, 2014

      Stred–And did I read (I really do worry that I might have dreamt this) that EA staff are not allowed to wear waders (never mind use them) or to go within two metres of a water course?? Hardly hands on, or feet in, types if so.

      1. Lifelogic
        February 11, 2014

        Sounds like property surveyors their reports always seem to say they could not lift carpets, climb in lofts, on roofs or actually do or look at anything much.

        Usually a complete waste of time I find – other than for lowering the offer price sometimes.

  7. stred
    February 9, 2014

    Sorry, forgot to mention that Baroness Young was also vice chairman of the BBC.
    No wonder no one mentions the pumping stations.

  8. Roger Farmer
    February 9, 2014

    The way you draw attention to the many ways in which the EU controls everything our government does, suggests to me that any re-negotiation would require the EU to get a blank sheet of paper and start all over again.
    This they are not prepared to do. I therefore conclude that any talk of re-negotiation is a none starter. Cameron should therefore be discouraged from persisting with such, whether he believes it or not, because it is destroying his credibility and that of what is left of the Conservative Party.
    Just as in the case that pertained in the Warsaw Pact before the wall came down, the EU should be left to rot on the vine. When the people of Europe revolt or their politicians see the error of their ways, maybe we will see a less totalitarian entity emerge. I predict that it could become the messy event that the founding fathers of Europe thought they were legislating to avoid in the future. We should stay well out of it. Having given them the opportunity three times in the last two hundred years, to create something better, at great cost to British lives and our bank balance, enough is enough.
    Our course should be to invoke Article 50 and get out of the political EU, treating them as a trading partner only. All in the hope that the reality of what they have created brings them to their senses peacefully.

  9. alan jutson
    February 9, 2014

    Your post today just begs the questions.

    Then why are we still in it ?

    Why do so many Mp’s still want to be in it ?

    What is the government going to do about it ?

    Yes I know that we have a referendum promised for 2017 (sunbject to ) but what plans have been outlined so far for these proposed negotiations which have to happen before that, which given the above promise, need to end before 2017

    Pie in the sky to think we can start and finish negotiations within 18 months of the next election result, given we seem to have no pre planned negotiation stance.

    Afraid Mr Cameron will miss the boat as well as the date, if he gets in !..

    Yes fully aware that you and some like thinking supporters are doing their best to move things forward John, but I fear delay, upon delay, upon delay in us getting a referendum at all, let alone in 2017.

    One is also forced to ask, even if we do get a referendum for out, will many of the existing laws and legislation be scrapped, and put on the bonfire with all of the so called Quangos.

    Sorry if this seems all rather negative, but that is due to the Government failing to inspire.

    1. Mark B
      February 9, 2014

      I think I’ll have a stab at answering this:

      1) Its a political project. That’s it !

      2) They neither understand or do not care. So long as they are OK, what’s the problem ?

      3) All the Kudos of being in ‘power/authority’ but none of the risks.

      4) Nothing ! Its what they want. You do not matter.

      I hope this goes someway to help. If not, please accept my apologies.

  10. Lifelogic
    February 9, 2014

    “Any given country is unable to force change in laws we do not like”

    Indeed and usually the interest/history/policies/legal system of the continent are very different to those of the UK free trading islands.

    Indeed you simply cannot have any real democracy without a real demos, with many common interests, language, history and understandings.

    This is doubtless why the EU is constructed as it is. So as to destroy any residual democracy while having a very expensive but totally fake veneer of democratic control through powerless but overpaid MEPs.

    1. JoeSoap
      February 9, 2014

      A few thoughts:

      I quite like that “UK free trading islands”.

      Our future surely lies economically as removed from France as from Hong Kong.
      Now the EU is trying to get their teeth into our trust law… does this trigger an early referendum I wonder?

      It will be interesting to see whether the Swiss referendum today agrees an immigration control policy.

  11. Timaction
    February 9, 2014

    The EU is a dictatorship with all three mainstream legacy parties supporting it. There may be a slight difference in their window dressing but essentially they are totally supportive of it.
    The only way out is invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treachery and voting for another party who will get us out.
    We simply do not want or need the EU for any reason that makes sense other than another tier of unelected bureaucracy and Government. It was and is all about ever closer Union and a United States of Europe, hidden by LibLabCon politicians for over 40 years.

    1. BobE
      February 9, 2014

      without a shot fired…….

