There is no status quo in the forthcoming EU referendum

Those who have already made up their minds to recommend staying in the EU whatever Mr Cameron negotiates think they can control the referendum for Yes. They aim to run a campaign claiming that Yes is Yes to the status quo, Yes is the risk free option, and that No would mean all sorts of dire futures which they intend to portray by lies and scare stories.

The truth is somewhat different. As I set out in the Commons, the present EU is a wild ride to political union. It is not a friendly status quo, a restful membership of a finished structure allowing us to trade and be friends with the neighbours, but a cauldron of disagreements, arguments and a state of permanent revolution as they seek to complete their political, banking, Capital markets, and fiscal unions.

There is no necessary advantage in asking people to vote Yes. After all, No won the Scottish and the AV referendums in recent years. It is true that these two No campaigns were for the status quo, but so in a way NO will be on the EU matter. Many voters think the EU should just be a common market, and those who argue for Out will be arguing to leave the Euro and political union which increasingly impinge on us, not to turn our back on trade and friendship with the neighbours.We want the common market some voted for in 1975.

Anyone independent minded person who has not yet decided how to vote, reasonably wanting to see what terms Mr Cameron comes back with, will want to see how the UK could defend itself from the growing power of the Euro union. Recent events with an attempt to get the UK to pay some of the Greek bills for Euro failure will doubtless give many more pause for thought about the absence of a status quo within the EU.The obvious failure of the EU to control its borders and therefore the problems it poses for UK borders inside the EU is a major issue where the EU seems unable to gain control and unwilling to let the UK control its own territory. The people who want in have no answer to the migration issue. They also want to sign us up to paying more and more of the bills for a proto political union we are trying to keep at arms length.


  1. Lifelogic
    July 27, 2015

    You make very good points, but it might be nice if Cameron actually gave us some solid indications of what he is trying to negotiate (virtually nothing seems to the be the answer).

    Having a “yes” answer statistically does seem to give the in side an advantage of up to 5%. A truly fair referendum would clearly not have been structured with a yes/no answer. But it seems Cameron does not want a fair referendum. This we see from the bias in funding and the no purdah rules that allow government departments to use their resources to make the case for a Yes vote.

    1. jonathan smith
      July 27, 2015

      DC will use traditional scaremongering tactics to get the “Yes” he wants.

      He has found a lovely lie (n) in that he cannot tell us what he wants as he has to keep his cards close to his chest in negotiations.

      Fact is he will get woolly semantics on ” ever closer ties ” for the UK and promises that will not bear fruit for future change. Nothing on free movement nothing on benefits . Just its good for the long term economic plan for hardworking taxpayers.
      Enough !

  2. Lifelogic
    July 27, 2015

    There is also the endowment effect in behavioral economics, making people less willing to lose something they already hold. This too will help the “yes stay in” side.

    As will the main parties bias, the government, the hugely biased BBC, the CBI & big business, the USA president, the EU, the Universities and many others pushing for in, as looks almost certain to happen.

    People, most of whom have very little real understanding of all the complexities, will think:- if all these “experts” are in favour of in then it must be best to stick with the devil we know.

    1. Dame Rita Webb
      July 27, 2015

      The leading item on Dave’s list of concessions will be that UK cucumber growers will be allowed to export their produce regardless of their curvature. In the meantime he will be most vocal at putting the frighteners on people with regard to their jobs. It will be interesting to see how he squares this with the experiences of Cadbury’s workers in Bristol and LG workers in Hartlepool who saw their jobs disappear to Eastern Europe. While the bulk of the voters will vote to stay in (just like the Scots with their referendum) because they perceive (mistakenly) that everything is going well and why should they take the risk of a leap in the dark?

      1. yosarion
        July 27, 2015

        Ford Transit Southampton to Turkey, there used to be over forty Clarke’s shoe factories mainly in Somerset, all gone. though the Irony they went to the likes of Portugal to start with, they then moved French Indo China that was and around that part of the EUSSR.

  3. Jerry
    July 27, 2015

    “and that [such a result] would mean all sorts of dire futures which they intend to portray by lies and scare stories.”

    That is as true about those wanting a Yes (stay in) result as those wanting a No (leave) result, except that the roadmap that the Yes group have has been set out for the last 43 years – ever closer union economic and political, something Heath made very clear in early 1972.

    1. Bill
      July 27, 2015

      Personally, I do not believe Heath made this clear in 1972. We were being taken into a Common Market not a political union. I have clear though limited memories of the campaign. Maybe the fault was with the British press rather than Heath himself but even so it seems to me to be tendentious to argue that Heath spelled it all out to the electorate. Consider the slogan leading up to his election defeat in 1974. It was (from memory) ‘who governs Britain?’ and intended to show we ought not to be governed by the mine workers union. Heath believed the British Parliament should govern Britain.

      1. yosarion
        July 27, 2015

        In an interview Heath was asked in his later years regarding ever closer union, and the fact that the referendum was for a common market (ie free trade zone ) his reply I remember to this day “that was always the intention.” Cameron was chosen before Davis for a reason, do not be fooled by his rhetoric, he is Heath mark2.

      2. Jerry
        July 27, 2015

        @Bill; “Personally, I do not believe Heath made this clear in 1972.”

        Well he did, as you would know this had you watched the BBC Parliament channel last night, in an interview (from a Panorama programme) first shown on 24 Jan 1972 [1]. During the interview Heath clearly speaks both about inevitable political union, even eventual currency union!

