Who is sovereign? That “Ship money” moment?


Parliament in the UK established its power  by insisting that it should approve taxation before it was imposed by the King or Queen. When the Crown needed more money it had to summons Parliament. Parliament insisted on the redress of its grievances before voting the monarch the money he wanted. The fact that Kings and Queens  had to ask Parliament for new taxes made them wary of asking for too much too o0ften.

The Crown also accepted Parliament’s role as a legislator and used Parliament to pass new laws. A crucial series of Acts in the 1530s established UK supremacy over the clergy and the Church. In England the Reformation was largely a peaceful Parliamentary process, where Parliament asserted the Crown’s sovereignty. The Pope’s power was extinguished by Act of Parliament, and individuals lost their right to appeal to Rome for ultimate judgements of their cases.

In the 1630s the King attempted to rule without Parliament and experimented with new taxes that he wished to impose without Parliamentary authority.  Parliament’s challenge to this presumption by Charles I was an important part of the outbreak of the civil war. During the Protectorate and in  the 1660 Restoration Parliament’s control over taxes was firmly re-established.

Today the threat to Parliament’s power to tax comes not from the monarch but from the EU. The reason so many of us object to the EU’s retrospective recalculation of our tax bill to the EU is that we, the UK electorate and Parliament, have no control or say over this. Defenders of the EU say the UK should just pay up. They claim it is like a change of calculation for an individual’s income tax, or like an increased subscription from a club we belong to. I disagree.

The EU’s £1.7 bn tax is not a simple change to a bill we owe, something the UK government can easily provide for. At a time when the UK government is already borrowing too much and has imposed high taxes, this is an unaffordable new imposition. It is not a tax on the UK government, but a new direct tax on all UK taxpayers who are expected by the EU to consume and spend less so the EU can spend more or give more to other countries.

The EU is not a a set of binding obligations like income tax on an individual, It is a series of opaque and often ambiguous and contradictory international agreements between states within  the EU. There is a legal structure, but there is also a political structure, so that from time to time countries avoid or amend their apparent legal obligations when the politics of them is unacceptable. Just look at the way the obligation to bring balance of payments accounts into balance has been ignored throughout most of the life of the EU, or the way the need to keep budget deficits to 3% or below has been breached for long periods by many states. Is the UK now to comply with the budget deficit reduction requirement, which means not paying the extra impost, or with the tax bill?

The UK Parliament is still sovereign in the UK for one very good reason. Parliament , and Parliament  alone, can decide to repeal or amend the European Communities Act 1972 which remains the origin and fount of all EU power in the UK. If we continue in the EU for a long period without ever using Parliament’s sovereign power, this may change. If we accept a European army and police force we might reach the position where disagreeing with an EU measure becomes law breaking  or an act of rebellion. Today we have  not reached that position. If Parliament does not agree with this new tax, then it should simply amend the 1972 Act to legalise non payment. I doubt they would try to end our membership, as it remains a great deal for the EU.  I also expect they would find all sorts of changes to our budget deal are possible, if we moved to do this, as they would see the dangers to them of the UK visibly reasserting Parliamentary sovereignty.

In the EU everything is renegotiable to those with the political will when they are paying for the organisation. It is not yet a centralised state with the power to tax UK citizens as if it were the UK Parliament imposing Income Tax.

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  1. Brian Taylor
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    The key phrase in your Blog today is, Those with the political WILL,
    Is it not now the time to explain what are the red lines for the re negotiation.
    I need to know before the Election, it is not good enough to say only a vote for the Conservatives will give us a referendum as I feel like giving the whole lot of you a good kicking otherwise why not vote for UKIP
    Ok I know it makes no sense to vote for UKIP but give me something!!!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 26, 2014 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      Indeed, surely it is better to suffer Miliband and let the Tory party find a proper Tory leader for a change, instead of the Ken Clark, Ted Heath, John Major type person pretending to be a Tory for a few weeks before general elections.

      • Hope
        Posted October 26, 2014 at 11:22 am | Permalink

        Clarke was reported to say that Cameron should not listen to ignorance and bigotory over immigration, another insult to Tory supporters that will leave the party with fewer supporters which is already in stark decline. His Euro fanaticism has no bounds. It appears to me Clarke is in the wrong party, this was the sentiment of the Labour government from 2000-2008 that promoted mass immigration.

        The EU already views the UK budget before parliament and has the power to change other countries budgets. Would these Euro fanatics be content to hand over all control of our finances to the Socialist/communist EU construct? I do not pay taxes to support the people of 27 EU countries!

        • Lifelogic
          Posted October 26, 2014 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

          Indeed Ken Clark and his (50+) ilk are clearly in the wrong party (this seems alas to include Cameron). Not only is he pro EU, he is pro green crap, pro high taxes, against real deterrents in the criminal justice system, clearly determined to make the Tories lose the next election and has learned nothing at all from the ERM and EURO disasters that he helped to cause. Futhermore I cannot forgive him for his dreadful taste in pop Jazz.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted October 26, 2014 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

        Be careful what you wish for. If Miliband wins in 2015 we may be sucked into a Federal Europe – and the only way out will be to get the guns out.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted October 26, 2014 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

          Just the same with Cameron alas. Worse he may actually win an EU referendum with the BBC/CBI/three party bias behind him and a few duff fig leaves.

      • APL
        Posted October 26, 2014 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic: “instead of the Ken Clark, Ted Heath, John Major type person pretending to be a Tory for a few weeks before general elections.”

        William Hague, was supposedly one of the most eurosceptic leaders of the Tory party. But as foreign secretary has just signed the agreement with the EU that introduced the administrative changes that led to this latest financial demand.

        Hague is still a member of the Tory party, the same party that is now ‘laying down smoke’.

        John Redwood supports the Tory Party, in its attempts to distance itself from and to disguise the fact that these changes were introduced by its very own Home secretary and former ‘Eurosceptic’ party leader.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted October 26, 2014 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Brian – The alternative to voting UKIP makes no sense either.

      Dr Redwood points out correctly that we are not yet beholden to EU law – but our politicians behave as though we are. The will of the majority is ignored, nay, the majority are verbally abused by the politicians in defence of the EU !

      Who really is your boss, Mr Cameron ?

      Clearly, as something as complex as the EU develops, unpredicted difficulties show but we are not allowed to do anything to correct them. So we are stuck with mass immigration for at least another two years. This is utterly absurd !

      Action this day, not words is the only thing that will convince me not to vote UKIP.

      Otherwise – sometime in the next administration – I will be bitterly regretting wasting my last chance to reject the Tories while they complete their rejection of me, my people and my culture instead.

      Besides. Why should I vote for people that I feel I have nothing in common with ?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted October 26, 2014 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

        And people clearly not even being remotely honest.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted October 26, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      You haven’t taken into account that our host is called extreme within his own party for calling for these things. Try talking Ken Clark into laying down red lines and not paying EU Bills! Cameron is far closer to the Ken Clark wing, so will only lay down red lines by being kicked, screaming into it. No heart, no soul in such an endeavour. If that’s what you want to vote for, fine.
      But once you realise that UKIP actually want these things, in a consistent way, across the party, and can make a difference, perhaps you should think about changing your vote?

      • Hope
        Posted October 26, 2014 at 11:26 am | Permalink

        Well said. How many times do you bang your head against a wall to realise it hurts. You will not get change by voting for the same thing. The Mission creep by stealth to create the EU superstate will keep rolling on as it has for eye last 40 years. Thankfully because of social media people are waking up to what the Lib Lab Con are trying to achieve.

    • Timaction
      Posted October 26, 2014 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      ……….it makes no sense to vote UKIP”. Really? Do you imagine we would be having these discussions and raising awareness of the public to the disingenuous behaviour of the leaders of the legacy parties for over a generation if it wasn’t for UKIP. The legacy parties have created this mess with the deliberate stealthy loss of our sovereignty and democracy, the opening of our borders to all and sundry from the EU (Maastrict) and elsewhere, the handing over of more competencies under Lisbon Treaty by Labour. No referendum or renegotiation despite the cast iron, “we won’t let it rest” promises of Mr Cameron.
      The legacy parties are the problem, not the solution and need to be removed.
      For every Mr Redwood or Mr Hannan there are two to three more Europhiles who see themselves as European citizens and Britain as a region of their beloved United States of Europe. HS2 under EU TENS anyone? We have been told there is no renegotiation on free movement or the budget by all who count. Just what are the benefits of this political union? We can trade without being a member so why are our political leaders waiting to leave?

