Auf Wiedersehen, Angela?

There is little meeting of minds between the Franco German controllers of the EU and its most detached and unhelpful member, the UK.  The meeting between Mr Cameron and Mrs Merkel did its best to bridge the large and growing gap between the UK and the continent, but the truth is the political Channel has just got a lot wider.

The British people do not want to join the common borders project, do not like complete freedom of movement within the EU, and want the UK to gain more control over its borders and welfare system. They support Mr Cameron’s refusal to join a quota system for accepting new arrivals to the EU from outside. They  support his wish to reform welfare in ways which would limit access to benefits for recently arrived people from the continent.

The British people do not want to join the Euro. Even Lord Mandelson, one of the main instigators of Euro enthusiasm in the UK, now accepts the UK is not simply waiting for a more propitious time to join the project. The people who have argued the pro EU case recently against  me in debate have rushed to criticise the Euro and agree with me over its present shortcomings. As the Euro is the main part of the present EU project this places a big obstacle in the way of our friendly membership, and will mean hereafter we will always be demanding exemptions and special treatment from outside the principal centralising force.

The Prime Minister rightly argues we do not want ever closer union. The German Chancellor and the French President made clear this week that they do want ever closer union, and they want it now. They also seemed to imply that if the UK does not want it, it would be best if we left.

The UK wants fewer laws and regulations. The main method of ever closer union is for the EU to take over more and more areas of lawmaking so it has control. It is a fantasy to suppose the EU is about to halve its laws and agree to return large powers to the member states as a whole, as that cuts against the thrust of centralising to back and protect  the Euro. Promises of deregulation in a few areas have been made before, but have never materialised. Usually some figures are trotted out purporting to show some old directives and regulations have been discontinued. Usually what has happened is a far bigger and more comprehensive regulation or directive has taken the place of several smaller ones. The trend is continuously for more and  more EU law which any given member state cannot change if it wishes.

The easiest way of solving the UK problem is for both sides to agree that all we want – on both sides – is a free trade agreement, along with a range of agreements on extradition, air traffic, telecoms and other interconnections similar to those we already have and similar to those we have with non EU members. I hope that is what Mr Cameron concludes.It is the logic of his position, which has included opting out of the Fiscal Treaty, seeking to reduce the EU budget, and asking for fewer laws which have all proved contrary to the wishes of most continental governments.

In the meantime I support Vote Leave, as we do need to explain to people how being out of the current EU will be so much better than being in. Germany and France could be liberated by the absence of the UK seeking to restrain their centralising push for ever closer union. We will be free to pursue our global agenda for freer trade and better relations between states. We will also be £10 billion a year better off, or £300 per family every year we are out.


  1. Rita Webb (Mrs)
    October 10, 2015

    Only £300 per family? I am forced into paying around half of that for the equally unwanted BBC. How about forcing its income down proportionate to its size to the EU?

    1. Lifelogic
      October 10, 2015

      Plus at least 20 times that sum in the costs of the daft laws, expensive religious energy, fishing regulations and the other bonkers regulation they inflict on us.

      1. Hefner
        October 10, 2015

        Are you willing to send me £6300 once we are out of the EU?

        1. Lifelogic
          October 10, 2015

          I am out of the EU already than goodness. But my UK businesses will certainly be far better off out (so long as Corbyn does not get in and someone can stop/pull back Osborne and Cameron from being even worse than Ted Heath and John Major were.

          I think getting out would be worth well over the million to me.

          Not quite sure why I should pay you for it though?

        2. libertarian
          October 11, 2015


          Yes happy to send you £6300 . Please first send me your contribution of £7500 to the club, plus let me have full access and control of your bank account. i will also be letting you know in due course what you can do for a living and will be regulating how you do it

        3. Denis Cooper
          October 11, 2015


  2. Lifelogic
    October 10, 2015

    Indeed I agree fully.

    We have however also had many “promises of deregulation” from the Tories, but these too have never materialised, quite the reverse.

    Three cheers for Charles Moore on Any Questions for having the courage to point out that the NHS is one of the worst public health systems in the civilised World. Though he did blot his copy book by saying “David Aaronovitch is an excellent columnist”. I am sure he meant to say tedious and wrong headed but was just being over polite.

    I see that Lord Rose, former head of Marks and Spencer, is to lead pro-EU campaign.

    Lord Rose said: “Most people, myself included, will make a hard-headed, practical calculation in the coming referendum on what is best for the British people.
    “I believe that Britain is stronger in Europe. The choice in the coming referendum is between remaining stronger, safer and better off inside Europe, or taking a leap into the unknown, risking our prosperity, threatening our safety, and diminishing our influence in the world.

    “Threatening our safely” is he suggesting that the EU will invade us by force if we do not submit to their appalling and undemocratic EU? “Vote to stay in in or the EU will invade us” does not sound like a good way to win the argument to me.

    Hard headed? Rather more wooden headed and profoundly wrong.

    1. Lifelogic
      October 10, 2015

      Government planning assault on final salary pension schemes I see. Well certainly they should do something about the over generous state sector ones. Start with the one for MPs perhaps, as we are “all in this together”.

      1. A different Simon
        October 10, 2015

        Lifelogic ,

        I think it is necessary to elevate the debate re pensions and stop talking about final salary and move it on to defined benefit and defined contribution .

        We have the largest most bloated civil service in the world .

        Israel does their defense procurement with 3% of the people it requires in the U.K. and the UK Environment Agency has 10 times the number of staff as are responsible for the same areas in Germany .

        Who would have thought that Anglo Saxon UK would have a more bloated civil service than socialist France ?

        So why is it that the Govt cannot take responsibility for offering the populace a vocational pension scheme ?

        If the public sector schemes are affordable like they say then there is no problems opening them up to everyone .

        If they are not then they should be replaced by a scheme which can be opened up to everyone – probably defined contribution in case our children are not as rich as we think they will be .

