Dealing with a German led EU


In the run up to the Euro I was invited to various meetings and even dinners with senior Germans. They thought that if they explained to me the inevitability of the Euro and the alleged joys of more European integration I would see their point and change my mind. These events always started very amicably, with my hosts praising part of the UK’s democratic traditions and past and even finding good things in what I had said and written. As the meetings wore on the Germans usually switched to empty threats and silly menaces, claiming the UK would lose all inward investment, would become poorer, would be sidelined and ignored if we dared to stay out of the Euro. The more I heard the German case, the more threadbare it seemed. They dreamed of a Euro that allowed them to trade in a devalued currency, whilst not accepting the need to send transfer payments to the parts of the zone that were going to lose out and experience high unemployment.Time passed, and events did not turn out as the Germans forecast.

In the run up to the UK referendum I once again find myself in discussion with senior Germans, though not over dinner this time. During the course of a short interview or other public exchanges again the German position vacillates weakly between charm and threat, between reassurance and empty menace. Our trade is not at risk, as the German government has made clear. Whatever happens in the referendum the UK is not about to take her trade deficit somewhere else. We will carry on buying German cars and machinery. In  return Germany will carry on buying about half as much from us as we buy from them, on current or similar terms, because it makes sense for her to do so. It is odd to go round threatening the customers with interruption to supply when you have plenty to sell. The German government is wise to take a more sensible pragmatic view of the UK’s wish to have a different relationship, not joining in the political union and is sensible in saying they want a trade agreement if all else fails.

The EU was for many years led by Germany and France acting together , as equal partners. I had this explained to me by a former French Minister one day when having lunch with her prior to an EU Council. Their two domestic governments have a habit of close working, their politicians meet or discuss the upcoming council agendas prior to the meetings, and there is a common Franco German plan on many matters. This relationship has been weakened by the arrival of Mr Hollande, who is now the junior partner to Germany, with less good co-operation at the top, though the two governments still remain closely linked at all other levels.

It was always difficult to see how the UK could have influence or shape the Union even before the Euro. Our view of a trade agreement, with political co-operation on a limited range of issues where all sides wanted it, was always being undermined by a massive legislative programme,  and by progressive removal of powers from national democracies by treaty change and by new laws. It got a whole lot more extreme when most of the others joined the currency union.

As the Euro is now driving much of the need to integrate government further, it is difficult to see that the UK can pretend to be a full member of the EU any more. Of course we were right to keep our currency. We are now right to demand other parts of our democracy back that have  been surrendered, as they are not necessary  to protect our trade. Of course the Euro now creates the need for a political union. Every currency needs a country to love it, and taxpayers and a government to back it. The UK is correctly not in the Euro, so it should not be part of these arrangements for much closer union.

It is difficult to see why the UK should have to pay a bigger contribution to the EU because our economy is growing faster than Euroland. The EU penalises success, when we wish to reward it.

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  1. Lifelogic
    Posted May 30, 2015 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    Indeed but Cameron is not even trying to negotiation anything at all of substance. He has, it seems, already thrown in the towel and decided to campaign to stay in. Thus giving away his best card in the negotiation. He clearly thinks he can win a referendum using a few worthless fig leafs and tend to think he will alas.

    He will clearly have the biassed BBC propaganda unit in full flow and Lib/Lab/most of con/SNP/CBI & most of the state sector behind it.

    • brian
      Posted May 30, 2015 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      To make loud threats to leave the EU is no way to get others to talk rationally to you. Cameron would like us to stay in the EU, but in a reformed EU. See what happens from the negotiations. If we are refused some changes I see Cameron recommending Brexit.

      • Richard1
        Posted May 30, 2015 at 10:53 am | Permalink

        Let’s hope this is right, I suspect it could be. It would not be rational for Mr Cameron to loudly proclaim extensive and difficult to deliver demands. Better would be to make them quietly in private. What is interesting is some prominent self proclaimed EU federalists such as Guy Verholfstadt and Jacques Delors have suggested some sort of associate membership for the UK, based on single market access only, without the federalist political measures, due to the UK not being in the EU. If this could be delivered it would have over-whelming public support in the UK.

        • Richard1
          Posted May 30, 2015 at 10:54 am | Permalink

          I meant due to the UK not being in the euro

      • Brian Tomkinson
        Posted May 30, 2015 at 11:22 am | Permalink

        Where did you buy those rose tinted glasses?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 30, 2015 at 11:49 am | Permalink

        Nobody in the UK government is making “loud” threats to leave the EU, and nor should they: it should simply be made perfectly clear, in a calm and rational manner, that this is the alternative that the UK government is seriously considering. But of course it isn’t, and Cameron’s interlocutors elsewhere in the EU know that it isn’t; they know that he has been pushed into this position by domestic political forces, very much against his will and that of all or almost all of the members of his government, and their role as his counterparties in negotiations is to assist him in defeating the domestic opponents of the UK’s membership of the EU. And unlike you I cannot see Cameron ever recommending that we vote to leave.

        • Richard1
          Posted May 30, 2015 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

          Well if he comes back with as bad a deal as you and others expect no doubt you will find it easy to persuade a majority to vote for out.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted May 30, 2015 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

            Sure, it’ll be a piece of cake persuading people to disbelieve what they are reading and seeing in almost all of the mass media, and to ignore what almost all of the politicians are saying, and the CBI, and the TUC, and almost all of “civil society”, even including the churches …

          • Richard1
            Posted May 30, 2015 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

            Feeble reply Dennis Cooper. You should have the courage of your convictions. There is perhaps 2 1/2 years til the referendum – plenty of time to put the arguments across. The truth will out. If Cameron comes back with a bad deal the Outs will win. If the Ins win it means there is a majority for EU membership on the terms then on offer.

          • matthu
            Posted May 31, 2015 at 8:50 am | Permalink

            Cameron’s strategy may be to rush a referendum if he comes back with a negotiated settlement which may otherwise be shown to be unsubstantial if the lead-up to the refe3rendum were longer.

            Or he may simply refuse to engage or debate. (He has form, after all.)

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted May 31, 2015 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

            A sarcastic but realistic reply, Richard1, based upon some years of experience of trying to get accurate information about the EU into the heads of the general public when they are constantly being misled by the mass media.

