The CBI and a referendum on the EU

We read from the CBI conference that a few large companies and the CBI leadership are against an EU referendum. They think it could create uncertainties and make life more difficult for big business.
The opposite is the truth.

It would be interesting to know if these large companies who express this view have polled their UK shareholders, UK employees and UK customers. If they did they would very likely find that a majority of them want a referendum just like the majority of the public at large. A large majority of smaller and medium sized businesses want a renegotiation and a referendum on the results, as other business organisations have pointed out.

The CBI needs to be asked why it thinks our current membership of the EU is helpful or important to business. It is after all our EU membership that lies behind the very dear energy imposed on European business. It is the Euro many of these businesses recommended which has helped create poor demand and mass unemployment on the continent. It is some of the excessive EU regulation which prices European business out of work, making it less competitive worldwide.

Many countries in the world trade and succeed economically without belonging to the EU. The UK would do better without the high budget contributions, the dear energy and some of the regulations that the EU imposes. The rest of us can see that. Just as some big businesses changed their view on the Exchange Rate Mechanism and the Euro which they got spectacularly wrong in the past, so they will have to change their view on our current EU membership as they start to see the true burdens it imposes. They should not seek to undermine the UK negotiating position. If we do not succeed in negotiating a good deal then the people will vote for Out.


  1. Mark B
    November 12, 2014

    Good morning.

    The CBI and business in general have little or no interest in what is essentially a political debate. The EU is a political project. Yes, it has a trade component but, that comes in the form of the Single Market / EEA. If the UK were to exit the EU but retain EEA membership, which would be ideal for both parties (EU & UK), then I see no reason why the CBI or others should be involved, as their needs would have been met.

    I would also like to know (if any ed) members of the CBI have in their possession, so called; “Comfort Letters”, from the Duchy of Luxembourg ? And thereby beneficiaries form the unique arrangement, via membership of the EU, that that brings.

    One would not wish to accuse (any particular company ed) of financial irregularities relating to the above. That would indeed be most embarrassing and would undermine the their respective reputations, particularly with regard to our membership of the EU.

  2. Douglas Carter
    November 12, 2014

    That the UK can trade happily and beneficially outside the EU and still have an influential input into international trading Law and Standards has been established as proven for so long it becomes a given that those who have no intentions of listening to that fact will continue in that negligence no matter how often their contrary stance is disproven.

    More interesting is their insistence that things be made ‘easy’ for them. And I’ll bring into consideration the nature of some of the comments made by your erstwhile Parliamentary colleagues on Monday evening during that debate. That the EAW (or drawn larger, The EU) makes it ‘easier’ to do certain things.

    The nature of business, in particular as that business grows larger, is that it must make its own way in the world and has to learn and adapt to inconstancies, unknowns and troubled waters. That’s what small businesses do on a day-to-day basis without assistance from the Taxpayer – frequently without even the local Council being particularly helpful over such a small thing as a parking spot for any respective single vehicle. Yet these small businesses will frequently thrive and grow without the CBI ever even knowing they exist. Perhaps it’s because those who have grown that business have the drive, ambition and fortitude to do so.

    Why should the conduct of power be ‘easy’ for Parliamentarians? The conduct of Law, Liberty and Freedom is complex and those who have custody of the sovereignty of those tenets of a nation state – the populace – have a right that their representatives have the attention spans necessary to function the levers of democracy with due dexterity and competence. If it’s too difficult for them, they should consider stepping down to be replaced by any individual more suited to the tasks at hand, rather than simplifying procedure for their own convenience?

    Companies which ‘need’ the Government to make trading conditions easy for them might look to their own capabilities and leaderships? Does the UK have to cede sovereignty just so’s the executive board can fund their Christmas bash properly next year, or that the Political Parties find it simpler to strip the electorate of the reach of their political representation?

  3. Gina Dean
    November 12, 2014

    If they except it from the EU they have to seem to support the institution. We had been promised a breakdown at the beginning of this parliament on how intrusive and how much it is costing this country. Where has this disappeared to.
    As we near the referendum we will be bombarded with how we will suffer if we leave the EU. You and your supporter’s will have to have all the facts and figures at hand to counter this.

    1. Tad Davison
      November 12, 2014


      I have been waiting for two years for my own local pro-EU Lib Dem MP, Julian Huppert, to provide me with that information.

      It is quite reasonable to presume that anyone who supported a project that had delivered prosperity and success, would want to shout it from the rooftops, but quite the reverse. It shows there is something to hide, and that in turn can only be construed as a con upon the people.


      1. Hope
        November 12, 2014

        You ought to recall that the Govt. was unable to provide actual figures of how much the UK actually contributes! They were also obscure how much rebate was actually received.

        When do we find out when the money for EU bail outs will be given back?

  4. Mark W
    November 12, 2014

    Very large companies do have a dog in the EU race. They are big enough to cope with most of the EU nonsense which strangles smaller business. They’d be turkeys voting for Christmas to see that bizarre advantage swept away. The EU likes mega corporations that adapt to its regulation. Independent business is too independent.

    1. Bob
      November 12, 2014

      The EU is about socialist corporatism, the upward redistribution of wealth.
      We import cheap labour by the millions and subsidise their wages with tax credits.
      Land owners receive subsidy through CAP and EU imposed windfarms.
      The LibLAbCon treat the uneducated unskilled poor are the voting fodder and the middle class are the milch cows. Meanwhile the rich are getting richer and the wealth gap continues to grow.

      Mr Redwood, I notice that you declared your position on the 35 new powers on this page and then moved to the “Debates” page to report your reaction to the treacherous chicanery of your party leadership. Can we look forward to a full and frank front page essay from you on the subject? or are the whips on your case to keep schtum in case it costs the Tories votes in Rochester and Strood?

      Reply How absurd. I have published my views on this site in my usual way – not with a wish to hide them! I led on the EAW issue on the day of the vote. I intervened substantially in the debate and posted my main remarks. Hardly ignoring it!

  5. Lifelogic
    November 12, 2014

    Indeed the CBI has been wrong on almost every issue it has touched. It is the voice of large business that wants to kill competition from small businesses using EU and UK regulation.

    It is however mainly the “vote blue get green”, behind the ears, Cameron and all the (nearly all scientifically illiterate) MPs who voted for the absurd climate change act who are (at the very least) equally to blame for dear energy policy. The consequential job export and job destruction has been huge. Three cheers for the five who voted against it and the few abstainers.

    What honourable & sensible engineer, economist or scientist would want to work for a department led by someone like Ed Davey. Davey is clearly driven by an absurd, fake green, anti-science belief system? It would be like having to work for the Dept of Education and being forced to teach creationism or to indoctrinate children in the climate change, fiery carbon dioxide, hell on earth exaggerations. No one sensible would plaster the country and seas with so many pointless wind turbines that are clearly absurdly uneconomic and intermittent. All this subsidised from excess taxes, it is such a huge & damaging misdirection of capital investment.