        1. Lifelogic
          October 10, 2015

          Indeed a bloated and more and more expensive state sector yet delivering less and less of any real value.

          1. Bob Nozhitch
            October 11, 2015

            Indeed a bloated and more and more expanded persona yet delivering less and less of any real value.

    2. Iain Moore
      October 10, 2015

      ‘taking a leap into the unknown’

      The Creationists believe the world is 10,000 years old, the EU acolytes believe that nothing existed before the Jan 1st 1958 , otherwise Lord Rose would understand that there isn’t a scary unknown if we become a self governing country again.

      As for his claims about milk , homey and prosperity for all in the EU, as a business man he should realise that being locked into an institutionally sclerotic organisation, that fails time and time again to meet the challenges it faces, whether its an issue about migrants, or the Euro, or that it took them 30 years to make changes to the Common Fisheries policy, and still not get it right, then such an organisation will not, cannot, and is not, offering a competitive business environment that will enable its citizens to flourish. Lord Rose should of all people know, in trying to turn round M&S that inertia is not a good business partner.

      1. Lifelogic
        October 10, 2015


      2. Chris
        October 10, 2015

        There are some interesting comments in newspaper comments sections about Rose’s financial affairs e.g. on European Advisory Committee for Bridgepoint and Bridgepoint’s move to acquire part of the Appleby group. See report from Sky News from earlier this year. Man of the people he is not, I fear, but rather a multi millionaire with links to Europe Private Equity Funds. Nothing obviously wrong in him making money, but what it does reinforce is the view that the EU benefits greatly big players in the financial world, be it corporate enterprises or multinationals, involved in more obscure/complex financial manoeuvring.

        Reply I have taken out all the bits about Bridgepoint, as Lord Rose will not be speaking for Bridgepoint when he speaks for Remain EU

        1. Chris
          October 10, 2015

          Don’t you think that people are entitled to know Rose’s business interests/possible conflict of interests and why he is strongly pro EU and its business stance? As my comment stands, with the key information removed, it will have little impact as many people will not have the first idea of what Bridgepoint and Appleby specialise in and how they are apparently closely related to his interests. I was merely giving the information which is on a reputable news source website – Sky News. A similar censorship would be to refer to James Dyson yet cut out his key business interests. They are fundamental to his rise and standing in this country.

      3. libertarian
        October 10, 2015

        Iain Moore

        Great post, spot on.

        Rose wasn’t much cop at running M& S either

    3. Denis Cooper
      October 10, 2015

      What he said is pretty vague for the purposes of a “hard-headed calculation”!

      1. Lifelogic
        October 10, 2015

        They have to be vague as they have no rational arguments to put.

  3. Duyfken
    October 10, 2015

    Germany and France want ever closer union and know that Britain wants less and not more. Even Hollande, and Merkel also, recognise that our respective positions are untenable, so should not we who wish to LEAVE enlist their assistance? Some repeated forthright statements from these two of their unswerving aims for a political federation should provide the LEAVE lobby invaluable support.

  4. formula57
    October 10, 2015

    You say “…Lord Mandelson, one of the main instigators of Euro enthusiasm in the UK…”. Is there no end to that naughty man’s wickedness?

    Ang and François should surely recognize that unconstrained by the UK, their version of the EU would flourish (for them) and so they would be best served by aiding the Leave campaign though showing a good relationship, mutually beneficial, could easily exist post Brexit. Let us hope so!

    1. libertarian
      October 10, 2015


      Trouble is they need our money to pay for their plans, and they need our markets to sell their dodgy VW’s too. When we leave France & Germany will be left to pay for the whole sorry lot of the expanded 2nd world club of 30

    2. Denis Cooper
      October 10, 2015

      I don’t think the UK is actually constraining them very much; even if the UK resists, which it often doesn’t do, there’s usually some possibility of doing what they want with the UK having an opt-out, or doing what they want through the treaty provisions on enhanced co-operation, or doing what they want through an intergovernmental treaty outside the EU treaty framework, with or without illegal use of the EU institutions, or finally certainly Merkel can simply decide to set aside the EU treaties and laws and do what she wants anyway.

  5. Mike Stallard
    October 10, 2015

    “The Prime Minister rightly argues we do not want ever closer union.”
    We are in the position of the poor girl with Sir Jasper: “O Sir Jasper do not touch me…” I am sure you know it. Up to now we are about up to O Sir Jasper do not…”

    Meanwhile the Europeans (especially “Mutti” Merkel) know full well that the pike in the European fish pond have prevented us becoming carp – Otto von Bismarck. Poland is more or less where Frau Merkel’s (Lutheran church Pastor) father brought her up. And look what happened there in 1796! Rubbed in by the Russians in 1840. Europe – especially Eastern Europe – is no place for a democratic commonwealth of independent nations. Hitler and Stalin feasted on that mistake.

  6. Antisthenes
    October 10, 2015

    The new leader of the remain group just installed maybe a brilliant business man but he has already made the reasons for remaining ones that cannot be proved or disproved. Sounds compelling but are baseless. It is obvious that the remain approach is going to remain the same and it is to be to frighten the voters to their cause. They are also not going to bother with such niceties as producing evidence, sticking to the facts or telling the truth.

    It is necessary for the leavers to expose him for having a conflict of interest as he has a vested interests in remaining in the EU. He comes from a group that EU laws benefit the most but not the rest of us and that is big business. This group uses EU law to avoid paying tax in the UK and to stifle competition by being able to afford the never ending draconian regulations that spew out of Brussels that smaller business or nascent entrepreneurs cannot.

    1. Lifelogic
      October 10, 2015


      Also the nearly are the pro lot were in favour of the ERM and the EURO. Both were (or would have been for the UK) complete and entirely predictable disasters. They have an excellent record of being proven wrong.

