What has been the most damaging EU policy so far?

When assessing our past membership of the EU the UK has plenty of reason to worry over damage done to our interests, jobs and economy by EU membership. I would be interested to hear your views on which EU policy has been most damaging. There are so many to choose from. I list below some of the more obvious candidates.

1. Common Fishery Policy. Has led to the loss of fish stocks, the imposition of tough quotas, and the elimination of much of the British fishing fleet. Making our fish a common resource has not been good for the UK.

2. The European Exchange Rate Mechanism. Our membership of this quack remedy for our economy led first to a rapid inflation and then to a deep recession. It lost us around 5%of our national output.

3. The Common Agricultural Policy. UK farmers have been denied sufficient quota to meet our and their needs in some sectors. Our beef farmers were badly treated over handling BSE. Food consumers have had to buy dearer continental product instead of importing from cheaper places elsewhere thanks to tariffs and controls. Emerging market countries have been denied fair access to our markets, impeding their development.

4. The Common energy policy. Whilst the UK’s home grown Climate Change policy of the Labour government was unhelpful for keeping the lights on and supplying enough affordable power for our needs, the UK is locked in by the Renewables requirements and the combustion controls to expensive and unreliable power and to premature power station closures.This worsens fuel poverty and spurs de industrialisation.

5. The Euro. Fortunately we won the battle to keep the UK out, but we are adversely affected by the mass unemployment, slow growth and no growth which this currency scheme is inflicting on much of the rest of the EU.


  1. stred
    March 3, 2016

    No 4- energy policy- seems to have lead to 499,000 excess winter deaths.The high energy costs and ridiculous insulation policies are largely home- grown but EU inspired. We would have to get rid of dim politicians and civil servants, who do not understand this, even after Brexit.
    No 5. At least this policy has brought many attractive non-feminist young ladies to our shores for our young blokes to possibly seduce, after re-educating themselves on continental manners, thereby raising the quality of our future stock.

    1. Lifelogic
      March 3, 2016

      Half a million where does that come from out of interest. It must surely have caused many deaths and a lot of misery for many of the poor and elderly. All for no purpose, just a silly alarmist, exaggeration, religion about a harmless, natural gas that is food for trees, crops and plants.

      1. stred
        March 4, 2016

        Googled it early in the morning. It must have included other countries over 10 years. Can’t find it now. The rate for England and Wales is only 30k pa. The excess winter deaths in England is 18% as against about 10% in Holland and Germany.(re wiki) 300k mainly old folks in 10 years because we have old badly insulated draughty houses and expensive energy. So far no policy for insulating and draught stripping these, except for a few obtaining grants and using expensive construction, while green levies are making electricity even more costly and they plan to stop using gas.

    2. Hope
      March 3, 2016

      Today Hollande makes threats there will be consequences if the UK leaves the EU and Cameron lamely stood by him smiling! What did Hague say the other day about other nation leaders looking after their own national interests! What sort of person who declares themself a leader would behave like this or not agree in advance that a foreign leader should not interfere in domestic politics- Cameron’s behaviour was a disgrace to the nation irrespective of his own views. He needs to be sacked. When are Tory MPs going to show leadership and take the appropriate action to oust him?

      1. Timaction
        March 4, 2016

        I can’t think of any other leader on Earth who would condone a foreign Government making threats to its citizens and smiling and agreeing that we should do as we are told by those foreign leaders. Cameron has lost the plot, the game is up, we do not want his EU dictatorship, lies and manipulation, there should be a leadership challenge to put him back in his box!
        There may be unrest unless he stops using the Government machine to drive his obvious propaganda, planned for months. He would have been better advised to get a trade and friendship deal unlike the failed minor unenforceable non existence and pathetic renegotiation.

  2. Richard1
    March 3, 2016

    Yes those are all bad policies. Set against which we should also recognise the benefits for many companies in different sectors of the economy of consolidation across Europe, due to the creation of the single market, which has promoted competitiveness and innovation and so generated prosperity. I also think labour market fluidity has been a benefit for the UK. It is a difficult decision.

    1. Ian Wragg
      March 3, 2016

      What it has done is allow Germany to take over much manufacturing by lobbying Brussels to promote DIN standards.
      We had a very successful power manufacturing industry which is largely lost to France and Germany because we obey tendering rules which they don’t.
      Public bodies in France and Germany buy their own products. You very rarely see procurement adverts on the Euro website. 90% are UK .
      France and Germany give hidden subsidies to their defence companies to win exports and cry foul if we try

      The whole shooting match is geared to what Germany and a lesser extent France want

      The sooner it implodes the better.

      1. Leslie Singleton
        March 3, 2016

        Dear Ian–I am with you on hoping for implosion but I struggle to see how anything like that could possibly ever come about. Thus no matter what happens we would be told by legal types that the Treaties were still in place and nothing but nothing could under any circumstances whatsoever get rid of or even change them without the say-so of all 28. Given that at that time it would be devastation all round, agreement of the whole 28 would be even more impossible (Sorry!) than usual. I repeat that this would be the case absolutely no matter what–no Force Majeure (best I can think of) or anything like that. Much better off getting the hell out while we can.

        1. Richard
          March 3, 2016

          This is a silly caricature.

          1. Richard
            March 3, 2016

            I meant Ian Wragg’s

          2. ian wragg
            March 3, 2016

            Richard, having worked in the power industry for over 40 years at senior level, I have seen at first hand how the EU operates to our disadvantage.
            We will soon begin fracking and have to build some more CCGT plants due to shutting down perfectly viable and cheap coal fired plants due the the EU large combustion directive.
            Who will benefit from building these plants, Germany of course as almost all the turbine manufacturers in the EU have been swallowed up.
            This will be despite the fact that American GE technology is far superior to Siemens.
            You may think it a caricature but I suggest you get out more.

        2. Leslie Singleton
          March 3, 2016

          Post Scriptum–If there were “an implosion” and 27 wanted to dissolve the EU, but one didn’t, how would, indeed could, dissolution proceed short of War and even then the Treaties could still be in place afterwards. No?

    2. Jerry
      March 3, 2016

      @Richard1; “due to the creation of the single market, which has promoted competitiveness and innovation and so generated prosperity.”

      Tell that to the Greeks, or those thrown out of work in any number of European countries when factories close due to operating or production consolidation etc!

      Sorry Richard but you have the above somewhat about-face, the single market has taken advantage of natural competitiveness and innovation and the prosperity generated from each – people who spout on about how the single market has generated prosperity are in effect suggesting that until the EU and their single market came along there was no wealth, no prosperity, so it’s “BSE” then if you lot are correct…

      1. Richard
        March 3, 2016

        No I am suggesting no such thing. I am simply pointing out that the single market has enabled many businesses – British and foreign – to organise and run their businesses across the whole European market. This is why so many business people are for Remain.

        1. Denis Cooper
          March 3, 2016

          Having organised on that basis they’re obviously less likely to want to Leave the EU and potentially have to reorganise on a new basis. In other words, they will now tend to have a vested interest in keeping us locked in the EU no matter how else it is damaging us.

          1. Richard1
            March 3, 2016

            Yes there will be an element of that also, though it doesn’t detract from the general point that owners, employees and customers of many such businesses have benefited.

        2. ian wragg
          March 3, 2016

          See my previous reply as to how competition in the power industry has been eliminated.

        3. Leslie Singleton
          March 3, 2016

          And to ask it yet again, why do not similar considerations apply to Canada and the USA? Canada has a smaller Economy than ours and exports a much higher percentage to the USA (75 % rather than our 50%). There is no such thing over there as the much-hyped “single market” but I have never heard a whisper that Canadians feel the lack. I do not expect an answer because I have never received one yet.

        4. Lifelogic
          March 3, 2016

          Some large companies in the main may like it. It largely enables them to comply with OTT regulation while rendering the smaller businesses unable to compete. They can lobby to get the rule that suite them and kill smaller competitors

          It also enables them to under cut wages by bringing in cheaper staff as Stuart Rose seems to agree. So if you want higher wages vote leave, that seem to be what Sir Stuart is saying.

          1. Leslie Singleton
            March 3, 2016

            Dear Lifelogic–Surely it is obvious that the fellow didn’t realise that although “lower wage costs” ( = higher profits) was what his Corporate audience wanted to hear, the recipients of the wages might not see it that way.

