Is the free movement of people an inviolable principle of the EU?


We await Mr Cameron’s big speech on immigration, which was delayed until after Rochester. It is time to ask what could be achieved within the EU, or do we have to leave to get control of our borders back as some propose?

There is no inviolable principle which always takes precedence over a political deal in the EU. The famous  four freedoms have still not resulted in free trade in services, where various member states still can and do impose barriers against service providers from outside their own country. The belief in keeping every country’s budget deficit down to a maximum of 3% has been more breached than observed in recent years. The original idea of keeping each country’s balance of payments in reasonable balance has been ignored throughout the EEC and EU’s life, with Germany allowed to build huge annual surpluses despite the impact this has on other countries. The free movement of capital was suspended when it suited them to do so for  Cyprus, and Greece was allowed to go bust as a country when it could no longer meet the various budgetary and economic requirements. So we know that the EU does amend or suspend so called fundamental principles when politics requires it.

Successive UK governments always made clear we did not want to be part of a common  borders system. We opted out of Schengen arrangements, and were told  by the last Labour government that keeping control of our own borders was a red line which had been defended. Instead they signed up to a system which did take many of our powers of self government in this area away, without asking the permission of voters. That is why so  many voters are unhappy today.

It seems likely that the UK can negotiate a better deal on benefit payments. Maybe the UK could within current rules switch to a UK system where people had to pay in – or  be brought up and attend schools here – before being able to claim benefits. I have proposed such a means of tackling the immediate problem before.  Maybe with German help the UK can get the EU to allow tougher rules preventing people coming here to seek work from qualifying at the same time for unemployment benefit or top up in work benefits. After all, the original idea was the free movement of workers,  not the free movement of benefit seekers.

It is also the case that when the Eastern European countries joined the EU the EU itself proposed a longish transitional period during which citizens of those countries did not have free movement rights into the richer countries unless those countries accepted them. Only the UK under Labour declined to take advantage of the transitional block on migration from these countries.

If it was possible to suspend or deny free movement rights when the  new countries joined, by definition the EU could suspend or modify free movement rights for other reasons. If, for example, the imbalance  in wages and job opportunities is too great then there could be disproportionately large movements of people from the poorer or higher unemp0loyment areas to the more successful areas. This causes strains in both the country losing the people and the country gaining the people. The country losing may lose some of its brightest, best educated and energetic workers that they need to build their economy.The receiving economy may have to build too many new homes and public service facilities, putting too much strain on public service and infrastructure. It could be in everyone’s interest to have a system to limit or brake the numbers moving.

Of course many of you will say a simple exit from the EU is the quickest fix. That could be true if that is what the UK voters vote for. However, it will take both a Conservative government and a vote in the following referendum to get us out. Other potential governments of the UK would   not dream of heading for the exit,  nor will they give us a referendum. All political parties need to consider what they can negotiate inside the EU, and those contemplating out need to think about the reciprocal arrangements we will need outside the EU given the position of UK citizens in other EU countries. UKIP got into quite a muddle over this recently.



  1. stred
    November 24, 2014

    Excellent analysis. If the dimwits in New Tory and Labour do not take heed, they will face the fury of English voters, deprived of an effective vote. The Dims are finished.

    A situation where Scots blood in his veins/ my best mate’s Gordon- Bendy nose Cameron, Labour and Scots Nats MPs push through Barnet subsidies for the Scots, no referendum on the EU, electricity bills soaring to pay for Scottish wind and all the rest of their counter productive socialist measures will have lorry and white van, land rover and old jag man out on the roads.

  2. Mark B
    November 24, 2014

    Good morning.

    It seems likely that the UK can negotiate a better deal on benefit payments

    You do not need to renegotiate on that which you could have done years ago, but could not be bothered to do, until the Germans won their court battle.

    Maybe with German help the UK can get the EU to allow tougher rules preventing people coming . . .

    You will need more than help from the Germans. You will need help from all the other 26 Member Countries plus, the 3 EFTA / EEA Countries. You will also need a Treaty Convention and would have to offer all +27 Countries something in return, as their acquiescence will not come free.

    All political parties need to consider what they can negotiate inside the EU, and those contemplating out need to think about the reciprocal arrangements we will need outside the EU . . .

    In a word: FLEXIT !!!

    We do not need the EU, and we do not need a referendum. All we need, is to issue an Article 50 declaration, stating our intention to withdraw from the EU, and renegotiate a better deal, one based on trade. The Prime Minister can do this under the Royal Prerogative, so no need for Parliament or the people to be involved.

    We need to discuss options concerning life post exit. An EFTA / EEA deal for a ‘short’ period is preferable. Long term, we need to be looking for a total with drawl and individual trade deals, both with the EU and other countries.

    Immigration can be divided between EU / EEA (31 Countries) and non-EU, including those from the Commonwealth. EU Migrants generally are a benefit, although it would be good to both limit the number and the kinds of professions that we wish to import.

    As for non-EU migrants, there is nothing the EU can do to completely stop these people coming in. However, many come in via the use of the ECHR and the, ‘Right to family Life.’ It is here that the Government needs to do most of the work, amending legislation and trying at European Council level to get it amended. How many non-EU and largely unproductive immigrants do we need ?

    Just concentrating on just one aspect of a very complicated subject, with little or no hope of ever getting to grips, let a lone solving this issue, will lead to much work being done for nothing.

    With the above in mind, and an election in just over six months, is this all too little, and too late ?

    Reply There is no simple fix for this – if there were we would have tried it by now!. Yes, some things can be done by the government using the Royal Prerogative. However, in a Coalition government all such use has to be agreed with the Lib Dem partners, who would not agree to such a use. In addition a government can only use the prerogative powers if it has a majority in Parliament to do so – otherwise it would lose a vote on their use.

    1. Tom William
      November 24, 2014

      Mr Redwood

      The Coalition has proved a brake in many areas and there is little that could be done now before the election. I trust your pessimism only applies to now, and not if there was a proper Conservative government.

      Your comments on Owen Patterson’s speech are eagerly awaited.

    2. ian wragg
      November 24, 2014

      What do you i9ntend to use for cover if you manage to rule without the Limp Dumbs.
      There is not a majority of conservative MP’s to vote for exit and probably never will be as the GE candidates will be packed with sleepers.
      CMD will only use the Royal Prerogative on important things such as gay marriage and HS2 if necessary. Owen Paterson obviously doesn’t suit CMD so was cast aside and his idea of article 50 is a non starter whilst Cameron, Maude and Hestletine have the PM’s ear.
      More jam tomorrow.

      Reply You cant use the royal prerogative on HS2, and cant use it on anything without a Commons majority behind you

      1. Lifelogic
        November 24, 2014

        The only positives are that Miliband is clearly useless and Cameron (though essentially the same & fairly useless too) is a career politician. He is clearly wrong on every issue currently. As a career politician however he could morph into a small state, anti EU, low tax, cheap energy, pro growth real Tory if he is forced to by UKIP and circumstances.

        His ratting so far suggests he has no principles beyond seeking power.

        1. DaveM
          November 24, 2014

          That’s what confuses me about today’s career politicians – whom I assume are fairly intelligent.

          If you want to be rich there are other career paths which are far more lucrative.

          If you are interested in economics you can get paid far more to work in that sector without having to weather the abuse that a politician does.

          If you want to be famous there are far easier ways nowadays.

          If the attraction of politics is power, why would you work to get elected and selected to a position of power then give it all away to foreigners in contravention of your promises and oaths?

          It’s no wonder the public suspects there are far darker motives and dealings involved in politics today.

          1. Lifelogic
            November 24, 2014

            Indeed I suppose the left wing politicians are driven by a chip on their shoulders, a general envy or anyone richer or cleverer than themselves. That and the excitement of legally stealing other peoples money off them and spending it to buy votes Fly all round the world at others expense while pretending to be “concerned” about CO2.

            Perhaps also the desire to enter into pointless wars causing thousands of deaths and injuries, justified on a pack of lies – and without even giving the army sufficient proper equipment.

    3. Denis Cooper
      November 24, 2014

      Constitutionally it is Her Majesty’s Government, and in May 2010 Her Majesty appointed Cameron as her Prime Minister leading a government which would be a coalition of Tories and LibDems, and the senior members of that government have taken a separate Official Oath to serve Her Majesty – and as technically the cabinet is a committee of the Privy Council, its members also take another oath as Privy Counsellors – on the top of their Oath of Allegiance as MPs, and Lords as well; so here must be a question whether civil servants could or would even agree to assist a minister in exercising the Royal Prerogative on Her Majesty’s behalf contrary to the agreed policy of her coalition government, for example by sending off an official note to Brussels to activate Article 50 TEU.

      But should that ever happen, while there is no provision in Article 50 TEU for the government of a member state to revoke its formal notification that it intends to withdraw from the EU there is this first paragraph in Article 50 TEU:

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

      which would make it possible for the notification to be either rejected by the EU or cancelled by the UK government as constitutionally invalid, a legally ineffective notice sent by a maverick minister who has since been dismissed.