        ” Consider the slogan leading up to his election defeat in 1974. It was (from memory) ‘who governs Britain?’ and intended to show we ought not to be governed by the mine workers union. Heath believed the British Parliament should govern Britain.”

        Heath, like most, believed in parliamentary democracy, not that of mob rule (which Flying pickets are in effect), which is why the Feb ’74 election was called. In the above mentioned interview he even talks about the need to get the Act of Accession (to join the then EEC) through the British Parliament.

        [1] as part of a “Heath night” to make 50 years since he became leader, and currently available on the iPlayer;

        1. yosarion
          July 27, 2015

          I think I would have been in bed, School day, if it was his intention I guess it should have been in the Manifesto, not just say it once and hope you get away with it.

        2. Edward2
          July 27, 2015

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

          Prime Minister Edward Heath, television broadcast on Britain’s entry into the Common Market, January 1973

          And from Mr Heath’s White Paper circulated to every household in the country in June 1971 promised,

          “there is no question of Britain losing essential sovereignty”.

          1. Jerry
            July 28, 2015

            @Edward2; Oh do stop arguing all the time! Did you actually bother to watch the programme I cited, I suspect not – it rather cramps the “we were not told” style of europhobic rant to actually hear it from the horses mouth so to speak that we were told.

            Oh and of course you will cite references to the National Archive for those quote you included, otherwise how can anyone be sure that they are not half quote, or even non quotes, then you might also care to define the meaning of “sovereignty”.

          2. Edward2
            July 28, 2015

            Sorry Jerry perhaps to make you happy we should all just sit back and read your endless posts and nod our agreement.

          3. Richard
            August 5, 2015

            After watching countless hours of material from 1973/5, the phrase from Heath that sticks in my mind was along the lines of “there will be no loss of essential sovereignty”.

      3. Bob
        July 27, 2015


        “Personally, I do not believe Heath made this clear in 1972. ”

        “There are some in this country who fear that in going into Europe we shall in some way sacrifice independence and sovereignty. These fears, I need hardly say, are completely unjustified.” Edward Heath

        1. Jerry
          July 28, 2015

          @Bob; Yet the evidence, as I pointed out, suggests that he actually said something quite different [1]. Heath was quite correct, non of the other (then) EEC member countries could tell/make us to join a future federal europe if we chose not to, being a sovereign nation we could and still can chose to leave – heck we don’t even need the EU’s approval, just the UN’s, and that is a given.

          [1] care to actually cite your quote, surely there is a National Archive or Hansard reference to an official speech, or a BBC, ITN, British Pathe etc film record of it, made at the time?

          1. Ted Mombiot
            July 28, 2015

            Would a sworn affidavit be sufficient for you Jerry?
            Are there any particilar solicitors you would prefer?

    2. acorn
      July 27, 2015

      “Yes is the risk-free option, and that No would mean all sorts of dire futures which they intend to portray by lies and scare stories.”

      It is appropriate that the UK’s number one University has, last month, published the “No” consequences. Based on actual evidence acquired by living through three decades of laissez-faire neo-liberalism, commonly referred to as Thatcher style Monetarism. So, we already know what the dire future will look like, in or out of the EU.

      I have said before that all Conservative governments when elected, go through this three year “slash and burn” the public sector. Thatcher did it; Major did it; Osborne did it. Osborne is set to repeat his last attempt and will get the same result as his last attempt.

      “The conventional wisdom, notwithstanding the recent recession, is that the liberal market policies followed since Mrs Thatcher’s election victory in 1979 (and in part also a few years earlier) remain the best model for the UK economy albeit with additional safeguards to prevent future banking collapses.

      Basically, neo-liberal Austerity Eurozone style, is making neo-liberal Austerity Osborne style; look good!!!???

      Reply. Try reading the actual figures or my reports of them. Public spending is increasing in real terms and is forecast to continue up in cash terms with no overall real cuts, with real increases in health, defence,schools, overseas aid, eu payments etc

      1. acorn
        July 28, 2015

        JR, fortunately we now have the brilliant, monthly,

        The “un-spun” numbers are available for all to see. One day, even a good few of the little people will understand them. Then, neo-liberal economics and “living within one’s means” and “there is no money left”, will be exposed as only applicable to currency users in the private sector; NOT to currency issuing governments.

  4. Mick
    July 27, 2015

    I for one don’t even want a common market, after a few years we would be back to were we are now being screwed by the EU, Cameron isn’t going to get anything from the EU so let’s stop all this bull that he is, we need to get out there and convince everybody to vote NO to staying in the EU, I read somewhere that Cameron is thinking of calling the vote in June 2016 bring it on I say the sooner the better so we need to start playing hard ball now with a good communicator like Mr Farage as its figure head

  5. alan jutson
    July 27, 2015

    Those who vote to stay in, vote for more and more power to go abroad with more and more spending, tax, welfare and regulations and laws being made in Brussels.

    Those who vote to get out, vote for more control and power over our affairs in Westminster.

    1. jonathan smith
      July 27, 2015

      Does that mean Austerity or Austerity .
      What has Greece given Europe ?
      What has Europe done to Greece ?

      1. alan jutson
        July 28, 2015



        Few in the developed western World understand what real Austerity is.

        Living within your means never has or will be austerity, especially when you have the ability, can gain knowledge, and have the use of resources to make things better for yourself.