  12. acorn
    February 9, 2014

    Modern Ministers have nothing like the power of their predecessors, you say. Likewise, UK citizens have nothing like the voting power of other citizens of other EU States! We are rarely allowed to vote for anybody in an election; and, even rarer, allowed to vote for anything in a referendum.

    The UK democratic system was out of date when the Conservative Party, as then, was at its zenith in the Victorian Era. The Swiss had 11 referendums last year, including one on increasing in road tax (rejected).

    Three referendums will be held in Switzerland on 9 February 2014. Voters will be asked whether they approve a proposal to impose a quota on immigration from European Union members, a federal decree on the financing and expansion of the rail network and a popular initiative on abortion. Further referendums are planned for 18 May, 28 September and 30 November, with one to include a proposal on guaranteed income.

    Now that’s what I call a Democracy!

    1. Mark B
      February 9, 2014

      Agreed ! +1

  13. Chris S
    February 9, 2014

    Sorry this is off topic but have to congratulate Eric Pickles for a brilliant performance on the Andrew Marr Show just now.

    Rarely does a Politician say things as they really are and Eric was refreshingly straight.

    His devastating critique of the Environment Agency effectively left Chris Smith with nowhere to go, if he has any honour we can expect his resignation by the end of the day.

    We can surely expect a total refocus towards the interests of safeguarding people rather than prioritising bat, birds and newts.

    About Time Too!

    1. Lifelogic
      February 9, 2014

      Alas it will not change just because Mr Pickles says a few sensible things on Andrew Marr.

      Look at the nonsense & drivel from the chief “scientist” at the met office today. Did the Met not predict summer droughts, did they ever predict that the temperature would not increase for 17 years? Do the Met office really think that reducing just the UK’s anth. co2, by virtually nothing with absurd wind farms is a better plan than dredging and better railway lines and coastal defence.

      What sort of quack science is that? What does she mean by saying “climate change” is to blame. Does she mean the catastrophic “AGW exaggeration religion” or just that is rained more than average this winter as no one disputes? It is hardly a statement that a scientist should make. Unless she is trying to deceive or evade the issue.

      Anyway the rainfall is actually not historically abnormal at all as she should know. The lack of river and land certainly maintenance is.

    2. stred
      February 9, 2014

      They usually negotiate a generous goodbye if they go early. Better to let him go in July. It won’t make any difference to the Agency. Most of the senior staff would cost a fortune to sack too. Even putting them on dredging duty would be constructive dismissal. And be careful not to take the p, or half a million is now the precedent.

      1. Lifelogic
        February 9, 2014


    3. Denis Cooper
      February 9, 2014

      Obviously he should resign, because:

      “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his (public) life for his friends (in the EU)”.

      A local scapegoat is needed to keep attention focused away from the EU and its involvement in this disaster, and Smith is an ideal candidate who well deserves that fate anyway.

  14. oldtimer
    February 9, 2014

    Not only is it an undemocratic model. It is a model that is wide open to manipulation. It is probably too much to expect an investigative journalist to track the way various EU regulations and directives come to impinge on and govern our way of life, but it is a job that needs to be done. It needs a Durkin or a Bower on the case.

    What is especially insidious is the rise of the influence of the special interest groups (the NGOs) pushing their agendas. In her recent Dimbleby lecture Christine Lagarde, the IMF`s MD, commented approvingly of their influence in the UN context; she said there were, IIRC, some 2000 NGOs of them – or was it 4000? It has been shown that the EU is not above funding NGOs to campaign for issues on which it wishes to regulate or write new directives. It then speciously claims to be responding to “public opinion” and the politicians take that as their signal to introduce these new regulations and directives that they themselves wanted. The various arms of the green movement have been very successful in doing this. The UK government has also funded NGOs to push its propaganda line.

    These activities take place below the radar for the majority of people. Indeed one of the prime roles of business lobby groups is to keep a keen eye on such activities in order to forestall what they perceive to be the evolution of hostile regulations and directives. On the other hand, the business interest can be enlisted if it sees an opportunity to make money. A prime example is the extensive range of subsidies available for otherwise uneconomic renewable energy schemes. The consumer interest has no such protection. It is faced with a fait accompli. So how is the consumer, and the voter, to be protected?

    At the moment, not very well. Parliament has waved through regulation and directive by the truck load with next to no scrutiny.

    This is a fundamental reason why both the UK government and the EU should be required to document and explain each grant that is made to an NGO or special interest group at the time it is made. This should be followed up with an annual report made to Parliament for scrutiny by a select committee.