            It’s said that a lie can be halfway around the world before the truth has got its boots on, but in this case the lies have been going around the world for a long time and the truth is still debating which boots it should wear.

        • DaveM
          Posted May 30, 2015 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

          Doesn’t really matter what he recommends – people will make their own minds up.

        • fedupsoutherner
          Posted May 30, 2015 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

          Let’s face it, if Farage and UKIP hadn’t pushed the issue we wouldn’t be having a referendum now. We have a lot to thank UKIP for!!

          • Timaction
            Posted May 30, 2015 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

            Indeed. Mr Cameron’s very modest reforms are all a charade. We either want a self Governing sovereign Nation or we want to be part of a Country called Europe where we can’t elect or remove them. I know what I want for me and my family.
            So other than a few benefits changes what else does your leader and party want Mr Redwood? The propaganda is very telling. A British Prime Minister having to ask foreign leaders for modest change says it all.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 30, 2015 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        You see Cameron “recommending Brexit”! I will be totally amazed if he does. He is after all the man who appointed/accepted Lord Patten to chair the BBC trust after all, with entirely predictable results.

        Anyway nothing Cameron seeks comes even close to what is needed to want to stay.

        They are not “loud threats”.

        He just needs to state clearly that a restoration of real Westminster Democracy and Westminster control of our borders is the very minimum that is needed for him to recommend that the UK remains in.

        Cameron is currently letting them think a few changes in benefit rules for migrants is enough. Even that seem to be far too much for Poland and some other countries.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 30, 2015 at 11:59 am | Permalink

          He can already usefully cut benefits for all in the UK and should do so. This while decreasing tax and NI for the low paid. After all does he want people to work or does he prefer to encourage them not to work? Using workers money to do so?

    Posted May 30, 2015 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    I guess having Germany as a focal point in the NO/YES referendum in 2017 should concentrate minds, English ones anyway.

    I’ve had dinners in Germany with Germans too. Due to the service and quality we all decided going forward to settle on Indian, Chinese and even American restaurants.

    Nations and peoples never look the same on the ground compared to their TV and latent conceptual cultural image. Waiters, transport staff, shop assistants, building workers in Germany do not appear anywhere near as busy as here even in their main cities.
    It would be revealing if Time and Motion personnel as they used to be called stop-watched individual tiny movements of workers across Europe. I feel the results would lead to street demands for massive pay increases, here, sulking silence and shock from Germany and, angry denials by France

    Of course Germany and France are well-schooled in the weaknesses of their industry. Diplomatic to listen silently to their global economic plans. Though it is hard for German tourists to get a deckchair by the pool on holiday now. It is usually occupied by an Englander or his German girlfiend..

  3. alan jutson
    Posted May 30, 2015 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    Your Post today gets to the core of the problem John.

    If you run a currency union, then sensibly you must have synergy with all Countries that are within that union, otherwise chaos, advantage, or disadvantage is guaranteed.

    You need similar tax rates, similar taxes, similar labour/employment regulations, similar pension arrangements, similar benefit rules, similar budgets, similar financial guarantees for all parts of that union.

    In short you need to control the economy of all like one big State, with common rules, regulation and laws.

    Given that many other things then spin off from the above, like health and safety regulation, welfare, health, civil and criminal law, you really need to have complete integration.

    Given the above, if some members are not going to be in the same money club, commonness suggests they have less of a part to play, and thus we need have a two stage EU if they are to remain in the EU.
    Likewise commonness would also suggest that if those Countries do not take any part in the making of the rules, then those rules should not apply to those Countries.

    If the EU does not want a two stage/tier EU, then the only option open to present members is to join and integrate fully or leave.


    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 30, 2015 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      “if some members are not going to be in the same money club”

      Apart from the UK and Denmark ALL members are under a treaty obligation to join that money club at the earliest opportunity, and back in May 2010 when Merkel told Le Monde*:

      “Our goal must be that all EU member States join the euro one day”

      she made no exception for either the UK or Denmark.

      For the best part of six years the Tory party has been propagating the illusion that the EU will always comprise an “inner core” of eurozone countries and an “outer shell” with a similar number of EU member states which had decided not to join the euro, maintaining a studious silence about the fact that under the Maastricht Treaty as agreed by Major all the countries which subsequently joined the EU had to accept the legal obligation to join the euro under their treaties of accession.

      When the Tories started on that deception there were 15 EU member states in the “inner core” and 12 in the “outer shell”; since when Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have in turn dropped down into the “inner core”, while Croatia has been added to the “outer shell”, temporarily of course, so now there are 18 in the “inner core” and just 10 in the “outer shell”; eventually under EU law, if not the laws of physics, all but 2 of that 10 will have to succumb to gravity and drop down into the “inner core”, and the “outer shell” will become an increasingly lonely place, not improbably with the UK as its sole occupant.


      “Pour Mme Merkel, “notre objectif doit être que tous les pays deviennent un jour membres de la zone euro”.”

      • ian wragg
        Posted May 30, 2015 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        Dennis, I was in Croatia recently and neither they nor Poland are in any hurry to join the Euro.
        I do think some may legislate not to join and there is precious little Brussels can do about it.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted May 31, 2015 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

          Well, the EU is not in any hurry to get them into it, like Rome the eurozone cannot be built in a day. Under Article 240 TFEU the EU Commission will review their cases every two years, along with all the other “Member States with a derogation”, and sooner or later in each case it will come right that the country more or less satisfies the entry requirements, or at least is heading in that direction, and that happily coincides with a government which wishes to fulfil its treaty obligation to take it into the euro, and because it is a treaty obligation that government will have an impeccable excuse to avoid asking the people what they think about that in a referendum.

          That’s what happened in Estonia – the Estonians were told by their government “You’ve already had your referendum on this, when you voted to join the EU” – and when Polish politicians mooted holding a referendum to decide whether Poland should join the euro they were told by the EU Commission that it would be quite pointless, as Poland had already made that decision, and when the Czechs mooted holding a national referendum on whether to free themselves from that EU treaty obligation nobody elsewhere in the EU supported them, including our Prime Minister.