  6. agricola
    July 27, 2015

    No is a vote for regaining and retaining our sovereignty. Yes is for ever greater absorption into an ever growing political and financial maw that would seem bent on failure, but with the additional joy of a 1/28 chance of changing anything, and guided by your leader, a man who is all things to all people. Mr sound bite personified.

  7. Richard1
    July 27, 2015

    The argument for In will be very simple: if the UK leaves the EU, it will be uncertain what access the UK will have in future to the EU single market – therefore jobs and investment will be more at risk than if the UK remains in the EU. This is the question the Out campaign will have to answer very clearly to have any chance. Focusing on immigration, as UKIP now do, might win an enthusiastic 30%, but will ensure a 70% vote for In.

    1. libertarian
      July 27, 2015


      “therefore jobs and investment will be more at risk than if the UK remains in the EU”

      Absolutely not true. We are IMPORTING 300,000 workers a year because we can’t fill the jobs we already have. If the EU was so childish that it made the UK the only country in the world that couldn’t trade with the EU they would be cutting of their noses to spite their faces. These kind of statements show me that people have very little understanding of business, trade and markets.

      Do you think that the 70% might change their minds if they found out that the EU allowing companies to pick where they are based virtually is one of the biggest routes to tax avoidance? That transfer pricing is made vastly easier when you can move your reporting to various EU countries? That the Netherlands for instance offered a special tax rate to Google in return for basing their operation there?

      Maybe its why the CBI seem to be so keen on the EU

      1. Richard1
        July 27, 2015

        I did not advance the job as and investment line as an argument I agree with, just as the argument the In campaign will put forward. To date there has not been an adequate response.

        Funnily enough I think tax competition is one of the things that – potentially – works quite well. This is why the EU is so keen on tax harmonisation to stop it. I rather like countries having to compete to offer attractive tax rates – it keeps big spending govts honest.

        1. Lifelogic
          July 28, 2015

          I too think tax competition is one of the things that works quite well. Democratic control through voting over tax levels is largely ineffective partly because so many non tax payers get to vote and also elected representatives do not do as they promise anyway. They are like children let free in a sweet shop.

          That, as you say, is why the EU want to kill it.

    2. Richard
      July 27, 2015

      Nothing is more important for a country than the control of immigration and hence its borders.

      It is the people who determine the sort of country it is to be and the greatest myth is that immigrants come to a country looking for a “new life” matching that of the indigenous population. More often they wish to continue with their existing culture.

      Remaining in the EU will mean we will have open borders to currently 485m people and, if Mr. Cameron and the EU have their way, the EU will eventually include Turkey and all the ….. countries of Eastern Europe all the way to the Urals.

      Also, since the EU appears to have no plans on how to deal with illegal migration from Africa and the ME, we will be open to immigration from a further 1.5 billion people.

  8. Anonymous
    July 27, 2015

    The migration issue is not allowed.

    You will be accused of being out of step, radical, xenophobic and of blaming migrants for everything and there will be an “I am an immigrant” poster campaign to correct your ignorance.

    It’s now all too late anyway. We have gone beyond the tipping point.

  9. Margaret Brandreth-J
    July 27, 2015

    It seems to me that those who want to stay in the EU have a fear of change. Some will not even remember what it is to be self governing and have known little else.To those of us who remember before, knew where our territory was, lived by the social rules and had an implicit understanding of what it was to be British.It worked. Now there seems to be a different collective attitude It hovers over the UK like a sword of Damocles
    and threatens those virtues which we identified with as British. Many as counter argument to this throw out cruel imperial GB , but if we look at the record of the EU ,the atrocities are more and recent.

    1. yosarion
      July 27, 2015

      What they are trying to do is implement what was needed post war in the 1950s in 2015, bloody hell they even make Corbyn’s politics look modern.

  10. Douglas Carter
    July 27, 2015

    John, I know there are specific qualifying caveats you attach to any notional participation by yourself in a withdrawal Campaign, you’ve made them clear in the past so for these purposes, I will assume in the event those caveats remain unaddressed, you will join many of us on the ‘No’ Campaign eventually.

    The official ‘No’ Campaign will be the recipient of funding for those purposes and notwithstanding the current controversy over their methods, polling will take an important part of the Campaign. It’s a general truism that Polls are not utilised for the benefit of the electorate, but for the benefit of those commissioning them. ‘Yes’ Campaigners will commission their own polls to ‘prove’ the electorate want to remain in ‘The EU’ or ‘A Reformed EU’ (although I would be amazed to find the official ‘Yes’ Campaign could illustrate the accurate version of that ‘Reformed EU’ in advance of the Referendum).

    To get important parts of the message across therefore, you might wish to ponder advance advantageous Polling questions to put out. For example ‘Do you want even greater levels of influence your own MP has in Parliament to be lost to Brussels?’

    In contemporary terms it’s interesting that no leadership contender for the Labour Leadership will enjoin the EU debate – once again it has been left to a backbencher safely isolated from contaminating their front bench with notional pro-EU views. As I said several times last year, Douglas Alexander made it a core strategy of the EU Parliament elections last year that no mention of the EU be made publically by Labour ‘so as not to put off potential voters’. That fairly clearly implies that the Labour front-bench are held of the belief that public pro-EU views are toxic in voting terms.

    There will be both tactical and strategic value in pinning strident – even extreme – pro-EU stances on the political class that wishes to remain in the EU. Benefit in highlighting through the use of polls that the electorate are probably being sold a pup; benefit in highlighting through the use of polls that if voters don’t want to distance Parliament further from the levers of accountable democracy, they are going to have to vote ‘No’ when the time comes.

