We will be a democracy again if we leave the EU

A fundamental principle of democracy is that one government and Parliament cannot bind another.

To ensure the power of the people voters need to be able to dismiss a government that does not please and replace it with one that does. Any law, decision or spending priority that needs changing should be capable of change following an election.

Now we are in the EU there are many areas where UK voters cannot change policies by voting or through the pressure of public opinion.
An incoming government in many areas has to say we cannot change that law, that expenditure, that way of doing things, because it is set out in EU laws, regulations and directives.

A new UK government cannot make many changes to our energy policy to pursue cheaper energy, cannot set our welfare policy as we wish, cannot police our borders as we choose, thanks to EU laws.

The UK was signed up to Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon, three centralising EU Treaties, by the last Labour government. The Conservative Opposition opposed all 3 for good reasons. We were not able to change a single clause in them once elected to office.

Greece has shown just how broken and damaged a democracy is when you sign up to the Euro as well as the rest of the EU laws. Greek voters discovered they can no longer change economic policy, however bad the existing one may be.

The UK has also signed a way a lot of her power of self government. The UK too is being taken on a wild ride to political union. EU law making and budget setting is incompatible with UK democracy.


They either say little has gone, or they say we are stronger if we “pool” our sovereignty.

It is simply wrong to deny the transfers when you see the thousands of pages of laws and Treaty clauses we are signed up to.

And it is wrong to say we are more powerful because we have one voice in 28 around the table.

Does our Prime Minister look powerful, rushing round the EU begging for changes to our welfare system which we can longer do for ourselves? It’s our money, but they tell us how to spend it.


  1. Lifelogic
    January 30, 2016


    Excellent performance on Any Questions, spot on and on every issue.

    I am always amazed by how supposedly intelligent people like Lord Hennessy can come out with such daft lines of argument. He claimed signing up to Nato was a much greater loss of sovereignty than the EU treaties – what complete and utter tosh. These sorts may know lots of facts, but have few powers of reasoning. They totally fail to grasp the crux of any issue. Typical of so many arts graduated in academia, they simply cannot see the wood for the trees. They EU will apparently gang up on us if we leave to discourage the others – would you want to remain in a group who would apparently do that? They gang up far better against the UK when they have the treaties, EU laws and EU courts to help them. Oh sorry they are not treaties once ratified according to ratter Cameron!

    I see that English (Exeter) graduate Caroline Lucas, thinks that the electricity “base load” will be provided by better insulation! Physics will not change because of green politics, nature cannot be fooled Caroline the laws of physics will stay the same whatever you think.
    Does this woman have any understanding whatsoever of the science & physics of energy engineering? Clearly not, she lives in a total dream World. Would you fly on anything designed by someone with such obvious total ignorance of science?

    She seems pleasant enough but how does he have the chutzpah to talk drivel about energy when she must know she has not got a clue what she is talking about?

    1. Jerry
      January 30, 2016

      @LL; “[Lord Hennessy, speaking on] claimed signing up to Nato was a much greater loss of sovereignty than the EU treaties – what complete and utter tosh.”

      Indeed, although he might have been thinking about the UN (as it has turned out). 🙁

      “Caroline Lucas, thinks that the electricity “base load” will be provided by better insulation!”

      But was she talking about electrical insulation (transmission loss) or thermal insulation of the home etc, the latter certainly can effect the ‘base load’ – again depending on what base load one is talking about.

      “Would you fly on anything designed by someone with such obvious total ignorance of science? “

      If we should ever meet in person Mr Lifelogic, do remind me to not accept your offer of a lift in your self-built plane. :p

      1. lifelogic
        January 30, 2016

        I doubt she was talking about electrical insulation she probably does not know the first thing about transmission losses.

        Thermal insulation can be a good thing where it is cost effective but it can never “provide” a base load.

      2. Lifelogic
        January 30, 2016

        I can well understand your reluctance to fly on the plane designed by me.

        Then again having studied Maths, Physics, Engineering at two top universities and having worked at BAe systems then I might perhaps have a rather better stab at it than many.

        Do you really think that a pleasant but green behind the ears, dreamer of a politician, and an English graduate has anything much of any value to say about power generation systems in the UK?

        1. Edward2
          January 30, 2016

          Yes LL Jerry does!

        2. Jerry
          January 31, 2016

          @LL; I note that you did not actually state what your degree(s) are in, at what level, which two universities they were, nor in general terms what sort of work you did at BAe, thus your university time could have been spent as a book-worm or propping up the Students Union bar. Thus your work at BAe could have been anything from a nuclear propulsion engineer/designer -in which case you are well qualified to speak about power generation, to that of a janitor -in which case you are somewhat guiding a lilly…! 😉

          1. Edward2
            January 31, 2016

            Do we now all have to include in every post our relevant academic qualifications and experience before you start to argue the opposite to everyone Jerry?
            Perhaps you can first give a link to your no doubt extensive CV?

    2. Dame Rita Webb
      January 30, 2016

      Hennessy is correct joining NATO was a dilution of sovereignty. Just think why France left its political structure? If you join a collective defence organisation, like NATO, you can be railroaded into a war to defend a fellow member even though it is directly against your own interests. With today’s topic, as with others, the EU is not directly to blame in a reduction of British democracy. Its Westminster that allows a Scottish vote to be worth more than an English one. Lets Commonwealth and Irish citizens take part in elections. It also allows for the existence of the House of Lords instead of a directly elected senate. If you think the composition of the unelected Lords adds value have a read of Hansard’s coverage of their debate on flying saucers. Remember these same people are also revising laws on much more important subjects too.

      Pedantic point the UK is not a democracy its a constitutional monarchy.

      1. Dame Rita Webb
        January 30, 2016

        Just think about it under current conditions. Which is a greater dilution of sovereignty what the EU does or NATO forcing us to defend Estonia from a Russian invasion? Do not think we could drop out if the USA honours its guarantee? The UK is to important to America’s military operations in Europe so we will be going to war regardless what any PM thinks. Just ask Gough Whitlam

        1. Edward2
          January 30, 2016

          Going to war requires a vote in the House of Commons I believe.

          1. Jerry
            January 30, 2016

            @Edward2; “Going to war requires a vote in the House of Commons I believe.”