      • alan jutson
        Posted May 31, 2015 at 7:31 am | Permalink


        I agree that the Euro is the key here.

        Those who want to be part of the EU but not in the Euro, need to be reminded of the terms and aims you outline.

        All new members have to agree to join the Euro, others members not yet in the Euro, must move towards it.

        Once in the Euro, a National Government really does properly lose control over its own affairs.

  4. agricola
    Posted May 30, 2015 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    The weaknesses in the current EU and it’s direction are becoming clearer.

    I do not think that the German people realise that they will be the main bankers to most of the other economies within the Euro. They are not beyond having second thoughts on the matter.

    Equally the people of those failing economies under the Euro are unlikely to be prepared to remain in a permanent state of failure for the joy of following a path dictated to them by Brussels. Greece is currently at the tipping point and there are others not that far behind.

    As presently constructed the EU, and it’s glue the Euro, could well be a house of cards. If and when it falls apart, do we really wish to be a part of it. It’s potential for failure is far more dangerous to our trade with the EU, than remaining a trading partner, but outside the political web. We in the UK need to rapidly build our trade with the rest of the World in anticipation of a diminishing EU market place. We cannot do this while being a part of political EU, because we are subject to their trade agreements and not permitted to have our own.

  5. Douglas Carter
    Posted May 30, 2015 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    …’the Euro now creates [or ‘created’] the need for a political union. Every currency needs a country to love it… and a government to back it.’….

    The heart of the matter, and nonetheless bizarre.

    Today, the Europhiles might occasion that quoted comment with a casual, complacent dismissal…. ‘Hindsight is a wonderful thing….it’s easy to be wise after the event’….

    There was no shortage of people making that point loud and clear in plain language well before the formulation of the Single Currency, and relentlessly during its legislative creation and passage. Whilst Europhiles might dismiss the sentiment as wisdom after the event in our current era, it’s an odd phenomenon because they were unwilling to even acknowledge the point had been made prior to the existence of that single currency. I recall a BBC documentary hosted by Mr. Portillo roughly circa 1999 where he repeatedly made that point to Christine Lagarde in an interview where she accompanied him through the halls of the Élysée Palace. He repeatedly made that point – each and every time she simply stared at him without reply – without even acknowledging he’d made a point, let alone a valid one. It was a fascinating exercise in serene detachment from reality. Writ large since that was the practiced method other senior Euro enthusiasts utilised with similar well-founded questions.

    Even sadder that the UK electorate permitted their own Government to similarly display that negligent disregard. Like many of us out here in commentland John, you were saddled with the childish epithets of ‘little-Englander, racist, xenophobic anti-European’ for even daring to raise that proper, pertinent and simple point. I wonder if you have ever received an apology from those who delivered them?

    Rep[ly Indeed, I wrote 2 books in the 1990s explaining how a single currency required a single country.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 30, 2015 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      To reply: Indeed you did and good they were. But the EU and most of the Tory MP’s ignored you, Major forced Thatcher in to the ERM and many would have joined the EURO had they been able to. Many fake Tories still would. The result was the party was buried for 3+ terms.

      Can Cameron be forced to see reality this time before it is too late?

    • forthurst
      Posted May 30, 2015 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      I do not think Christine Legarde did not have an answer to Portillo’s point that a single currency would require a single country; simply, she was not prepared to give the answer to telly watching oi poloi, and, thereby, let the cat out of the bag.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 30, 2015 at 6:45 pm | Permalink


    • Andy
      Posted May 31, 2015 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you. Problem is the Euro is a dream, a grand delusion, which the EU Political class have invested in very heavily. I’ve watched this all go down in Greece and while it pains me to see what is happening to my Greek friends, I’m also reminded that this is a disaster that was foretold. The tragedy is that none would listen.

  6. Pete
    Posted May 30, 2015 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    If the UK economy is so great why is the government still running a massive deficit?
    Why do you claim we are doing well when our debt situation is, in some ways, worse than Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy?
    How much economic freedom will we have if we leave the EU yet join one of the US trade agreements that allow US corporations to override sovereign governments laws?
    How much political or economic freedom do we have in either case when our leaders are so obedient to Washington?

    Reply Normal people would far rather live in the UK with plenty of jobs on offer and economic gr9wth, than in Greece or Spain with mass unemployment. We would not as an independent country have to join any trade arrangement we did not like.

    • matthu
      Posted May 30, 2015 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      ” We would not as an independent country have to join any trade arrangement we did not like. ”

      Really? We signed the Lisbon treaty despite that not having popular assent. The TTIP will be agreed to regardless of what the people think. In fact we have already given up our independence without any regard to the wishes of the people.

      Reply I was talking about the UK as an independent country, not as a member of the EU

      • matthu
        Posted May 31, 2015 at 8:52 am | Permalink

        I was also talking about the UK as an independent country.

        We WERE an independent country before giving everything away with no regard to what the people actually wanted. So if we can do it once, we can do it again.

    • petermartin2001
      Posted May 30, 2015 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      The govenment is running a sensible deficit. The UK government is a currency issuer. If it isn’t in deficit it isn’t issuing anything.
      The government’s deficit is not analagous to a company’s profit!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 30, 2015 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        About £4,000 per household PA, is that “running a sensible deficit”?

        Especially when wasted on complete & often even counter productive nonsense. Things like HS2, grants for wind farms, pointless wars, augmenting the feckless, endless over regulation, CAP, the EU, poorly targeted overseas aid, daft government propaganda ……..

        • The PrangWizard
          Posted May 30, 2015 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

          The issue about the deficit is whether it is under control or not and the position on it has changed for the better in the last few years. We are able to manage it now. Although it is a long road, and it must be controlled this should not to such an extent that it stifles economic growth and makes people miserable. I know also the debt is seemingly enormous too but we must not allow the deficit or the debt overwhelm our thinking.

        • fedupsoutherner
          Posted May 30, 2015 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

          Yes, and let’s not forget the continuation of subsidies for inferior wind energy all paid for by everyone on their energy bills but with the ‘community benefit’ all going to various towns and local projects in SCOTLAND!!