    Reply. In the likely event that the EU does not offer us “fundamental change” to our relationship to give us a relationship based on trade, friendship and mutual co operation then of course I will campaign and vote for out to achieve just that change we need. I am setting out the themes and the phrases I think we need to use. Staying in is a wild ride to political union. Coming out means more jobs by giving us the freedom to have free trade agreements with the USA,India and China. Coming out can guarantee all the payments we currently get from the eu which we pay for ourselves anyway, with a substantial tax cut as we save the money they take from us to spend elsewhere. That should be a winning ticket.

    1. forthurst
      July 27, 2015

      “Reply. In the likely event that the EU does not offer us “fundamental change” to our relationship to give us a relationship based on trade, friendship and mutual co operation then of course I will campaign and vote for out to achieve just that change we need.”

      What the No campaign requires above all is clarity. We have been told that the latest Ipsos Mori poll indicates continuing movement towards ‘Yes’ with 66%, No 22% Dk 12%. However, a detailed poll taken at the same time shows something rather different:

      Full integration in a USE: 14%
      ‘Broadly the same’: 31%
      ‘Reverting’ to an ‘Economic Community’: 33%
      Get out: 13%
      Dk: 6%

      In other words, a minority, want to abolish us, but a majority are largely deluded about what the EU represents, where it is going and where we are now. Unless and until these people are educated by a successful No campaign, they will continue to believe the lies they have been told. It is therefore encumbent on JR to get off the fence and unequivocally support the No campaign since 86% of the population do not want to join a USE and they need help in understanding that by voting Yes that is exactly what they will get. If JR wants a fallback position, he can always say that he never wanted more than mutual free trade and friendship but that in the unlikely event of CMD negotiating exactly that, he will not advocate Yes but the abandonment of the Referendum which had thereby become passé. By equivocation, subject to CMD’s ‘negotiation’, JR is potentially handing victory to the Yes camp because it is very likely that CMD will call the Referendum very shortly after arriving back from Brussels in a triumphant halo of falsehood, and the possibility of inoculating the population from this contagion will have been lost; without the voice of JR and some of his colleagues, the No campaign will lack clout.

      Reply. There is not yet a No campaign, but no-one is clearer than I about what is wrong with our current relationship and why it needs fundamental change. I am not your problem!

      1. forthurst
        July 27, 2015

        Reply to Reply: We know where you stand, but logically that means Out; will JR be revealed as part of the No campaign as soon as it gets off the ground?

        Reply I will be part of the Out campaign when it gets going assuming the negotiations have not restored our self government.

        1. forthurst
          July 27, 2015

          Reply to Reply: the Out campaign will need to get going well before any announcement of the ‘success’ or otherwise of the ‘negotiations’, probably the former, in any case, otherwise CMD can delay the No campaign deliberately until it is too late to begin educating a largely ignorant population of the issues at stake.

  11. ian wragg
    July 27, 2015

    Will we ever know why CMD and the likes are so infatuated by the EU. It is an expensive club with no tangible benefits for the taxpayer and many negatives.
    We are still waiting for a list of people in parliament and organisations who receive money from the EU or who are eligible for a pension as there is a massive conflict of interest. We know the BBC,CBI, Kinnocks, Cleggs etc etc are on the payroll but just how many more.
    The recent debacle in the HoL has again demonstrated what a bunch of tossers we have ruling us. is there no end to this waste of taxpayers money.
    Can you do an article about deportees receiving disability Living Allowance for life after deportation and how many other countries follow this procedure??

  12. agricola
    July 27, 2015

    Refugee Solution.

    Support for my previously proposed solution to the refugee crisis is now coming from a Mr Jason Buzi, property billionaire in the USA. That is to create a Refugee Nation at a place in the World where they can all gather to lead trouble free productive lives. It has worked before in Israel and Liberia but failed in Gaza due to militant politics. How about giving voice to such thinking in the H o C.

    Reply All habitable territory belongs to a country, so who are you suggesting surrenders land for this purpose and why would they agree?

    1. agricola
      July 27, 2015

      Reply to Reply.

      Very true John, but if there is no goodwill in the hearts of nations we have a continuing disaster. A wild thought , what about East Falklands assuming it is mine free. Alternatively how about a UN conference on the subject, if for no more than to sew the seeds. Another point is that in the case of Israel they turned a fairly difficult to live place into a highly productive nation. If you have ever occasion to fly over the area, look down and you will see the contrast.

      1. Jerry
        July 27, 2015

        @agricola; Never heard such a daft brain idea, if anything your mention of Israel proves why this idea is a non starter. Oh and you seem to forget that before 1945 Palestine was already a thriving country. But if Israel is the proven model as to how to deal with large numbers of refugees how about the UN just denote the UK (or perhaps even the whole of the EU) for this refugee camp, after all the way some talk it could be suggested that it has already become one…

        1. agricola
          July 27, 2015

          Dear boy you do talk a load of unhelpful rubbish.

        2. libertarian
          July 27, 2015


          Palestine was a British Protectorate colony prior to 1945 and part of the Ottoman empire in the 19th century

          1. jonathan smith
            July 27, 2015

            The British did everything they could to stop refugees going to Palestine while they controlled it.

            Israel has become a world leader in many fields and transformed from swamp in the north and dustbowl in the south to a thriving first world high tech nation.