    The BBC too still continues its huge, endless, bias & misinformation on the green issue, without which the public might have been rather less gullible. How many more (unpredicted by their duff models) years of no warming do they need before they wake up – 16 so far?

    1. Lifelogic
      November 12, 2014

      The CBI is completely wrong on the green religion too.

      “The low-carbon economy could be a real engine of growth in the UK” – perhaps they got confused between brakes and engines? How can intermittent energy (at say 4+ times the cost of the US/World energy) be an engine for growth?

      1. fedupsouthener
        November 12, 2014

        Life logic. I do so agree with you on all the points you raise. When you get unbiased and experts with no vested interest telling you that the current energy policy is absurd and still our politicians will not listen I just despair. This country could be so much better off if we went back to a sound energy system, one which will serve a modern nation well and used our own resources instead of importing energy. Tidal energy will be 6x the cost of conventional energy and we are still paying out colossal amounts of subsidies for wind turbines NOT to work. The current use of emergency generators provided by big companies must be good news for them as they will also be paid extortionate amounts of money if the national grid requires back up from them. I think the figure equals 12x the current costs!!!! You are right. How can the UK and the rest of Europe ever hope to compete with the world on prices? Our government ministers have lost the plot. We are all being taken to the cleaners and they know it. Already we have the BBC reporting negatively about shale gas exploration and how long before the likes of Caroline Lucas are out on the streets causing mayhem and whipping up nonsensical hysteria? Once again I am sure we will see our so called leaders buckling under the pressure of the delusional greens and continuing down the road to ruin. Rule Britannia for how much longer?

        1. Lifelogic
          November 12, 2014

          Indeed unscientific group think (plus vested interests) – total insanity.

      2. stred
        November 12, 2014

        Presumably, they are looking at the huge subsidy driven expansion in equipment for wind, biomass and other generation and the grid. 9 times original value as estimated in a report put on this blog 2 years ago. Lots of turnover and profit there and politicians will make sure the cost will go on the bill and that most consumers will not notice.

        It was interesting to see the recently defeated Fredrik Reinfeldt, Swedish PM, was invited to speak but not UKIP. He lost the 2014 election, having been described as the Swedish David Cameron and and influence on Cameron, having been elected before him.

        Age 41, liberal conservative, centrist, son of a Shell consultant and management consultant, Stockholm Business School and, guess what, President of the European Council 2009 and oversaw the signing of the Lisbon Treaty. No practical business experience listed.(wiki)

        Then on to Daily Politics, where he explained that the Swedes encouraged mass immigration because the aging population made it necessary. He is distasteful of anti the anti-immgration movement (…….. as he has Italian and American ancestors. How familiar and cosy. Just the chap to speak to the CBI and their team of ex academic or banking leaders.

        Meanwhile, my shares in major British companies have lost a pile over the past 8 years, while pay for the top directors has soared.

      1. Lifelogic
        November 12, 2014

        Thanks 18 then.

  6. Martyn G
    November 12, 2014

    “The CBI needs to be asked why it thinks our current membership of the EU is helpful or important to business”. Well, yes but is it not the case that, like the BBC and others, the CBI is being subsidised (bribed might be a better word) to propagate the myth on behalf of the EU? Not only that, subsidised it would seem by UK tax payers money recycled (less handling expenses of course) into and out of the EU coffers.
    I sometimes wonder how many other large unelected organisations without democratic merit but with substantial political lobbying powers there are in the UK openly or behind public scrutiny promoting the EU in all of its flawed attempt to become the US of the EU? We ought to be told.

    1. oldtimer
      November 12, 2014

      You make good points that indeed deserve an answer. I was shocked to read that the CBI accepts money from the EU. I had no idea.(words left out ed)

      The (error ed) lies in the use and abuse of taxpayers` money to make these gifts. The EU does this time and time again to promote the causes it wants to push, often through NGOs but also through institutions like the BBC and now, it appears, the CBI. Every time some charity or organisation pops up to say we must do this or not do that I ask myself “Who has paid this mouthpiece, with whose money and why?”

    2. Tad Davison
      November 12, 2014


      Buying influence is surely corrupt, so I’d be interested to know what MPs are doing to stop it.


      1. Lifelogic
        November 12, 2014

        Nothing at all it seems.

        Cameron even put Lord Patten in at the BBC so we can see what line Cameron wanted from them.

  7. Lifelogic
    November 12, 2014

    I happened to catch the Rochester candidate in a question time type of debate/discussion on TV the other day. The Tory candidate, Kelly Tolhurst was just dreadful. Is this really the best the Conservatives can now recruit under broken compass Cameron?

    1. A different Simon
      November 12, 2014

      Lifelogic ,

      A friend of mine who is a trade union member was bemoaning the fact that he had voted for Ed in their leadership campaign and told me “Labour have some good leadership material coming through now” .

      I would dearly love to believe my friend but the evidence is overwhelmingly that the quality of MP across the board , on front and back benches , is at an all time low .

      Perhaps some of us have cried wolf too many times but it is really true – they really are the worst ever , hitting a new low every week .

      Worse still since they are bad Parliamentarian’s and since the Blair days treat Parliament with contempt .

      That quote following Mrs (Ms?) May’s duplicity on the EAW said it all : “Executive Arrogance” .

      1. Lifelogic
        November 12, 2014

        Well who would want to join (or stand for) a Tory party led by a pro EU, green crap, counterproductive, warmongering, socialist? Only a career politician surely?

    2. mick
      November 12, 2014

      I to watch it, what a hand picked audience that was you could`nt getting any lefter, and also have read in the paper that DAVID Cameron today dramatically urged Labour and Lib Dem supporters to vote tactically to stop Ukip winning a crunch by-election next week, talk about free speech, your time is up Mr Cameron TICK TOCK TICK TOCK

  8. Gary
    November 12, 2014

    You keep telling us that the EU imposes expensive energy on us, but that doesn’t stand up to the facts.

    Why don’t we burn cheap coal like the Germans do? The bogus climate science, proved by emails, came out of the university of East Anglia. We squandered a 30 year North Sea oil bonanza, and have nothing to show for it. Can you account for that waste?

    Stop telling half truths. This govt loves the EU for the scapegoat it provides.

    Reply EU rules require us to retire early cheaper coal and oil burn power stations and replace them with very expensive renewable capacity.

    1. Graham
      November 12, 2014

      Reply to reply


      Please explain how Germany can use the most polluting coal as a replacement for nuclear but we seem unable.


      Reply Germany has already hit the EU targets for renewables and has dear energy.

    2. Colin Hart
      November 12, 2014

      So why are the Germans allowed to go on mining and burning their indigenous brown coal?

    3. A different Simon
      November 12, 2014

      John ,

      The UK has unilaterally banned new coal powered electricity generation by insisting on an upper limit of 780g CO2 / kWh of electricity .

      If the UK had not have done this , the operators of these coal plants might have chosen to invest in upgrading/replacing them with newer more efficient coal power plants as has happened in Germany (which still cannot meet the UK’s unilateral limits) .

