The EU/UK relationship is now like a bad marriage

As the Euro area lurches into another phase of its rolling crisis, with the EU authorities taking on the voters of Greece and Spain, the relationship between the UK and the EU is also shaky.

The UK is like the poor husband who can never get anything right for his wife. He buys her presents but is told they are the wrong gifts. He gives her money but is told it is not enough.There are always new bills that are said to be extra above the regular housekeeping. He never knows how much it will be from one month to the next. His wife thinks him a cheapskate, the husband thinks he is spending far too much to keep the relationship going.

The husband agrees not to watch the cricket, a game he loves, because it is not an EU game. He is then criticised for not being enthusiastic or attentive enough when the couple settle down to watch the Eurovision song contest instead. He every now and again asks for a bit of freedom, some deregulation, to relieve the domestic pressures of a life measured out for him. He is told he is not pulling his weight and should be lucky the rules are so light.

When he complains that he is being asked to give money to too many of her nephews and nieces, he is told family matters. When he says he wants the spare bedroom back as a study he is told that her cousin has every right to lodge their rent free whilst trying to find a job.

His long suffering wife sees it very differently. She just wants a husband who loves the common European home, respects it and the other family members, and accepts its rules and behaviours. She cannot understand why he is always wanting to change things, pull out of common agreements, and demands more time for himself. He is just selfish. She hates him penny pinching, and still can’t understand why he doesn’t trust her and the rest of the family with a joint bank account.

He would feel it if they broke up. Who would do the washing and ironing then? She doesn’t want a break up, as she secretly accepts his DIY, salary, and home maintenance come in handy. She accepts now she did go a bit far in banning his roast beef dinners once, and now quite likes them when he does the cooking. She just wants him to knuckle down, show a bit more give in the inevitable give and take.

The strange thing is he is not so sure about the break up either. He hasn’t worked out that the Chinese laundry would do all the shirts and sheets very cheaply and well, without all the aggravation. He would be free of the house rules save when he went back to visit. He doesn’t feel he has much say over them at the moment, so what if he was not in future part of the row over what they should be?

What is going to happen to this odd couple? And why did the Governor of the Bank of England venture a criticism of Germany recently, for not sending more money to the poorer countries in the Euro? Does this mean the UK negotiating position is shifting away from concentration on Mrs Merkel?

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  1. Mark B
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    First, a personal message to our kind host. NEVER mention that awful dross of a sing song contest again !!! EVER !!! The only good things to come out of it, was ABBA. At a pinch !

    Moving on.

    What you describe is the consequence of a shotgun wedding, no more.

    Time to look for another partner. Maybe if she thinks you really are going to leave her, she might want to change her ways ? If not, what have you to lose ?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      I quite liked the occasion when a leather clad woman from Moldova provoked Terry Wogan to exclaim “It’s Xena the warrior princess!” It even got me looking at the map to check the location of Moldova; which was probably just as well because if our politicians have their way every Moldovan will get the automatic legal right to come and live and work in our country, allegedly creating even more material prosperity and cultural enrichment than we already enjoy as the fruits of their wise policy of allowing and encouraging mass immigration.

  2. Peter van leeuwen
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    The analogy could be just a little different, when seen from the continent:
    The UK is like the impossible teenager in the family, absolutely selfish, egoistic and frustrated. Her slogan “I have no friends, only interests” she also applies to her next of kin. Believing that only others should pay their allocated amounts but not her (!), she locks herself whining in her bedroom, reading her popular tabloids which shout out that she is the only one that counts in the world. Having opted out of most family activities already she is desperate to run away from home, where she would continue her frustrated life. If only she could physically move the British Island away from this continent towards the continent across the ocean, she has a crush on.
    N.B. But we still love our impossible sister 🙂 It might just be a phase after all.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 7:15 am | Permalink

      Nonsense the UK population broadly loves Europe, they just hate the undemocratic EU. They want to rescue Europe and the UK from this dreadful, anti democratic, bloated, over paid, socialist, corrupt, central command form of government.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 2, 2015 at 7:25 am | Permalink

        That is the UK voters do, not alas most of LibLabCon.

      • Bob
        Posted February 2, 2015 at 7:58 pm | Permalink


        “It’s a union of economic failure, of mass unemployment and of low growth.”

        Nigel Farage

      • Kenneth R Moore
        Posted February 2, 2015 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

        I agree – being in a friendly relationship doesn’t mean you have to go along with everything that the other party wants. It’s called being thoughtful and having an independent mind. The Eu is far too sheep like.

        We are the older wiser Grandad figure looking over the squabbles of the foolish teenagers.
        Despite this we seem to always give way – I don’t remember us being described as ‘selfish’ when we gave away our fishing rights or signed the Maastricht treaty ?.

        The British value the diversity of Europe – we want the French to stay characteristically French etc. and the right to maintain our own British identity, laws and customs.
        This is what has made Europe strong.
        We are British – the term ‘European’ just describes our geographic position and will never capture our hearts. That is what the Europhiles fail to grasp .

        PVL’s comment that we are ‘absolutely selfish’ sums up the attitude of the Europhiles – despipe being one of the largest contributors to the Eu we still get abused for our generosity.
        It was and still is a socialist/marxist racket

        • Peter van leeuwen
          Posted February 3, 2015 at 9:48 am | Permalink

          @Kenneth R Moore: I may have caricatured you with my “absolutely selfish”, that happens in stories like this. A membership fee is however no “generosity” but just a membership fee, and as replied to many others, we contribute more than you do and don’t complain about it. If anything, the EU construction only helps the English to be more English, like it helps the Scottish to be more Scottish or the Catalans in Spain to be more Catalan.

          • Kenneth R Moore
            Posted February 3, 2015 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

            The fact that you do not complain, perhaps says something about your lack of confidence in your country being an independent nation .

