Influence, power and sovereignty – Please understand the difference.

Influence is the ability of a country to work with others to move world policy in its preferred direction, and to gain advantage from the actions of others.
Power is a country’s ability on its own to do things or to make others do things because it has authority, leads world bodies, has military power, has a large economy with plenty of financial clout and by other means.
Sovereignty means a country has the right to make all its own decisions, limited only by international law and by its own relative power in the world.

An individual can have all three. I am sovereign to make any decision I wish for my life, subject to the law, limited by my obligations to others and limited by my personal resources. I have not pooled my sovereignty with my neighbours, so I do not have to ask their permission to spend money or change job. If we clubbed together to buy things we would have more buying power, but I would have less influence over what we bought than buying my own things with my own money. That is why people do not usually pool their budget with the neighbours nor come to joint decisions about spending.

As an individual I may have influence by speaking, writing, voting, talking and working with people. I do not have power over them, as I cannot make them do things in the way the EU can make a member state do things.

Individuals also have some power. We have power to buy goods and services with our money, power to decide how to spend our time and what causes to assist, power to choose and develop our jobs. We can decide who we wish to invite into our home, and who we would like as guests in our house. The UK has lost this power by joining the free movement area of the EU.

People in favour of staying in the EU deliberately or inadvertently confuse these 3. They say we pool sovereignty to have more power, but there is no evidence we have pooled sovereignty – we have simply given it away. Nor is there any evidence we have more power, as so rarely does the EU back a UK wish. The UK is nearly always in disagreement over the direction of travel, and busily trying to opt out of the main parts of the project.We have just seen how we cannot even decide how much tax money to spend on welfare as our neighbours disagree with our decision.

They say we have more influence inside than out. That is a simple lie. Were we out the UK’s views on big issues would be taken much more seriously within the EU where they wished to work with us. They would no longer be able to vote us down or ignore our voice. If they wanted us on side each negotiation would be one of equals. At one stroke we would restore the UK’s veto over whatever they wanted to do, as we would no longer have to agree or do it if we did not want to.

The UK will have more power outside the EU, as we will regain our seat on many international bodies and be able to speak with its own voice to move world policy.

The membership of the EU is quite unlike NATO. In NATO we retain our veto over joining any joint NATO action. In the EU we are instructed to do things under pain of court cases and fines.

If the UK wants to restore its sovereignty it needs to leave the EU. EU TReaty law and the European court will be able to overrule us all the time we are in.
If the UK wishes to have more power to act we must leave the EU.We do not even gave the power to decide our own taxes or our own spending inside the EU.
If the UK wishes to have more influence in the world we must leave the EU. Inside it we do not even have a seat on many world bodies, so our voice is muffled or silenced.


  1. Dame Rita Webb
    February 5, 2016

    “The UK will have more power outside the EU, as we will regain our seat on many international bodies and be able to speak with its own voice to move world policy.” Personally I would be quite happy if the UK decided to instead keep a low profile and stop pretending its a big player on the world stage. FFS we are up to our eyeballs in debt and we cannot afford it. While who are we trying to kid that we have the muscle to make things happen? The army that has more horses than tanks! The article about the RN on the “Spectator” website is well worth a read, especially the bit about “where can I get my iPhone recharged?”

    1. Tom William
      February 5, 2016

      What you say also applies in Spades to the EU, apart from France. Our influence would be greater if all trappings of “EU (non) policy” were removed and replaced by outside co-operation, take it or leave it.

    2. Vanessa
      February 5, 2016

      Dame – you seem to have a very jaundiced view of Britain, sadly. We are obviously, in your eyes, no better than Lithuania which many people in Britain have hardly heard of. If the extent of our influence, to you, is where we get our iphones recharged then please bow out of the argument as you obviously have nothing to contribute.

      1. Dame Rita Webb
        February 5, 2016

        Vanessa please go and read the Spectator article before commenting about iPhones. The RN now has more admirals than ships and remember the aircraft carriers without aircraft? Whats it with you guns before butter eh? Personally I would rather have a decent standard of living here than pretend I can afford to be the world’s policemen.

        In the run up to the referendum (and especially if there is an “out” vote) there more than a chance that the £ will come under pressure similar to that it did in 1992 then you will see how much influence HMG has around the world.

        1. Denis Cooper
          February 6, 2016

          In 1992 the government was trying to keep sterling within the agreed band in the ERM, essentially a fixed exchange rate system albeit with some tolerance permitted either side. Since that failed, as the previous attempts to keep a fixed exchange rate for sterling against the US dollar had repeatedly failed, the government has given up trying to dictate to the world markets what the external value of sterling should be, and it has floated up and down.

          Even large movements do not necessarily provoke any crisis; the sterling trade weighted index fell by 29% during the course of 2007 and 2008, from its all time (over-valued) high of 106.8045 on January 23rd 2007 to its all time (under-valued) low of 73.7560 on December 30th 2008, with much of that drop concentrated just into December 2008:

          but while there were inevitably many and varied consequences of that depreciation none of them were anything like catastrophic and some were actually beneficial, and at about 90 now sterling has since recovered back close to its average external value.

          The possible effect on sterling when we leave the EU is not a primary nor even a secondary consideration, it is of tertiary importance.

          1. Jerry
            February 7, 2016

            @Denis Cooper; The point you miss is that sterling came under pressure from speculators seeing an ‘opportunity’, and the point that @DRW was making is that upon a Brexit vote the same might well happen again, such speculation has nothing to do with the EU nor their policies, remember 1967?…

            A Brexit will be no magic bullet for the UK, we will still be subjected to all the same ‘market forces’, it is just that the UK government will have a much freer hand in how it uses the economic tools available.

          2. Denis Cooper
            February 7, 2016

            Of course the speculators saw an opportunity, but that only led to a crisis because the UK government had a fixed exchange rate policy and resisted their attempts. Now that the government no longer has any such policy a devaluation is not a crisis.

          3. Denis Cooper
            February 7, 2016

            “… and resisted their attempts to force a devaluation.”

      2. Mitchel
        February 6, 2016

        “… better than Lithuania which many people in Britain have hardly heard of.”…but which was once the largest country in Europe(by territory).See how far the mighty may fall.

    3. Dapper Dave
      February 5, 2016

      Well, it’s comforting to know you have such faith in the ability of the British peoples’ ability and ambition. My relatives sacrificed their lives to prevent Britain becoming dominated, and there wasn’t much help from other European countries I recall.
      Personally, give me the freedom to point myself in a direction I choose rather than being lead by the nose by an unelected, unrepresentative bunch of foreign blowhards.

    February 5, 2016

    The Leave Campaign must find out why the Labour Party backs staying in the EU. No, the real reasons. Then explain it to our people.And grassroots Labour members.

    The Labour Party’s apparent leftward lurch would highly suggest it would be for LEAVE. Historically that was the case. Why? Because a leftist mindset can only view the EU as embodied corporate or global capitalism. The leftist taunt of “Trying to make capitalism work” would be leveled against right-wing cuckoos-in-the nest Labourite MPs if they approved of say the EU Social Charter…which in actual fact was abandoned by the EU right after the British people voted to enter the Common Market and avail themselves of the generous holidays of the French and Dutch. Those massive weeks holidays never materialised. The British Trade Unions never complained. Traitors, in their own terms, in their own mindset, to the working class.