      If you know why the UK insists on gold-plating EU directives could you tell the rest of us please ?

  9. Dame Rita Webb
    November 12, 2014

    What’s the CBI worried about? Switzerland, which is often held up by commenters here as an example of what the UK would be like if it were outside of the EU. It has a “flexible labour market” and thrives on cheap foreign labour. The cleaners at my hotel in Lucerne were all from Bosnia. Dear UKIPers do not deceive yourself into thinking that things will automatically get better outside of the EU, it’s the failed neo lib economic model that is making your life a misery not the EU in itself.

    1. Lifelogic
      November 12, 2014

      It is the size and incompetence of government that is the real problem. This at EU level, Westminster level, the regions and at even local council level. Far too many parasitic pointless jobs and misdirection of Capital such as the green agenda.

      1. Lifelogic
        November 12, 2014

        And misdirection of the private sector with green grants, absurd tax systems, HS2, daft employment laws …….

    2. Bob
      November 12, 2014

      @Dame Rita Webb
      It would be nice to be able to decide for ourselves whether or not to import hotel cleaners or whether they should be recruited internally from the ranks of unemployed Brits.

    3. forthurst
      November 12, 2014

      Switzerland, which is more democratic than any country in the EU, has recently held a referendum to revoke their agreement with the EU for free movement on the grounds that it had achieved an an unacceptable level of unquantified and unqualified immigation, leading to unsustainable levels of population increase. The referendum was successful. Following this, the EU has issued all sorts of threats against Switzerland, implying that they would be punished for failing to progress towards the abolition of Switzerland by stealth.

      It is perfectly true that neo-liberalism is not only being pursued through the EU; it is active whereever a group of rootless people who do not belong anywhere and cause trouble wherever they go, have infiltrated the organs of state and those of opinion formation. That is why it is essential to leave the EU, but not to assume that consequently we will have become immune from the depradations of the central malignancy; it is simply one step on the way to becoming a free country once again; the alternative, the dream of odious individuals like Cameron, is the abolition of England, its people, and its freedoms, of which the opt into the EAW, a revocation of the legal safeguards stemmming from Magna Carta, (which the aforementioned could not translate into English,) is but one step on the way to becoming, ourselves, rootless victims of an anonymous tyranny purportedly operating from Brussels, but really who would know?

  10. Roy Gainger
    November 12, 2014

    The forthcoming general election in 2015 creates uncertainty and the election of a Labour government would be damaging for business. To be consistent the CBI should campaign for that election to be scrapped too.

    1. Brian Tomkinson
      November 12, 2014

      A good point which isn’t made often enough.

    2. Lifelogic
      November 12, 2014

      Indeed but Cameron and his bloated, huge deficit, fake green government is almost equally bad.

  11. JoeSoap
    November 12, 2014

    Why should life be made so easy for big businesses?
    We need the freedom in the UK to push British interests to the front of the queue-create the British versions of Siemens, Brown Boveri etc. by nurturing the SME s instead of allowing multi-nationals to clobber them from manufacturing bases in China, tax bases in Luxembourg etc.
    The CBI should be treated as a sectoral interest group for large companies in the way the unions are sectoral for public sector (mainly) employees – an interest group which is by and large working against national interests rather then for them.
    This little CBI ditty proves that point.

  12. JoeSoap
    November 12, 2014

    Worth noting I believe UKIP was banned from the CBI conference for having the temerity to suggest a British turnover related tax on those poor multinational companies which can move their tax base around the world!

    1. Hope
      November 12, 2014

      Maastricht helped business to avoid tax to the host nation, now was that something Cameron and Osborne were very very serious about to stop, stern face and all that? Now big business gets cheap labour subsidised by the UK taxpayer and helped to avoid tax. As for the UK taxpayer, high taxes, high EU contributions and waiting queues beyond belief for public services like housing, schools and hospitals. No wonder they like the EU. Does Osborne claim credit for the increase in GDP to pay the EU £1.7 billion more because drugs and prostitution is included into the equation? Who in their right mind allowed it to be included and how is it measured?

      How is the spin going for the promised vote by Cameron on the EAW? May is right about toxic Tories but wrong about the generation who caused the party to be branded as such.

      1. Tad Davison
        November 12, 2014


        There’s been an element of ‘Toxic Tories’ within the Conservative party for at least fifty years to my knowledge. Some, like Heath, Clarke, Major, and Heseltine, are the vanguard.

        The toxicity has been perpetuated through successive generations by people who haven’t got the guts to call them out, and it’s going to come back and bite them even harder than it has done already. It will continue to do so until they get rid. Eurosceptics have consistently won the arguments, but are hamstrung by people who are wrong, yet have a disproportionate amount of influence.

        Oh to be privy to all the ‘secret intelligence’ the whips have on Tory MPs.


        1. Hope
          November 12, 2014

          You are correct, but she needs to look in the mirror and to her left and right in cabinet. I genuinely think Cameron has been caught out by his party- anyone who had any remaining doubt about his behavior and Europhile credentials. Another endorsement for the credibility of Carswell and Reckless.

          1. Tad Davison
            November 12, 2014

            I’m right with you. I stopped supporting the Tories once it dawned on me that there were just too many ‘Toxic Tories’ for me to overcome. I wonder how many right-minded anti-EU Tory MPs will come to the same conclusion and leave?


  13. DaveM
    November 12, 2014

    Maybe you or someone like you should address the CBI rather than the Europhiles who tell them what they want to hear.

  14. nigel
    November 12, 2014

    JR: I heard on the radio that Switzerland, whilst able to trade freely with the EU in goods, did not enjoy the same facility with regard to its services. The suggestion was made that if we adopted a similar trading model then we could find ourselves in the same situation, which of course would be difficult for our services dominated economy.

    Is this correct?

    Reply Switzerland does trade in services with the EU. Out of the EU the UK would not be part of the club forming EU service rules, but could trade with the EU on an agreed basis. We trade in services with the US without having a seat at their table for forming their service sector rules.

    1. Hope
      November 12, 2014

      And the UK extradites to the U.S very quickly without the EAW. How does the rest of the world manage without the EAW? What prevents May from deporting foreign criminals from the UK? Does the EAW help? Does the EAW prevent EU convicted or suspected criminals entering the UK in the first instance? Why has May not resigned like Charles Clarke before her, Reid reported it was not fit for purpose 8 years on billions of pounds spent and still the same old stories about failure. If she does not walk why is she not pushed?

      1. DaveM
        November 12, 2014

        “What prevents May from deporting foreign criminals from the UK?”

        The ECHR. Nuff said.

    2. Leslie Singleton
      November 12, 2014

      Dear John–Can you be serious? Think of the influence we would lose (Joke). We would be just like Canada vis a vis the US ie no bad place at all and very certainly no unlimited immigration.

  15. Ian wragg
    November 12, 2014

    It must be made very clear that the CBI accepts funds from the EU. They were wrong on the ERM the Euro and most other prediction. They should not be allowed to influence the British public.

