A debate about Parliamentary sovereignty

On Tuesday I made the following speech in the House during a debate on the EU and national Parliaments. The crucial question I raised is how can our democracy flourish if the electors want changes that are illegal under EU rules? How can we claim to have a proper democracy, if on major issues like welfare, borders, migration and energy we have to accept what the EU has already decided? What we have seen in Greece owing to the damaging and inflexible rules of the Euro could soon sweep through other Euro countries. Outside the Euro the UK is better placed, but we too need to be able to override EU rules when our democratic imperative requires us to do so.


Watch the Video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gU067H7aOU0

Text of the Speech ( with a few amendments to turn a speech made without notes or text into written prose):

Mr John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): This debate is central to what we do here in Parliament and to the promises that various parties will make to their electors as we leave this place shortly and go into a general election.

It used to be a fundamental principle of the House of Commons that no House of Commons properly elected could bind a successor House of Commons. That was a fundamental part of the British people’s liberties. They have to trust a House of Commons for up to five years to legislate and govern on their behalf. They can do so safe in the knowledge that if we—those in government—do not please, they can dismiss us at the following general election. They can elect a new group of people who can change all that they did not like about the laws and conduct of the Government whom they have just removed.

Our membership of the European Economic Community, now the Union, has increasingly damaged, undermined and overwhelmed that essential precept, which was the guarantee of our liberties as the British people. Now there are huge areas of work that are under European law and European control. Those parties that go out from this House into the general election and, for example, offer a better deal on energy, may well come back and discover that what they have offered is quite impossible under the strict and far-reaching rules on energy that now come from the European Union.

Yesterday, we did not have time to debate in the House the EU energy package. Within the proposals we were being asked to approve in the Commission’s work programme was a strategic framework for energy policy.In turn, that will spawn an enormous amount of detailed regulation and legislation, making energy a European competence almost completely. More or less anything that the main political parties say about what they wish to do on energy policy during the next five years will be possible only if it just happens that what they wish to do is legal under this massive amount of law and regulation. Much of it is in place already. More will come forward in ever-increasing volumes under the strategic framework and further legal policy.That is but one area.

A couple of other big concerns that will be much debated in the election are welfare and border and migration policy. Again, anything that parties say in our general election has to go through the European test. Will changes in benefits that parties wish to see be legal or possible under the European Union? May we not find that we are completely bound by predecessor Parliaments because they have signed up to legal requirements under European law that make it impossible for the House any longer to control our own welfare policy?

Yesterday, my right hon. Friend the Minister for Europe encouraged me with his optimism because he said that welfare remained a national UK matter, but there is plenty of evidence that it already is not in many respects. All sorts of policies have been looked at that I am told would fall foul of European law and regulation. It is quite obvious, again, looking at the European Union’s work programme, that it will intensify its activity in this area and make it even more difficult for a national Parliament to express the wish that it wants in its laws on welfare. The same is true of border controls, where we are signed up to the free movement of peoples.That is now being ever more generously interpreted as giving the EU carte blanche and substantial control over border and migration policy throughout the EU.

We find ourselves in the position of debating today yellow cards and red cards to try to assert the will of national Parliaments, but it comes nowhere near the task that we need to undertake as we seek to reshape our relationship with the EU. Even having a red card, where national Parliaments collectively can block a new proposal, does nothing to tackle the problem that we have this vast panoply of law already agreed, sometimes many years ago, which may prevent a national Parliament from reflecting the will of its people. If could prove very difficult to get all member states to agree to block a measure. An individual member state, which had an overwhelmingly strong national view on the subject, might be thwarted because it just did not happen to be something that worried the other member states.

We need to pause over this. I remember the excellent words of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in his Bloomberg speech. The Bloomberg speech wisely said that the fount of political authority in any European member state, but certainly in the United Kingdom, rests from the national electorate through the national Parliament.That is still right. We see that in the recent conflicts and rows in a country such as Greece, which is under even more European control than we are by being part of the euro. The Prime Minister reasoned that this country needs to negotiate a new relationship with the EU that recognises that on really important things—I would have thought that welfare, borders and energy were really important things—if necessary, the national Parliament can assert and interpret the will of the British people. There should be some mechanism by which we can then do as we wish, reflecting the will of the people.

We see at the moment the tragedy of Greece, where these conflicts are much further advanced because the European Union is much more intrusive on a euro member than on the United Kingdom. We have witnessed some very worrying things. Those on both Front Benches need to listen to and study this very carefully, because their futures, as well as the future of our country, are very much at stake. The first remarkable thing is that in the most recent Greek general election the two former traditional main parties—the equivalents of Labour and Conservative—polled 33% between them. Those parties, until recently, alternated in government. They had got into that parlous state because whatever they wanted to do in the interests of Greece was blocked, modified or amended by the EU. In practice, decisions were made by the euro group, the European Central Bank and the troika they came to hate. So the Greek people said, “It doesn’t make any difference which of you two we have. The socialists can’t be socialists and the capitalists can’t be capitalists. You all end up with the same euro policy that is driving the Greek economy into the mire.” The poor Greeks have lost almost a quarter of their national output since 2007. That this can happen in an advanced western country is mind blowing. Half their young people are out of work as a result of these policies.

The two main parties had nothing to offer because they either had to go along with the euro scheme in all its details or promise to disagree, but only in the full knowledge that they would not be allowed to do anything different. The Greek people elected into government a challenger party, with no experience of government, saying that it intended to break the rules of the euro.It did not want the troika arriving and telling them how to govern their country and did not intend to accept the bank details and loan packages that had been drawn up by the previous regimes. We now see this gripping and gruelling conflict where the euro area and the EU is telling Greece, “Well, we’ve got news for you: these are the rules. We don’t mind that your electorate have just rejected it all. We don’t care that you’ve elected into government a party that completely disagrees with us. You have no power in this. You the Greek people, you the Greek Parliament and you the Greek Government have to accept these rules, because those are the club rules.”

We heard a mild version of that attitude from the shadow spokesman, the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton South East (Mr McFadden), when I asked him whether, on a mighty issue that matters a great deal to the British people, there should be a right for us in this House to reflect their view and legislate accordingly. He said no, there should be no such right, and we have to follow all the rules of the European scheme.

Throughout past years, when those rules related just to trading arrangements or industrial regulation, they could be irritating or vexatious, but they were not going to become game changers that mobilised the whole British people against the whole scheme of the European Union. However, when the European Union rules start to influence things that matter a great deal to people—their welfare system, their benefits system, their borders or their migration—that might start to create a much bigger reaction. When European rules and requirements have a devastating impact on an economy and employment prospects—fortunately not in this country, because we have kept out of that bit—that completely transforms the politics of that country.We see the politics of impotence, the politics of protest and the politics of frustration.

I do not want our country to go down that route. That is why I say that we need to negotiate now, before we get to that stage, an arrangement—not just a yellow card or a red card in conjunction with other member states—for us, the United Kingdom. We must be able to say that we are still a vibrant democracy. We need to be able to say that if something matters a great deal to the British people and if it has been approved in a general election, this House can take action even if it means disagreeing with the rules of the European Union. By all means, we can try to negotiate an arrangement case by case, but where we cannot do that, we need an override. We need the right to say, “This thing matters too much to our democracy.” If we do not have that very simple change, we no longer have in this country a successful and vibrant democracy that can guarantee stability and guarantee to deliver what the British people want.

Graham Stringer (Blackley and Broughton) (Lab): I agree with basic thrust of the right hon. Gentleman’s argument, but is not most of what he is suggesting impossible? Most of the rules governing the European Union are bound up in treaties that require 28 countries to decide to change them, and that is simply not going to happen. Much as I agree with his aspirations, I am afraid that they will not come about, will they?