            Paying a membership would usually infer that some kind of tangible benefit is received. With the Eu there is none – we could be trading partners without the need for an expensive undemocratic centralised bureaucracy. Please elaborate on why you feel the Eu is unworthy of complaint and why you feel it represents good value for money ?.

            The Eu is just a socialist tax on wealth designed to ‘level the playing field’ in Europe – transferring unearned wealth to the poorer states that then get addicted to easy money as Greece has found.

            I fail to see how the Eu taking away my democratic birth right by turning Westminster into a hollowed out talking shop, then allowing upwards of 300 million people access to our schools, housing and hospitals is helping me feel more British.

      • Derrick Swain
        Posted February 3, 2015 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

        No doubt about it, the EU Commission and the traveling circus found somewhere between Strasbourg and Brussels, which meets a total of 3 days a month and calls itself a Parliament are both bloated, overpaid and above all socialist. Your Dutch correspondent takes the stand from the view that the EU is a worthy cause, whilst others,including me, feel that the EU is a denial of human nature. Long live the separate countries of Europe, let us come together as friends, but do not ask us to participate in the economy, judicial system, social system or even the government of those friendly states. Good real Tories like John Redwood and Owen Paterson should now distance themselves from David Cameron, who just does not get it. I will vote for the only Party which is committed to removing the UK from the EU madhouse, and hope that real Tories will join the good old fashioned solid patriotic working class who feel the same as real Tories, now, before the election, not later or too late. Our Westminster traditions have outgrown their purpose, we need a national plan and an executive that can carry that plan forward for the betterment of all in the UK. Our friends in Europe can do the same for themselves without the burden of the EU.

        • peter davies
          Posted February 4, 2015 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

          “Your Dutch correspondent takes the stand from the view that the EU is a worthy cause” – so might you if you were on the EU paypacket like our Dutch friend

        • Peter van leeuwen
          Posted February 4, 2015 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

          @Derrick Swain: your opinion is shared by very few on the continent. I suspect you’ll even prove a minority in your own country. Interesting remark about human nature. Maybe human rights are against human nature? The idea of quitting the European convention may well adversely affect the human rights defence mechanism for 800 million people in Europe. I suppose that it is human nature to completely ignore that???

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      PvL–Of course it’s different from the Continent–that is the exact and entire point–but, as I keep saying, what has that got to do with us?

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted February 2, 2015 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

        @Leslie Singleton: Still good to remember that your perspective might not be tho only one in the world.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted February 3, 2015 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

          PvL–You seem to be struggling with this simple point in that I freely acknowledged that the Continental perspective is (one of many no doubt) different from ours. So we are not suited, simple as that. For long years I have thought it ever so obvious that the Continent should become one, if that what it wants, with our doing no more nor less than trading in to that new agglomerate just as all the other countries in the world do; and just as Canada trades in to the USA without a lot of twaddle about a common currency, no border, joint Laws etc etc. Canada has a much smaller population than the UK’s and 75% of its exports go to the USA, a much higher percentage than ours, all without the slightest problem. Never ever (for about the 5oth time of asking–sorry for the repetition) get any comment at all (never mind any that make sense) what the difference is and why we are apparently deemed to be too puny to manage on our own despite our being the 5th largest economy in the world. I was told by my MP that it was to prevent wars which he appeared to be able to say with a straight face given recent developments.

          • Peter van leeuwen
            Posted February 4, 2015 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

            @Leslie Singleton: You would have less influence in a market which apparently is important for you (I think of CBI, the City), but nobody over here is stopping you if you want to leave.

    • Jerry
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      @PvL; You describe the EU better that John did, now how about describing the UK?!…

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted February 2, 2015 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

        @Jerry: Nice try Jerry.

    • oldtimer
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      One difficulty with the teenager analogy. She is 1000 years old, not born yesterday.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted February 2, 2015 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

        @Oldtimer: It’s all relative. Wasn’t it Greece that was a democracy 2000 years ago? There were Europeans at least as long as there were British.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      Here in Tenerife we have some Dutch staying at our hotel. Yesterday we had a very animated discussion about EU immigration. Their views were exactly the same as ours
      One gentleman even suggested that immigration could destroy the EU. It’s not all sweetness and light in Holland.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted February 2, 2015 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

        @Ian wragg: Interesting . . . I know quite some British who would agree with me on immigration.

        • Bob
          Posted February 3, 2015 at 10:45 am | Permalink


          “I know quite some British who would agree with me on immigration.”

          Yes, we know who you are referring to, Nick Clegg, David Miliband, David Cameron etc.

        • A different Simon
          Posted February 3, 2015 at 11:32 am | Permalink

          Peter ,

          For me , the main problem with the EU is loss of nation states sovereignty and it’s anti-democratic nature .

          I want to belong to a country/union called England/UK and do not want to be forced to be a citizen of the EU against my will .

          I’ve got relatives who didn’t do very well at school and used to work in hotels and catering . It was low paid but it was the only work they could do and they enjoyed it .

          Such people cannot compete with younger , often over qualified go-getters from abroad who have now taken their jobs .

          It is the poorer natives who suffer most due to immigration . The political class just benefit from cheaper hotels , authentic foreign waiters etc .

          I would like to know your opinion on immigration if you’d be kind enough to tell us please ?