    1. uanime5
      February 9, 2014

      It has been shown that the EU is not above funding NGOs to campaign for issues on which it wishes to regulate or write new directives

      Why would the EU need to campaign on an issue when they can simply change the law? Wouldn’t it be very difficult to campaign on an issue in every EU country?

      I suspect you’re confusing asking someone to research an issue and propose a bill with lobbying.

      1. oldtimer
        February 9, 2014

        It gets the NGOs to do the campaigning on its behalf. The last Labour government did the same thing. I wrote to my MP to complain about it. Calling it “research” is misleading just as Gordon`s Brown redefinition of current expenditure as “investment” was misleading.

  15. ian wragg
    February 9, 2014

    John, it’s very remiss of you to imply that Westminster can interpret EU law as they wish. Why now we are short of generation are we still shutting down cheap coal fired plant if you know it is stupid.
    Why are we still paying child allowance to Eastern Europeans who’s kids have never set foot in the UK.
    Why did the EA deliberately let the Somerset Levels overgrow and flood when we all know its a stupid idea.
    Do we only elect politicians with special needs so they can deliberately ruin our once great country.
    There is nowhere to go and nowhere to hide now. hand wringing excuses are of no use. UKIP as I have said before are going to act as a catalyst to rout the LibLabCON so we can get our country back.

    1. Max Dunbar
      February 9, 2014

      You invest much faith in UKIP. I wish that I could say the same about them. I only hope that you are not disappointed and disillusioned by them. They really only have one big personality, Farage. Is that a weakness or strength of the Party and does it suit Farage?

  16. Chris
    February 9, 2014

    It is indeed a very undemocratic model, and it is good to see your thinking on this. You state “What is certainly true is that the tentacles of the EU now stretch into many parts of government”. I think that even this understates the influence of the EU: it in fact stretches into all aspects of government and our lives, and this is made clear in the Introduction to the European Charter of Fundamental Rights. See excerpt below, but in particular the statement on why it is apparently necessary for EU Member States to have this Charter:
    “The Charter provides for people in the EU to better understand the extent of their rights and, therefore, any violation of them by the European institutions, bodies and the member states when taking decisions concerning EU law. This is important because many people do not appreciate the extent to which EU law is part of their everyday lives.”
    Introduction: What is the Charter?
    The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (the Charter) was signed and proclaimed in 2000 by the European Parliament, the European Commission and by the EU member states, comprising the European Council. It is the first formal EU document to combine in a single text the whole range of civil, political, economic and social rights and certain “third generation” rights such as the right to good administration or the right to a clean environment.

    The Charter’s prime objective is to make rights more visible. The text is not intended to establish new rights, but to assemble existing rights that were previously scattered over a range of sources including the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) and other Council of Europe (COE), United Nations (UN) and International Labour Organisation (ILO) agreements…..
    With the coming into force of the Treaty of Lisbon (Lisbon Treaty) in December 2009, the Charter has become directly enforceable by the EU and national courts…

    What impact can the Charter have on my life?
    The Charter provides for people in the EU to better understand the extent of their rights and, therefore, any violation of them by the European institutions, bodies and the member states when taking decisions concerning EU law. This is important because many people do not appreciate the extent to which EU law is part of their everyday lives”

  17. Bert Young
    February 9, 2014

    Everything in your blog today is true . I get exasperated when I read and hear of the restrictions and impositions we face from the un-elected EU . Maintaining our relationship with a regime that is so costly and ineffective does not make sense and to perpetuate it is an insult to the British public . Recently it was ” a bit rich ” for the German Foreign Minister to come here and lecture us that the UKIP stance on Europe was a danger to peace !! ; – think of all the lives we lost in the joint endeavour to defeat German dogma . Restore Home Rule as quickly as possible and pride ourselves in a democratic independence .

  18. Mark B
    February 9, 2014

    EU law on energy and climate change do indeed make energy more expensive but, the Climate Change Act, who’s author my very well take charge of the Nation after 2015, decided to ‘Gold Plate’ it and make it even more expensive. All with the support, I might add, with the then opposition parties.

    The EA and other Quango’s were created to distance Government and Ministers from responsibility, and thereby protect them and their ‘careers’. This we are seeing as, it is the EA which is getting the blame but, one has to asked who created and maintains such a Quango ? It is of course Government.