  3. Gary
    November 24, 2014

    in a free market, labour must be able to move freely. Not refugees, not welfare scroungers, but labour that has come to work. It happens in the collection of states called the United States. It’s taken as a given there, but for some reason people in Britain want to raise the drawbridge. Island mentality.

    Reply The reason we need to have some border protection is we are linked to a hugely unsuccessful single currency area and are becoming a magnet for many wanting a job, leading to too much pressure on housing, public services and welfare.

    1. A different Simon
      November 24, 2014

      Gary ,

      Do you have any children who are less able or know of any British children who are ?

      Do you think it is right that they should have to compete FOR THE ONLY JOBS THEY CAN DO with over qualified often younger people from overseas ?

      Please justify your dogmatism and tell us all what you have to offer for less able Briton’s short of euthanasia and eugenics .

      1. Gary
        November 24, 2014

        This is not abstract economics, this is common sense. If our children are not able to offer cost effective, skilled employment to meet the needs of manufacturers, then the manufacturers will employ foreigners who meet their criteria. And if you bar this labour from coming, then the manufacturers will leave the country and move to the labour.

        Business is not sentimental. They need to make money. If you want to employ non-market embargoes on labour, you will lose. We will all lose. I cannot believe we are so short sighted.

        1. Gary
          November 24, 2014

          Make that: “skilled employees”

          1. Ted Monbiot
            November 24, 2014

            Or business might invest in clever machinery to automate their processes and become more profitable instead of taking the easy option of relying on a cheap plentiful imported supply of labour.
            Also if I were one of the many unemployed I would be unhappy at no restrictions on cheap imported labour.

        2. Denis Cooper
          November 24, 2014

          So in your view is this supposed incapacity of our own children, which requires the mass importation of other peoples’ children,
          a problem primarily of their nature or their nurture?

          In view of the tremendous achievements of past generations of our people in so many fields it would be very strange if the current generation had somehow not inherited their good genetically transmissible characteristics. True, we lost some of our best people in wars, but so did other countries and many of them did survive to pass on their good genes, so presumably if there really is a problem with lack of ability then it must be a problem of nurture.

          If you believe that to be the case then surely it must be obvious to you that not only is the problem soluble, as a matter of long term policy it really has to be solved or the descendants of immigrants will eventually succumb to the poor same nurture and so they will lose whatever capabilities you think our present children are now lacking, making it necessary to continuously import more and more capable energetic and hardworking immigrants to support an ever increasing body of relatively useless natives.

          Or perhaps in truth it’s little to do with the British working class having been transformed from the salt of the earth to the scum of the earth, to quote the title of somebody’s recent essay examining the changed attitude of the ruling class towards ordinary people in this country, and more to do with the much greater availability of effectively unlimited supplies of cheap and biddable labour from other countries where the standard of living is much lower.

        3. A different Simon
          November 24, 2014

          OK , so you advocate freedom of movement only for skilled employees , not lower skilled employees .

          Do you have any problem with reserving for British workers low paid jobs in businesses which cannot be relocated like chamber maids in hotels ?

          In the case of skilled workers , how are you going to encourage people to invest £50,000 in getting a degree if there is either no realistic chance of getting a job at the end of it or no way of getting a job which will liquidate the student loan because we are opening doors to foreigners to do it for less ?

          If we extend your argument then we should dismantle our welfare state and health system so we can compete with countries which don’t have social costs like China and India .

          We could even throw baby girls in the river or just leave them to die in orphanages .

          If all the workers of the world tend towards serfdom who is going to buy all the tat which is being manufactured anyway ?

          Instead , what is wrong with insisting that these countries which want to trade with us raise the bar in their own countries if you believe that competition is the way forward ?

        4. David Price
          November 24, 2014

          But it is abstract economics, a belief in a universal free market that does not exist. Australia, Canada, the USA for example, all practise restriction of immigration. Reestriction on services businesses is practised within the EU

          Or do you advocate that we practice unilaterial free marketeering?

          Common sense says that if in practice unemployment is increasing in sectors where there has been increasing employment of immigrants while higher value industries and jobs are going offshore then you are doing something wrong.

          1. F.Cunctator
            November 26, 2014

            Absract economics? There is no other sort.

    2. petermartin2001
      November 24, 2014


      I would suggest the phrase “free market” as used in your comment does not really apply to the EU. The EU market is rigged in favour of the big exporters like Germany , Austria and the Netherlands who have, so far, done reasonably well from the introduction of the Euro. That is set to change now they have bled their customers dry!

      A 3% limit of Government deficit only makes sense for a net exporter given that the inhabitants of most countries wish to save some of their money. But all countries in the EU can’t be net exporters – it’s just an arithmetic impossibility.

      Future economists will look back in amazement at the stupidity of present day politicians for constructing such a flawed system as the Eurozone, and even more so that they can have engaged in group denial of the problem for so long afterwards.

      1. Gary
        November 24, 2014

        If the EU is setup to favour big exporting manufacturers and not financial chicanery, then they must be doing something right.

        1. libertarian
          November 24, 2014


          Your obsessive hatred of bankers blinkers you to reality. The service sector which is responsible for 80% of economic activity ( and happens to include the finance sector) The EU is entirely wrong and living in the past to do as it does and NOT allow free movement of services within the EU. UK exports of services are worth vastly more than exports of manufactured products

    3. Denis Cooper
      November 24, 2014

      So for your own extreme, dogmatic and ultimately theoretical economic reasons you want our country to be legally subordinated in a sovereign federal United States of Europe to parallel the sovereign federal United States of America.

      Well, as far as I am concerned you are perfectly entitled to hold that personal view, and there is nothing wrong with you expressing it; in fact it is far better that you honestly express that view of our destiny rather than indulging in the kind of habitual, chronic deceit that we have had to suffer from most of our politicians virtually day by day for more than half a century now.

      However that is only your personal view, which is shared by a small minority of your fellow citizens who are similarly disaffected with their own country and so yearn for its extinction, and if you have any notion of democracy then you should accept that if the great majority of your fellow citizens don’t want what you want then you shouldn’t get what you want but what they want.

      There is always the alternative of emigrating to the United States of America or somewhere else in the world which may suit you better.

    4. Johnnydub
      November 24, 2014

      It’s not just economics. I live in London and was born here. Yet I’m now in a minority.

      I don’t like, I didn’t vote for it, and I worry for the future social cohesion of the country carrying on like that.

      Maybe you don’t share that feeling / interpretation; You don’t get to dismiss me either.

      1. DaveM
        November 24, 2014

        This is the problem Johnnydub – the only politics the current crop of career politicians ever talk about or consider is economics. They have no regard for what they consider pointless national pride or social identity. Which in turn begs the question – how much worse could it be (economically) outside the EU?!!

    5. libertarian
      November 24, 2014


      Your normal drivel. The USA is a federal state that of course allows the free movement of workers WITHIN its boarders in exactly the same way that the UK allows workers within the home nations free access. It does NOT allow the free movement of workers. Canadians and Mexican’s can’t enter and work in the US without the correct paperwork and visa’s. Even though Canada and Mexico are both members of NAFTA.

      1. Gary
        November 24, 2014

        You are the first “libertarian” who ever supported market protectionism. I suggest that you are confused.

      2. Gary
        November 25, 2014


        a so called liberatarian who advocates labour embargoes and economic protectionism, patently does not understand what the term libertarian means

  4. Lifelogic
    November 24, 2014

    Well we shall see what Cameron finally says on the issue. On past performance I do not expect much of substance from him. Just some more tinkering around the edges on benefits perhaps. The problem is (as the public have now realised) he is just not serous about any EU renegotiation.

    It Cameron really wants to win this election (his first) he needs to convince the public he is serious about EU renegotiation and having selective migration. Also that he is for lower taxes, for far less government and for cheap non green religion energy. It is rather hard for him to do this after so many years of him pushing the complete opposite on all these issues.

    I hear that Owen Paterson is expected to call for Britain to leave the EU and negotiate a free trade agreement with the rest of Europe. Ex-environment secretary is expected to tell business leaders the UK could flourish economically outside the EU.

    Yet Cameron sacked Patterson and kept on absurd, green priest Ed Davey. So we know where Cameron stands, wrong on nearly every issue but pretending not to be near elections.

    1. Richard1
      November 24, 2014

      Cameron isn’t in a position to sack Ed Davey as he’s in a coalition. If Ed Davey were to take over from Clegg as leader of the LibDems he would have to be promoted to deputy PM I assume. The only way to avoid having Ed Davey and others like him in govt is a Conservative majority!

      1. Lifelogic
        November 24, 2014

        A majority that was there for the asking had Cameron not ratted on his Cast Iron “promise”, put Clegg on TV with equal billing and pushed his green crap, high tax, bloated state, pro EU, “modernising” agenda.