            No it does not, the PM is fully entitled to declare war as and when s/he sees fit. Although Parliament usually does sit before any such declaration, this was normally to vote through emergency legislation – not the declaration of war per se. It was Mr Blair who, in modern times, started to place his wish for initiating military action before a parliamentary vote first, he did not need to do so though, Cameron has wisely decided to follow.

          2. Edward2
            January 30, 2016

            Oh so not NATO on its own then Jerry
            Which was the orginal incorrect assertion.
            More nonsense from you.

          3. Jerry
            January 31, 2016

            @Edward2 You asked about the HoC, not NATO! Also the HoC could vote to leave or change it’s level of involvement in NATO tomorrow (just as France has done in the past), that is not the case with our membership of the EU (and thus any future “EU Army”).

          4. Edward2
            January 31, 2016

            I think it is you Jerry who is rushing to post before reaching for you red hot keyboard once again.
            I was just making a point that going to war now requires a debate and a vote in the Commons
            It is very unlikely that any Prime Minister could ever again take the nation to war without doing this.
            Such is Labour’s legacy.
            Regarding NATO help support and funding can be given to campaigns but if it requires a war like involvement then we are back to a democratic debate and vote in the Commons

          5. Jerry
            February 2, 2016

            @Edward2; “I think it is you Jerry who is rushing to post before reaching for you red hot keyboard once again.”

            No Edward, it was @DRW who mentioned NATO, in the posts you replied to…

            “I was just making a point that going to war now requires a debate and a vote in the Commons”

            But it does not, legally nor constitutionally.

            “Such is Labour’s legacy.”

            About the only legacy Blair did give us that did the nation good, otherwise Cameron would likely have bombed the wrong side in Syria and thus ended up helping ISIL -as has been debated before on this very site.

            “Regarding NATO help support and funding can be given to campaigns but if it requires a war like involvement then we are back to a democratic debate and vote in the Commons”

            Wrong, see above, in fact in such a circumstance I suspect that the ‘Blair convention” would fall, assuming you actually mean putting NATO and thus the UK onto a war footing (simply because there would not be time to even convene a parliamentary sitting, never mind assemble parliament, nor probably wise to do so…), of course you might just mean NATO intervention such as happened in Kosovo in 1998.

            The only person reaching for their “red hot keyboard” is you Edward, in your rush to try and rubbish anything you don’t like the sound of, without necessarily actually understanding what you are trying to arguing against. 🙁

        2. Denis Cooper
          January 30, 2016

          What the EU does, of course, every working day.


          Article 5, but with my capitals to emphasise that the UK government will decide what it will do in the event that the article is triggered again:

          “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, EACH OF THEM, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, WILL ASSIST the Party or Parties so attacked BY TAKING FORTHWITH, individually and in concert with the other Parties, SUCH ACTION AS IT DEEMS NECESSARY, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.”

          That article has only been invoked once, after 9/11, and each of the NATO allies decided how far it would get involved in the response.

          I would also point out that giving Estonia and other countries NATO membership was seen as a necessary precursor to giving them EU membership, and in fact that is now being mooted for Ukraine and Georgia; it will not be possible to say “EU good, NATO bad” until the day comes that the EU has acquired its own sufficiently powerful armed forces, including nuclear weapons, under its own control, so that it no longer has to depend upon NATO for the defence of its territory.

          Unbeknownst to most people in the UK the eurofederalists have made a start on that process of building up federal EU armed forces with Eurocorps:


          “Eurocorps a force for the European Union and NATO.”

          They have a long way to go before they can dispense with NATO, but once that has happened if the UK is still in the EU then the UK government will eventually have no choice at all about whether or not to get involved in the EU’s wars, no more choice than the devolved Scottish government now has about whether Scotland should get involved in the UK’s wars, and much less choice than it has at present with NATO under the terms of the NATO treaty.

          1. Dame Rita Webb
            January 30, 2016

            The Irish have given up their neutrality in line with their EU membership, however why has this not effected Austria, Finland and Sweden’s neutral status?

          2. Denis Cooper
            January 31, 2016

            Officially the Irish haven’t given up their neutrality.


        3. Mitchel
          January 30, 2016

          If our NATO ally Turkey provokes a war with Russia in Northern Syria (where Russia is now assisting the Syrian Kurds to develop and extend an enclave which Turkey says is unacceptable)your question may be answered soon enough.

      2. Lifelogic
        January 30, 2016

        In the case of serious war the member nations will hardly be bound by such treaty obligations, when push comes to shove they will almost certainly act to protect their interests.

        1. Dame Rita Webb
          January 31, 2016

          You need to read a history of World War One and see how a system of alliances dragged the whole of Europe into a war.

    3. Denis Cooper
      January 30, 2016

      Well, there is no Act of Parliament approving the NATO treaty and incorporating it into our national law and laying down that all UK public authorities and everybody else in the UK must unquestioningly accept whatever legal measures may spring from it in the future, with many of them automatically becoming law in the UK without the need for them to even go anywhere near the UK Parliament.

      Unless he can point to an Act about the NATO treaty with a provision analogous to the infamous Section 2 of the European Communities Act 1972, of which the late Sir Geoffrey Howe was inordinately proud as his “coup de théâtre”:


      “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 … ”

      This is what Christopher Booker had to say about that in October 2015, shortly after Sir Geoffrey’s death:


      “Geoffrey Howe destroyed 700 years of parliamentary sovereignty at a stroke”

      “Passed by the narrowest of margins, 309 to 301, only with the aid of nine Labour and Liberal “pro-Marketeers”, it was the greatest single abdication of parliamentary sovereignty in 700 years. Tony Benn graphically described it as “a coup d’état by a political class who did not believe in popular sovereignty””.

      But then until 1998 there was also no Act of Parliament approving the European Convention on Human Rights, under Article 46(1) of which the UK has agreed to be bound by all the decisions of the Court in Strasbourg, no matter how barmy; that also needs to be sorted out.

      1. Lifelogic
        January 30, 2016

        Booker is spot on.

    4. Atlas
      January 30, 2016


      Yes, you are correct; the laws of Physics transcend all – even greenies!