    2. Iain Moore
      October 10, 2015

      It seems the EU fanatics case is going to be based around the argument…stay close to Brussels skirts for there be monsters out there.

      The very opening arguments from the leader of the ‘IN’ campaign , Lord Rose, is to play the fear card. It shows how threadbare their case is that they have to resort to that tactic at the launch of their campaign. And if that is how they have started their campaign , one can only be concerned at what depth they will have sunk by the end of it.

      1. Denis Cooper
        October 10, 2015

        Well, if the UK leaves the EU then no doubt it will soon succumb to Nazism, as it did before. Oh, no, sorry, that was Germany, not the UK. And fascism in Italy, and various other nasties in other EU member states …

      2. Mark
        October 10, 2015

        It reminds me of the Grimm fairy tale – Little Red Riding Hood. The wolf is in Mutti’s clothing, with a big mouth – all the better to eat us with.

  7. Derek Vaughan
    October 10, 2015

    Associate Membership offer coming 2017.
    In the ‘slow lane’ but still on the same road with the same burdens and heading in the same direction.

    1. ian wragg
      October 10, 2015

      Exactly Derek. John is very quiet on AM and I’m sure he knows Dave is going to come waving his paper saying how he has negotiated a good deal with AM.
      Same destination but 2025 before joining the Euro.
      Meanwhile, no reform, no reduction in budget and still 2000 foreigners settling daily on our shores.
      A & E waiting times up to 12 hours as foreigners use it as their GP.
      Schools bursting at the seams with English kids being bussed around to give precedence to the incomers.
      No money for elderly health care but £50 billion plus for EU contributions, IMF funds to bail out the PIIGS and foreign aid.
      Good deal my a…

      Reply I Am far fro m quiet on AM. I want the restoration of UK democracy as I have made clears all the time. Why do you keep suggesting I am looking for continued EU subservience? I am not your problem. Just unite and fight for a UK which can make her own decisions.

      1. matthu
        October 10, 2015


        Would an arrangement where we have to win the support of other governments in order to be able to block an EU proposal ever satisfy your requirement for the restoration of UK democracy?

        This seems to be what Mr Cameron will be proposing.

        Reply Of course not

        1. Denis Cooper
          October 11, 2015

          That’s what the crafty Hague came up with, and no doubt there’ll be those who deliberately misrepresent it as they did during the debates over the Lisbon Treaty. Just remember that when it says “parliaments”, plural, that doesn’t mean each parliament being able to act on its own, only a sufficiently large group of parliaments acting together.

  8. alan jutson
    October 10, 2015

    Not much more to add JR.

    Just hope more of our politicians wake up before the referendum to help the nations decide the time is up we are better off out.

    1. Tad Davison
      October 10, 2015

      I think there’s a tipping point Alan. If enough signposts like John, show how the EU is an on-going disaster, and the British public listen, it won’t be long before the ‘weathercocks’ in parliament recognise the change in the public’s mood, change their minds accordingly, and follow their lead. We might then get what we really need, a complete withdrawal rather than petty tinkering.

      I wish I could say I trust MPs judgement, but I have been listening to their hollow, vacuous ill-informed arguments for longer than I care to recall, and they leave me singularly unimpressed. After all, it was the ‘weathercocks’ who got us into this mess in the first place by meekly submitting to their leader’s wishes and going along with the party line. They seemingly have no direction of their own, or the strength to fight for what is right, they always seem to have one eye on their career prospects instead.

      I am glad men like JR and Sir Teddy Taylor have been vindicated. I haven’t a lot of time for anyone who delivered this EU monster to us in the first place through their pathetic acquiescence. They didn’t listen to reason, but I’m hoping at long last, they might this time because thousands of years of our own self-determination is at stake. If we fail, we will ‘sink into the abyss of a new dark age’ and our democracy will have been extinguished for ever short of civil insurrection to get it back.


      1. Timaction
        October 10, 2015

        This comment is spot on.

  9. Lifelogic
    October 10, 2015

    Radio 4 droning on about the gender pay gap again today. No one sensible there to point out that the gap is entirely explained by the different jobs the genders choose to do, the work life balance choices they make, the different A levels and degrees they tend to choose.

    Women without children already earn more than men and younger women about the same. Actors are paid what the box office suggests they are worth, some get millions other almost nothing. Just as female footballers are paid less as so few want to watch them. Male models earn less than female one for similar reason.

    Such is live time for the BBC to grow up.

    The only way to get rid of the gender pay gap is by huge discrimination against males or perhaps by forcing males to study different degrees and take long career breaks. That is what the dopes at the BBC seems to want.

    1. Lifelogic
      October 10, 2015


      Such is life. Time for the BBC to grow up and stop trying to wanting to actively discriminate against men by law.

      That is what I meant to say.

  10. alan jutson
    October 10, 2015

    To be fair, for the EU to work as France and Germany want it to work, there is no choice but ever closer union for all of those who are in the Euro Zone (and those others who are mandated to join it).

    It will then be much easier for the central core to run all such Countries as one, with a common policy on everything, instead of as now a collection of National Countries with some National identities all trying to hold on to some sort individual power/independence.

    The choice should be full integration or out !


    1. MIke Stallard
      October 10, 2015

      Alan – your comments never fail to hit the mark!
      All true.
      The Spinelli Fundamental Law is written with the Lisbon Treaty alongside for comparison. It has then been supported by the Five Presidents’ Report and in the EU Parliament there is a huge following too for More Europe.
      In 2017 we are going to be offered Associate Membership (according the Spinelli Group) for ratification. This can either be done by referendum or through national parliaments.
      So the choice will be integration – or Associate Membership or out. Me, I am for “leave” !

    2. ian wragg
      October 10, 2015

      It will be interesting to see how the French react when the proverbial hits the fan.
      The public sector will have to be cut by at least 50% and their deficit eliminated.
      This on top of massive youth unemployment and millions of non jobs in national and local government.
      My French colleague reckons there is trouble ahead. Look at Air France….