    So it is a wonderment a Labour Party which has never seen Russia or the former Soviet Union as anything but a country that ( “although making a few mistakes” ) is nevertheless a socialist country and, wants a damp squib to replace Trident, surprise surprise, that it should now be all in favour of EU membership. Even more so since Europe, politically, is turning to the Right.

    So why is the Labour Party in favour of the EU? They do not explain themselves. One is tempted to say it is stupidity. But no. What is personally in it for Labour Parliamentarians? They do not want Socialism. The EU will not provide it anyway. The EU will not provide them politically with power. Maybe the Labour Party is merely solidifying itself into the same position as SNP MPs. No philosophy. No ethics. No genuine ideology. No real politics. Just a sour-faced populist maungy drip-drip-drip of dumbcluck grandstanding complaints against sensible matters.Their only concern is that they individually stay in the job as MP. Perhaps with free trips to European capitals and EU parliamentary trips ( bring your family ) to inspect Parliaments in New Zealand and other Hobbit book lands. Freebies, freebies, freebies, making their MP jobs pay.

    1. Jerry
      February 5, 2016

      @CH; “The Leave Campaign must find out why the Labour Party backs staying in the EU. No, the real reasons. Then explain it to our people.And grassroots Labour members.”

      Do that and you will be assured of a vote to stay-in, there being more of a chance of a Brexit vote with a UK Labour government in power. The reason (the real reason, seeing you ask), go read the words directed to the British left-wing by Jacques Delors in 1988, with reference to his address to the TUC congress of that year, and how the EEC/EC would protect and respect workers/union rights even if the then UK domestic (Conservative) government doesn’t – until then the TUC and Labour Party had a distinct anti EEC/EC agenda, hence why even as late as the 1987 Labour manifesto it states “We shall, like other member countries, reject EEC interference with our policy for national recovery and renewal.” clearly a coded warning against the looming changes brought about by Single European Act.

      Conversely it was the same speech by Delors that brought about a change in the Conservative party towards the EEC/EC.

      As for the rest of your very confused comments, stop confusing Socialism [1] with Communism, they are not the same, any more than Capitalism is Fascism. Also very few, beyond those “Militant” supporters (who were basically Marxists) defended the old USSR.

      As for Trident, whilst not agreeing with Corbyn’s ideas in any shape of form, seeking disarmament or becoming a militarily neutral country doesn’t make a country left-wing or anti capitalist, would you write such nonsense about Switzerland?!…

      [1] nor does Socialism actually condemn capitalism per se, just the abuse by a few of the capitalism system intended for the many, hence why they believe that essential or natural monopoly industries should be nationalised and thus run not-for-profit (share-dividend etc).

    2. Kenneth
      February 5, 2016

      The eu is getting to look more like the USSR as every day passes. The eu funds many trade union activities and, as with large corporates, the large unions can lobby in Brussels.

      Our membership of the eu means we must go along with socialist job-destroying policies which bypass the ballot box.

      No, the socialists’ love of heavy state control, high taxes, protectionism etc etc is handed on a plate by the eu without Labour MPs even needing to be in government.

      Oh, and I wouldn’t assume that the Left hates the large corporates as much as we might think. Both like collective bargaining where wage deals can be sealed across a whole workforce. Both like heavy regulations that squeeze out smaller players. Both like large monolith factories that lazily produce the same product for years on end, regardless of consumer wishes.

      1. alan jutson
        February 5, 2016


        You make a sensible observation about the USSR comparison.

        Anyone have any idea if the Full EU accounts are published anywhere, which may show where the money comes from, exactly where it goes, and also list salaries/donations etc.

        Aware some EU accounts have not passed the Audit for about 18 years, but surely it must publish some accounts, as it is an offence in this Country not to file at least accounts after 18 months.

        Is this not a question that our MEP’s should be asking if all else fails.

        February 5, 2016

        There is much sense in what you say.

        On the individual level: the other day I listened to quite a high ranking Labourite, not necessarily speaking to the gallery, who attributed his love and justification of the EU to the fact his parents hailed from two separate EU nations; his wife was American and his daughter had married a Greek. If that was not enough for him he added his aunt had a German boyfriend.

        One wonders if his relations had instead been born in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, he would feel the UK should join BRICS rather than the EU.

        There is much hazy thinking in Labour ranks quite apart from a resilience to most economic realities.

  3. Lifelogic
    February 5, 2016

    Perfectly put, surely everyone can agree with what you say.

    As you say:- People in favour of staying in the EU deliberately or inadvertently confuse these 3. They say we pool sovereignty to have more power, but there is no evidence we have pooled sovereignty – we have simply given it away.

    Well actually the politicians have given it away without the authority of the people to whom it belonged.

    Many have also deliberately confused the dire “EU” with the delightful “Europe”. If you love Europe you should certainly leave the EU and encourage others to do the same.

    They also confuse the totally fake veneer of MEPs with the idea that the EU is “democratic”. It is nothing of the sort, it is extremely anti-democratic. There is not even a sensible demos upon which democracy could rest. The power does not lie with MEP they are just an overpaid fake veneer and pointless talking shop. They largely toe the line and bank their high salaries and pensions.

    How Cameron can say he would even now go in to the EU on such dreadful, anti British terms (after the 40 years of complete disaster the EU has been for the UK) I do not know. On Question Time the people of Bradford seemed to have sussed Cameron rather well.

    Amber Rudd did not come across well at all, trying to defend Cameron in her bossy, strident tones with all her fake outrage. Resisting all the suggestions he was a “say one thing but do the complete opposite” serial ratter. That is alas what the man clearly is, as everyone can now see, certainly nearly all the people of Bradford seem to have worked it out anyway.

    1. Lifelogic
      February 5, 2016

      Anyone who wants out now should vote leave. Anyone who want a better IN deal should vote leave. There is no reason to vote to stay. The UK will be ignored and trodden into the ground for evermore if we do. It will become mere regions of an anti-democratic, economic basket case country called the EU.

      It will not control its borders, its taxes, its energy prices, its fishing, its defence, its agriculture, its laws or anything else. There will be no democratic control over anything no escape, the voters will be ignored. The end might well be violent as that will be the only escape from effective enslavement by the bureaucrats of the people.

      1. Lifelogic
        February 5, 2016

        The UK will also have to pay about double the going rates for its energy be over regulated to death and will thus be hugely uncompetitive in the World.

    2. Timaction
      February 5, 2016

      I rarely watch the BBC but saw the programme last night. The people of Bradford have indeed seen through the Tory Party leadership and his true intentions to sell us out to the EU.
      I actually took the time to watch Mr Cameron and his speech and questions on his “renegotiation” in Parliament. My opinion of him has changed. I didn’t think he was that bright or quick on his feet. But he is. So I now think he is the most disingenuous lying individual since Mr Heath. To state that his renegotiation is lawful and binding because he will deposit it at the UN is frankly laughable. To quote binding legislation using the Danish example whilst ignoring many others that were ignored is willful blindness.
      What’s also evident is how unrepresented we are by numbers in Parliament. Mr Cameron’s answers were selective and slimy to Eurosceptics.
      My fears have been proven that we are lead by a representative of the EU and not the British people. Parliament is not on our side and we desperately need change.