          2. Lifelogic
            March 3, 2016

            Indeed a total failure to have any empathy with the voter’s interests, how can one be so out of touch?

            Rather like someone saying, to perhaps M&S customers, the good news is we are going to charge more and have bigger margins, especially as we now buy far cheaper and far inferior goods from overseas.


        5. Jerry
          March 3, 2016

          @Richard; Again you seem to be saying that before the single European market came along businesses couldn’t export within Europe!

          Businesses were thriving before and (wider, world, economic issues aside) will after any Brexit. There is only one reason businesses like the single European market and that is commonality of regulation, Type Approval (CE marking) etc, but a country doesn’t need to be in a political union with others to achieve that goal, as NAFTA proves, as did our own trading with European countries before the UK was ever a member of the old EEC never mind the EU.

          1. Richard1
            March 3, 2016

            No I am not arguing that and nor is anyone. The reason many businesses like the single market (this being the only thing the Remain side seem to like about the EU) is the absence of tariffs and of non-tariff barriers, ie the commonality of regulation. I am sure it is also true as pointed out above that the appeal of this is greater for larger businesses.

            The question in this referendum seems to be boiling down to: do we have to put up with the £10bn cost plus the political integration (albeit with opt outs) in order to benefit from the undoubted advantages of the 500m consumer single market?

          2. Jerry
            March 4, 2016

            @Richard1; I think we all know what you mean but every time you try and defend the single market you end up actually saying the opposite!

            What about customs tariffs, the UK, even the Eurozone, do millions of GBP/EUR worth of business worldwide were tariffs do or could apply, and the same was true before the single market and before many countries even joined the EEC – once again you don’t need a political union to solve the problem. Nor is the free movement of trade between or through countries a problem, that is what the TIR customs agreement is for.


    3. Bob Reynolds
      March 3, 2016

      Free movement of labour sure has helped large employers to keep wages low by sucking in cheap EU labour in hundreds if thousands from former Communist block countries. This has even been acknowledged by Lord Rose leader of ‘Britain stronger in’ campaign at Treasury Select Committee meeting yesterday. EU ever expanding eastwards has angered Putin as evidenced in Ukraine by annexation of Crimea and large swathes of Donetz basin. It is also possible that Putin’s dislike of EU has caused the current increase in migration fleeing his bombing campaign.

      1. Jerry
        March 3, 2016

        @Bob Reynolds; Utter nonsense with regards migration into the UK, there is nothing stopping indigenous UK workers from accepting both the going rate for the job and conditions of employment just as any migrant worker do. There is nothing to stop someone unemployed in the UK from working for the NMW, nothing to stop single people working away during the week, living in work provided accommodation should needs arise such as taking a job beyond a reasonable daily commuting distance or cost.

        Employers seek out migrants to fill existing jobs that would otherwise go unfilled, nor can they pay less than the NMW.

        1. Anonymous
          March 3, 2016

          Jerry – Do you yourself accept those conditions ?

          Are you established in your own house, in a good job ? If so then you are at risk of sounding rather lofty on this issue.

          1. Jerry
            March 3, 2016

            @Anonymous; Err, you sound like you should be posting to a hard left-wing blog, not a right of centre-right one. You seem to be defending peoples decisions not to take available work, and thus stay on JSA. People bleat on here about migrants doing work our youth and twenty something’s could and should be doing, then in the next breath defend that group of the indigenous population for not taking or sticking with such work, claiming that it’s all the fault of migrants for taking the jobs!

            To answer your question, if I was in my late teens, twenties or early thirties, more important than age though, still in physical good health, yes I would do the sort of work I talk about, and if it meant living away from, or moving, home so be – you on the other hand seem to be finding ever sillier reasons as to why our youth and twenty something’s can not do so.

            As it is I have years of worn out joints due to the best part of an average working life time being spent doing long and physically demanding work -sometimes unpaid for voluntary/charitable causes, whilst now self-employed -mainly as it allows me to pace my workload to my health- most probably until I can retire, if in fact I ever do, fortunately I diversified into a more specialised skill-set within my core trade were my customers are willing to wait if needed.

            It’s not me who need to review my core thinking on this @Anonymous…

          2. Anonymous
            March 4, 2016


            I ask again.

            DO you yourself accept those conditions ? We have no need to mention age or health.

            Do you ?

            We seem to have established that you don’t. You are at least well set up enough to have donated time to charity.

            To inflict such conditions on our young – where they may never afford to raise a family and must live many to a room in order to compete – is unforgiveable.

            No. Under the present circumstances I don’t blame people for going on JSA rather .

            It is grossly unfair to say to people “on yer bike” to get work while, at the same time, allowing a migration free-for-all to undercut the wages and conditions.

            I say cut JSA but cut immigration too.

            Engaging our people in a race to the bottom results in only one thing. Bottom.

          3. Jerry
            March 4, 2016

            @Anonymous; Stop being silly, next you’ll be asking why a blind man can’t take the job as a Taxi driver!

            I (more than) fully answered you question, sorry if you don’t like the answer.

          4. Jerry
            March 4, 2016

            @Anonymous; Oh and just to add, most of my time given to charities and voluntary groups was given when I was young, before family and the career got to restricting – nor was I ‘set up’ back then either, no silver spoon found in by mouth by the midwife…

            If migrants can travel 1000 miles across several countries to find work in the UK then our youth can travel 10 Minute down the road, 10 miles down the road or even 100 miles across a couple of counties or so, and live in the same accommodation, and if migrants can live on the going rate for the job, even more so when some are sending money home to support a family back in their own country, our own indigenous youth and twenty somthing’s can.

            Also no one can ‘undercut’ the NMW, if you have proof that this is happening then report it, after all the employer is breaking the law.

        2. forthurst
          March 3, 2016

          “Employers seek out migrants to fill existing jobs that would otherwise go unfilled…”

          Thanks for that clarification, Jerry, I now understand why a couple of Polish shops have opened in my vicinity lately: obviously there had been a pent up demand for shops selling Polish labelled goods to Polish people which English workers could not service.

          1. Jerry
            March 4, 2016

            @forthurst; You are mixing up cause and effect. Next you’ll be complaining about Chinese/HK Take-ways being run by -err- people from China/HK…

            Of course there is nothing to stop you or another UK national setting up shop selling Polish produce, but could you have done so with any success, could a Polish person back in Poland (who knows little or nothing about UK culinary tastes) have set up a “UK Supermarket” selling to a traditionally minded UK clientèle? As it is I have no doubt that long standing naturalised UK citizens of Polish decent probably have opened up shops to serve polish migrants just as UK nationals have set up such delights as “The English Pub” or “The English Fish’N’Chip” shop etc. on the Spanish costas to serve such communities.

          2. Jerry
            March 6, 2016

            @Merica; “people will only be let in this country than can quote the Bible from memory. That is the best character test.”

            You mean like ISIL test their ‘citizens’ characters…

            Do you not ever pause to read back the ridiculous fundamentalist spiel you type before posting it! Oh and quite a few migrants probably could recite from (your) Bible from memory, even those from the middle east and north Africa, hence why they are fleeing for their lives…

    4. Antisthenes
      March 3, 2016

      I cannot agree with you for most companies there are no benefits the opposite is true. Only big businesses with monopolistic pretension are the ones the single market favours. The EU market demands conformity and so is highly regulated and so costly to operate in which only big businesses the EU’s capitalist cronies can afford shutting out other already in or trying to access the market. So no it does not promote competition or innovation that is only truly possible in a free lightly regulated market. A market environment that only allows identity kit products and means of production is not one where competition and innovation thrives.

      As for fluidity and prosperity I think you will find that most market members especially the Med ones find none of that. The UK is doing reasonably well despite the EU and it’s closed shop common market but it can be said that it would do much better trading with it from the outside. Then many of burdensome restrictions placed on the UK by the EU commission would be lifted.

    5. Vanessa
      March 3, 2016

      Richard – “created prosperity” you say the single market has done. Then why, over the majority of the EU countries is Unemployment at about 24% especially for the young. Why do we have so many Polish, French, Spanish, etc. over here looking for a job and generally getting one. Not mention in Britain why hundreds of farmers, steel workers, aluminium workers, fishermen have all lost their livelihoods making our economy poorer in the process?
      Why do all the refugees in Calais want to come to Britain if the “single market” has created such prosperity for the EU countries?

