Juncker politics


It is an odd idea for the EU to hold an important meeting at Ypres and then to say the participants cannot have a good row there because of the past tragic history. Surely the whole point is to pursue disagreements by words and politics rather than by shells and machine guns?

Mr Cameron has every right to dig in over the appointment of the next EU President of the Commission. This post is not the same as choosing a new Cabinet Secretary. The President is more than a very senior official. The President has direct powers to act, and will help shape EU policy and laws for the next five years. He will also have a face and a voice in  EU politics like a senior politician. The fact that he is digging in when he may well lose the vote just shows how far apart the EU establishment is from reformers and the UK.

Mr  Cameron represents an important country in Europe which has no wish to go the federalist centralising route. In the recent EU elections more than half the UK voters voted deliberately for anti EU or anti federal government parties. The socialist/Labour federalist party deliberately avoided all discussion of the EU agenda and  future EU laws, and of their candidate for the EU Presidency. They realised to talk about them  would make them more unpopular. In no sense did the UK vote for or against Mr Juncker or any other candidates for the Commission Presidency.

The problem for the UK is the European Parliament was given co decision powers at Lisbon which mean that if a majority of the Parliament agree about who should be President of the Commission they can hold out until the Council has to propose him. They have a veto on any candidate they do not want. Mr Cameron wishes to defend the right of the Council to propose and decide the Presidency of the Commission, on the reasonable grounds that the Heads of government have a better mandate and more popular support than the MEPs. The trouble is, that view requires the modification of the Treaties to reflect it fully in legal reality.

All this just goes to show the UK cannot be part of the emerging superstate. The rest of the EU is a single currency busily creating a country to back its adolescent money. The UK needs a new relationship with this grouping as soon as possible. We want to trade with them and be friends with them, but we do not wish to be part of their political union. Lisbon was the wrong Treaty for us.

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  1. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    “The problem for the UK is the European Parliament was given co decision powers at Lisbon which mean that if a majority of the Parliament agree about who should be President of the Commission they can hold out until the Council has to propose him.”

    Actually, JR, it is not correct that this change was made through the Lisbon Treaty: it was Major who agreed that the EU Parliament should become involved and should in effect have a veto on the appointment, through the Maastricht Treaty, and then it was Blair who agreed that the UK government should no longer have a national veto, through the Nice Treaty.

    Under the original 1957 Treaty of Rome the Parliament (or Assembly as it was then) had nothing whatsoever to do with the appointment of the Commission and/or its President and each government had a veto, but thanks to Major and Blair it is now the Parliament which has a veto and Cameron does not have a veto.

    If necessary I can produce the precise quotes from the treaties Rome through to Nice, but that was the way of it and it is quite astonishing that our Parliament agreed to it by passing Bills to approve those treaties.

    • Hope
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 7:13 am | Permalink

      Thanks Dennis for the correction that we need to know to make a proper judgment. Not astonishing Dennis, Euro fanatical PMs wanted it. They want to be part of an EU superstate, but will no tell the public. Spin created to deceive the public, a bit like Cameron’s current PR stunt. He did not want to cede more powers to the EU then quietly allowed the opt in to the EU arrest warrant. He also has the opportunity to change the Lisbon Treaty in 2010, he chose not to. His actions are in contrast to his weasel words. You cannot believe what he says.

      • APL
        Posted June 23, 2014 at 8:19 am | Permalink

        Hope: “Not astonishing Dennis ..”

        But it is astonishing that a legislator and supposedly arch EUrosceptic, should need to be corrected on what one would think is his bread and butter.

        Just imagine the depths of utter ignorance among the rest of the MPs who don’t bother to take an interest in European Union matters.

        • Vanessa
          Posted June 23, 2014 at 10:33 am | Permalink

          No changes in treaties matter as the Lisbon has “a self-amending clause” which means the “club of presidents” can re-write whatever they want without it going to the member parliaments.

          Fat chance Cameron has of changing anything except the colour of his lipstick.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted June 24, 2014 at 10:22 am | Permalink

            No, that is not true, it was just another misrepresentation by the Tory party leaders; they assume that the average person is inherently too thick to ever be able to understand treaties and so they come up with misleading glosses.

        • Hope
          Posted June 23, 2014 at 11:34 am | Permalink

          Read the papers about the EU paper about to be given to Cameron that dashes all his hopes of any change but reinforces closer union with the EU, including an energy union!

          Is there anyone left who believes a word Cameron says?

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted June 23, 2014 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

          To be fair I spent several hours tracking back through the treaties to establish exactly what had happened.

          • APL
            Posted June 24, 2014 at 7:05 am | Permalink

            Denis Cooper: “To be fair”

            I don’t know what your occupation is and I have no idea what your occupation is, but if you are paid £64,000 per annum to take an interest in the running of the country, to discuss and debate this countries treaties with 649 other delegates in a similar position, I would hope you have spent more than a couple of hours on the topic.

            Assuming you have an alternative occupation, I imagine you have more pressing things to do with your time.

            But in any case, thank you for spending the time you do disinterring the facts that our so called ‘representatives’ have diligently buried.

      • Timaction
        Posted June 23, 2014 at 11:20 am | Permalink

        More spin by the political class who have lied to the British people since 1972! The legacy parties are for the United States of Europe by incremental stealthy Treaty change that they have agreed and signed us up to against our wishes.
        They all still agree free movement of 485 million people, with the indigenous population totally opposed with the associated undermining of our public services, culture, heritage and overcrowding and congestion.
        It’s reported this morning that Van Rompuy is on his way to Westminster to tell Mr Cameron there will be no renegotiation – finish! No more lies or spin lets get out.
        We either want a United States of Europe or an independent democratic sovereign state. The legacy parties cant have it both ways! Only one party will deliver what we want and tell the truth.

    • acorn
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      Denis, while I think of it, have a read of http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/archive/Documents/historicpubs/speeches/2010/speech423.pdf . Paul Fisher explains why the BoE was reluctant to allow the APF to go outside of the monetary policy framework and do the job the Treasury should have been doing. Naturally, the politicians on all sides didn’t have a clue what was going on.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted June 24, 2014 at 12:00 pm | Permalink


        Obviously in early 2009 Brown and Darling had a clear understanding of certain basic facts:

        1. The government was having to borrow a quarter of all the money it was spending.

        2. If nothing was done than it would become increasingly difficult for the government to borrow such huge sums from normal investors, and not only would they start to demand higher interest rates but eventually they might refuse to lend any more at any rate.