      1. lifelogic
        February 6, 2016

        Worse than Heath, this as he has already lived through all the Heath, Bliar, Major disasters, the CAP, the fishing policy, the energy lunacy, the over regulation of everything, the bloated bureaucracy, the huge costs. the ERM the EURO, the non-selective mass immigration, the strains on public services and housing …… and yet he wants even more of it.

        He is very clearly happy to continue to lie again and again to voters just to get it.

    3. fedupsoutherner
      February 5, 2016

      Great post again John. Worthy of sharing with all my friends and family. It explains everything really well. Unlike Amber Rudd last night who quite frankly was laughable. It was obvious the audience thought the same too. The only people that impressed me for speaking plain common sense were the woman on the end who is the political editor for the Daily Mail and Paul Nuttall. As ever, David Dimbleby tried his best to stop Paul refuting some of the lies being spoken.

      1. alan jutson
        February 5, 2016



      2. WillH
        February 5, 2016

        Yes , very good post , if we finally get out of the EU we are going to owe Mr Redwood massive gratitude for his daily efforts on this diary and the other ways he fights for our freedom. Have read that he finances this site from his own income , what a change from the Mp`s who find it impossible to stop wasting our money!
        Fedupsoutherner, thought Amber Rudd was dreadful last night telling everyone what was good for them , in a very bossy voice, she is every bit as objectionable as Emily Thornberry.

        Reply Yes, I pay for this site and run it myself.

        1. Denis Cooper
          February 6, 2016

          To be positive am I saying “when”, not “if”, we leave the EU.

      3. Lifelogic
        February 5, 2016

        The “woman on the end” was Isabel Oakeshott who was indeed very sound and put in a good performance, this despite being related to top Libdims.
        A pleasant change to all the token women they so often have. Rudd was fairly dreadful, as one would expect of someone pushing such an absurd energy policy. She came across as bossy, wrong headed while using lots of fake indignation. Defending the indefensible Cameron and his shoddy fake renegotiation deal.

        What I was impressed by was how many of the Bradford audience has sussed out Cameron and his shabby joke renegotiation. They could see straight through it.

      4. Qubus
        February 6, 2016

        Was it my imagination or was Dimbleby more lenient with the time he allotted to Stay rather than the LEAVE panelists on QT?

        1. lifelogic
          February 6, 2016

          Dimbleby is “BBC think” to the core. Green crap, ever more open door Immigration, more EU and an ever larger state, ever more PC drivel, ever more tax and ever more government.

          I think it is virtually compulsory to think this if you want to work at the BBC. Either that or they have a sinister brain washing machine there.

          I am not sure how Andrew Neil got through the vetting, but he is perhaps the only one who is remotely balanced.

    4. Lifelogic
      February 5, 2016

      So the NHS has £10 Million to burn trying to crush a surgeon who was merely trying to help the NHS avoid negligence, become more efficient and cut the many needless accidents & deaths.

      It seems rather an odd sense of priorities, but then nothing about the dysfunctional and Cameron’s priority in three letters N… H…. S…. surprises me.

      1. alan jutson
        February 6, 2016


        And they lost the use of his services for about 10 years as well !

        1. lifelogic
          February 6, 2016

          Indeed how many useful operations and consultations would he have done over ten years?

    5. getahead
      February 5, 2016

      “Perfectly put, surely everyone can agree with what you say.”
      Everyone who reads John Redwood’s diary that is. Which is not nearly enough people.

  4. The Active Citizen
    February 5, 2016

    A very interesting piece and I like your use of an individual’s case to illustrate your points. The distinction between the three concepts is deliberately misused by Europhiles, alas.

    The PM is now constantly referring to prosperity and security as the two big reasons for remaining in. The first could possibly be argued but the second? I’d love to see you write specifically on the security question. It’s important to hit this on the head.

    As I’ve written before, in my opinion it’s jobs, prosperity, security, and way of life which are some of the key issues which the majority of undecideds will think about. The other arguments about sovereignty, immigration, trade, etc feed into each of these, but the details of them are understood to a lesser degree.

    That said, sovereignty remains a subject of great importance – at least as a general idea in the minds of the general populace. It’s a word people like and it’s associated with freedom. The PM has indicated he will have news about this very soon, and he mentioned it again in response to Boris Johnson’s question in the House on Tuesday. I believe it’s wrapped up in the task he gave to Michael Gove, as part of his attempt to emasculate that former Eurosceptic.

    There is talk of Mr Gove proposing some kind of Constitutional Court, such as they have in Germany, with a right to proclaim that a British law has precedence over an EU law in certain circumstances. It might even be dressed as our existing Supreme Court being given extended powers.

    This is total nonsense of course, because we would be breaking our EU Treaty obligations if we ever exercised such power. That would lead to fines and all manner of censure. It would also require revision of the European Communities Act 1972 as far as I can see. It’s interesting that whilst the German Constitutional Court proclaims its power over EU law, it has never once overruled EU law.

    I worry that the PM will attempt to take the high ground with a grand statement about changes to our Supreme Court to ‘restate our absolute sovereignty’, in answer to the regular criticisms about this.

    Once again the Leave side needs to be prepared with a simple and immediate retort to ridicule the proposal and show how it would mean absolutely nothing.

    1. Lifelogic
      February 5, 2016

      You say:- I worry that the PM will attempt to take the high ground with a grand statement about changes to our Supreme Court to ‘restate our absolute sovereignty’, in answer to the regular criticisms about this.

      I suspect that will indeed be his fake distraction policy over sovereignty. He is after all David Cameron, what did you expect. It clearly is a worthless distraction that will be irrelevant to sovereignty.

      It was good to hear the excellent Andrew Neil on This Week rubbishing Dave last pathetic distraction policy. He pointed out (using the relevant figures) that Dave’s accusation that effectively Oxbridge and other top universities have racist admissions staff was pure nonsense. Hopefully Dave will desist, fire his poor researchers and apologise to any people he may have libelled.

      I rather doubt it though.

    2. Chris
      February 5, 2016

      Regarding your comment:
      “..with a grand statement about changes to our Supreme Court to ‘restate our absolute sovereignty…”, see the D Tel:

    3. Timaction
      February 5, 2016

      Indeed. The European Arrest warrant is always given as a shining example of increased security in Europe. What they never discuss is the freedom of movement of CRIMINALS, including those who are not monitored for murder as they would our own criminals as we don’t even know who they are and have no power to prevent their movement.
      Habeas Corpus and Magna Carta have been surrendered for British people who can be carted off to backward criminal justice systems throughout Europe without any British judicial scrutiny to languish in prisons for years before trial where guilt can be presumed before innocence. How can this be deemed as progress as boasted by Cameron and other quislings?

    4. Lifelogic
      February 5, 2016

      The PM is now constantly referring to prosperity and security as the two big reasons for remaining in. The first could possibly be argued but the second?

      No the first could not really be argued in any sensible way. For greater prosperity (per head) we need fewer but better regulations, cheaper energy, a far smaller government, lower taxes, easy hire and fire, fewer low earning migrants …. all the complete opposite of what the EU always delivers.

    5. Denis Cooper
      February 5, 2016

      From what I read here:

      Mr Gove is proposing a constitutional court which could not over-rule EU law but could over-rule our Parliament.