            Look at the state of all of its neighbours .

          2. agricola
            July 28, 2015

            I feel a First in History coming on.

  13. Peter van Leeuwen
    July 27, 2015

    If the UK will neighbour a stronger political euro zone in the next ten or twenty years ( not sure this will happen ) , the UK will still be far better placed inside the EU club oF 28 in order to effect change for its own interest than outside that club. I expect that Mr Cameron will show that he can do much more for eurosceptics within the EU than outside. Which would leave the “out” vote for those who want a separation at all (possibly high) cost. That may be a position to be respected, but I hope the “ins” will have it.

    1. ian wragg
      July 27, 2015

      How can CMD do more for the UK inside the EU than out. Successive governments have done nothing for us in the last 50 years except give, give, give.
      We have 1/28th influence and about 25% costs so how is that good.
      What’s the betting the Greek debacle rears its head within the next 2 years.
      Remember Cameron is set to hand over the baton soon and no doubt grease his way to Brussels. President perhaps.

      1. APL
        July 27, 2015

        PvL: “Cameron will show that he can do much more for eurosceptics”

        Ian Wragg: “How can CMD do more for the UK inside the EU than out.”

        Yea, how can Cameron do more for eurosceptics inside the European Union?

        1. Peter Van Leeuwen
          July 28, 2015

          @APL: Not all eurosceptics want to leave the EU at all cost. Reforming the EU and accomodatie some of the UK’s fears and feeling of unease may go a long way in convincing them that it may be better to be with the devil you know.
          There are all sorts of eurosceptics.

    2. agricola
      July 27, 2015

      I see little need for Mr Cameron to change anything within the EU if we are outside it. Change to the EU has to come from within in response to the will of the people and World market forces. Rest assured it will without us using our 1/28 prod to effect it.

    3. Richard1
      July 27, 2015

      Not sure you’re right there Peter. So long as there is free trade in goods and services and free travel we might be better off not being a member of such a club. After all it would come with liabilities such as underwriting bad policies and over expenditure in fellow member states, and agreeing to be subject to laws imposed on us at a club level which we can’t change however much we dislike them. If the EU is really going to move to a federal political union I think many of us in the Uk who have historically thought of ourselves as pro European, would prefer a Switzerland type arrangement.

      1. Peter Van Leeuwen
        July 28, 2015

        ‘Free trade’ and ‘Single market’ are different things: During the sixties you left free trade (EFTA) to enter what later was to become the single market. If you want to rejoin EFTA, of course that is possible. EU membership is 100% voluntary.

    4. Vanessa
      July 27, 2015

      Peter – have you ever visited the EU parliament in either Strasbourg or Brussels? I have and if you sit in the gallery you are able to watch the “democratic” process of how the 28 countries are governed. The Commission is the only place which dreams up the laws which the MEPs vote on, there is no real debate just one minute speeches and as we only have something like 7% of the voting rights we do not have any ability to change, let alone influence, anything. People who work there take an Oath to uphold the EU’s doctrine (they do not work in their country’s interest).

      I appreciate our parliament looks like a “bun fight” a lot of the time but at least we can vote these people out at elections. The people in power in the EU are parachuted in and it is a jobs’ revolving door for friends and relations; not quite the same with our parliament.

      1. Jerry
        July 27, 2015

        @Vanessa; “if you sit in the gallery [of the EU parliament] you are able to watch the “democratic” process of how the 28 countries are governed. The Commission is the only place which dreams up the laws which the MEPs vote on, there is no real debate just one minute speeches”

        You don’t need to visit the EU parliament to hear MEPs speaking for far longer than one minute [1], or the fact that MEPs do have real input, and can vote down the motions etc. Oh and we the people can vote these MEPs out at the EU elections. Also should there eventually be a USoE it is very unlikely that the same EU parliamentary processes that exist today will carry on unchanged, after all the U.S. Senate today is not the same Senate of 200 years ago, and nor is our own parliament for that matter.

        ” we do not have any ability to change, let alone influence, anything.”

        Of course we do, so long as we can pursued others of our cause, but that does require us to engage, even less take the view that only we have the correct view/opinion.

        [1] yes a lone, non-grouped, MEP might get just one minute but that is far from typical

      2. Peter Van Leeuwen
        July 27, 2015

        @Vanessa: yes I have been in Strassbourg and Brussels’ parliament sessions. The real work happens at the committee stage. When you get to the plenary, indeed speeches have to be short. 650 MPS trying to perform a PMQ also don’t get to make long speeches. These are even much much shorter.
        For good debates, I advise you to learn some Dutch and come visit our parliament or open committee sessions?

  14. Graham Wood
    July 27, 2015

    Mr R.
    I fully agree with your important insight here, and the only constant will be the “ever closer union” dogma but on an increased scale.
    Short of going to war, I cannot see any policy imposed upon the UK in the future as being impossible if we remain in the EU. No policy areas, national preferences, economic strategy, or even the declared will of our parliament will be sacrosanct from EU interference and increased control,
    An ‘in’ vote would be seen as a ringing endorsement by the EU Commission and future British governments for ‘more Europe’ on a hitherto unprecedented scale. I wonder if elements of the gullible and often uninformed majority British public realise that!
    Protests by eurosceptics in response to almost any outrageous or undemocratic diktat from Brussels will be met with one single and logical answer – you voted for it in 2017.