Mr Redwood: The hon. Gentleman may be right, so I hope that the British people have a referendum in which they may decide that they cannot live under such a regime without change. I would certainly vote to leave if flexibility cannot be built into the system along the lines that I have mentioned. He is a distinguished politician both locally and nationally, and surely he recognises that when we need fundamental change, we have to make the case for it and be optimistic.

I am not completely pessimistic because I do not believe that only Britain needs such a change. If this were just Britain being difficult—the island nation, characterised by its critics as being on the edge of the European Union, whose traditions are “old-fashioned” and whose idea that Parliament really matters is now old hat because we have moved into a new world—I do not think we would win. Fortunately this is not the position. Our democratic traditions are vital and essential today as yesterday. This is also live, desperate politics for very large parts of the euro area.

The issue is live politics for what remains of the governing parties of the euro area because the path trodden by the two leading parties in Greece, whose jobs have been taken by Syriza, could be trodden by the two leading Spanish parties given the rise of Podemos and by the Italian parties given the rise of the Five Star movement and all the other pressure movements in Italy. Those countries are not immune to an insurgency challenge like the one in Greece. That sort of thing can start to concentrate the minds of other member states of the European Union and their Governments. One thing I have learned about Governments over the years is that they quite like staying in power. When they feel that there will be a very strong electoral challenge to them, they may begin by condemning it—saying it is irrational, unpleasant and all those kinds of thing—but if they think it is going to win, they have to do a deal with it, understand why people feel as they do and make some movement.

My strong advice to the whole European Union is that it needs to do a deal with the people who disagree with it, because the scheme is not working for all those people in the euro area. It needs to change policy, and it should do so before politics changes it. I do not want our country, which matters most to me, to get anywhere near such a point. I am pleased to have been part of the forces in this country that kept us out of the euro, which meant that we missed the worst—this country has a reasonable economic recovery that is completely unrelated to the continent, with its long recession and deep troubles in the southern territories—but as I see my country sucked into common policies on energy, borders, foreign affairs and welfare, I think that we might be sucked in too far and have exactly the same problems on those issues that the euro area is already experiencing on the central matter of economics.

I urge Ministers to take this seriously and to re-read the words of the Bloomberg speech. I urge the Opposition to join us, because they aspire to govern this country. One day they may come up with really popular policies and be elected on that basis, and what a tragedy it would be if they discovered that they could not enact those policies because they were illegal under European law. That could happen just as much to the Labour party as to the Conservative party.

These are not some private arguments among Conservatives in some secret club of Eurosceptics held in the privacy of the House of Commons; these are mighty arguments about the future of our continent and our country and about the nature of democracy itself. Accountability still rests with a national Parliament, not with the European institutions. If there is to be trust between politicians and the people, the national Parliament must be able to deliver when the people speak. We are in danger of that no longer being true, which is why a yellow card and a red card are not sufficient. It is also why we need to answer the question: how do the British people vote for what they want and how do an elected Government in Britain deliver it if it disagrees with European rules?


  1. Lifelogic
    March 13, 2015

    You make good points but unlike you I am almost entirely pessimistic. Given the current EUphile leadership & control of the Tory party (and the fact that they are very unlikely to even gain a full majority) I cannot see anything rescuing the UK from a totally undemocratic essentially socialist & failing superstate. A situation made worse by the potential and even likely break up of the Union and the way the voting system works in the UK. Giving just a few floating voters in a few marginals some power and the rest are powerless. It certainly is not a meaningful democracy even now.

    Cameron was the last real chance but he turned out to be yet another Ted Heath wet just in disguise. He threw the last (and probably this election) as a direct result.
    This election could however still be won by moving more in line with the people’s wishes but their is no sign of such movement.

    Lower taxes, far less government, far less EU, a fair deal for the English, far less but far better regulation, cheap energy without all the green crap, some functional banks ………….

    1. Hope
      March 13, 2015

      Excellent cogent speach. Your leader will not agree with any of it. The Tory Europhiles have spent far too much time investing in him as a Trojan horse to present their views and continue absorption by stealth to the EU superstate.

      1. Timaction
        March 13, 2015

        Good speech. However, remind me how much has been achieved by those claiming to be Eurosceptic over the last 40 years? Never have the British people had such treason practised on them by lies and stealthy incremental treaty change to create a United States of Europe. We cannot be a democratic sovereign nation when we are not in control of our borders, when foreign unelected dictators make most of our laws, policy and the supra national court invariably finds against us.
        The legacy cartel wants to continue this so has given up the right to rule. It’s time they moved out and allowed the peoples party to take over the failed Westminster Village who put themselves and their party before the interests of our once great nation.
        The barrage of Farage by the bought up members of the mainstream media and their legacy party masters will not work in the age of the internet where savvy people can find out everything they need to know. Look at the comments beneath the written articles by the press and its clear the message is out and spreading.
        If we love our Country there is only one patriotic party!

        Reply Our actions have kept the pound, kept us out of the Fiscal Treaty, gave us a rebate and granted us some opt outs – which Labour spent their time surrendering

        1. Timaction
          March 13, 2015

          Such achievements, at such extreme cost? Not to crow for is it?

          My Country and its people deserves better. We need root and branch reform where those elected by us act in our interest not some foreign unelected dictatorship!

          1. acorn
            March 13, 2015

            Look at it like this Timeaction, there is allegedly a lot of anti-EU feeling in England. Mind you, you wouldn’t think so at doorstep level. Unemployed graduate sons and daughters is much higher up the list, along with cut-backs in working hours and the “casualisation” of work in general, Victorian style.

            If you are a government that lacks the capability to govern, you need some other entity to blame for your incompetence. The EU is the perfect fall guy. If the UK walked out of the EU, simply by making a Sovereign State declaration to the UN, the UK politicians wouldn’t have a clue where to start; they would literally s**t themselves at the thought of having to be responsible. And, we know, collectively, they couldn’t run a Whelk stall.

            Eurosceptics can have fun, making lots of noise with this, knowing they will never have the responsibility to deliver a result. It’s a bit like running one of those huge international Charity organisations that is dedicated to finding a cure for some bug or other.

            The last thing that Charity organisation needs, is someone to find a cure for that bug; wholesale redundancies at the Charity would follow. Like wise, a UK outside the EU would suddenly require a House of Commons that was “fit for purpose” and we the voters have no mechanism to choose the individuals we want. We just get Party lobby fodder under our, long passed its sell-by date, so called, democracy.

          2. Lifelogic
            March 13, 2015

            Exactly. JR your party joined without asking the peoples consent, signed the European Act, Maastricht, joined the ERM, and ratted on Lisbon throwing the last election. Many tory MPs still want to join the Euro.

            Not to mention the idiotic (almost unanimously voted for) Climate Change Act and much other complete nonsense

    2. Lifelogic
      March 13, 2015

      Not pessimistic in general that is. Just on the chances of the UK ever escaping the dead hand of the EU. Cameron was that last chance and he ratted and did not even begin to try.

      Still let us hope that we do not get Miliband/SDP in less than two months. It cannot be hard to beat “Two Kitchen” Miliband after all. But Cameron certainly seems to be doing his best at trying and he could not even beat Gordon Brown.

      The country is crying out for less government, less EU, a fair deal for England, lower taxes, fewer regulations, no green crap and some real growth. Cameron needs to wake up very quickly indeed. Let us hope Osborne can promise something sensible and visionary for a change in the budget. Not yet more 299+ tax increases.

  2. petermartin2001
    March 13, 2015

    Very worthy comments. Its is unfortunate that Graham Stringer used the word “impossible”.