      If that is really the case then it means that an elected member of our Parliament is attempting to finally end its sovereignty, which is still said on its website to be “the most important part of the UK constitution”, on the pretence of protecting our sovereignty from attacks by the EU which the new court would not do.

        1. Denis Cooper
          February 6, 2016

          That’s the article I’ve read, and it correctly says:

          “The German court was established in 1951 with powers to strike down legislation that is incompatible with its constitution.”

          Germany has a codified constitution; we do not, our constitution is partly unwritten in terms of law, but mainly written in the form of Acts of Parliament, and unlike Germany the central principle of our constitution is not the supremacy of a codified constitution but the supremacy of Parliament within that constitution.

          Reply. Yes but in practice the German court does not override EU law and Treaties, and if tried to there would be a n EU override. The UK can only free itself of EU legal supremacy by leaving or by negotiating treaty change of a fundamental kind.

          1. Denis Cooper
            February 7, 2016

            So under (what is claimed to be) the Gove plan we would have the worst of both worlds: UK law still subordinate to EU law as now, plus Parliament subordinated to a UK court upholding EU law and empowered to strike down Acts of Parliament.

    6. Denis Cooper
      February 5, 2016

      So far our existing courts already have the right to proclaim that a British law has precedence over an EU law in certain circumstances.

      For example, here is Lord Denning in 1980:

      “Thus far I have assumed that our Parliament, whenever it passes legislation, intends to fulfil its obligations under the Treaty. If the time should come when our Parliament deliberately passes an Act with the intention of repudiating the Treaty or any provision in it or intentionally of acting inconsistently with it and says so in express terms then I should have thought that it would be the duty of our courts to follow the statute of our Parliament. I do not however envisage any such situation. As I said in Blackburn v Attorney General ([1971] 2 All ER 1380 at 1383, [1971] 1 WLR 1037 at 1040): ‘But if Parliament should do so, then I say we will consider that event when it happens.’ Unless there is such an intentional and express repudiation of the Treaty, it is our duty to give priority to the Treaty.”

      I say “so far” because there is always the risk of judicial drift even if there is no change to the EU treaties further undermining national sovereignty.

  5. eeyore
    February 5, 2016

    This is masterly and merits much wider circulation.

    1. Leslie Singleton
      February 5, 2016

      Dear eeyore–It and they should be nailed to telegraph poles–I repeat: that would force the papers to broadcast John’s excellent articles. Think of the Headlines; no paper would feel able to be left out. That said, personally I don’t lie awake nights worrying about either my or my country’s influence; besides what EU philiacs mean when they talk about influence is not so much influence on the rest of the world but on what the EU does or doesn’t do, about which I for one couldn’t care less. Would say Calfornia have more or less influence if it left the USA?

  6. matthu
    February 5, 2016

    Brilliant article, John.

    Should the UK be able to set the rate of VAT on women’s tampons without reference to other countries?

    Should the UK be able to limit the number of people who come across its borders?

    Should the UK be able to force or prevent its citizens being sent to languish in a Turkish or Serbian jail?

    Should the UK be able to raise or lower the speed limits for its own roads?

    Should the UK be able to prevent a future EU army from crossing its borders?

    Does the UK have the power to do all of these things?

    Does the UK have the influence to force or prevent any of these things?

  7. alan jutson
    February 5, 2016

    Problem is at the moment few realise what the real issues are, and I include some MP’s in that category.

    Those that want to know, are often too lazy to try to get themselves properly informed.

    The only way forward seems to be to try and keep the arguments simple, as you have attempted in the last couple of weeks, with your series of excellent postings JR.

    The simple fact of the matter is the leave campaign need to unite in one cause, and gain maximum media traction for their arguments.

    Keep up the excellent work John.

  8. Roy Grainger
    February 5, 2016

    I think even wavering Remainers should vote Leave in the referendum because for sure a whole load of new concessions will then be offered by the EU in preparation for the second repeat vote the Tory and Labour high command will organise.

    1. Leslie Singleton
      February 5, 2016

      Dear Roy–Beats me how anybody could even begin to see it differently

  9. agricola
    February 5, 2016

    Well argued John, I do not feel the need to add anything to it.

  10. Mick
    February 5, 2016

    The people who are for staying in the dreaded eu are probably the same people who complain about the health service and other bodies, what I see is when we leave will have billions spare to spend on outside services so bed blocking becomes a thing of the past there by relieving beds so reducing waiting times in a & e, and that just one example of getting out, the list is endless so this needs to be pushed not just the benefits of less foreigners

  11. nigel
    February 5, 2016

    Not only will Britain have more power, but individual British people will also.

    At least with our own politicians, if we don’t like them, we can vote to get rid of them. In the case of Mr Juncker and his cohorts, we have no such possibility.

  12. Antisthenes
    February 5, 2016

    You are stating the obvious and it is appalling that you have to because so many of us are so dumb and do not see it. I commend the way you have explained it as even the dullest should understand and except it.

    Hopefully your message will not just read by your blog readers as you are preaching mostly to the converted. That you will disseminate it widely so all can read the message and understand the inequities and disadvantages of being a member of the EU let alone the euro-zone.

  13. Ken Moore
    February 5, 2016

    Excellent article but how can this message be got out to those voters that don’t read newspapers or take an interest in politics but simply rely on the usual sources. The BBC are going to fight tooth and nail to suppress this kind of information or release it in a low key ‘balanced’ by a heap of lies.

    The campaign needs simple, snappy visual messages too that will cut through and resonate – if the campaign centres on intellectual arguments between what some deride as ‘men in suits’ it will risk being snuffed out by the chorus of lies from the IN side.

    When is the campaign to save Britain going to start…where are the adverts, slogans, official information other than a couple of members have resigned ?.

    1. Chris
      February 5, 2016

      Perhaps Mr Redwood could address one of the GO meetings? There is an excellent line up of speakers tonight in Manchester, and tremendous ticket sales.

  14. liz
    February 5, 2016

    David Cameron’s journies round the EU capitals and discussioins with their politicians have almost certainly opened the eyes of many people (who normally do not pay a great deal of attention to politics) to how much we have lost power and influence to the EU Commission. Some are incredulous that we have to ask permission from all these people to set out own benefit rates and conditions. This may account for the surge of support for “leave” after Mr. Cameron’s report on what he had achieved.
    Typical EU priorities – they have issed recommendations that most oven gloves are not fit for purpose and should be withdrawn whilst at the same time the immigration crisis overwhelms them.

  15. JJE
    February 5, 2016

    I’m rather concerned that I don’t know who is leading the Leave campaign. With the pressure for a TV debate before the vote likely to be irresistible the campaign needs a leader who can win that debate.
    You are doing a great job of writing the messages – they need to be translated into sound bites and a leader found to deliver them.

  16. Bert Young
    February 5, 2016

    Cameron’s rushing around Europe today suggests he has been warned he will not get what he wants . Certainly the messages from Poland indicate they are not prepared to put up with a reduced benefits deal . The main hope of the “Leave”,”Exit”,”Out” campaigns – call it what you will , is that he will represent a case that significantly differs to the one he has already launched ; if this is so it will impress the average person in the street who , at the moment , has not thought enough about it or who is simply not interested . These “disinterested” are the voters who will decide .