      1. Jerry
        March 3, 2016

        @Vanessa; “Then why, over the majority of the EU countries is Unemployment at about 24% especially for the young.”

        The 2007/8 international banking credit crisis perhaps, going on to create what most like to call the “Great Recession” but which would look more like a Great Depression had it not been for QE?

        1. Anonymous
          March 3, 2016


          ‘The 2007/8 international banking credit crisis perhaps, going on to create what most like to call the “Great Recession” but which would look more like a Great Depression had it not been for QE?’

          In many parts of Europe it IS a Great Depression. So much so that their youth are exiting to nations such as our own.

          The reason why it is not a Great Depression here is due to the one thing we DON’T have in common with the EU – our rejection of the euro.

          That is not a coincidence.

          The EU is a disaster and it beggars belief that people defend it. The only saving grace if we remain is that it looks set to destroy itself anyway.

          1. Jerry
            March 4, 2016

            @Anonymous; Rubbish, the reason we do not have a depression here in the UK is because we have spent the national debt supporting the banks etc, had we not done so 2007/8 would have turned into 1929 all over again.

            The Euro area (as a whole [1]) is not in anything like a depression, and even if looked at as separate countries the only country that might meet your description is Greece – but then such was the awful state of its economy before the Euro it should never have been allowed to join, their troubles pre-date the Euro by decades, in fact some might even question why Greece was allowed to join the EEC/EC back in 1981..

            [1] which is how it should be looked at, as it is a single currency and there should have been political federalisation along with it too

        2. forthurst
          March 3, 2016

          “The 2007/8 international banking credit crisis”

          There wasn’t an international banking crisis: there was a financial meltdown in the USA and the City caused by Wall Street crooks selling crooked derivatives, there was the huge credit expansion and bust as a result of Gordon Brown encouraging two small Scottish banks to grow to rival established English banks and there was the parallel boom and bust in the Eurozone caused by low interest rates in Club Med economies creating a massive housing bubble.

          1. Jerry
            March 4, 2016

            @forthurst; Stop trying to rewrite history! The effects of the banking crash were/would have been felt worldwide, that is an international crisis in any language (other than party political), what is more those ‘crooked derivatives’ were sold worldwide. Also the Club-Med crash (or more precisely a building bubble) was largely caused by non Euro purchasing drying up due to an effect of the wider credit crisis, hence why tourist developments ever today are left half built.

      2. Chris
        March 3, 2016

        The unemployment rate for the young is over 50% in Spain, and has been for at least 12 months.

        This article on the hysteresis that is spreading across the EU highlights grave problems with the EU. I fear that with continued membership of the EU, and continued draining of our resources to fund mass immigration and the bottomless EU budget, it would not be long before the UK was on the slippery slope towards economic decline.
        (C Crook, FT, apparently defined hysteresis as follows “Hysteresis is the likelihood that lengthening spells of unemployment become self-perpetuating, as skills erode or grow irrelevant.”

      3. Richard
        March 3, 2016

        I was arguing it has benefitted the UK. I do not think this is a one sided argument. Of course the eurozone has been a disaster for the Southern European countries.

        1. ian wragg
          March 3, 2016

          Of course the eurozone has been a disaster for the Southern European countries.
          What about Finland and France, both suffering from being in the Euro. Finland is just about bankrupt and could be the first country to exit the Euro.

        2. Anonymous
          March 3, 2016

          German owned Rolls Royce doubtless wants to remain in the EU.

          If Rolls Royce had been British would it have wanted to remain in the EU ?

          Whatever. Being in the EU for 40 years hasn’t stopped our manufacturing from collapsing.

          1. Jerry
            March 3, 2016

            @Anonymous; Many would argue that the UK manufacturing base collapsed long before the EU and its single market!

    6. Anonymous
      March 3, 2016

      Richard 1 – How do you work all that out ? Technically Britain is now bankrupt. Not prosperous as you say.

      There is a daily show (Wanted Down Under) in which British people emigrate doing the same work but for far greater prosperity and far fewer hours.

      You have been sold lies.

      1. Richard1
        March 3, 2016

        No, you don’t understand the meaning of the word ‘bankrupt’. Britain is clearly not bankrupt.

        Living standards in the UK have improved hugely over the last 40 years. Mostly this was driven by the Thatcher era reforms, most of which have continued, but enhanced trade and investment due to EU membership has very likely also played a significant role.

        That is not to say the balance of advantage might not now have shifted as we consider what’s best for the next 40 years.

        1. Jerry
          March 3, 2016

          @Richard1; Whilst agreeing with you on that Britain is clearly not bankrupt, you say;

          “Living standards in the UK have improved hugely over the last 40 years.”

          Have they, or have they just become even more materialistic, in the 1960s it was called “Keeping up with the Joneses” when people bought many things that they simple did not need just to look as though they were some-place their lives and finances were not. All your claimed ‘improvements’ have done is increase personal debt and/or fuel a credit crisis!

        2. Anonymous
          March 3, 2016

          The UK national debt runs at over £1.6 trillion. It is unrepayable, especially when the commitment to public sector and state pensions is counted.

          What is keeping the bailiffs from our door is house values – and the rather mistaken calculation that current sale prices can be multiplied across the whole of our housing stock to give a total asset value for the nation that can support such levels of state and private debt.

          Reply UK assets exceed liabilities and we can pay our bills do we not bust.

          1. Jerry
            March 4, 2016

            @Anonymous; House values are what someone wishes to pay. The actual value of any house is the value of builders rubble (not a lot) and the value of the land, the later is worth only what the market will stand, not much if there is a glut as there would be if everyone attempted to cash-in at the same time.

            If anything it has been over inflated house values that have caused the credit problems, not be its saviour!

          2. Anonymous
            March 4, 2016

            Reply to reply: If by assets you mean our housing stock then you are wrong.

            The assets cannot be realised in quick time to repay a foreclosed debt, not without a glut in those assets forming and a consequent drop in value.

          3. Anonymous
            March 4, 2016

            Jerry @ 8.06

            What happens to the banks if house prices collapse ?

            Low interest has been key to our recovery. If you can call it a recovery. QE has made people pile into assets such as London property.

        3. forthurst
          March 3, 2016

          “Living standards in the UK have improved hugely over the last 40 years.”

          I remember the bad old days when a young man in his twenties could get married, buy a house and support his family. Presumably, he would now be able to afford a nice little cottage in the country, or perhaps not because he would be saving to send his children to a private school since there were no grammar schools available.

          In the last forty years Europe may have grown, but not nearly as rapidly as every other continent. We should be thanking engineers for improving our lot to the extent that it has improved, not Eurocrats.

          1. Anonymous
            March 4, 2016

            Indeed Forthurst.

            The Boomer can claim to have a higher standard of living but can generation X ?

            They will:

            – have student debt larger than my first mortgage
            – have to earn a high tax income before they become mortgageable
            – have to endure mortgage multiples @ tens of their wages and repay over a lifetime
            – pay rent on a squat at over 50% of their takehome.

            and (as Jerry says he would willingly do) share 5 to a room to get their foot on the job ladder.

  3. Richard1
    March 3, 2016

    Looking at that list I wonder whether we shouldn’t actually go for the Swiss model, accept free movement (although in fact the Swiss do impose residency restrictions), continue to bung the EU a few £bns and retain the single market access without any of the above policies, which as you rightly point out, are the worst aspects of EU membership? We are told by the government that the Swiss (or Norwegian) models are the worst of both worlds. I do not see why. I happen to spend quite a bit of time in both countries, and detect no appetite in either – including from the business establishment – to join the EU.

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 3, 2016

      “We are told by the government that the Swiss (or Norwegian) models are the worst of both worlds. I do not see why.”

      Obvious, it’s because they’re utterly determined to win this referendum, by hook or by crook, by fair means or foul, and they have no scruples about knowingly spreading untruths among the voters in that helps them to achieve their objective.

  4. Jerry
    March 3, 2016

    The most damaging EU policy must be the common energy policy, although without the lead shown by the UK -against using coal- in the 1980s I doubt that the leftist AGW and by consequence the EU’s CEP would exist now but if it did the CEP would look quite different, probably with coal and CCS at its root. Labour merely carried down the road that the Tories signposted in the 1980s, their move away from coal to a dash for gas, all on the back of environmental concerns with “Acid Rain”.