    There was a time when you’d have had positive support from the Labour benches. Do you feel Labour’s anti-EU sentiment is totally a thing of the past as far as the PLP is concerned? I fear that maybe the case. The few that may still still be in agreement with you aren’t saying much these days.

    That’s not the case with Labour party members or Labour voters though. There’s still a large body of anti-EU opinion there waiting to be tapped. There are also those who may be somewhat pro-EU but nevertheless feel that the Labour Party have let the electorate down by failing to endorse the principle that Parliamentary sovereignty shouldn’t be given away without at least first obtaining the approval of the people by way of a direct referendum.

    The Conservative Party would pick up a lot of votes, at least enough to make the difference between another coalition and and an outright victory, if they could persuade these voters to vote Tory or abstain.

    It’s time to appeal to these normally Labour voters, over the heads of the Labour leadership, to vote Tory, just this once, to get that referendum! You’d need to reassure them that they weren’t voting for austerity economics and mass unemployment though. You’d need to convince them that the NHS was safe in your hands.

    1. Timaction
      March 13, 2015

      The problem with the legacy party cartel is they think they own Westminster with a right to rule forever. Think of their unpopular policies and record of the recent past. No reform of Human Rights or the EU foreign Court of injustice. No repatriated powers from the EU, no reform of our huge EU bill, no control over immigration, NHS out of control through sheer need of service. Doctors appointments taking weeks and treatment times going to months. Need for 250,000 school places for migrant children. This will be repeated every few years due to the vast migrations still coming year on year with the public service pot getting smaller. Building on our greenbelt, congestion, over crowding, defence cuts, police cuts, increasing foreign aid, involvement in foreign wars, gay marriage. Our culture, history and very existence under threat, whilst we have extreme ideology and practices from (some ed). Political correctness and equality laws threatens to stop all freedom of speech!
      So why wouldn’t we want change? Just saying!

  3. bluedog
    March 13, 2015

    Bravo, Dr JR, bravo and hear, hear.

    When Gordon Brown vanished behind the curtain like some great conjuror to sign the Treaty of Lisbon, on his re-appearance the British Constitution was no more; sovereignty was vested in the EU. HM Queen and her subjects are as one, vassals of Brussels.

    The Greeks are fighting an important battle for the whole of Europe. We are fortunate that their government contains men of real ability who are fully capable of analysing their predicament and reaching valid conclusions. Their capacity for effective action is of course severely limited by their financial weakness. The Greeks deserve the support of every Briton who seeks to see the sovereignty of the UK restored in full. If HM Government has any moral fibre, it will lend every assistance including financial to the Greek government.

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 13, 2015

      “HM Queen and her subjects are as one, vassals of Brussels.”

      Like all other UK nationals the Queen is a citizen of the EU, but it was Major not Brown who inflicted that.

      As for the rest of the same paragraph of your comment, that is more complicated but officially Parliament still claims to be sovereign notwithstanding the Lisbon Treaty, or any other of the EEC/EC/EU treaties:


      “Parliamentary sovereignty is a principle of the UK constitution. It makes Parliament the supreme legal authority in the UK which can create or end any law. Generally, the courts cannot overrule its legislation and no Parliament can pass laws that future Parliaments cannot change. Parliamentary sovereignty is the most important part of the UK constitution.”

  4. Old Albion
    March 13, 2015

    I agree with just about every word JR. But I also agree with Graham Stringer MP. There is nothing that can be done. We have to leave the EU.

    1. JoeSoap
      March 13, 2015

      Yes I think Mr Redwood is missing the wood for the trees. It is unrealistic to expect a renegotiation on this scale. I think impossible was a quick by-word for totally unrealistic.

      Reply Then we should vote for Out

      1. David Murfin
        March 13, 2015

        Agreed. Out.

      2. Denis Cooper
        March 13, 2015

        We should have voted for Out in 1975. And we probably would have done if the referendum had been held a year or two earlier, before Wilson’s pretence of renegotiation followed by a massive pro-EEC propaganda blitz from more or less all sides.

        But suppose that when Cameron tried to repeat the same trick, as we know he is already planning, enough voters saw through it and the answer was Out? What then?

        Well, when the Tory party drafted its Bill ordering that a referendum on EU membership be held by the end of 2017 that particular question seems to have been overlooked; as pointed out as one of its many flaws, the Bill said nothing at all about what would ensue if the electorate rejected EU membership on the supposedly new terms.

        It could have stipulated that in the event of a majority voting for Out the government must immediately give notice that we were leaving the EU under Article 50 TEU, but it didn’t. Why not?

        1. Lifelogic
          March 13, 2015

          Cameron is not even asking for anything substantive from the renegotiation as he made clear – better just out now. What on earth is the point drifting, backwards & rudderless for a couple more years.

      3. Margaret Brandreth-J
        March 13, 2015

        But it must be known how we feel . Only by stating we don’t like the terms and giving the reasons for dislike can we make it known to all other nations who may be thinking along the same lines. I a sure it is not 27 against 1. If others join with us then it would not be completely unrealistic.

        1. Lifelogic
          March 13, 2015

          It certainly does seem to be about 27 to 1.

      4. Lifelogic
        March 13, 2015

        We will probably never get a referendum, still less a fair referendum even if the Tories do win an overall majority. The BBC and the endless Cameron/Ken Clark/J Major/Heseltine types will see to that.

        We were given a cast iron guarantee last but Cameron ratted on it and threw the election as a result. He could win this election be seem to prefer to lose by being Libdem on every issue.

        1. Bazman
          March 13, 2015

          Given your religious beliefs and many others like you on most subjects that no amount of evidence can change, no matter how many voted to stay in you would not accept the result, blaming anyone anything and everything as you are already doing believing that the only person who can think for themselves is you despite all evidence showing shallow right wing though being your only beliefs.
          How many votes for ‘out’ will this give? A large amount one would think also skewing the vote by a much larger margin than any bias by TV media. The right wing press will of course not be pressing for a out vote enough which you will also see as a form of bias, so any vote is really just a waste of time for you unless the result is ‘out’,
          So much for democracy.

          1. Edward2
            March 14, 2015

            Arguing for what you believe in, is the basis of democracy.
            I don’t see that your views are any less entrenched Baz.
            And it seems you are just as convinced your views are right.
            But there is a vote coming soon.

          2. Denis Cooper
            March 14, 2015

            Nor would the left wing press be pressing for an out vote, expect possibly the Morning Star if it still existed. One cannot imagine either the Guardian or the Independent saying that we should leave the EU, their disaffection with Britain and the mass of its people is so deeply ingrained that their gut reaction it always to side with our enemies; and it is almost as difficult to imagine the Mirror now turning round and urging its readers to vote to leave the EU when those leading the Labour party are as totally committed to keeping us in it as those leading the Tory party; and nor can I see the FT changing its tune about EU membership. In fact apart from the Morning Star it would probably only be the Express group of national newspapers urging a vote to leave the EU, and even that is not certain. Telegraph, Times, Mail and Sun would all be saying that although Cameron had not have got everything that he had wanted he had still got a good enough deal and we should vote for it, and so too would almost all the regional newspapers both left and right.

          3. Mondeo Man
            March 14, 2015


            Bazman – Have you ever (will you ever) vote for the Conservative Party ?

            I have. And so has Lifelogic. I feel confident in speaking for both of us when I say that we no longer vote Conservative.

            Now, you may argue that yours is a more balanced opinion than mine. That would be for a higher authority to judge. But your views are already well represented – in fact most of your desires seem to have been enacted in policy. You ought to be well pleased with general alignment of the broadcast media with your own world view. You lucky boy. How I wish I could think Left – then I might be happy.