    Yesterday a close friend of mine who has been a member of the Conservative Party for all his voting life , came to tell me he had cancelled his membership . At the local Conservative office he was told he was not alone – many members had done the same following Cameron’s statement to MPs to disregard the opinions of its constituents . I wonder what sort of a message these individuals will convey to Cameron and the effect that could well split the Party up .Corbyn must be laughing his socks off .

    Sovereignty has its basis in our MPs representing the will of the people ; if they can not – or do not do this then our democracy is lost and our votes are meaningless . The Party system is the very basis of how the electorate reacts and it depends largely on keeping the faithful together . Will Cameron now destroy the Conservatives ?.

  17. Chris
    February 5, 2016

    This member of the Question Time audience is being given plenty of coverage this morning, and I think she represents many. She accuses
    Question Time audience savages Eurosceptic cabinet ministers for refusing to speak out

    Audience member accuses Eurosceptic cabinet ministers of ‘putting their careers before principles’

  18. Ian wragg
    February 5, 2016

    The problem is that most of our professional politicians are in it for personal gain and not for the good of the country. They like the idea of being subservient to Brussels as they can enjoy a quiet life.
    Stupid people like Amber Rudd can blindly follow the EU directives knowing that they will be well gone before the lights fail.
    Millipede pushed through the damaging CCA and most have forgotten this although he was supported by 90% of the Tories.
    When campaigning starts in earnest we will see who are the Quislings and 5th column actively working for a foreign power
    Let’s hope they all lose their seats at the next election

  19. Antisthenes
    February 5, 2016

    I note that the public have taken notice of the hacks lurid headlines and now a majority want to leave. So now we enter the second act or is it the third or fourth I have lost track of this pantomime. The EU will beef up the crumbs thrown to UK to placate them a bit and may even add a few more. David Cameron will tell us that he has listened to the voice of the people and demanded more and got it. It will be another lie of course.

    Then the hacks will print more lurid headlines praising the new deal and telling us smugly that “it was them wot done it”. The audience the public will applaud the play and go home nodding in approval believing they had witnessed a serious drama. Not realising they have been duped and in fact what they were watching was an uproariously funny farce.

  20. Tom William
    February 5, 2016

    The argument that we would have more influence in the world outside the EU is not new, but the argument that we would also have more influence on the EU by being outside it is subtle and true, and needs promoting.

  21. Tad Davison
    February 5, 2016

    This series has been an excellent lesson for us all John. You are indeed master of your subject. Please keep them coming, and with any luck, political commentators will read them and take your highly relevant and intelligent comments on board. Your arguments against the EU are overwhelmingly powerful. It’s just a question now, of getting that message across to ordinary people who might not be politically aware.

    Tad Davison


  22. Peter Stroud
    February 5, 2016

    How on earth did this great country sleepwalk into relinquishing so many powers, and how do the likes of Cameron believe that giving away more is anything but disastrous to the future of the nation. We must vote to leave the EU.

  23. Alan Pearson
    February 5, 2016

    I agree entirely with Mr. Redwood’s article. I am baffled, but nor surprised, by the apparent lack of information in the media giving any real information for in/out waverers. My perception is that the government and pro – EU factions will use the fear factor to encourage people to vote to remain in the EU. I am concerned by high profile figures suddenly agreeing that the recent talks are good enough for us to remain in the EU, to me it feels like bribery or intimidation, the instruction by the Prime Minister for MPs to “vote with their hearts, not their constituents” confirms my long held belief that Parliament has nothing but contempt or indifference to the wishes of the electorate. We must campaign for the return of British sovereignty where we do not ask unelected bureaucrats or politicians for approval of our actions and policies, the primacy of British law over european and control of our borders. If our country votes to stay in the european union I believe that post referendum we will find that the EU will be more dictatorial than ever before – the EU giveth and the EU will certainly take away. The only way our country can really be free (I do not use this word lightly) is to leave the EU.

  24. Antisthenes
    February 5, 2016

    I should like to amend a couple of bloopers of mine that I made in previous comments in one yesterday I said “The EU has no purpose” whereas I should have said “no useful purpose”. The second in one today where I used the word “except” instead should have written “accept”.

    1. lifelogic
      February 6, 2016

      Surely its purpose is the provision of jobs, nice offices, free travel, expenses and gold plated pensions for all their bureaucrats. That and to give large business an advantage over small by over regulation of everything.

  25. MikeP
    February 5, 2016

    Dear John, once again you’ve hit the nail smack on the head. This whole week’s post have perhaps been the clearest, most eloquent, thought-provoking and reasoned arguments to inform the choice we face that I’ve read. I hope others here have shared or cribbed the odd sentence as I have to spread the word. Thank you and well done.

  26. Shieldsman
    February 5, 2016

    I despair of the BBC ever presenting an unbiased account of our EU membership, the real pros and cons.
    Last night I watched the Bumbleby chaotic question time programme. Very rarely does the panel stick with answering the questions and last night was no exception.
    First up was David Cameron’s EU renegotiations, and three of the ladies didn’t seem to know what it was all about – they have never heard of and do not know the meaning of SOVEREIGNTY.
    Amber Rudd thought Mr Cameron was being successful and would do even better at the next EU meeting.
    Paul Nuttall for UKIP stated that little or nothing had been achieved and in this he was supported by the journalist Isabel Oakeshott.
    The lady for the libdems stuck with Nick Clegg’s line that leaving would be disaster and we would be forced to take the Norway option.

    Christopher Houston asks the question why the Labour Party backs staying in the EU. The Labour lady MP was in praise of the EU for the working time directive.
    I cannot understand the thinking of Labour and the Trade Unions, perhaps they are stuck in a time warp.
    Frances O’Grady can’t get her facts right. “There is a real danger that this campaign is turning into a debate between elites funded by the big banks on the one hand and hedge funds on the other,” O’Grady told Reuters, referring to some of the main financiers of the rival camps. She proposes to join the big moneymen who are quite happy with mass immigration and cheap labour and Cameron who supposedly wanted to restore opt-outs on the Social Chapter, to stay in the EU.

    Looking into it, the story was in the Telegraph on the 10th July 2015. The Prime Minister seeking to restore opt-outs on the Social Chapter – Working Time Directive that were jettisoned by Tony Blair. It would appear the truth is somewhat different. Darren Newman states the UK never had an opt-out from the Working Time Directive, confusion often arises because there is a provision in the Directive – very much the UK’s doing – which allows members states (not just the UK) to provide for workers to agree to work more than 48 hours a week. That provision is still there (Article 22) and is reflected in Regulation 4 of the Working Time Regulations.

    Union leaders want to fight battles they have already won, there is no reason to stay in the EU on these grounds. Even if we leave the EU it is still part of UK employment law, any effort to change would be resisted and there will not be a Conservative government forever. The Unions have lobbied (unsuccessfully) against TTIP, and to succeed we need to leave.

    Uncontrolled immigration is not to the benefit of the workforce the Unions represent, and whatever minor sops Cameron achieves, freedom of movement is sacrosanct.

    The Unions backed the Climate Change Act and this had many repercussions on our household bills with the resulting rising cost of energy. Many thousands of jobs have been lost due the high price of electricity. We no longer produce aluminium, the steel industry is losing jobs by the thousands, and EU rules prevent subsidy support.

    Trade Union leaders are like Cameron and his supporters, they cannot see beyond the end of their noses. Staying in the EU will bring further integration and diktats from Brussels. Any future Labour government will be hamstrung, and the Red Card won’t block EU Directives.