  16. A different Simon
    November 12, 2014

    The CBI has been spectacularly wrong about energy too as has the trade union movement .

    The CBI has been vehemently anti-shale and a massive advocate for Britains “legally binding carbon budgets” .

    Contrast this with the Institute of Directors and Federation of Small Businesses which has taken the opposite view .

    What can you expect from an organisation with “Industry” in it’s name with a director general who has come straight from university without working a single day in industry ?

    I’m sure the Knighthood is on it’s way .

    As for the large companies concerned , it’s time to call their bluff .

    Britain will not start moving in the right direction until we start governing ourselves again .

    1. Lifelogic
      November 12, 2014

      Indeed but it is not lust the CBI it is LibLabCon, the BBC, bureaucrats, the “education” and exam systems, Universities and the EU that are all fairly wrong on the green energy agenda.

      1. fedupsouthener
        November 12, 2014

        Too right! If only the British public would do some research they would see the futility of what is happening. We need our newspapers to do some investigative journalism instead of taking everything they are told at face value particularly when it is coming from those with a vested interest. What is going on in this country is truly a disgrace. We cannot trust our educations system or the BBC anymore. We can hardly watch a nature programme without the usual phrases such as climate change etc coming out of someone’s mouth. I have to turn off at this stage as I will not listen to biased information which clearly has no scientific base.

        1. Lifelogic
          November 12, 2014

          The BBC always present it as “why do the public not trust the scientists” if fact we do. We trust sensible scientists and engineer like Richard Lindzen and Freeman Dyson rather than the largely quack climate science/career/grant seeking/climate gate ones. 18 years so far of no warming, not at all predicted by the BBC nor the climate experts. Even with their expensive computers!

  17. mick
    November 12, 2014

    Correct me if i`m wrong Mr Redwood, but haven`t i read some where that the BBC & CBI receive money from the EU, so of cause they are not going to want a referendum on the EU because they know what the out come will be

    1. Bob
      November 12, 2014


      “the BBC & CBI receive money from the EU”

      Corporate socialism in action.

  18. Lifelogic
    November 12, 2014

    Banks fined £1.1BN for forex manipulation I hear today. But as there is still so little real competition in banking currently this fine will fall on the customers (and tax payers) who suffered the losses from this dishonest manipulation in the first place. Fining the victims of crime does not sound very fair to me.

    The people who need to be fined or locked up are the senior bank staff, their pensions, the incompetent state sector regulators and that “save the world”, “no return to Boom and Bust” incompetent Gordon Brown.

    Obama in China and more silly Carbon drivel announcements from them. Why do the BBC keep saying CO2 is “dirty”, carbon may be black but CO2 is just clean, transparent, tree and plant food that we breath out with every single breath and it increases crop, tree and plant growth too. This through the increased CO2 concentration and through the mild & on balance helpful, climate warming that might result other things being equal. What is not to like?

    Meanwhile £1BN+ surely wasted on the Rosetta space project. The BBC had someone trying to explain the scientific benefits of the “investment” was but she failed to come up with any remotely sensible benefits. At least it was unmanned and will not explode any teachers or astronauts I suppose, in some vain pathetic European PR exercise.

    1. Lifelogic
      November 12, 2014

      The bank fines are just another tax on bank customers (without real banking competition). Doubtless the fines are to be pissed away on complete & nonsense like green crap and HS2, in the traditional Osborne/Cameron manner. Or “used for greater public good” as IHT ratter, 299+ tax increasing and public debt doubling George Osborne puts it just now.

      Does Cameron still dishonestly claim “we are paying down the debt”?

      1. mitchel
        November 12, 2014

        …and how the “huge” savings from cutting out public sector waste and inefficiency claimed by successive recent governments are always “re-invested”,never producing a reduction in the cash cost of the public sector.

    2. fedupsouthener
      November 12, 2014

      What I’d like to know is what do people think caused the previous ice ages and changes in land mass? Do they really think they can fight a natural occurrence with a few electric cars and wind mills? What if they are wrong, after all, it has not been scientifically proven that CO2 is going to harm us in any way or that it is down to man!! This is all an unnecessary and costly exercise which is making some charities and businesses including people like (eg left out ed) very rich indeed whilst making the rest of us poorer and more unhealthy. Let’s not pretend that current governments don’t know all of this so we must question are they actually doing things in the best interest of the country? From where I am coming from, I think not. Time for change.

    3. Lifelogic
      November 12, 2014

      On the Rosetta mission some female, “BBC expert” on the BBC was asked why we were spending this £1bn and she helpfully explained “because it is there and so we must land on it” or something similarly moronic.

      I suppose she could have added it is a good European virility/PR stunt and it is only £1bn tax payer’s money and not ours we are wasting after all.

  19. Paul H
    November 12, 2014

    The CBI is also apparently in the pay of the EU, just like the BBC. It is outrageous that these bodies are able to take EU money, ie our money, to tell us that we ought to stay in the EU and give it even more of our money.

    However, I am most interested in your silence on the matter of the vote on the EWA the other evening. Or was it actually a vote on the EWA? Is it true that May and Cameron were behaving with disgusting cynicism and contempt for Cameron’s promise of a vote, per some commentators? Or were they caught out by an attention-seeking, mischief-making Speaker in cahoots with Labour, per other commentators? It is too arcane to make head or tail of, and doubtless the true position is nuanced. However your silence does rather support the idea that ministers were acting like a sack of greased weasels, as one commentator has memorably described it.

    Reply I took an active part in the debate, posted my main speech on this site, voted for a longer debate about the opt ins and voted against the regulations the government passed to implement the opt ins. Why don’t you read Hansard or what I have put up here, which has made my views very plain.

    1. Bob
      November 12, 2014

      Reply to reply.
      Mr Redwood, you have indeed made your views about the 35 powers clear, however you failed to comment on the duplicitous behavior of your party leaders.

      It was clear for all to see including Mr Speaker that the move to exclude the EAW from the debate was a con trick, something that Mr Cameron has been accused of many times.

      Do you still believe that Mr Cameron will keep his promise of an EU Referendum? or will he find a weasel way out?

      Reply There will be a referendum if we have a Conservative majority government. The government on Monday said it was happy for us to debate the EAW and would take a vote of No to the measures on the Order paper as a vote of No to the whole thing including the EAW

      1. Lifelogic
        November 12, 2014

        The chances of Conservative (over all) Majority is only circa 12% and this is not a majority over the 200 or so on the Ken Clark think wing. Still Miliband is doing his best for you, all you need is a new compass on all issues for Cameron.

        Chance of Cameron giving a fair EU referendum if he can do perhaps about 10% too. About the same as his cast iron and IHT promises.

      2. Brian Tomkinson
        November 12, 2014

        Reply to reply,
        Why are you not outraged at the way your government treated Parliament on Monday? Unlike Cash, Rees-Mogg and Shepherd, you are not prepared to speak out against such an affront. That speaks volumes.
        Blind party loyalty prevents you. You vote one way and talk another on so many issues but above all else you will never criticise your party. How Cameron must love having you on board as he exhibits his contempt for Parliament and the people of the UK.