  11. David Murfin
    October 10, 2015

    At last. A clear statement of your position, without your usual balanced presentation of arguments for UK to be in the EU. Perhaps that’s because there really are none.

    Reply When did I ever argue to stay in and what advantage did I allege?

    1. zorro
      October 10, 2015

      Reply to reply – In all fairness, over the years I have never heard John explicitly argue to stay in the EU. He might posit various scenarios which could be presented to the public for approval (not by him) but I have always been clear that he has always been an ‘outer’ so to speak (not that he was an ‘inner’ even in 1975)….. I cannot think of any likely scenario when he would contradict that now.


  12. nigel
    October 10, 2015

    Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande are quite right; the UK should either agree to move towards full integration, or get out. Clearly we should get out.
    JR: The lobby to keep us in will rely largely on the natural fear factor that most people have of the unknown. We need to paint a clear, positive and detailed picture of how the UK will look post exit.

    I also believe that one of the greatest arguments for leaving will be to point out that whichever politicians we like or dislike, whether it be Jeremy Corbyn, John Redwood, Nigel Farage or David Cameron, at least we have an opportunity to vote to get rid of them if we want to, whereas we have no chance of getting rid of Jean-Claude Juncker or any of the six other EU Presidents.

    1. libertarian
      October 10, 2015



      I want the Leave campaign to start telling us how many more cancer patients we could treat with the money saved, how many more jobs would be available having stopped the free movement of EU job seekers. How much more we could pay our pensioners if we stopped wasting money on the EU. I want to estimate how much more in corporation taxes and vat would be raised by UK revenue if we aren’t forced to comply with every EU regulation whether we are trading with the EU or not.

      There are so many positives to leaving and I want to see the leave campaign highlighting them. Banging on about sovereignty means nothing to the average person ( most of whom don’t even bother to vote) although we know its important. This won’t be what it comes down to. As ALWAYS in British politics its about the money.

  13. matthu
    October 10, 2015

    John, I wonder whether you would care to comment about the proposed inquiry being launched by The Treasury Select Committee into Britain’s membership of the European Union.

    A three-month enquiry. Did the government not initiate a much longer, deeper inquiry a couple of years ago which has still not been released?

    “The report will contain suggestions on what should be included in any renegotiation package and highlight what the Government should think about and who it should speak to as the referendum date approaches. ”

    Really? Is the inquiry providing input to Mr Cameron?

    “The committee’s job will be to attempt to marshal the evidence on this important question into a coherent form, enabling the electorate to make a more informed decision.”

    So is the intended audience the government, or the electorate?

    Is this a genuine inquiry which will fairly represent all views or is it another attempt at a government stitch-up?

    Do you have confidence that your own views will be fairly represented?

    Reply The Inquiry is the wish to Tyrie, the Chairman and his multi party committee. It may be reporting a bit late given where we are.

    1. matthu
      October 10, 2015

      So, the inquiry is the wish of Tyrie, Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee.

      The same Andrew Tyrie who managed Ken Clarke’s campaign for leadership of the Conservative Party. Enough said.

      This will not be a balanced inquiry.

  14. Martin Collyer
    October 10, 2015


    Your figure of £10 billion! Is that our gross or net contribution?

    Reply Net

    1. Martin Collyer
      October 10, 2015

      Thank you John.

  15. agricola
    October 10, 2015

    The logic of what you say is all too compelling. We the UK do not like what the EU has created and is in the process of creating for their future. We cannot accept the way in which it increasingly impinges on all we hold dear, our democracy, our World trade, our legal system and above all our sovereignty.

    I do hope that your leader is now at last beginning to wake up to the consequences of what he has been trying to sell us, the British people. There is no way we can be in the EU and not subject to it. I do hope this realisation has now dawned on him. The solution, as you and many others have been espousing is a free trade agreement, friendship, and cooperation where it makes mutual sense. Within this there is no logical reason why those from the EU we want in the UK cannot be welcomed and vice versa. It is already working for Norway and Switzerland as some of my friends here in Spain are examples. In fact where I live we have quite a large and thriving Norwegian community alongside the British, Dutch, German, Belgian and Russian communities. The French tend only to come on holiday.

    1. Tad Davison
      October 10, 2015


      I wouldn’t trust Cameron anymore than I’d stroke the head of a Rattlesnake. He’s the master of the caveat, and anyone who qualifies a certain political position or aspiration as much as he does, or wraps it up in such a way that there’s always a get-out clause, should be treated with the utmost suspicion.

      For the moment, he’s playing for time. Just like the £12 billion of cuts, the details of which they wouldn’t give us before the election, so his re-negotiation hasn’t been made clear, because he knows it would bind his hands. He’s up to something, and I’m not keen on his methods.

      I find it incredible that Cameron has got away with so much already, particularly his spectacular failings on the national debt, and on immigration. He knows that a lot of immigration is bound up with the EU he wants to chain us to. He won the last election not for positive reasons, but because people were scared by the alternative. Just watch the ‘in’ campaign use those same scaremongering tactics to frighten people into thinking there is no sustainable alternative to staying in the EU.


  16. Anonymous
    October 10, 2015

    Mr Cameron knows full well that we will be taking our quota of migrants one way or another – the record levels this year mean that he has accepted it.

    Lord Rose (the proEU campaign leader) claims that leaving the EU would be ‘a leap in the dark’ – not half so much a leap in the dark as remaining within it !

    1. matthu
      October 10, 2015

      Remember Clegg’s reply when he was asked “What will the EU be like in 10 years ?” Clegg response was “I suspect it will be quite similar to what it is now.”

      I don’t know which is worse. The EU and the UK remaining broadly as they are today, or the EU and the UK following the same trajectory as they are intent on following today. Hang on … yes I do.