  27. David L
    February 5, 2016

    Interesting to be in the company of some “Stay” chaps over a pint last week. They spoke with the same vitriol about those who wish to leave as I read in certain posts on this site. One explained his business was importing antique and vintage items sourced from across Europe which he then restored/refurbished and sent to auction. He went on “Currently I can import things from the EU and incur little cost, but out of the EU, HMRC will assess the end value of everything and charge me an import duty that reflects that value. It will render my business unprofitable at a stroke.”
    They told me that I was being influenced by the lies of people whose agenda was the diminishment of the UK for whatever reasons.
    Passions running high in both camps.

    1. Pericles Xanthippou
      February 5, 2016

      David L, I suspect that your importer has not read the legislation and has not imported from outside the E.U.

      Import duty and, as things stand, V.A.T. are payable on the value ad hoc of an import, not on a value guessed at by H.M.R.C. to include future restoration or other modification. Either he doesn’t know or he is doing what I fear many throughout this campaign — on both sides — can be expected to do: spreading alarm and despondency.


    2. Denis Cooper
      February 5, 2016

      What “import duty”?

    3. Lifelogic
      February 5, 2016

      They will almost certainly not charge an import duty to things from the EU, nor will they put one on things exported to the EU – he is just wrong.

  28. David L
    February 5, 2016

    Sorry, should have inserted after “site..” (line 3)” …about those wishing to leave.”

  29. Kenneth
    February 5, 2016

    I also think that since we were swallowed by the eu we lost much of our influence with the U.S.A. Right now the U.S.A. does not need to consult us nor consider our point of view. It prefers to deal with Germany or the eu itself.

    By leaving the eu we will once again act as a bridge between Europe and the U.S.A. and gain much more influence with both of them.

  30. The Active Citizen
    February 5, 2016

    If you don’t read read the ConservativeHome website, our host had an excellent article published on there yesterday.

    I recommend it strongly.

  31. Colin Hart
    February 5, 2016

    A former Advocate General of the ECJ summed up the position perfectly on Today.

    He confirmed the supremacy of EU law over national law and said, in so many words, if you don’t like it, there is no other option available than to vote Leave.

    1. Denis Cooper
      February 5, 2016

      Well, we’ve been going round and round in circles on this for decades now.

      It particularly came to the fore back in 2003 with Article 10 of the draft EU Constitution, here:

      “1. The Constitution, and law adopted by the Union’s Institutions in exercising competences conferred on it, shall have primacy over the law of the Member States.”

      That prompted Martin Howe QC to produce a 67 page booklet with “A legal assessment of the draft treaty”, which I happen to have to hand here, in which he pointed out that this Article was not in fact just a restatement of the agreed and established legal position but instead the elevation of a federalist view asserted by the ECJ into a constitutional principle which actually had no basis in the existing treaties and which had been rejected by national courts in several EU member states, including the UK, and the Article had been inserted because:

      “… the draft Treaty is attempting to prevail over and reverse these national decisions. That is what Giscard and his allies are trying to achieve. It is not just a Treaty establishing or reorganising the European Union. It is a Treaty which “establishes a Constitution for Europe”.”

      And then more than six years later in January 2010 the same author had an article in the WSJ headed:

      “Time to Safeguard British Sovereignty”

      “The U.K. needs a sovereignty bill to preserve its right to override external laws, including those originating from the EU.”

      The stated intention was to “preserve” that right, not gain it, because:

      “As a matter of the U.K.’s internal law, Parliament can disregard or disapply any laws of EU origin even if that step might put the U.K. in breach of its international treaty obligations.

      British courts have commented on this issue a few times since the U.K. joined what was called the Common Market in 1973. They have expressed the view that the U.K. Parliament retains the power to override EU laws if it expressly decides to do so, but if it is silent on the matter there is a presumption that normal Acts of Parliament will give way to EU law.”

      So what happened to that proposed “sovereignty bill”? Well, one answer might be “the LibDems, that’s what happened to it”; the Coalition Agreement did say:

      “We will examine the case for a United Kingdom Sovereignty Bill to make it clear that ultimate authority remains with Parliament.”

      but the end result, in Part 3 of the European Union Act 2011:

      is not all that it could have been.

  32. Pericles Xanthippou
    February 5, 2016

    Polls published in the last few hours appear to put the ‘leave’ side ahead; they are in no wise to be relied upon.

    As things stand, the biggest problem for the leave side arises from there being two campaigns, divided not apparently on any meaningful principle but by personalities. With under twenty weeks to go (perhaps) before the plebiscite itself this divided house needs urgently to sort out its divisions and, above all, to find one acknowledged leader.


    1. lifelogic
      February 6, 2016

      The biggest problems for the stay in side are:

      1. Most people have sussed Cameron out and do not trust him one inch (after cast iron, the priority in three letters NHS, no if no buts tens of thousands, at heart a low tax conservative, a treaty is not a treaty once ratified and the long grass joke non renegotiation why on earth would they)?

      Also even those who want in are better voting out, this as a far better deal will follow just as night follows day.

  33. Margaret
    February 5, 2016

    There is yet another example how people can get words and meanings confused and use them incorrectly . I get annoyed when logic/ reason/ rationale / facts and truth get mixed up and people blindly continue to use them.

  34. Denis Cooper
    February 5, 2016

    “Sovereignty means a country has the right to make all its own decisions, limited only by international law … ”

    I don’t accept that qualification; if Parliament decides that the exercise of its sovereignty shall be limited by an international agreement then that is only until Parliament decides the opposite, that its decisions shall no longer be circumscribed by that agreement.

    1. Leslie Singleton
      February 5, 2016

      Dear Denis–Couldn’t agree more and a pox on anything other than our own Law. I was pained to hear at lunchtime one of the UN Panel members talking its twaddle on Assange, most paining of all being his assertion that the “ruling” of said panel would take its place in forming International Law.

    2. Denis Cooper
      February 5, 2016

      To clarify this, just as individuals should strive to keep agreements they have made so should governments, and “pacta sunt servanda” is the general principle which the UK government and Parliament should normally observe in the UK’s international relations. We don’t want to get a worldwide reputation as a people who cannot be trusted to keep their word. However it cannot be an absolute principle: to borrow Hague’s extreme example which has been resurrected recently, if the operation of a treaty required the slaughter of our first-born then we would not do it, we would break the treaty rather than do it. And the world would not think badly of us for breaking the treaty, in fact the world would be amazed if we were crazy enough to do it just because we had agreed to a treaty which had worked out in such a way that we were required to do it. There is however another aspect of this, which is that if Parliament has approved a treaty then other in emergencies the government should not knowingly break that treaty without first getting express authorisation from Parliament; if it did that then our government would not only be breaking an agreement with the governments of other countries, but also breaking an agreement with our own Parliament.

    1. Lifelogic
      February 5, 2016

      Well why do cats chase mice? Or foxes eat chickens. It is just what Cameron does with lots of fake sincerely.

  35. Anonymous
    February 5, 2016

    QMV needs to be explained and discussed.

    I fear that our democratic voice will be quieter per capita within the EU rather than without.