  15. Liz
    July 27, 2015

    A lot of people I meet do not really understand the democracy (lack of in EU) argument (what about the Europena Parliament? response) but are very pursuaded by the economic argument – lose x million jobs put forward by the yesses. The No campaigners have to get over these hurdles to win. If the French continue to be obstructive over the migrant issue – not policing Calais properly, endless strikes – that will probably help the No campaign more than anything else. There are estimated to be 5000 rising by the day migrants in France waiting to get here illlegally; at some point or another this is going to turn into a major crisis – which the Home Office is doing too little to prevent..

    1. Jerry
      July 27, 2015

      @Liz; “If the French continue to be obstructive over the migrant issue – not policing Calais properly, endless strikes – that will probably help the No campaign more than anything else.”

      It might, but it could also blow up spectacularly in their faces if (some in) the “No” campaign also start going on about sovereignty, one can’t start handing out leaflets that complain about losing ones sovereignty with one hand whilst the other is handing out leaflets telling the French how they should be running their country/police force!

      Best keep the message about effective UK border controls, on this side of the Channel crossings, even if that doers mean old style customs checks on every car, van and lorry entering the country…

  16. fedupsoutherner
    July 27, 2015

    The public need clarity on what it will mean to stay in the EU. They don’t have it at the moment. We mainly hear the IN side and nothing about the real issues if we vote to stay in. Just like we were never really told what we were signing up to in the first place. There are people out there that just don’t realise what is happening. Just what is Cameron trying to achieve? I don’t really know and none of my friends do either. Laws are made in Brussels and we don’t even know anything until we are told they have been passed here. The immigration issue is important (cannot believe what Ian Wragg said about Disability Living Allowance being paid for life to deportees) as housing, the welfare state, NHS, schools, transport, jobs etc are all under threat. I sincerely hope enough business leaders, politicians and media come out and spell out the threat of staying in but I very much doubt this will happen. Of course, we all know why the likes of (names deleted ed)want us to stay in. It’s all about lining their own nests – bit like the guy (can’t remember his name) in the House of Lords that’s been found to be spending our money on prostitutes and drugs. They treat us with contempt.

  17. JimS
    July 27, 2015

    In 1975 we were joining six similar countries, (I never saw the point of creating a ‘market’ of countries with similar ‘offers’ – why would the Germans buy our cars when they made their own etc.).

    They whispered ‘ever closer union’, (but don’t worry about it), and ‘free movement’, (just theory, doesn’t happen in practice, won’t happen).

    Then click by click the vetoes went, self-determination went, and twenty ‘basket cases’ joined, determined that we serve them at the ‘top table’. We have never solved the problems of the poorer regions of the British Isles, resulting in internal migration to London, yet now we are expected to cope with the poorer regions of Europe… and Africa and Asia.

    Our politicians are either mad or bad.

  18. DaveM
    July 27, 2015

    The majority of people in this country are interested in their own lives. They fear a change to the status quo in that respect, and they want to ensure their kids and grandkids can enjoy the same lifestyle. Most of these folk are unaware of the EU’s negative influence beyond what they read in the Sun during their lunchbreaks. Those who ARE aware of it have already had their lives affected – builders, fishermen, semi-skilled mechanics etc – and will need to be convinced that the govt will restore their previous livelihoods and make things better.

    So, the challenge is to convince people that an IN vote is a vote to change the status quo for the worse. That their communities and culture will be changed beyond recognition, that energy prices will soar and factories be forced to move abroad. Tell them that we will be dragged into the Euro and they will be onstantly bailing out the Meds, Tell universities that lost EU grants will be compensated for by the govt, tell people that the NHS will be free for brits only, and tell them we will have control of our borders.

    And even more importantly, give a vision of the future which will convince people that an OUT vote is a vote for a bright future for a new UK, with – yes I have to mention it – a clear and fair new constitution for the UK as a whole, including England. Show them that the UK is a successful political union in its own right, and can trade with the rest of the world on its own terms as well as formulating its own independent foreign policy and ensuring that UK forces are employed in the interests of the UK rather than E European former soviet states. We are not aspiring to be a superpower, we just want to be powerful enough to have influence on the world stage, and to be at the centre of a Venn diagram composed of the main world organisations.

    These arguments need formulating into a careful series of articles published in the relevant papers. The OUT campaign needs to be made up of prominent respected public figures from all walks of life and all parts of the political sphere, and led by a popular but unsensational leader.

    I’m not a fan of TV debates, but they’ll inevitably happen, and the OUT team needs to be able to trump ANY argument for IN in a sober rational way, backed up by fact.

    This is about the future of my country and my kids and grandkids future. I have a very busy job, so I can’t do a lot apart from comment here, so I hope that you and your colleagues do the best job you can for us John.

  19. Vanessa
    July 27, 2015

    I agree with Lifelogic above that we need to know what Cameron is fighting for and whether we agree with that.

    What people seem to have forgotten over the last 40 years is that Britain did trade with the countries of Europe before the European Union was set up and we will again (also that we have always travelled abroad and lived abroad and this will not change). Also that the British government is perfectly able to make its own laws and, if need be, negotiate with other countries when we sit as representative of Britain on organisations like CODEX and WTO etc. to work out the best world rules and regulations. At the moment an EU representative sits on these organisations on our behalf. We do not have to pay into the corrupt funds of the EU so it can go on bailing out failed countries time after time after time…………

    People who vote YES are terrified of change but have no vision of the past !