      • Timaction
        Posted October 26, 2014 at 11:06 am | Permalink

        EU military force has progressed in disguise by our intrepid Leader via sharing our aircraft carriers with the French. Remember the cardinal rule of the EU is always incremental stealthy steps like the European Arrest warrant (EU Police Force). The game is up and our political class need to catch up with the real world out here.

        • DaveM
          Posted October 26, 2014 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

          I usually agree with you TA, but you’re wrong on that one – the use of the French carriers is very much to our advantage, and the attitude towards the EU reaction force is proper “back of a fag packet” stuff, regarded as a nuisance and a bit of a joke; there is no UK unit solely on the EURF roster as such, they are double-hatted as the current V High Readiness Force and much of the time, gaps are taken on risk. The joke is that we get issued sharpened cucumbers because the EU foreign policy is so soft. We have had an alliance with the Dutch and the French for a long time, and we all get on pretty well.

          Speaking as an insider obviously.

          • Timaction
            Posted October 26, 2014 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

            Thankyou. The EU referendum blog today by Richard North provides apparent origin for our £1.7 billion surcharge. In brief it goes back years to comply with UN calculations for GDP. This morphed into 100,s of pages of EU regs agreed by Mr Hague in ,…….2013. The timing of its introduction looks suspicious but not unknown to our Sir Humphries. This story will run and run!

      • Tad Davison
        Posted October 26, 2014 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

        ‘Just what are the benefits of this political union?’

        TA, I have tried hard to get these pro-EU people to tell me what these fantastic advantages are, yet answer there came none! They clam-up and won’t venture into that territory because they know they can’t substantiate their claims or give any solid reasons for their enthusiasm.

        It’s almost as if they’ve been given some kind of drug, or been subject to hypnosis. The place is crap and going to hell in a hand cart, yet they want more of it.

        There is something very seriously wrong with anyone who cannot see where the EU is failing, but when the national broadcaster is so biased that they actively promote the EU as some wondrous Utopian place, it’s little wonder so many people are brainwashed. My personal regret is that there are so many people who are so gullible to believe such tripe.

        If we really want to know who has sovereignty in the UK, that’s easy, she’s called Merkel and she lives in Germany. She’s the one who seems to be calling the shots, not Cameron.


      • Max Dunbar
        Posted October 26, 2014 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

        Here is an excerpt from a Cromwell speech to parliament in 1653 that will appeal to you TA:

        Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redressed, are yourselves become the greatest grievance. Your country therefore calls upon me to cleanse this Augean stable, by putting a final period to your iniquitous proceedings in this House; and which by God’s help, and with the strength he has given me, I am now come to do; I command ye therefore, upon the peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of this place; go, get you out! Make haste! Ye venal slaves be gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors.
        In the name of God, go!

  2. Horatio
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    If we don’t pay then it will lead to further ill-feeling and a series of retaliatory petty measures. Who seriously wants an EU police force or army ?

    • outsider
      Posted October 26, 2014 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      Dear Horatio, The size, if not the principle, of this retrospective demand has the look of a straw man, set up as a shrewd political tactic so that it can be graciously conceded to give Mr Cameron an easy negotiating victory and a bone to throw to euro-sceptics in his own party and among the electorate.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 6:08 am | Permalink


    You say “It is not yet a centralised state with the power to tax UK citizens as if it were the UK Parliament imposing Income Tax.”

    Perhaps not, but due to ratting Cameron throwing the last election and clearly determined to throw the next one too, it probably will be permanent by the time of the election after May 2015 .After Miliband and Labours five years of further economic destruction and un-selective immigration.

    I have always thought BBC favourite Will Hutton was totally bonkers with his daft economics, but he has now finally confirmed it beyond any doubt in the Guardian:

    “Even now, the European project remains a noble one. Let’s join in”

    • Hope
      Posted October 26, 2014 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      Disagree, what were all the bail outs if not centralised financial action using our taxes to help keep the EU rolling on. Money from our taxes without our permission. Cameron played his part despite promising not to bail out the EU countries directly or indirectly. More than the £1.7 billion demanded now. Even EU treaties did not legally allow this and therefore hurriedly amended to legally allow bail outs. You will remember Cameron allowed this without anything in return. What a negotiator. This is the flaw with JR’s position for this blog. He also gave £18 million to promote closer union with the EU when he said publicly he would not, why would he do this

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    I see Angela Merkel has ruled out changes to EU open borders.

    What on earth is the point of Cameron fake renegotiation long grass trick? It is clearly a transparent fig leaf all but the totally deluded. The man simply cannot be trusted. Anyway he is clearly going to lose rather badly without a huge change of direction and a deal. He lost against sitting duck brown and he will even lose against the useless Miliband.

    All this for lack of the right policies on the EU, on quack greenery, serial ratting, the 299 tax increases the fake equality drivel and the size of the bloated and largely incompetent state sector.

  5. Matt
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Nowhere in your article do you actually state if you think we should pay it or not. Do you think if the outcome of the review had been a “refund” there would have been such a debate? It is always interesting to know if people truly support the principle of something or just the outcome depending upon its direct impact upon them.

    Reply I have made quite clear – Parliament should enact non payment.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted October 26, 2014 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply
      So what was the point of Cameron saying he wouldn’t pay on 1st December? Was this
      a/fake rage?
      b/ misleading?
      c/ disingenuous?
      Or all 3, in which case why are you supporting such a man as leader of your party?

      • lojolondon
        Posted October 26, 2014 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

        As a survivor of Dave’s “Cast-iron guarantee of a referendum, as long as it makes sense at the time”, I am pretty sure that we will be sending £1,7 Billion over to the EU during December, but probably not on the First, thus fulfilling his promise and his obligations to his masters at the same time. The good news is that buckling to the EU in this matter will cost him dear at every election and by-election, he surely knows that!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 26, 2014 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      As I understand “enact” would be the legally precise term, as the UK Parliament previously enacted that it would accept whatever rubbish might spring from the EU treaties and so it would require an Act passed by both Houses of Parliament to reverse that. Good luck getting that through a House of Lords packed with EU pensioners and supporters and fellow travellers and assorted useful idiots, none of which unelected legislators-for-life need to worry that an enraged electorate might turf them out at the next opportunity.

      • APL
        Posted October 26, 2014 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

        Denis Cooper: “Good luck getting that through a House of Lords packed with EU pensioners and supporters and fellow travellers and assorted useful idiots,”

        Blair has of course set a precedent when it comes to tampering with the House of Lords, and the ‘Tory’ Strathclyde colluded with Blair.

        So we only need another ‘reform’ passed stating that no EU pensioners may vote in the Lords, their attendance allowance be be cut to (I don’t know) two pennies a day.

        Reply IT is difficult for the Lords to block financial/tax matters.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted October 27, 2014 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

          Well, you would be asking Parliament to amend Section 2 of the European Communities Act 1972, which inter alia lays down that the UK will automatically meet all its EU obligations and financial matters connected with those obligations shall be settled through secondary legislation. While a Bill to over-ride that section and prevent this payment being made in the usual way would relate to the disbursement of money it would also affect the compliance of the UK with its treaty obligations, and therefore it seems unlikely that the Speaker could accept it as being purely a “Money Bill” as defined in the Parliament Acts.

  6. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Is it still the case that the EU’s own accounts have not been signed off? And now the Herr Frau won’t back our PM on immigration problems.

    Europe caused us great hardship in the last two wars…its almost as though we are heading back there again. Unelected and unwanted!

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted October 26, 2014 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Colin–I am sure we are not heading back there again, because no doubt War is not encompassed by the Treaties; and so “illegal”. Personally I think Agincourt, heavily outnumbered as we were, every bit as appropriate as Ship Money.