        3. The alternative of drastically cutting the government’s borrowing requirement by drastically cutting public spending would not only be severely damaging to the economy and potentially counter-productive, it would be catastrophic for the Labour party in the year leading up to a general election.

        I guess we may have to wait at least another twenty-five years before we are permitted to know anything about the private exchanges between Darling and King which preceded each of their published letters, and even then historians might only find notes of telephone calls and emails rather than full transcripts and the full texts, but as Tucker said:

        “On 19 January 2009, the Chancellor announced that the Bank of England was being authorised to purchase “high quality private sector assets”, financed by the issue of Treasury Bills “… to increase the availability of corporate credit, by reducing the illiquidity of the underlying instruments …”.

        and yet that initial plan quickly morphed from the Treasury funding the Bank’s purchases of private sector assets for that stated purpose to the Bank creating new money to buy huge volumes of gilts previously issued by the Treasury from investors, while in parallel the Treasury was selling new gilts to much the same set of investors at much the same rate.

        The failure of the Tory party to expose what was being done, and bring the electorate to an understanding that it was only through this ploy that the financially incompetent Labour government could continue to pay full public sector salaries and social security benefits and pensions and so on, and that the government couldn’t carry on just arranging for more money to be printed indefinitely, was probably the greatest single reason for Labour escaping well-deserved annihilation at the general election.

        Reply I think it was the Bank who insisted on buying mainly gilts, against the wishes of Mr Darling.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted June 24, 2014 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

          If you are saying that the Bank bought mainly gilts against the wishes of the Chancellor then surely that is even worse than the Chancellor authorising the creation of the new money without prior approval from MPs through a vote?

  2. Leslie Singleton
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    Agree entirely that Lisbon should not have been signed. Even now we could (of course and unarguably) have a referendum on whether we should have signed. If the answer were No we could politely ask for the Treaty to be abrogated as regards ourselves, which could lead to good things. This is all too serious to get emotional. We should not concern ourselves with what the EU thinks but do what we believe is right for the United Kingdom.

  3. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    Most people know that the EU is always a large whirlpool of endless negotiations and compromise. In comes Britain: “My way, or I quit!”
    There is a mitigating circumstance: Not long ago, in 1922, Britain still commanded a quarter of the world population. Getting used to a new, slightly diminished role within one long lifetime would not be easy on anyone, and so there is sympathy for post-imperial Britain and the need to accommodate its wishes for a less involved relationship with the EU. Maybe this adaptation will have to take another lifetime?

    “And before I quit, I insist you have another chairman” That encapsulates the Cameron grotesque mistake: he has nothing to offer and comes with empty hands to the table, because he cannot command the outcome of a UK referendum. How can he expect to command 27 other government leaders???

    He might have been wiser following other EU leaders and first talk about a programme for the next five years and not about personalities.

    • formula57
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 6:41 am | Permalink

      Would Cameron’s point not be that the particular personality of Mr. Juncker pre-defines the programme he will follow?

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted June 23, 2014 at 8:16 am | Permalink

        @formula57: Of course Juncker cannot completely abandon his personal convictions, but he IS a politician with a reputation as a “fixer”. In spite of his image being “old EU” (personally I would have preferred the Danish lady or Lithuanian lady) his experience would enable him to make an à la carte menu of exceptions and opt-outs for Britain, while working for further integration in the Eurozone only. The power of EC president is much less that of a British prime-minister in his cabinet. There will be commissioners from all other 27 EU members over whom the EC president will not wield much power at all.

        • Hope
          Posted June 24, 2014 at 7:05 am | Permalink

          Peter, you concern yourself too much with other countries business. Promote staying in the EU for your country, but you have no validity telling us what you think the UK should do. We pay the taxes and we should enjoy voting for a party that we think aligns to the way of life we choose to live. This has nothing to do with the EU. In short it is not your business.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted June 24, 2014 at 10:30 am | Permalink

            He did say some time ago that he was going to desist from poking his nose into our business, at least as far as this blog was concerned. I can only suppose that the results of the EU Parliament elections have brought him back.

        • APL
          Posted June 24, 2014 at 7:15 am | Permalink

          PvL: but he IS a politician with a reputation as a “fixer”.”

          Which means he is a bully who knows where the bodies are hidden.

          PvL: “to make an à la carte menu of exceptions and opt-outs for Britain”

          You are funny Peter, the only folk dining ‘à la carte’ are the Bruxberg bureaucrats, the rest of us eat at the soup kitchen.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      Most of the living British population have no experience of being the major World power so need no adjustment Peter.

      We do have (had prior to EU prominence) rather good infrastructure and processes which allowed us to punch way above our population weight in World affairs. Our army being merely on such element.

      EU subservience has allowed our leaders to neglect our strengths freeing the left to cry out for concerted and distracting resources towards the have nots and won’t dos rather than the deliverers which has usurped our ability to dominate on a world stage.

      Getting out of the EU is the first stage of our recovery. It will be a long journey but we will prevail.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted June 23, 2014 at 8:14 am | Permalink

        @Narrow Shoulders: While wishing you success, I might point out that the world continues to change fast and thus military strength may not be your ticket to boxing above your weight in future. As a country you’re doing well in economic strength, but as I see it, you’ll be stronger in or allied to the EU than on your own.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted June 23, 2014 at 9:28 am | Permalink

          Peter–Your last sentence is the essence of the problem with I reckon all manner of psychiatric issues going back to “you” having been overrun and us not in the War. Luckily we are an island. We are perfectly strong as we are and even now we could count on considerable support from the Anglosphere and many of us simply cannot understand what you are talking about.

          We are the fifth (I think) largest Economy in the world and have no need of merger with anybody.

          Never any answers to the more obvious questions, viz

          1) Why aren’t Norway and Switzerland panting to be allowed in? I believe they are the two richest countries in the world.

          2) Why if you were to ask a Canadian whether he wanted to merge with the USA a la EU he would look at you as if you were mad? Canada is on the border (a very long land border at that) with the States of America (you will have heard of States’ Rights) so is in a similar position to the UK.

          3) Staying with North America, why does not NAFTA require the (astonishing to me) free movement across borders that your friend Juncker would die in a ditch for? More suited to central and smaller EU countries I will agree that.