    Quango’s are the worst forms of governance. They have many of the powers of a Government Department yet, we can not elect or un-elect them. We rely on Ministers and to a certain degree on Parliament to make sure they are acting in the Nations best interests. If they however have a Government appointee that is, shall we say, a close friend, then it is unlikely that they will be removed despite protests from all quarters, such is the degree of insulation. And when you throw into the mix the fact that a Supra-National Government can impose rules, laws and diktats through such agencies with little or no Governmental, Parliamentary or democratic oversight, you have a recipe for a disaster that we see unfolding in Somerset.

    Your last paragraph is a delight to read, but not in a way that many might think. You have summed up the EU really very well. The EU is a Federal State in the making and, little National Governments and its peoples are considered minor players in this Great Game.

    You would be well advised to read the excellent article by Christopher Booker in the Spectator.

    Here you will come to understand the TRUE origins and the TRUE purpose of the EU. The fore-fathers of what is now the EU believed that democracy was the problem not the solution. To that end they believed that to have peace and order on the Continent of Europe you had to get rid of democracy and that meant reducing Nation States to little more than Regional Governments with little or no control. In effect, every Government, no matter of what colour, has been slowly giving away more and more of its powers of self governance and thereby driving wedge between the decision makers and the peoples ability to influence those decisions. Its totalitarianism writ large.

    Welcome to my world.

  19. Denis Cooper
    February 9, 2014

    What really annoys me is the constant deceit.

    Like other governments throughout time the British government has always placed some reliance on its ability to deceive, and I recognise that under some circumstances deceit by a government can be justified, but not as a constant, habitual, deliberate, systematic process of deceiving its own people in what is supposed to be a democracy.

    But that is what has happened in spades from even before we joined the EEC; it was not for nothing that Christopher Booker and Richard North wrote a book about the EU with the title “The Great Deception”; and today in his Sunday Telegraph column:

    the former writes about the flooding:

    “But what has been emerging in recent days is another hugely important factor in bringing this disaster about: the extent to which the agency’s policy has been shaped and driven by the European Union. My co-author Dr Richard North, an expert researcher who writes the EU Referendum blog, has been combing through dozens of official documents to unravel just how it was that the agency came to adopt a strategy deliberately designed to allow flooding not just in Somerset but elsewhere in the country, all in the name of putting the interests of “biodiversity”, “sustainability” and wildlife habitats above those of farming and people.”

    Why, in what is supposed to be a democracy, should it be necessary for private citizens to spend their lives “combing through dozens of official documents” to uncover the latest deceits by those who are governing them, when they elect representatives to Parliament who are supposed to be holding the government to account, and they pay those MPs a fair salary plus expenses to perform that function on their behalf, and yet with a very few honourable exceptions those MPs always prefer to turn a blind eye and go along with the government’s deceits, and in some cases will even do their best to frustrate the efforts of those who are trying to uncover and publicise the truth?

    It is as if there are two parallel universe: the real universe in which many of the actions of the national government and its various agencies are now largely determined or at least heavily influenced by the EU, and the parallel universe that we see on our TVs and in the newspapers in which whatever happens is always “nothing whatsoever to do with the EU”, to quote the memorable phrase used by the Tory councillor who was chairman of the South East England Regional Assembly in a letter to the local press, and therefore of course there is never any need to even mention the EU.

    I don’t think it can be described as a democratic system of government when people cast their votes on the basis of misinformation deliberately fed to them by politicians through the mass media, whether they are voting in a referendum or they are choosing between parliamentary candidates who are all willing to go along with the deception.

    1. uanime5
      February 9, 2014

      My co-author Dr Richard North, an expert researcher who writes the EU Referendum blog, has been combing through dozens of official documents to unravel just how it was that the agency came to adopt a strategy deliberately designed to allow flooding not just in Somerset but elsewhere in the country, all in the name of putting the interests of “biodiversity”, “sustainability” and wildlife habitats above those of farming and people.”

      Did he name any of these EU directives or which animals/plants in the UK benefit from having large areas of land flooded for a few months every year?

      1. Mark B
        February 9, 2014

        No ! But I believe Dr. North does.

  20. Leslie Singleton
    February 9, 2014

    Why is that Germany’s “top court” can, so one reads, stop so much in the EU (as being against their “Basic Law” or somesuch) whereas ours cannot?