  7. Old Albion
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Yeh! all very interesting John. Cameron will pay the bill before the election, very quietly ……sshhhh.

  8. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    I hope the Dutch government won’t have to drag William of Orange from his grave to make an argument about this periodic 4 year EU reassessment of accounts and that it will have a mature approach to this issue.
    Britain, just like the Netherlands, totally agreed to this reassessment beforehand, but of course it can challenge a bill which works out higher than expected.
    Obviously this bill for the government is not a new direct tax on all UK taxpayers, just like the British rebate isn’t sent in little envelopes to every household.

    Reply Of course it is a new direct tax on UK taxpayers – only we can pay this if the government did decide to do so. The best way to meet our current payments would be to enact a new Eurotax to make it quite clear how much it was and who is paying.

    • Peter van Leeuwen
      Posted October 26, 2014 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply:
      The UK contribution and rebate have been there since Margaret Thatcher, that is how NEW this contribution is. Of course it could be translated nationally into an EU-tax as you suggest (not a eurotax, you aren’t in the EZ, and the extra UK GDP from prostitution and drugs has no direct link with the euro).

      And you are completely right that the UK parliament has always remained sovereign, it can leave the single market, put any cap on immigrants, it can do as it likes.
      What becomes difficult is to have a team of 28 players using the rules of, say handball, and one player deciding that he alone will play soccer in that same game. Then he’d better leave.
      The irony of Cameron’s “anger” (instead of explaining the facts: a dispute with the “taxman”) is that it will strengthen UKIP and not the Conservative party. Is that what you want?

      • Timaction
        Posted October 26, 2014 at 11:19 am | Permalink

        No taxation without representation. The EU is a political construct for the creation of a United States of Europe by incremental stealth. The EU accounts for less than 8% of our trade (and reducing) yet interferes with 100% of our businesses with its interfering costly regulations.
        With a trade deficit of over £40 billion why shouldn’t we just leave and trade with the EU? China, Japan, USA and most of the world don’t have to be in it to trade with it. Net contributions of £10 billion for foreign infrastructures and farmers? More billions for minimum wage workers subsidised by the British tax payer with all their public service costs and in work tax credits. Overcrowding and congestion.
        We have no mechanism to remove the unelected Commissioners (dictators) who dictate the bills, laws and regulations. Why should we have a tax demand that dates back to 1995 because some idiot decided to include drugs and prostitution (untaxable) into this Countries GDP?
        It really isn’t your business to tell the British what we want. I wouldn’t tell the Dutch what to do.

        • libertarian
          Posted October 26, 2014 at 7:10 pm | Permalink


          Nail on the head, excellent post

        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted October 27, 2014 at 6:57 am | Permalink

          @Timaction: I’m not telling you what to do, just re-read my comments. You appear annoyed that still only a minority of British want to leave the EU and that everybody doesn’t simply agree with you. But if it helps you I will. Of course you don’t have to pay these single market contributions (like EU members, Norway and Switzerland do) and stop helping to develop this single market. Of course you can leave and try to be like Canada or China vis-a-vis the EU. As I’ve acknowledged, your parliament is sovereign.

      • Hope
        Posted October 26, 2014 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        I do. Cameron cannot be trusted and I do not believe a word he says.

      • Edward2
        Posted October 26, 2014 at 11:40 am | Permalink

        Normally Peter in a team of 28 there is a semblence of equality.
        In the EU the majority in the team now take money out and only a minority pay in.
        Some like the UK pay in a large amount and always have done.
        Perhaps the team should have one vote for every pound or euro they put in.

        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted October 26, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

          @Edward2: Aren’t you forgetting the periods in which the UK was a net recipient of EU money? These sort memories! 🙂

          • Timaction
            Posted October 26, 2014 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

            ,net receiptiant first year only. Never since. All those wasted taxes!!

          • Andy
            Posted October 26, 2014 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

            To my knowledge the UK has never been a ‘net recipient’ of EU money: it has always been a net contributor. And the EU has no money. The money comes from member states and their taxpayers.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted October 26, 2014 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

            As far as I’m aware, there was only one year – 1974 – when the UK got out more than it actually put it. That was after the then Labour government got us into yet another mess.

            I’d say the EU has done pretty well out of the UK in the last 40 years, and for what? Just look at the state it’s in! I’d say it’s been a total waste of money. If they can’t get it right after so many decades, what guarantees are there they will get it right in the future?

            Yet you people will always refuse to see the proof that’s before your very eyes, so besotted are you with the place. Which part of the phrase, ‘the EU doesn’t work, and neither does a great many EU citizens’ are you having so much difficulty with Peter?

      • Man of Kent
        Posted October 26, 2014 at 11:49 am | Permalink

        One of the concessions that our Prime Minister has supposedly won is not to help the Eurozone with bail outs.

        Ok the Netherlands and Greece are supposed to pay too ,but where does the money go ? France and Germany .

        If the Euro were to be ditched then countries could revert to their own currencies and interest rates and be responsible for their own debts .

        It is the Euro that lies at the heart of this problem .

        We should not be helping members of the Eurozone overcome their chronic self-inflicted wounds .

        Leave that to them to sort out.

        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted October 26, 2014 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

          @Man of Kent: these EU contributions are unrelated to the euro, and there have been times that the UK was a net recipient of EU contributions. You may well argue that the eurozone is currently not doing very well, but to see it as the cause of all problems is too simplistic in my view. As the Polish prime-minister once exclaimed: the financial crisis didn’t come from Paris or Riga, it came from across the Atlantic and from Britain (even though a number of continental banks had been irresponsible as well, something that is still being repaired, even today with the announcement that the ECB found 25 banks not able to whither future storms)

          • JoeSoap
            Posted October 26, 2014 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

            These contributions are absolutely related to the Euro. A weak Euro means lower revenues and lower GDP for France and Germany in (strong) Pound terms, merely on the basis of currency strength and weakness. Therefore a strong economy such as Germany’s can, because it carries a weak currency, show apparent weak GDP growth leading to EU refunds. At the same time the UK economy looks better than it actually is because the £ is strong. These distortions are temporary but are being exaggerated by so-called successful economies being surcharged.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted October 26, 2014 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

            Please tell me how many European banks had engaged in sub-prime lending prior to the banking crash. Also, please tell me how many years the UK has received more money from the EU than we actually paid in. Answer those questions and I think you’ll soon see the weakness of your argument.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted October 26, 2014 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

            @JoeSoap: Just use your own argument – just before the financial crisis and your devaluation you got €1.50 per pound and now €1.26. I don’t see that strong pound yet.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted October 26, 2014 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

            @Tad Davison: Why are e.g. the Netherlands and the UK net contributors (per capita we contribute more than you)? Because we benefit from the markets in these poorer countries being developed as objective statistics show. I do know that we even bailed you out once through the IMF, so I gather that the UK hasn’t always been such a rich country. I admit that I don’t have the exact numbers your asking for but I do know that the single market benefits you more than it costs you. You are free though to leave the single market and trade with the rest of Europe like e.g. an Asian country would.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted October 27, 2014 at 11:14 am | Permalink

            Peter, I’m a fair-minded man and I really do try to see things from the point of view of other people, but you pro-EU aficionados just refuse to see things as they really are. All in the garden is lovely, except you can’t see when things are withering on the vine and need pruning out to make sure of strong regrowth.

            In your reply to me, you speak of the UK receiving a loan from the IMF. That’s true, we did, and that’s because the Labour government of the day got our economy into a shambles. I even recall the FT index dipping below 100 at one point. They virtually bankrupted us. It was their mismanagement of the British economy that brought about the need for the UK to go cap-in-hand to the IMF, and that loan had all sorts of strings attached. They insisted we change our domestic policy to suit their terms, so effectively, they held sway over a democratically elected government, like them or not (and with me, it was very much the latter).

            Now consider how the EU is run, and the political ideology that lies at its core. It’s not too far removed from what we had in the UK with its un-competitiveness and restrictive practises.