    If there was a Labour energy failing it was their opposition to more nuclear, but then the Tory government in the 1980s also largely failed on this to, even more so when they not only had a stomping majority but had very little anti nuclear opposition from within

    Not sure why you include the Euro (and related ERM), other than to perhaps highlight the fact that the UK should perhaps never joined the EEC, or at least rather than saying No! No! No! to Delors, his Commission and the Euro Thatcher should have said Out! Out! Out! back in late 1980s when she realised that she could not shape the EEC/EU into her own vision of free market trading group etc. Political and fiscal union has always been on the agenda, all the Delors Commission did was speed up the process, and had the envisaged full political and fiscal union happened it is doubtful that the Euro (and “Europe”) would be in quite the same mess as it is.

    Also how has the CFP affected simple and basic over fishing by non EU “factory ships”, fish are not like cattle, fenced in, nor is it possible to police territorial waters, as both Iceland and the UK found out in the those ‘Cod Wars’ -if it were the we nor the UK would have an illegal migrant crisis, never mind a fish stock problem. But heck it makes for a good referendum stumping, gets those sympathetic to the plight of UK fishermen to vote Brexit – or does it – is it so blatant that it will backfire went thought about for more than a hour or put through a fact-checker?

    As for the CAP, well yes but it’s not as if UK farmers haven’t benefited too from the CAP too, and would they really want to compete with your suggested cheaper imports at the same time, no doubt, suffer a lack of willing EU migrant labour happy to work for the going rate whilst having to pay more to unwilling UK labour. The one thing any country must be is self sufficient in the basic food supply (WW2 taught us that…), the CAP has its faults but to suggest that post a Brexit the UK would not be paying similar or greater subsidies to our farmers is wishful thinking. Oh and yes UK beef farmers were badly treated over the handling of BSE, by their own Tory government!

    Strange how the right keep complaining that it is all the fault of Labour when; 1/. it was a Tory government that took us into the EEC. 2/. it was a Tory government that allowed the EEC/EU commission to greatly change its competencies, first with SEA and then the Maastricht Treaty. 3/. it was Thatcher who started the ball rolling with regards mostly theoretical environmental concerns, that have grown like topsy into AGW and the hideous UN’s IPCC.

    Best leave party politics out of the Brexit debate, the right-wing have an even worse track record to defend than the left-wing do!..

    Reply My postings pro Brexit are not partypolitical

    1. Jerry
      March 4, 2016

      @JR reply; That is why you put the boot in to Labour when ever you can but rarely acknowledge the failings or actions of your own party in creating the (EU) mess we are in.

      Remember that a successful Brexit vote needs support from Labour voters just as much as it does Tory…

      1. Jerry
        March 4, 2016

        What I mean John is, if you are being non party political about the failing of the EU and why the UK must have a Brexit why even mention any UK national political parties?

  5. The Active Citizen
    March 3, 2016

    It’s a good question JR as it highlights so many failings of EU membership. One of your suggestions is the catastrophic debacle of the ERM, which was hugely expensive. However that’s not so much in the public consciousness now. The other suggestions are ones which have an enduring impact – over the years they may have cost us far more than the ERM.

    If we were to look at the most damaging policies right now, impacting on people and affecting the way they might vote, maybe free movement might be it? The full consequences of this haven’t yet been fully recognised – on jobs, wages, housing costs, school places, GP and hospital waiting times, transport needs, etc.

    1. Antisthenes
      March 3, 2016

      Free movement of people is a fact of life and whatever we do it will not go away. Globalisation is the culprit there not the EU. No the immigration problem we face from being a member of the EU is one of control. For good economic reasons we need to welcome immigrants but they have to be ones of our choosing.

      Undesirable need to be kept out and ejected if already here but then we have to divorce ourselves from ECHR and repudiate some provisions of UN convention as well as the EU. The former for legal reasons and the latter because those we may not want can avoid UK control by the simple expedient of collecting right to reside documentation in any other EU member state then move legally to the UK. We have no right to stop them.

      We are stuck with immigration as a problem but that problem will be considerably lessened outside of the EU.

      1. The Active Citizen
        March 4, 2016

        “Free movement of people is a fact of life and whatever we do it will not go away. “

        Antisthenes, the ‘free movement’ I referred to is one of the 4 principles of the EU, so it will go away if we vote to leave. Very important to get our terminology right when we’re arguing these things, I think.

        I agree there are other issues around immigration to be dealt with but when we’re talking about the EU debate it’s not ideal to say we’ll still be “stuck with immigration as a problem”.

  6. matthu
    March 3, 2016

    How quickly we forget about immigration policy.

    1. Lifelogic
      March 3, 2016

      Interestingly I see that Lord Rose, the head of the campaign to keep Britain in the European Union says wages will rise if we leave. Is he sure he is on the right side?

      Do voters not want wages to rise? He is of course quite right for once, Cameron’s open door to low paid, low skilled immigration is depressing wages hugely. Any causing huge pressure on Osborne’s deficit, schools, the NHS, housing …..

      Anyway was he not the man who presided over the huge deterioration in quality, exporting of production and decline in share price at M&S?

      Selective quality immigration please the best the whole world has to offer and not open door to low paid or benefit claimants from the EU.


  7. Mike Stallard
    March 3, 2016

    People often get clever about “Democracy” and the “Demos”.
    Actually it is fundamental.
    If you put people in charge without checking on them and without electing them, they do enormous damage. They waver when they ought to be acting (immigration) and they act when they should be assessing the situation (the Euro and the disaster that is Greece, or the overtures to Ukraine and Georgia which really upset Russia – our natural ally against militant Islam).
    So all the above. And we sit by and take it!
    What is most depressing about the EU is that the corruption which I guess must be endemic and the secrecy which is so very necessary if you are a Commissioner, are creeping into our British way of life. I note that the DVLA have forbidden their employees to write about Brexit on their own social media accounts, for example.

    1. Anonymous
      March 3, 2016

      Are they allowed to write about Remain ?

    2. Antisthenes
      March 3, 2016

      If you read my later comment you will see that Monet deliberately made the EU commission an all powerful body beholding to no one. It has the veneer of accountability but underneath it is as has been observed devoid of it. In fact giving it absolute power and we know power corrupts. So the bureaucracy that supports this oligarchy; corruptible, incompetent and ponderous enough even when controlled in a democracy becomes even more so when run by a bunch of dictators. If the head is rotten it does not take long for the body to follow.

  8. The Active Citizen
    March 3, 2016

    JR, here’s my take on just one consequence of the free movement issue I referred to above – that of benefit claims.

    Simple Summaries For Normal People: No. 6 – Cost of Benefit Claims From EU Migrants?

    1. It’s accepted by most people that the vast majority of EU migrants entering the UK come to work and many contribute much to our country. Nonetheless, how much are EU migrants costing the UK taxpayer purely in benefits payments?

    2. For once, the answer is simple : £3.4 billion in the year 2013/2014. This is the latest official figure from the Dept of Work and Pensions.

    3. It includes many benefits but it does NOT include Disability Living Allowance, Carer’s Allowance, Child Benefit or Tax Credits, so the full and accurate figure will be higher than £3.4 billion.

    4. EU migrants need an NI number to claim benefits. In the 12 years from 2003, the average increase in EU migrants with NI numbers has been more than 40% per year, so we can expect much higher bills every year if we stay in.

    Leaving the EU – The Safer Economic Choice For the People of the UK.

    [Source: DWP Benefits Report Feb 2016. ONS Report on National Insurance number allocations to adult overseas nationals to December 2015.]