          4) Why should we have given up our own Fisheries only to see them all but annihilated?

          5) Why should we put up with the CAP?

          6) Why the plethora of silly homogenising regulations?

          et cetera

          I agree that our politicians have been to blame in signing up to all this. You sound a pleasant reasonable sort of chap but all this makes me dislike you without having met you. So many of us now want OUT.

          • APL
            Posted June 24, 2014 at 11:12 am | Permalink

            Leslie Singleton: “We are the fifth (I think) largest Economy in the world and have no need of merger with anybody.”

            And gradually sliding down the league tables under the stewardship of the Party elite.

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted June 24, 2014 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

            Postscript–Not to mention massive and increasing payments being paid away by us all the time for what I see as no reason that makes any sense

        • Hope
          Posted June 23, 2014 at 11:41 am | Permalink

          Do not be ridiculous. The UK is weak and a lone small voice and have no say tied to the EU. The EU acts like a parasite that is stubborn to get rid of. let the people choose its governance, not some bureaucrat that no one has ever heard of. It is called democracy Peter.

        • APL
          Posted June 24, 2014 at 7:20 am | Permalink

          PvL: “While wishing you success,”

          No you don’t, you want the UK to be completely absorbed in the EU.

          PvL: “I might point out that the world continues to change fast ”

          As a result of EU irresponsible meddling in the affairs of Russia and the Ukraine the world has changed very much for the worse in the Ukrane for a very large number of people.

          PvL: ” ticket to boxing above your weight ”

          Good on you Peter, you have learned the Europhiles lexicon of facile terminology. May I give you some advice? Try something original once in a while. This stuff is tedious.

    • Hope
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 7:15 am | Permalink

      Better still get out of the EU and take control of the country and create our own destiny rather enter a dictatorship that costs us a fortune for little in return.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted June 23, 2014 at 8:14 am | Permalink

        @Hope: Having control of your country might actually be more of a national problem. I imagine that Germans, Dutch ans Swedes have more control of their country than you do. See how little control UKIP supporters have of their country come national elections, and compare that with the larger anti-EU representations in e.g. the Netherlands.

        • Roger Farmer
          Posted June 23, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

          Having control of our country has not been a problem we could not handle for the past 1000 years or so. Lucky we kept control of it in 1914-18 and 1939-45. we even managed with much help from the Anglosphere to return your country to it’s rightful ownership along with a lot of your partners in the EU.
          The German Dutch and through geography the Swedes have enjoyed control in their countries thanks to NATO and no other organisation.
          I would also remind you that when your countrymen voted against the Lisbon Treaty you were told by Brussels to go home and think again which like naughty boys you did. You enjoy your corrupt, totalitarian dictatorship but do not ask us to rescue you a third time.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted June 23, 2014 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

            @Roger Farmer: Nato was/is only an alliance against external aggression and had/has no role in the peace within the EU. There were never cruise missiles or other deterrents directed from one EU member against another. You just fall for misinformation, sorry. You’re also misinformed about the Lisbon treaty and its predecessor the constitutional treaty. What a sorry sight to witness from over here.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted June 24, 2014 at 10:33 am | Permalink

            Well then, don’t look, concentrate on your own country.

        • Hope
          Posted June 23, 2014 at 11:38 am | Permalink

          I would rather take my chances in the world and be free rather than be be tied to the dead corpse of the EU. You should be promoting your views in your country’s and what you view to be best for it not ours.

        • Anonymous
          Posted June 23, 2014 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

          Peter – That the Green Party can win a seat in our parliament and that UKIP can’t says a lot about the travesty that is our ‘democratic’ system. Despite this UKIP is becoming a force which can determine the outcomes of elections and has already knocked at least one established party off the top table – there was also a concerted cross party and media campaign against UKIP and an the fielding of UKIP-a-like parties to split their votes.

          Many informed people such as yourself allege that UKIPers hold beliefs on immigration that they don’t. If they did then they would have been voting BNP long ago. The British are never praised for rejecting far right politics unlike the French.

          Please explain why you think Britain is stronger in the EU than out.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 23, 2014 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

            Anonymous: “That the Green Party can win a seat in our parliament and that UKIP can’t says a lot about the travesty that is our ‘democratic’ system.”

            No it says a lot about tailoring ones manifesto to to a specific constituency to obtain an MP…

          • Hope
            Posted June 24, 2014 at 7:07 am | Permalink

            Change can happen by all of us voting the correct way. Get the stay homes to vote.

    • David Price
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      What an atavistic mindset you have Peter, as far as I am aware the only person who has been obsessed with the British empire on this blog is you. As a nation we have adjusted and have a different relationship with our cousins in the Commonwealth today, one we should re-focus on with the decline of the EU economy and it’s super-state mindset and goals.

      You laud EU processes and law keeping yet seem to have no problem at all with Angela Merkel’s “my way or I don’t bail out the broken banks” approach or punishing all transgressions of EU rules unless it is Germany or France doing the transgressing.

      Endless negotiations and agreements with the EU have been demonstrated to be worthless, for example the reneging on CAP reduction in return for the UK rebate reduction. Appointing a EU Federalist as president will ensure there is no compromise on the headlong rush to a superstate despite the clearly signalled missgivings of a large proportion of European voters and their politicians. So for the EU there will be no reforms, no changes, no improvement only increasing bureaucracy and dwindling economies.

      We are better off out of this poisonous mire.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted June 23, 2014 at 8:35 am | Permalink

        @David Price: This may not count for you, but I still wouldn’t underestimate these feelings in the British psyche. I see them often enough in British writing, usually in terms of nostalgia. Of course I can have problems with Merkel and other EU leaders, but they play the game very differently, in much less confrontational approach. The UK press often depicts them in caricatures of power, but also Merkel can and has been overruled at times. The CAP has changed a lot since it started and is has been reduced at every step. Not enough to my liking, but that again is a matter of compromise. I disagree with you that “endless negotiations and agreements” within the EU are worthless. I actually find it amazing that so much has been agreed on by so many European countries for such a long time already. “Superstate” is misreading the intentions of most EU leaders. The EU, even the Eurozone will always be a hybrid monster (I chose monster just to please you you David, trying to see things from your perspective 🙂 )

        • David Price
          Posted June 24, 2014 at 5:22 am | Permalink

          You mistake the MSM articles by a few opinionated journalists and posturing of some politicians for the views of the majority in this country. I do not pretend to speak for all the people in this country and you certainly cannot, especially when you can’t tell the difference between commemoration and celebration.