      1. Lifelogic
        January 30, 2016

        So many greens seem not ot believe this – but then they so rarely understand any Physics.

  2. Lifelogic
    January 30, 2016

    You ask: Does our Prime Minister look powerful, rushing round the EU begging for changes to our welfare system which we can longer do for ourselves? Clearly he does not.

    But more to the point does it look anything like a real democracy when he has to do this – when Westminster cannot even do something as trivial as to take VAT off tampons?

  3. SAttwooll
    January 30, 2016

    When asked about the U.K.’s loss of sovereignty on the Andrew Marr show a few weeks ago, Mr. Cameron quoted 8 words he learnt as a schoolboy: “What the Queen enacts in Parliament is law.”

    There was no follow-up question.

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 30, 2016

      We’ll see what he tells the Tory whips to do next Thursday, if the scheduled debate on Parliamentary sovereignty actually takes place and it ends with a vote.

      He could give a motion to reaffirm or reassert the sovereignty of our national Parliament official party support and order Tory MPs to vote for it, which is what he in effect did in May 2006; or he could try to persuade Tory MPs to abstain and then get the whips to send them home shortly before the vote, which is what he did in March 2008; or he could order them to vote against it, as he did in January 2011; I suppose it will depend upon his mood as much as on the advice he is given by the Attorney General, now Jeremy Wright rather than Dominic Grieve.

      Details of those three votes can be found in one of my comments here:


      I’m a bit disappointed that JR hasn’t yet taken up my suggestion that he should run a competition to see which of his readers can most accurately predict the number of MPs who will be prepared to vote in favour of the sovereignty of their own Parliament; 52, not including the two tellers, is my guess, but that is on the assumption that Cameron made a careless slip in May 2006, during his early days as Tory leader, and he will not want Tory MPs to support it this time.

      Reply I suspect that as this is a backbench motion the payroll (Ministers, whips and PPSs) will be asked not to vote. We will not be whipped on it and there may not even be a division. Who will want to oppose it?

      1. alan jutson
        January 30, 2016

        The more important point Denis is, how many MP’s will be bothered to turn up for the actual debate.

        That will really show how much they care about our sovereign democracy, it may also tell us something about who is worried that the EU continues to leech power, from those who have it in their control and power to stop it.

      2. Denis Cooper
        January 30, 2016

        “Who will want to oppose it?”

        I suppose that partly depends on the precise wording of the motion, but past experience suggests that most MPs are either committed to the primacy of the EU treaties and laws over our national law, including our constitutional law, or more often they are just not that concerned about the sovereignty of their own Parliament, that is to say our national Parliament which is supposed to be the representative of the British people and the custodian and protector of their sovereignty.

        I find that 182 of the present MPs were newly elected in May 2015 and so they have no track record, but the great majority of the others will have voted against the sovereignty of Parliament either in the last Parliament (the votes in 2011) or the one before (the votes in 2006 and 2008).

        The Labour and LibDem MPs of the time voted solidly against in 2006 and 2008, but abstained in 2011, while the Tory MPs of the time voted solidly for in 2006 but almost all abstained in 2008 and then voted against in 2011, alongside their LibDem coalition partners:


        On an amendment to insert the words: “(1) The sovereignty of the United Kingdom Parliament in relation to EU law is hereby reaffirmed.”

        Tories – 25 Aye, 256 No
        Labour – 8 Aye, 250 did not vote.
        LibDems – 51 No, 5 did not vote.

        1. Denis Cooper
          January 30, 2016


          (the vote in 2011), singular.

          But Labour but abstained in 2011

    2. Lifelogic
      January 30, 2016

      Indeed what a pathetic and over paid interviewer Andrew Marr is.

      What words of great wisdom would you like to impart to the nation next Mr Cameron might be a typical question from him.

    3. Mark B
      January 30, 2016

      All EU laws go through, what I believe to be, Statutory Instruments. As such, they do not pass through Parliament.

      So Cameron used a very clever trick. He must have known that, Marr may have not know what he meant, but I bet he knew most of the people watching would not. A deliberate act of evasion and misleading in my opinion.

      1. Denis Cooper
        January 30, 2016

        To once again drag up the carefully worded 2002 statement from the then Europe Minister”………….Denis MacShane:


        “The picture is complicated. Some EC measures are directly applicable in the member states. Others require incorporation into national law. This is sometimes done by legislation, but on other occasions by administrative means. In yet other situations, domestic legislation which is being amended for other purposes, may also incorporate changes to reflect EU directives. This makes it extremely difficult to determine how many legislative measures have been introduced in the UK as a result of EC measures.”

        But that complexity did not hinder him from later claiming that only 9% of our new laws derived from the EU, a variant of which false claim was duly repeated by Nick “7 percent” Clegg during his TV debates with Farage.

    4. Lifelogic
      January 30, 2016

      “What the Queen enacts in Parliament is law.”

      Unless it is in conflict with, or overruled or rewritten by EU (or other courts) and their elastic interpretations of “family life”, “human rights”, “free trade”, “free movement of people and goods”, state subsidies, vat reduction and the likes.

  4. stred
    January 30, 2016

    If only your clear points were reador understood by the general public. After Havering council voted to leave the EU, BBC London news came out to Romford and interviewed the UKIP councillor who arranged the vote and some passers by commented. One woman thought it would be best to “stay out”, presumably thinking we were voting whether to join! Then they went to the local bird sanctuary, where they have built a wetland visitor centre and a Labour councillor explained how we would lose all the EU grants for this sort of thing. No questions about where the money came from.

    Last night I listenened to Any Questions, hoping that you would have the opportunity to demolish Mz Lucas with realistic figures about energy generation . After briefly putting some of the usual points about cost and industry, you were cut off and she was handed the rest of the programme to spout her usual deluded nonesense, without challenge and supported by the innumerate supporters in the audience. It may be accidental, but the impression is given that the BBC deliberately sets out to avoid challenges to its green and pro EU agenda.

    1. Anonymous
      January 30, 2016

      I’m afraid we’re staying in, Stred.

      The finer details of argument do not cut through and will not translate into very many votes for Out.

      If we remain then a campaign should follow to disband the British government. We will have absolutely no need of it.