    1. graham1946
      March 3, 2016

      TAC, your list seems to be just the direct payment benefits. I know you want to keep things simple, but it does not and cannot, because it is unknown, cover the cost of health, education, policing, balance of payments for food and goods etc. of having the migrants here. Then there is housing and roads to be built, pollution, drainage including sewage, road congestion, thieving and rackets, begging and goodness knows what else. I’d say your ‘higher than 3.4 billion’ is dwarfed by this sort of thing. Good job they’re all making a ‘valuable contribution’ to our society and oh, how much worse off we would be if they had not arrived, mostly uninvited. We might have enough houses, be able to get our kids into local schools, see a doctor in less than 3 weeks, have our vulnerable and elderly properly looked after, get the police interested in crime and much else besides

      Off topic for a sec, I have just received my letter from the DWP telling me about my handsome forthcoming increase in State Pension (should help a bit towards the increase in Council Tax) and the government keep insisting this is a ‘benefit’, putting pensioners, after paying in for the thick end of 50 years, in the same box as the skivers and immigrants. As ‘benefits’ are not taxed, does anyone reckon I have a case for not having to pay tax on my pension? I’m going to write to IDS to ask.

  9. rjkbe
    March 3, 2016


    The benefits we should all recognise wouldn’t by any chance be the £3k per year that the Remain side say EU membership is worth to each family would it? If so, you ought to watch the recent TSC demolition of this claimed “fact” and the hilarious but pathetic performance by Stuart Rose who clearly didn’t have a clue what it meant despite claiming to have researched it in considerable depth (tip – it’s absolute rubbish!).

    What is a fact is that EU regulation has destroyed masses of jobs in this country – fishing, chemicals, steel, small businesses etc. – even Mandleson in a speech to the CBI estimated that EU red tape probably cost around 4% of GDP!

  10. DaveM
    March 3, 2016

    Another day another scare story/threat from our elected govt and “friends”/partners across the channel. It’s getting tedious now.

    1. fedupsoutherner
      March 3, 2016

      It’s getting tedious now. You’re telling me it is!! I am fed up to the back teeth of hearing how bad it will all be for the UK if we leave. More like it will be bad for the EU if we leave. They are so desperate to have us stay in they all have to conspire to tell porkies to get us to vote to stay. I just hope the public can see through all the lies but I wouldn’t bet on it.

      John, I think the energy policy has been the worst thing to happen to the UK. It has affected EVERYTHING from wages, job losses, higher bills, a less secure grid and hundreds of deaths from the cold not to mention loss of housing value.

      1. fedupsoutherner
        March 3, 2016

        And still the government won’t repeal the Climate Change Act!

  11. Lifelogic
    March 3, 2016

    Nearly everything the EU has done positive harm. From the regulation of the power of electrical equipment, to its expensive renewable agenda, its employment regulations and the larger things you mention above.

    Thing are best decided by the people closest to the coal face. In the case of the power of a vacuum cleaner this is the user, the supplier and the manufacturer.

    Were we not promised “subsidiarity” by John Major, and yet nearly everything still seems to be decided at Brussels, often clearly in the interests of vested interest pressure groups, power seeking bureaucrats and often directly against the interests and wallets of the public.

    Health and safety, free movement and the single market are endlessly used as a ruse to justify intervention into almost every aspect to out lives. To dictate from the top down with hugely damaging results and huge harm to the economy.

    Often gold plated by job and power seeking bureaucrats in the UK.

    One of the most damaging things they did was to encourage the move to dirtier diesel and away from petrol and other cleaner fuels just to reduce harmless C02 emissions. Killing thousands of people in the process.

  12. Antisthenes
    March 3, 2016

    If only Monet had chosen art like his name sake then all the problems that emanate from the EU would not be there. His most important and worst decision he made when designing the EU was to make it politic proof. He knew that if democracy and therefore political interference was built into the system then the EU would not be born for long not in it’s present form at least. So to ensure that his vision would become a reality he has allowed an unaccountable monster to be built and thrive.

    So instead of 500 million views, opinions and collective wisdom deciding on what the EU stands for and how it operates it is left to a few with only theoretical understanding of what is best for those 500 million. No wonder it gets so much wrong and forces undesirable things to happen all for the sake of a dream.

    You have pointed out some of those undesirable things which we are powerless to do anything about. In fact David Cameron did not have any chance of changing anything as what direction it goes in and what it does was set in stone by Monet. We cannot change anything except superficially because the vision is all and nothing is allowed to get in the way of that.

    That is why crises are made most self made and never dealt with properly and why the EU demands total obedience to it by it’s member states. If we are to stay in the EU the wall built to keep out democratic decision making has to come down so that the UK and all the other members can have the EU working for their benefit and not its own only allowing some of that benefit to be shared by a privileged few their favourites France and Germany. Monet ensured that would happen to.

    That is not going to happen unless something cataclysmic occurs which is indeed a possibility as the world is not very economically healthy at the moment. The time to leave is now you have identified some of the damaging things the EU has done and of course there are many more some hidden, some yet to manifest themselves and many more that others know about that can be added to your list.

  13. agricola
    March 3, 2016

    Recently the total ineptitude of the EU in dealing with the migrant crisis in Italy and Greece. They have been running around like headless chickens since it kicked off, and still show no sign of a workable solution. If they cannot deal with this one, what is the point of their existence and our involvement with them.

    Long term, the following of the Green Religion that has only achieved high energy costs, and an increasingly uncompetitive industrial base.

    Overall the belief of the Brussels Bureaucracy that they can run before they can crawl, and their failure to take large swathes of the European population with them due to their disdain of democracy. They have brought untold misery to millions in Southern Europe through the introduction of the Euro. One theory is that this was done through incompetence. My theory is that it was a deliberate act, because it was the only way that control could be wrested from nation states by an unelected bureaucracy. They have made them all dependencies.

    For Cameron and his sycophantic cohorts to advocate our continued membership is beyond credible.

  14. bluedog
    March 3, 2016

    An excellent quiz, Dr JR.

    A reasonable basis for assessment would be the likely capital investment required to repair the situation in future, not withstanding past and therefore sunk, cost. In this regard items 1,2 and 3 can be discarded. Items 1 and 2 are almost self-repairing as there is nothing fundamentally wrong with British agriculture and once the fishing grounds are restored, a massive wealth transfer from the EU to regional Britain takes place. The ERM was a short-term disaster but is now ancient history.

    Setting aside the Euro, which is a well recognised disaster, the most damaging item on the list offered is undoubtedly energy policy. The first Cameron government, influenced by its infantile Lib-Dem partners, was a complete sucker for every tax-payer financed source of expensive energy that could be devised. Fortunately for the United Kingdom, Lib-Dem energy policies are alive and well within the EU and threaten to raise the cost base of industrial production to globally uncompetitive levels within the foreseeable future. Thus while there is a massive capital cost in restoring British coal-fired power stations, potentially using imported coal which is currently very cheap due to a collapse in Chinese demand, it is a policy which the UK must pursue. Brexit provides the UK with a one-off opportunity to drive the cost base of industrial production to a highly competitive level, with the EU squandering its own capital investment in cheap energy.

    Similarly, the subsidies that support the dreadful eye-sores known as wind-turbines, grossly inefficient and only occasionally effective as they are, must go. The whole wind-turbine industry needs to be shut down as it is entirely unreasonable that tax-payers should finance an uneconomic business, as Margaret Thatcher understood in dealing with nationalised industry. The wind-turbines are no different. Sell them off to EU dreamers.

    Finally there needs to be a strategic re-appraisal of nuclear power. Is it really wise to put the UK’s nuclear power generation in the hands of the French and the Chinese? Without question, nuclear power is the cleanest way to provide base load power in the future.

  15. lifelogich
    March 3, 2016

    Another new tax today the TV licence tax, extended for people who just use BBC iplayer. Perhaps a small tax relative to Osborne thieving of house buyers, tenants, landlords, pension pot cap limits, pension contribution limits, removal of housing benefits, personal allowances, his IHT ratting and endless other tax grabs from this dreadful and misguided man. Just stop all the waste and pointless government activity man. You surely have no chance of ever becoming PM, far too unpopular and quite rightly so.

    Also listed status for the Oval’s Victorian gasholder are these people mad? Would some flats or offices not be rather more useful given the demand? What on earth is the use of a disused gas holder for ever more what is the otherwise valuable space going to be used for?


    1. graham1946
      March 3, 2016

      Well, LL, when the world watches cricket they will see the gas holder and think that it is current and that this is the high tech of the UK. Rather like Russia earlier this week being shown the sights of Jaywick and saying this is the current UK. Perhaps some bright individual may turn it into a desirable residence, like the old wharves and warehouses of dockland. Could go to some foreigner for millions.