        1. Richard1
          November 24, 2014

          possibly so but we are where we are. So now the question is what is most likely to bring about the best attainable (NB) result – how can we be most likely to avoid having high tax / eurofederalist / green crap politicians like Ed Davey or Ed Miliband in govt? It might not be perfect but a Conservative govt is surely the best bet.

      2. Mark B
        November 24, 2014
    2. fedupsouthener
      November 24, 2014

      As usual you have got it right Lifelogic. The green policies maybe part of EU policy but other countries are fighting back by limiting severely the subsidies for so called green crap and Germany is building many coal fired power stations. Renewables will not cut the mustard and we need to start building the cleaner power stations available NOW! Fracking could be the saviour of the UK but if we bow to the forces of FOE and such like it will never take off. Cameron has to take a stand now. Owen Patterson is right. We could be better off outside Europe especially if we ditch the farcical green policies being inflicted on this country. Ed Davey and the Dimmers by the minute have inflicted such damage on the UK and they need to go. Hopefully the next general election will see the back of them. The other problem we have is Scotland. Mr Salmond and now Sturgeon’s belief in wind (so much coming from Holyrood at the moment) is disturbing to say the least. The SNP want 6,000 turbines but it is the whole of the UK paying for the subisidies. Most of the turbines outside my home that I can see (43) are not turning and this is not unusual. Other times when it is too windy they are also not turning but receiving massive subsidies. More are paid to Scotland for turning off and not producing power than anywhere else. We have just learned that a company trying to produce wave power in Scotland has gone bust after having millions of pounds thrown at it by the taxpayer. What does the SNP do? In less than 24 hours they announce they are to set up a new facility for wave power! You couldn’t make it up! They are already moaning about the possibility of fracking in Scotland and want all powers regarding this devolved to them. That would be a disaster because all they want is renewable energy. Ok all the time there are 60 million paying for it but what if they were independent? I doubt Scotland could afford it all and then what other means of power would they be left with? Until we leave the EU we will not have the energy policy we need.

  5. Peter van Leeuwen
    November 24, 2014

    It is a surprise to me that the UK governments haven’t done more in tackling migration related problems. Paying into the system before being allowed any benefits has existed in my country and Germany for years I believe. Instead the UK government needed to create a hype about “benefit seekers”and “benefit tourism”. When it was asked repeatedly by the EC to provide any figures on benefit misuse, it couldn’t! The UK government also didn’t characterise the EU immigrants well but just went for headline policies, which it should have left for populists. No it has to admit that it never really understood the complexity of immigration flows and cannot keep its promises.
    A serious omission in today’s blog is that also employers have to be tackled, to prevent shady legal constructions hiring foreigners, paying wages far below the level of indigenous (British) workers and lack of proper labour conditions.
    Temporary bending principles might be achievable, but having created such a hostile climate, other EU countries may already be fed up with the UK and will just let it have its Brexit.

    1. stred
      November 24, 2014

      Peter. As a matter of interest, are new immigrants eligible for tax credits, housing benefit, and health care in Holland and Germany? I don’t think France allows benefits without a long paying in period either.

      1. Peter van Leeuwen
        November 24, 2014

        @stred: The reality is pretty complicated but it is roughly as follows:
        Healthcare requires having taken out the compulsory health insurance or being insured in your home country. (Partly to protect the rest of the population, everyone is entitled to ‘medically necessary care’, including undocumented asylum seekers). Unemployment benefit requires a qualification period (6 months?). Housing benefit is eligible depending on the migrant’s financial situation. There is compulsory integration (courses, exams) to be paid for by the migrant, in some cases before entering the Netherlands. When not being integrated is the cause of becoming unemployable (e.g. wearing a burka) unemployment benefit may be lost.

        1. Ted Monbiot
          November 24, 2014

          These policies are just what the UK should be copying.
          European integration even I would support.

        2. stred
          November 24, 2014

          Peter. Are low earners given tax credits anywhere in the EU apart from the UK?

          1. miami.mode
            November 25, 2014


            A bit late with my comment but as Peter has not responded on tax credits, it would suggest that he is not familiar with the term which in turn would suggest that they do not get any.

        3. Qubus
          November 24, 2014

          Then why on Earth can’t we have the Same Rules here ?

    2. Oliver Baldock
      November 24, 2014


      The EU is just as responsible for any ‘hostile’ climate by continuing to treat democratic nations with the degree of contempt that it does. If headline-grabbing policies are responsible for some of the current UK electorate attitude to the EU then, frankly, I think the EU needs to hire a PR guru to start countering those headlines with some balanced, diplomatic and transparent arguments for the UK to stay in the EU. There have been none forthcoming.

      Your suggestion that the EU may be ‘fed-up’ with the UK and just allow exit may be true but would in itself reinforce the very reasons why it would be good for the UK to leave the EU! If other EU members are so wrapped up in the Euroland project that they fail to see any benefit to persuading one of the worlds largest economies and most advanced and transparent democracies to stay; well then i’d suggest the project has truly disappeared up it’s own shady posterior. I’m not suggesting the EU cannot survive without Britain – but why?

      1. Peter van Leeuwen
        November 24, 2014

        @Oliver Baldock: A EU PR guru might be a good idea. PR people who sold brands like coca cola were once asked (on Dutch TV) if they could successfully sell the EU as a brand and the answer was positive, but that is not what is happening.
        I said “other countries” may be fed up with the UK not necessarily the EU as an organisation. The pro EU case has to be made by the British themselves, that is not our job. We can (mis)use the UK for achieving some reforms that we in the Netherlands want for ourselves but that is as far as it goes, in/out is for the British to figure out and out is not all negative. Some countries may be more willing to open up to a single market for services excluding Britain (competitor). If the UK in another 20 years were to rejoin the EU (the UK has zig-zagged before) it could also benefit from such developments in the EU.

    3. libertarian
      November 24, 2014


      Not sure what you mean by shady employers paying below minimum wage.

      The situation is of course that doing that is a crime. We have a second level of protection which is called Gangmasters Licencing ( ) which monitors those temporary, part time and piece workers and attempts to stop them being exploited. The reality is that the small number of employees exploited illegally in this way are actually being exploited by immigrants from similar backgrounds to them.

  6. Richard1
    November 24, 2014

    It is clear all the EU’S fundamental freedoms are flexible when it suits in particular Germany and in the past France. What’s also clear from John Major’s successful negotiation at Maastricht is everything can also be up for negotiation. That’s why we need a Conservative govt which will have a good go at renegotiation backed up by a referendum.

    1. Lifelogic
      November 24, 2014

      “John Major’s successful negotiation at Maastricht” what are you on about? And his subsidiarity con trick. The Tory party wanted to ram the UK into the EURO, only the failure of Majors predictable & moronic ERM experiment stopped us (still he has not apologised for the huge and pointless damage it did, nor even learned anything from it, it seems).

      Cameron is, alas, just John Major Mk. II with better presentation skills, on the evidence of his actions so far.

      Reply Her did secure us the all important opt out from the Euro

      1. Richard1
        November 24, 2014

        I am on about 2 things: 1) the UK got an opt out from the Euro which was the main object of the Maastricht treaty and 2) the UK got an opt out from the social chapter – the socialism by the back door which Margaret Thatcher was so rightly concerned about. The point is it is possible with the right negotiation strategy to get an agreement on anything, including these supposedly ‘fundamental’ principles of the EU. Those who think little of John Major should be doubly heartened by this as it means perhaps Mr Cameron will have even more chance to get a good result. Remember one thing: the likelihood is a vote on EU membership will go for In. Therefore a comprehensive renegotiation focused on free trade is likely to be the best practical result.

        1. Denis Cooper
          November 24, 2014

          I am not one of those who think little of John Major, in fact I think a lot of him but none of it is good. Not even the cones hotline, let alone the Maastricht Treaty on European Union:

          “Article 1

          By this Treaty, the HIGH CONTRACTING PARTIES establish among themselves a EUROPEAN UNION, hereinafter called ‘the Union’, on which the Member States confer competences to attain objectives they have in common.

          This Treaty marks a new stage in the process of creating an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe, in which decisions are taken as openly as possible and as closely as possible to the citizen.”

      2. Lifelogic
        November 24, 2014

        He should never have signed the treaty at all and certainly not without the authority of the voters in a referendum. It was not his democracy to give away.

        Cameron should never have accepted Lisbon either without a referendum which would clearly have strengthened his hand in any negotiation.

        Also he would then have won a full majority.

        1. Richard1
          November 24, 2014

          Lisbon was signed by the Labour govt. Cameron could no more have renounced the Lisbon treaty than any other EU treaty once it was signed. We need to blame Brown and the Labour govt for Lisbon.

          1. APL
            November 25, 2014

            Richard1: “Cameron could no more have renounced the Lisbon treaty than any other EU treaty”

            Actually not correct. A treaty is simply a contract between states. Such things have been broken in the past, and will be broken in the future.

          2. Lifelogic
            December 3, 2014

            Of course Cameron could have broken the treaty a treaty is just a formal agreement. He could have asked the voters and declared that the last government did not have the authority to sign it without the consent of the voters.