      For the British people (by then, EU people) to be expected to prop up an elite which does nothing would be grossly unfair.

      1. Denis Cooper
        January 30, 2016

        The EU would still need a British government for some time to come.

        1. Anonymous
          January 30, 2016

          Denis – Never mind what the EU would need. What would the British people need ?

          1. Denis Cooper
            January 31, 2016

            We need a British government to get us out of the EU. If the British government and Parliament were abolished then we would have to recreate provisional institutions to do that.

      2. Richard
        February 1, 2016

        The proper way to leave is by voting for a party that pledges to leave anyway. We may not leave as a result of the referendum. If not only give you vote to those who would take us out given a majority.

  5. Alan
    January 30, 2016

    Of course UK voters can change policies by voting – they can elect different UK politicians who will be on the Council of Ministers and decide EU policy, and they can elect MEPs who actually do something to make the EU work, not just sit in the Parliament for the purpose of insulting others. We might even elect UK MPs who do a decent job of supervising EU legislation and directives instead of failing to attend the relevant committee meetings. We could buy newspapers that honestly report EU policies, not just grind axes to pursue their owners’ political prejudices.

    In this modern interconnected world it is obvious that you have to negotiate with other countries to advance the policies you believe in. That is even more true in an area like Europe which is very interconnected. We will achieve little if we can’t argue our case with other European countries and by far the easiest way to do that is within the EU. It would be harder to negotiate with the EU if we were outside it, not easier.

    Reply It would be easier to negotiate with the EU from outside, as they could not outvote us and we would have a veto on anything we discussed.

    1. Graham Wood
      January 30, 2016

      Alan. “Easier to argue our case within the EU” Really? You need to address the fundamental issue of democracy and why we hold parliamentary elections – to which the EU are not party. It raises the familiar, but highly relevant question once again – who governs Britain?
      In addition, if “within” the EU, why should the British electorate be disenfranchised in the process? Also – who elected the EU Commission? To whom are they accountable? Answer: nobody.

      1. Alan
        January 30, 2016

        The EU does elect a parliament, more democratically than the UK.

        The EU Commissioners are selected by the national governments of the EU, each of which is accountable to its electorate. The EU parliament can reject the Commission. The current Commission president was an elected MEP, from a party that proposed him for the president’s job, and insisted that he be given it.

    2. Denis Cooper
      January 30, 2016

      Alan, tell us what fraction of the votes the UK minister has on the Council and what fraction of the MEPs are elected in the UK, disregarding the fact that they are from different parties and are rarely united in the interests of the UK.

      “We might even elect UK MPs who do a decent job of supervising EU legislation and directives instead of failing to attend the relevant committee meetings.”

      Much, in fact most, EU legislation doesn’t need to go anywhere near Parliament and so will never need to be considered by MPs; that is what is meant by the “direct effect” of EU regulations, they automatically become law across the whole of the EU territory the moment they are made in its capital, Brussels, without national authorities having to do anything at all to give them legal effect; as for directives, there is very limited scope during their transposition into UK law for MPs to dilute or otherwise vary whatever has been determined at the EU level, and in a way it is understandable if many MPs can’t be bothered to get involved with something which is beyond their power to change.

      1. Alan
        January 30, 2016

        The fraction of votes we currently have is greater than the fraction we would have if we left the EU. The idea that we will have more influence over the EU if we leave just sounds absurd to me.

        The UK Parliament has the right to investigate and debate any part of the EU’s activities. There is even a committee which I believe has this in its terms of reference, but I understand it often fails to meet because it cannot assemble a quorum.

        The EU legislation can apply across the whole EU, but is more commonly translated into Directives, which I think usually have to be translated into legislation in the national parliaments. I think in the UK this is usually done by statutory instruments.

        1. Denis Cooper
          January 31, 2016

          Perfectly true, 8% is greater than 0%.


          29 votes out of a total 352 = 8.2%

          But then 0% is less than 50%, roughly the fraction of our new laws which are imposed by the EU whether we want them or not.

          “The EU legislation can apply across the whole EU, but is more commonly translated into Directives, which I think usually have to be translated into legislation in the national parliaments.”

          No, regulations not directives are by far the most common form of EU legislation, and they have direct effect.

    3. Mark B
      January 30, 2016

      Inside the EU, we are 1/28th of one say and that will be further reduced once other nations are allowed to join.

      Germany and France are the core of the EU. They are the political and monetary engine room that drives it. The UK is a welcome member, but only to lighten the burden of the other two. Germany, France and others will always act in their own interest.

      By contrast, Norway operates very differently. The other Scandinavian countries all privately ask Norway to do things for them on the international stage rather than the EU. This gets them around the problems I described above.

      Conclusion: We are far better off out than in.

      1. Alan
        January 30, 2016

        We have more of a say if we are within the EU than if we are outside it. Norway has almost no say in making EU legislation. I have not heard of the EU Scandinavian countries asking Norway to negotiate for them: I have heard of Norway asking the EU Scandinavian countries to take account of its interests.

        The UK ought to be one of the driving forces of the EU, but we are constantly crippled by the Eurosceptics within our system. We could have achieved far more, and I hope we will in the future.

  6. Mike Stallard
    January 30, 2016

    “The UK too is being taken on a wild ride to political union. EU law making and budget setting is incompatible with UK democracy.”

    The trouble is that the word REMAIN implies safety, keeping things going. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We are indeed on a wild ride to the Eurozone.
    Sounds mad? That is because it is.
    Please do take time if you doubt it to read the Fundamental Law or the Five presidents’ Report or listen to M. Juncker on u tube. They really do intend to make Europe into one big united Eurozone under – guess who? The Commission.
    They really do intend to abolish countries and create “states” within the union.
    They really believe in Schengen and the other three free movements.

    Mr Cameron is not going to fool us. Last night even Evan Davis realised that.

  7. Jerry
    January 30, 2016

    Define a “Democracy”, many (especially on the left or of an electoral minority) might suggest that were were not a democracy before the UK joined the EEC/EU, and will likely not be after a Brexit, this is one reason why they like being in the EU with all its appearances of democratic accountability by way of MEPs elected by PR and having to work in parliamentary groups etc.