          • Peter van leeuwen
            Posted February 4, 2015 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

            @A different Simon: On immigration you asked my opinion:
            I live near Rotterdam with its 170 different nationalities and about the most important engine of our economy. I know that even way back during the Dutch golden age, Amsterdam was rife with immigrants. I know that for demographic reasons we will need more young people in our country. All these points are in favour of immigration.
            Immigration still has to be quite strict (was too lax in the past). Adapting to Dutch culture (as a second culture and language) has to be enforced. Some cultures (North Africa) tend to give far more integration problems that East Europeans, which has to be recognised. Undercutting of payment terms has to be punished (is done) just as opaque legal constructions to make foreign workers work here under low cheap labour agreements or unacceptable cheap housing conditions (10 in a room). Misuse of benefits has been dealt with in the past. Many things can be improved and we do that at European level. Nothing is ideal but we do manage on the whole. We are also honest enough to recognise that immigrants prove to be a net benefit to the economy, which the independent statistics prove.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Yes we are the “impossible teenager” but as a major “bread winner” in the family we expect the respect that deserves in the running of the household, especially as there are others in the house that don’t contribute at any level and continually take out more than they put in.

      Much better to move in to your own house and have the freedom to play with the others in the street!!!

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted February 2, 2015 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

        @Know-Dice: Actually, per capita, we pay more than you do.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      Once again I remind you that without that “impossible teenager” you would have been left under the Nazi jackboot, so less of this patronising tripe.

      • yulwaymartyn
        Posted February 2, 2015 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        70 years ago.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 3, 2015 at 8:40 am | Permalink

          It was to be a thousand year Reich, as you may recall.

        • Peter van leeuwen
          Posted February 3, 2015 at 9:51 am | Permalink

          We never claim credit or gratitude for having invaded Britain in 1667, it would be such an hollow argument!

          • miami.mode
            Posted February 3, 2015 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

            But Peter, how could we again help you to escape Teutonic hegemony if we were part of the same club?

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted February 3, 2015 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

            Of course you don’t like to be reminded that it was the English/British who saved you from Louis XIV as well.

      • A different Simon
        Posted February 3, 2015 at 11:46 am | Permalink

        Dennis ,

        Here Here .

        I don’t know what my late grandad and late father would have thought .

        The total lack of gratitude and respect from the continentals would have come as no surprise .

        Plenty of British and American troops were treated as invaders rather than liberators .

        I suppose that taught them that they would never be forgiven for intervening in European matters .

        What would have crushed my grandfather and father is the betrayal of the British people – by the enemy within .

    • David Murfin
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      The UK is hardly a teenager. It’s time grandma put her foot down over how the house should be run. However the other grandparent of democracy from down south, who was invited in rather late, is having a go. It’s a big house. Perhaps it could be broken up into flats.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted February 2, 2015 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

        @Denis Cooper: and than there is this impossible neighbour Mr. Bear, very much admired as a skilled operator by some of your countrymen, who’s country sacrificed 20 x more soldiers to free us from Mr Mustache.

        • Peter van Leeuwen
          Posted February 2, 2015 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

          @David Murfin: Britain-EU-member was borne in 1972. Relatively young I would say.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 3, 2015 at 8:44 am | Permalink

          No Russians in the Netherlands; British and US troops shed their blood there to liberate your country and at the time your forebears even shown some gratitude for that.

          • Peter van leeuwen
            Posted February 3, 2015 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper: what mattered was Hitler’s defeat. And of course we’ve shown gratitude and continue to do so. It is just a strange item to be brought up by someone who didn’t shed his blood for me. Riding on someone else’s blood isn’t really a sign of strength Denis.

          • APL
            Posted February 4, 2015 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

            Peter van Leeuwen: “It is just a strange item to be brought up by someone who didn’t shed his blood for me. ”

            Don’t worry it won’t happen again.

            Those two wars destroyed the British economy. For what?

    • DaveM
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      No, it’s not a phase. Maybe she has a different dad from the rest of you?!! She really shouldn’t have a crush on her domineering eccentric cousin though; hopefully that IS just a phase.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted February 2, 2015 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

        @DaveM: Time will tell. If you have to go, you have to go.

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      “Her slogan “I have no friends, only interests” she also applies to her next of kin.”

      But you are not our next of kin! Australia, Canada, New Zealand, USA; they are our next of kin.

      Holland is partner, ally, rival and enemy – but not next of kin.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted February 2, 2015 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

        @backofanenvelope: Pity that the feeling from Australia, Canada and New Zealand might not be mutual. Nor the USA.

        • Peter van leeuwen
          Posted February 3, 2015 at 9:53 am | Permalink

          @backofanenvelope: Have you realised that (in your perspective) your next of kin all advise you to remain EU member?

          • APL
            Posted February 5, 2015 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

            PvL: “your next of kin all advise you to remain EU member?”

            They have been treated so shabbily by the British political class, it’s little wonder there is little love lost in the former colonies for the British.

            Thanks to that Tory Edward Heath, the EU raised tariff barriers against New Zealand and USA produce, which until then we had been very satisfied with.

            Now we can get high quality inexpensive wine from Australia and New Zealand, always could get excellent butter, mutton and wool – one wonders what the whole Common market, European Economic community, European Union, (whatever) was all for?

          • APL
            Posted February 5, 2015 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

            correction: “and USA produce,”


    • forthurst
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      Once again PvL gets it diametrically wrong: “The analogy could be just a little different” and consequently far more apposite.

      The EU is the household from Hell. It is one in which the adults have abandoned a brood of children, in which the elders refuse to help feed and clothe the younger ones in preference to joining a street gang intent on terrorising their old neighbour who has lived next door for as long as anyone can remember. The Social Services department believes the only solution is to break the household up, sending the elder children out into the world to fend for themselves and to start behaving like grown-ups and to help the younger children develop away from the bad influence of their elder siblings.

      • Peter van leeuwen
        Posted February 3, 2015 at 9:59 am | Permalink

        @forthurst: It is an interesting analogy (but I came in first 🙂 )
        It will be interesting to see whether the various national democratic uprisings (like in Greece) will manage to steer the EU (in fact steer the collection of other countries, as this is really an intergovernmental issue) in a slightly different direction. I believe this to be possible, you obviously not.

    • Boudicca
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      The repressive house rules are preventing the outgoing, extravert, entreprenurial teenager from building a confident, lucrative career and a lifestyle which doesn’t revolve around the family.