          We have a past and for the most part have learned from it. The acolytes of the EU process, which ignore the express wishes of citizens of European nations, seem to have learned nothing.

          It is deeds that matter not words, promises nor stated intentions, especially from the EU, which is why I want our country out of it.

        • Hope
          Posted June 24, 2014 at 7:08 am | Permalink

          Peter, this is nothing to do with you. Express your views to your countrymen. Your propaganda is no use to the people who live here.

      • Anonymous
        Posted June 23, 2014 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

        David Price – Quite right. I’m not a jingoist by any stretch of the imagination and have never, for example, painted my face or draped myself in national colours even sportingly as mentioned by Mr van Leeuwen in an earlier posting. Like most Englishmen my nationalism is understated and I even find the nationalism in sport off putting.

        ‘Little Englander’ is always used in the pejorative sense. What we Little Englanders want, above all else, is a sense of proper proportion for our country and to keep our noses out of other people’s business. What is so small minded about that ?

    • Douglas Carter
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      Peter – we’ve discussed these and other matters elsewhere so in this case what I say may seem to be putting words in your mouth, what I write here is based on previous discussions between the two of us.

      I think you make too much of the previous ‘Empire’ associations but I’ll leave that to one side. It’s quite true that the British involvement in the EU project is fractious and difficult to resolve, and previously you and I have been in agreement that the problems are due in no small part to the UK Government procedures over the decades which have been tailored to integration by means of the misleading and misdirection of the British public. Even now many people are convinced by the mythology that the EU is a trading zone. The notion of sovereignties and competences being permanently lost by the UK Government – and wilfully so – never clearly explained nor admitted. Public debate on the matter assiduously evaded. Mea Culpa as they say. I’d be happy to concede that without a moment’s hesitation.

      However, the UK Government isn’t wholly at fault in this. Over the decades (but excluding more immediate months) the figures at the heart of EU integration on the European continent have contentedly remained entirely silent whilst successive UK Governments carried out exactly that misdirection and the misleading promises of what the EU would, and would not, bring. In silence, they colluded in the process. If the UK is seen as an unwelcome nuisance in contemporary years in this, it remains at equal fault to those previous significant persons who permitted the divergence between actual EU integration and the broader UK public understanding of the EU. Only in relatively recent months (example, Viviene Reding) have senior EU figures been more stridently uncompromising in honesty in their vision of where the EU is going. Five years ago you would have heard J.M. Barroso saying phrases such as ‘even I don’t want a United States of Europe’ where in more recent months he’s been proposing exactly that under the clarion call that Governments must be ‘courageous’.

      UK Governments have not been clear on EU membership in the past, and intentionally so. EU leaders and leaders of EU member states have assisted in that process. As I’ve said earlier, I concede the UK has acted badly in this. We weren’t the only ones…..

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted June 23, 2014 at 9:41 am | Permalink

        @Douglas Carter: As you lift the discussion to another level, not about personalities, I do have to agree with you here. In my country for instance, some real EU issues i.e. the integrating effects that the banking union will have over the longer term were not part of any (EP) election debate and as such, the Dutch public was largely kept in the dark about that.
        One may also conclude that the political project called “the euro” (necessitated by the fear of German re-unification) was not well explained at the time, although EU experts knew that in turn this would necessitate more integration. Leaders didn’t and don’t do well in explaining the EU.
        All the same, people like Vivian Reding are not calling the shots. If Cameron were to have ministers from a minor denomination, say a jehova witness, it wouldn’t change government policy implementation. There are many more politicians who want to have more power for national parliaments and I believe that there would be quite a few allies to be found for pushing a reform agenda. Already last year, the Dutch government listed over 50 items, where subsidiarity would have to be applied, it has stated that “ever closer union” is not to apply across the board anymore and much larger countries like Germany and even Italy may join in pressing for reform under certain conditions.
        So I agree with you that many EU countries are misusing the general disinterest of people about European affairs, preferring to keep it superficial and popular, but I also think that the EU will gradually change in a way that some in the UK may actually like. What surprises me a little is that the EU is often seen as a community of values over here (continent), not just about economy, but I don’t ever read that in Britain.

      • Hope
        Posted June 23, 2014 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        Excellent post and exactly spot on.

      • Anonymous
        Posted June 23, 2014 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

        Douglas – As well as the deceit employed by successive UK governments against their own people to draw us ever closer in union our own governments lie to us (especially Conservative ones) and often blame the EU for the many ills besetting our country.

        There follows surprise and outrage when a party like UKIP gains popularity.

        The latest lies are that UKIP supporters are angry with immigrants and angry with the EU. (In fact the tolerance of the English is beyond compare but is never praised or acknowledged)

        We aren’t. We’re angry with our own political establishment.

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Peter. Totally right. I am no supporter of Junker or Cameron but Cameron who has occasionally performed quite well in EU negotiations has made a fool of himself and the nation here. He has offended most of the important players with intemperate remarks and duly lost any meaningful support that he may have had. The German popular press has got hold of it and cornered Merkel. The SPD in Germany now also support Junker and the two largest parties in the EP are now united on this issue. Italy have come on board as they do not want to start their watch with this hanging over. Hollande has seized the moment and got nine others on board. So centre left and centre right now support Junker. However Ian Duncan Smith enters the fray and says the leaders are ignoring the results of the recent elections. The labour party fail to support anybody and then criticise Cameron when he loses. The real losers are the British political establishment who look ridiculous.

    • acorn
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      Peter, UK politics is all about personalities, policies come a poor second. That ‘s why I call it a Punch and Judy parliament. The EU election debate was non-existent in the UK compared with what I have been told by contacts in France and Italy etc.

      The Brits understand that if you elect a political party and it wins; you know the leader of that party will be Prime Minister. The PM being the head of the “executive” branch of the government.

      Nobody has explained to Brits that the EU now wants to do the same. If you vote for an EU party and it wins, you get the guy that party proposed to be head of the EU “executive”, that is the “European Commission”. Juncker was that guy for the EPP; the winning party.

      Inorder to get the Conservative leadership, Cameron had to pledge an exit from the EPP, (considered to be part of a Franco-German federalist conspiracy); start up the ECR group. The ECR declined to put up an alternative candidate to Juncker for the 2014 election. “The AECR did not propose a candidate for the Commission Presidency as part of the 2014 European election, arguing that the process lacked both legal authority and public support.” As you wrote Peter – In comes Britain: “My way, or I quit!”.