    Don’t get me wrong, I agree with your general thrust of argument John, just that we all have different ideas as to what democracy is or should be, those wanting a Brexit need to be careful that there are no own-goals.

    “A fundamental principle of democracy is that one government and Parliament cannot bind another.”

    Are we not bound by the UN, is that not in effect a ‘world government’, and if those who want an ever closer union within the EU/Europe have their way there will only be the one European government anyway.

    Surely the message should thus be about independence, being an independent nation, able to decide its own future polices?

  8. Anthony Makara
    January 30, 2016

    In this new democratic era of referendums, isn’t it time that the British people were consulted on restoring Capital Punishment? Which is the only instance of punishment fitting the crime exactly and so being an example of absolute justice. Capital Punishment also gives a greater measure of closure to the family and friends of murder victims, who would no longer be tormented by the idea of the killer deriving perverse gratification by reliving fantasies of his crime in prison. If our government, through our armed forces, can kill to protect our subjects in an act of war or to prevent terrorism then surely our Justice System should be able to execute those who murder our people here at home? The inverted morality of the EU, with its emphasis on the rights of the criminal, can never deliver Capital Punishment. So, after we leave the EU, our Parliament must give the British People a referendum on the restoration of Capital Punishment.

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 30, 2016

      Oddly enough, there’s a new Commons Library Briefing Paper about that:


      “There has been no change in the British Government’s policy of working towards global abolition of the death penalty.”

  9. Anonymous
    January 30, 2016

    In the previous topic Agricola mentioned QMV whereby a Maltese citizen gets something like 20x the representation of a UK citizen in the EU.

    Horrific. Utterly horrific.

    This one needs to be shouted from the roof tops if it is true.

    1. fedupsoutherner
      January 30, 2016

      Listened to you last night John on Any Questions and was incensed to find that Lucas was given the last word on energy. Her comments were ludicrous to say the least and what depressed me the most was that the audience seemed to agree with her. Uneducated or what? If people like her had their way it wouldn’t be long before we were living in prehistoric times!

      When is someone going to point out that any money given in grants from the EU is what we have already given them and more?? It is our money in the first place but much of it goes to propping up other countries when we could be spending it on our own. When I see that elderly people in need of care in their homes are only receiving 15 mins a day it sickens me. Yet we hear others saying we should bring in no end of immigrants when we cannot afford to look after our own people who have paid into the system all their lives. It is an insult to all those who fought so hard and worked all their lives to make this country what it is today.

      All we are doing is propping up the rest of Europe while they milk us for every penny they can get and Cameron goes grovelling for any assistance he can glean. Leader or what? More like puppet.

      Reply As I trust you heard I was trying to get a right to reply as I had plenty I wished to disagree with.She was allowed to talk out the last minutes without interruption.

      1. fedupsoutherner
        January 30, 2016

        Yes John, I did realise you were trying to dismiss the rubbish she was spouting but as per usual, the BBC always finish with something that is complete waffle because it suits them. They knew what you were going to say and so arranged the interview to stop you speaking. You must have been seething underneath.

      2. JoeSoap
        January 30, 2016

        However the Any Answers BBC aparatchik sounded truly shocked that so many callers thought unlimited immigration was a no-no. This might be a strong lime of attack – it resonates well at the moment, whilst not being the strongest academic argument for Leave.

      3. JoeSoap
        January 30, 2016

        By the way what you have said on the airwaves these past few days should be continued…

  10. oldtimer
    January 30, 2016

    Agreed. This is the fundamental issue at the heart if the matter. It seems to me that the movement towards global government, of which the EU is an important element, has many supporters in the UK and has secured its position in many ways by the laws which now bind us. I think that Cameron and Osborne are part of that movement.

    1. Mitchel
      January 30, 2016

      A whole shadow state of Quangos,NGOs and charities has been developed to further those ends.Our elected politicians are already largely superfluous;the less they know or care the better for the project which is precisely why we have the likes of Cameron and,particularly,Osborne “running” the country.

  11. Simon Denis
    January 30, 2016

    Oh, Mr Redwood – the polls are not looking good. True, they were wrong about the recent general election, but this time the figures are way beyond any conceivable margin of error. “Remain” is eighteen points ahead. Surely an important factor in this failure is the spitting fury and mutual antagonism of the “Leavers”. Surely one of the reasons for this fury is the unfortunate influence of fanaticism – an attitude which, having grown fat on outrage, has no wish to see the abuses which provoke it cleared up – for then, what on earth could people shout about? This same fanaticism even tried to scupper the very prospect of a referendum by working for a Tory defeat in that same, recent election. Press those in its grip and their cultural pessimism and basic despair become apparent. They have no interest in practical politics. You may say that we should simply continue to tell the truth, to give the public the facts – but surely a lifetime in politics, in which the glitz of Mandelson and the smears of Campbell, the oiliness of Blair and the thumping deviousness of Brown have triumphed over the facts again and again, should explode such faith. The absolute priority today, therefore, and the next day and for however long it takes is to produce a reconciliation among all parties dedicated to the goal of British freedom; to defeat the spirit of rancour and fanaticism in our ranks, which – like a bacillus sent expressly for that purpose by the myrmidons of Brussels – is wreaking havoc in our camp. Let there be at once a low key but high status conclave of the leading lights of euroscepticism to agree on purpose, policy and personnel with a solemn undertaking to leave the grudges of the past behind. Only then and thus will the long suffering British electorate be well served and victory be in prospect once again.

  12. formula57
    January 30, 2016

    It is certainly and regrettably true that “The UK has also signed a way a lot of her power of self government” but it is a profound disappointment that in one example of that phenomenon far from “The UK too is being taken on a wild ride to political union” the opposite is happening and we are kept shackled to Scotland, whinging, ungrateful and uppity as it is in full measure.

    It will be an outrage if votes from North Britain swing the referendum outcome in favour of Remain (or whatever the bad choice is called).

  13. agricola
    January 30, 2016

    The prime minister looks stupid as he runs around Europe with his begging bowl, being offered ever diminishing gruel.