            Then we need to see how much unemployment, social strife, degradation, and lack of productivity there is in places like Italy, Greece, and Spain. Are you really trying to tell us that the EU is working?

            Where are these poorer countries going to get the money to buy our goods and services when their people can barely afford to feed and house themselves?

            I’m all for countries developing their economies, but it just isn’t happening – and there’s a reason for that is pretty clear, it’s called socialism. An ideology that says the harder you work, and the more money you generate, the more the government will take from you, as if you’re lower than the lowest criminal and you need to be penalised for your aspirations.

            As for the single market, you say, ‘…..but I do know that the single market benefits you more than it costs you.’ Can you tell me the size of the UK trade deficit with the EU, and how long that has gone on for?


            Reply Indeed. The UK took loans which we repaid in full. Greece under Euro/EU control failed to repay its debts and went bankrupt.

      • libertarian
        Posted October 26, 2014 at 1:05 pm | Permalink


        That is the problem with socialists such as yourself. You don’t understand the rules of life. You think life is like a sports match. Predefined rules, with a referee and a predetermined end game. Thats why most things in the world that are true innovations, creative and move society forward come from Anglosphere countries and not European ones. The Anglosphere understands that life is a journey, a moving target without limits and that we can bring about beneficial change by thinking “outside the rues”. Meanwhile in EUlalaland they keep on doing what they’ve always done and keep on getting what they’ve always got. Even Germany’s unemployment is higher now. As the ONLY growing economy in Europe it would pay the 28 to look at what we’re doing and copy it rather than makes us suffer with you.

        • Mondeo Man
          Posted October 26, 2014 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

          Erm … Some pretty impressive innovations have come from Germany.

          • libertarian
            Posted October 27, 2014 at 9:27 am | Permalink

            Mondeo Man

            Erm… such as ? and having as much impact as the technology coming out of the Anglosphere , don’t think so.

        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted October 26, 2014 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

          @libertarian: Isn’t your debt growing as fast as your economy?

          • libertarian
            Posted October 27, 2014 at 9:31 am | Permalink


            No our debt is growing FASTER than our economy, but that isn’t the point. I didn’t say we were doing well we aren’t and won’t until we throw off the shackles of the EU, but in human terms we are doing a damn sight better than Europe 55% youth employment is a total disgrace.

            Oh and would you like to point out to the EU idiot auditors that the UK debt is growing and therefore their £1.5 billion surcharge is nonsense.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted October 26, 2014 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        The correct way for the EC to behave is to submit its calculations to all Member States and to the press for DETAILED scrutiny before imposing surcharges and offering rebates in the NEXT financial year. Then we might have objective evidence that the rules ARE being correctly applied.

        Or is that too difficult for you?

        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted October 26, 2014 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

          Lindsay McDougall: What I read is that these rules were all known and scrutinized beforehand, it is a regular procedure. Only when these rules were applied they showed up results (for the Netherlands, for the UK and a few other nations) that were higher than expected. So now the application of these rules will be checked again. Such issues might also arise between me and the inland revenue. But just getting very angry (for electoral reasons) isn’t the way to behave.

          • JoeSoap
            Posted October 26, 2014 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

            “But just getting very angry isn’t the way to behave.”

            Happily (as you say) for you we didn’t follow this piece of advice in 1939.

      • stred
        Posted October 27, 2014 at 7:07 am | Permalink

        Following the criticism of the Tory peer, who used the word ‘worth’ when refering to the productivity of some disabled persons, and the insensitive use of a West Indian accent when a UKIP member sang a calypso, we should be careful to avoid the word ‘prositution’ on this blog. The correct term should of course be ‘horizontal sex working’. I would like to apologise for the use of the former word on the 25. 10. and hope no criticism will be forthcoming from sensitive menbers of the Labour Party.

        • stred
          Posted October 27, 2014 at 10:27 am | Permalink

          Sorry -prostitution. And sorry again.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 26, 2014 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      William III is buried in Westminster Abbey, and any attempt by the Dutch government to remove him would be considered a gross infringement of our national sovereignty. Not that this would particularly bother you, national sovereignty meaning nothing to your eurofederalist kind, but it could also be treated as a casus belli which might give you pause.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted October 26, 2014 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        @Denis, are you comparing apples with oranges here? William of Orange was killed in 1584 in Delft and his tomb is inside the New Church in Delft. You’re talking about some less significant descendant (o.k. he invaded Britain, but he is still minor to the real William of Orange, also called William the Silent). Even the current Dutch king didn’t want to be compared to your William III and therefore assumed the name Willem-Alexander (of Orange) on ascending the throne last year 🙂

        • outsider
          Posted October 26, 2014 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

          Dear Peter van L, Do you think that the Dutch political mentality is still imbued with the enigmatic personality of William the Silent, French-speaking, German born, both Protestant and Catholic and loyal servant of the occupying power before being driven into rebellion? To Brits, his silence (over the planned French/Spanish/Austrian massacre of Dutch protestants) carries echoes of the careful silence of British and other leaders over the true purpose of the then European Economic Community.
          And by the way, our William of Orange was invited in by Parliament and agreed to become King of England on the basis of the Bill of Rights 1689 which effectively founded and remains the basis of the today’s UK democratic system and the sovereignty of Parliament, something for which our Dutch cousins can therefore also take credit.

          • Peter van Leeuwen
            Posted October 27, 2014 at 10:10 am | Permalink

            @outsider: According to wikipedia, William’s silence was to mislead the king of France, who then told him the details of secret military plans, so his silence should be seen as beneficial for the rebellion. Are you suggesting that Ted Heath’s supposed silence about the true purpose of the EU, then E.E.C. was beneficial too?
            “Invading” was just to tease Denis, he needs that occasionally. The Dutch didn’t have a Magna Carta, but, little known had a 1581 Act of Abjuration (King who doesn’t serve his people is considered not to be king anymore) which may have inspired your William III and probably also Thomas Jefferson.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted October 27, 2014 at 3:53 pm | Permalink
      • APL
        Posted October 26, 2014 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

        Denis Cooper: “William III is buried in Westminster Abbey, and any attempt by the Dutch government to remove him would be considered a gross infringement of our national sovereignty.”

        The Dutch have already been up the Thames in force, so I doubt PvL would object to a second visit.

  9. Liz
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    The depressing thing is that the Government will do none of these things but quietly pay up – probably over Christmas when people are thinking of other things. We pay for France’s and other EU countries” disobedience of EU rules – they are rewarded we are penalised. I don’t think any of the main political parties have it in them to seriously threaten to leave and the Commission knows that.

  10. Douglas Carter
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    …’Today the threat to Parliament’s power to tax comes not from the monarch but from the EU.’….

    Without disrespect John, but you frequently remind us there is no Parliamentary majority for EU withdrawal. There can be no EU obligation without the acquiescence of Westminster. Parliament makes wilful arrangement for the prejudicial interference of the EU by mission of its own actions and decisions. The problem resides here in the UK, not in Brussels. According to legend, the Civil Service habitually Gold-plate EU originated requirement and also treat international agreement and treaty almost as if they were Rites of Holy Ordinance. Unfortunately, contrary to popular belief, the UK has one of the cleanest records in keeping to the dot and comma of EU obligation.


    …’ “I’m not paying that bill,” he said, the face puce. “It’s not going to happen.”’…

    …which is exactly the message that the Prime Minister wished the lazy listener to take from his piece. However, the quotation is inappropriately abridged, since the even moderately-gifted listener actually heard ‘I’m not paying that bill on December the first. It’s not going to happen’….

    I hope somebody is whispering in his ear as we progress through this weekend, that if he intends to play games with semantics of phraseology – in particular with regards to matters EU – it would be extremely unwise of him. If he thinks he can back-pedal here – I would suggest that he’ll find he’s very mistaken indeed.

    Reply MY comment on the threat to Parliament’s power is true. You are also right to say that this Parliament has a majority to be on the EU’s side thanks to the Lib/Lab view!