  20. Bert Young
    July 27, 2015

    Remaining in the EU – in whatever format simply means acceptance of an ever closer political union ; the debacle of Greece is an example . Without a political and economic integrated union there can be no overall discipline . I want no part in anything that limits in any way the power to make our own decisions and live the life of independence ; the differences that exist in the North and South of Europe are too wide .

  21. Kenneth
    July 27, 2015

    I think the term ‘cauldron of disagreements’ sums things up very well.

    William Hague was right about the burning building. The fire is now spreading outside of the Eurozone. The good news is that we still have an exit door. Moderate and rational people will surely vote for us to get out now before it is too late.

  22. Atlas
    July 27, 2015

    Sometimes I wonder why we bothered to ‘liberate’ Western Europe during the 1940s as it seems that most of those on the continent are content to be run by the Germans anyway, if Peter_V_L’s posts are representative…

    July 27, 2015

    The question may be decided in China.

    It is comforting feeling we are in control. The Fed’s manipulation upwards of the US Dollar continues to test even its closest political and military allies. Its manic over-production of oil and gas and its influence in other countries and businesses to over-produce say iron ore resulting in Australian and Chinese producers amongst others losing money has soured world trade.

    If China falls out with the EU, and it does on a regular basis, then because of our EU membership we automatically are deprived of markets in China. It would be an idea if Mr Cameron or any other British Prime Minister had power to make or break trading relationships. We could plan ahead if we felt trade was not going to our liking on individual issues. But the EU and USA set up trading boycotts with a very broad brush. Too broad for our little island. Detail is important. America’s Mohammed Ali-esque pronouncements of its economic prowess of “I’m the Greatest” raises now laughter in Russia, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Canada ( when it dares open its mouth ), and many parts of the EU which are not dependent like Latvia for their very survival on US military base spending.

    Geo-economic downturns often create shifting allegiances. The downturn is imminent. The EU is failing. So is the USA though cannot see it through its punch-drunk mentality.
    Who knows what will become of us in this changing world. Failing falling giants like the USA and EU as with the former USSR usually break their rapid decent on the living and viable bodies of smaller nations.
    We should resist another daft boycott and go play football in Russia in 2018. There does seem a major power in our lives attempting to use football as another of its tools in souring all inter-relationships external to the North American sub-continent.

  24. peter davies
    July 27, 2015

    the “dire future” arguments surely just cant wash anymore when we see the predicament of Greece as a working example.

    whilst there would no doubt be complexities with banking etc, the fact remains that if you pull out of the EU but stay in EEA/EFTA then you still have access to that market. Ok you don’t have a say in the rules, so what? We don’t have a say in the rules with regards to China/USA or anyone else.

    Lets just hope we have a fair referendum and the UK public votes out.

  25. Ian
    July 27, 2015

    Those campaigning to leave the European Union, need to focus their arguments and not get side tracked by details. The referendum will be unfair, because the establishment wants Britain to stay in the European Union. So do not waste energy on this matter. The fact is an opportunity is approaching where people can vote no. If the no campaign focuses its attention on the fundamental reasons why we would be better off outside of the European Union – it can win.

    Many years ago I helped found the East Midlands European Centre of Excellence. I own a business that trades within the European Union. Yet I have come to see the European Union as a dinosaur that in its current form has outlived its justification for existence. The creation of the Euro did not enhance the European Union it undermined it. Its existence means Britain will need to leave the European Union in the next 15 years regardless of whether the vote is to stay in, in 2017. The Euro Group will increasingly take decisions of benefit to them. If Britain remains within the European Union we will face a constant battle to maintain our own interests and we will be constantly undermined (witness the recent proposal to raid the European Stability Mechanism where the Euro zone members decided to do something without consulting properly with non-EU memebers).

    Britain is currently the fifth largest economy in the World and growing. We are the second largest economy within the European Union. It is ridiculous to suggest Britain would be diminished outside the European Union. Europe needs Britain more than we need Europe – this means the elements exist to ensure a good free trade agreement can be reached. If we leave, 3 million jobs will not disappear. The only jobs guaranteed to disappear will be those of the MEPs. So all the supporters for a no vote – focus, concentrate your arguments and stop wasting energy on complaints about what the yes supporters are doing.

  26. NickW
    July 27, 2015

    As someone who understood many years ago the pitfalls represented by the European Union, and who can see now that Spain, Italy, Portugal and France are going to get the same treatment as Greece, I want an organisation to join and support financially that will campaign for a NO vote, and I want it now.

    The NO vote has to be far broader than just UKIP, with a far wider appeal.Too much of the mud that the media threw at UKIP has stuck.

    1. T Lane
      July 27, 2015

      I have to especially agree with you about ukip. Farage and co may muster up extra votes but not enough to win. The key to this vote is mobilising Labour and Tory voters.

  27. Shieldsman
    July 27, 2015

    “Brexit” would harm international academic collaboration, Julia Goodfellow, president-elect of Universities UK, is due to say later today at the launch of a university-led campaign attended by pro-EU lawmakers.
    Now why would that be?
    Like International business and Sir Michael Rake does she have any idea of which part of the EU, if any the UK will end up in the next five years as treaty change is on its way.
    Will David Cameron negotiate any satisfactory changes before the Referendum in 2017, most unlikely.
    The colleagues want greater political integration to bolster the ECB’s control of the EURO. This requires an inner and outer grouping of member states.
    So what will be on offer to Cameron and the UK?
    Membership of the inner core and a seat at the top table with QMV will require adopting the EURO. Can Cameron pull that one.
    What will the outer circle rules be? The colleagues will decide.