    2. yosarion
      October 10, 2015

      I would sooner be in the dark and left to my own initiative to find my way out, rather than as we are today, in the dark but actually its just a bloody big hole that the likes of Cameron Brown Blair et all keep digging us into under the rouse of ever closer union.

  17. Gary C
    October 10, 2015

    There is little being said about Angela Merkel’s wish to integrate continental Europe’s armed forces, maybe we should be asking those wanting to give themselves away to Europe if they would be so happy when their offspring are sent off to war under the command of bureaucrats who so far have proved unworthy of the positions they hold.

  18. adams
    October 10, 2015

    Your leaders want us in John and will do everything in their considerable power to get that result . Meanwhile T May waffles on about immigration while it increases drastically .

  19. Graham Wood
    October 10, 2015

    JR. Very good post indeed and especially the neat summary of your last para. as to why we must leave.
    I have but one relatively minor question to raise. You will support Vote to Leave group, but I wonder why that choice as opposed to the Leave.EU ? If Vote to Leave website is an indication of the quality and level of non-argument they will adopt in the coming campaign then they deserve to lose! Shrouded in black, two of their windows on ‘The issues’ and ‘Our Campaign’ do not function giving the impression of sloppy and amateurish approach. (Still not corrected since their launch)
    By contrast, the Leave.EU site is very informative, bright and attractive, and full of sound reasons as to why we should leave the EU. Sound, well presented information by all groups will be important for those who as yet are either uninformed or undecided.

    1. ian wragg
      October 10, 2015

      Correct. I have joined Leave.EU for the same reasons. The vote to leave group looks very amateurish by contrast.

    2. M Davis
      October 10, 2015

      “I believe these campaigns [Vote Leave and Leave.EU] are aiming at different audiences and are complimentary not contradictory. Ultimately, I hope that we have one campaign that operates on a number of levels.” – Nigel Farage

    3. matthu
      October 10, 2015

      perhaps Cameron will come back with his proposition for a new relationship with the EU and present this negotiation as the LEAVE option.

      So the two options would be to REMAIN within the EU or LEAVE and accept what Cameron has managed to “negotiate” …

  20. oldtimer
    October 10, 2015

    I agree with your position. It is either in or out. There is, or there will not be, any halfway house.

    A German journalist, on BBC this am, said that so far as Merkel is concerned there will be no treaty change and no restriction on movement of labour. On the latter the best that can be expected is non payment of benefits to non residents or those who have only worked here a short time (he cited a recent case in Germany). The UK could keep its existing opt outs (such as membership of the euro), but that is it. Quite where that left opting out of “ever closer union” was, we were left to assume, down to Merkel`s opposition to any treaty change. In short, Cameron would get nowhere on this.

    We hear nothing from Cameron about his negotiating position because he knows there is no point in declaring one – he will suffer the humiliation of being rebuffed. There will be nothing specific offered to the UK. That, presumably, is why we get all the talk about reform of the EU, which would apply to everyone. In short it is a game of smoke and mirrors.

    The Stay campaign should be more honest. It should say it is in favour of ever closer union. That is the logical outcome of its argument to stay without knowing what terms, if any, might be offered to the UK. For the Stay campaign, Cameron`s “negotiating position” is irrelevant.

    1. Denis Cooper
      October 10, 2015

      No, little is being said because Cameron is still feeling his way towards proposals that would be acceptable to other EU leaders, especially Merkel of course.

      As the Foreign Secretary put it:

      “We very much appreciate the private advice that we have had in order to steer the shape of the package we are looking for in a way that is deliverable, that fits more comfortably with the red lines that our partners have”.

  21. A.Sedgwick
    October 10, 2015

    1.”Even Lord Mandelson, one of the main instigators of Euro enthusiasm in the UK, now accepts the UK is not simply waiting for a more propitious time to join the project. ”
    Have Messrs Clarke and Heseltine seen the light?

    2. I would describe Mr. Cameron as a political opportunist, no real policies of his own but adept at picking up others e.g. heir to Blair, becoming New Labour, gay marriage, increasing tax thresholds for lower paid under great pressure from Clegg, climate change/global warming/green energy, foreign aid. His commitment to an EU referendum pre election has him hoist by his own petard as he probably didn’t expect to have to deliver. Now he and his No.2 are frantically trying to find middle ground around Europe which will be presented as a satisfactory renegotiation – again picking others’ brains. The game is increasingly up, Mrs. Merkel was reported the other day as to wanting to know precisely what they wanted. It is time for Mr. Cameron to accept that renegotiation is a preposterous concept, come clean by commiting himself to the EU lock, stock and barrel or accept the UK and the EU are a bad fit(political opportunism)and give us a quick referendum on Brexit or submission.

  22. Bert Young
    October 10, 2015

    I gave instructions for the shares I have in Marks and Spencer to be sold today . Stuart Rose did a good job while he was in charge of M&S ; he knew what his customers wanted and he got good results for the shareholders . His present option to lead the campaign to stay “In” is a surprising turn of his back and shows an arrogance I did not think he had in him . Businessmen do not always make good politicians .

    Brexit looms ever closer and Dr.JR’s post today sums up the reason for doing so particularly well . The confrontation recently in Strasbourg between Farage and Merkel/Hollande and the subsequent show of Merkel’s embarrassment , was a pleasure to behold ; Hollande’s explosion and Merkel’s passive support for him showed just how Europe is joined at the hip . She is facing a huge kick back in Germany following the influx of immigrants just at a time when Germany is warming up to an election . She is facing a defeat and is desperate for whatever support she can get . Hollande’s position in France is in an ever worse mess ; Le Pen’s movement gains more and more strength and its economy is in a very shaky position . The EU myth is broken .