      Mind you the ECR has selected the first British Muslim to be elected to the Parliament in 2004 Sajjad Karim, to be its candidate for European Parliament president. Presumably that process has not “lacked both legal authority and public support”.

      The UK is a square peg in a round hole when it comes to the EU. I wish there was a rule by which they could kick us out. Perhaps then, we could apply to become the 51st State of the USA, presuming Puerto Rico doesn’t get there first.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted June 24, 2014 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        The British understand that you vote for politicians to exercise political control as ministers in a government but the civil service is supposed to be politically impartial and you do not have elections, let alone party political elections, to choose the head of the civil service; and how often over the years have we been reassured that the EU Commission is really just like the EU’s civil service, and not in any way like a new government?

    • Mark
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      I agree with you that Cameron’s posturing on this looks more like an excuse for not tackling the real issues that need sorting out inside the EU – a bureaucracy run riot, and a scandalous lack of accountability on its spending.

    • libertarian
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 11:10 am | Permalink


      Not for the first time you have got the issue and problems backwards. It is the EU that is trying to recreate the past by setting up a colonial federal dictatorship. England has moved on, we now recognise that in the 21st century, small is beautiful and thanks entirely to the anglosphere invention of new digital technology and the world wide web we no longer need armies, bureaucrats and empires in order to trade and interact on a global basis. We don’t need centralised political control any longer. We need local freedom and democracy and the ability to trade on a world stage not in a closed old style custom union. Not for the first time are the continental countries behind the curve. Just what is it that prevents the once great trading nations of Holland, Spain and Portugal from engaging in the real world anymore? I understand you were all badly hurt by the 2nd World War but at some stage you have to move on.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted June 23, 2014 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

        @libertarian: I don’t see an EU federation yet and I don’t see colonial characteristics. Its a completely different setup. Time will tell libertarian if your belief in England/ the UK being more successful outside will come true.

    • Timaction
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      ………talk first with other EU leaders. No the legacy parties should ask the British people if we want any part of this dictatorship We don’t!

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted June 23, 2014 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

        @Timaction: I don’t see a dictatorship. I see a union that you voluntarily joined and can voluntarily leave. For you as a country to decide.

        • Timactionth
          Posted June 24, 2014 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

          No. We were sold a trade only deal by our lying politicians. Who have lied about the Treaty changes and loss of soverienty and democracy by incremental stealthy treaty change. Besides it really is of no concern to you what the majority of the English want. Out to free us from the unelected EU dictatorship. It will happen, whatever it takes!

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Nor can Cameron command the outcome of the Scottish referendum which is far more important than all this talk about an opt out for the UK from the EU, because there may not be any UK to opt out with after September 18th.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted June 23, 2014 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

        @Max Dunbar: Some of the arguments Cameron uses about Juncker (not being on the ballot paper), the Scots use about Cameron. I believe that only a few thousand people in the Witney safe seat actually directly voted for him, illustrating how easy it is to make skewed arguments about democratic processes and Cameron had done better to limit himself to other arguments, like the way the procedure is written in the treaties.

    • Martyn G
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 11:34 pm | Permalink


      Would you care to tell me, please, of another country like England that has been ‘disappeared’ of the map of not just Europe, but in the EU eyes of the map of the world?
      Furthermore, Many influential people in the EU seem to hate England and the English. Why is that, do you suppose? Is it perhaps because we pulled your irons out of the fire in past European dictatorial attempts to impose their will upon all other nations?
      And is it not the case that here we are again?

  4. Old Albion
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    Mr Cameron will pose and posture, then Juncker will get the job.
    The EU is an un-democratic soviet type bloc. No one in the (dis)UK has ever voted for this political union. The fact we continue to be denied a vote brings shame on all Wesminster puppet MP’s.

    • Vanessa
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Juncker, it is said, will NOT get the job. Merkel does NOT want him and this is all “theatre” for the EU and Cameron. When someone else is parachuted in Cameron can say how wonderful he is and how much influence the UK as in the EU.

    • Max Dunbar
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      The ‘(dis)UK.’
      And more ‘dis’ after September no matter what the referendum result in Scotland because Cameron will give away more powers to the Salmond regime and thereby further fracture and weaken the country, and that includes England despite what some English nationalists may like to think.
      If you think that the EU is bad, it is nothing compared to the danger that England will be in if Scotland is allowed off the leash. You will have a ‘soviet type bloc’ on your doorstep but an aggressively neo-Marxist one with all that that entails.

  5. A.Sedgwick
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    We can only hope that DC sees the light before it is too late.

  6. mick
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    If i remember rightly Mr Cameron did say that if Mr Juncker got the job he would bring the EU referendum forward, or was this just playing to the gallery

    • Edmund in Tokyo
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      At the risk of being too conspiratorial, there is a possible bit of politics that he might be playing here: Under pressure from back-benchers Cameron has promised to use the Parliament Act to pass the referendum bill against delaying tactics by the Lords. It would be quite inconvenient for David Cameron if this were to actually pass, because he’d presumably rather preserve the freedom of action that the MPs are trying to take away from him by passing the bill now; If he wins the election and wants a referendum he can legislate for it then, but he’d still have some flexibility if something unexpected went wrong with the timetable. (“No EU treaty yet for our renegotiation reforms? I’m sure Angela said there would be one by 2017. But it’s just around the corner, if we wait a little bit longer…”).

      The way to neuter the bill is if the Commons amends it in some way. This means that the Parliament Act doesn’t work, and Lib/Lab can deniably kill it in the Lords. Normally it would be hard to get a wrecking amendment through, but what if the amendment brings the referendum forwards? I doubt that Tories with strong UKIP challengers are going to relish the idea of explaining the fine points of the Parliament Act to voters who are getting leaflets saying their MP voted against an early referendum.

      Reply: Nonsense. Mr Cameron wants the Referendum Bill and has placed a 3 line whip on it.

      So Cameron announces that Juncker is unacceptable, amends the referendum bill in revenge, rousing cheers from the back-benches, and no need to hold that annoying referendum unless he wants to at the time…

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted June 24, 2014 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        Even if the Act was passed it could be repealed or amended at the behest of whoever had won the next general election.