    1. Denis Cooper
      February 9, 2014

      The “Basic Law” is the codified constitution of Germany, and while Germany is in the EU the German constitutional court can’t actually stop anything happening in the EU if the government really wants it to happens and can get the parliament to amend the constitution to overcome whatever objections may have been raised by the court. That has been done in the past, and while it needs two thirds majorities in both chambers to approve the constitutional amendment it has not proved impossible or even difficult to get that level of support. In comparison the UK government only needs to get simple majorities in both Houses of Parliament to pass a Bill which amends our uncodified constitution, for example the original European Communities Act 1972 and the subsequent Acts to approve later EU treaties, and the UK courts will follow those Acts of Parliament and accept them as amending our national constitution; conversely if the government decided that it had no alternative but to contravene some part of the EU treaties or the laws springing therefrom, and Parliament passed a Bill to expressly authorise that contravention, then the UK courts would follow the new will of Parliament and accept that Act as amending our constitution in the opposite direction.

    2. Martyn G
      February 9, 2014

      Because they have the ace in the hole regarding the Euro and, as you say, their supreme court ruled that any EU directive that ran counter to Germany’s fundamental Laws would not be applied. Also, I think that their equivalent to our ‘civil service mandarins’ respect that decision, as do their lawyers. Here in the UK our mandarins can and do ignore out elected government and write such convoluted, complicated and prolix laws in response to an EU directive that few have the time to read or fully understand them. With the results we so often see these days….

  21. Colin Hart
    February 9, 2014

    Even worse than not being able to kick out the officials who design EU legislation is the near impossibility of repealing it. The problem is further compounded when EU law and policy are then implemented by national agencies under little or no ministerial control and not accountable to Parliament.

    Much of this has come about because of a belief that you get better decisions if they are taken by experts and technocrats who are above the fray of politics. The evidence of what has happened in the Somerset Levels would tend to suggest otherwise.

  22. credible
    February 9, 2014

    I will no longer contribute to this blog. Most of my posts are censored out. If I was to elaborate on why there is no chance of this post being displayed. As it is I don’t expect it to be. This is John Redwood’s idea of freedom of speech!

    Reply I edit out potentially libellous remarks about individuals and organisations (whether I like them or disagree with them), and references to long websites I have not had time to read or check. If you wish to state your case please do so using reasonable language, and avoiding unpleasant personal attacks which are not easily backed up by evidence, or Are simply untrue.

    1. Lifelogic
      February 9, 2014

      It would be a great shame to lose your contributions.

    2. bigneil
      February 9, 2014

      You should take a note from one “poster” -who got, if I counted correctly a few days ago – 14 posts on one topic. Are they one of your relatives john? -best friend?

      Reply I post anything whatever its viewpoint if it is not abusive to people or institutions and if it does not refer to sites I have not read. Long ones can take longer for me to post, as I have to find the time to read them carefully before posting.

  23. behindthefrogs
    February 9, 2014

    There again perhaps the UK could simply adopt EU regulations instead of modifying and complicating them in nearly every case. I do not understand why the UK adds so much complication and cost on top of most EU regulations. How often are UK regulations withdrawn instead expected to run in parallel with every new EU regulation?

  24. Rnm101
    February 9, 2014

    The EU is exactly as its founders envisioned. Salter and Monnet have a lot to answer for. The impetus for the idea was noble, the outcome is nothing short of evil.

  25. Iain Gill
    February 9, 2014

    Re “EU requirements limit any UK government’s ability to control our borders and to limit migration from other EU countries” its not just immigration from the EU, the EU enters into treaties with countries like India which oblige the UK to accept uncapped numbers of ICT work visa holders, and their families, for evermore from India.

    1. uanime5
      February 9, 2014

      India using ICT to get around immigration laws is nothing to do with the EU and everything to do with national law. That’s why other EU countries don’t have an equivalent of the ICT.

  26. Chris
    February 9, 2014

    It would appear that the Dutch/Belgians are having trouble with the EU Directives, dredging and environmentalists, and a decision has now been taken, against the wishes of farmers, to flood the Hedwigerpolder in order to provide habitats for birds – this is to “counter” the effects of dredging of a main waterway to Antwerp, the Westerschelde.
    See Flanders Today:
    “…Last week, the new Dutch cabinet decided the operation could go ahead, bringing to an end a dispute between the two governments that has dragged on for more than three years. The Westerschelde lies mainly in Dutch waters but is crucial in the approach to the port of Antwerp. The two governments signed a treaty in 2005 under which the channel would be dredged at 12 important places to allow the passage of new, larger container ships.