        • petermartin2001
          Posted May 30, 2015 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

          A sensible deficit is what it takes to keep the domestic economy in equilibrium. If the trade imbalance is 5% pa that means the budget deficit needs to be 5% pa too. This is just to keep the domestic economy from neither losing nor gaining money.

          Just what the government spends its money on is a political issue and of course its better for society if that money is well spent rather than poorly spent. There is really no need to pay anyone to dig holes and fill them in again to keep the economy moving!

          However, macroeconomic principles still apply, regardless. It is just not possible for the government to collect back in taxes all the money that it issues when that money leaves the country to pay our net import bill.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 30, 2015 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

            Still ignoring the private sector in your theory as usual.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted May 31, 2015 at 4:51 am | Permalink

            It is perfectly possible for them to stop wasting the vast sums of money they endlessly waste. Also to fire the vast number of people they have doing nothing of any use, or worse still causing harm and inconvenience for the productive.

            The bloated state is one of the main reasons for the poor UK’s productivity.

          • petermartin2001
            Posted June 2, 2015 at 10:21 am | Permalink


            No I’m not ignoring the Private Sector. Its the same things as the Domestic economy in my previous comment. If the domestic economy loses £10 billion to pay for net imports, and the government runs a £10 billion deficit then the amount of money stays the same. If it runs an £11 billion deficit the Private sector is £1 billion better off. If a £9 billion deficit then it is £1 billion worse off.

            That’s not so difficult to understand, surely?

            Reply The private sector may be growing, so can be better off when running a b of p deficit.

          • petermartin2001
            Posted June 2, 2015 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

            I don’t believe there is any evidence to suggest the private sector can grow sustainably when it’s in deficit. Just the opposite in fact. In can happen temporarily when there is a credit boom in progress but we all know what happens afterwards when debt builds up in the private sector.

            If the powers-that-be in the government really wish to reduce the govts deficit then it seems the most basic of economic accounting, just arithmetic really, that they should work on the current account deficit too. The trade figures used to be in the news at one time. They could have cost the Labour Party the 1970 election. Not now though. Why is that? If they were important then, they are just as important now.

            If we tried really hard we could have an export surplus. Like Germany, Denmark or Switzerland. They don’t have budget deficits which ties in with simple arithmentic. An we wouldn’t either!

            Do you think George Osborne is aware of all this? If so, why has he so little to say on the trade deficit?

            Reply Germany’s balance of payments surplus is around 8% of GDP, whilst her state budget is in balance, so the arithmetic is not as simple as you think.

          • petermartin2001
            Posted June 3, 2015 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

            Germans are prodigious savers. So their savings, by individuals and companies, almost exactly offsets the money entering their economy from their net exports.

            So their govt budget almost exactly balances.

  7. Alan Wheatley
    Posted May 30, 2015 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    “They dreamed of a Euro that allowed them to trade in a devalues currency, whilst not accepting the need to send transfer payments to the parts of the zone that were going to lose out and experience high unemployment.”

    Such a telling sentence.

    In the aftermath of WW2 the Founding Fathers of the EU dreamed of an arrangement that would prevent the rise of Germany, and in reality they handed it to them a plate.

    Many mainland european countries have had very troubled political and economic histories over many decades, so to them the EU can seem an attractive proposition. The UK has a very different history and does not need, and never has needed, what the EU offers.

    The fundamental problem for the EU is that it is not a democracy. I have thought for a long time it will all end in tears; when and how is not foreseen.

    • bluedog
      Posted May 30, 2015 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      ‘In the aftermath of WW2 the Founding Fathers of the EU dreamed of an arrangement that would prevent the rise of Germany, and in reality they handed it to them a plate.’

      You forget that when the Treaty of Rome was signed the Germanic power was called West Germany, a Rhenish state of limited extent. The collapse of the Soviet Union was simply beyond imagining and the French were confident they could dominate the German state. Times change.

      Now that the German capital is once again the old Brandenburg-Prussian capital of Berlin, it pays to note how close Berlin is to the current border with Poland. And Kanzellerin Merkel herself is partly of Polish descent too. Who knows where this will lead now that the Russians have shown that the borders of Europe are fluid if one takes the right steps.

  8. A different Simon
    Posted May 30, 2015 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    How much longer can the EU hierarchy disguise the need for France and all the other countries to become part of a United States of Europe ?

    The devalued currency and lack of transfer to poorer regions don’t only supercharge German industry .

    They help perpetuate the feeling in Germany that they really are something special and superior to other Europeans .

    German ambitions will eventually outgrow Europe .

    John , in a future diary entry could you try to get to the bottom of the rationale behind the pro-EU case promoted by British politicians like the Lib Dems , most of Labour and the Conservative leadership ?

    Reply Is there a rationale? Lib/Labs indulge in a foolish group think that just parrots obvious lies like 3m jobs at risk, deny how much power they gave away in successive treaties, and even try to stop us negotiating any improvement!

    • A different Simon
      Posted May 30, 2015 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      Apologies , I forgot to say PLEASE !

      Better go and get another cup of tea .

    • A different Simon
      Posted May 30, 2015 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      Quote “Is there a rationale?”

      I was hoping you could see one because I can’t .

      “Parroting of Group Think” is a good description for Labour’s position .

      They seem to prefer the dogma to be decided by “experts” to using their own brains to decide for themselves .

      Perhaps also there is a misguided notion that in order to be Internationalists they must not favour the people they are supposed to be representing over foreign nationals ?

      None of them can say “British Jobs for British Workers” .

      I was watching Michael Cockerell’s “How Britain fell for Europe” (produced 4th June 2005) .

      This gives an excellent insight into the dishonesty of the campaign in the Common Market referendum , especially to people too young to remember it .

      I urge everyone to watch it .

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 31, 2015 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for that link.

  9. Hope
    Posted May 30, 2015 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Daniel Hannan writes a powerful case against begin in the EU. Trade and friendship like Swizerland- who trade 4 1/2 times more with the EU from outside than the UK within it.