        Reply I talk and vote the same way, and on Monday urged them to provide the debate and vote Parliament wanted. I do not usually use violent language against other parties, let alone against the Conservatives. If you want that I suggest you look elsewhere, as it is not what I am trying to do here.

        1. Brian Tomkinson
          November 12, 2014

          Reply to reply,
          I don’t want you to use “violent language”. I would like you to recognise, just once, that the leadership of your party is duplicitous and mendacious, instead of always making excuses for them. The three of your colleagues I mentioned earlier were prepared to speak out against the abuse of Parliament by your party but you are clearly not.

        2. JoeSoap
          November 12, 2014

          Reply to reply:
          No need for violent language, sir, just for an honest opinion of the leadership of your party. Perhaps the thesis of your blog one day could be something like :

          Cameron’s promises-those he kept.

          It’d be interesting to hear from you how well he’s done on those…

          Debt pay-down?
          Things won’t rest there?
          Restructure those nice banks…?
          Tax reductions?
          and on and on….

          He has cut immigration from outside the EU and is now proposing an EU renegotiation or a vote for Out to be able to cut it from inside the EU
          He said he would get the deficit down not the debt and he has, though has not yet eliminated the deficit
          he did not offer an EU referendum in the 2010 Manifesto, but will in the 2015
          He did legislate for a referendum lock
          He has refused to join the Fiscal Treaty, lowered the EU budget and is negotiating over benefits
          He has taken many people out of tax altogether with a substantial rise in the tax threshold
          RBs is being restructured with sales of assets

          1. Anonymous
            November 12, 2014

            Reply to reply: “He has cut immigration from outside the EU”

            Yes. And that turned out to be exactly the swiz some of us said it was going to be at the time – record population levels under this Tory led administration.

            2010 – “WE WILL CUT IMMIGRATION…from outside the EU”

            2014 – “I WILL NOT PAY THIS DEBT… in December.”

            Spot the similarity ? A classic Cameron trick – it’s all hidden in the small print/speech.

            So we’re getting Australian professionals rejected while EU criminals are accepted.


            We’re still getting flooded with refugees too. If they come via the EU then Cameron can continue the deception – and on top of this, the EAW shenanigans this week. Yet another con trick.

            It’s the insulting of our intelligence that is most annoying, John.

  20. Narrow Shoulders
    November 12, 2014


    Unfortunately government does seem to march to the tune of big business. It is a shame that big business is demanding protectionist bureaucracy to prevent competition and cheap subsidised labour from abroad instead of insisting on a well educated workforce which it then trains for the job.

    Business uses EU as a shortcut to increased profits and higher executive pay and bonuses. If the general population were ever considered we would be out of the EU.

    1. Lifelogic
      November 12, 2014

      Big business marches to the tune of government too.

  21. Peter Stroud
    November 12, 2014

    TheTory Party has the opportunity of demonstrating that it is the party for all businesses, not just big business. I find it difficult to understand why our top, supposedly clever, business leaders should be so enamoured with a system that has so clearly failed.

  22. Denis Cooper
    November 12, 2014

    Surely after the disgraceful events of the past five days, culminating now with Cameron making a rather desperate public appeal for the formation of a united Unpatriotic Front to defeat UKIP because it wants us to leave the EU, you cannot think that many people would still trust a Tory government to hold a fair referendum on whether we should stay in the EU?

    For a start, would the question actually put to the electorate even be about whether or not we should stay in the EU, or would the government pose some different question and then interpret the result as being “indicative” of our views on whether we should stay in the EU, as that seems to be the way that the Commons now proceeds?

    1. Mondeo Man
      November 12, 2014

      To be fair, Denis, Farage says he would work in coalition with Labour too if it got him what he wanted on Europe.

      “There is no Left and Right in UK politics.” He says and he’s right.

  23. Horace
    November 12, 2014

    The same CBI that receives EU funding ?

    Any person or organisation commenting on a referendum should state if they have any conflicts of interest (including the BBC).

  24. Denis Cooper
    November 12, 2014

    Cameron quoted in the Telegraph today:

    “The Government won the vote and I’m satisfied with that. Now we can move on.”

    That’s about the non-vote on the EU Arrest Warrant on Monday, in 2017 it could equally well be about a vote to stay in the EU if an “in-out” referendum was held.

    1. Hope
      November 12, 2014

      Well said Denis. Now he wants us to forget it and gives the message to the media to move on so the public will forget.

    2. Atlas
      November 12, 2014

      Exactly Denis,

      I, like a few others, think that by such ‘smart’ (ie devious) actions Cameron has snatched defeat from the Jaws of victory. For since he had promised a vote on the EAW from the Dispatch Box no less, and essentially renaged on it, then surely it is now fuel for UKIP’s fire where they can argue that Cameron’s promises are proved to be worthless – again.

      I know that my local MP – a Conservative – is less than impressed.

      1. Brian Tomkinson
        November 12, 2014

        You clearly don’t live in Wokingham.

      2. Tad Davison
        November 13, 2014


        Less than impressed they may be. But has he/she got the bottle to do anything about it, or do they just make noises and continue to feed from the gravy train?

        If it’s the latter, they’re just as bad and contemptible as Cameron.


    3. Brian Tomkinson
      November 12, 2014

      Yesterday, he said of the Wanless report as reported in the Independent: ‘It’s important [the report] says that there wasn’t a cover-up… some of the people who’ve been looking for conspiracy theories will have to look elsewhere.’
      His comments were contadicted by Theresa May, also in the Independent, who said ‘there “might have been” a cover-up at Home Office in the 1980s concerning allegations that politicians were involved in child sex abuse but said an official review found the claim was “not proven”.’
      Peter Wanless on the BBC said David Cameron was “wrong” to say his report proved there was no cover-up.

  25. Old Albion
    November 12, 2014

    I had rather hoped you would have something to say about the lies and deception around the ‘European arrest warrent’ this morning.

  26. Mike Wilson
    November 12, 2014

    Do the CBI receive any funds from the EU?

  27. Ex-expat Colin
    November 12, 2014

    If you look at the Senior Team you might wonder:

    Something like that receiving central funds (£800k ?) does not look good at all. I’ll continue with the life long lesson of not listening and as usual doing the complete reverse.

    Watching the HoC EAW session was a distinct eye (head ?) opener. At least we got to hear more instances of the terrible justice systems in the EU. Ours is bad enough!

  28. Iain Moore
    November 12, 2014

    I would love to hear the answer of these ‘captains’ of industry if they were asked, when China becomes a more important export market than the EU, will you be advocating us joining the Chinese people’s congress?

    In addition these Captain’s of industry witter on about how important the EU market is to us, they always seem to forget a market that is 10 times more important than that, our home market.