    1. Chris
      October 10, 2015

      I would be interested in the views of other readers of this site on two youtube clips of Marine Le Pen: one at the European Parliament, in the same debate at which Farage spoke in your posting above, Bert. Apparently attempts have been made to block its appearance on the web, but the videoclip of a few minutes has survived and is worth watching. Also, Le Pen’s contribution to the Oxford Union debate in September 2015 (approx. an hour, with subtitles). Apparently she was received well. Members of the OU don’t suffer fools gladly, so I thought this positive reaction was significant.

    2. forthurst
      October 10, 2015

      “[Stuart Rose’s] present option to lead the campaign to stay “In” is a surprising turn of his back and shows an arrogance I did not think he had in him .”

      As far as politicians are concerned, retailers are the cleverest outside their own profession, with the CEO of Marks and Sparks, quite simply a prodigy. Philip Green was the obvious choice to sort out the Civil Service. Of course, retailing at that level is quite complex: confronted with a garment whose cost is £5.00, do you up the price by a factor of 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 or more before hanging it in your shop? Not like actually making stuff like Aero Engines which clearly would not tax the intellect of Rose or for that matter the last grocer who ran R-R who brilliantly attempted to improve its market performance by a share buy-back. Meanwhile, the new CEO, a lowly engineer, has been doing nothing but spending shareholders’ money on new production facilities here, there and everywhere. At least, Lord Adonis who knows nothing about engineering has been appointed the government’s large engineering project Supremo, although, worryingly, he appears to lack that vital experience of flogging overpriced tat.

  23. Atlas
    October 10, 2015

    John, agreed !

  24. Shieldsman
    October 10, 2015

    “In the meantime I support Vote Leave”

    You wrote a well thought out argument for ‘Better off Out’. They are associated with Leave.EU. Who We Are: Better Off Out is a cross-party campaign group that works to take Britain out of the European Union. While we have supporters from politicians, business leaders and academics, our primary focus is on working with the great British public. We campaign right across the UK – manning market stalls, delivering leaflets and engaging with the public in every corner of the UK. and are one.
    They are one of many organisations wishing to leave the EU, who do not believe any renegotiation is possible or viable and are not connected to ‘Vote Leave’.

    So who do ‘Vote Leave’ represent? It is a renaming of Business for Britain run by chief executive, Matthew Elliott and the campaign director Dominic Cummings. You can go back and read the stated aims of Business for Britain and you will find they back renegotiated Membership with a promissory note for an undisclosed 2nd league associate membership.
    The word LEAVE appears in the naming but it is not a commitment to leave.
    Read the second paragraph in which the word NEGOTIATE appears: We should negotiate a new UK-EU deal based on free trade and friendly cooperation.
    Whatever the politicians claim, the best thing to do is to vote ‘leave’ and force the politicians to start negotiating. This is much safer than to vote ‘remain’ and wait for years to see what the politicians do after the next election. A ‘leave’ vote is our best bet to avoid being cheated.
    So are they threatening to leave in order to achieve a renegotiated membership?
    Who does Vote Leave actually represent. Is the Conservative Party and big business trying to get control of the OUT vote?
    We are working with many organisations and people. For example, Business for Britain represents over 1,000 business leaders. Labour Leave is the Labour campaign for a ‘leave’ vote. Conservatives for Britain supports David Cameron’s attempt to negotiate a fundamentally different relationship with the EU and supports the creation of a professional, cross-party campaign that can fight the referendum if the EU fails to allow fundamental change.
    So it is still hanging on to the forlorn hope that Cameron can change the direction of the EU to closer control. What a Hope!!!
    It is being billed as a cross party organisation. Prominently saying Douglas Carswell of UKIP supports it – funny UKIP as a Political Party does not support it but backs LEAVE.EU. Labour support is a bit thin on the ground with only three MP’s, Kate Hoey, Kelvin Hopkins (L); and Graham Stringer (L).
    It is not representative of the Public at large.
    As Stuart Rose has made very clear for IN, ‘Big Business’ including the Internationals wishes to stay in the EU, as the perks for the business and the directors are mammoth.

  25. Graham Wood
    October 10, 2015

    “We hear nothing from Cameron about his negotiating position because he knows there is no point in declaring one – he will suffer the humiliation of being rebuffed.”

    Exactly so! We should not forget that DC has declared that he wishes to remain only in a “reformed” EU.
    That is certainly not going to be a few relatively minor concessions such as reducing benefits for EU immigrants, but ought to include radical reappraisal and repatriation of hugely important policy areas such as the CAP, the CFP, strict UK border control on uncontrolled immigration, reduction of our membership of £12 Billion,
    and above all else the restoration of the primacy of UK law over that of the EU, to name but a few.

    Since it is extremely unlikely that he will obtain any of these, and if he fails to get the desired “reform”, then he should adopt the statesman-like position of advocating that the UK should leave.
    Will he have the honesty and integrity to campaign for that?

    October 10, 2015

    The whole debate on the EU is odd and stage-managed to the point of farce.Apart from political and social activists, no-one I have spoken with in EU countries or migrants living here favour open borders.Nor do they welcome or approve of large or even small numbers of migrants and refugees into their own or their adopted towns and villages…not even those hailing from their own countries.
    No Council in the UK, unless it wishes certain electoral defeat at the next local elections, openly even caters for long-standing Travellers, as they are known. The same is true of Germany. Perhaps more so. They like Order.

    Mr Cameron declared at Conference that “Twitter is not reality” No, but news via that and other social media confirm the view that UK news services are totally misrepresenting other countries and their peoples. Goodness, we have millions of foreigners and foreign born here in England who will tell you they find the UK media like 1930s Pravda. Not to be believed. They do not recognise their own countries as are pictured on UK TV.

    The Germans are in fact, and it must be stressed, in a figurative way, up in arms about the open borders policy of Mrs Merkel . Germany is not the rich country as portrayed. It does not have job vacancies for a million extra non-German speaking workers; nor a million empty houses, nor empty hospital beds, and an army of translators and social workers idling about touting for work just hoping a million people will just drop in and give them something to do.