    What a pathetic state three terms of Labour government have reduced us to. It isn’t just that they opened our doors to limitless immigration. They entangled us in so many EU treaties as to make remedial action impossible, short of blowing the back door from the EU and escaping. Something I suspect CMD is discovering to his cost. I wonder if the realisation will come to him as it eventually did to Neville Chamberlain. If anyone is in any doubt we are entering a second Battle of Britain, but with as many bandits within as are on the continent of Europe. There will be no “London calling” from the BBC during this fight.

    1. Mark B
      January 30, 2016

      CMD is a Europhile.

    2. Mitchel
      January 30, 2016

      “There will be no “London calling” from the BBC during this fight”

      Not with Lord Hall-Hall at the controls that’s for sure!

      Betrayed from within,we must hope that the eastern front proves to be the death of the project.

    3. Lifelogic
      January 30, 2016

      Indeed but Cameron and Osborne are little different from Labour anyway.

      They are both socialists, tax borrow and waste merchants, pension, motorist and landlord muggers who are EUphile & green crap to their very cores. People happy to say and promise one thing then do the compete opposite.

      People who rat on IHT, cast iron, no if no buts, “low tax conservative at heart” without a second thought.

  14. Original Richard
    January 30, 2016

    Mr. Redwood, thanks for another excellent article in this series.

    You may like to consider one on QMV to list specifically some of the items where we can be permanently outvoted and where, the last time I checked, the votes from those nations who are net recipients of EU money can outvote those who are net payers into the EU coffers, such as the UK.

    It also needs to be highlighted that the UK will not be suddenly “cut-off” from the EU the following day should we vote to leave.

    For instance, the Remain group continually wish to give the impression that the next day we will be asking millions of EU nationals to leave the country and millions of retired UK nationals living in Spain and France will be immediately forced to return to the UK.

    Or that all UK/EU business will immediately halt whilst we negotiate new trading terms.

    Or that it will no longer be possible for UK nationals to study or work or retire in the EU or vice versa.

    It needs pointing out that the movement of people, the trading of goods and co-operation of important matters (such as NATO) all existed before we joined the EU and will still exist after we leave the EU.

  15. Edward2
    January 30, 2016

    An excellent article.
    Another problem with our democracy is the voting system within the EU
    27 nations all get a vote.
    No allowance for size of population
    No allowance for GDP
    And most crucially no allowance for the amount of money contributed into the EU.

    With most of the 27 being nations who take more out than they put in, they will not vote to change anything we want.
    As we see now with modest proposed changes to our welfare rules.

    1. alan jutson
      January 30, 2016


      Agree absolutely.

    2. Lifelogic
      January 30, 2016

      Indeed there is a direct parallel with democracy too. Here the more numerous poor can vote to help themselves to the wealth of the few rich. Thus killing the economy and harming everyone’s standards of living in the end.

  16. Ian wragg
    January 30, 2016

    At 7 am here in Tenerife I watched the BBC uk news starting with Cameron rejects emergency brake on EU migrants followed by a few minutes discussion.
    By 7.30 the topic had dropped from the agenda and hasn’t been mentioned again.
    Who says they have their own agenda.

  17. Graham Wood
    January 30, 2016

    JR Well said once again. Re ” it is wrong to say we are more powerful because we have one voice in 28 around the table.” Of course, and whoever thought it could be otherwise!

    Once again you are leading by example and precept to teach your fellow Conservatives some fundamental principles of democracy which many of them do not seem able to grasp! Some have even stated that they “have not made up their minds” on how to vote in a coming referendum, as if the primary issue of democracy within our British parliamentary system is somehow undefined or not clear.

    How very strange too that Mr Cameron and Phillip Hammond and other Europhiles do not seem to understand the basic principle of democratic government and accountability by an UK government to the British people exclusively! They have no duty of care to the unelected EU Commission but to Britain and solely to our parliament. That is why we vote ministers and MPs into office so that THEY make the decisions for the electorate who put them into office for that very purpose – i.e. so that THEY undertake their responsibility to govern, not some UNelected foreign bureaucracy.

    Re the minimal scraps of concessions which Mr Cameron is so desperate to wrest out of EU control on immigration or any of the other areas of policy in these negotiations – it is all marked by an air of total unreality.
    Rather than engage in such tortuous and futile, if not humiliating, bowing and scraping to those who owe no allegiance to us or to our parliament, the changes he is asking for can be brought about simply and effectively via our own parliament.
    For example: on the immigration issue he has the clear option of amending the 1972 European Communities Act to determine the scale of inward immigration and accordingly putting it before our parliament purely as domestic legislation. Simple.

    Why ask EU politicians for powers that already belong to us, to parliament and the people by democratic right, and incidentally as set out clearly in our own Constitution?

  18. alan jutson
    January 30, 2016

    The most powerful of your recent postings to date John. (if only more people realised it)

    We have given away the right to govern ourselves.

    We have given away the right to choose how we are governed.

    There is no chance of returning to true democratic Government whilst we are still members of the EU.

    The only way forward is to vote OUT.

    1. Alexis
      January 30, 2016

      We didn’t give it away though. Let’s be fair on ourselves.

      It was given away by governments, acting on our behalf, with absolutely no consent from the people.

  19. Douglas Carter
    January 30, 2016

    I’m drawn to comments made by some very elderly ex-MPs in the House of Lords when they discuss membership of the EU. In particular their continued justification of membership. When asked (of some who actually conducted the accession legislation) they will often reply to the question ‘why should we be in the EU?’ their eccentric retort is ‘because we decided to join in 1960’.

    It’s a point which comes up with such regularity I’m beginning to think it’s the final backstop of the Europhiles. That literally they can think of no further intellectually-sustaining reason for continued membership. That a decision taken nearly sixty years ago in a very different world indeed is self-evidently irreversible somehow?

    Beyond that, I think it’s a shame that Mr. Cameron and his assembled team are being given very generous leeway to publically Campaign to remain in the EU. (a Campaign which is taking place openly and continuously in the media and elsewhere) Whilst those who intend to Campaign to Leave officially have been directed to do so solely after an arbitrary date set. One which as of today we don’t even know will be subjected to the strictures of the recommendations of the Electoral Commission.