    He also makes a good point that effectively Cameron is negotiating nothing and will be successful in achieving his aim. Most of his aims can be realised by legislation in the UK. Merkel has made it clear on so many occasions that political union will mean independent nations will need to cede power to the EU. The choice is clear do we wish to be an independent nation trading as friends wi the EU or do we want to be a region of the EU superstate where general elections are meaningless, as we have no way of voting out the EU bureaucrats.
    JR, a point made by Hannan for you to consider is that the question has inserted the loaded verb remain rather than the neutral verb be into he he question. It was not there previously. Perhaps an amendment for you to table.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 30, 2015 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      What would be wrong with a simple and straightforward:

      “Should the United Kingdom leave the European Union?”

      That makes it obvious that the UK is at present in the EU, for those who are still unclear about that, and the question is whether to change that by leaving; and rather than having the bias towards “Yes” and the bias towards the status quo working together they would tend to counter each other.

      It has been pointed out that in every referendum held in the UK so far those who were in favour of change were invited to vote “Yes” to it while those opposed were told to vote “No” to it, and that it is unprecedented to hold a referendum in which those opposed to change were invited to vote “Yes” – with just a single exception, which was Wilson’s 1975 referendum, when the question was “Do you think the UK should stay in the European Community (Common Market)?”.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 30, 2015 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

        The YES answer bias is quite large, Cameron is clearly intending to take full advantage of it.

        • Hope
          Posted May 31, 2015 at 8:46 am | Permalink

          Denis, most people do not like change or find there might be some risk attached. Therefore to use the verb remain is loaded to feel safe and keep the status quo. I do not disagree with you. The question is loaded in favour of staying in. I think JR and his ilk ought to be making noises now about the question. Perhaps we could have: if Cameron fails to make substantive repatriation of governance to the UK, as expected, should we leave the EU.

          This is all a damp squib. It is either in or out. There cannot be any substantive reform to the EU, as its goal is to become a superstate and the UK a region of it.

  10. Atlas
    Posted May 30, 2015 at 8:16 am | Permalink


    For years I have seen the EU as a form of Franco-German Empire which has achieved what Napoleon and the Kaiser, followed by Hitler, could only dream of.

    British Foreign Policy used to be to try to prevent too much concentration of power in Europe for the good of both the UK as well as smaller countries like Holland. The chaps in the FO have their work cut-out for them with the trajectory of the EU.

    • agricola
      Posted May 30, 2015 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      I do not believe that in their hearts the people 0f Germany have any aspiration to create the sort of Europe that the people you cite had in mind in their day. I can however see them being pushed into a situation where they note that they are paying the bill and consequently, if reluctantly, feel that they need a strong say in the direction it is taking.

      British foreign policy was frequently divide and conquer. Now we seem fearful of our independence. Why those in the Westminster bubble feel the need of the EU umbilical I will never understand. By opting for a trade only relationship while retrieving our sovereignty might give support to the democratic traits that still exist among European people.

      • Andy
        Posted May 31, 2015 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think Atlas is suggesting that we will see German Troops goose-stepping down the Unter den Linden and down through Syntagma Square in Athens. Economics and the Euro are giving the Germans what they once dreamt of but without the tanks. The trouble is this has engendered a hate and loathing of Germany in parts of Europe which is quite frightening.

        British (English) foreign policy in Europe was always to be the balancing power – to build a coalition of allies to balance the strongest power in Europe, which was sometimes Spain, France and latterly Germany. I don’t think much has changed.

    • Mitchel
      Posted May 30, 2015 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      So True!…and the only state that we could ally with to counterbalance the European behemoth,Russia, we choose to make an enemy of.Not that,being dependent on the financial markets that the Americans effectively control, we would be allowed to ally with Russia.

      …and isn’t being pro-EU a condition of employment in the FO as in most other parts of the Civil Service at senior level….and isn’t that a large part of our problem?

  11. fedupsoutherner
    Posted May 30, 2015 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    John, a fascinating and interesting insight into the workings of the Euroland. I just wish this kind of message was allowed to be brought into the wider public domain because all the institutions who favour staying in will not allow it. The BBC will be the main culprit. When reading this I wonder how the hell any of our leaders could advocate staying in. Yet we find they ALL think it’s beneficial to the UK!! I wonder, with your knowledge, how you sleep at night. When are we going to be able to hear these points on the TV or read them in the newspapers? This country has been held back for far too long and if we allow France and Germany more powers over us then we are finished as a nation. I fear for the future of my children. We need more people like yourself to hammer the message home. Our motorways are dominated by German cars and this becomes more obvious the further South in the UK you travel. Everything has been done for the betterment of France and Germany and as you say, the UK will have to pay more for the fact that we have knuckled under and got our economy going once more. Disgraceful!!

  12. ferdinand
    Posted May 30, 2015 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Why is it then that when talking with friends and explaining to them, but with less skill, the difference between the commercial and the political aspects of the dilemma, that almost all respond that we need to be part of the EU ? They seem to cast aside all logic and appear to treat our membership as an emotional exercise. These are intelligent ? people yet they seem unable, indeed unwilling, to grasp the detail. It must be even more frustrating for you speaking with MPs with the power to broadcast the facts..

    • A different Simon
      Posted May 31, 2015 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      The British middle class is :-
      – the opposite of entrepreneurial ; would rather their kids got a “good job” in a big company than founded their own . Much less entrepreneurial than the working class .
      – notoriously risk averse .

      I think this probably comes historically from having jobs in protected professions with defined benefit pensions .

      Getting people who are institutionalised to be bold and breaking free of the Brussels womb to make a go of it themselves is a big ask .

      They may be intelligent but they have never grown up because they have never learned to take risks .

  13. David Williams
    Posted May 30, 2015 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    The UK will thrive as a tax haven outside the EU.

    • A different Simon
      Posted May 30, 2015 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      I think we’ve got a lot more to offer than beggar thy neighbour tactics .

  14. Bill
    Posted May 30, 2015 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    I have never understood how the Common Market was transformed into the European Union. Was it known by Edward Heath that this transformation was intended from the beginning, and did he ignore it? Or did the transformation occur because powerful Commissioners like Jacques Delors managed to persuade politicians of a new Napoleonic vision?

    I can understand that some sort of ‘glue’ was needed to ensure that enlargement of the European entity did not result in a ramshackle organisation but was a new currency and political machinery really necessary?

    I would have thought that the trade functions of the EU are quite separate from the social functions. We could surely trade without the need to provide mutual tax and social benefits?