      It’s time the “impossible teenager” left home to explore the world and leave the stick-in-the-mud family to focus entirely on themselves.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted February 2, 2015 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

        @Boudicca: If the teenager looked more carfully it might find allies in many areas. It doesn require a different approach though.

        • Robert Christopher
          Posted February 4, 2015 at 12:10 am | Permalink

          It is more like living in a State run orphanage, somewhere around Rotherham or Rochdale, where those those in charge are only interested in their own pleasures, while children are left to fend for themselves, with the MSM reporting nothing of the horrors.

          What is happening in Greece is an abomination.

    • Sue Jameson
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      I just don’t think the British take too well to mass socialism. We like to keep what we earn for our own families and communities. We are generous to a fault when someone is in need but, we will not be taken advantage of. The British taxpayer has consistently paid more and more into this failing club and all we see is our hard earned cash disappearing into a black hole of legislation that we have no say on.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted February 2, 2015 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

        @Sue Jameson: I believe that this amounts to less than 40p per person per day, and are the Labour voters suddenly not the British anymore?

        • Robert Christopher
          Posted February 4, 2015 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

          Who wants to ‘donate’ anything to build airports in Spain that have closed because no aeroplanes have arrived or departed?

          Europeans, apparently! That is why we are British, not European.

    • lojolondon
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      Rather than a marriage, this is like a cart, with twenty horses. One horse is doing most of the work, and the other nineteen are complaining because he pulls the harness askew, but they are happy they can relax in their harness because the work is being done. One day that horse will learn how he is being taken advantage of and he will stop putting his effort in for the benefit of others, and when that day comes, we will call it the referendum that was promised in 2010 and we will break free of the (union ed).

      And there will be no more money to bail out the PIIGS and the Germans will get sick of doing all the work alone and the Euro will fail and the EU will split up. And the countries on their own currencies will recover much faster than the Europhiles will ever believe and democracy will return to Europe. And there will be far less damage than was done in the destruction of the Third Reich. Halleleujah!

      • Peter van leeuwen
        Posted February 3, 2015 at 10:05 am | Permalink

        @lojolondon: The media tend to oversimplify, there is really more than one horse determining the course. I still have to hear one dissenting voice at government level in these 19 countries about remaining to have the same (euro) currency. Of course there has always been debate about it in these countries, but governments best reflect the majorities (especially in countries which have proportional representation).

        • Robert Christopher
          Posted February 4, 2015 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

          Like Greece?

          • Peter van leeuwen
            Posted February 4, 2015 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

            @Robert Christopher: Indeed like Greece, where the popular support for the current government is quite high. That government will still make sure that Greece remains in the euro and the EU, as that is what it wants.

    • bigneil
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      So, this “teenager” has to pay her ” allocated amount”. Who decided the amount? . We are being bled dry. Vastly in debt, with a so-called leader who is so desperate to be sat in Brussels and become one of the self chosen “super-elite” he will sell a whole country and nation of people up the river. Masses of people who have contributed nothing, “entitled” to walk in here and have a free life on the taxpayer, courtesy of even more borrowing from the people who are supposed to be looking after us, but as we now know, want the exact opposite, etc ed. The EU has cost us a fortune and is still doing so. We have had to accept terrorists and every other sort of foreign criminal, only to be told we cannot deport them, and must give them a house, money and NHS. The EU has used us as a dumping ground for all its ( self edited ) as part of its aim to destroy us.

      • Peter van leeuwen
        Posted February 3, 2015 at 9:41 am | Permalink

        @bigneil: It’s actually quite simple – all EU members pay 1% of their GDP. Our (Dutch) GDP per capita is slightly larger than yours so we pay more than you. We’re not whining about it. The economic rewards (of e.g. the Single Market) are well worth it.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      When it comes to teenage tantrum and family disputes, those on the Continent leave others standing.

      There is a very nice YouTube video out there, that shows the ever changing map of Continental Europe over the past 100 years. Apart from 1920,(?) when Southern Ireland became independent, the UK has remained both stable and relatively, compared to the ever changing face of European borders.

      Also, our monarchy has remained intact and, is not only Head of State to the UK, but also many other countries. The President of France can’t say the same, can he ? Or for that matter, the Head of State for the Netherlands.

      I view the EU and other member states, more like a gang ! But as this post is getting long, I will leave others to ponder on what I mean. Ukraine anyone ?????

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted February 2, 2015 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

        @Mark B: Towards the past you may have a point, I look from WWII towards the future – different perspective.

    • Graham
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 1:56 pm | Permalink


      You forgot to mention that the teenager does pay more than the so called allocated amount by having her pocket money confiscated to pay to the friends who have just the attitude you claim the teenager has.

      But I sure you knew that all along.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted February 2, 2015 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

        @Graham: Actually, per capita we pay more than you, we just read fewer tabloids.

        • APL
          Posted February 5, 2015 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

          PvL: “Actually, per capita we pay more than you, ”

          Who cares? You can pay even more when we leave – if you wish.

          Per capita, for a population of, sixteen million, still means you pay less than a population of sixty million

    • petermartin2001
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      “The UK is like the impossible teenager in the family, absolutely selfish, egoistic and frustrated”

      The UK is probably the oldest in the family. Our frustration is due to that the fact that the younger ones have ignored all sensible advice, decided to throw caution to the winds and engaged in an idealistic experiment that involves everyone ‘sharing’ everyone else’s money. Of course, those younger ones with the financial muscle have done reasonably well. They’ve got their ‘share’ and more besides! They can set their own rules to ensure that.

      Whereas those who had less financial clout are now regretting it intensely!

      But what more can we do? We said it wouldn’t work and it hasn’t. I suppose we do all have to learn lessons the hard way from time to time.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted February 2, 2015 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

        @petermartin2001: As an EU member the UK was borne in 1972. In a previous incarnation it may have been an empire, I trust that that didn’t cause recurring dreams.