            Instead he just ratted on his promise.

            Reply He could not do that as Lib Dems were pro the Treaty

      3. Mark B
        November 24, 2014

        Reply to reply.

        They are in fact ‘opt-ins’

    2. Bob
      November 24, 2014


      ” That’s why we need a Conservative govt which will have a good go at renegotiation backed up by a referendum.”

      What we need to do is stop pleading with Frau Merkel for that which is ours by right and which was paid for in blood.

  7. Mick
    November 24, 2014

    Good Morning Mr Redwood, we just want out of the dreaded EU can you not understand that, the con/lab/lib’s have had years to do it but because your all running scared of UKIP now you want OUT, but don’t worry I’m sure UKIP will prop up a Tory government next year

    Reply You don’t need to lecture me. I voted for Out in 1975 – where were people then? I am just pointing out that saying you want Out gets us nowhere unless and until we have a Parliament that will vote for a referendum or will vote for Out.

    1. DaveM
      November 24, 2014

      “I voted for Out in 1975 – where were people then? ”

      I was only 3. Sorry.

      1. Graham
        November 24, 2014

        And those who could vote were told lies as would inevitably be the case if ever we were granted a referendum

    2. APL
      November 25, 2014

      JR: “I voted for Out in 1975 – where were people then? ”

      The same place we are today, being lied to by the political class.

      Who was it said, “There are some in this country who fear that in going into Europe we shall in some way sacrifice independence and sovereignty. These fears, I need hardly say, are completely unjustified.“?

  8. Cheshire Girl
    November 24, 2014

    I notice the subject is always about EU migrants, where it is said we can do nothing about them coming into the UK. I’m sure we could do plenty about those who come in from outside the UK, and i believe the numbers are higher. For instance, we hear about those who come here in the back of lorries but we never hear what happens to them. I am willing to bet that eventually they are allowed to stay. It is estimated that 40 a day come in this way, a total of over 14.000 a year. It is said that we cant do anything about this as they come in from a European country but they cross several safe countries to get to our borders and they should claim asylum in the first safe country they get to. Speeches are all very well but we need a very robust response to this problem !

  9. Mike Stallard
    November 24, 2014

    “However, it will take both a Conservative government and a vote in the following referendum to get us out. ”
    What we conservatives are frightened of is this, Mr Redwood. We are not going to be fobbed off with some fudge – less benefits, “severe restrictions”, “Angela Merkel submits to Mr Cameron’s demands” – sort of stuff. With the internet, we can see very clearly what is going on. Mr Hannan’s blog, for example, or Roger Helmer’s. EU Referendum has been battered recently – but is still there. I have read Mr Barroso’s parting speech. We know the score.
    One of the most interesting developments is Owen Paterson, thrown out by the Green Blob, he is now making the right noises. If he could possibly knock some sense into Westminster – I don’t care how – things could, as the old saying has it, only get better.
    Is that possible though? We all know the Prime Minister’s real views – just look at the caricature on Guido Fawkes’ blog of David’s Napoleon!

    Reply You do not need to tell me people wont be fobbed off. I will be alert to any such attempt myself! I have no intention of being fobbed off with continued subservience to EU requirements on crucial issues like our borders, tax, energy, welfare.

    1. Brian Tomkinson
      November 24, 2014

      Reply to reply,
      We shouldn’t be subvervient to the EU on any issue. We should be independent and self-governing.

  10. Bryan
    November 24, 2014

    Another ‘big’ speech, carefully crafted to deceive!

    Mr Blair was the arch exponent of this tactic – trying to convince that a speech was the same as policy.

    It worked for a while but now most of the public are used to it, and ignore it. But the media still fall hook line and sinker for it. Unfortunately for Mr Cameron, son of Blair, and his ilk, the Media does not get to vote.

  11. DaveM
    November 24, 2014

    “Maybe with German help the UK can get the EU to allow tougher rules…etc”

    We need 100% control over:

    1. Borders and immigration.
    2. Taxation and, more importantly, expenditure.
    3. Making and enforcing laws.
    4. Foreign policy.
    5. Negotiation of trade deals.
    6. The list could go on.

    Anything less than that and we cannot count ourselves an independent sovereign nation. And anyone who has given away or who intends to give away more of those powers is guilty of betraying the sovereignty of the UK and the trust of the electorate they are supposed to represent. Simple as that.

    If the EU’s response to the UK preventing mass immigration for work or benefits is as vindictive and petty as people are suggesting it will be, do you really want to be in any way associated with that organisation?

  12. Old Albion
    November 24, 2014

    No meaningful change will ever be allowed by the EU. You know that and I know that.
    The EU will call our bluff. It will tell us, you have signed up to these conditions, if you don’t like it leave.
    Cameron along with Miliband will campaign to stay in, they are dedicated Europhiles, regardless of what one of them says.
    We’ll get a Westminster campaign of lies and disinformation as to how disasterous it would be for the (dis)UK to leave. I just hope the UKIP voice is loud enough to counter the EU propaganda.

    1. Brian Tomkinson
      November 24, 2014

      “I just hope the UKIP voice is loud enough to counter the EU propaganda.”

      Agreed, but it wouldn’t be if our host had his way!

      Reply I look forward to a referendum campaign where Eurosceptics will be united in fighting for Out, with no use of party labels. If you want to win you have to work together in such circumstances.

      1. DaveM
        November 24, 2014

        Reply to Reply:

        But if you don’t unite now, there will be no need to unite for a referendum campaign because, as you keep saying, only a Conservative govt will offer a referendum anyway.

      2. Leslie Singleton
        November 24, 2014

        Reply to Reply–As I keep trying to tell you, the idea of Eurosceptics being united in fighting for Out is a nonsense. All they are united about if anything at all is having doubts and given the various meanings of Euro there is even doubt about what they are in doubt about. Paterson seems to have it right, which may be why Cameron’s judgement is so different from his. Isn’t it about time Cameron stopped paying even the slightest attention to the 1% Liberals?

  13. Margaret Brandreth-J
    November 24, 2014

    A quick Google led me to believe that France, Belgium and Luxembourg also invoked an article ( which I havn’t any more time to be specific) putting back border controls into place citing terrorism as the reason. We are all under the threat of this! I also noticed that not all signed up to the Schengen agreement.

    1. margaret brandreth-j
      November 27, 2014

      T May says that she has managed to stop ? over 40 terrorist threats/plots since may( 36 or 46 I remember)

  14. Antisthenes
    November 24, 2014

    If we are going to stay in the EU, which seems most likely, then free movement of labour is not the main problem of membership there are many more other important reasons for leaving. Tackling excessive numbers of unwanted immigrants can easily be solved by the simple expedient of creating an environment that attracts only those immigrants that the country needs and the economy is capable of absorbing. You have already pointed out one way of creating that environment and that is by changing the benefit system so that non UK nationals only receive if they contribute to an acceptable level. That of course means that the rules for receipt of benefits for UK nationals would also have to change (but then you cannot have the penny and the bun).

    Another way is to discourage multiculturalism and to encourage integration by removing special concessions currently given to racial and religious groupings (it is not right that newcomers are seen to have more rights and given preference over the indigenous population).

    It will also be necessary to leave the ECHR so that the UK is no longer a safe haven for undesirables.

    Indeed the problem immigration is not the fault of the EU or globalisation it is the lefts sign posts scattered around the world stating come to the UK give us your vote and we will allow you the bounties of our welfare state and you will not have to bother to share our ethics, standards and values..

  15. Narrow Sboulders
    November 24, 2014

    If it is possible within the EU to change access to our in work benefits (and out of work too, these are not yet free from abuse) it is merely defering the problem. EU migrants are still able to bring their children here to be educated at taxpayers’ expense (at least £4K per head annually which requires earning of over £25K per year to pay in income and consumption taxes before making any kind of contribution). The migrant has instant access to health, interpretation and other public services and then their children, having attended schools here will be entitled to feed off our benefit system while the parent will access the state pension.

    Business and the other EU countries benefit from uncontrolled free movement, the rest of us pay more for food and housing, can’t get an appointment with our doctor, can’t get our children into the local school, sit in more traffic jams and crowded public transport and in some cases are more likely to be the victims of crime.

    Enough, we do not want a break, we want a permanent halt to this level of immigration that is increasing our taxes and changing our country.

    1. Graham
      November 24, 2014

      Absolutely spot on

  16. Ian wragg
    November 24, 2014

    Another day another broken promise. Do you really think the public will give you another 5 years of lip trembling and hand wringing as you explain that you can’t fulfill your promises because Angela says No, global warming is causing it or we need the people to service the 5 million plus that are already here. We know the illusion of an improving economy is due primarily to creating more demand by importing half a million foreigners annually
    If the flow stops Gideons miracle will crash and burn.
    The public are aware that income is down 15% and tax receipts are down despite there being 3 million more in work. It’s all smoke and mirrors.
    Still Ken Clarke is happy and that’s all that matters.