  29. Brian Tomkinson
    November 12, 2014

    Such discussions, as those at the CBI conference, present a distorted view of the EUand our membership. It looks only at perceived advantage for corporatist big business when in fact membership of the EU is far more than that. They have been wrong many times before and the democratic rights of the people of the UK never seem to enter their minds.
    The membership of the EU is about far more than the profits of a few multi-national organisations and neither they, nor those politicians with similar disdane for the democratic rights of the electorate, must be allowed to portray it that way. There is much work to do to overcome the bias of CBI, politicians and much of the media (particularly the BBC) in presenting membership of the EU as no more than a trading arrangement without which jobs will be lost. That line was used in 1975 and people were conned. Clegg tried the same argument with Farage and lost. However, it will be used relentlessly in the hope of scaring people and drowning out the other more pertinent objections to being part of an anti-democratic organisation which is taking over effective government of our country without our consent.

  30. Mike Wilson
    November 12, 2014

    ‘If we do not succeed in negotiating a good deal then the people will vote for Out.’

    Still flogging the ‘renegotiation’ horse – when Cameron won’t tell us what he wants to renegotiate and EU leaders have already said ‘NO!’ (to anything to do with immigration) already. One can only presume you regard ‘the people’ as half-witted – as anyone with more than half a wit knows the promise of renegotiation is baloney.

    1. Lifelogic
      November 12, 2014

      I know no one who trusts Cameron to negotiate but a transparent fig leaf. His heart and soul is just not in it. Only a tiny few think he can even win the election.

      1. JoeSoap
        November 12, 2014

        Well he honestly could by way of default and a bust system. But what would be the point? Really? At least with Labour we will touch rock-bottom and spring back rather than live with this bulls+it.

  31. nTropywins
    November 12, 2014

    The Euro zone is a basket case. Without the full political union that is the ultimate goal of the ‘project’ there is a massive mismatch between the economies of the northern and southern states. Outside a common currency, devaluation would have been an option for the weaker economies.

    The UK’s relative economic outperformance fuelled at least in part from retaining the GBP has resulted in a £1.7bn penalty to prop up the weakness of the Euro zone. De facto the UK is part of the Euro zone and suffering accordingly.

    I don’t think anyone would sign up to a situation like this willingly except maybe a small self-serving minority who exist within the CBI. We need out and sharpish.

  32. margaret brandreth-j
    November 12, 2014

    I believe very recently David Cameron has addressd the CBI regards this matter but am not sure of the content of his speech and where he stands.Any help?

    1. Lifelogic
      November 12, 2014

      Well Cameron is CBI/BBC/establishment group think think to his very core.

  33. Bert Young
    November 12, 2014

    The CBI have no right to put across the view that we should stay in the EU . Its posture is only what a couple of its members ( international companies with a strong EU shareholding ) have influenced . From what I can gather , most of its smaller company members do not agree with the position taken and have no fear of their position in a genuine open market ; I have just concluded a telephone call to a previous CBI committee member who confirmed this .
    The services side of our economy relies solely on its background and expertise in financial and advice skills ; it recruits and trains the highest qualified individuals into its culture and ensures it supplies what the international markets need . The products manufactured and inspired here are created by world consumer demand and are priced to compete . These manufactured goods are secured and underpinned by research and development programmes with time horizons ; there is no evidence that we have failed as creators and innovators . Europe and the rest of the world have always sought after our skills and products and will continue to do so as long as we are on top of things .
    I have no fear of exiting the EU ; I want to control our own affairs and restore our democracy . I have no wish for un-elected , ill-equipped and inexperienced EU bureaucrats to decide things for us and the CBI have no right to put themselves forward as our interpreters.

  34. Robert Taggart
    November 12, 2014

    The CBI be composed of the kind of people who would sell their own offspring.
    The bottom line defines their character – does it make money – and a profit ?
    A country which allows these types to govern its affairs will go the same way it did in the 70’s when their ‘polar opposites’ were given the ‘run of the mill’.

  35. Kenneth
    November 12, 2014

    Some advanced warning: the BBC is gearing to promote a vote to stay IN the eu.

    The BBC has issued a training video to it staff to counter those who wish to leave the eu. The BBC wishes to include more information about the consequences of an eu exit.

    The BBC says:

    “…we can get perhaps some balanced and informed debate based upon actual information rather than an easy lazy “oh yeah, let’s leave Europe” without thinking what the consequences might be”

    The original BBC video is here:

    1. stred
      November 12, 2014

      This seemed quite balanced, until the last section, where the speaker reveals that the BBC view is that the electorate have not considered the consequences of leaving the EU and need to be educated. No wonder the BBC is so expensive and trots out the party line if they have their own training academy- perhaps the Ministry of Truth, with links to the Foreign Office and other government information.

  36. DaveM
    November 12, 2014

    ” few large companies and the CBI leadership are against an EU referendum”.

    Are they running the country now then?

    On second thoughts, don’t answer that – I’m not sure I want to hear the answer.

  37. Vanessa
    November 12, 2014

    It has never made sense to me that we have to PAY a membership fee for the pleasure of trading with the countries on the Continent. We don’t pay this fee to trade with the USA or any other countries of the world.

    The other thing to note is that ANYONE can sell or buy goods with any company in the world, they just need to identify and contact that company to trade with them, they do not need a Trade Agreement set up between governments to do this. But they do not get the preferential treatment on tarrifs etc. a government Trade Agreement gives that country’s companies – as I understand it.

    Why is everyone getting in such a flap if we leave the EU ?

  38. DaveM
    November 12, 2014

    PM quoted in today’s Express:

    “By-elections are different; there is a chance for people to vote in ways they haven’t done before.” [That’s local/EU elections Dave, not by-elections silly!]

    Asked if he wanted Labour supporters to consider tactical voting, he said: “Yes, of course. I think there will be lots of Labour supporters in Rochester and Strood who don’t want to see Ukip with their divisiveness and their message succeed here.”

    What planet is he on? It was Labour supporters who defected to Ukip in Manchester, closing Labour’s lead to 600 from 6000, and that’s in a hardcore Labour area, not lovely Rochester.

    If he was in charge of any other organisation he’d be on gardening leave right now, while the company sorted out his golden handshake.

    1. Lifelogic
      November 12, 2014

      Indeed. Well he is on the green crap, ever bigger government and taxes, heart and soul pro EU, rat on your ex-supporters and call them divisive, closet racists and fruit cakes planet.

  39. A different Simon
    November 12, 2014

    The CBI is just a symptom of a British cultural problem which is causing us to become more and more outdated .

    – British middle class parents desire their kids to get a “good job” as an employee in a “big well known company” .

    – American middle class parents desire their kids start their own business .

    UK Universities churn out civil servants , not entrepreneurs .

    This is the problem , the UK is just not entrepreneurial enough and the CBI does it’s level best to make it as difficult as possible for entrepreneurs to get started .