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted October 26, 2014 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      You always ignore the fact that the majority of the parliamentary Conservative party is pro-EU. You are one of a substantial minority but significantly outnumbered by your colleagues led by your party leader.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 26, 2014 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

        And that pro-EU majority in the parliamentary Conservative party is not perceptibly shrinking, and why should it when anyone who aspires to become a new Conservative MP must at least convincingly pretend to be pro-EU – although, of course, an EU as REFORMED at the insistence of Cameron – or they will dish their chances of being approved as a potential candidate let alone being selected for a winnable seat?

        • Tad Davison
          Posted October 26, 2014 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

          That’s why the Tories would never have wanted me as an MP Denis, because they wouldn’t have got me to take my thirty pieces of silver to shut up and look the other way whilst the Europhiles did their dirty deeds. I’d have added to the limited number of ‘true’ Euro-sceptics (and it’s important to make that distinction because there are many Tory MPs who try to tell us they are Eurosceptic to get the credence that label brings, but in reality are clearly anything but – yet another con!)

          For me, being a Tory meant being honest and speaking out and fighting against inequality and vested interests that limited the ability of industrious people to get on in life. I think it was Churchill (although I haven’t looked it up) who said the test of a true Conservative policy is how it impacts upon ordinary working people. The EU certainly does that, but not in the positive way its supporters keep telling us it will. It has been an abject failure and has brought misery on a massive scale seemingly only eclipsed by disease, pestilence and war.

          Little wonder so many like-minded people gravitate towards a party that now espouses those values for which the Tories were once noted.


  11. John Ridgway
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Why is our or any other Government not demanding a full audit of the EU accounts and finances? You would not pay into a club if it did not audit its accounts and make itself accountable to members. Why should the EU be above this basic measure?

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted October 26, 2014 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      quite right! Even the treasurer of a local small group has to show his accounts. How do we even know what we are paying for? example) (etc ed) Whoever decided that accounts did not need to be audited? What a fiasco. The whole EU policy is a mess and one that we need to get out of. Cameron may not pay on the 1st December but what about the 2nd?
      Why are we still in the EU when so much of it is undemocratic? We don’t even know who half the people are making up the ‘laws and regulations’ which we always abide by but other members don’t. When I lived in Spain for nearly 5 years I was aghast at what they don’t comply with from providing clean drinking water to residents to the way they keep their livestock and treat their family pets. We are a joke always complying when most of the legislation does great harm to our economy and our jobs.

  12. Peter Richmond
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Keep chipping away, John. Keep chipping away. We need to ensure everyone is reminded of the basis of our democracy and the trouble and strife we have been through over the years to get where we are. British history, parliamentary democracy and the role of society in shaping this should be taught properly to ensure everyone from the top to bottom of our society understands it. It is not something that the EU should be allowed to rewrite or overrule by default.

  13. Javelin
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Have a referendum. Stop messing everybody about. Shut down the talking shop and take some action. Stop the spin. The British people are all cynical. Go onto any blog or comments section. They are all fed up. They all know that they are fed up because they read each other’s comments. You cannot divide and rule and more. The spin doctors are deluded and deluding their paymasters.

    LibLabCon – that term says it all.

    UKIP – is not the end it’s the start of politics and new parties sweeping power away from talking shop politicians. The conservatives needs to understand the internet has undermined the spin machines. The public can judge public opinion in a few minutes by flicking through a few comment sections.

    The political spin machines were a reaction to 24 hour news pre internet. Politics needs to become action oriented.

    Reply Conservative MPs have tried to secure a referendum but there is not majority for one.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted October 26, 2014 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply:
      You really think that if Cameron called an election today on the basis of an immediate post-election referendum i.e. BEFORE he had to pay this bill, he wouldn’t win? We might be turkeys but won’t necessarily always vote for Xmas!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 26, 2014 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

      To reply: No but this is because Cameron threw the last election and much of the Tory party is (just like Cameron) pro EU but pretending not to be near elections. At least Ken Clark is honest.

  14. Antisthenes
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Is this a deliberate attempt by the EU to push more Conservatives into the arms of UKIP. As we know vote UKIP get Labour. That would please the EU very much as that will put RedEd into no 10 so that means no renegotiation or reform and further subservience of the UK to the diktats of EU rule. Probably not but is the likely outcome.

    However Cameron although saying he will not pay is legally obliged to(the root cause of course is actually the UN who changed how GNI/GDP is calculated) and will have to capitulate and pay. If he then does not become a true Eurosceptic and say he will campaign for out if renegotiation achieves little(which of course it will) then I believe he and the Conservative party are not going to win next May.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 26, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      “As we know vote UKIP get Labour.”

      Except in places like Heywood and Middleton, where it was those who stuck with voting Tory rather than switching to UKIP who could be said to have handed the seat to Labour. But there is a suspicion that those leading the Tory party would prefer to see ten Labour MPs elected rather than have UKIP win a seat.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted October 26, 2014 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

        Indeed in much of the country UKIP are clearly the stop Labour party of choice. The pesky Tories merely split the vote.

  15. George
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    UK electorate and Parliament, have no control or say over this


    We have no say over your taxation of us. All we get to choose is which candidate from those selected by parties get into power.

    The selection committees are a small cabal.

    If you want democracy, then give us annual referendums on taxation. We can then vote if we consent or not.

    • Peter Stroud
      Posted October 26, 2014 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      Then we would spend all our time campaigning for tax reductions, and trouping down to poling stations. I prefer voting every four or five years, thanks.

      • libertarian
        Posted October 26, 2014 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        Peter Stroud

        Having trouped to the polling station what then? We don’t get to vote on who forms a govt our Queen chooses that. We don’t get to vote on who leads the parties, the closed club does that, we don’t get to vote on a manifesto as there’s no obligation to implement it. We get to choose an apparatchik chosen by a vanishingly small number of local party members as our parliamentary representative and if more people vote for one candidate than any other that person is elected to parliament and told how to vote by party whips.

        You think this is democracy?

  16. George
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    The EU is not a a set of binding obligations like income tax on an individual, It is a series of opaque and often ambiguous and contradictory international agreements between states within the EU


    Amazing bit of hypocrisy.

    You complain saying that for the EU to impose is wrong, but if you impose its all OK.

  17. formula57
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    But “….UK taxpayers who are expected by the EU to consume and spend less so the EU can spend more or give more to other countries.” has been the practice for so long now that it is reasonable to presume those taxpayers are content to make settlement. The fuss seems to arise only from the (negligently?) unanticipated size and timing of the demand and the fact it has (unwisely perhaps) been drawn to public attention in a manner likely to incite.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 26, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      Or likely to distract from something else.

  18. DaveM
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Thanks for another good narrative.

    So, ultimately, having to submit to EU demands without the agreement of parliament (as the representative of the sovereign AND her subjects) means that someone somewhere has wilfully handed control of our monarch – our Head of State – to a foreign power.

    That’s High Treason. No wonder Blair’s regime abolished the death penalty for that little crime!!

  19. David Murfin
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Rearrange some of your sentences:
    “It [the EU] is not yet a centralised state with the power to tax UK citizens. If we continue in the EU for a long period without ever using Parliament’s sovereign power, this may change. They would see the dangers to them of the UK visibly reasserting Parliamentary sovereignty [and so] they would find all sorts of changes to our budget deal.”
    The only sensible use of the European Communities Act 1972 is to terminate our membership. Give notice under Article 50, with the proviso that our membership would be terminated by repeal of the 1972 Act in less than 2 years if satisfactory future relations could not be achieved much sooner than that.

  20. Mark B
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 9:15 am | Permalink


    The threat does not come from the EU. The threat comes from those who have ceded sovereignty too a Supranational Government.

    The reason so many of us object to the EU’s retrospective recalculation of our tax bill to the EU is that we, the UK electorate and Parliament, have no control or say over this.

    No you know how we feel, when you introduce 199 new taxes and push up our energy bill through fake green crap policies.

    The EU’s £1.7 bn tax is not a simple change to a bill we owe, something the UK government can easily provide for.

    Try telling the Council / Bailiffs or HMRC that you think your bill to be unfair and that as such, are unable to pay. I think you will find it does NOT work.

    The EU is not a a set of binding obligations . . .

    Oh I think you will find that it is.