  17. Mike Wilson
    November 24, 2014

    However, it will take both a Conservative government and a vote in the following referendum to get us out.

    Not if enough people vote UKIP. The Labour party no longer represents ‘working people’ and the Tory party is general reviled and regarded as the party of toffs and the ‘nasty party’. If UKIP come up with a sensible, well thought through manifesto, I think that, AT LAST, we may be free from the dominance of the Labour and Tory parties which has mismanaged the economy to the point where the debt will take TWO HUNDRED YEARS to pay back and our children are priced out of the housing market – as the housing stock moves relentlessly into the ‘ownership’ of buy to let ‘investors’ funded by the banks.

    I really think that anyone who votes Labour or Tory needs their head examined to see if a brain resides within.

    Reply With UKIP on 17% in the polls for the next GE there is no prospect of voting UKIP and getting UKIP in most seats.

    1. Mike Wilson
      November 24, 2014

      Reply to reply: The country cannot afford another Tory government. The failure to control public spending and the remorseless increase in the debt to be paid back by the next 10 generations cannot be allowed to continue. It is utterly immoral to load debts on to future generations just because you don’t have the nerve to confront the public sector unions and to actually control spending.

      The polls are one thing. Your argument is for alternating Tory and Labour governments until the end of time. My argument is that, sooner or later, you both have to be discarded as being not fit for purpose. I am under no illusion that government is an easy thing. But, given that it is not an easy thing, one should start with inviolable rules. The first of which should be ‘no borrowing unless it is for infrastructure spending’. The idea of borrowing just to pay the bills is appalling.

      Reply I have not argued anything, merely pointed out that on current voting intentions there are not going to be lots of UKIP MPs.

      1. Mike Wilson
        November 24, 2014

        Reply to reply: When you say ‘I have not argued anything’ – I beg to differ. You constantly argue that the only way to get anything done about Europe is to vote Conservative and then be offered a referendum based on a negotiation whose terms are top secret.

        I argue that if everyone who is disillusioned with the Labour and Tory parties, and who thinks that it is paramount that we govern ourselves and control who comes in to this country, voted UKIP – as they are the ONLY party which believes we should govern ourselves – then we might actually get something different from perpetual Tory or Labour governments.

        1. David Price
          November 24, 2014

          To change parliamentary arithmetic UKIP have to take Labour/Libdem seats for there to be a worthwhile chance of getting a referendum/exit. UKIP have failed to do that while changing two Conservative seats to UKIP which acheives very little

      2. Chris
        November 24, 2014

        Reply to Mr Redwood re “negotiations”:
        there are going to be no meaningful negotiations, merely tinkering at the edges. Renegotiation of central tenets of the EU project e.g. free movement of labour, which all the member states signed up to knowingly, are not possible. It is a myth to state otherwise, I believe. That Cameron has suddenly decided to appear that he does not like the rules (due to pressure from UKIP) does not mean that he can change them. Basically if he does not like them then he will have to leave the Club.

        1. Mike Wilson
          November 24, 2014

          Reply to Chris. The potential terms of the ‘renegotiation’ (sic) are TOP SECRET and cannot be divulged to us as we are too stupid to understand them.

          1. David Price
            November 24, 2014

            As are the vapourously detailed UKIP plans for UK exit, re-establishing trade outside the EU and dealing with the inevitable EU backlash.

    2. Bob
      November 24, 2014

      Reply to reply:
      For as long as I can remember the Tories and Labour have maintained the two party system through the divide and rule method, encouraging people to vote to “keep the other side out”. It’s a cheap con trick. We’ve already seen that such tactics didn’t work in Clacton, and the misguided Tory voters who wasted their vote in Middleton and Heywood could easily have evicted Labour by voting UKIP. In Rochester, despite a Nasty Tory campaign and five visits from the Prime Minister and his kitchen sink UKIP won by a convincing majority.

      The only opinion poll that counts is the one being held on the 7th May 2015.

      1. Denis Cooper
        November 24, 2014

        I idly wonder whether:

        “To costs of removal of kitchen sink from flat at No 10 Downing Street, transport of same to Rochester for purpose of throwing at constituency, return to London and reinstallation, and making good”

        will appear on the declared election expenses of the Tory candidate … and also how Mrs Cameron (or staff) managed without it, and whether hubby will ever find time in between his speechifying to do something about that leaky joint, or should she get the plumbers back in?

        1. Mark B
          November 24, 2014

          Refitted by a polish plumber no less.

    3. Graham
      November 24, 2014

      I think that we can see by the reply that our politicians are never going to think outside of the ‘party’ box.

      It’s always party above country and that’s why nothing ever changes for the better.

    4. libertarian
      November 24, 2014


      I hate to break this to you but the Conservatives will not be forming another government at any time, but then nor will Labour. We have reached a state of a total anger, disillusionment and disgust with the 3 old parties allied to a complete dog’s breakfast made of devolution, localism, and our busted democracy that the next government which due to Cameron’s complete idiocy will HAVE to see out 5 years will be a rag bag coalition led by a loser. With a large number of SNP and other nationalist MP’s plus a dozen or so UKIP a couple of Greens 3 Lib Dems and two major parties riven with splits and internal back stabbing its going to be a real laugh. If we were already out of the EU this would be a blinding result as we would then have the perfect solution, a government that can’t do anything. Sadly because of 30 years of Tory failure we are saddled with the EU and they will continue to govern us.

      Your plan of getting Dave re elected and him holding a referendum I’m afraid is just cognitive dissonance .

  18. Brian Tomkinson
    November 24, 2014

    JR: “We await Mr Cameron’s big speech on immigration, which was delayed until after Rochester.”
    A very telling remark. His much trawled speech was delayed for pure party political posturing. Was Crosby telling him to use the old dog whistle tactic before the by-election before revealing the details after?
    In any case most of us don’t believe a word Cameron says. Perhaps he would like to explain why he made a promise to the electorate that he knew could not be delivered before the last election, that net immigration would be reduced to tens of thousands – no ifs or buts? Even Mrs May has now admitted that is not possible.
    One day maybe one of your colleagues will acknowledge that it never was.
    Don’t expect us to vote for the purveyors of such mendacity in the next election.

  19. Chris S
    November 24, 2014

    There were none of these problems before the over-ambitious enlargement policies championed by Blair and Labour.

    The problems it has caused are not all in the richer Northern countries.

    Free movement is harmful to those countries that have developing economies because their brightest and most go-ahead people are the ones that leave in the first waive. The problems for us then start : poorly educated chancers looking for a free ride on benefits and, of course, we have the criminal gangs wanting to set up their scams in a far more lucrative environment.

    As others have said, immigration is not the only reason I want us to revert to a free trade agreement. Loss of sovereignty, legal interference in all areas of our lives and the sheer cost to the UK net contribution which is now running out of control are but a few of them.

    The advent of the Eurozone has been the final straw. Gordon Brown’s only redeeming policy during Labour’s disastrous tenure was to stop Blair taking us into the single currency. Imagine the situation we would be in now had Blair had his way !

    All those prophets of doom over Brixit are exactly the same people who were making the same arguments over our failure to join the single currency. Throughout the run up to our inevitable referendum, we need to remind them of this at every opportunity.

    I have been predicting the faiure of the Euro since it started and remain of the opinion that a break up is unavoidable. It’s just a matter of time. The economic turmoil that will result is the best possible reason for us to get back our rights to make bilateral trade agreements and concentrate our efforts away from Europe.

    PS : Could we have some figures predicting what will happen to our net contribution to the EU over the next 10 years if it remains unchecked ?

    I suspect that, even without the collapse of the Euro, it will increase dramatically but, when the Euro fails, it is likely to grow exponentially.

    The time to do something about it is now !

  20. Bert Young
    November 24, 2014

    “A one size fits all ” was never achievable for the EU ; there are too many ethnic and economic differences for this to happen . As your blog points out – Germany will not surrender its huge surplus for distribution or allow its value to underpin the malingering of other EU countries . We cannot be compared to the USA who welcomed immigration at one stage of its history ; they had the space then – we do not .
    I think all of the detail in the blog this morning covers my reservations of our membership of the EU ; I only wish that it represented the view of our Prime Minister . He has made so many statements that have not held water and promises that have not been kept . Above all he has said that he will not campaign for us to exit the EU . If his electoral feet were on the ground , instead of promising a “speech on immigration ” before Christmas , he would already have stated what his red lines were in his proposed negotiations with the EU . Uncertainty at this stage will only encourage voters to opt for something substantial ; UKIP has the floor .

    Reply Mr Hammond and Mr Letwin acting as Conservative Ministers have spoken for the party in government by saying there are circumstances where they would vote No to staying in.

    1. Jagman84
      November 24, 2014

      Reply to reply:

      “Mr Hammond and Mr Letwin acting as Conservative Ministers have spoken for the party in government by saying there are circumstances where they would vote No to staying in”.

      I await Hell freezing over!