  36. Chris
    February 5, 2016

    Cameron’s claims that he can “win back British sovereignty” are dealt with the contempt they deserve:
    ‘EU law will always prevail’: Leading British law officer says David Cameron’s plan to win back British sovereignty won’t work unless we quit the EU
    EU legal expert Sir Francis Jacobs deals blow to PM’s plan to put British supremacy ‘beyond doubt’
    David Cameron promised new laws to win Boris Johnson’s backing……”

    How about some honesty, Mr Cameron?

    1. Leslie Singleton
      February 5, 2016

      Dear Chris–Be of good cheer–The Express says 92%, which I hope pops Cameron’s bubble of conceit–His whole strategy is crumbling, for surely it is unarguable that this whole, delaying, re-negotiation charade of his has made the chances of a vote for Out larger not smaller–Of course, Cameron being the slippery prevaricator he is may yet well try to defer the Referendum, perhaps coming up with something like, “Hand on heart and in utmosr good faith having listened to the latest legal advice I have decided it would be in the Country’s interest to wait till the Treaty position is clearer before holding the Referendum”. In fact I’d bet that if the percentage for Out stays up he will indeed attempt something like this. Nothing is beneath him. Then there’s the business of his “Ruling nothing out”. Would he have us believe that whether this silly and inconsquential re-negotiation flies or not is going to be enough either way for him to stand on his head? Unlikely.

    2. Denis Cooper
      February 5, 2016

      Well, that’s the view of a former advocate general at the ECJ, of course he will try to defend the ECJ claim that EU law has primacy over national law.

      More to the point, when Cameron and Gove propose making the UK Supreme Court “similar to Germany’s constitutional court” that would be a court with the power to strike down Acts of Parliament.

      So then neither Parliament nor that new court would be sovereign.

      1. Chris
        February 6, 2016

        Reply to Denis: thank you for all your research. One has to ask why is it left to bloggers/commenters to do the rigorous analysis/research? What are the MPs doing? Why are they not challenging Cameron seriously face to face with the facts? Why is the media, or most of it, apparently lacking in any talent, ability or inclination to carry out forensic investigation? After all, it is not too melodramatic to state that the future of the UK is indeed at stake. It is as grave as that.

    3. Lifelogic
      February 5, 2016

      You expect honestly from Cameron? Have you seen his history? The heir to Bliar.

    4. colin hart
      February 5, 2016

      He doesn’t know the meaning of the word.

  37. stred
    February 5, 2016

    Travelling yesterday and with internet not working, I actually bought a newspaper. It was the Daily Mail and the front page was taken up with comment titled ‘Who is speaking for England’ It was almost as if they had been reading your blog. Then inside there was another article about the lack of coordination of the Out or leave campaign and how they were falling out with each other. Also how we were missing any ‘big name’ important ministers to head the campaign and how important it is to decide who gets the airtime and money from the Electoral Commission.

    Your name was nowhere to be seen and few of the other MPs who were putting up the only strong opposition in the misleading debate, with the PM in deception mode and the ministers behind him seeming to be waiting for dental treatment, from the expressions on their faces. Some conservative MPs spoke who seemed to be keener on the EU than Martin Schultz.

    From what I could gather the Leave campaign is covering the points likely to appeal to kipper types and the other is really more about business. The MPs group is lead by Peter Bone and independent. It would be good if the MPs all got together with the Leave, which has some old big names and headed the political wing, while the Business group linked up to head the business case. It would be a three pronged attack and could raise additional money from ordinary outers, desperate not to let the liars fool gullible voters.

    I presume that no-one in the media mentions you as a leader is that their type and many of the dimmer electorate is suspicious of logic or cool headed people that seem less like the person they can sit back and listen to, without thinking very much. Some younger people also have called you a ‘toff’, presumably as you do not joke and blather like other Tories, who play down their wealthy of aristocratic background. I always point out that you and David Davis was drug up like me.

    1. stred
      February 5, 2016

      is that- because. and- wealthy or.

  38. agricola
    February 5, 2016

    I read that Goldman Sachs are saying that Sterling will drop in value by 20% on Brexit. This I deem a pure scare tactic with talk of more expensive holidays aimed at the undecided voter. Ask what is in it for Goldman Sachs in putting about such propaganda.

    I suspect that the drop in value of 8% in Sterling vis a vie the Euro is due to dealer discounting in the near certainty that the Pound would soar on Brexit. This would give the bankers a fat profit.

    The real question is not the value of Sterling, but the value of the Euro without the support of the UK economy.

    Since mid January Sterling has been increasing in value against the US Dollar. Both currencies exist in relatively successful economies. The Euro is in a diminishing economy where there is more talk of quantitive easing or printing money to cover their failure. What will that do to it’s value.

    As you have been at the sharp end of banking John perhaps you could enlighten us as to what you think is happening.

  39. Tim L
    February 5, 2016


    A bit off the wall this, would love to hear your view.

    We are in the EU and a trade deal with the USA is moving our way, TTIP.

    Would it not be a reasonable leap of logic to think the UK could simply join this as an independent country given the two other parties are really good friends?

    The USA clearly will not be entering political union and entertaining free movement etc so would this not be a better route for trading with both parties?

    Cameron is such a good negotiator surely it would be a fairly easy for him given it would serve all three parties well?

    Reply Out of the EU we could have a free trade deal with the US sooner than the EU.

  40. ChrisS
    February 5, 2016

    Listening to Schulz on the World At One, it’s obvious that they will deliberately wait until after the referendum before they consider the matter in the European Parliament.

    If we foolishly vote yes, they will then be free to water down the “Deal” even more until it’s utterly worthless.

    Thin gruel it maybe now, but by the time they’ve finished, it will be no more than stale water with a thin film of slimy fat lying on top.

    1. Denis Cooper
      February 6, 2016

      No, Chris, it will still work even at infinite dilution:

      “In January 2010, a group of protesters staged a mass “overdose” of………………homeopathic remedies, including homeopathic “sleeping pills”. Of course, nobody was harmed because these “remedies” contain no active ingredients and have been demonstrated – in countless controlled experimental trials – to be completely ineffective. So why do people believe in them?”

      Reply The producers claim there are natural active ingredients in them.

      1. Denis Cooper
        February 6, 2016

        The producer of legally binding, irreversible promises says the same.

  41. a-tracy
    February 5, 2016

    Don’t you just hate the “if the Brits want to leave, let them leave” in other words the UK have got absolutely no say whatsoever! “the British often test our patience and good will with their continuous demands” – what will those be then the demands of a nation that is majority paying in and minor league taking out while the rest of Europe gets rich off our backs and drags us down, making us so multi-national we can’t hear our own language in some areas of London.

    Why does paying benefits out be approved of the European court surely our benefits system is up to the UK to set the rules. Just what can UK citizens get if we arrive in France, Germany and Spain with nothing, because if our kids tip up in London they can’t get anything just handed to them can they?

    Then we get the threats if we leave we will “be very vulnerable to global economic and financial crises and to the volatilities of global markets” why does it John?

    It is a very sad state of affairs that “half of our trade is just within the EU” if that’s true, when the world is a much bigger place, why can’t we trade more with the much larger ‘rest of the world’? Who stops us?

  42. Jezza
    February 5, 2016

    I see that Peter Hitchens has thrown in the towel and decided not to vote in the referendum. He can’t see the point in it.