        • Robert Christopher
          Posted February 4, 2015 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

          I expect you think Israel didn’t exist before 1948!

    • outsider
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      Dear Peter van Leeuwen, Whatever this dysfunctional family relationship is, you are right that the UK is to blame, in particular (as I see it) the actions of Sir John Major and his government between 1990 and 1992. First, Sir John took us into the ERM on terms that any objective outsider could reason were unsustainable, because it was a domestic inflation fix without any serious intention to integrate. Then Sir John agreed the Maastricht Treaty with a unique UK opt-out (Denmark’s was different). By failing to negotiate a general opt-out, the UK gave the message to its partners that it wanted a separate special status not available to other member states. This has coloured relations ever since.

      If the UK had more honestly exercised its veto at Maastricht, the euro monetary union would have been established as a separate, non-EU treaty so that the euro area would have grown organically from those countries such as Germany, France, the Netherlands, Ireland and Austria that were both willing and able to accept its disciplines and implications. This would not have prevented the Irish Crisis but would have avoided most of the others and left the young people of Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal happier today.

      • Peter van leeuwen
        Posted February 3, 2015 at 10:17 am | Permalink

        @lojolondon: The media tend to oversimplify, there is really more than one horse determining the course. I still have to hear one dissenting voice at government level in these 19 countries about remaining to have the same (euro) currency. Of course there has always been debate about it in these countries, but governments best reflect the majorities (especially in countries which have proportional representation).

      • Peter van leeuwen
        Posted February 3, 2015 at 10:23 am | Permalink

        @outsider: It remains compliclated. There were political reasons (German reunification) to go for a common currency in 1989, now there are political reasons to join because of fearing Russia.
        I think that the UK, because of its big financial center will remain interested to stay in the EU, and possibly that was already foreseen at the time of John Major?

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      Brilliant. I would only add – “and shouts when addressing foreigners as she never bothered to learn someone else’s language as she thinks they should all speak English”.

      However doesn’t mind going there on holiday with her mates and eating the foreign food especially with regard to the cheap booze and late night drinking and falling over at 3am. With riotous incoherent chanting at the local police just for good measure with reference to long ago wars and football matches.

      • Graham
        Posted February 2, 2015 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

        Hardly adds to the discussion unfortunately – bit childish to be honest.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted February 2, 2015 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

        @yulwaymartyn: It would be interesting that maybe the UK will leave, and that most in the EU will use English as a lingua franca!

    • Timaction
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      We simply don’t want or need your beloved EU Peter. There is nothing accept huge costs and regulatory burdens to Britain. £14.5 billion for a £77 billion annual trade deficit states it all really. Trade and friendship only. Nothing more. We want our sovereignty and democracy back that was stolen from us by the legacy parties by incremental stealthy treaty change without ANY mandate.
      Gordon Brown even went alone, late at night through a backdoor to sign the Lisbon Treachery that was sold to the British people as a tidying up exercise! Lies, deceit and betrayal of the British people by surrendering to a foreign dictatorship. UKIP has the answer.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted February 2, 2015 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

        @Timaction: Just that I doubt you could reverse that trad deficit into a trade surplus by simply leaving. I have nothing against trade and friendship only, I just don’t think that you will get the majority you’ll need.

        • Timaction
          Posted February 3, 2015 at 10:07 am | Permalink

          Peter, I don’t care what you think or the EU dictators. I just want my Country back stolen by lies and deceit. It IS going to happen despite you and the legacy parties. We just have to continue to tell the truth the legacy parties and the EU the LIES.
          There is no benefit in the Franco/German EU for the British other than direct and indirect costs and regulation! We don’t have to be in it to trade. Ask China, Japan, USA etc!!

          • Peter van leeuwen
            Posted February 3, 2015 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

            @Timaction: Are the 28 government leaders constituting the European Council dictators? And the 19 constituting the Eurozone? How is such a position going to stand up against the slightest scrutiny, I wonder.

          • Timaction
            Posted February 4, 2015 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

            Remind me when we elected the President or the appointed Commissioners who make and impose the laws/directives?
            We don’t want or need another tier of Governance that we cannot remove by a vote. Its called democracy and in our case a sovereign democracy which we want back and trade a trade and friendship arrangement with the Countries who make up the EU! Why should I pay taxes to build roads, infrastructure and farmers in foreign Countries? With a £77 billion annual trade deficit we don’t need you!

          • Peter van leeuwen
            Posted February 4, 2015 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

            @Timeaction: You elected the EC president at the last European elections when you made him the leader of the largest party (EPP), similar as spitzenkandidat Cameron became the leader of the largest party in 2010 (only a few thousand people in a safe seat could “vote”for him). Non of your ministers are elected AS ministers, they are all appointed, so why use this different standards between UK and EU???

    • Cliff. Wokingham.
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 4:14 pm | Permalink


      Sounds like family life is very different in your neck of the woods……We too, within the UK, have troublesome teens however, we don’t expect them to pay for everything and to fund all of their kin’s crazy schemes and silly ideas. No wonder the teen is so fed up with life and wants to get out and away from the family. I suppose in your neck of the woods, troubled teens can always go to the special cafes to smoke some psychoactive substances in order to escape the realities of life 🙂

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted February 2, 2015 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

        @Cliff. Wokingham: it is a rather common myth in the UK that you pay too much, while we pay more per capita than you do, and while 1% of GDP of which most comes back to Britain isn’t such a huge amount.
        If you leave the EU and stay in the EEA you will not pay much less.
        Your BBC reporter once notices that all the Dutch cycle past their coffee shops and that the clients are mainly tourists. (I still haven’t been myself)

        • Timaction
          Posted February 3, 2015 at 10:13 am | Permalink

          Why should we pay anything at all for foreign infrastructure and farmers? We don’t do that to trade with any other Country. Its the creation of a larger state of unelected dictators and we don’t want it. Full stop.