  21. oldtimer
    November 24, 2014

    The only inviolable principle in the EU is that of political expediency – as the record demonstrates.

    Immigration is the headline issue now, and rightly so. But it is only the tip of a very large iceberg. That iceberg can be described as the wholesale transfer of large areas of UK sovereignty by Parliament to the EU, its institutions and its lobby groups without the explicit consent of the electorate. That is the larger issue. I doubt that Cameron`s speech will offer any solution.

  22. Mactheknife
    November 24, 2014

    I would have thought that the recent ECJ judgement in favour of Germany would have given us an ideal opportunity to do something quickly on migrant benefits. At least it would be some interim solution until negotiation, or in / out is decided.

    But my question would be how come Germany was willing to go to the courts yet the UK, who complain most loudly, was not ? Who is advising this government on EU law ?

    Reply The UK is facing court action against moves it has made on benefits

    1. fedupsouthener
      November 24, 2014

      Reply to reply. This is exactly why we need to get out. We cannot do anything without being taken to court! Nothing will change.

    2. Mactheknife
      November 24, 2014

      Yes I can well imagine that some publicly funded HR lawyer or some charity run by an ex Labour apparatchik will challenge everything the government does.

  23. agricola
    November 24, 2014

    If you concede that the UK’s sovereignty lies in the hands of the unelected of Brussels then free movement must be accepted. If you wish the UK to be the sole master of it’s sovereignty then free movement is unacceptable. The only way to regain control and our sovereignty, is via Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. Re-negotiation is a gold plated lie so come to terms with it.

    1. Chris
      November 24, 2014

      Spot on, Agricola. What is more, the electorate will not be fooled into thinking otherwise. I think that David Cameron has not credited the electorate with a shred of common sense nor intelligence, and that just illustrates his contempt for us. I will not be fooled a second time.

  24. margaret brandreth-j
    November 24, 2014

    What strikes me is that many feel that a referendum would guarantee a divorce from the EU . With the ‘free movers’ votes and the ones who it pays them to be in Europeas voters , we are not guaranteed an ‘OUT’ vote.

  25. Kenneth
    November 24, 2014

    Last week I posted a link to a BBC internal video that encourages its journalists to give more prominence to those who argue for us to stay in the eu.

    The UK faces an uphill struggle to become self governing again against that kind of political power.

  26. Robert Taggart
    November 24, 2014

    Answer to the headline – Probably, but, the freedom to settle ? in another country ?? and claim their benefits from the off ??? – NOT (at least it SHOULD NOT be).

  27. Mike Wilson
    November 24, 2014

    Surely if Cameron had something interesting to say on immigration he would have made his much heralded speech BEFORE the Rochester by-election.

    1. Denis Cooper
      November 24, 2014

      One would think so, unless he’s found something more interesting to say since his party was thrashed in that by-election despite all his visits and those of ministers and MPs. It’s almost as if many of the voters in that area no longer wanted to hear anything more from him or his party, they’d already heard enough.

    2. alan jutson
      November 25, 2014


      “If Cameron had something interesting to say on Immigration………”


      Same could be said of our/his proposed renegotiation terms with the EU.

      I suggest he does not yet have a clue on any action about either.

  28. Christine Constable
    November 24, 2014

    John, what sort of Agreements were signed up in our name that made no allowance for over population; no allowance for our ability to pay for all these extra incomers; no allowance to fund the extra demands of mass inward migration and no mechanism to consult with the people of UK if they wanted to have their quality of life so badly undermined by millions of people fleeing poverty from Europe to come and live in the UK.

    The EU is a very dangerous social experiment, with inflexible rules, no ability to correct itself and with the majority of EU people now trusting it less than the banking system.

    Added to this the prospect of having to have executive control over our affairs by the Franco/German axis makes it a wholly flawed concept and the complete lack of democracy with majority voting now approved provides the UK with a political cul de sac with no prospect of escape.

    Only the self serving politicians of the Westminster bubble could have got us into this and John Major is culpable having put our ink on the Maastricht Treaty and the fool Gordon Brown for accepting the Lisbon Treaty without the promised vote.

  29. brian
    November 24, 2014

    Free movement of people is not essential for free trade , see NAFTA, it is part of the EU’s political construct.

  30. Gumpy Goat
    November 24, 2014

    If did vote leave god help us. Nevertheless comprises would have to be made, British industry wants free movement of peoples, even Mr Dyson who is no fan the EU wants free movement of peoples. There are over 2 million brits living in the EU, their interest will have to be taken in to account.

    1. Denis Cooper
      November 24, 2014

      God helps those who help themselves.

    2. Mike Wilson
      November 24, 2014

      I used to think the idea of leaving the EU was unthinkable. Now I think it is inevitable. The whole thing has gone wrong. What started out as a Common Market has turned into a monster. In Spain there is 50% youth unemployment. One of these days there will be a real backlash and the political classes will have to listen.

      Meanwhile – I wonder how we would react to being set free. I believe membership of the EU may be holding us back. We went down the pan during the 60s and 70s because of poor industrial relations. Blame the unions or the management (I blame the management) but, somehow we went from a nation that could fight a world war (I’m thinking in term of having the ability to build ships, lorries, tanks and planes and wage a war all over the globe – not ‘fighting’ as if it were something one would want to do) to a nation that couldn’t build a decent car – and stood by while cheap imports from the Far East destroyed our manufacturing base.

      That said, even within the EU, we are the world’s 6th largest manufacturing economy. I think if we left the EU, after the initial shock, free of the shackles of poor industrial relations – this country would turn into a great nation again.

      At the moment I feel we have no national identity. That we have lost something intangible that made this country great. I’d like it back. (And I don’t mean running around the world colonising countries.)

  31. John Wrake
    November 24, 2014

    In all the postings and comments on this blog, we hear much about political reality, about what Parliament can hope to achieve, given its current make-up, about the timing of referenda, the attitudes of individual ministers here and political leaders abroad, etc., etc.

    When will we hear about principle rather than expedient?

    Our present situation is unlawful, having been brought about by a succession of leaders who have acted contrary to our historic constitution. The electorate, either through ignorance, or irresponsibility, or deceived by lies, have neglected their duty to uphold the constitution which is the safeguard of the rights and freedoms of the individual, by confronting the treason which has been committed. In consequence, we are misgoverned.

    Until this country returns to the rule of law, common law, superior to monarch, minister, judge and M.P., our problems will only continue and grow, whatever label the individual carries.

    John Wrake.

    Reply The sacrifice of sovereignty is entirely legal but undesirable.

    1. Bob
      November 24, 2014

      “Reply The sacrifice of sovereignty is entirely legal but undesirable.”

      We were told time and time again by the Europhiles that membership would not involve surrendering sovereignty.

      They lied, and continue to lie.

    2. APL
      November 25, 2014

      JR: “The sacrifice of sovereignty is entirely legal but undesirable. ”

      legal lawful

      Within the framework of treasonous statute the Parliament passed, the EU treaties are legal. But they are not lawful.

      1. APL
        November 25, 2014

        Edit: legal is not equal to lawful

  32. MPC
    November 24, 2014

    ”The receiving economy may have to build too many new homes and public service facilities, putting too much strain on public service and infrastructure”

    But why is it necessary for us to build homes/facilities for EU migrants at all? If I wanted to further my career by working for a period of time in say Germany I would expect to have to find and pay for rental accommodation in Germany from the existing stock of property there.

    1. Anonymous
      November 24, 2014

      Build it and they will come.

      An unacceptable standard of living would act as a natural brake on immigration. As it is we are seeing rabbit hutches built without any supporting infrastructure or extra pubic services.

  33. petermartin2001
    November 24, 2014

    Has anyone noticed that the alternative to totally free movement of people across national borders in the EU is taken by EU-o-philes to be no movement of people across national borders?

    The above are just the two extremes of what is politically possible. Just what any intermediate position for a country like the UK should be, needs to be democratically decided in the way all policies are democratically decided. It’s very unlikely that any democratic British government would decree that a future Mr Clegg couldn’t return to the UK with his Spanish wife , for example.

  34. Atlas
    November 24, 2014

    John, over the years I’ve come to have learnt that anything in the EU is up for grabs – provided the Germans and the French want it so.

    Quite why we have to bend the knee to the Germans I’ve never understood. Is it a Neville Chamberlain gene in the DNA of quite a few MPs?

  35. The PrangWizard
    November 24, 2014

    I see Kenneth Clarke is bragging that there are more Europhiles than sceptics in the Conservative party. That is the point isn’t it? The sceptics have always been in a minority, and of that minority some do not make their position clear; ‘stick-of-rock’ Tories who will probably vote with the party regardless. Even if Cameron were to stand down as leader the party would simply replace him with another Europhile.

    Cameron speech is another attempt to deceive, he’s only trying to get a few votes back. No doubt we will see Fake Ernest in full cry. He wouldn’t be making a ‘big speech’ about immigration or anything else if it were not for UKIP and others making their feelings known and if you weren’t losing votes hand over fist. It is not long ago you were saying UKIP could do nothing because they had no MPs, now you have had to revise that.