    This is a blow as I expect he’ll be allowed to write in the lead up to the vote. Abstentions by those against the EU will do just as well as votes for, as far as the In lobby is concerned (He disappeared rather mysteriously in the weeks surrounding the last general election.)

  43. Maureen Turner
    February 5, 2016

    “We do not even have the power to decide our own taxes or our own spending inside the EU.” News to me JR. I can’t recall a politician from any Party make mention of this or for that matter a journalist or economist. I don’t doubt you but it merely highlights how ill informed people like myself really are.

    In the run up to the 2015 GE a Sky news reporter gathered together eleven individuals out shopping in some Midlands town and asked if our membership of the EU was high on their voting intentions and all said No. Two said they had never heard of the EU. Four elderly people were quite knowledgable and the rest were aware of it as a trading group. I’ve a sense this sample could be the norm in many parts of the UK.

    As “Agricola” in his excellent comment re your blog of yesterday said the PM should be forced to debate with Leave as cracks are slowly opening up on his ridiculous renegotiation package which isn’t going to change anything at all.

    As someone who was a Tory activist for many years I could hardly believe Mr. Cameron’s most recent edict that MP’s should disregard their assocs. activists and members to ensure they vote Remain. Lord Tebbit however in his DT blog suggests the grassroots should ignore the PM and vote with their head or conscience.

    The PM is obviously prepared, should he win the referendum, to hand this country over to Brussels without a single qualm and if it destroys the Con. Party to achieve his aim so be it. Just what is his reward for all this horrid deception?

  44. Chris
    February 5, 2016

    With regard to comments above about Cameron’s claim that his deal would be irreversible/legally binding, perhaps he should take heed of Martin Schula:

    One characteristic of the Brussels bureaucrats is that they have been quite clear about the goals of the EU superstate and ever closer union, together with the fundamental pillars of the EU, which can’t be altered. So, I have no reason to doubt what Schulz says in this context. However, Cameron’s record on honesty is not impressive, I fear.

    1. Denis Cooper
      February 6, 2016

      In October 2009 the Czechs were promised a protocol:

      “On this basis, and taking into account the position taken by the Czech Republic, the Heads of State or Government have agreed that they will, at the time of the conclusion of the next Accession Treaty and in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements, attach the Protocol (in Annex I) to the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.”

      But in May 2013 the EU Parliament dealt a lethal blow to that protocol:

      “With a vote of 574 to 82, MEPs for the first time used their right not to support an amendment of the EU treaties.”

      Technically the EU Parliament cannot prevent the EU governments changing their treaties however they may want, but this was a practical demonstration that MEPs can be sufficiently obstructive that a proposed change will die the death unless the governments are really determined to push it through.

      As far as secondary legislation is concerned, MEPs do have a veto.

  45. turbo terrier
    February 5, 2016

    Thank you yet again John for a open and honest observation of the state of play regarding this whole mess of trying to leave the EU.

    The debacle (for me ) of last nights QT just highlights the urgency for a united front for those like the majority of your respondents who want the country out of he mess we find ourselves in. As usual the chairman did his best to stifle good open honest debate, how much longer can he be left in this position?

    Differences have got to be ignored and laid to one side so the we get a leader that the general public can relate to. He/she can have whatever background I don’t care I just want a united respected leader to throw my support at. Everyday we delay will be another nail in the Leave campaign.

    Time is on the side of the Stay campaign as we are perceived to be tearing ourselves apart with all these different sections, scrapping like spoilt chidren in the school playground.

    You cannot make this up

  46. Bazman
    February 5, 2016

    Interesting as to how foil hatted people like yourself square off the selling of assets and companies and thus profits going to foreign countries along with the buying of foreign state subsidised products such as steel, coal, trains Massive subsidies to France and China for electricity and the begging bowl out for more projects such as rail. This with companies sold which then move production abroad. All costing the state massive welfare bills and tax scams that say no profits have been produced. Often when these profits have been made from captured markets like the great NHS sell off.
    The city being thanked for paying for hospitals and the army despite paying almost no tax. You could not make it up.
    Leaving the EU is going to help all this? Maybe they will just move everything abroad like car production surly will and have too?
    A tax haven in the North Sea will make up for all this. As if. crackpot right wing dream world with the people supporting in not having to face the consequences. The real reason is to allow bushiness to do what they like and rich individuals to pay no tax with us all having to pay more and have less. Business may well do what they like and the results will not be pretty. Remind us why we need a minimum wage and tax credits? They will never share.
    Dingbat ideology that allows the working poor and the disabled as well as the average person trying to build a life, get a home etc, to be the sacrifice to big business.
    Rubbish low paid state subsidised jobs being the only thing left and the population being blamed for their own low wages like it is all somehow external like the plague. Background has no effect and neither does going to Eaton and Cambridge one presumes any who says it does is just jealous? Unarguably thick nonsense.
    Not external for the tiny elite who will never need anything. They will live, indeed already does so under communism for a single individual, having organized it for friends, developed socialism with elements of feudalism.
    Welcome Russia on sea you got there in the end, but unlike Russia the trades and Doctors can leave. Stopping immigration is the goal of the right and so will stopping migration count on it. Interesting to see how the average person like myself will oppressed. A home owner will not play the game? These will be seen as dissidents. The internet is going to censored as it allows the free movement of of ideas and all extreme governments fear this. Terrorism will be the excuse as we have seen with Dave’s deluded idea about banning encryption.
    Ill keep going for a few more pages and then repeat it in every post. You know who you are.

    reply Do try reading what I write, which is the opposite of the above caricature. a Conservative government is taking more tax off large companies and seeking a global solution to company tax avoidance. I have called for the use of British steel in UK government projects but EXU rules make this difficult.I want to limit inward migration and to have higher wages for the lower paid but again EU membership gets in the way

  47. Margaret
    February 5, 2016

    Apparently we are getting on the EU’s nerves and we should be allowed to leave if we want to. They cannot stop us. Which international or EU law desires us to have permission before we leave ? ‘ If we want to ‘ has no bearing’ on the proposition that we should be allowed to.

  48. Bazman
    February 5, 2016

    Big business supports membership of the EU as it allows them to do what they like?
    Big business hates the EU as it acts as a brake on their activities?
    The Tories are as all sensible evidence points to this are supporters of big businesses at the expense of everything else. They are not? Get real.
    How will you vote? For big business or against it? They after all pay the most tax, despite their corporate welfare scrounging and tax dodging, small businessman such as scrounging, bleating landlords support and contribute very little in this country other than themselves. Oh dear…
    “What will the lads do on Monday?” As Tory MP Cecil Franks once said and what will pensioners do when there state benefits such a old age pensions are cut if the wrong decision is made. ‘Benefit’ it is Osborne tellingly tells us…

  49. miami.mode
    February 5, 2016

    I think it says it all about the negotiations when the UK is doing the asking and the EU is doing the telling.

  50. Jon
    February 5, 2016

    Well turned out to be a topical issue.

    I would say that the UN committee is not honouring the UN article on a nation states right to self determination.

    How have we got a committee in the UN telling us that we need to pay vast amounts of money to a fugitive?

    I suspect if the diplomats had the option to drive him away in their dimplomatic immunity cars! Tough if they didn’t do it.

    I have no real democratic influence on the UN committee decision, where has this come from?? I understand how the UN Articles came about but surely they didn’t allow a committee to make a current decision and the right to overrule a Nation State?

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