    Dredging work was suspended when environmentalists convinced the Dutch Council of State that the works would require compensatory measures to be taken for wildlife in the marshes along the waterside, which are important breeding grounds for waterfowl and harbour some rare forms of saltwater plants. It was agreed that the Hedwigepolder would be set under water to create new wetlands as compensation.
    When the dredging work was completed, the Dutch refused to flood the polder due to protests from local farmers who would lose their land. Now the decision has been taken to go ahead with the agreement.”

    1. Chris
      February 9, 2014

      I meant to acknowledge that the above information was obtained via the eureferendum blog.

  27. Antisthenes
    February 9, 2014

    Representative democracy is not the ideal method of achieving true democracy as it does not fully address the problem of accountability. Adding another layer of government the EU and passing domestic government into the hands of unelected bodies such as quangos makes that accountability even harder to achieve. If this situation is not reversed by leaving the EU and either returning what quangos do back to the ministries or having elected officials running them and at the same time separating the executive from parliament, reducing the role of the state and introducing some form of direct democracy then we are going to end up with a technocracy(perhaps we have already) and not a democracy. The political systems that we have built and are expanding is fertile ground for eco-loons, banstabators, prodnoses, lefties, vested interests, statists and all the other assorted megalomaniacs that populate our planet.

  28. Brian Tomkinson
    February 9, 2014

    JR: “The EU base of some of our troubles”
    Correction, please replace ‘some’ by ‘most’. Amazing how we have managed over the years to elect so many MPs who, instead of exercising the powers with which they were temporarily entrusted by the electorate on their behalf, decided it would be OK to transfer those powers to an unelected foreign organisation and take their orders from them. We have been betrayed and most of the current MPs are quite happy to continue with that betrayal.
    Today we learn from the Telegraph: “EU to force Britons to publish details of wills and property. A bill being debated in Brussels would force UK citizens to disclose ‘reams’ of private, financial information on a public register.”
    Now, what are you and your leader going to do about that?

    1. stred
      February 10, 2014

      What a wonderful charter for kidnappers, burglars, and fraudsters!

  29. Brian Tomkinson
    February 9, 2014

    JR : “It is also true that the Environment Agency have used various pieces of EU legislation as a reason for their policy of retreat from protecting rural areas from flood. ”
    I refer you to the following extract from Christopher Booker’s column in today’s Telegraph under the heading “Flooding: Somerset Levels disaster is being driven by EU policy. EU directives actually require certain plains to become flooded” :
    “In 2008, when the EA was run by Baroness Young, this was reflected in a policy document which classified areas at risk of flooding under six categories, ranging from those in “Policy Option 1”, where flood defences were a priority, down to “Policy 6’’ where, to promote “biodiversity”, the strategy should be to “increase flooding”. The Somerset Levels were covered by Policy 6.
    It was in that year that Baroness Young explained in an interview that creating wildlife habitats could be very expensive, but that by far the cheapest way was simply to allow natural flooding. As she gaily put it: “Just add water.” Around this time she was heard to say of the Somerset Levels that she would like to see “a limpet mine attached to every pumping station”. ”
    Who governs Britain?

    reply As the government is now changing the policy it implies the EA could have taken a different approach in 2008 or could have decided on a designation under EU law for Somerset which did not require flooding. I always say the EU has too much power, but it does not have total power.

    1. Brian Tomkinson
      February 9, 2014

      Reply to reply,
      You say that the EU doesn’t have total power – in reality that is very debatable given the way our politicians and civil service pander to their every instruction. Instead of working for us too many of your colleagues are working for Brussels.

  30. Steven Granger
    February 9, 2014

    When you write several articles on the Somerset floods but fail to make a single mention of the EU directives the implementation of which was the main cause of the floods is it not valid criticism? You pose as a strong Eurosceptic but, with your articles on the floods, you were more interested in party political point scoring against the EA (which happens to be headed by a Labour politician). Yet you wonder why you and your ilk are held in such contempt.

    Reply It was not party political point scoring, but seeking to place the blame where it is due, as an increasing number of commentators are now doing. It was the EA which decided against dredging and maintenance, and this was not under a clear instruction from the EU but their own choice of policy.

  31. John Wrake
    February 9, 2014

    Mr. Redwood,

    Though you frequently write what increasing numbers of people are thinking, the impact of your words is lessened because they are not backed up by effective action. It is no longer enough to complain that your hands are tied by fellow Party-members who think differently.

    For too many years we have seen those in national affairs fail those responsibilities, yet refuse to accept their failure to be a legitimate reason to resign their office. Instead, we have been fobbed off with that weasel phrase “lessons have been learned” when, patently, no lessons have been learned at all.