            Where is me and Lifelogic’s representation ? Our views are quite commonly held – the best we’ve got is a (nowadays) renegade party called UKIP which loosely resembles old Conservative. Because that’s all we want – a real Conservative Party.

            Not one that tries to appeal to you even though you will never ever vote for it.

            My own belief is that the Conservative Party has no stomach for the predictable violent Leftist backlash if such policies were put into practice.

            Rule by fear.

            Indeed. So much for democracy !

            I wish I were you. I wish I were you !

      5. JoeSoap
        March 13, 2015

        Reply to reply
        So you are standing for the Tories but voting UKIP?

        1. JoeSoap
          March 13, 2015

          This IS the nub of this matter. If you believe a valid re-negotiation is in the sphere of the difficult but possible, vote Tory. If you believe it is either totally unrealistic or impossible, vote UKIP to get out, or Labour/Libdem/SNP to stay in.

          It really is that simple.

    2. bigneil
      March 13, 2015

      Unfortunately Mr Cameron has absolutely NO intention of ever leaving the EU. He wants his reward of a place in Brussels for destroying this nation. He wants us wiped out and replaced by a seething mass of 3rd worlders. Why else would he blatantly allow hundreds of thousands of “car washers”in. All allowed totally free use of services we have paid all our lives for? All he does is make false pledges and promises. I wouldn’t trust anything he said if I was stood next to him in a downpour and he said it was raining.

      1. Lifelogic
        March 13, 2015

        Quite true. Nor would I trust him were I standing next to him. This is perhaps not a good idea anyway as I might be sorely tempted to do a Jeremy Clarkson on the election throwing ratter.

      2. Timaction
        March 13, 2015

        You don’t believe Mr Cameron? But what about his cast iron guarantees? His no ifs or buts promises. His contracts and manifesto promises with the people. Never mind. I’m sure he thinks the sheeple have all forgotten!

        1. JoeSoap
          March 13, 2015

          Well he has missed his immigration promise so by his own admission deserves to be shown the door.

        2. Lifelogic
          March 13, 2015

          His “I am a low tax conservative at heart” after 299+ increases and counting and no sensible reductions in his largely piss down the drain expenditure.

          And the “we will be in the black” by 2018 lies

          And we are repaying the debt lies.

          And a treaty is not a treaty once ratified lies.

  5. Douglas Carter
    March 13, 2015

    There’s a useful UK-specific corollary that can be used in the comparison.

    Osborne, as Chancellor, complained long and loud when he discovered that he could not cancel the Aircraft Carriers ordered under Labour without incurring the full build and support costs which had already been given contractual status. I’m not raising the subject of those two assets for anything other than illustration because I think ordering them for the RN was fundamentally a good thing.

    However, it seems that an unbreakable costly contract in one limited sense might cause a senior Parliamentarian to loudly berate those who signed up to it. It’s reasonable to expand that to the EU level where prior unwise Treaty obligations present unbreakable financial costs upon the same British taxpayer, obligations that senior Politicians rarely wish to highlight in the same terms. (Good point yesterday, John, when you mentioned the obligation to pay fully into the EU but there was no similar parallel obligation to maintain the required payments into NATO).

    It’s on these matters where the advantages of the Norway Option are clearest. Contrary to the myths frequently put forward by the EUphiles, Norway is under no obligation to doggedly follow single market rules and conditions contrary to the interests of that nation may be subject to legal disapplication by Norway’s politicians. Generally that doesn’t happen for ‘pragmatic’ reasons but it has occurred on limited occasions in the recent past – much to the indignation of the upper political echelons of the EU.

  6. Ian wragg
    March 13, 2015

    A voice in the wilderness.

  7. Narrow Shoulders
    March 13, 2015

    Hugely worrying that the Labour responder merely said “you are right but we can’t do anything about it”

    Such accepting attitudes do not inspire confidence that our MPs are prepared to be dogged in pursuit of our interests.

    As the political class seems to value protecting itself above its electorate; let us preempt the Syriza, Podemas and Five Star rise in the UK by proposing that we halve the number of MPs at Westminster while the EU sets much of our laws and so few turn up to debate its work programme for so short a period of time.

    This may concentrate the minds of those MPs who, unlike our host, do not fight for the English and UK citizens. Nothing is more worrying than potential loss of privilege.

    1. Brian Tomkinson
      March 13, 2015

      I think you will find that Graham Stringer wishes the UK to leave the EU. Anyone who desires national democracy should realise that it is incompatible with membership of the EU.

  8. agricola
    March 13, 2015

    Well if Parliament as a whole fail to take note of such a superbly elucidated speech we are on a one way ticket to self destruction. Due to the complexity of effecting fundamental changes in the nature of the EU, in conjunction with 27 nation states there is only one way forward. This can only be via Article 50 and a subsequent negotiation on those areas where mutual cooperation makes sense. Just as we under Churchill saw fit to oppose Naziism to secure the freedom of Europe so we owe it to Europe to show the way by invoking Article 50.

    Two days ago I tried, with my abysmal Spanish, to explain to a Spanish friend exactly what the UK attitude to the EU was, and why there is so much unrest in southern Europe just now. Thanks to Google translate your speech is now in Spanish and will be forwarded as a much more articulate and understandable version of what I was trying to say. Thank you.

    Reply Thank you, and thank you for translating it. You are right that we need to broaden our argument across the EU, as the crisis of democracy and legitimacy affects them all.

  9. A.Sedgwick
    March 13, 2015

    The polls, E.Miliband’s unwillingness to rule out a SNP coalition and the Libdems predeliction to governing are increasing the likelihood of a three way coalition, which will support the EU to its political and financial death. Add to this equation Mr. Cameron, who most of us contributing here regard as a Europhile or at best a reluctant fence sitter.

    Unless you can get your message through to the Conservative hierarchy and commit to a referendum by 01/05/2016 regardless of the outcome of any re-negotiation then my money is on E.Miliband being the next PM.

    1. stred
      March 13, 2015

      Yes it looks probable that the unfair electoral boundaries and lack of proportional representation will result in the question of sovereignty not even being asked. I had a look at the latest polls this morning and picked one with conservative 290 and labour 275. Then taking the population of Scotland and the rest of the UK I worked out the numbers for population per predicted MPs.

      These are per seat- UKIP 7.4m, Green 3.42m, Scottish Lab 410k,
      Labour rest of UK 64k, Conservative 65k, SNP 55k, Libdem 28k.

      The party least in favour of a referendum is therefore likely to be allocated seats 264 times the rate of the party in favour of leaving the EU. And the party which wishes to break up the UK has 134 times the voting power of the party with the UK in its name.

      1. stred
        March 13, 2015

        Delete ‘most’ in last para please.

      2. bluedog
        March 13, 2015

        Brilliant. And quite alarming too.

      3. Mondeo Man
        March 14, 2015

        Stred – Extremely frustrating.

  10. Ex-expat Colin
    March 13, 2015

    Its all tightly sewn up and Stringer is right. Wouldn’t have had this nonsense if UK had not signed up. It was just a Common Market….simple free trading

    As usual nobody of significance saw anything wrong with it nor anything of disadvantage arising …like now. Anyway, well said Sir.

    Meanwhile Japan announces build of its 7th coal powered generator plant…no surprise is it. And the BBC continue to crank up the climate babble every night. Clarkson really needs to (defeat them ed).

    Tory Associations ought to know when not to go to court with sour grapes. Wasters!

    1. Ex-expat Colin
      March 13, 2015

      Its a set up by the drama queens of Top Gear (LOL) to knock the BBC off their N. London lefty/liberal trolley. And the twerps of Tw*tterati

      They have all been sucked in…brilliant form from a white, middle class Brit.