    • stred
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      Anyone heard of a teenager giving his parents pocket money?

      • Peter van leeuwen
        Posted February 3, 2015 at 10:19 am | Permalink

        @stred: Working teenagers contributing towards the household is not uncommon.

    • Brigham
      Posted February 3, 2015 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      I’m surprised that you want us to stay

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Does Cameron and the UK have an EU negotiating position, other than a fake one for pure electoral (and long grass) purposes?

    Cameron could not even negotiate fair constituency boundaries in the UK with the LibDems. One might have thought even the Libdems would have seen this as only fair.

  4. Will Williams
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Very witty way of making a point Mr Redwood.

  5. Leslie Singleton
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    The very essence of the problem is that the EU is not any kind of loving family, indeed we are nothing like, with long memories and half hating the other half. If we were a happy family there would be little to talk about as we would pay out our children’s debts and keep smiling. The Greeks are not asking for more cash, they say, but how can that be when they are going to need lots to reverse the austerity measures, which have not been put in place for fun, as they say they are going to do? They have very little actually in the bank. The need for cash would apply soon enough even if all repayments on all debt were deferred for a thousand years. Interest rates are already too low but maybe they want rates to be made negative so that creditors pay Greece rather than the normal way round. At least that would provide some cash.

  6. Rita Webb
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Personally I blame the failure of the marriage on his inability to give up his American mistress. All those dirty weekends in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not to mention him blowing money that he does not have on expensive trinkets like Trident ….

  7. DaveM
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    As a novelist, John, your characters lack depth and the plot lacks context. Please allow me…..

    The husband, John Bull, came from a medium-sized Surrey town. His ancestors had been very successful, employing lots of people and owning lots of homes. They had been tough, but fairly upright and benevolent. A couple of generations back, a young successful upstart ( Hans) from a nearby town had launched a couple of hostile takeover bids against other businesses in John’s town, and John’s grandad had had to sell huge chunks of his business and homes to help out his neighbours.

    Consequently, John’s dad had started up a modest but successful accountancy business, drawing on his business acumen and genetic ability. He had also made friends with a very successful distant cousin who was very generous, but did have a tendency to expect a lot of favours. John, then, grew up in a fairly insular middle-class family. They knew the neighbours but weren’t best friends with them.

    Hans’ son and grandaughter (Helga) lived in a neighbourhood where everyone knew everyone else, the doors were always open, and everyone went to Hans’ son for help (he was a bit of a rogue but nothing like his dad, who no-one really talked about). Hans’ offspring had been successful through hard work and made a lot of quick money through a pyramid scheme – the neighbours had bought in to this but couldn’t quite keep their spending in check; consequently Helga and her siblings were getting a bit annoyed by them and were regretting sharing one big bank account. They liked the sway they held over them though, and were prepared to put up with it because it made them feel big.

    John quite fancied Helga – maybe because she had new money and was a bit exotic and different, and he persuaded her to marry him after a whirlwind romance, in spite of the misgivings of his family. It went OK for a while, but it seemed that John was putting in more than he was getting out, and his family didn’t really like or trust Helga and her family.

    At the start of your story, Mr Redwood, John is just realising that there are some insurmountable language problems, some real cultural issues, and – in sum – that he might have made a big mistake marrying someone so different. They didn’t even really speak the same language. He didn’t want to lose face and admit his mistake though, and his cousin didn’t want a divorce in the family because he secretly thought that John might actually be more successful on his own – the cousin didn’t want that to happen after his dad and grandad had put so much effort into bringing John’s family down to size.

    At the same time, John’s little brothers and sisters were starting to be a bit naughty; John didn’t want his family to argue, but he realised that even brothers and sisters need to be a bit more independent sometimes……

  8. alan jutson
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    No it is not a family, it is a club.

    But a club where different rules and rates apply to different members.

    Some members are given rebates of differing amounts, some get nothing at all, some get so many rebates, that there is no cost at all.

    The rules are the same, but only some members need to abide by them, whilst others just seem to ignore them with no penalty.

    Solution, put up with it, seek to change it or leave.

    After 40 years of dissatisfaction, it seems rather dumb to stay a member.

    • Robert Christopher
      Posted February 4, 2015 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      Hannan does say it well:
      “Shall I tell you the worst thing about the EU? It’s not the waste or the corruption or the Michelin-starred lifestyles of its leaders. It’s not the contempt for voters or the readiness to swat referendum results aside. It’s not the way that multi-nationals and NGOs and all manner of corporate interests are privileged over consumers. It’s not the pettifogging rules that plague small employers. It’s not the Common Agricultural Policy or the Common Fisheries Policy. It’s not the anti-Britishness or the anti-Americanism. It’s not even the way in which the euro is inflicting preventable poverty on tens of millions of southern Europeans.
      No, it’s something more objectionable than any of these things – and something which, bizarrely, doesn’t exercise us nearly as much as it should. Put simply, it’s this: the EU makes up the rules as it goes along.

      Just think, for a moment, about what that means. It means that any deal you’ve signed can be arbitrarily altered later. It means that any plans you’ve made, on the basis of what you took to be binding agreements, can be retrospectively destroyed. It means, in short, that there is no effective rule of law.”

      There is no effective rule of law: dysfunction, over a continent, or is that incontinent?

  9. Old Albion
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    In such circumstances divorce is best for both partners.

  10. David Cockburn
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    My Belgian friends always ask how we can possibly justify wanting all the benefits of being a part of the EU if we are not prepared to accept the downsides. Implying we want the washing up and ironing done without being prepared to mow the lawn.
    But the only benefit I can really identify is that we are not positively discriminated against as we no doubt would be if we left. In the case of divorce we’d get to keep the decrepit house while she took the bank account and our share portfolio.