    It is a symptom of the lack of courage which has become the mark of so many leaders in all walks of life, men and women afraid to commit themselves to their beliefs in case they will be called upon to justify those beliefs by the face of opposition.

    You may classify this comment as a personal attack which you consider unjustified and censor it on those grounds. I hope you don’t, because it is not aimed at you as a person, but at an attitude of mind which I believe is shared by many bearing the same responsibility as you.

    I note the comment from ‘credible’ at 11.36 and your reply. I have noted from my own comments on this blog how a comment made by me during early exchanges on a post somehow gets relegated to last place after the inclusion of a large number of later comments, which smacks of editorial manipulation.

    I hope that you will come to recognise that criticism from those in sympathy with what you write and who desire to strengthen your arm in that regard, will sometimes suggest that you do not always choose the right course to follow.

    John Wrake.

    Reply I do not manipulate or seek to repress criticism of Conservatives, as long as it is not personal and potentially libellous. If I delayed posting your piece it would be either because it was very long or because it had some questionable material which I had to consider or edit.

  32. Lindsay McDougall
    February 9, 2014

    Our Government should govern in the UK’s interest and the devil take the hindmost. Appeal against every EU attempt to overrule it. Name the EU Courts, Treaties and Member States that attempt to or succeed in overruling us and by this means build up a portfolio of reasons for leaving in the EU.

    If this does not happen, Mr Redwood should not just protest on his blog site. He and his fellow backbenchers should put the Prime Minister’s feet to the fire in the House of Commons on each and every occasion.

    I must confess to total exasperation. At least 70% of the voters of this country do not want to see this country dragged kicking and screaming into a European Superstate, yet this process is well advanced.

    Just say to the Prime Minister – in the House of Commons where it matters –

    And if he doesn’t like it, he must go.

  33. Max Dunbar
    February 9, 2014

    Who would the bloggers on this site prefer to run the country after 2015 given the choice of these two; Red Ed or a gauleiter from the EU?

    1. Lindsay McDougall
      February 10, 2014

      Would there be much practical difference?

  34. TJS
    February 9, 2014

    Thank you JR for giving us your insight into the way things work (or don’t work)
    It makes a refreshing change from all the claptrap we are usually given.
    I don’t understand why any Conservative government would want the British people to be subject to a socialist /communist type project.

    1. Mark B
      February 9, 2014

      The EU is not some later day USSR. It is strongly anti-Nationalist, and democratic (populist).

      It aim is simple. To rid Europe of Nation States and replace them with one central absolute authority responsible for all aspects of governance and law making, foreign and domestic policy, defence and security.

      By ridding the Nation States and their populations of any means of influencing control, they can implement policies without unnecessary restrictions or delays.

      It is a bureaucrats and politicians favorite wish.

  35. Alexis
    February 9, 2014

    Not impotent. The public mood is much uglier than that.

    But all the public are offered are demonstrably empty arguments about why we need to be in this overblown, expensive bureaucracy.

    Mostly by self serving people. Who have a direct financial interest in its continuance.

    Whilst people on the continent are threatened with war if the E U is disbanded (!), British people are offered economic arguments. Mainly about the regulatory non-entity known as the single market.

    86% of the business of this country has nothing whatsoever to do with trade in the EU. Nothing.

    But in exchange for these vaporous, non existent benefits, the EU wants to control the flush of your lavatory:

    to publicise your financial information:

    It even wants to remotely stop your car:

    All that is ‘Good for jobs, good for Britain’ in Mr Cameron’s eyes. We presume. He doesn’t comment or attempt to rectify any of it.

    A possible referendum if he’s possibly in power: that is not action.

    1. stred
      February 10, 2014

      It seems they have not taken into account the frequent leakage from valve flushed EU style toilets. These depend on a rubber seal and, after a year, scale starts to build and a small trickle, which is hard to see starts to flow into the bowl. American research has found that enormous quantities of water are wasted by valve toilets. This of course will be a bonanza for metering water companies, who back this kind of measure.

      With the old syphonic BS. bog, this permanent leakage cannot occur. The old replacement syphonic valves are still available. I am thinking of invesing in a few dozen.

    1. JoeSoap
      February 9, 2014

      “Political scientist Claude Longchamp of the leading GfS polling institute noted: “It is a key moment in the recent history of Switzerland. For the first time voters put their own concerns ahead of those of the economy and came against the free movement of people.””

      Now who said that here in the UK? Clue, neither Miliband Clegg nor Cameron….