    • Colin
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      Oh, that was just a cast-iron pledge, that’s all.

  7. formula57
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    The pass was sold long ago (per Denis Cooper’s points first above about Maastricht and Nice) and so what is Cameron playing at, particularly given, as you say, “The trouble is, that view requires the modification of the Treaties to reflect it fully in legal reality”?

    The UK view is clearly far out of step with most of the rest of the EU and harmonization is improbable. Perhaps the longer the UK remains a part of the EU, the more damage, possibly lasting in nature, will be done to its relationships with its neighbouring states. Time for everyone’s sake that it left? Is that what Cameron is aiming for after all?

  8. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Juncker politics – and the fact that he is supported by Mrs Merkel – convinces me that any attempt at renegotiation is likely to fail. Certainly, my minimum agenda for the repatriation of powers is repeal of our Acts of Accession to the Maastricht, Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon Treaties, full control of our borders, an end to our commitment to ever closer Union and an accompanying severe reduction in the powers of the various European Courts.

    That’s quite a list and, if we are going to demand all that, it will be good to have allies. For example, would not Sweden and Denmark prefer such a looser arrangement. Mrs Merkel may be readier to accept a two ring Europe than to give a special deal to one Member State.

    I was thinking of forming, if it has not already been done, an organisation called ‘Conservatives for Out’. Sooner or later, it would need to be taken over by Conservative MPs with a similar caste of mind.

    • Graham
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      Our tough demands are more likely

      1) that we can still drive on the left
      2) we want bent bananas back
      3)our contribution limit to be no more than 5% p a

      There – that should show them!!

      • Bryan
        Posted June 23, 2014 at 8:06 am | Permalink

        But you have missed the most important thing of all – bent cucumbers!

    • Jerry
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      @Lindsay McDougall: “That’s quite a list and, if we are going to demand all that, it will be good to have allies.”

      Indeed it is, basically you are asking Cameron to open Clause 50 renegotiations, and at the most the UK being a part of the EEA, although I doubt that will actually meet your criteria as the EEA came into effect after Maastricht. Thus I very much doubt that either Sweden nor Denmark could be relied on as allies as they seem to quite like being within the EU, although I’m sure that we can count on Norway being our on our side, but unfortunately they don’t have a vote at the top table, not even at the side table. Reason enough why it is my belief that if the UK is not going to be a fully paid up member of the EU, meaning that we fully ratify Schengen for example (don’t all scream at once), then it would be better for the UK leave the EU and join that other trading group, the one that goes by the abbreviation “RotW”, and is policed by the WTO. If we feel the need for extra clout then there are other trade groups such as NAFTA that we might be able to join.

      Renegotiations will have to be EU wide, not just what the UK wants, the era of UK opt-outs are over, nor should we ask for such opt-outs as they merely obscure the truth that is the EU and the wish for a United States of Europe. If the UK is going to be such a member state then politically, legally, culturally, socially we might be better off applying to be the 51st state – I jest of course, well a bit…

  9. Jerry
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    “The UK needs a new relationship with this grouping as soon as possible. We want to trade with them and be friends with them, but we do not wish to be part of their political union. Lisbon was the wrong Treaty for us.

    Indeed, the UK needs to be either fully in or fully out, we can no longer sit on the fence, how we have lasted this long without toppling off into either pastures new or that bed of nettles that await those whop won’t jump I really don’t know.

    With Juncker in place, with the new voting rules, with the new MEP groupings, I don;t see any point in waiting until 2017, if Cameron now thinks that he will be able to renegotiate against such a background….sorry, although I’m still not voting UKIP all you Ukippers out their!

    I assume that there is not enough will in the house to push for a speedy referendum, that is before the next general election (I’m thinking mid to late Oct. this year, around 5 weeks after the Scottish decision is known [1]) I assume that even if Cameron was supportive -even perhaps using a three line whip on his own party, Labour and the LibDems would vote the other way? The Tories need this question to be settled before the next election, otherwise they risk turning our domestic election into a vote about the EU, if a referendum was held before May next year it would neutralise the UKIP effect – if not remove their whole reason for being, although I’m sure that they would find some other issue to protest about!

    On a different, but related topic (seeing that a european network of interconnected high speed rail routes is a EU pet project), I see that Osborne is going to announce yet another white-elephant, this time a new (?) line between Manchester and Leeds, as if it takes many hours to travel between those two destinations now anyway -either by motor vehicle or train, and yes I have driven the M62 in winter before anyone asks. Who, even with high speeds trains, going to travel to Leeds via Manchester from London, surely they will simply take the direct ECML route, perhaps having a meal, catching up on some work, or perhaps just relaxing. When will this vanity obsession with high speed end, even more so when fewer people are meeting face to face, if people can do business with China via VOIP conference calls, share files or even screens over the internet then I’m sure that people within in the UK can do so to!

    [1] the decision to hold a referendum, would likely have to be made before the summer recess, short of a recall, but the detail could only be decided once Scotland’s own vote has taken place.

    Reply As we saw last year there is no majority in both Houses for a referendum in 2017, let alone for one this year. As some polls show a majority to stay in, moving immediately to a referendum may anyway be unwise. The public need to go through renegotiation to see there is no acceptable deal on offer first – or to discover there is a new relationship on offer which falls short of exit that they do want.

    • Timaction
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      Please take a look at todays reports in the national press. Mr Van Rompuy has told Mr Cameron there will be no major treaty change! So lets get on with reality not fairy tales. They might let him reduce regulations on bent cucumbers as a peace offering and Mr Cameron will declare it a success recommending our continued membership whilst building over the New Forest to house all our new arrivals under free movement rules!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      There is still just about time to arrange for a “mandate” referendum this autumn; the question could be along the lines proposed by David Davis, but my preferred question would get to the heart of the matter by asking people whether they want the UK to continue further with the process of “ever closer union” prescribed by the present EU treaties. If the British people do not want “ever closer union” with their neighbours, which Cameron says is the case, then the UK should not signed up to treaties which prescribe “ever closer union”, it’s as simple as that.