      1. Ex-expat Colin
        March 13, 2015

        Dave’s in it as well…a friend?

        1. Ex-expat Colin
          March 13, 2015


    2. stred
      March 14, 2015

      The Japanese are turning to coal after their experience at Fukushima, when a tsunami caused some problems. There was a documentary on BBC4 this week showing how a large landslip off the side of the volcano in Las Palmas could cause an even bigger tsunami, which would travel to Spain and the UK within hours and devastate seaside towns. The wave would also travel up the Irish Sea. The Eastern coast of the US would also be hit by several waves 30m high, as they build up again as they hit the coast.

      In our case, the Bristol channel funnels tide rises and these are the second highest on the planet, producing the Severn bore. Guess where DECC has ordered the world’s most expensive nuke. I wonder whether a 30m high wall is planned around it. Alternatively, perhaps the US and EU could find enough money to stabilise the unstable bit of Las Palmas or dig it off. Perhaps some MP could ask Mr Davey if he has allowed for the possibility and, if not, it would be a good excuse to cancel it. The French ought to think about it too, as they have a number of reactors on their west coast.

  11. Edward2
    March 13, 2015

    A brilliant speech.
    The growing unpopularity of national politicians may be because they cannot carry out voters wishes, as real power is now with the EU.
    National politicians are accused of failing to carry out manifesto pledges and of being very similar in style.
    But as your article shows, most major policy areas are now controlled by EU treaty rules.
    Voting turnout is reducing due to apathy.

  12. Iain Moore
    March 13, 2015

    Well said. But I fear you are ignoring the insurgency parties here in UKIP and SNP , just as the Libdems have become a political corpse, so too are the nails being hammered into the coffins of the Conservative and Labour party, and will continue to be hammed in them, for the people leading them don’t have the inclination or desire to properly respond to the threat facing them.

  13. Brian Tomkinson
    March 13, 2015

    Other than party political posturing what grounds can you possibly have for optimism?
    Remember when the then president of the European Commission, Jacques Delors, called for the European Parliament to be the democratic body of the community, the commission to be the executive and the Council of Ministers to be the senate?
    Margaret Thatcher told the Commons on 30 October 1990 “No. No. No.”

    Over the 25 years since then can you honestly say that the EU has been stopped in its march towards that goal? The goal of an end to the sovereign nation state and the formation of a country called Europe.
    I fear that your leader is embarked upon a plan to help the EU bring about that goal. He is determined to keep the UK inside the EU and will use all the powers at his disposal to bring that about. He isn’t an original thinker but will follow the blueprint set down by Harold Wilson in 1975 to hoodwink the people he is supposed to represent into accepting that this great country is incapable of standing alone as an independent country. If he succeeds, there will then be no reason for the UK not to be part of the Euro, in fact that will have been built into the rationale.
    Last week I met someone who, with others, is working on plans for the introduction of the Euro in the UK in 2018. We are once more being betrayed and I am afraid that you are complicit.

  14. alan jutson
    March 13, 2015

    All excellent stuff John, what a shame so few were in the house to listen to it, and there is the real problem.

    Too many of our politicians on all sides are just turning a blind eye and deaf ears to the relentless march of all things EU.

    Perhaps our only hope is for a very real crisis to happen within the EU, to shake our Mp’s out of their complacency and make them think of the UK first for a change.

  15. Bill
    March 13, 2015

    The arguments are strong but the battle has to go beyond Parliament into the media-sphere. One has only to see how Farage is treated by effectively asking for ‘British jobs for British people’ to see how ideological warfare is conducted. You need to mobilise the young and media-savvy and carry the case to the British people. We need synergy between UKIP and the Tories and we need realism because, even if we get out of the EU, we cannot expect plain sailing in the short term.

    1. Timaction
      March 13, 2015

      With a ÂŁ77 billion annual trade deficit we can expect an awful lot of cooperation. We pay ÂŁ14.5 billion net for foreign infrastructure, farmers and EU institutions. Madness. How many times does it need repeating China, USA, Japan etc. in fact most of the world is not in the EU but trades with it! It is a political body. Full stop. 3 million jobs are connected not at risk with the trade which is less than 8% of our GDP and shrinking whilst trade elsewhere accounts for 12% of our GDP. However 100% of our SME’s have to abide by the regulatory burden of the EU who negotiate our trade deals. We are the 5th largest economy in the world and simply don’t need the EU that the LibLabCon cartel loves.
      We want and need out to have our sovereign democracy returned here. How can you oust unelected Junker or any of the other Commissioners. That is a dictatorship in my book as they make most of our laws now!

  16. Bert
    March 13, 2015

    A very fine speech . There are not many MPs who can articulate the case we face in this country as you have done ; you did it well and I hope it will penetrate around and do some good .

    I don’t share the view that it is all a lost cause ; I think it is always worthwhile to flag up the things that matter and to try to put things right . I do accept that the way we pursue our interests is lacking with the dynamism necessary to achieve change – our leadership is too weak .

    As things stand it is all down to the people having the final say , this must not be denied them .

  17. Atlas
    March 13, 2015

    Well put John. You just have to get Cameron to sign up to your approach…

    1. Bob
      March 13, 2015


      “You just have to get Cameron to sign up to your approach”

      Wouldn’t that be good! but let’s be honest, our kind host would have more chance of riding an elephant through the eye of a needle.

  18. Richard Hobbs
    March 13, 2015

    Excellent speech John. Saw the video . Where are all your colleagues? (I ask tongue in cheek!)

  19. A different Simon
    March 13, 2015

    John ,

    You said that both front benches need to pause .

    One of the most astonishing features of the drive towards a country called Europe is that absolutely nothing seems to even slow the process down .

    The process continues unabated at break neck speed . Parliament is merely a charade and what debate there is changes not a jot .

    As you point out the EU has even made this clear when national parliaments have dared to defy them .

    People at all levels of Govt and business seem to have decided that they take their orders from the EU and are cutting parliament out of the loop .

    Treason is d’rigour .

    Parliament has become irrelevant .

    I fear you are flogging a dead horse and the forthcoming election will change nothing , no matter what the result .

    1. Excalibur
      March 14, 2015

      I concur. The monolith is unstoppable until we declare our non participation. Our kind host, with his innate sense of integrity, seeks by persuasive and eloquent language to redirect the momentum, in vain.

  20. oldtimer
    March 13, 2015

    An excellent speech. Good to see your views endorsed by Graham Stringer MP; I suspect he is right about the impossibility of renegotiation. What you have demonstrated is that the EU is fundamentally undemocratic – a point made by Mr Farage in some of the speeches he has made and the issue that propelled him to attempt to take on the EU juggernaut.

    In my opinion this is the fundamental issue to be resolved after this GE. If, after the GE, we have more of the same, namely politcal business as usual, it will not be difficult to imagine the outcome eventually will be civil conflict. The present direction of travel re the EU is unacceptable.

  21. Mockbeggar
    March 13, 2015

    Excellent speech. Mr Stringer’s attitude is depressingly defeatist. We must give the PM a chance to renegotiate the whole deal with Europe to satisfy your points. If he fails, I hope he will be brave enough to call for an ‘out’ vote in the referendum.
    I voted ‘yes’ in the Wilson referendum because I was fooled into thinking that the EEC was simply a free trade area – which, of course, it is not (not even a free trade area either!). Had I known that it would become this monstrous undemocratic bureaucracy I would never have voted for it.

    1. JoeSoap
      March 13, 2015

      So they said about Chamberlain in 1939. Look how that turned out.