      Just as well we’re not a Greater Switzerland!

  36. uanime5
    February 9, 2014

    the closures of cheaper generating capacity and high taxation of “carbon” was embedded into EU law during the last decade which now gets in the way of the UK following a cheap energy policy.

    Any plan which is based on the decreasing fossil fuels isn’t a viable long term plan. Increasing CO2 levels is also bad for the planet.

    It is also true that the Environment Agency have used various pieces of EU legislation as a reason for their policy of retreat from protecting rural areas from flood.

    It’s also true that MPs cut the funding for the EA so they could not longer dredge rivers and that the Association of Drainage Authorities warned DEFRA that this lack of dredging could result in more flooding.

    Modern Ministers have nothing like the power of their predecessors, because they are constantly having to see if what they want to do is compatible with EU rules. It is not a great way to govern a great country.

    Given the number of seats parties can get with 30% of the votes I wouldn’t say giving them more power would be a good idea. Let’s not forget that the public can only remove MPs during an election year because we don’t have a right of recall.

    They cannot kick out the officials who designed the EU legislation.

    Other than not voting for those MEPs, or the UK politicians who chose the UK’s commissioner and sat on the European Council.

    Any given country is unable to force change in laws we do not like. It is a very undemocratic model.

    They can only do this if they have a majority in the European Commission and Parliament, so it’s more democratic than allowing each country to veto anything they don’t like. Congress in the US shows why allowing vetoes is a bad idea.

  37. petermartin2001
    February 9, 2014

    It may be a statement of the bleeding obvious but the Conservative Party is the party of business and commerce in the UK.

    Those running business and commerce are, generally speaking, in favour of EU membership.

    Until that changes, the Conservative Party will always be, on the whole, much more pro than anti EU.

    So a referendum, any time soon? Maybe, if the result is almost certain to be ‘yes’ but otherwise, I’d say there was no chance.

  38. Trevor Butler
    February 9, 2014

    As my emigration plans have stalled again I feel a need to comment –
    The EU is the ‘head of the boil’ – what lies behind it is 60 years of political opportunism by people of all shades of opinion who have decided to reshape the UK to their advantage – Probably, because I have come from the outside, having only lived here for seven years, I can see it clearly, but I fear, the mass of the population, have been dulled by a constant barrage of misinformation from the mainstream media and see things in a warped light. I cannot believe the level of over regulation that governs peoples lives in every area. Yes its from the EU but its also driven by a political/intellectual class that sees it as their right to rule – I’m sure most people who read this will not have a concept of what it is like to never encounter government unless one murders someone as opposed to having the bin ‘police’ inspecting your recycling to make sure there is nothing ‘illegal’ in there and fining you if there is – The British people have been taken into slavery by the self serving political elite – Roll on the rise of (popular and legal protest ed)

  39. English Pensioner
    February 9, 2014

    With one exception, I believe that all this country’s major problems can be traced back to the EU. The one exception is education, where as far as I can see, there has been no EU directives governing education standards. But everywhere else, from the flooding to crime, from the HS2 to the NHS, from immigration to waste disposal, the EU has some involvement which generally costs us money which could be better spent elsewhere.
    I note that the Prime Minister has said that help will be give to the flood victims in Somerset. But as there is an EU directive on the subject of returning land to its natural state, what are the chances that he will find that it is “illegal”, just as a desire to restrict immigration by the House of Commons was stated to be “illegal”?

  40. Ken Adams
    February 10, 2014

    Perhaps Mr Redwood should read

    FCO paper 1971 This is a far distant prospect
    FCO 30/1048 – 1971

    the transfer of major executive responsibilities to the bureaucratic Commission in Brussels will exacerbate popular feeling of alienation from government. To counter this feeling, strengthened local and regional democratic processes within the member states and effective Community regional economic and social policies will be essential.

  41. Richard
    February 10, 2014

    Membership of the EU will get very much worse for us as QMV becomes applicable to more and more policy areas including the EU budget.

    Especially as the total number of votes held by net recipients exceeds those held by net payers.

    Voting in the EU will go the way it does in the Eurovision Song Contest.

    I do not want to remain in this club.

  42. Boudicca
    February 10, 2014

    “Voters may disagree with what is being done in their name. They cannot kick out the officials who designed the EU legislation”

    No. But we CAN kick out the politicians who are responsible for transferring our Sovereignty to the EU – and for keeping us trapped in it.

    And that’s where UKIP comes in…………

Comments are closed.