  11. agricola
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    This marriage comprises two incompatibles, so I would advise an amicable divorce. Do not involve lawyers, they are very expensive, only have self interest at heart because they have fed off all the junk food that comes from their counterparts in Europe for many years. If it is amicable then there is a chance of a reasonable relationship after the divorce.

    It sounds as if Peter van Leeuwen has juxtaposed wife and husband. She is from Europe and would best return. Yes the husband has had an imperfect but long standing relationship with his American mistress which on balance suits them both. His European wife should try to remember that every time she has screwed up in the past it has been her husband and his mistress who have bailed them out. Even the charity NATO which they set up has been the only force for stability since they last fell apart.

    The mess in Europe is of their own making. The disease is best kept within Europe . We in the UK cannot be expected to renew our subscription to this dead dream.

  12. Bert Young
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    As someone who has “been through it all” I thought the analogy this am. very appropriate . There is no doubt that breaking off a relationship is difficult and fraught with all kinds of issues , but at the bottom of it all is the basic question of ” is it worth prolonging something that clearly is wrong and ought to have ended sooner ?”. The experience of starting again and being entirely happy and satisfied is something of real value ; there is only one chance at life and one has to grasp this reality .

  13. Roy Grainger
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    The England/Scotland relationship is like a bad marriage too now.

  14. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Sorry but I don’t find this a meaningful or realistic analogy. The question of our national sovereignty and who governs the UK is far more important than to be trivialised.
    Perhaps your final two sentences indicate that even you are now questioning your leader’s much vaunted EU re-negotiation pledge? If so, welcome to the club.

  15. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, JR, I read that Labour is promising to transfer an additional tranche of powers to the devolved Scottish Parliament and governments, with England of course still to be denied a devolved Parliament and government, while there are pleas for more UK money to assist Aberdeen through the hard times being caused by the big fall in the price of the oil which was going to financially sustain an independent Scotland if the SNP had won the referendum last September … you could hardly make it up.


    “Labour in pledge to go beyond powers of ‘the vow’”

    and here:

    “£2bn plea to prevent Aberdeen hitting hard times”

  16. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    We can all relate from the individual to the collective and past comments have tried to say that the general is far more complex than the particular , which it must be in its many moves , yet the moves are still very simlar moves whether the chessboard is one or a multiple.

    Freedom comes with its downside . It is a lot harder without support of the bigger concerns and should we begin to weaken and fail after a divorce then re entry into another relationship would mean a relationship on their terms.( I am not exactly sure whether a rejoining of the EU necessitates taking up the Euro ; some say yes , others say no)

  17. ian
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    I”ve never notice they were there

  18. Atlas
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Personally I prefer the “arranged marriage” analogy. Love? – what has that got to do with it?

    The late E. Heath played the role of wicked uncle to perfection.

  19. adams
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    You are in the wrong Party John . Why would that be ?

  20. John Wrake
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    To Peter van L.:

    Your analogy suffers from internal errors of fact.

    Britain’s next of kin do not live in Europe, but in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, U.S.A.

    The E.U. is not a family, but a collection of neighbours artificially linked without their consent by politicians with a political agenda unrelated to family welfare. Ask the Greeks about the attitude of their Big Brother.

    And who allocates the amount she is avoiding? Untrustworthy people who haven’t had their figures accepted as honest for eighteen years and more. Just as well to lock your door when there are burglars on the loose!

    She doesn’t want to move away from her neighbours. After all, she has bankrupted herself saving many of them from their criminal neighbours more than once in the past. But she does want the people who claim to be responsible parents to stop trying to beggar their so-called children just to further their own interests.

    John Wrake

  21. A different Simon
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    And all the while he is slogging his gutts out she is relaxing in chain coffee shops drinking Latte’s and arranging trysts with her German personal trainer .

    Every time he meets her friends they are secretly laughing at him because they know she is humiliating him .

    When it inevitably finishes she’ll expect to get the gold mine and he’ll no doubt get the shaft .

  22. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    So the parent is preventing the child from reaching its potential with all its rules and interventions.

    Sometimes it is better to give the child some slack to grow Peter. The parents’ way of doing things can often be antiquated and restrictive. Bad parents can get off on their own autbority.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      Sorry, response to @PVL at 6.43

  23. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    The husband in this instance is not helped by many of those he trusts to advise him telling him that he can’t do any better for himself and warning of the dire consequences of separation. He doesn’t want to believe this but without a blue print for separation or evidence of others’ separation he is too scared.

    He needs to map out his future as a care free singleton and think about all the possible other dalliances.

  24. Edward Saunders
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    But the man has noticed another very attractive lady who seems very interested in him. A more free spirited lady, who is still unattached: but seems less likely to demand that her man always has to obey her rules. Furthermore, she has no clinging, relatives, always demanding that he lives by their narrow minded values.

  25. Boudicca
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    The solution is divorce; hopefully an amicable one.

    Unfortunately, Cameron and the Conservative Party Grandees are more like an abused wife, who believe their abusive husband really WILL change this time, than a husband who can’t do anything right.

    In this case, the abusive husband is very unlikely to change his behaviour. He has no reason to because he knows the “wife” doesn’t have the sself-confidence to leave and doesn’t want to.

    Posted February 2, 2015 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Ah but the EU will never leave him taking up-and-coming little states with her to pastures new, telling them counter-intuitively he has deserted she and them, taking also every movable asset of their home and leaving him with joint debts to pay alone with just his own income to do it.