    The UK Parliament is still sovereign in the UK for one very good reason. Parliament , and Parliament alone, can decide to repeal or amend the European Communities Act 1972 . . .

    Pre-Lisbon, yes ! Post-Lisbon, NOT anymore sunshine !! The script was changed, it is just that you have not been paying attention.

    . . . amend the 1972 Act to legalise non payment. I doubt they would try to end our membership, as it remains a great deal for the EU.

    You will not, nor never, amend the ECA 1972 – PERIOD !!! We know it, they know it, so just stop the pretense.

    Of course they would not end our membership. What silly a thing to even contemplate. What they will do, is follow procedure for non-payment. First stop, the ECJ. Once they get an order against the UK, they can stop our voting rights in both the EU Parliament and EU Council. They can withhold monies paid to MEP’s and to National Parties, from which you get monies. They can withhold funding too the UK. They can expel our Commissioner and Civil Servants working for the EU. All this they can do and, on top of this, impose a interest charge on the outstanding debt.

    Just STOP grandstanding and pay the bloody bill ! You cocked up ! You and the Treasury did not see this coming, if you did, you thought you could get away with it.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted October 26, 2014 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

      @Mark The reason so many of us object to the EU’s retrospective recalculation of our tax bill to the EU is that we, the UK electorate and Parliament, have no control or say over this.

      No you know how we feel, when you introduce 199 new taxes and push up our energy bill through fake green crap policies.

      As I have been reading this blog I found myself thinking “now the government knows how I feel about losing my previously universal benefit of child benefit because I am too rich to keep having it even though the small rebate in the amount of tax I paid was allowing me to compete with those to whom the government pays housing benefit and other wage top ups to for the same housing stock”.

      Then I realised that the government would feel no such thing as government has no money. It only has the funds it takes off us in taxation by threat so it would just come and ask for more in time. That irritated me greatly.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 26, 2014 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

      299+ tax rises not 199

      • Mark B
        Posted October 27, 2014 at 7:56 am | Permalink

        Yes, I saw one of you later posts and though; “LL ill be correcting me on that !”


  21. oldtimer
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    As usual, you make the case why the UK should not pay this extra impost and how Parliament should go about it.

    There are three questions in my mind arising from this latest episode in UK-EU relations.

    1 Does the political will exist to do what you suggest? I am not sure that it does in the hearts and minds of those in charge.

    2 When the UK government originally voted in favour of the calculations that led to this surcharge I presume that someone somewhere was charged with the job of working out the implications and consequences? Whoever it was did not do a very good job – and that is being charitable. Evidently they not only missed out the implications of icluding new elements in the calculation of GDP (such as drug dealing and prostitution) but also the fact that the UK is outside the EZ and marching to a different drumbeat (resulting in very different economic outcomes). If someone told me that the UK government has fallen into an elephant trap carefully devised by Eurocrats, I would readily believe them.

    3 In the past I have supported the idea of an attempt at renegotiation of the UK`s relationship with the EU. Now I ask myself why bother? I do not trust the motives or competence of those in charge to execute a sensible new relationship within the context of the EU. Nor is it obvious, given the number of countries that must agree, that such a renegotiation is a practical proposition given the penetration of EU directives and regulations into every nook and cranny of life. It would be much better and much simpler, for both parties, to make a clean break and agree a new relationship based on trade and political co-operation around the world where our interests co-incide.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted October 26, 2014 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. The more anybody serious thinks about it, you either need to take the Liberal/Labour line of total compliance or UKIP line of all out. Watching Cameron fence-sitting and having fake temper tantrums for 3 years will not be anything to look forward to. The Tory line is becoming farcical.

  22. Iain Moore
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    If the EU can make a retrospective charges, then we can make retrospective budget rebate claims.

    The amount of our EU contribution was capped by a budget rebate, for the EU to make back charges is to circumvent that rebate agreement. As the EU has in bad faith sought to circumvent the rebate, we should reinstate the rebate reduction Blair gave for CAP reform that the EU never delivered, and make a back charge for this bad faith by insisting they make good the rebate we gave up amounting to £10 billion charge on the EU, which we will take in the not paying anything to the EU this year.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted October 26, 2014 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      read the last line as ‘which we will take in the form of not paying anything to the EU this year’.

  23. DiscoveredJoys
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    I understand that the ‘reduction’ in our ‘rebate’ agreed for changes in the Common Agricultural Policy is now in excess of £10 billion. As far as I know there have been no substantial changes to the CAP so perhaps we should set the £1.7 billion adjustment against the overpayments we have already made?

  24. Tad Davison
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Who is sovereign?

    Easy! Germany’s Frau Merkel!

    According to the papers this morning, she’s going to block David Cameron’s attempts to reform our immigration laws.

    And then people wonder why those of us who oppose this bilge get so worked up about it. What a waste of life world wars one and two were when the freedoms and democracy they fought for can be cast aside so easily without any respect for their ultimate sacrifice!

    The only way to get our country back is out, and Frau Merkel proves it.

    Tad Davison


  25. JoeSoap
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    I think the point here is that our higher level of state debt has “enabled”, if that is the word, a higher level of fake growth (via government spending) here than in Germany. Had the deficit been cut as promised, any growth we had would have been real, albeit lower, and this extra tax payment wouldn’t have happened. It’s effectively a penalty on high state borrowing, and your party in government is culpable!

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted October 26, 2014 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      Good point.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 26, 2014 at 11:16 pm | Permalink


  26. NickW
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    “If we accept a European army and police force we might reach the position where disagreeing with an EU measure becomes law breaking or an act of rebellion.”

    Can I ask if we, as a Member state have the ability to prevent the formation of a European army and police force, if the rest of Europe is in favour of it and we are opposed to it?

    The reason why I ask this question is because the EU is a dynamic organisation with a clear direction, and that direction is the accumulation of power and money at the expense of Sovereign governments. An integral part of that process is going to be the subjugation of the individual in Member states to the EU Government rather than the Government of the member state
    Unless we take positive action, there will, and there must inevitably come a time when opposition to the EU becomes a criminalised act.

    I hope readers now understand the significance of the European Arrest warrant, and the use to which it will be put in the foreseeable future.

    When will the people of Europe understand that the EU is an existential danger?

  27. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    JR: “The UK Parliament is still sovereign in the UK”
    If only we had MPs who wished to exercise that power in the interests of the British people instead of ceding it to an anti-democratic foreign organisation.
    Your own leaders and MEPs agreed and voted for the process by which this extra money is demanded by the EU. The EU advised member states of the figures on 17 October. Your leader claimed he hadn’t known. I don’t believe him, nor do I believe that his best pal Osborne failed to tell him. Perhaps you would please tell us when you knew about it and by what means.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 26, 2014 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      I find that I am actually embarrassed by that leader’s antics on the international stage; it is not how I expect the British Prime Minister to behave.

  28. Kenneth
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Great Britain can be proud that it has historically honoured international treaties even when they resulted in harm to us.

    However the treaties we agreed with the eu have been so disfigured by foreign ‘court’ decisions and other amendments that they have lost the solemnity required of any treaty.

    Surely a treaty, which hovers separately to normal democratic scrutiny and often lasts for decades, should be static rather than being pecked at and cobbled by unelected bureaucrats.

    John, you point out that a civil war was triggered last time taxes were levied without our consent.

    Now is surely the time for us to withdraw from all eu treaties as we have come to the point where we can declare eu treaties not to be solemn in any way especially as they have now come into conflict with our own solemn treaty of ‘no taxation without representation’.

  29. English Pensioner
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Why not simply insist on some properly audited accounts before paying up?
    We should insist that we want to know where the money already paid to the EU has gone and whether it has been legally spent before paying anymore.
    That should be Britain’s slogan at the EU “No audited accounts – No more money”

  30. Bert Young
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Of course the decision to pay or not is a matter for Parliament to decide ; we – the public , expect our representatives to keep our interests protected at all times . Belt tightening has characterised or economy for several years and the public have gone along with this being persuaded by the politicians that it was the right thing to do ; now we witness that the extra punishment we are expected to take on the chin has nothing to do with our politicians at all – it is dictated by unelected Eurocrats ! . This situation is neither rational nor acceptable .
    France – the largest intended recipient of the EU give-away , has ignored EU discipline of its economy , and , on several occasions turned has its back on other EU requirements . This behaviour has meant nothing to the EU . We , on the other hand , have disciplined our society to most of the EU rules we signed up to , suffered the consequences and now – because we behaved and reaped some economic reward , are expected to cough up to the ill-behaviour of France . It does not make sense and we must expect our politicians to protect us from this “give-away”.