  40. Tad Davison
    November 12, 2014

    I tend to take a pragmatic view. Where certain soothsayers and ‘expert’ predictors get it wrong, they diminish their credibility. Where they get it consistently wrong over a long period, I feel we would be foolish to place great store in their predictions. Where it can be shown that those same people have a hidden agenda that has proven to be damaging to my country, I tend not to listen at all.

    That is the case with the CBI and all the other pro-Europeans. When a project they promote has been such a dismal failure, despite decades of it relentlessly going in the same ridiculous direction, I can’t see why anyone should afford them anything other than ridicule.

    If we went to a bank or a financial institution for advice, and the advice they gave lost us money, how many would go back to them again?

    But that is precisely what groups like the CBI and all the other pro-EU people ask us to do. And the really dangerous part is that in reality, the project is so poor, they haven’t even been able to be open and honest about its underlying intentions, chiefly to create a political union that the British people do not want, and will not stand for.

    It isn’t just the EU that needs reform, I’d venture it’s the CBI too.

    Tad Davison


    1. Lifelogic
      November 12, 2014

      Indeed the CBI rather like the BBC and Ken Clark/Major/Cameron wing have been consistently wrong on almost everything and JR types spot on, yet whose agenda are we still following now?

  41. Shieldsman
    November 12, 2014

    Non Executive Board members of big Companies are not appointed for their knowledge of the business, but for whom they know and their influence. For this they are well rewarded.

    Company Executives are loathe t0 make major decisions for which they could be held accountable.

    Remaining in the EU requires no decision. What life would be like outside the EU is too big a decision for them to make. They keep quoting the uncertainty of such a move.

    Perhaps the old adage of ‘fat, dumb and happy’ applies.

  42. Bill
    November 12, 2014

    My conversations with business people lead me to believe that their support for the EU is based on their notion that it is better to accept ‘the devil you know’ than to blast off into orbit and have to negotiate a whole new set of relationships. It is continuity and stability that they want, even at the price of EU legislation bearing down on them.

    With regard to the Arrest Warrant, I do not share the cynicism about Cameron shown by some of the contributors here simply because it makes no sense whatever for Cameron to promise to allow debate on the Arrest Warrant and then within such a short time to deny it. I cannot believe that an intelligent politician would deliberately show himself to be untrustworthy and thereby allow himself to be painted as unworthy of a further term in Number 10. Rather, it seems to me that Mrs May has been outwitted by J Bercow and Y Balls (I assume she is married to E Balls).

    1. Lifelogic
      November 12, 2014

      We already know Cameron is totally un-trustworthy. He pretended to make a cast iron referendum guarantee, made an IHT promise and pretended to be a EU sceptic real Tory. He is non of these things he is just a John Major II etc ed.

    2. Mondeo Man
      November 12, 2014

      Bill – What stability ?

      The EU seems like a downward slope to me.

    3. Denis Cooper
      November 13, 2014

      I note the Tories’ attempts to shift the blame onto Bercow. The Speaker was asked to clarify whether a vote for the government motion would be a vote in favour of the EU Arrest Warrant, and he perfectly correctly pointed out that a vote for the government motion would just be a vote in favour of the new regulations cited therein which did not include any measure to do with the EU Arrest Warrant, neither to implement it nor to bring about an end to its implementation. If the Speaker had not given this clarification to MPs he would not have been doing his job, and if the Opposition MPs had not pointed out that Cameron and May had repeatedly promised that MPs would have a vote on the EU Arrest Warrant they would not have been doing their job.

  43. Sebastian Weetabix
    November 12, 2014

    I keep hearing talk about this renegotiation. What steps have been taken by this government to begin negotiations? When is it going to happen? Where are the talks going to be held? What is the agenda? Who are the interlocutors? Or is it simply, as I suspect, a ruse by Mr Cameron to kid us all into voting conservative?

    Talk is cheap. I see no deeds.

    Reply The Coalition government will not undertake a major renegotiation because the Lib Dems do not agree with that idea, or with the In/Out referendum. Mr Cameron has made two speeches on the renegotiation and will soon be adding a third on the borders issues.

    1. Tad Davison
      November 12, 2014

      Reply to reply:

      I shouldn’t really get into the General Election predictions quagmire, but perhaps one scenario would see the Lib Dems all-but wiped out, just as they were in the European elections.

      We could have a situation where the SNP rout Labour north of the border, thus destroying their 30% strategy and depriving them of an overall majority. The Tories, still not making any real electoral progress under the arch con-man Cameron, lose out to UKIP, who will then hold the balance of power.

      The net result would be for a minority Conservative government to push through meaningful renegotiations without the interference of the off-the-wall woollies. And may they be finally consigned to the dustbin of history for good where all bad political parties finally end up.

      It still wouldn’t satisfy me though. I want out of the crooked madness altogether.


      1. Denis Cooper
        November 13, 2014

        Tad, it is far more likely that the SNP will hold the balance of power at Westminster than that UKIP will be in that position, and that very real prospect should terrify all those who are committed to the British Union whatever they may think about the European Union.

        1. Chris S
          November 14, 2014

          This is why it is crucial for David Cameron to get Commons standing orders amended to ensure EVEL before the election.

          I would like to see Miliband try and get it reversed relying on votes from the SNP !

  44. agricola
    November 12, 2014

    Perhaps elements of the CBI are Cameron’s paymasters. There has to be a covert reason behind his illogical stance.

    After the shambles in the H o C over the EU arrest warrant , please lets have no more talk of the virtues of re-negotiation. It is just a big lie like all those that have gone before it. Mrs May has been complicit in presenting an open goal to both Labour and UKIP. , outwitting never came into it. Having seen the way Cameron shows his contempt for the democratic will of the people, he has no right to be anywhere near No. 10 after May 2015. It is in your hands and like minded real conservatives to see that he is not.

  45. English Pensioner
    November 12, 2014

    Most major European Companies have representatives and lobbyists in Brussels and their main objective appears to be to get EU legislation introduced that helps their businesses and discourages smaller businesses in the same field. They lobby for stringent testing, which they can afford; testing which is largely unnecessary but inhibits small companies from entering the market. Typical was the pressure on companies making herbal medicines; many have been around for hundreds or more years and have probably caused less problems than the well tested products of the pharmaceutical industry. Go down to your local Garden Centre and see the number of products that are no longer available compared with maybe thirty years ago because they were allegedly dangerous; then look at what is available, from just a handful of companies, and then read the instructions for use and wonder how anything could have been more dangerous! Because of the EU, you can’t even get old fashioned coal tar hair shampoo, the nearest approved alternative apparently costs the NHS about £60 a bottle!
    Big business want the EU because it helps them keep out upstart competitors. US companies love it because it ups European manufacturing costs and makes their own businesses more competitive in the rest of the world.

    1. Chris
      November 13, 2014

      Just come across the website Corporate Europe Observatory, whose role apparently is to expose the power of corporate lobbying in Europe. Seems to back up exactly what you are saying.

  46. Mark
    November 12, 2014

    If the CBI could show that we had a large trade surplus with EU countries their view might be worth listening to, but as we run a large deficit, their view is not of much use.