  10. The PrangWizard
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    It’s that elastic ‘new relationship’ expression you use all the time that constantly worries me. I just do not know what exactly you mean by it. You were, I think, in favour of a negotiation to get better terms and then a vote, which would seem to be a new relationship you would accept. If now your ‘new relationship’ means out then please, I am a simple unsophisticated soul, speak plainly and stop using it. For me that’s the only answer. Whatever better terms we may (or more likely, won’t get) won’t make a scrap of difference and the juggernaut will roll on, taking us with it. I have sympathy for the Europeans who get exasperated and think ‘for Goodness sake, make your mind up’. I can understand they won’t want a member like the UK whining on all the time ‘its not fair’. Let’s face it we’ve had 30 odd years of all this, for those of who don’t like where we are let’s just stop pussy-footing and argue for out.

    Reply I have always been extremely clear about what I want. In the last referendum I voted for Out. I accepted defeat and the view of the UK people who wanted a common market. I have ever since argued for a relationship based on trade and political co-operation. I argued against the Single European Act and Maastricht, and voted against Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon and want out of these treaties.

  11. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    I am hugely excited to see Cameron’s next move when he is ignored.

    Will he climb down humiliated? Weillhe start the renegotiation immediately? Will he demand our EU related IMF funds be returned. Petulance dressed up as statesmanship, which is the EU way, is my recommendation.

  12. Mike P
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Doesn’t this underline how wrong the last Labour Government was to sign the Lisbon Treaty into law ? At the time it was widely described as just tidying up bits of legislation rather than setting the EU on a course of ever closer union.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted June 24, 2014 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      Mike–My memory is that it was specifically Peter Hain (who clearly had not even begun to read the thing) who was describing it as “just a piece of tidying up”. Impeach him (and Blair) for my money.

  13. Hefner
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    Isn’t this the result of the UK Conservatives some years ago creating the ECR instead of joining the EPP? A strategic blunder?

    • Jerry
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      @Hefner: “Isn’t this the result of the UK Conservatives some years ago creating the ECR instead of joining the EPP?”

      No, it is the result of Mrs Thatcher signing the Single European Act (SEA) in 1986, followed by Mr Major signing Maastricht in 1991, without which the the groups you refer to either would not exist or would not have the power the power to influence as they do. A great pity that Mrs Thatcher didn’t heed the advice of our host!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      No, it’s the result of the Conservatives approving the Maastricht Treaty and then Labour approving the Nice Treaty.

  14. Bob
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    “an odd idea for the EU to hold an important meeting at Ypres and then to say the participants cannot have a good row there because of the past tragic history.

    That’s how totalitarianism works Mr Redwood.
    I’m surprised that you’re surprised.

  15. Lifelogic
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Yes, but any other Candidate will be virtually the same Cameron is just posturing. “The UK cannot be part of the emerging superstate” but it is and Cameron is clearly working for this superstate. Anyone who can implement gender neutral insurance and pensions and thinks HS2 trains & now for the northern cities too, are a good idea has clearly not got a clue about anything much in the real world.

  16. oldtimer
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    What will be revealing is the next fudge and compromise to be offered up as a sop to keep the UK in (if that is really what Mrs Merkel wants) or whether, as some in the German media are saying, the message to the UK is accept Juncker and the evolving EU or get out.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      “the message to the UK is accept Juncker and the evolving EU or get out.”
      If only that were the case we could happily leave. The snag is that Cameron et al are determined to keep us in and Mrs Merkel wants our money.

  17. Bryan
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    I read today that the EU will produce the Chimera of reform to salve Mr Cameron’s hurt and allow him to return home in ‘triumph’.

    Was it ever so.

    Is anybody else concerned that increasingly, what Mrs Merkel wants then Mrs Merkel seems to get? And if she disagrees then one is trumped?

  18. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    JR: “All this just goes to show the UK cannot be part of the emerging superstate.”
    Agreed, but your leader and the other EUphiles in Westminster continually peddle the line (lie) that there is no intention of building a ‘superstate’. The whole Juncker affair is just EU politics for the masses. A charade, a mere episode in the soap opera whilst the juggernaut trundles on. Cameron has a ‘star’ role to give the impression that he really means it when he talks about ‘renegotiation’ whilst behind the scenes he is happily watering down his ‘demands’. As your MEP colleague Dan Hannan writes in the Telegraph: ” Now all that has been dropped, and he has produced a list of seven paltry changes, few of which would require an intergovernmental conference, and all of which have been enthusiastically endorsed by Nick Clegg and Ken Clarke on grounds that they won’t change anything.” We know Cameron doesn’t want Juncker but whom does he want? It suits him not to tell us because then he would have to explain why and the whole deception might begin to unravel. This is all a bit part in the scenario to hoodwink the British people as Wilson did in 1975. Just how anyone, who voted for Out then, could, not just fall for this ruse again, but, actively endorse it shows the needs of party loyalty trump those of country.

  19. Richard1
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Itis interesting how the EU issue has moved in UK politics over the last 4 decades. For the first 2 decades, membership of the EU was broadly a right of Centre position in the UK because it meant more free trade and agreed restrictions on govt interventionism. Increasingly now its the left that is pro EU federalism. That because the EU now has, by international comparison in the post socialist world, a relatively high tax, protectionist and of course global warmist agenda.

    Its certainly time for a renegotiation as you say. For the renegotiation to have any chance there needs to be the backstop of a referendum. For there to be a referendum there needs to be a Conservative govt.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      The “backstop” is not the referendum but the result the referendum delivers. You can be certain that as long as Conservative Party Policy is that the UK should be in the EU they will deliver, to the extent that they can get away with, their promised referendum in such a way as to maximise the vote of staying in.

  20. Mark B
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Junker will NOT get the job !

    A ‘compromise solution’ will be announced and Cameron will claim victory. The truth is, it does not matter a jot who gets the ‘top job’, little or nothing will change. The march too, “Ever closer UNION”, will continue regardless. This is just a game that they are playing. It means nothing in reality.

  21. English Pensioner
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    If we were not in the EU it would mean that there would be no posts available to fill with useless cronies of the government whom they need to “keep onside”. Nor would there any posts for high level civil servants who have reached their level of incompetence.
    There can be no other logical explanation of the appointment of so many failed politicians to EU institutions and the proposed appointment of Juncker, who has been rejected by his own countrymen, merely adds weight to my argument.

  22. Alan Wheatley
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    As to “the reasonable grounds that the Heads of government have a better mandate and more popular support than the MEPs”, this is only reasonable on matters decided by the national parliament. For matters decided at the EU level I would say the MEPs have the mandate.

    The last paragraph is correct, save that Lisbon it but the last in a series of treaties that have been wrong for the UK.