  31. bluedog
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Dr JR says, ‘I doubt they would try to end our membership, as it remains a great deal for the EU.’

    Possibly, but the UK debate on the merits of the EU is not the sort of challenging and confrontational exercise that the EU welcomes. There seems to be an emerging consensus that the EU core is starting to try and ‘manage out’ the UK from the EU, to use some HR speak. Squeezed between a Eurosceptic electorate and an EU elite that seems increasing sceptical of the benefits of UK membership, Cameron is looking more exposed by the day.

  32. NickW
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    The EU is determined to accumulate more power and more money at the expense of Sovereign Governments and their subjects; that is a public mission statement.

    When is that process going to stop?

    The history of Europe tells us that the accumulation of power and money by a ruling elite only ever stops when people stop it for them.

    And the sooner the better.

  33. agricola
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    The EU is now the Pope of latter day transposed. They would exert power over the UK in direct conflict with the wishes of the people, and all that is held dear in terms of democracy and sovereignty. Henry VIII knew what to do as did Cromwell when Charles I tried again.

    We are now facing the third replay in our fight for sovereignty, not because of war or political upheaval but due to the erosion that government, the civil service and parliament have connived at while pretending to be it’s defenders. As part of the erosion, this £1.7 Billion bill is said to be a perfectly legal demand agreed to by said government, civil service and parliament in the past.

    What has emerged since , from Angela Merkel for one, is that no meaningful re-negotiation is acceptable. The very best that CMD can expect are a few meaningless concessions on points without substance. Given his Europhile position, these will be hailed as a breakthrough and “Wilson like” he will exhort the UK to accept his new relationship. Reality will show the EU to be the same old whore she ever was with further certainties of transmittable disease within the UK.

    Whether CMD is aware of it or not, this is a pivotal moment in the history of the UK. As you suggest the repeal of the European Communities Act could be a first step, but from your submission it is not clear what we would be left with in terms of EU control of the UK. Would it solve the following:-

    Immigration for benefits.
    Cancel our £8 billion and climbing membership fee of the EU.
    The common fisheries policy.
    Our freedom to trade with the rest of the World without EU involvement.
    The crazy Green/ Power conflict that damages our industry.

    I still feel that the cleanest way after an out referendum would be to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and then discuss where we might wish to cooperate with the EU. While the EU’s biggest problem with a Scottish referendum yes vote was the thought that many other parts of the EU might wish to separate, such as the Catalans for instance. So it is with the possibility of a referendum on membership by the UK, whose potential departure might make others consider the same path.

    It is make up your mind time for CMD because the future of the country and the conservative party hang in the balance. Clacton and Rochester are mere symptoms of what his stewardship have created. Here is an opportunity to provide leadership, but I am not holding my breath.

  34. Tad Davison
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    ‘ If we accept a European army and police force we might reach the position where disagreeing with an EU measure becomes law breaking or an act of rebellion. Today we have not reached that position.’

    Not yet maybe! But the situation you have just described is precisely what the treacherous pro-EU crooks are angling for, and have been from day one.

    Cameron tells us in one breath that he’s a heart and soul supporter of the EU and wants the UK to remain a member. In the next breath, he’s saying we’ll give the people of the UK a chance to vote for out if he doesn’t get what he wants in his much vaunted ‘renegotiations’.

    Can somebody please tell them man that he hasn’t got a chance in hell of changing the minds within the EU to the UK’s advantage, because it is an undemocratic institution and corruption is so endemic, that we’ll be perpetually outnumbered especially after QMV kicks in.

    The EU is a mess. It always will be a mess. It is unworkable. It is profligate. It causes strife on a massive scale. Living standards of ordinary people throughout the EUcontinue to crash. It imposes crippling impediments upon business, with even more to come. And it wants those countries like the UK who do the right thing and get their economies in better condition (to a point but not far enough for my liking), to pay for the EU’s continued failure. We need to get the EU anchor chain from around our necks unless we go down with the sinking ship.

    Three EU recessions in six years must surely tell the EU supporters something, but Cameron is not the one to deliver us from it. He can’t be all things to all men, no matter how hard he tries to look tough. Time is short, and people are now looking elsewhere for the leadership he and the other leaders of the LibLabCon patently lacks.

    Tad Davison


  35. turbo terrier
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    If the whole EU process was run on sound business practice, who in their right mind would pay up a demand let alone one of this magnitude to a “company” that has not had it books audited for years? We expect this attitude from the HMRC and the Renewable Lobby but there has to come a time to draw a line in the sand. What the public want to hear is NO now or ever. What a price this country pays for have people in control who have three fifths of naff all experience in business. The EU with these sort of measures are not only loading the gun for UKIP there are pulling the trigger. Heaven help us all. Even divine intervention might be too late.

  36. turbo terrier
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Listening to Owen Pattersons replacement on Sunday Politics just about sums it all up the present state this country finds itself in. Can’t answer the questions and doesn’t understand the process of energy generation. Not sure if it will be a large G&T or just a bottle!!!
    Who gives these people their positions of power? That says it all.

    Posted October 26, 2014 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    I must disagree in part. The amount alone demanded by the EU is a shock perhaps for a Chancellor who has mislaid his abacus but it is in line with the agreements for such retrospective demands. In fact it is not retrospective in the true sense.

    Our own tax authorities feel no obligation whatsoever not to to claim ” retrospective ” taxes from citizens even though they themselves were duty-bound in the first place, given correct information by the citizen, to tax correctly. They even demand their own documentation sent to citizens returned to them before any reassessment. And then months later also demand production of the original documents they had previously demanded be sent to them. An impossibility of course. So the tax is imposed, money reclaimed and threats made.
    Whether such payments should be allowed for a foreign power to demand. Well this is what the UK has signed up for. One may cry about it and cite details of King Charles and the civil war but if one listened to all of what rt hon Cameron said in his recent press conference where he though genuinely angry slipped into his dialectal form of English, he actually demanded an explanation, in detail, for the demand. These details and the reasons for the amount should be in the hands of the Chancellor rt hon Osborne or more likely in the hands of his civil servants. No need to ask the EU, again, for such.
    Pay the bill on time. It is legitimate.
    Bring forward the referendum to BEFORE the 2015 General Election.

  38. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    “The Pope’s power was extinguished by Act of Parliament, and individuals lost their right to appeal to Rome for ultimate judgements of their cases.”

    Sort of. Now they have a right to appeal to courts created by (the Treaty of) Rome. And that’s no more acceptable.

    • Mark B
      Posted October 27, 2014 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      Great comment !

  39. Steven Granger
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Far be it for me to defend the EU but this additional contribution arises as a result of changes to the way countries measure GDP agreed at UN level. The changes were adopted by the EU and your government readily agreed to this. It would (or should) have been obvious that a large payment from the UK would have been the result. This is an entirely predictable outcome and, if Cameron was genuinely unaware of it, it demonstrates a level of incompetence and ignorance that is truly astounding. As a frequent commenter on matters EU (and faux Eurosceptic) I would have thought you might also be better placed to comment intelligently on this matter rather than the ignorant rants we have had so far.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted October 26, 2014 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

      Cameron is no more an accountant than Blair.
      He has a line to sell and is the PR outlet for it.

  40. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    I have had quite enough of the spongers. We work hard all our lives restrict ourselves to the things we can afford , only bring children into the world to fit our individual budgets and the greedy come to this country taking , taking ,taking. Now it seems they don’t even have to put a foot on our soil to take.

  41. Paul Cohen
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    It is about time that we had a proper debate on the pros or cons for continuing with the EU – not a last minute frenzy that we saw with the Scottish referendum.