  22. Max Dunbar
    March 13, 2015

    Excellent speech.
    If the leadership of your Party and the House as a whole do not take note and act on your advice then we are facing a more uncertain and worrying future. We cannot allow the EU to continue to usurp the sovereignty of parliament and the British people. The important thing at present must be to maintain the integrity of our Union. If that is lost then we, as a nation, are in an extremely weak and vulnerable position and will be in no state to even contemplate repatriating powers that should never have been surrendered in the first place.
    It would appear that we are now far too far down the line to ‘re-negotiate’ in any meaningful context. The answer is ‘out’ and that can only be a matter either of our government, with what power it still exercises, withdrawing from the EU or waiting for the inevitable collapse of this organisation. The collapse, when it happens, may be swift.

  23. The Prangwizard
    March 13, 2015

    It was good to read such a powerful and compelling argument, that we face a danger to our democracy and our internal peace and security from the ever increasing power of the largely unaccountable EU. Many of us do indeed fear the EU. By the end however I was reminded somewhat of the Grand Old Duke of York and his 10,000 men.

    You make a powerful case, yet fall back on a faith that significant and fundamental change can be achieved through negotiation. Surely by now it must be obvious that this is indeed impossible, your own example in the speech is evidence of that – the juggernaut rolls on with new proposals; and no-can be sure that in the unlikely event that some change is achieved, the EU will not attempt to claw back or take some ‘sanction’ elsewhere.

    You could have used your skill and eloquence to argue for say, the Article 50 plan, but as so often before I was left disappointed. You say you would vote for out ‘if’, but if you really wished to be out and free, why risk decades more of frustration and annoyance, you could argue for that now, unambiguously. How much more will the juggernaut impose while we attempt to talk?

    Staying in even under your unlikely and unappealing ‘new relationship’ will not remove us from the serious dangers of membership. Only getting out will be truly good for the health, wellbeing and prosperity of my nation.

  24. libertarian
    March 13, 2015

    I too gave a speech yesterday to a room full of business owners, local politicians and training providers as part of National Apprenticeship Week.

    The central point of my speech was that I and some other entrepreneurs have seen a change that is sweeping the economic and business world. That change as with the Industrial Revolution is fuelled by rapid technological innovations. The changes are all around us if you care to look. The zenith of corporate multinationalism was the mid 20th century. Giant businesses operating on a global basis shifting employment, production and taxes to the most convenient place at any one time. Employing thousands of semi skilled and unskilled workers in mindless repetitive production line jobs. The mantra was that in order to succeed you had to compete, dominate and grow massive.

    That period of history is now coming to an end. In industry after industry big is either failing or downsizing. Banking, auto manufacturing, pharmaceuticals print media, state airlines etc etc. Outside of business in politics all of our mainstream parties are haemorrhaging members, no longer commanding the loyalty and support they once did, the NHS and government departments, the EU and other super national organisations are collapsing under their own weight.

    The 21st century is about small and local but with technology the ability to act local yet think global has replaced the old pile it high make it big philosophy. Instead of competitiveness we have collaboration, instead of domination we have community.

    In almost every part of the world especially these islands there are demands that get louder each day for autonomy. The Breakup of the UK is well under way now and eventually England will become a separate country in its own right as will scores of other countries and regions around Europe. Small business is now almost entirely responsible for the employment explosion, small business contributes more than 50% of GDP and growing fast, small businesses are growing at there fastest rate ever. In 1975 there were 700,000 small businesses in the UK today in 2015 there are 5.2 million.

    Mass statism, central control, top down bureaucracy layer upon layer of middle management huge corporations are all anachronisms from the 20th century. Even in military terms we no longer face a world of mass wars on mass battlefields.

    We urgently need to reinvent our system of democracy and government to take account of a changing world. Smaller, more agile, more human and closer to the woman and man in the street. Its about building a sense of local community, belonging and cohesion. You can’t have local communities managed from Whitehall Brussels or Edinburgh.

    Small is beautiful …. government as if the people mattered

    1. acorn
      March 13, 2015

      Of all businesses, 62 per cent (3.3 million) were sole proprietorships, 29 per cent (1.5 million) were companies and nine per cent (460,000) partnerships. (FSB).

      That is, made redundant from a large corporation. Could not find a job on near equivalent wages. Encouraged by Jobcentre Plus to become a self employed entrepreneur and cease to be an unemployment statistic at the Department of Work and Pensions.

      Nations with high levels of self-employment suffer low productivity and a gradual return to a subsistence economy. History tells us all the great empires declined this way.

      1. Lifelogic
        March 13, 2015

        I cannot agree that self employment causes low productivity in general often it is very efficient and flexible.

      2. Edward2
        March 13, 2015

        Assuming none of these thousands of embyro companies ever develop into big businesses.
        Huge companies like Virgin and Dyson were once one man bands.

      3. libertarian
        March 14, 2015


        Utter and total drivel

        History doesn’t show us anything of the sort

        Currently less than 8% of businesses are started by people being made redundant or coming directly off JSA

        360,000 small business owners currently also have full time jobs whilst they build their business from scratch

        The biggest rise in self employed small business is in home based business run by women and over 60″s.

        Almost entirely driven by these new small business are the extra 1.7 million new jobs created

        The average wage of sole trader is ÂŁ33k per annum

        Yeh all those plumbers, electricians, hair dressers, painters and decorators, plasterers, taxi drivers, florists, web designers, gardeners, caterers etc etc all had corporate jobs…. What planet are you on Acorn? Have you never met anyone in business? You sound like Bazman

        1. Bazman
          March 14, 2015

          The biggest rise in self employed small business is in home based business run by women and over 60″s?
          Packing nails and other small items for pennies is mainly what they are doing. Mindless spin that fools only yourself. Its a sign of a shortage of small cleaning jobs and the like.

          1. Libertarian
            March 14, 2015


            I know you’re an expert in making things up but at least try to engage the real world. I didn’t have you down as a misogynist but then again you are a socialist , why do you think women and seniors can only do menial jobs?

            The vast majority of home based businesses are in professional services

            Accounting, book keeping, VA services, translation services, web design, blogging, graphic design, PPC, marketing. SEO, social media management, digital engagement and E commerce, financial advice, coaching, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, chiropodists, osteopaths,chiropractics, therapists, counsellors etc etc etc

            You need to get yourself into the 21st century Bazman

          2. Edward2
            March 14, 2015

            You have no idea what you are talking about Baz.
            Just exposing your pre conceived ideas without any evidence.
            packing nails for pennies…lol

        2. acorn
          March 15, 2015

          Average median income from self-employment fallen by 22% since 2008/09 In 2012/13 the average median income from self-employment was ÂŁ207 per week, according to the Family Resource Survey, a fall of 22% (after taking into account inflation) since 2008/09.

          Productivity and self-employment. In the first quarter of 2014, Greece had the highest self-employment rate in the European Union at 32.0%, followed by Italy at 23.6% and Romania at 20.4%. The self-employment rate expresses the proportion of people in work that are self-employed. Greece’s high rate of self-employment is a product of its large agricultural sector and the effects of tourism.

          The average self-employment rate within the EU for 2014 was 15.2%, slightly higher than the rate for the UK. The EU countries with the lowest rate of self-employment in 2014 were Luxembourg at 8.1%, Denmark at 9.0% and Estonia at 9.4%.

          Across the European Union the UK has had the third largest percentage rise in self-employment since 2009 Comparing January-March 2014 with the same period in 2009, self-employment increased by around 19% in the UK, equivalent to around 720,000 people. This percentage increase was the third highest in the EU, behind Slovenia (23%) and Estonia (20%), although these countries are relatively small in comparison.

          Source: ONS “Self-employed workers in the UK – 2014.” (20 August 2014).