    So let’s get real. Lord Rose, championed a Conservative Election Campaign once upon a time and within months if not weeks, made redundant many M&S workers, closed down shops but kept employed German workers in its stores in Germany. So he prefers Germany and Germans to British people. He heads the IN Campaign. Not in Germany. But here. Odd. Most odd.
    M& S are just opening a “Flagship store in a Mall in Beijing ( after closing others in Shanghai and after other western retailers have failed miserably to start their multi-billion dollar businesses in a country about which they know nothing whatsoever. China is not Germany. The UK is not Germany. Lord Rose and Mrs Merkel need to rid themselves of their flawed EU-made sat navs and buy British ones.

  27. Bob
    October 10, 2015

    “In the meantime I support Vote Leave”

    @Mr Redwood – I would like to share an extract from a comment from an article in the Telegraph entitled “Douglas-Carswell-Why-Im-backing-Vote-Leave-in-the-EU-referendum”

    “It is becoming clear that Cameron’s new tactic is not “reform” but to latch on to a treaty change that will be discussed in 2017 and ratified in 2022 (see Juncker’s State of the Union address). The EU have already decided that they will create a 2-speed EU with Britain given the option of the 2nd tier (essentially the same as now, but with the 1st tier advancing towards political union, with the 2nd tier given the option of joining later).
    Cameron is going to present this ‘Associate Membership’ as a great victory, and the media will probably lap this up for a while (like his ‘veto’ that wasn’t).”

    Based on the Tory leadership’s track record on such matters I suspect this is an accurate prediction of things to come.

    1. matthu
      October 10, 2015

      So it only remains to be seen whether Cameron presents this AM as the REMAIN option or the LEAVE option?

    October 10, 2015

    Lord Rose is not going to convince anyone to vote to stay in the EU unless they think expensive carrot cake and relatively expensive clothes stapled together by retrained cobblers in Bangladesh are the decisive factor.

  29. Denis Cooper
    October 10, 2015

    I know one should not speak ill of the dead, but I remember Geoffrey Howe saying that it was one of the proudest times of his political career when MPs passed Section 2(1) of the European Communities Act 1972 as he had it drafted, so effectively giving carte blanche for whatever garbage may be sent across from Brussels in the future:

    “2. General implementation of Treaties.”

    “(1) All such rights, powers, liabilities, obligations and restrictions from time to time created or arising by or under the Treaties, and all such remedies and procedures from time to time provided for by or under the Treaties, as in accordance with the Treaties are without further enactment to be given legal effect or used in the United Kingdom shall be recognised and available in law, and be enforced, allowed and followed accordingly; and the expression “enforceable Community right” and similar expressions shall be read as referring to one to which this subsection applies.”

  30. Peter Stroud
    October 10, 2015

    It is important that the OUT campaign stresses the vast differences between the organisation we voted for, and that which exists now. We have moved from a treaty for six nations to unite under a trade agreement: a common market – to a quasi superstate involving twenty six nations. From a loose union to one that dictates laws, and interferes at all levels of government. And where important decisions are taken by a group of unelected bureaucrats.

    October 10, 2015

    Heaven only knows what the Leave and Remain campaigns are trying on with the British. It appears to be a variation on the comedic “Listen to me I… am intelligent!” but in this case “Listen to me I…am important! ”
    I dare say there are certain business and political leaders in this world where a Brit having a title or being a CEO or Chairman of something makes them feel comfortable and on a level playing field with people they think likely to accept a bribe or offer a bribe. But as far as the British electorate are concerned, they themselves are more likely to listen to and believe Bob the Builder or Mandy the Clerk.
    It must be remembered the British Establishment WERE very good at expanding in the world and building companies, making colonies and protectorates. But to be fair they did not have much competition. Just as soon as “the restless natives” figured out how to load a gun and fire back then the British Establishment got into a laager and then at dawn headed back tail between their legs to Blighty and awarded themselves knighthoods and peerages and spoke with an even posher cut-glass accents hoping the British people would not notice. We noticed.

  32. DaveM
    October 10, 2015


    “The German Chancellor and the French President made clear this week that they do want ever closer union, and they want it now.”

    The French and the German people may not want it though – French elections in a couple of years; do you think those two individuals are rushing things through because Hollande has less than a cat in hell’s chance of victory? And more importantly, do you think a right wing French government would have any qualms about tearing up treaties and agreements written by Hollande, Merkel and Juncker?!!

  33. MikeP
    October 10, 2015

    Interesting to see that the UK has clocked up greater exports to non-EU countries than to those within the EU, and now for TWELVE MONTHS RUNNING. How the bogus claim that to leave would be a step into the unknown I can’t understand ?! I seem to remember many good things about the pre-1975 era and we’re seeing them again now, British Bulldog spirit, global reach and entrepreneurism.

  34. Lindsay McDougall
    October 10, 2015

    The BBB parliament channel has shown the European parliament debate of 7 October more than once. Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande made their pitch for greater union and more common policies. Guy Vesterhof made his usual manic speech advocating total union now. Nigel Farage made his usual competent debunking of the whole nonsense. Several speakers besides Nigel objected to German domination.

    But the thing that stuck in my mind was the sneer on Angela Merkel’s face when Marine le Pen advocated a return to a Gaullist Europe. Whatever the PR machine says, this is not a nice woman. Remember Germany has this squeaky clean environmental image, but burns dirty brown lignite coal whenever their wind turbines are idle, manufactures heavy trains and motor cars, and has a leading motor manufacturer that fiddles its emission tests. Mrs Merkel, aided and abetted by France and Jean-Claude Juncker, is trying to head off an EU inquiry into VW. Fancy that. I wonder how far up knowledge of VW’s little prank went – maybe all the way to the Chancellor’s office.