    Reply The journey to union was spelled out in the original Treaty of Rome, and was openly supported by Heath. That was why I fought on the Out side in the 1975 referendum as a young businessman.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 30, 2015 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      Even earlier, it was only necessary to read the 1950 Schuman Declaration to see the end goal spelled out:

      “The pooling of coal and steel production should immediately provide for the setting up of common foundations for economic development as a first step in the federation of Europe”

      “By pooling basic production and by instituting a new High Authority, whose decisions will bind France, Germany and other member countries, this proposal will lead to the realization of the first concrete foundation of a European federation indispensable to the preservation of peace.”

      Our political leaders must have been aware of this plan, it was not a secret.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted May 30, 2015 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply,
      Quite correct but most people were deliberately deceived into thinking they were just voting for a common market. Politicians and others acted mendaciously then and they are and will continue to do just the same again.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 30, 2015 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      Heath certainly knew it was an embryo state an undemocratic EUSSR in the making, though he made huge efforts to hide this and thus deceive the voters.

      Enoch Powell and many others on the NO side make this quite clear to anyone listening at the time.

    • Hope
      Posted May 30, 2015 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      Heath like many others were no truthful with the public, who did not and do not read the material themselves trusting politicians to be honest in what they say. Many would not have the intellect to read and understand the language. Hence the need for radical reform of standards at Westminster with draconian punishments for MPs who fail to meet those standards. They are in a position of trust to the public.

      If Cameron got to the root of raising standards at Westminster, like he promised, then perhaps we should be able to believe what MPs say. Right to recall from the public, not politicians, required together with proper punishments and a presumption to investigate/convict any suspected wrong doing.

      I read and listen to what the MSM say about FIFA and Blatter, but wonder why the PM of the day or Westminster thinks it might be any different after all the scandals?

      • Bill
        Posted May 30, 2015 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

        I have just looked at Heath’s autobiography ‘The Course of My Life’ and note on page 391 of the paperback edition that he writes ‘I called for a clear timetable for economic and monetary union’. Like a lot of people who voted in favour of our entry to the Common Market in 1975, I thought it was all about trade and prosperity not about political union. You were ahead of the rest of us, JR, in your response.

  15. bluedog
    Posted May 30, 2015 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    An update on the Anglo-Saxon plot to destroy the EU, Dr JR.

    The US strategic forecaster Stratfor predicts that the EU will dissolve if Cameron is successful in redrawing the Lisbon Treaty for the UK. Stratfor makes the point that since the French and Dutch referendums were over-ruled in 2008 there has been an increasing rise in nationalism within EU members, exacerbated by the economic recession. It increasingly appears that the plan of a supra-national state being formalised through ever-closer union has been implicitly rejected. If the UK asserts its sovereignty through treaty renegotiation, there will be many imitators, leading to irresistible centrifugal forces given the underlying tensions created by the EMU.

    Importantly the demise of the EU will highlight the inherent weakness of the German economy. Given that 50% of Germany’s GDP is dependent on exports, many of them to Southern European members of the EU, fragmentation of the EU will deprive Germany of its captive market. In addition, as Germany is the largest creditor state of the EU and the Southern Europeans are the largest debtors, collapse of the EU will leave the Southern Europeans with no incentive to honour their debts. In fact they will almost certainly default, impoverishing Germany. Indeed, it is hard to see how Germany can retain its position as the fourth largest economy in the world once the EU folds.

    Your correspondent suggest that these points are gently and firmly pressed the next time an attempt is made to intimidate you. It is always a particular pleasure to lead one’s tormentors along a path which leads them to confront their own weaknesses.

  16. Bert Young
    Posted May 30, 2015 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    I repeat the comments I made yesterday ( not yet published ) . Germany is fearful of our exit much more so than ever before . The trade imbalance with them speaks for itself , but , if we leave , the voice and presence that the EU has had in the past , will be seriously weakened . The link between Germany and France has also changed during the last few years with Hollande at the helm ; the rise of the anti EU sentiment across the whole of Southern Europe is more of a feature now and puts an increasing pressure on Germany to look to itself and rally where it can .

    Germany will support reform of the EU because without there is no future for it . Whether it will occur within the time frame DC wants ,is another matter . Palliatives meanwhile will be a dime a dozen and we will be no further forward in retrieving our democracy .

  17. ian wragg
    Posted May 30, 2015 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    A very good article John but sentiments not shared by your boss. We may never know why successive Prime Ministers sought to devalue and destroy our country but that is surely what this project is all about.
    If he wins his sham referendum it will be seen as a green light to join the Euro and full integration. Job done.
    Hannan writes a very good article in todays paper but alas it is not the opinion of the majority left wing soppy liberal Tories who will as sure as hell sell us down the river.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 30, 2015 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      I agree fully. The sensible wing of the Tory party is just too small and too powerless. Cameron is clearly a Heath/Major type trying to pretend not to be near elections.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 30, 2015 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        Cameron is after all only having a referendum reluctantly having been forced into one.

      • Mitchel
        Posted May 30, 2015 at 3:40 pm | Permalink


        Cameron’s far too patrician to be likened to Heath/Major…much more in the Sir Ian Gilmour mould -“a fine survivor of the species Low Tory,alternatively classifiable as High Whig”as Enoch Powell described him!

  18. Bob
    Posted May 30, 2015 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Is it true that Mr Cameron’s negotiating stance revolves around the time lag that EU migrants to the UK will face before they can start claiming welfare benefits?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 30, 2015 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      It seems so – totally pathetic isn’t it.

      • bigneil
        Posted May 30, 2015 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

        Only until a taxpayer funded lawyer gets them back-paid benefits, interest on the same – and of course “compensation” for the stress of having to go through such an ordeal, when we all know that the world is entitled to come here, to a ready prepared fully furnished house of their choice, all paid for out of taxes, places waiting at the local school despite local indigenous ones going miles . .and doctor’s and hospital details waiting for them on moving in

  19. ian wragg
    Posted May 30, 2015 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    John, can we please have a list published of all HoC and HoL who are receiving pensions or will eventually receive pensions from the EU. We know as a condition of qualifying you have to promote the EU so they are hardly impartial.
    They should have to declare their interest and abstain from voting.
    The same with institutions eg BBC, CBI, Unite etc etc.