          1. A different Simon
            March 15, 2015

            As a self employed database designer , my income is 8% lower than in 2006 .

            I desperately need to raise my rates but my customers are overseas so I can’t because of the strong pound .

            There needs to be a severe land price house price crash in the U.K. to make accommodation affordable at wages which are internationally competitive .

            There is no scope to increasing wages in the U.K. despite what losers like Cameron and the others have to say about Britain deserving a pay rise .

          2. libertarian
            March 17, 2015


            Yes yes yes , i read ( and referenced that report too) How come you missed off the bit that says the average figure they quote is totally unreliable due to a number of factors. Why did you leave that out Acorn? Of course anyone who knows about starting a business will no that in the first year at least there is no income. Which is why 360,000 people are self employed yet also have a full time job which isn’t reflected in the figures.

            You also left off the other salient point from that report Acorn which is that a significant number of self employed people CHOOSE to only work 8 hours or less per week, I think that might also have an effect on the average pay don’t you? Why did you leave that bit out Acorn?

          3. libertarian
            March 17, 2015

            A different Simon

            Your statistic is 1) totally meaningless, you earn 8% less than 2006, so what I earned 3% less than 2007 ( I had a really good year in 2007) 2) First you tell us its due to strenghth of pound and your clients are overseas THEN you tell us you cant earn more in UK.

            Hey try the US market average salary for database designer there is $86k ( http://www.simplyhired.com/salaries-k-freelance-database-design-jobs.html )

            Assuming you have kept your skills up to date the average daily rate in the UK is ÂŁ600 per day


    2. Bazman
      March 13, 2015

      Romantic dream world libtard no doubt to crowd of two trying to look like millions.
      The state grows ever more important not less providing infrastructure, finance and security for its citizens to operate and compete in the modern world.
      Large corporations supported by the state, far be it from me to defend their methods, provide new technology, jobs and real wages for the populations they employ/use/exploit. Nobody is going to develop a new model of car, computer or medicine of any ground breaking technology as much of the basic discoveries and inventions have been made. Massive investment and boring expensive research is needed.
      Middle class hipster fantasies of wine/antique shops and clothes boutiques are all well and good, but will never create a Honda, Bill Gates, clean energy and food for all.
      Note how they are all Apple fans, but see no irony in this using the technology heavily to promote simple living.
      What you are in fact promoting is living like a Russian peasant for most of the population. A short brutal life of vegetables and subsistence living eased by vodka and telling us how great self employment like this is.
      You ave’ it.

      1. Libertarian
        March 14, 2015



        I guess you don’t know that Bill Gates developed MS DOS as a student drop out with just him in the original business.
        I for instance part own a pharmaceutical company. We have indeed helped pioneer a new medicine ( A novel NaV1.7 blocking peptide if you want to know), we are the only company in Northern Europe in the field. We have 4 employees.

        Bazman that post displays your total ignorance about the world of work and business. Jobs and Wozniak worked in a company of 2 people when they founded Apple. Branson, Dyson and every entrepreneur started as a solo business.

        1000’s of small manufacturing and engineering businesses have been started I can show you a dozen within 20 miles of where I live that have pioneered new projects. Blimey Bazman you live in Cambridge a hot bed of innovative , creative and inventive startup technology, medical and scientific companies.

        I’m not promoting simple living, far from it. I’m simply telling you what is actually happening. Millions of small businesses have started up in the last 20 years developing all kinds of products and technology. In fact they only run out of steam and finally collapse when they grow too big to innovate. SME’s are more dynamic, innovative and ready to risk than big stodgy bureaucracies full of box ticking middle managers and corporate jobsworths telling us computer say no.

        As I’ve already shown you with links to the data SME’s employ MORE people than big corporates who form a mere 0.7% of the businesses in the UK and irony of irony those 0.7% consist mostly of the Banks, Electric, Water , Gas and Oil business ALL of which YOU despise & rant about on a daily basis.

        I’m not promoting anything I’m reporting on what is actually happening.

        You on the other hand are hovering around the early 20th century wondering why you are failing at work without seeing whats going on around you.

      2. David Price
        March 15, 2015

        Bazoman, do you never run out of ignorant bluster and spin.

        99% of German employers are SMEs, 3.7 million small companies which provide 60% of the employment in Germany – the mittelstand. Hardly a dream world, more a model for an effective and flexible economy.

        As for where the technological advancements come from, the vast majority of online services today are founded on open source software with the major components having been developed by a relative handful of enthusiasts, engineers and academics not the big companies. The same is true for the explosion in desktop 3D printing and embedded electronics which did not involve massive investments in research or marketing. These show the direction of fabrication and development for the future, and they don’t involve large scale companies with armies of low skill workers.

        The key for the future employees will be education and flexibility, not the monotonous, unionised, statist mediocrity you demand.

        And if what Labour did to the Somerset levels is anything to go by along with their plans for farm taxes I suggest you learn to grow your own food if they get back in to power.

        1. acorn
          March 16, 2015

          Mittelstand flexible, they are exactly the opposite and that is what is slowly killing them. http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/11/14/us-germany-mittelstand-idUSBRE8AD0KV20121114

          1. libertarian
            March 17, 2015


            1) You clearly didn’t read the article correctly

            2) You don’t know anything about business

            3) Mittelstand are the powerhouse of German engineering and manufacturing

            4) The Mittelstand AREN”T dying off, they are growing in number.

            Blimey it never ceases to amaze me how blinkered socialists are to the world of business

        2. Bazman
          March 17, 2015

          Flexibility often just means low pay and zero hours for milllions in thsi country. It’s interesting to see how all these cutting edge small business survive and pay their mortgages,
          Many successful small companies as you say, but I think you protest to much.
          What about the average person who need employment in average work where do they fit into you fantasy.
          Striving in dead end jobs in short term rental accommodation and this is all there own fault for no inventing another Microsoft? Get real most of this what you are writing is another planet for the average Joe and the tone of you writing says dim. If I wanted to crate another Tesco could I? Don’t be silly and neither could anyone else. Absolute drivel and Mickey Mouse thinking.

  25. Matt
    March 13, 2015

    I’m a natural conservative. My opinions on economics, social policy and other key issues are well aligned with the traditional position of the conservative party.
    My problem is that I am so desperate to preserve democracy and escape the control of the emerging EU superstate that I am seriously considering voting for UKIP.
    UKIP seems to me to be dominated by people who see these things the way that our host does and the way that I do. The conservative party is not, or at least does not appear to be, which is effectively the same thing as politicians are expected to act according to how they present themselves and not according to how they truly feel.
    What’s worse? Risking a fully euro-phile government by splitting the euro-sceptic vote and voting UKIP, or settling for a semi-euro-sceptic government by voting Conservative (whilst still living with the risk of a Labour lead government anyway).
    I honestly don’t know what is pragmatically the best option. And when there is no clear pragmatically favoured option, I’m likely to vote idealistically for somebody who openly states views on Europe in line with mine. At least then I’m communicating to our politicians that these are my emphatic views and they continue to ignore them at their professional peril.
    Much will come down to the publicly stated position and character of the UKIP and Conservative candidates in my constituency as I’m a firm believer that we vote first and foremost for a representative and not a party.

  26. Denis Cooper
    March 13, 2015

    JR, for a number of years I offered comments on the ConservativeHome website, many of which I thought might even be seen as possibly helpful suggestions.

    From time to time I was told off for over-stepping the mark in various ways, but the last straw came when I persisted in asking what seemed to me to be a simple but essential question: these people who were lined up as potential Tory parliamentary candidates for this or that constituency, were any of them actually committed to the sovereignty of the Parliament to which they aspired?