    There seems to have been an ambivalence towards us for a long time now, and no acknowledgement of the UK large contributions in both money and taking the lead in support of relief to the many disasters we now have.

    This country bankrupted itself after the second world war rescuing four of them from attacks by the other two, so it is a bitter pill to swallow that we now find ourselves dictated to with regard to this latest demand of £1.7 billion NOW! Obviously our number crunchers will be hard at work to see if this does comply to what we agreed to and will probably result in some sort of fudge.

    What we ought to understand is that at present we are part of a bloc agreeing to ever closer ties, finally resulting in a single state. Witness the arrogance of the unelected eurocrats, the vast premises, the eyewatering costs to move the EU to Strasbourg once a month, the excessive salaries and expenses, the top of the range chauffeur driven cars,
    unaccountability for the EU budget – now not signed off for 19 years. I could go on, and by the way what happened to the agreement to amend the CAP in return for a reduced rebate?

    A good book to read on the subject is “Au Revoir Europe” by David Charter.

  42. Gyges
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Cameron’s blustering and posturing did not ring true. I can’t believe that he didn’t know about the charge. If he didn’t this shows a mssive degree of incompetence on the part of UK gov.

    Good to see we’ve made all these sacrifices just to send the savings to the EU.

    John, when are you going to cross the floor to UKIP?

  43. sm
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    facta non verba
    Deeds, not words (Actions speak louder than words)

    They the EU realise we can always print fiat and are using this as a easy way out. No matter that it reduces the value of UK fiat GBP in the world. No wonder most of London is owned by foreigners and locals cant afford anything.

    Why not print Euro’s and give it to them! That would cause a stir.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted October 26, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      “Why not print Euros and give it to them!”
      I like that suggestion.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted October 26, 2014 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

        Or sell the bonds given a 40% haircut by the ECB to the ECB but demand 100% of the cover value. The ECB can print the Euros to make up the deficit which would reduce the Euro’s value not Sterling’s.

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted October 26, 2014 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

          Should read “Greek bonds”

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted October 26, 2014 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

          Bonds should read “Greek bonds”

  44. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    “In the EU everything is renegotiable to those with the political will when they are paying for the organisation.”

    I don’t think it’s the case that “everything” can be renegotiated while staying in the EU or any other international organisation, and nor should it be.

    If you are no longer committed to the fundamental objectives of the organisation, then you should be prepared to leave it and negotiate different arrangements from outside of it, should such alternative arrangements be deemed necessary.

    Are we committed to the process of “ever closer union” with our neighbours prescribed by the EU treaties? No, only a small minority of the British people actually want that, or have ever wanted that, and so we should leave the EU.

  45. Leslie Singleton
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Dear John–Does anybody understand the basis of the calculation? If so one would never guess. For a start how much is due solely to the nonsensical new definition of GDP that we recently agreed to? I refer to the inclusion of rubbish like drugs and prostitution. Mind you I remember some time back being told by you that whether something is useless or not does not matter in compiling GDP, so we were warned. Be that as it may surely somebody in the Treasury should have worked out the effect of these new GDP numbers ages ago–ignoring that is whatever the EU is doing in addition.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted October 26, 2014 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      Yes, the Germans are measuring Mercedes, and we are measuring the number of estate agents.

  46. John B
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    “The UK Parliament is still sovereign in the UK for one very good reason. Parliament , and Parliament alone, can decide…”

    That being so why all the fretting and posturing over ‘renegotiations’, just ‘decide’ and amend the Act?

    Of course it is not so, Parliament and the People are no longer sovereign, the political claque having handed over the regulation of the Country’s affairs to a coalition of Continental Governments, so even if MPs had the will… and they don’t… to exercise sovereignty, they could not.

  47. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    The Sunday Telegraph is claiming that Osborne had some idea about this being on the way as far back as January:


    Bill Cash wants to get to the bottom of this.

    • matthu
      Posted October 26, 2014 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      But a furious David Cameron vowed on Friday that he would not pay an “appalling” and “unexpected” demand for an extra £1.7 billion in British contributions to the EU budget by the December 1 deadline.

      So what aspect was unexpected – and who do we believe?

      Perhaps Cameron thought he had previously received assurance that nothing would be announced until after the Rochester by-election. Either way, Cameron does not come across as being transparently honest, instead it feels like he had been hoping to be able to pull the wool over eyes.

      And not for the first time either.

  48. DaveM
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 6:05 pm | Permalink


    You must have “Conservative MPs have tried to secure a referendum but there is not majority for one” on your computer’s clipboard, I’ve read it so many times here!

    It’s so glaringly obvious that the EU will not bend on any of the issues which Cameron makes noises about (occasionally) and which are the main points of annoyance for the vast majority of people in this country. To that end, there seems little point in wasting time on negotiation and wasting money on plane fares, so would it not just be easier to make an in/out referendum the central GE campaign issue and start doing it now?

    We all post on this website chewing our hands with frustration that our country is being dismantled and handed away to other nations which have never liked us or done a thing for us, and about 80% of the English feel the same. The other 20% either don’t know or care. There has to be something you can do about this.

    We’re a benign and generous nation, but we will only take so much. And you know as well as I do that if you tell an Englishman to go left, he’ll go right because it’s in his genes!! People who join our forces swear allegiance to HM the Queen, her heirs and successors, and the huge majority would not fight for a European State – we do not recognise the authority of a foreign organisation, so vast swathes of personnel would just leave.

    Disregarding the conspiracy theories and so on, this latest demand (and it could be £1 or £1.7Bn) is the final straw; the sight of our Sovereign’s delegated leader being humbled and told what to do by “Johnny Foreigner” in Brussels will be too much for most people to swallow.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted October 26, 2014 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

      “Conservative MPs have tried to secure a referendum but there is not majority for one”

      This line is so illogical, and can be dismantled so easily:

      If Conservative MPs felt so strongly about an early referendum they could demand that their leader called an early election on this argument alone, without all the expense and worry of other policies in a manifesto. This would actually trounce UKIP and then good old Eurosceptic Cameron could save the aggro of re-negotiation and take us out of the EU at a stroke.

      The truth is of course at variance with this. Conservative MPs cover a wide band of loyalty to the European project, and the only wholly Eurosceptic party polling in double figures is UKIP.

      Reply Ministers respond if asked to hold an early election with the points that Parliament has passed a 5 Year Parliament Act which lays down the election date in law, and they gave their word to keep the coalition going for 5 years. Those who voted to repeal the Act last week were nowhere near a majority of the whole House because Ministers are backed by the Labour party in this view apparently.

  49. REPay
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Query: Retrospective Taxation

    I thought it used to be a principle in the UK that taxation could not be retrospective. Is this still the case within the UK? I assume not in the EU. I seem to recall the last government undertook some retrospective taxation and there was one measure by the chancellor that was also retrospective.

    If this principal is under general assault, I think this is something we should be very concerned about from a domestic point of view.

  50. Boudicca
    Posted October 27, 2014 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Cameron will pay the Danegeld. Because he is the EU’s servant; and he heads a Government which is the EU’s servant.

    A large proportion of both Houses of Parliament have no respect for the British Parliament or any patriotic loyalty to their country – let alone the British people.

    If they had to vote, they too would vote to pay the Danegeld.

    And then the EU will come back for more because – as Kipling quite rightly said:

    Once you have paid him the Danegeld
    You never get rid of the Dane.

  51. ChrisS
    Posted October 27, 2014 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    I have just seen one faceless EU spokesman on the 6pm BBC news say that if we don’t pay the €2m we could get huge fines and they might get difficult over our rebate.

    As a net contributor ( £56m per day according to Mr Farage ) exactly how are they going to make us pay ?

    They could try withholding payments back to the UK. Our response would then be to calculate and then start sending them just the net figure we think is reasonable and therefore bypass all that bureaucracy.

    Brussels woud be well advised not to go down that route because the British Public will soon decide that £56m per day is no longer reasonable price to pay to be in this organisation which is so obviously in terminal decline.

    Frankly. they are doing UKIP’s work for them.

  • 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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