      1. Lifelogic
        March 3, 2016

        Oh so that is where Jaywick on Sands Essex is and what it looks like.

        Should Gordon Brown not have gone on holiday there, rather than Southwold (as he did) perhaps. To put him in touch with reality. Cameron and Osborne should perhaps visit too.

  16. The Meissen Bison
    March 3, 2016

    Your list contains several good examples of policies which have had poor outcomes for the UK but the blame for our current predicament attaches less to Brussels and its administration than to successive British governments.

    My choice would be from a list that included surrendering half of the British Rebate, allowing the EU to acquire a foreign policy dimension (as opposed to member states meeting, as formerly, in political cooperation), or giving up our veto in favour of qualified majority voting. I’d plump for the last of these on the over-optimistic basis that any or all of Messrs. Major, Blair, Brown and Cameron would have exercised the veto rather than preen and prance at European summits.

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 3, 2016

      Ultimately the entire blame rests with the British people, for having inherited the benefits of a stable sovereign country with an established system of parliamentary democracy including universal suffrage, but then repeatedly failing to use their votes to elect the right kind of candidates to Parliament. That is why we should think twice before taking any action which would punish other people for our mistakes.

  17. Know-dice
    March 3, 2016

    The Calais issue has came up again this morning.

    Can some one explain why anybody arriving in the UK on a ferry, train, plane or walking through the channel tunnel without the correct documentation would not just be immediately returned to where they came from?

    Unless France, Belgium, Holland etc. are not considered “safe” countries…

    Surely there are international regulations that cover this?

    1. graham1946
      March 3, 2016

      Yes, Know-dice, the answer to your question is called the British Government.

      Never been known to turn anyone away, or deport anyone unless they are a 92 year old who has been living here for half her life, but whose visa has run out (in the news last week), whilst terrorists, rapists, thieves are all welcome and paid for at public expense.

      1. Anonymous
        March 3, 2016

        And there is the problem on mass immigration. We have it because our governing class wants it.

    2. Denis Cooper
      March 3, 2016

      For what it’s worth, given that these are “safe” countries doing that would not be in breach of the UN Convention and Protocol on Refugees. Although personally I would just put in the required one year’s notice that we are withdrawing from those treaties on the grounds of the widespread abuse of their provisions.


      “Article 44


      1. Any Contracting State may denounce this Convention at any time by a
      notification addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

      2. Such denunciation shall take effect for the Contracting State concerned
      one year from the date upon which it is received by the Secretary-General of
      the United Nations … ”

      If the EU objected, “Then try to stop us doing it and see where it gets you”.

    3. David Mentmore
      March 3, 2016

      Nobody in France can board a train, ferry or flight to the UK unless the passenger shows to the relevant carrier a valid passport plus (if required) a valid visa. If this documentation is lacking the passenger must be turned away and advised to return when such documentation is in place. The Conditions of Carriage of the relevant carriers include the right to refuse travel to passengers lacking the correct documentation.

      These arrangements are British government policy and backed by well-established international practice.

  18. ChrisS
    March 3, 2016

    For Britain it has to be the Common Fisheries policy.

    To see our once-great fishing fleets so diminished is really upsetting.
    The figures don’t give any real idea of the devastation :

    The fleet is currently half the size it was in 1948 when 13,300 fishing vessels were listed.
    But the number of very small boats has held up while our fleet of larger vessels has been decimated.

    Since 1996 alone, the number of British-registered ships has fallen from 8,667 to 6,383 and the tonnage from 274,532 to 195,121. These figures disguise the fact that there are foreign (EU ) owned and crewed vessels operate under the British flag, so the effect on employment and the balance of payments is considerably worse. In terms of employment here is an extract from a Government-published table of UK-based full and part time fishermen employed in the industry :

    1970 21,423
    1980 23,309
    1995 19,986
    2000 15,649
    2010 12,703
    2014 11,845

    During this period the number of part time fishermen has roughly halved from 3,963 in 1970 to 2,073 in 2014.

    Demand for fish however, has not been effected because since 1983 imports of fish into the UK have doubled.

    This has implications for sovereignty : The British Government lost a long running case against 90 mainly Spanish fishing companies over it’s right to ensure that British fishing quotas should be owned and fished by businesses and boats that were majority British owned. UK v Factortame went all the way to the European Court and we lost. In March 2000 British taxpayers paid damages of £55m to the claimants. I suspect the costs we paid were at least as much again.

    On a wider assessment, the most disastrous policy by far, and one that shows not the slightest sign of being solved, has to be the Euro. It’s a currency that we can all see is as dead as that famous Norwegian Blue and the leaders of the unfortunate countries trapped within the Eurozone are in total denial just like Michael Palin’s hapless shopkeeper.

  19. eeyore
    March 3, 2016

    One good thing the EU has given us is Lord Rose, chairman of the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign. He told the Treasury Select Committee yesterday that “globally, the world has got bigger. That’s mathematics.”

    With such a gift for increasing the gaiety of nations, may we hope that grateful Britain finds another prominent role for Lord Rose after an overwhelming vote to Leave on June 23?

  20. Douglas Carter
    March 3, 2016

    Whilst it’s interesting notionally to look at these failures of the EU, the participation of successive Governments of the UK can’t be held isolated from the individual subjective cases. Participation which is often silent and acquiescent, frequently based on theatrical furious opposition in headline terms but with enthusiastic agreement in private and periodically, harmful legislation is passed as a quid pro quo for transient assistance in a temporary embarrassment for the Prime Minister of any particular day. The option was open to the Government of that day to block the inception of the Single Currency on grounds which were known to be harmful. They declined to do so and therefore still bear at least partial responsibility for the subsequent international damage.

    The problem is not just ‘over there’.

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 3, 2016

      Correct. Even if Major had seriously thought that a single currency would probably go seriously wrong maybe he could not have prevented other EC member states from doing it, but he could have insisted that if they wanted to do it then they must go off and do it completely separately from the EC, and that no EC member state would be under any obligation to join in with it, and that if any country joined in with it but later withdrew then that would not in any way affect its EC membership. Instead he allowed it to become the EU norm, with the UK as the only member state with an opt-out, intended to be only a temporary opt-out, and now we face increasing minoritisation within the EU until most likely we would head towards being the only member state of the EU which has not yet adopted its currency. And that would not be changed one whit by Cameron’s “deal”.

  21. Bert Young
    March 3, 2016

    Each of the EU impositions have personal effect – some more than others ; for me I am livid that the basic cost of our energy has made my life more expensive and the cost of manufacturing particularly so .

    Today – although I am not a shareholder in the LSE , I am watching the efforts of the Deustche Bourse in its take over bid attempt . I can think of nothing worse if it succeeds ; it will inevitably result in many jobs moving to Frankfurt . The international fabric of the LSE is already well established and a partial , or significant , transfer to Frankfurt would only create a bias for German companies . The interest of the New York SE is a different matter ; I can foresee many advantages from such a merger . I suspect the German move is stimulated by the referendum as is the recent red carpet offer from Paris .

    The propaganda machine of the “Remain” campaign aided and abetted by the BBC is driving a wedge into the minds of the general public . My occasional local checks with the man in the street are not encouraging ; the “Brexits” are not making a strong enough co-ordinated case and time simply goes by .

  22. Bob
    March 3, 2016

    Listening to the Toady program on R4 this morning, one could be forgiven for believing that the BBC had officially joined the BSE campaign.

    They reported that memo from BMW to it’s staff, warned of job losses and higher prices.

    They also reported that a French govt minister had repeated David Cameron’s warning about migrant camps moving to Kent and that France would limit UK access to the single market in order to tempt British bankers to relocate to France.

    The above reports were not challenged by the reporter save to mention that the leave campaign had dismissed them as “scaremongering”.

    This is not journalism, it’s propaganda, and it’s paid for by you!

  23. Liflogic
    March 3, 2016

    The most damaging? Well that is really quite a competitive field? The ERM inflicted a vast amount of damage to people, their jobs, their homes, their lives and even gave us many suicides and broken marriages. “If it’s not hurting it’s not working” they said. Yet John Major never even apologised for this entirely predictable disaster he had caused as chancellor and PM through his absurd religious belief in the EU lunacies.

    Cameron was, I think, working with Lamont at the time but seems (unlike Lamont) to have learned absolutely nothing at all from the experience.