  47. lojolondon
    November 12, 2014

    John, I believe that the largest single donor the the CBI is the EU – to the value of around a million Euros a year. Surely this information should be made public knowledge if the CBI is going to openly support the EU (and previously voiciferously supported the UK joining the EURO)?
    Apart from being obviously wrong to most British people, I do not know any business owners who feel that the EU is good for their business, and most larger businesses are owned by shareholders, who can make their own minds up!!

  48. Lindsay McDougall
    November 12, 2014

    A blog from Mr Redwood on the full extent of grants and subsidies from the EU to the CBI, and the uses to which they are put, would be very welcome.

    A leaflet based on this blog, for wide distribution, would be a good idea. Use of twitter, too. Eurosceptics are too nice; we need to take the gloves off.

  49. Mike Wilson
    November 12, 2014

    What a farce. We now have the unedifying spectacle of traditional Labour and Conservative voters being encouraged to vote for their lifelong enemy – just to try to keep UKIP out.

    Our first past the post system is an ugly, undemocratic crock of uselessness.

  50. Mike Wilson
    November 12, 2014

    Mr. Redwood – why don’t you get hold of Andrew Neill and ask him to allow you to debate with the leader of the CBI on the merits, or otherwise, of our membership of the EU for, say, 15 minutes during the Daily Politics?

    1. Tad Davison
      November 12, 2014

      Brilliant suggestion Mike!

      And let’s have all the contributors to John’s blog in the audience asking questions. Boy have I got one or two I could put to the CBI!


  51. Terry
    November 12, 2014

    Tax fiddles, sorry, ‘breaks’, cheap labour and expensive-to-administer rules and regs (for SMEs) are reasons why the big companies wish to remain locked into the EU.

    They view the EU as a easy way to knock out their small competitors and fiddle their own tax returns. They are interested in nothing but more profits at the expense of OUR country and its citizens. They were definitely wrong about the Euro and in this case they put up two fingers to the Brits purely because they think of themselves and nobody else. Not even the British workforce. The CBI are fast becoming a talking shop for Brussels. In doing so, they have become unpatriotic to the point of treacherous. If they really cared for Britain and its workforce they would demand the release from the inhibiting chains of Brussels’ over-bloated, ignorant, anti-business policies. The way forward is to free up ALL enterprise not tie it down with swathes of destructive red tape.

  52. James Reade
    November 12, 2014

    It is truly remarkable how often our business leaders, with proven acumen for predicting movements both in their markets and the wider economy, get it so wrong and Tory politician John Redwood gets it right every time.

    What is also remarkable is your faith that the public, by and large, sides with you on this, John. I guess it is when you selectively choose the polls you want to believe, rather than reputable polls that have been running for, say, 20+ years who say that the gap of those in favour of staying hasn’t been higher than its current 20 point margin in 20 years.

    Let’s look into this a little more. Why would firms want to stay in the EU?

    Why would they want to continue to be able to hire the best worker for the job from a labour market of 300m people? Why wouldn’t they want to restrict this to just 40m? Why wouldn’t they want the increased paperwork and bureaucracy of employing the best worker for the job if they happen not to have a British passport? How very odd indeed.

    Why would they want the same regulations they currently abide by in the common market duplicated here in the UK? Why would they want the similar policies that would materialise here in the UK once we left? Who *wouldn’t* want such duplication and government waste?

    Why wouldn’t our best firms want their customers to pay tariffs to import to our closest geographical market? Why wouldn’t they want to have to pay import duties on their imports? After all, it’s not like the UK has a lot of industry that relies on imported inputs, or anything, is it?

    If you take off the blue-tinted glasses, it’s fairly obvious to see why the CBI, representing our most successful businesses, would prefer not to see a load of uncertainty over what might turn out to be a bad decision for them. They don’t want increased bureaucracy and red tape, which an EU exit would provide for them.

    Reply I am glad you agree that I did right the big calls on the ERM and the Euro and the CBI got them wrong. I assume you are too intelligent to think the CBI got those right, not resorting to snide irony.

    1. James Reade
      November 14, 2014

      I’d like more information on which companies/leaders within the CBI made which forecasts regarding the ERM and euro before I made any judgement on their forecast accuracy.

      That said, I don’t think having got some forecasts wrong in the past, if they did, necessitates ignoring their input completely on our relationship with the EU. They know their own markets much better than any politician does, I’m sure you’ll admit that, John?

      As for irony, you’re a master at this art, John, as exemplified by the fictitious letter-writing characters you use from time to time. I’m glad you appreciated my modest efforts.

      Reply It was CBI policy for several years to urge the government to enter the Exchange Rate Mechanism. They did so and it did untold damage to UK output, jobs and incomes. I remember it well, as I was outside Parliament when they started this policy, chairing a large industrial Group. I took the Group out of CBI membership because they would not agree with me that the ERM was likely to prove damaging to the UK economy. All I wanted them to do was not to interfere in this sensitive topic, but they insisted on getting it wrong. I wrote a pamphlet as an individual – not in the name of the Group I chaired- explaining why the ERM would cause a nasty inflationary bubble and a recession, which it duly did.

  53. petermartin2001
    November 12, 2014

    They think it [an EU referendum] could create uncertainties and make life more difficult for big business…

    So do elections!

  54. Sandra Cox
    November 12, 2014

    In the run up to any EU referendum, I’m sure the electorate would like to be able to access a list of all EU-funded entities and individuals – be they the BBC, the CBI, politicians, senior civil servants etc, and each time the subject of the EU is reported or discussed or, in the case of the media, articles published or programmes broadcast, it would be useful to have an accompanying, up-front declaration of such interest.

    We could then see the likes of Clegg, Patten, Farage, John Cridland for the CBI, even David Dimbleby on behalf of the BBC, declaring an interest. We’d certainly need a declaration at the start of each BBC news bulletin!

    On another EU-related topic, we now have David Cameron urging Labour and LibDem party supporters to vote tactically against the United Kingdom Independence Party in Rochester and Strood. Surely, this confirms that the future of our country is the United Kingdom Independence Party vs the “LibLabCon Party”.

    So, on Armistice Day 2014, the Prime Minister confirmed we have a straight choice: a sovereign country or rule by the EU.

    1. Excalibur
      November 12, 2014

      Pithy stuff, Sandra. I concur with all you say.

  55. ChrisS
    November 12, 2014

    Good news on both employment and pay today.

    The last plank of Labour’s argument about living standards has finally been nailed with news that pay rises are now running ahead of inflation.

    It was particularly important that pay rises for employees who are established in their jobs are increasing by 3.6% when Mark Carney is now predicting that inflation will fall below 1%

    It’s hard to see how Balls and Miliband can now put up any credible argument to criticise economic policy. All they have left is to argue that the recovery has taken far to long but that’s the easiest argument of all to throw back at them.

    After the last week or so of Cameron allowing your business managers to shoot the party in it’s collective feet, you might finally have Labour on the run.

    Let’s hope so !

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