    A YES vote would mean the real choice is full membership including the EURO, status quo is not on offer. To retain Sterling requires a NO vote and BREXIT.

    With BREXIT we can negotiate our own trading terms with the EU and the World, keep the pound sterling, control our borders and immigration. Get rid of CAP and CFP. Parliament will be sovereign once again making our own laws. Rid of all the baggage foisted on us by Brussels.

  28. Mike Stallard
    July 27, 2015

    If, say, Mr Corbyn got into parliament with a hinge majority, muffed it and then faced the public in a general election, he and his party would change sides of the house.
    If the current team of Commissioners want More europe, a new Lisbon Treaty with federation, with unity, they go forward and, when it obviously doesn’t work (Greece, Germany) they go on and offer more Europe again.
    People talk glibly of the Democratic Deficit. The problem, as Mr Krushchev found, is that you cannot do what the people need and want if you do not pay them any attention.

  29. Chris S
    July 28, 2015

    Cameron and Osborne seem to have no idea on a strategy for the negotiations.

    Just as we hear that the Eurozone are looking for treaty changes that they see as essential for 2017, Cameron wants to bring the referendum forward to 2016 !

    As we have a veto on any treaty change, surely we have a very strong card to play by ensuring our renegotiation is finalised at the same time as an agreement on the changes to the treaties that the Eurozone desperately needs ?

    It seems almost like Cameron wants a half-hearted result – rather like his pathetic offering on EVEL.

    Any “Political Agreement” he secures before an early referendum will not be worth the paper it will be written on. We know that Juncker will just say it’s not legally binding and ignore it. It really will be a rerun of Chamberlain’s “Peace In Our Time”

    I simply don’t understand what Cameron is doing.

  30. RB
    July 28, 2015

    To win the referendum we need to insist the State broadcaster refrain from its current bias…

    Do not all the BBC to refer to those against political union as being “against Europe”.
    Do not allow the BBC to refer to the option as being “in or out of Europe”.
    Do not allow the BBC to refer to those who wish to have political independence as “little Little Englander” who are “stuck in the past”. England is a great and powerful country.
    Do not allow the BBC to constantly refer to our geographical size and tell people we “cannot make it on our own”. Or that we have to be subservient to a German dominated EU to “punch above our weight in the world” or “compete with China”. We do not object politically to China anymore, so that is a non sequitur.
    Do not allow the BBC to claim millions of jobs are at stake and terrible uncertainty. Instead turn the argument on its head as John Redwoods article does above.
    Insist that the BBC have on pro EU voices on the BBC News channel (I have not seen one pro EU voice on the BBC News channel in the last few years).

  31. RB
    July 28, 2015

    To win the referendum we need to insist the State broadcaster refrain from its current bias…

    Do not all the BBC to refer to those against political union as being “against Europe”.

    Do not allow the BBC to keep saying that the option is “in or out of Europe”.

    Do not allow the BBC to refer to those who wish to have political independence as “Little Englanders” who are “stuck in the past”. England is a great and powerful country.

    Do not allow the BBC to constantly refer to our geographical size and tell people we “cannot make it on our own”. Or that we have to be subservient to a German dominated EU to “punch above our weight in the world” or “compete with China”. We do not object politically to China anymore, so that is a non sequitur.

    Do not allow the BBC to blur political union and economic union.

    Do not allow the BBC to claim millions of jobs are at stake and terrible uncertainty. Instead turn the argument on its head as John Redwoods article does above.

    Insist that the BBC have on anti EU voices on the BBC News channel (I have not seen one anti EU voice on the BBC News channel in the last few years).

  32. Richard
    July 28, 2015

    You are correct Mr. Redwood.

    A yes vote to remain in the EU is definitely not a vote for a status quo position as it will be taken by the Conservative leadership and the EU to mean that the UK is prepared to accept further political and fiscal integration. Just as a vote in the last referendum to join a “common market” was taken by both to include “ever close union”.

    Mr. Cameron has not defined what constitutes a “reformed Europe” that is acceptable to the UK because he himself is willing to accept anything to remain in the EU. Hence the current “negotiations” are meaningless.

    Those voters who genuinely wish to remain in a “reformed EU” should be voting “no/out” at this forthcoming referendum because meaningful negotiations will only take place once we have voted “no/out” in preparation for a second referendum that Mr. Cameron/the EU will insist upon.

  33. petermartin2001
    July 28, 2015

    Paul Krugman recently wrote:

    “let’s be clear: what we’ve learned these past couple of weeks (re Greece) is that being a member of the eurozone means that the creditors can destroy your economy if you step out of line”

    I’d argue that’s still true even if you stay in line. If the UK stays in the EU I’d just question whether not being in the EZ will continue to insulate the UK from those “creditors”. The UK runs a deficit and so has creditors too.

    Outside the EU those creditors can’t do anything with those ££ denominated securities other than cash them in and spend them on UK exports which could be a useful stimulus to the economy.

    Is that still the case if Britain is inside the EU. Suppose they demand the UK convert them to euros? The UK wouldn’t be in any better position that Greece to find those euros. They could destroy our economy too!

  34. Javelin
    July 28, 2015

    Spot on. The EU is integrating further. The EU need to offer us an opt out.

    A yes vote is therefore a vote for further integration and no vote is s vote for less integration.

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