    If the UK voters are daft enough to vote to remain again they deserve all the disasters (and destruction of any residual UK democracy) that they will certainly get. The EU is a socialist, anti-democratic, top down, super state and a totally failed experiment. It is careering towards the rocks of the EURO and all the other many insanities that it pushes from its moronic, power grabbing & bureaucratic head.

    It need to be broken up and the sooner the better, for the sake of the UK and all the other EU members too. It has been an economic disaster area for far too long.

    If you love Europe you should surely hate what the EU has done and is still doing to it.

  24. alan jutson
    March 3, 2016

    The most damaging policy of the EU is the free movement of people.
    Only now when it has got to huge unmanageable levels, has the penny finally dropped.

    Ever larger Union and EU expansion, where Countries with totally different Histories, Economies, Wages, Benefits, Pensions, Health and working practices are thought to be capable of being merged under one controlling Government.

    The fact that every Country has a different annual membership, rebate cost and voting rights, which seems to bear no relationship to its size, population, or economic wealth.

    Whilst I understand that the fisheries policy was a nail in the coffin for UK trawler men, and lost thousands of jobs at the time, the idea that you must actually throw fish which have been caught and are dead, back in the sea so that you can meet some sort of arbitrary quota, must be the highlight of stupidity.

    The most recent, uncontrolled immigration from outside the EU, with weak external Border controls.

    I could go on, and on, and on.

    1. bigneil
      March 3, 2016

      The EU trying to merge 28 countries into one dictatorship should just look back a few years when the two “Germanies” re-merged and the problems they had. They even spoke the same language to start with.

  25. Liz
    March 3, 2016

    The biggest casualty is British democracy. We no longer have the ability to throw out the people who make most of our laws or even the ability to comment on proposals and lobby MPs if we don’t like them. We cannot chose the people who make our laws – they are unelected and untouchable. The media could do much more to help – particularly TV news media but they tamely just accept it.
    This is the most important reason for leaving the EU. Those who support remaining in it need to explain their antipathy to direct democracy.

  26. lojolondon
    March 3, 2016

    GREAT article, John, I really enjoy your daily message. Have you noticed how the FTSE has risen nearly 600 points since the announcement of the referendum? I wish that our media would report this in the same way as they hysterically reported the small fall in the exchange rate the day the referendum was announced. Note that since that day the Pound-Euro exchange rate continues to strengthen, to no headlines whatsoever!

    Reply Indeed!

  27. ChrisS
    March 3, 2016

    Yet another ludicrous piece of Scaremongering from Cameron and his EU cronies in the papers this morning. Their credibility is diminishing by the day. So much for “Project Fact.”

    If we need to develop drones jointly with France rather than alone or with our more reliable Anglo Saxon allies such as the USA, Australia and New Zealand, we will do so irrespective of whether we are in or out of the EU. It will have no influence on the decision, not one jot.

    As for border controls located in France, many of us have pointed out before that this is a practical measure as well as a security matter and one that is very much in the interest of both countries to maintain.

    After the Paris attacks, French security services wants to know who is leaving their country as much as we want to keep an eye on who is arriving. Without proper checks before travel there would be an extremely high risk of a terrorist attack aimed at sinking a crowded ferry or destroying the tunnel. The risk has already been greatly increased by the movement through Schengen of more than 1m migrants, mostly young Muslim males, who have had no security checks carried out on them. Would any of us risk travelling on a cross channel ferry or through the tunnel if we knew that there were no security checks of any kind carried out on our fellow passengers ?

    Let there be no doubt : The French Authorities are no more likely than the British to allow anyone onto any cross channel service without their having proper papers that have being examined and checked.

    To suggest otherwise is to insult our intelligence, M. Macron

  28. magnus kwaszenko
    March 3, 2016

    Whilst it would seem churlish to deny the benefits of a trading relationship with the EU, it seems that the creeping malaise of an increasing political, legal and propensity for military alignment with an un-democratic juggernaut is fraught with peril. Would that the EU (or more accurately, the German hegemony) were much more responsive to need and much less prone to producing a “blizzard” of edicts, laws, leaky monetary policy and prevarications which seem like a bureaucracy on steroids.

  29. forthurst
    March 3, 2016

    “Whilst the UK’s home grown Climate Change policy of the Labour government was unhelpful for keeping the lights on and supplying enough affordable power for our needs..”

    Well, the Tory government has not repealed the Climate Change Act. It is important to remember that Brexit is a cross-Party campaign and not a Tory Eurosceptic campaign, affording sideswipes at other parties who are no more guilty of the campaign to abolish our country, launched by traitor Heath, and incorporate it into an undemocratic, failing EU superstate.

  30. oldtimer
    March 3, 2016

    This is a difficult choice. I am tempted to give a triple heat between 3, 4 and 5 on your list.

  31. Roy Grainger
    March 3, 2016

    They have all been bad policies. I think for the future the most damaging policy is the Energy one, wait till the rolling blackouts start happening. The EU’s expansionist foreign policy is also a big future risk.

  32. NickW
    March 3, 2016

    The worst thing that the EU has done to Europe is to brand any democratic opposition to the Elite’s complete incompetence as “Populist”.

    And the worst thing the media has done is to aid and abet them in doing so.

    A 90% vote in favour of Britain leaving the EU would be dismissed as “Populist” and ignored.

    The Greek people’s democratic protest at the total destruction of their Country by the incompetent psychopaths in Brussels is dismissed as “Populism”.

    I don’t apologise for my choice of language; Greece has been destroyed by the EU. Youth unemployment in the Southern Mediterranean Countries is at catastrophe level; millions of young people have never had a job and never will have a job, but anybody who attempts to stand up for their interests is arrogantly dismissed as a “Populist”.

    “let them eat cake” is a cry that still reverberates down the corridors of the Elysee Palace and throughout Brussels.

    The Elite should remember how it ended last time.

  33. ian
    March 3, 2016

    As Richard 1 says all as bad but m. king says the European depression was deliberate act by the European elite on the people of Europe which now effecting the UK, so this could be the big one with they refuges crisis on top.

  34. Robert Christopher
    March 3, 2016

    The most damning aspect is not the EU policies themselves, it is the attitude of most continentals and the British ‘Remainians’ that all these damaging EU policies are inevitable, unchangeable and were probably instigated on the Eighth day of Creation. Their existence is to be denied, but still obeyed:

    Pretence overrules freedom, common sense, property rights, wealth creation and democracy.

    Click, click, click ….

  35. ian
    March 3, 2016

    and you know that Europe UK and USA all like to act as one need I say more.

  36. The PrangWizard
    March 3, 2016

    My comment may not be about policy as specific as the examples above but I think it is worthy of mention.

    The EU has had a serious demoralising effect on the people of the UK. We were once confident and self-reliant, but the decades of the need to refer to the EU for guidance, comparison and leadership has weakened us, Those who wish to keep us pliant and compliant constantly refer to the need to co-operate with our ‘European friends’. They often say ‘What would they do’ for example? And we must not do this or that as it may be contrary to the wishes or others.

    The only way we can regain our self-respect and dignity is to leave the EU. It will bring forth our re-birth as long as those in positions of power and influence promoting our subservience to the EU are removed.

    1. bluedog
      March 3, 2016

      Well said. In all the talk about positives and negatives that are easily quantified, the intangibles such as the emotional degradation of the UK is not mentioned. The demoralisation of the elites started with Suez in 1956 and hasn’t ended yet. The Cameron generation is so conditioned to acceptance of the EU they clearly struggle to imagine life outside. For them, it is truly a leap in the dark because they have never tried to manage an independent nation. The point they fail to appreciate is that the ultimate exercise in economic competitiveness is the right to manage. Takes a bit of self-confidence to bring it off, and that’s what the Cameroons lack.