    We need something decisive, not tinkering debating points. How do you feel, Mr Redwood, about Owen Paterson’s position he outlined today. Would you have made the same points? Did you help him write it? Did you see him on the Daily Politics? How many Tories will be supporting him? Do you?

    Reply There are but a handful of EU enthusiasts in the modern Conservative party. Parliament has 2 UKIP MPs who will vote and think largely as they did as Conservative MPs, so it doesn’t make any difference to our ability to do things in the Commons. I will comment on Owen’s speech tomorrow.

    1. Denis Cooper
      November 24, 2014

      EU enthusiasts may now be a small minority among the ordinary members of the Conservative party, but they still form an overwhelming majority at the top of the party for the simple reason that filters are set to block the rise of opponents of the EU through the party hierarchy. This system of excluding opponents of the EU from positions of power and influence within the party is not perfect and a few do get through, and a few others may change their minds after they’ve already got through; but basically the Conservative party has long been under the control of EU enthusiasts, and it still is, and now in all probability it always will be until the day it dies. Which day therefore cannot come soon enough for the good of the British people, JR, I have to tell you that frankly; the sooner the covertly but hopelessly and irredeemably eurofederalist Conservative party is formally wound up, just as its overtly eurofederalist offshoot the Pro Euro Conservative Party was formally wound up, the better for this country and its people.

    2. A different Simon
      November 24, 2014

      John ,

      For the sake of argument let’s assume you are right about there only being a handful of EU enthusiasts in the modern Conservative party .

      Similarly it appears that there are also only a handful of EU antis .

      Are we to assume that the remainder , which would be the majority , are EU sceptics or just lobby fodder ?

    3. Kenneth R Moore
      November 25, 2014

      Reply There are but a handful of Eu enthusiasts in the modern Conservative party.

      Sorry Mr Redwood I have to disagree. The voting record clearly shows your party has a majority of Eu enthusiasts where it counts – in the voting lobby.

  36. petermartin2001
    November 24, 2014

    ” However, it will take both a Conservative government and a vote in the following referendum to get us out. ”

    There are other alternatives. There could even, conceivably, be a Labour -UKIP coalition. UKIP could demand a referendum on the EU as a price for participating in the coalition in exactly the same way as the Lib Dems had their vote on AV.

    You may be thinking that this would be unlikely. We’ll see. Politically nearly all things are possible when a position in government is the prize.

  37. Paul
    November 24, 2014

    A Labour majority in 2015 or a Labour/Lib Dem coalition after the next election would be a disaster, agreed, but so would a Conservative majority. Cameron needs to be held to account by UKIP. Conservative backbenchers have simply droned on for years, bored the country to tears and got nowhere – remember Bill Cash in 1992? What has he achieved? Nothing. A Con/UKIP coalition is needed at the next election.

  38. majorfrustration
    November 24, 2014

    The problem is now, yet the politicians and civil servants have allowed it to happen, You can hear the stable doors closing. No benefits in any form for three years and entry only with acceptable health insurance cover.

  39. turbo terrier
    November 24, 2014

    If, for example, the imbalance in wages and job opportunities is too great then there could be disproportionately large movements of people from the poorer or higher unemp0loyment areas to the more successful areas.

    How very true. These people come in and will work for less than half the recognised wage and drive down prices and the end result is that skilled tradesmen close down and end on jobbing for cash in the hand. Not for the immigrants the costs of NI, Taxation without credits, Public Liability Insurance, Membership of professional bodies and least I forget Health and Safety.

    Then the cry goes up ” where are the apprentices being trained” This is the real world and the skill and knowledge levels are dropping in nearly all trades.

    Professional people are trying to work and survive on year 2000 rates, no wonder they walk away.

    The whole thing is just one big joke and it is on all of us. Having lived and worked in Spain you only have to look at what state they are in with 1000s of (words left out ed) immigrants working on the black which went along way to destroy the building standards and professional trades.

    All the time this goes on how convenient that we all forget about the national debt still rising. Could this all be a cunning plan?????

    Reply There are many migrants who pay their taxes and play by the rules, and some locals who do not.

    1. Kenneth R Moore
      November 26, 2014

      Reply There are many migrants who pay their taxes and play by the rules, and some locals who do not.

      Well Mr Terrier didn’t actually say there aren’t migrants that pay taxes and that some local people do not. We want politicians that think and talk like ordinary people. Most ordinary people down the pub or gym can discuss immigration without having to explain they aren’t a racist after every discussion.

      Can nobody anymore make a point on anything without having to add the now obligatory politically correct patronising caveat at the end.
      Can we no longer talk about single mothers or other special groups without having to give the patronising ‘most single mothers do a great job’ etc….
      Just stop treating us like children.

  40. Denis Cooper
    November 24, 2014

    I have to confess that after nine years I’m bored stiff with Cameron and I’m finding it very difficult to summon up much interest in his next “big speech”.

    It’s like having the same doorstep shyster coming round again and again, you gave his spiel a fair hearing the first time, you’ve heard it again and again and you know by now that it will just be variants on essentially the same pack of lies, eventually you tell him that you’re not interested in anything he may have to say so he should just clear off and never come back in the future.

    1. APL
      November 25, 2014

      Denis Cooper: “I have to confess that after nine years I’m bored stiff with Cameron and I’m finding it very difficult to summon up much interest in his next “big speech”.”

      That’s exactly how I feel about the Tory party, and indeed anyone representing the ‘political class’, each and every one a shyster.

  41. Denis Cooper
    November 24, 2014

    Have a look at the chart here, net immigration from 1991 to 2013:

    It will add up to about 5 million people over those 22 years; and that is only the net legal immigration, not the gross immigration including the illegal immigration; and it is only the number of people who originally came here, taking no account of the children they have produced since they came … and having said that he would reduce it from a flood to something more like a trickle, the “tens of thousands a year” that it once was, Cameron has in reality done NOTHING effective to reduce it.

    1. Brian Tomkinson
      November 24, 2014

      Regrettably, our host has no cares about such things.
      The election of a Conservative government is his overriding concern. All else is of no significance. Broken promises on the deficit and immigration, lies and deceit abound and yet we are meant to ignore all this for the greater good of the Conservative party.

    2. Kenneth R Moore
      November 25, 2014

      The figures are extrodinary..the population is growing exponentially at nearly 1% per year…at this rate the Uk population will double in about a lifetime. Nobody knows how and if it will stop growing and for how long such numbers can be sustained. It’s just a giant social experiment.
      We cannot forsee how the economy will perform, or how high energy prices in 20 or 30 years time yet the political class are presuming the conditions will be right to support a much larger population. Madness.

      I can’t even begin to imagine how this country will have to change to service a population of 80 or 100 million . All I am sure of is that living standards are set to decline and that the last 20 or 30 years will be seen as the ‘golden age’.

      The roads and rail network are already at capacity in many areas. Almost nobody wants this to happen and we are supposed to live in a country that is a beacon of democracy.

      1. Excalibur
        November 25, 2014

        For the most part, JR, you have my admiration. You take unflinchingly the flak directed at politicians in general and tolerate a fair amount of abuse and criticism. However, there is one area that inflames me and no doubt many others. It is your refusal to publish issue specific details.
        Recognizing that immigration from the EU is only a small part of the problem, and recognizing too that Denis Cooper is both more energetic and cleverer than me, I posted asking him to look into the question of immigration ( raises 2 specifics which I did not post, as I do not wish to be drawn into arguments about particular religions or nationalities ed)
        John, it is this refusal by politicians to face up to the specific problems as they are that so maddens many of your correspondents and gives grist to the mill of UKIP. We are being overwhelmed by immigration on a prodigious scale. The demographics of England are being transformed and still a majority of those elected to serve our interests will not face the facts.

        Reply I understand the feelings but I need to maintain an orderly site open to people of all religious and legal political persuasions, and not get dragged into disputes where I have not studied the rights and wrongs and am not expressing an opinion.

        1. Kenneth R Moore
          November 26, 2014

          I don’t expect this to be posted but…..with the greatest of respect, it’s nothing to do with maintaining an ‘orderly site’. John Redwood is still of the old school ‘not in front of the children’ style of immigration debate. He needs to realise that this patronising attitude has in part led to the rise of the purple party.

          The whole point is that individuals are allowed to make their point – with the understanding that anyone is free to disagree and counter argue provided personal abuse doesn’t come into play . This is what I would call a healthy debate. Banning certain thoughts or questions is not.
          I do not see any point in Mr Redwood moderating this site to only include a series of agreeable middle of the road opinions. I can understand his temptation to bend his knee to political correctness for the sake of a quiet life – but this is wrong and only stokes more resentment.

          It is a strange paradox – John Redwood has spent most of his political life fighting political correct policies , unwittingly or not.
          Now he himself it seems is willing to only allow posts and opinions that wont inflame the faux offence of the politically correct.