    Which pertinent question was either dismissed as irrelevant, or led to annoyed and often rude responses from Tory party members.

    However is it not a question which should be asked about new Tory candidates, when it is clear that very few of the existing Tory MPs have any sincere belief in Parliamentary sovereignty?

    If they were genuinely committed to our national democracy and determined to defend the legal supremacy of our Parliament against attack through the EU treaties, they would not allow themselves to be persuaded/bullied into voting against it, would they?


    “Affirming the Sovereignty of the UK Parliament, 11 Jan 2011

    During the debate on the Government’s EU Bill a motion was moved to reaffirm the sovereignty of the United Kingdom Parliament in relation to EU law. This motion was opposed by the Government which has kept the supremacy of EU law over those laws made by our own democratic institutions.”

    How the 305 Tory MPs reacted:

    Aye 27
    No 256
    Abstained 22

    How can anybody deny that those leading the Tory party are eurofederalists – that is to say, they support the creation of a pan-European federation in which the UK would be legally subordinated in the same way that the states are legally subordinated within the federal United States of America, and the states are legally subordinated within the federal Commonwealth of Australia, and so on – when they order Tory MPs to vote for the primacy of proto-federal EU law over our national law?

    1. Mondeo Man
      March 13, 2015

      Thank you Denis.

      And this is why we must not vote Tory for fear of giving unwitting support and mandate to this project. We were duped into doing so in 2010.

      We are now being told that we must vote Tory to keep Miliband out – to save the economic recovery (whatever basis that has !)

      Voting tactically is what has brought us single party Governance (LibLabCon)

      If we want real change then you have to change our habits and step out of our comfort zones.

    2. A different Simon
      March 13, 2015

      Dennis Cooper ,

      Whilst 84% made no secret of their Europhilia , 27 MP’s had the courage to commit career suicide .

      How long before people expressing anti-EU sentiment are arrested as terrorists ?

      Human rights won’t apply to them . The best that can be hoped is that their families are aware of their whereabouts and that they are charged and tried – even though it won’t be a jury trial .

  27. David Price
    March 13, 2015

    Good speech.

    The world is changing quickly and the EU is still in the doldrums while the so-called progressives are miring us in ludicrous energy, immigration and foreign policies. We have to minimise the extent of control on our affairs by the EU and anything which facilitates that direction isn’t wasted.

    Interesting announcement regarding the Chinese development bank, US officials don’t like it which makes things more interesting still.

    1. bluedog
      March 13, 2015

      The US is quite right to oppose the Chinese creation of an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and to condemn British membership of this bank.

      The AIIB competes with and subverts the US created Asian Development Bank that is managed by Japan. Given the behaviour of China in ignoring the conventions of the law of the sea in the South China Sea, it is hard to envisage the AIIB as anything other than a soft-power tool of an aggressively expansionist Chinese state. By backing the AIIB the UK is also delivering a snub to Japan, currently a democracy based on the rule of law. Any Chinese sponsored entity is most unlikely to promote democratic government and the rule of law, both of which are anathema to China.

      Only the terminally naĂŻve will see China as benign. But then the Cameron government also judges that making London a centre of Islamic finance will be without problems, and apparently still supports the EU.

      1. David Price
        March 14, 2015

        “Interesting” doesn’t always mean good, there is a supposed Chinese curse – “may you live in interesting times”..

        But as to the rule of law, do you think the US observed the conventions when they invaded Greneda? Our interests may be very often mutual but not necessarily always and it would be naive to view the US government as consistently benign, even to its friends. That said I don’t think there is anything subtle or smart about this latest adventure by the government.

  28. lojolondon
    March 13, 2015

    Great speach, John. I always admire your ability to speak to rationally where I get really angry about our country being stolen by these Eurocrats. I believe your reply above to be the answer in a nutshell, “Then we should vote for Out”.
    Unfortunately, the LibLabCon, ably supported by the BBC and the rest of the MSM are so committed to the EU that they will delay and frustrate the people’s attempts to regain our democracy. None of the major parties stands for British democracy. Bleak days.

  29. Denis Cooper
    March 13, 2015

    Meanwhile …


    “David Cameron has told The Financial Times that if the Conservatives win the general election the Chancellor George Osborne will lead his promised EU renegotiation. The Prime Minister added that, although George Osborne is “very committed” to the negotiation: “There are three key batsmen in this innings and they are the prime minister, chancellor and foreign secretary.”

    Asked about EU treaty change, Cameron suggested that while his legal advice was that treaty changes were needed he claimed “legal advice in the European Union is a strange beast” and was often surprisingly flexible. The Prime Minister concluded that “I think this is the moment Britain stops sleepwalking towards the exit.””

  30. Denis Cooper
    March 13, 2015

    Also meanwhile, Tory MEPs push for the EU to move into monitoring the movements of air passengers:


    “The most urgent tool we need to adopt is an EU-wide Passenger Name Record (PNR) system … That is why Conservative MEP Timothy Kirkhope is leading proposals through the European Parliament to deliver an EU-wide PNR agreement … “

  31. Martyn G
    March 13, 2015

    John, breaking news so far as I can see very pertinent to your excellent speech: Germany is bracing itself for a period of chaos and instability amid claims Greece will exit from the euro. In a TV interview on Thursday evening Finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble said he is resigned to the possibility of a Greek exit from the calamitous euro experiment. He was asked if he could envisage it and he replied “‘Yes, because the responsibility, the ability to decide what happens, resides with the Greeks, and because we do not know what the leaders intend to do in Greece, we cannot exclude it”.
    Might it be that reality is entering the Germany take on the EU equation?

  32. Mondeo Man
    March 13, 2015

    History shows that if we’ve reached the point where we’re ‘debating’ Parliamentary sovereignty then it’s already time for war.

    It’s rather like Daddy Bear debating with Goldilocks as to her right to be eating his porridge – by the time the debate has ended it’s all gone.

    And so our country is salami sliced away while the ‘debate’ (in fact a stalling tactic with no end other than in the EU’s favour) goes on.

    We’re finished, John. As an independent nation – as an identifiable people. Time to give up. And please change the Conservative Party’s name. It has entirely different aims to the party I used to vote for.

  33. Kenneth R Moore
    March 14, 2015

    Excellent piece of oratory – I congratulate Dr Redwood for the clarity of his argument.
    I agree with every word – we have given away our right to self determination ..rights and freedoms that have been taken for granted for generations.

    It was depressing to see his colleauges on the government benches barely in double figures to witness this important speach.
    What had they to do that was more important than debating the future of our parliamentary democracy ?.

  34. Kenneth R Moore
    March 14, 2015

    Excellent piece of oratory – I congratulate Dr Redwood for the power and clarity of his argument.
    I agree with every word – our elected leaders have given away our right to self determination ..rights and freedoms that have been taken for granted for generations.
    Nobody asked our permission – it was done by stealth which makes it all the more wicked in my view.

    It was depressing to see his colleauges on the government benches barely in double figures to witness this important speach.
    What had they to do that was more important than debating the future of our parliamentary democracy ?.

  35. Richard
    March 14, 2015

    An excellent speech Mr. Redwood.

    But unfortunately few Parliamentarians are listening and almost all are Europhiles anyway and unworried by our loss of sovereignty.

    If the 50% or so of the electorate who wish to leave the EU continue to vote for the Con/Lab/Lib/Green parties then we will never have a referendum let alone the chance of leaving the EU.

    This 50% of the electorate needs to learn its lesson from the Scottish voters and start voting for a party or parties whose aim is to leave the EU.

    Until then, the Con/Lib/Lab/Green parties will, quite rightly, take the view that the electorate is also unworried by our loss of sovereignty.

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