    1. Jagman84
      October 10, 2015

      I agree about Marine Le Pen but I was also impressed by the contribution of Ryszard Legutko, the Polish MEP. A few home truths were firmly delivered but in a most polite way.

  35. Chris
    October 10, 2015

    As some others have mentioned above, the Vote to Leave website is poor.

    Also, I believe trust is an issue here. I understand that Business for Britain, one of the groups involved, apparently had on its website in the Q and A sectionas late as last week: ““Business for Britain is absolutely not about leaving the EU”! A very quick change of heart. I sincerely hope that Vote to Leave will stay true to its title, and not be seduced by any renegotiation that Cameron may claim to have achieved. The problem, as most informed individuals realise, is that the four “freedoms” of the EU are non negotiable e.g. the principle of freedom of movement, with accompanying mass immigration, cannot be altered. Cameron may get some tinkering at the edges but nothing fundamental. Associate Membership a la Spinelli Group/Five Presidents is what he will likely come back with and he will attempt to spin it as a grand concession, a new improved deal. It is not: it will represent an even less favourable situation than we have at present with an “understanding”/commitment to join the euro. Make no mistake, this EU project is firmly and relentlessly on course for establishing a United States of Europe apparently using every means possible.

    1. matthu
      October 10, 2015

      Remember that it was the Leave.EU campaign that was barred from having a exhibition stall at the Conservative Party conference – so presumably it is only the Vote to Leave campaign that retains the confidence of the PM.

      hang on …

  36. Chris
    October 10, 2015

    I think the sooner it is auf wiedersehen, the better. Angela Merkel’s open arms policy with regard to economic migrants as well as refugees is having many consequences, the latest apparently being the “solidarity tax” proposal by the Commission. Mr Redwood, do you know anything about this proposal (taken from the comments section of a reputable newspaper):

    “A report today in the German press that the EC is planning an EU-wide ‘solidarity tax’ to be levied on all nation states per head of population, to ‘meet the costs of the refugee crisis’ (ie to allow the EU to begin its own centralized taxation precept).”

  37. M Davis
    October 10, 2015

    An informative piece on ‘Vote Leave’ from the EU Referendum website:

    1. forthurst
      October 10, 2015

      Interesting; all I can say to that is as soon as JR gets himself installed as the Vote Leave’s ‘Deep Thought’, the better. The issue on farming and fishing is not how much is spent but by whom and to what purpose. It’s about opportunity, the opportunity for farmers to produce food as they think fit not as allowed by Brussels, the opportunity for English fishermen to catch and sell our fish, not for inspectors to check that they haven’t helped themselves to more than their allocation whilst foreign trawlers hoover up so that we cant ensure that our fishing stocks are not seriously depleted. Whether the government needs to provide support in the short or long term is not material to whether our economy will be stronger when producers are rewarded for producing rather than been compensated for not being allowed to.

  38. Chris
    October 10, 2015

    Now Olivier Blanchard, former IMF head, has put his views forward on the Eurozone, and they are not favourable:
    Fiscal union will never fix a dysfunctional eurozone, warns ex-IMF chief
    “Olivier Blanchard, long serving chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, says deeper integration is no “panacea” for ills of the Eurozone”

    In a stark warning, Olivier Blanchard – who spent eight years firefighting the worst global financial crisis in history – said transferring sovereignty from member states to Brussels would be no “panacea” for the ills of the euro.

    The comments – from one of the foremost western economists of the last decade – pour cold water on grandiose visions for an “EU superstate” being hailed as the next step towards integration in the currency bloc. …”

  39. Monty
    October 10, 2015

    Perhaps the most important thing to instil into the public consciousness is that the thing they can’t have, is the status quo. What we have today is just a snapshot, in the dynamic tug-of-war between the pros and antis.

    Unless there is a vote to leave, we will, in the near future, come under furiously renewed pressure to give up existing opt-outs, and allow ourselves to be swept up into their European State. And there will come a day when a EU-phile PM will let that happen, without consulting us. They would only need to get lucky once, we would need to stay lucky forever.

    1. Denis Cooper
      October 11, 2015

      Correct, it is a dynamic process not a permanent settlement.

  40. forthurst
    October 10, 2015

    That the Stay in Europe campaign is to be led by Stuart Rose is very good news. From the interview he gave in the Metro, it is quite clear that he regards the EU as a source of cheap labour to maximise business profitability. If he is concerned about the social costs to be born by government and the community of importing large numbers of people he does not mention them. He is just another retailer like millions of others; he imports rather than exports, he employs the lowly skilled, rather than the highly skilled; if the economy was left to his kind we would degenerate into a third world country with an even worse balance of payments problem and with a few rich people like himself living the life of Riley.

    My recomendation to the Leave campaign is only to field exporters from the business community and especially those whose products are highly technical so that they can look with disparagement on importers and employers of unskilled workforces. Furthermore, the Leave campaign can be branded as dynamic (Leave is a verb of activity), whose members are optimistic, courageous and adventurous, whereas the Stay camppaign can be disparaged as passive (Stay is a verb of passivity), pessimistic (or deluded), fearful, and lacking enterprise.

    October 10, 2015

    The IN campaign:

    I see old Prime Ministers Brown, Blair and Major have now thrown their hats into the ring. Each priced at 10/6 .

  42. Peter Davies
    October 11, 2015

    Indeed spot on, anything other than a definitive in or out is tinkering around the edges. We need a fair referendum and if the Eu is so great then people will vote to stay

  43. turboterrier
    October 11, 2015

    Cheer up readers.

    Spending some time in British Columbia and it is election time and the perception is there is not a lot of difference when you hear the parties going on. Words they think you want to hear.

    When are they going to start really listening to the people and more importantly start addressing some of the real issues that concern us all. I really do not think that Lord Rose really has any idea as to what it is really like for the majority of us.

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