  20. Shieldsman
    January 30, 2016

    I find the case put forward by Britain Stronger in Europe both arrogant and very selfish.
    Arrogant because they say we must stay in the EU regardless. The PM has spent three years enumerating the faults he finds with the membership rules, but they do not acknowledge them. Everything in the garden is lovely as far as they are concerned.
    Their case is based on debunked economic statistics and that we would be leaping into the unknown.
    On the contrary we know that staying in will exacerbate all the problems on Mr Cameron’s list, which he promised to rescind in his reformed Europe. Why do we know, because the Council have said so in the 5 Presidents and Spinelli reports.

    Selfish, because the people and groups supporting EU membership all benefit one or another from our money (club fees) dispensed with largesse by the EU.

    The Public have to decide whether the PM has reformed Europe.

  21. Antisthenes
    January 30, 2016

    Being a signed up member of the EU is the same as accepting that continuous self harm is good. That subservience to an all powerful entity in this case the EU is preferable to being free to make our own decisions.That the benevolent dictatorship of Brussels is a better system of government than our own national democratically elected one. That our wealth, power and influence is not our own to do with as we wish but for the EU to do with in any way that it wishes.

    We are expected to accept this state of affairs because we are told it is for the greater good and the benefits of doing so outweigh the disadvantages. Well those who think so are guilty of self delusion and/or out of selfish greed profit from it. Who in their right mind puts them self into bondage and allows others the use of the rewards of their own toil.

    We may do so for the good of our own country through or own parliament. Even there it can be argued that we have gone too far in our altruism and have given away too many of our individual freedoms to be in our best interests. A case for curbing our own government’s power and role. So we certainly do not want another government the EU with even greater powers and roles ruling over us.

  22. ChrisS
    January 30, 2016

    “Does our Prime Minister look powerful, rushing round the EU begging for changes to our welfare system which we can longer do for ourselves? It’s our money, but they tell us how to spend it”.

    One of the most important sentences you have posted recently. Surely nobody can be happy seeing Cameron shuffling around Europe with his begging bowl ? It’s easy for Europhiles to gloss over the fact that every bit of Child Benefit that’s posted off to Poland, Lithuania or Bulgaria is borrowed by the Chancellor and will have to be repaid by our children. That’s true even if the unaccompanied father or mother is an employee paying tax here. After all, we still have a massive deficit.

    Nothing Cameron is being offered is worth the paper it’s written on. That is, of course, his own fault for having such low aspirations but the fact that the other parties to the negotiations are resisting even these crumbs tells us everything we need to know : they are in denial and simply don’t believe we will vote to leave. Well, they could be in for a shock. The more humiliation piled on Cameron the more likely Brexit becomes. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has said as much this week but are they listening ?

    Dan Hannan is right : the real negotiation will only take place after we vote to leave.

  23. Mark B
    January 30, 2016

    Good morning.

    Another excellent post from our kind host – He’s seems to be on a bit of a roll. 🙂

    But for me it is the very last paragraph that says it all. It is all about public perceptions and, seeing the office of the First Lord of the Treasury prostrating himself like some latter day, Oliver Twist is a humiliating sight. Except to him at least. Robert Walpole must be looking down in utter amazement. The once proud and mighty office of state, reduced to nothing more than a pathetic TV spectacle. CMD has no shame !

  24. Bert Young
    January 30, 2016

    I have always put the loss of our sovereignty at the top of my list of why we should leave the EU . Not being able to count on the effectiveness of the MP I vote for is a travesty of our democracy . At the moment it is the migration problem in Europe that is stealing the headlines and likely to be the key turning point in the referendum ; people in the street seem to be more aware of this danger than they are of the loss of sovereignty .

    The highlighting of the inequality of a national vote that is not based on population size is also a significant fact in the way the EU reaches a decision – after all national GDP is the basis of contribution . On the migrant issue population density is also a major factor . One way or another you can drive a coach and horses through the management stupidity of the EU , so , the only rational conclusion is to get out of it .

  25. Kenneth
    January 30, 2016

    Should the INs win, a vote for IN will probably be the last democratic vote we ever take.

  26. The Active Citizen
    January 30, 2016

    Good article again, JR.

    Thought it might be useful for everyone to know the extent of the various types of EU laws and regulations which bind the UK, without our full and democratic involvement.

    Regulations : 11,547
    Directives : 1,842
    Decisions : 18,545
    Other acts : 2,773
    International agreements : 5,456
    Verdicts from the EU Court of Justice : 15,023
    SUB-TOTAL : 55,186

    CEN (European Committee for Standardization) : 14,163
    CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization) : 6,519
    ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) : 36,932
    SUB-TOTAL : 57,614

    GRAND TOTAL : 112,800

    Sources : EUR-Lex (Official EU law site), CEN, CENELEC, ETSI.

    Naturally we might decide post-exit to retain some useful laws and international standards. However this will be our choice as a sovereign country and the government which decides this will be elected by, and accountable to, the people of the UK.

  27. Denis Cooper
    January 30, 2016

    Once again, JR, for the sake of peace and harmony in the Leave campaign I ask you to free yourself from the old party politics; the problems did not start with the Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon treaties under Labour, the Tory party had already got us into a dreadful mess with the Treaty of Rome, the Single European Act and the Maastricht Treaty; and moreover they set the precedent followed by Labour, that the government and Parliament would never directly ask the British people whether they agreed to the proposed changes to the original contract which they had directly approved through the 1975 referendum.

    Reply I thought they started with Rome which I voted against. My statement was not party political in your sense, but a statement to remind my Conservative colleagues that we were all united against the main veto surrendering treaties and at the very least they should wish therefore to reverse those.

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 30, 2016

      They did start with Rome, which Heath foisted on us in breach of the Tory manifesto for the 1970 general election. So that when Wilson decided that for the sake of his party’s unity we should have a referendum that was a referendum on whether to accept Heath’s fait accompli, not on whether we should join in the first place.

    January 30, 2016

    “To ensure the power of the people voters need to be able to dismiss a government…”( 3rd line )

    Things might be different if we could in one election vote the government of the EU out. But in practical terms we cannot. As MPs and Councillors here doorstep and leaflet campaign, a possibility of say a pan European Tory or Labour Party campaigning simultaneously in the UK Holland, Germany, Czech Republic etc is unworkable as our particular interests and concerns would become too diluted and mixed-up for proper voting and debate.