    And he of course can never do the same to her for an order would be issued for his arrest for kidnapping and theft. He would be hunted down like an animal by armed police officers with an international arrest warrant. Even if he dressed up as a comic book character and climbed a House of ill-repute to put his side of the argument he would still be threatened being shot down by his own-dominated society.
    Fortunately for the UK, we are not married to the EU and a total monetary and fiscal union does not at this point in time allow the EU to dictate and implement very one-sided rules to the game.
    The Governor of the Bank of England, suggesting Frau Merkel may wish to send more money to Greece, sounds like a typical British judge pontificating on the merit and circumstances of the matter, unfortunately.

  27. miami.mode
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    It’s no wonder that he finds it attractive to go to the pub to spend some time with his mates.

  28. stred
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Off subject. BBC News has just celebrated the exhibition of Magna Carta at the British Library and forgot to mention that the bits in it about not seizing a citizens property or imprisonment without trial have just been cancelled after 800 years. HMRC can seize our cash if they see fit and we can be sent of to a prison anywhere in the EU or US if their dreadful prosecutors send an arrest warrant to our collaborating DPP and police. The majority of Conservative and almost all of the others approved these convenient measures.

  29. BeeCee
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    And where are the MPs speaking out against the latest nonsense from the Overseas Development Committee which says we should continue with the 0.7% objective and continue giving money to countries like China.

    It is always easier to spend the budget money given rather than make a bid for money to fund worthwhile aid projects.

    Beggars belief

  30. Cliff. Wokingham.
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 4:16 pm | Permalink


    I think your analogy is a very good one…..I hope you’ve never found yourself in such a relationship!

    • Kenneth R Moore
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

      The analogy is a good one – our Eurpeans partners are giving us the rough end of the wedge. A happy mariage is one where there is equal compromise and effort on both sides. The modern cult of self worship isn’t compatible with this state of harmony.
      I’m sure many could appreciate the pain that Brother Redwood describes..
      Stopping a chap watching his cricket, abusing his wallet or banning roast beef is beyond the pale. Then to cap it all he has to put up with the wife’s cousin dossing in the spare bedroom…a few days turns into a few months inevitably.
      A most unhappy state of affairs.

      • Margaret Brandreth-J
        Posted February 3, 2015 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

        I would like more emphasis about the wife’s unhappiness.As much as I like John my feminist instincts arise in defence of the female, even analogically being undermined.

  31. Bazman
    Posted February 2, 2015 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    Interesting to see what all the foreign owned companies do come a divorce. Many are state owned foreign companies. They will not allow to use cheap labour from their own countries in Britain to undercut their own workforce at home.
    You have to ask why they are here. The education system, infrastructure, proximity to markets. No its tax and labour regulations. They will just use EU countries.
    They will want to sell us stuff and we will decide the price? As if like you do now with utilities and food? Get real.
    The reason for wanting to leave the EU by most Tories and their supporters is to further the race to the bottom. How will that take place without cheap EU labour? What is next for the average British worker in reductions in pay, befits and conditions to make them take the place of East Europeans or at least compete by desperation, which of course they cannot for a number of reasons.

    • Edward2
      Posted February 3, 2015 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

      The real race to the bottom can be seen vividly in the Eurozone, with its low growth, falling living standards, real austerity and huge levels of unemployment.

      Oh but of course that is the fault of the failing individual nations, nothing to do with the EU and the effect of the Euro.

      • Bazman
        Posted February 5, 2015 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

        Are you looking forward to the massive price reduction we will see in future energy prices thanks to the energy companies buying in advance.
        Thats how real your ideas are.

        • Bazman
          Posted February 8, 2015 at 9:33 pm | Permalink


  32. Martyn G
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    An excellent analogy, John. But again not quite off topic and wondering if the government is hoping that not many ordinary folk are aware of this, many will become NO LONGER registered as a voter for the GE and local elections unless they visit a website and read that to register: “You will need to enter your national insurance number as you register and you will also need to enter your date of birth”.
    If you do not provide this data to the government (local or national)) you will NOT HAVE A VOTE. And where,one wonders, is all the government driven publicity to make us aware of this? It could affect the outcome and it is beyond belief that a Conservative government could be so irresponsible and so useless at this vitally important moment in time as the impending GE where every minor vested interest organisation will be able to take advantage of this? In competence seems to be the order of the day in this respect and it is almost as though the government wants to disenfranchise the ordinary people of this dis-united Kingdom.

  33. bluedog
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 4:45 am | Permalink

    It should be a relatively painless divorce, Dr JR, there are no children and the property has all gone one way, never to be seen again. One can imagine the other party demanding an outrageously high level of maintenance, but the courts will surely recognise that for what it is, and dismiss the claim out of hand.

    Europe will always be there in a geographically, and an important market too. The Eurozone will inevitably break up unless a federated European state can be devised, and the indications are that this cannot be done. Once the Eurozone folds, individual member states of the EU will start to do their own sums on the benefits of membership of the EU itself, leading to a number of departures. The EU seems destined to follow the path of the Holy Roman Empire, becoming an impressively named but disunited and dysfunctional rump. In the finest traditions of European politics, one can envisage some sort of Great Schism, with groups of EU states coalescing around regional hegemons in rival blocs. Fierce ideological battles would then rage for generations, accentuating minor differences. It only remains to find a use for the EU buildings in Brussels, possibly redeveloped as social housing for the unemployed masses.

    It was the Americas that first made Britain great, and then India beckoned following the acquisition of Bombay on the marriage of Charles II to Catherine of Braganza. The English-speaking Americas are now fully developed and one cannot imagine the GDP of either the US or Canada doubling in anything under a couple of generations, but they remain essential markets. One can however imagine the GDP of India, China, Indonesia, and many other Asian nations increasing by rates well above the OECD trend for years to come. Japan and Korea are different and already qualify as developed. But it is surely in Asia, the Middle East and in Africa that the great growth stories will be found, and that is where Britain should ‘pivot’ towards once free.

  34. A different Simon
    Posted February 3, 2015 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Perhaps the husband ought to build a new patio ?

  • About John Redwood

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

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