    • DaveM
      Posted May 30, 2015 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Second that request.

    • bigneil
      Posted May 30, 2015 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      Can I ask for how many “disability” cars have been provided to people arrived from the rest of the EU and how many of those vehicles are now driving round Europe, being funded by our taxes?

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted May 30, 2015 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

        Nice one Neil!

  20. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 30, 2015 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    I notice that some elements of the mass media are excited that Merkel has said that EU treaty change is possible.

    Given her record Merkel would have to be even more deceitful than she actually is to deny the possibility of EU treaty change.

    What was the amending Lisbon Treaty other than Merkel’s own “Reform Treaty”, into which she decanted almost all of the legal contents of the EU Constitution?

    And since that treaty came into force on December 1st 2009, who got the EU treaties changed in a minor way so that three surplus German MEPs could keep their seats legally rather than illegally, and then changed again more radically to fend off possible challenges to the ESM bailout facility in the German constitutional court?

    Which second EU treaty change was formalised on March 25th 2011, only five months after Merkel had first publicly stated that she wanted it, so it need not take anything like as long as some people assume.

  21. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted May 30, 2015 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    When you view payment as penalty for success, why do you pay more income tax for a higher income. The EU (and EEA) membership fee is a simple 1% GDP, which is not meant to make unequal it even greater. Helping less well off EU members has proved a way of developing markets to export to.
    Why not a UK led EU yet? Because UK made (IMHO) the wrong choice in 1955 and didn’t join the EU design from the start. An “out” choice in the coming refrendum may also prove a mistake decades later. An arrangement which keeps the UK inside is better, also for the UK itself.

    • bigneil
      Posted May 30, 2015 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      ANY stay-in but renegotiated terms will only mean ONE thing – – the renegotiated terms will be RE-renegotiated and go to the original aim, but just a bit later. The EU is NOT a union – – it is a slow moving but determined dictatorship.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted June 1, 2015 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        @bigneil: A belief held by some eurosceptics that will crumble over scrutiny when people get more information before the referendum.

    • bluedog
      Posted May 30, 2015 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

      ‘why do you pay more income tax for a higher income. ‘

      Time to compare like with like, Mr PvL. The UK is outside the basket-case of the EMU and consequently enjoys economic success. It follows that the UK’s objection to paying higher membership fees is entirely logical. Why should the UK subsidise failing economies that insist on adhering to an unworkable model? If the members of the EMU recognised their mistake and dissolved the EMU, two things would happen; all EMU economies except the German economy would boom, the UK would lose its incentive to protest at paying higher fees.

      However, the EU will go down with the EMU so there is no prospect of economic recovery across Europe ex-Germany until after that event.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted June 1, 2015 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        The UK doesn’t pay a higher membership fee, it only pays 1% of its GDP like all members, according to membership rules that the UK agreed with and probably even helped establish. And then on top of that it gets a rebate, because it feels disadvantaged by the French inspired Common Agriculture Fund, which may have been the case during Thatchers time but now seems more exaggerated. I doubt that there will be a rebate in the EEA, where the UK will also need to pay the agreed fees.

    • David Price
      Posted May 31, 2015 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      You don’t seem to know the history of your own EU, the action was happening before 1955 and the UK was being kept out from the beginning by Monnet and his friends.

      Besides, you are approaching this the wrong way. Your EU masters have been screwing things up quite thoroughly and you need an insurance policy. When the EMU collapses or Greence and others have to leave that will be the end of the EU to all intents and purposes. You will need a safety net so why not support the UK in its desire for a friendly trade-only relationship, something Germany and the Netherlands and others can fall back on when everything goes belly up.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted June 1, 2015 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

        @David Price: I’m well aware that the ECSC had been established before 1955, but the break with the UK came in 1955 when it left the Spaak Committee. Just google (wikipedia) with spaak committee UK. “Your EU masters”might just be a bit to childish to approach me with, just like “when” the EMU collapses and such. Wishful thinking doesn’t dictate the unfolding of realities. Could it be that you just underestimate the determination of continental peoples to stick together, also within the Eurozone? Can’t you see that in a parliament with more democratic representation than in your country, the eurosceptics MEPs are a small minority? Did anybody ever tell you, that even in 2005, when eurosceptics seem to believe that the Dutch voted against the EU, they actually were still very much committed to the EU. (read eurobarometer 63 if you need to update your knowledge). The Netherlands is not likely to ever follow the UK if the UK decides to leave, which the UK may well do of course, although I expect them not to.

        • David Price
          Posted June 2, 2015 at 7:12 am | Permalink

          The EU masks reality with wishful thinking and deception all the time. At its heart the EU is undemocratic, it was designed that way based on a “highest authority” from the very beginning.

          You keep criticising our form of government claiming it is not democratic but ignore the rotten core of the EU.

          Wikipedia is a bad reference, the fact is that the UK was purposely kept out from the very beginning by Monnet and chums because the UK favoured collaboration based on intergovernmental treaty and not supranational authority. Supranational authority means all decision making and authority where the whole idea is to remove national governments, so it is hardly childish to refer to that organisation as your masters. As for the EP, it can’t even formulate legislation but can only rubber stamp laws and regulations handled down from the unelected highest authority aka your masters.

  22. petermartin2001
    Posted May 30, 2015 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    They dreamed of a Euro that allowed them to trade in a devalued currency

    Why? Why would any sane and rational person not want their own currency to be worth less than the market says it should be worth?

    A lower currency inevitably means domestic prices are higher than they should be. It means a lower standard of living for German workers than their efforts deserve.

    Can any readers from the big surplus countries (Germany, Holland, Denmark Switzerland etc) explain the rationale? Do the populations of these countries realise that a trade surplus, in terms of a devalued currency, means a trade deficit in the exchange of real goods and services?

    • petermartin2001
      Posted May 30, 2015 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Correction: Should be “Why would any sane and rational person want their own currency to be worth less than the market says it should be worth”

    • Edward2
      Posted May 30, 2015 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      I don’t see the standard of living in the countries you list as being poor.
      Much better than countries in the EU which have deficits and debts.