    Voting for MEPs just does not work. Yes it works in the abstract way of putting bottoms on seats alongside little desk national flags at the European Parliament but people just do not relate to say an MEP from Sweden representing a political party quite unknown outside Sweden. So all we of Europe and the UK are left with are perhaps a handful of strong personalities..Juncker, Farage , Tusk (?) . Just as soon most of us gets past naming a third man at the EU we get stuck and we google for a list of EU officials and MEPs to refresh our memories and find to our humiliation that we do not recognise or remember most of them….or what they stand for, or where they originate. In fact is Mr. Juncker Danish, Norwegian, German, Swedish? Is he elected by voters in some MEP constituency or is he elected as an official at the EU or both. Is he right-wing, left wing and how does that equate with our British meaning of right-wing or left-wing? Does he believe in Trident? Does he consider it part of his own political business? What does he think of nuclear power and coal?

    Of course the EU is not representative .

  29. Paul H
    January 30, 2016

    Can you please enlighten me as to why so many previously claimed EU-skeptics go “native” over the EU once they reach a certain level of power? I won’t start naming them all as I don’t want you to feel the need to redact names if I have misunderstood their positions and risk libelling them – with the exception of Cameron, for whom I believe this has been from the beginning an exercise in voter management. However we all know to whom I am referring in the Conservative party, some very senior members past and present.

    Even in the Labour party we have a leader who for decades has been dubious about the EU and insists on being “principled” by sticking with many other longstanding beliefs no matter how incoherent or impractical, yet is swinging readily behind the “remain” position. This is despite the fact that backing “leave” would also present an opportunity to create problems with the government and embarrass Cameron (unless he is making the longer-term calculation that a “remain” is more likely to damage the Conservative party – but I don’t think he is that clever). And on Question Time the other week a Labour MP, Cat Smith, was bemoaning the damage that the EU might do to the NHS and what she saw as other damaging consequences of membership, yet it seemed clear that there was little that the EU could do to persuade her to vote “leave”. (Of course, woe betide any “callous and cruel” Tory whose policies are an alleged threat to the NHS – even if simply continuing Labour policies – but the EU seems to get a free pass.)

    It is totally bizarre. What is going on? This is the most important question that the country will face in a generation (or more) and it is profoundly depressing that so few politicians are willing to risk their short-term personal positions for it. Is it quite simply the case that at a certain level the hunger for power takes over and (as is alleged for two or three senior Conservatives) they are willing to trade principles for a few sweeties and a seat at high table (even if – ironically – the importance of that seat will be progressively reduced by remaining in the EU. Is it a version of Stockholm Syndrome, where the captives have come to feel secure with and even love their captors? Do these people know something that we are not being told?

  30. ian
    January 30, 2016

    There will never be democracy in your country while you vote for party politician, if all the people who write on this blog were elected to parliament without a party it would a 15 minute vote in parliament to take you out of the EU if that was what your area wanted.
    Any thing you want is only a 15 minute vote away if you elected the right people but they have people running around like headless chickens, not able to think for their selves back up by the media to confess you into voting for party when you do not have to vote for parties.

  31. PaulDirac
    January 30, 2016

    I am asking for your help in understanding why the majority of our elite is pro EU.

    Not all of them are inherently stupid and they do not hate the UK and yet they have pushed us into it, they wanted to push us into the Euro zone and now they want us to Stay in spite of overwhelming evidence that this is driving us into full enslavement to a faceless bureaucracy.

    I don’t believe in any of the conspiracy theories, so their attitude is totally amazing to me.

    1. Alexis
      January 30, 2016

      Self interest: monetary reward, and the lure of prestige, both play their part.

      Euro politics also requires very little real work, and no accountability.

      If the British people become exhausted tax paying drudges just to fuel their lifestyle, and to fulfil their worthless ‘visions’, it’s no real concern of theirs.

    2. fedupsoutherner
      January 30, 2016

      Paul, I’m sure your not the only one that doesn’t understand the logic in all of this. I am dumbfounded too!! It’s a wonder more people don’t vote UKIP as they are the only party completely behind coming out.

  32. Michael Walzer
    January 30, 2016

    Are market forces, or the “market”, pushing for the UK to leave or to stay in the EU? That might be an interesting angle to the debate, specially if not only based on what various CEOs might say. In that respect, it would be good to know what “the City” or “Wall Street” thinks.

  33. Denis Cooper
    January 30, 2016

    Off-topic, the Czech Republic is almost ready to join the eurozone bloc lined up against us, despite most Czechs not wanting to scrap the crown and adopt the euro:


    “Prouza: Czech Republic is ready for euro”

    I doubt that this will be put to a referendum, because:

    “The Czech Republic committed to eventually adopting the euro as its currency in 2004 when it joined the European Union”,

    and as in other countries such as Estonia the government’s argument will be that they’ve already had that referendum, as part of the referendum on whether to join the EU.

  34. forthurst
    January 30, 2016

    “The UK was signed up to Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon, three centralising EU Treaties, by the last Labour government. The Conservative Opposition opposed all 3 for good reasons. We were not able to change a single clause in them once elected to office.”

    We need to avoid partisanship in order to appeal across the board; in any case, CMD, Heir to Bliar, is leading a Europhile government whose ambition is to destroy our nation for once and all on behalf of his corporatist backers. Furthermore, all those deeply anti-democratic treaties were contingent on Maastrich which was only opposed by ‘bastards’. Please reword to increase readership by external linking.

  35. Alexis
    January 30, 2016


    ‘They either say little has gone, or they say we are stronger if we “pool” our sovereignty.’

    Well said.

    And there is no such thing as ‘pooled sovereignty’. You either have it, or give it up.

    There is NO evidence – as in none, whatsoever – that we are in any way stronger for giving up sovereignty.

  36. Iain Moore
    January 30, 2016


    Isn’t the onus on the people who want out of the EU to make sure people know the extent of the loss of sovereignty we have suffered.

    I don’t see any attempt by the groups who want out of the EU to educate people about this.

Comments are closed.