  42. Brian Tomkinson
    November 24, 2014

    JR: “those contemplating out need to think about the reciprocal arrangements we will need outside the EU given the position of UK citizens in other EU countries.”

    Only UKIP is contemplating out. Not just contemplating it but advocating it.
    Your party’s leadership, aided and abetted by you and others, is attempting to deceive people into thinking that they are contemplating out, when they are actually only trying to find a way of securing their own futures at the next general election and thence permanent subservience to your masters in Brussels.

    1. David Price
      November 24, 2014

      So what exactly are UKIP plans for exit and how will they manage the situation with Brits living in other EU countries? In an earlier comment someone mentioned 2 million people would be affected, that is no small number.

      What exactly are UKIP plans for anything? We’ve seen lots of promises but nothing of how they would be met or how a UKIP government would deal with the complexities beyond the simple proimises. To say they haven’t been given a chance yet would be an ofuscation, they have been in the EP for 20 years so must have some idea of what would work.

  43. waramess
    November 24, 2014

    Freedom of the movment of labour is, of course, inviolable. Absolutely no question.

    The single currency makes it so because, as competition within the EU results in some states finding stuff they are growing or manufacturing is less competitive than others there is a risk that the migration of trade from one country to another will make full employment in the country that is losing the trade an impossibility.

    You would argue that the Germans, for example, should redistribute some of their wealth to, for example, Greece. The Germans will argue that the Greeks are free to relocate to wherever there is employment in the EU.

    No prizes for guessing who wins the argument.

  44. Rods
    November 24, 2014

    Personally, I think it would be very difficult stop the free movement of people and still have a common market. This would be like restricting those that can work in London to the Greater London area with everybody outside of this having to go through the expensive, complicated and onerous task of getting a visa to work there! This would not only restrict opportunities for the people in the rest of the country, but also badly disrupt companies and their economic output, through much time and effort going into meeting the visa requirement for vital staff requirements from areas outside of London and there being a perpetual shortages of skilled staff.

    However, I think it is right that there should be a considerable period where EU-migrants have no rights to any UK benefits, until they have paid for x-years into the system. The two most expensive times in terms of using tax resources are when we are a child and when we are old, so people coming here with their families, who have not previously paid taxes, will inevitably be a drain on the countries resources, compared to those that have always worked and paid taxes here.

    The only way I can see that you might possibly be able to restrict EU numbers is by setting minimum wage levels for entry in areas of high unemployment or wage deflation. These would be special designated areas throughout the EU, to help get the local population back into employment and to allow local people in work to make enough to survive.

    A common problem now is wage deflation, that has hit the unskilled and semi-skilled the most, hence their disillusion with the current main pro-EU political parties. What is common for many EU-migrants taking jobs here is that they will live a number to a house and send the majority of their wages home, so the locals cannot live with their families on such deflated wages. The Joseph Roundtree Foundation have very recently highlighted in a report that there are 1.5 million families in poverty with one or more members in the family working for this very reason.

    This would still allow skilled workers for which there are many shortages in the UK to easily take up positions that UK industry needs, which benefits us all, but where we have high unemployment or wage deflation, it will help to get them get back into work and those working to survive on their wages.

  45. John Wrake
    November 24, 2014

    Dr. Redwood,

    Your reply to my comment about the lack of principle evident on the site states “The sacrifice of sovereignty is entirely legal but undesirable.”

    The ‘sacrifice’ of sovereignty to which you refer is unlawful, because sovereignty in England is not the property of those politicians who have given it away. To deprive another of their proper possessions, intending them to be permanently deprived, is theft, contrary to common law. To do so contrary to the written terms of the English Constitution is treason.

    Laws passed by Parliament, while purporting to be legal, cannot be so if they are contrary to the written terms of the English Constitution.

    While you are speaking for England, remember that you, too, are subject to common law.

    John Wrake.

  46. acorn
    November 24, 2014

    It would be easy to set up an electronic direct democracy voting system using GSM type devices. Mobile / wireless “digital” communicators, use one or more of five unique identifier systems. These could be used to “register” a voter with one of the electronic electoral counting systems currently available.

    There are circa 83 million devices capable of connecting to UK GSM cellular networks. BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing uses “mobile short dial codes” for its viewer voting. A universal system, agreed with mobile network operators in the UK. A referendum on the EU would work just as well and could be set up in a week or so.

    Naturally, our politicians would be aghast at such an idea, seeing redundancy looming. The major problem would be stopping Mrs May’s “spooks and snoopers”, rigging the electronic vote on behalf of the metropolitan elite. Alas, as our Punch & Judy parliament is several decades away even from adopting electronic voting …………….. I give up.

  47. John Robertson
    November 24, 2014

    The issues are not just about free un managed movement of people. The financial services sector contributes a sizeable percentage to what we can afford as a country, far more than the migrant problem. If we get to negotiations I hope our economic interests are not going to be hijacked for one issue.

    I fear if this is not balanced then the problem may not be one of immigration but emigration with tumble weed populating the South East. There is also the ECHR and bringing down trading barriers. I understand the migration issue but it’s not the only one.

  48. DaveM
    November 24, 2014

    Slightly out of date but quite interesting. Follow the link at the bottom (“Lose the Referendum”) – even more interesting.

  49. Richard
    November 24, 2014

    It is not another speech from Mr. Cameron the country needs but activity and action.

    Mr. Cameron should be flying to visit all the leaders of the other 27 EU states to explain to them that our our apparent improving financial situation is a mirage caused by his doubling of our national debt from £700bn to £1.4tn.

    That the emigration of large numbers of the youngest, most active and best trained people from the poorer countries of the EU into the UK will not help these countries improve their social and financial position.

    That the UK has the highest population density of any EU country and that continuing uncontrolled large scale immigration will eventually cause social unrest.

    That if an acceptable solution cannot be quickly found then the UK will begin the process to leave the EU.

    But Mr. Cameron will do nothing because he and the majority of the MPs in the Conservative Party are die-hard Europhiles.

    All we will get is another speech and a promise to give us a non-binding referendum in 2017.

    For anyone wanting to leave the EU or to see a reduction in our current high levels of immigration (EU or non-EU) there is simply no point in voting Con/Lab/Lib in the next GE.

  50. Kenneth R Moore
    November 25, 2014

    I wish i could share Dr Redwood’s optimism. Those that predicted the collapse of the Euro currency after the 2007 financial crash underestimated the doggedness of the Eu grandees in clinging onto the Eu superstate dream. They are making the same mistake today with wild talk over a 50% chance of Uk Eu exit.
    I would put our chances at less than 1%.

    I predict that the Uk will never leave the European Union. England as a country we know and love is on it’s way to the scrapyard . We are being assaulted on all fronts -dismantled piece by piece under the noses of a slumbering now half awake electorate.

    Even in the unlikely event that the Conservatives secure a majority in 2015, the leadership will never permit a free and fair debate and referendum.
    They will get the result they want one way or another by fair means or foul – Mrs May’s appearance on the Andrew Marr program and recent conduct has only strengthened my view.
    To these people , leaving the Eu is unthinkable.
    Too many vested interests are at stake.

    Furthermore the sceptics amongst us are dieing out or emigrating to be replaced with people that have much less of an attachment to these lands. On his retirement (which I hope wont be for a long time) will John Redwood’s successor in Wokingham be as Eurosceptic as he is?. I doubt it.

    I advise those concerned to visit old and familiar places, enjoy them while you still can and prepare to quietly say goodbye . Revel in our current relative peace, space, prosperity and freedom for in a short while, it will be snatched away from us.

    I choose to support UKIP to register my disaproval of the current status quo. I don’t want the destruction of my country to be done in my name. In my heart I almost know it is a futile act, but the alternatives offered by the legacy party’s is even worse.

  51. backofanenvelope
    November 25, 2014

    All this fuss about EU migration is a smokescreen to conceal that half the incoming people are from non-EU countries. The government could do a lot to reduce these numbers, but doesn’t. I have no idea why – probably just too lazy.

  52. David Edwards
    November 25, 2014

    The thing for me and I think this is the main issue is that the urban liberals confuse social liberalism with economic liberalism, hence they vote Labour. If the Conservatives were able to move more towards social liberalism whilst preserving economic and political freedom then I think the Conservatives could do rather well in May 2015, which is a political space that no other party has ever occupied and where I think most people reside.

    1. Margaret Brandreth-J
      November 27, 2014


  53. Kenneth R Moore
    November 26, 2014

    I didn’t personally attack anyone, incite violence, disparage anyone or any particular group yet my comment has been binned without explanation.

  54. David Edwards
    November 29, 2014

    Article 48(3) treaty of rome and the equivalent section III-133 treaty of lisbon specify that a person may travel between member states as of right only to accept offers of employment actually made. They may remain after employment under sub clause (d). Commentators in the media have suggested that to restrict movement of “workers” in this way would require treaty change. Unless the ECJ has ruled otherwise, treaty change would not seem to be required.

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