      • petermartin2001
        Posted May 30, 2015 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

        So everyone needs to run a trade surplus then? That’s the only way to prevent high levels of unemployment?

        • Edward2
          Posted May 30, 2015 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

          Well why not?
          Are you saying if both of us trade in a particular market we must balance in perpetuity and that we cannot both make profits from trading at the same time?

          • petermartin2001
            Posted June 2, 2015 at 10:28 am | Permalink

            “Well why not?”

            Do you mean you really can’t see why not?

            Consider three countries who trade together. The first two run a surplus. The last one has to be in deficit.
            Or if the first one runs a surplus, at least one of the other two has to be in deficit.

    • acorn
      Posted May 30, 2015 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      Peter, JR is correct. The Germans have taken advantage of a currency that continues to be devalued by club-med members. The Germans can export like crazy, knowing that the foreign currency they share, the Euro, will be anchored down by the club-med economies. (Germany breaks the EU 6% GDP export rule.)

      Exporting like crazy is silly. Germany gets to have boat loads of foreign currency reserves in foreign Central Banks. German workers are paid in Euro. Unless Germany can bring those foreign currencies home at reasonable exchange rates, the German domestic economy and wages purchasing power, will shrink. Fortunately, they can do that, see above.

      What is the point of German workers building loads of BMW M5, and never getting the fun of having one for themselves. The countries that are importing them M5s are the ones having fun in exchange for some currency that will, mainly, only buy stuff in the country that issued the currency in the first instance!

      For example, the UK runs the second largest current account deficit on the planet at the moment. That is being payed for by the Mr Osborne’s current “budget deficit”. If he had the mad idea that he wasn’t going to pay for that trade deficit anymore, (like … er … running a budget surplus by 2018/19), the private sector households and firms, would have to use up their savings; and, go into even more debt to pay for them imports. Or; say bye byes, to them 60 inch plasmas and them M5 BMWs.

      BTW. If you are a large importer, like the UK, from, say, Germany, that country would not want to see your currency suffer importer type devaluation. That would make importing stuff more expensive for UK. Hence, Germany would use its boat loads of foreign reserves, including the Euro, to buy up Pounds Sterling and raise its value. So you can keep buying them BMWs.

      Once you understand how fiat currency economies work, you will understand the nonsense that is going on in Euroland; and, how easily the ECB could cure it at no cost.

      Remember, a cricket scoreboard never runs out of numbers to display the number of runs. Sovereign fiat currency economies work in exactly the same way. It is the best invention since the wheel and carbon-ceramic disc brakes.

      • petermartin2001
        Posted May 30, 2015 at 8:24 pm | Permalink


        Yes I understand what JR is saying. And of course trade is good, but, I’d still question the sanity of anyone who thinks it’s a good idea to always swap more goods and services for fewer goods and services and take IOUs (which can never be redeemed) to make up the difference.

        • miami.mode
          Posted May 31, 2015 at 10:45 am | Permalink


          I can easily see your point about the financial aspect of it all but I feel you are overlooking the political aspect. In many instances recently workers have taken “lower pay” in order to keep their jobs and as an example my own local council has agreed with the staff at the local waste site to close one day per week and keep all staff employed rather than remain open all week and make one redundant.

          During the past six years or so we have seen many examples of competitive currency devaluations by QE etc and it seems painfully obvious that the southern Med countries are in a currency that is too high for them, but it is politics that is stifling them. Greece is a perfect example with disastrous results.

          Governments go to great lengths to keep everyone employed because unemployment causes them too much grief and as far as they are concerned politics trumps all.

  23. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted May 30, 2015 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    No Weiner Schnitzel second time round then, not that it matters we have plenty home grown food of interest. Personally I would like a closer relationship with France and perhaps if Hollande shows that he is now junior to Merkel , we could boost his ego a little. I think that it is a pity that the pound coin resembles the Euro but in exchange it does not matter..Some may condescendingly smile at the UK suggesting that individuality is eccentric rather than a facilitator , but let them snigger whilst we join the club we want to.

  24. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted May 30, 2015 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Let’s face it, if Cameron succeeds in duping people, as Wilson did in 1975, into staying in the EU, the next step will be the abandonment of the £ for the euro. It will follow as night follows day that we will be told that having confirmed our desire to be governed by the EU in order to exert full influence we must join the euro.
    As I have commented before I have been told that one financial compamy is preparing for the euro’s introduction in the UK as soon as 2018.
    This additional threat must be brought out during the referendum campaign.

    • petermartin2001
      Posted May 31, 2015 at 1:14 am | Permalink

      Yes this is exactly right, except that I doubt the euro will be introduced quite so quickly. But it will come.

      Those of us in the No campaign warned in the 1975 referendum that we weren’t just voting for the principle of free trade between Common Market neighbours as it was then, and we won’t be voting for the EU, albeit with a few modifications, as it is now. We’ll be voting on how the EU will develop until we next have a referendum. That may be never.

      Vote them an inch and they’ll take a yard. Or, even worse, a centimetre and a metre!

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 31, 2015 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

        That is why it is so important that we are released from the present treaty commitment to a process of “ever closer union”, and not just notionally but genuinely and effectually released from it so that we can avoid still being sucked into it even though on paper we are exempt from it.

  25. F.Cunctator
    Posted May 31, 2015 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Suggest change of name to Peter van Delusion.

  26. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted June 2, 2015 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Follow your argument to its logical conclusion. The EU – at least the Euro Zone – will evolve into either a federation or a German empire (or a strange mixture of the two). Transfer payments from rich States in a federation will take place, which is one of the reasons that Germany is so anxious to keep us in – to persuade us to share the financial burden.

    The number of States in the Euro Zone is, for us, uncomfortably large. If the Euro Zone evolves into a federation, with joint fiscal – and eventually military – control, that will be a dominant power in continental Europe, something that British foreign policy has for centuries sought to avoid. We should seek a state of affairs where the Euro Zone comprises no more than eight Member States and is geographically compact – perhaps the original Six plus Austria and Spain. It follows that we should nothing to support the existence of the Euro Zone while so many Member States are inside it.

  • 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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