  23. Roger Farmer
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    You state correctly that currently in neither House is there a majority for a referendum even in 2017. Do you think 200 odd Conservative MPs will all change their minds after 2015. It all adds up to Cameron having no real interest in re-negotiation because he is a Europhile. I can give you a cast iron guarantee on that. British officials are going through the motions only confirming that it is all a farcical sham. To quote Daniel Hannan today:-

    ” Inexplicably, British officials are seeking milk and water changes to the entire EU structure, instead of grabbing at the special status that Euro-Federalists are offering us. Jacques Delors wants Britain to enjoy free trade and intergovernmental cooperation with the EU, rather than political amalgamation. He calls the idea “Privileged Partnership”. The Union of European Federalists prefers the name “Associate Status”. Juncker himself has indicated that Britain has a separate political vocation, and insists on the universal applicability only of the four freedoms of the single market, free movement, that is, of goods, services, labour, and capital.”
    I would call it EFTA.

    Within the above I am sure there is a solution to our liking, but it is being blocked by a small minority who quite undemocratically insist that they know best.

    The only way the UK electorate will get a say on any proposals coming out of Europe is to vote in 2015 for the roughly 100 Conservative MPs who truly want out, a mere handful of Labour MPs who want out too, and the only other vote has to be UKIP in constituencies where there is no candidate advocating out.

    I find it ironic that the only offers and solutions for Britain are coming from Europe while our own leaders squirrel away to stay in. Well you have had one message from the UK electorate at the European election. Are you going to continue pretending it did not happen or are you going to do something about it. etc ed

  24. Kenneth
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    What annoys me is Labour’s position.

    It says that we should argue for reform from within the eu.

    However, where did that get them while they were in office?

    They also say that we need to stop alienating the eu and its members as this is why they do not treat us favourably.

    The Labour Party, in common with many others, has a low opinion of the eu. It openly worries that the eu will operate out of spite.

    If that is the opinion of the Labour Party why does it want us to continue to be part of this organisation, especially as the ‘friendly’ approach they adopted while in office made our situation worse?

  25. Peter Stroud
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Mr Cameron would do well to bring forward the IN/OUT referendum to 2015/16. But not campaign for the IN vote.

  26. Terry
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    These Top EU appointments always have an unpleasant smell about them. Why is the Commissioner always from one of the smaller countries with in the EU? Portugal, Belgium and Luxembourg are small aren’t they? And why can’t the electorate within the EU decide who they want as its President? Let’s face it with 28 member states Britain’s influence is no more than that of for example, Belgium, Poland, Romania or Bulgaria. All those countries that are net gainers are always bound to vote for more money to be extracted from the net contributors and handed over to themselves and the EU Administration. It is always going to be a lose/loses situation for us.

    Can somebody please enlighten me! What good is the EU other than as a single market? And why can’t we do much better on our own? I’m sick of the whole facade.

  27. Richard
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 11:41 am | Permalink


    You are correct in your explanation as to why the left have moved from being anti to being pro the EU, although I would use the simpler explanation that they now see the EU as creating poverty rather than wealth.

    But I think you are mistaken if you think the Conservatives are any less pro EU and hence more likely to give the UK an EU in/out referendum.

    This is because the Conservative Party is driven at the top by “big business” and the EU is the perfect vehicle for these organisations to get their way.

    I do not believe that Mr. Cameron can or indeed wants to negotiate a more appropriate membership for the UK. For instance, we have yet to learn from him what he wants to achieve from any renegotiation.

    And, even if the Conservatives win the next GE, some “event” will take place between the GE and 2017 to ensure that no referendum is offered – perhaps one as simple as Mr. Cameron resigning as PM.

  28. Max Dunbar
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    I’m very glad to read you saying that ‘Mr Cameron represents an important country in Europe which has no wish to go the federalist centralising route.’ It is important to stress that.
    To say that the UK is a country, reassures all of us who believe that without unity and a strong sense of purpose we cannot negotiate favourably with foreign states including the over-powerful EU.

  29. Dr Evil
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t the EC offering us an associated status or affiliate status that our dear civil servants and politicos will not take? It’s EU lite with opt outs except for the four cornerstones which unfortunately contains free movement of people. We really must re-export EU freeloaders on welfare and introduce a harsh system (a quota system by any other name) to restrict admission to high flyers and the highly qualified that are of benefit to us.

  30. waramess
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Cut through the crap and Juncker is the best man for the job by far and should appeal to the Europhiles and the Eurosceptics alike.

    He is a Federalist and will be the head of a Federalist institution and, the EU as it is now styled, has never hidden it’s aim to become a Federal State.

    The UK position is flawed. A bit like having joined a golf club and now insisting they thought it was a tennis club they were joining. Why are they not playing tennis? Because they are a golf club, silly.

    Juncker’s appointment will mean the EU are being quite open about their status and, if you are a Europhile, this is the opportunity to embrace it whilst if you are a Eurosceptic this will provide the opportunity to allow the membership to lapse.

    Other than those two opposing ends of the spectrum there are those that failed to take notice of what was being done in their name and those who wish to deceive the electorate into believing there is a third way.

    Bring on Juncker and let it all hang out for either we are for or we are against a Federal Europe and Juncker is the catalyst

  31. Mike Stallard
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    We cannot remain in the EU because it is deliberately about to be changed into the Union. All the candidates, as far as I can see, want “More Europe”. Nobody in UK wants this – although a very great number, as I understand it, on the continent want it very much.

    We cannot leave because the small print of Article 50 says that there is a set procedure which will take years and make a lot of lawyers very rich as they drag their very expensive heels. Again, the leaders of Europe – M. Barroso, Mrs Merkel – really want Britain to remain part of European Unity. Everyone knows, too, that just leaving Europe would have a terrible effect on our trade.

    So we must join EFTA as soon as possible. Then negotiate like fury.

  32. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    In a less polarised situation (guess who polarised it) the European Council might have done something nifty like now appointing Juncker (with his consent) as the new European Council chairman, and leave the position of EC president open for the moment, and first focus and come out with a strict set of priorities and limitations for the EC, prescribed by the European Council.
    That would of course lead to discussion between Council and Parliament on that programme. A suitable candidate would be found a bit later on, based on a profile fitting that programme.

  33. sm
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    Congratulate Mr Junker , wish him well. Then exit the EU and cease contributions and move forwards on controlling issues hitherto our useless lot said they couldnt.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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