  37. John Bracewell
    March 3, 2016

    I still think the ‘Ever Closer Political Union’ is the worst policy/aim/tendency – call it what you like. The rather obvious conclusion is that starting with the Eurozone, one government is created, which with a currency and a government is effectively a country. That country will be governed in the interests of that country by that one government. At that stage, regardless of what the PM’s renegotiation package says, the UK will definitely be out of that country, the UK’s interests will be considered even less than they are now, we will effectively be like Switzerland and Norway, except we will be paying full EU membership fees, will still have free movement of people and will effectively have no say over what goes on since the rules will be set by the government of the one (expanded Eurozone) country in that country’s interests. The EU have readily agreed to the PM’s choice to be out of ‘Ever Closer Political Union’ because they know it is meaningless, the EU will present a done deal as far as the creation of one country is concerned and the UK will be backed into a corner of either accept and join the one country or shut up and get out. The humiliation, loss of freedom and independence and UK sovereignty and democracy will then be complete.
    On a slightly different point, why would the UK want to remain in the EU when our s0-called friends are only friends as long as we do as they say and pay money into their club. The threats of these so-called friends about what will happen after Brexit show the calibre of their friendship. This EU orchestrated nastiness and scaremongering should be highlighted whenever possible.

  38. NickW
    March 3, 2016

    What we are getting from Europe in response to our Referendum is a litany of blatant threats as to how they intend to make life as difficult as possible for us should we vote to leave.

    Can anybody now doubt how poisonous and one sided is the relationship between us and the EU, and how essential it is that that abusive relationship is terminated as soon as possible?

    Everybody knows that if one gives in to threats from an abusive partner who is determined to keep you captive, that life thereafter is going to be hell on earth.

    Is Britain going to cringe and grovel at the feet of the Brussels Dictator?

    (Note that Dictatorship is exactly what you have if any move towards democracy is dismissed and ignored.)

    1. Pud
      March 3, 2016

      Our EU membership and net contribution remind me of Danegeld – the price extorted from us by unfriendly people from over the channel so that they are not unpleasant to us.

  39. Kenneth
    March 3, 2016

    So many to choose from, but I would say that the single market has done the most damage since it has tilted the balance towards large corporations and stifled innovation and entrepreneurship, both very strong British qualities.

    The damage is long term and structural and will mean that eu states are losing their ability to be nimble and competitive while the rest of the world innovates.

    We are doomed to a sclerotic existence followed by and a slow economic death under this regime.

  40. Anonymous
    March 3, 2016

    The worst policy of the EU is its expansionism. Something we were not told about.

    And with that expansion has come a skewed voting system (QMV) which benefits Germany but not us.

    1. Anonymous
      March 3, 2016

      By expansionism I meant its expansion into poor countries. The EU seemed a simple enough idea when member nations were of similar wealth.

  41. Bryan Harris
    March 3, 2016

    John – Given that most EU policies have a nasty kick – let’s face it they create legislation that is flawed in some way – it’s very hard to say which caused the most damage. I will settle for labelling all EU policicies as supect.

    Yet we shouldn’t confine ourselves to policies, the very structure of the EU is a huge pain, given we have very little chance of influencing what happens within and about the commission, or indeed parliament.

    The most damaging aspect of the EU has to be the fact that is run on socialist dogma – which influences everything from wages, working conditions, right upto EU justice and Human rights.
    The irrationality that results is a tremendous burden – look at how political correctness has crept into our daily lives, and that is just the tip of the iceberge.

    EU decisions based on irrational socialism is the real enemy here, and I cannot see that ever changing.

    What cost do you put on lives ruined by extremely bad and inflexible politics – this isn’t about money, it’s about how we live.

  42. hefner
    March 3, 2016

    A question put to me by a Labour Brexiter, which I couldn’t answer:
    Given the amounts of regulations/treaties, which will have to be revised/established after Brexit, how can the Conservative Brexiters still be so bent on a minimal state? Will they want the UK civil servants knowledgeable in EU matters to handle those questions? Or do they want (as Greece did it at the time of its EU accession) to have Goldman Sachs to do that job for them? Have they even thought at how contradictory Brexit and a minimal state look like?
    He was pointing at something I found very relevant to the present debate.

    Reply I don’t think the present Conservatives are bent on a minimalist state. The present government has been increasing the number of laws and the budget.

    1. The Meissen Bison
      March 3, 2016

      I think that’s not quite correct. Goldmans advised Greece on the Euro (and what a fine job they made of it) rather than on accession which was rather earlier and made the EEC a group of twelve.

      The UK has a very large permanent representation in Brussels (UKREP for short) and its task could be redefined to navigating the process of withdrawal line by line.

      There’s an awful lot of stuff to be done away with but I agree that the present government is highly interventionist.

      1. hefner
        March 4, 2016

        TMB, thanks for the Greek correction.

    2. hefner
      March 5, 2016

      Sorry, John. You miss the point. What will the Conservative Brexiters do in that respect?

  43. Denis Cooper
    March 3, 2016

    I expect it was Daniel Korski on behalf of the UK government.


    “A PEEK BEHIND THE BREXIT CURTAIN: David Cameron’s EU adviser Daniel Korski briefed diplomats from the 27 other EU countries on the U.K. government’s Brexit strategy in London on Friday at a lunch organized by the Dutch EU presidency. Here were the main takeaways, according to sources …

    … TOE THE LINE: EU politicians should think twice before publicly belittling or criticizing the deal achieved by Cameron in Brussels. Korski, according to a source, suggested that Number 10 should be consulted prior to any speeches or other big statements aimed at domestic audiences as they may have an impact on the U.K. debate. The Brits have requested the same from the White House and noted that U.S. President Barack Obama was planning a speech on British EU membership this spring.”

  44. Denis Cooper
    March 3, 2016

    The worst and most fundamental policy error occurred right at the start, in 1951 when the six founding countries agreed to establish the European Coal and Steel Community with a supranational High Authority making binding decisions by majority voting, Articles 9, 13 and 14 here:


    And what’s more with an Assembly, Article 20, and a Court, Article 31.

    Basically along the lines proposed by the French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman in his declaration of May 9th 1950, known as the Schuman Declaration even though it had been mostly drafted by Jean Monnet:


    Which explicitly stated the ambition to set up a pan-European federation:

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


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

    I would say that most of the craziness over the following sixty-five years has actually sprung from that original decision that this was not to be just a project for friendship and co-operation between the governments of the nation states of Europe but instead a much more ambitious project to gradually manoeuvre them into a pan-European federation, a new single country, a sovereign federal United States of Europe, and even though only very small minorities of their populations actually wanted that to happen; that was the objective then, and it is still the objective now.

  45. ian
    March 3, 2016

    What very body is missing in this in or out debate is the TTIP agreement going though the EU right now in which once sign by the EU will bring down all trade barriers between USA Canada and Mexico, so weather we are in or out there can be no trade barriers for companies in the whole of the western world, of cos if the EU decides not to sign the UK can make it own agreement with USA, CANADA and MEXICO and get a better deal because your TTIP is all about companies and not about people, it be avery bad deal for people because they not want you to know about it, it is being hidden from public view.

    I think the public have right know what in it before it is sign by anyone, it could more damaging than the EU.

  46. Robert Christopher
    March 3, 2016

    “He[, Cameron,] says voters should listen to foreign leaders who warn against Brexit.”
    Oh, the irony!

    “We are stronger, safer, and better off within a reformed European Union”
    But we have seen from Cameron’s disappointing renegotiations that the European Union is unreformable!

  47. bigneil
    March 3, 2016

    Those in the jungle who wish to come to our shores “for work” clearly don’t think things out. Who on earth would employ any of these (if they are thugs etc ed). All this lot want are free everything on the UK taxpayer. Needless to say if they can set foot here they have to be released to turn up somewhere, only for the obvious “disappear” into their community. In my mind this puts their community as bad as them. They are hiding someone who has committed a criminal act. Are we supposed to house, finance and treat the whole planet, purely for turning up here, illegally or otherwise?

  48. Denis Cooper
    March 3, 2016

    Stuart Rose, who is now 66 and therefore if he was an average male in the EU would have a life expectancy of 17 years, says he hopes he will be dead before we have another referendum on the EU. I suppose that’s better than the 40 years since the last one.

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 3, 2016

      In the UK, not EU.

  49. Old Albion
    March 3, 2016

    Unfortunately as I type this the leftie world will be jumping up like a suddenly uncoiled spring, to call me (nasty things ed). All because I will now say; The most damaging EU policy forEngland has been uncontrolled immigration.
    Our public services are overwhelmed. Our 1.8m unemployed are kept unemployed. Our housing shortage remains no matter how much of England is concreted over. Highly skilled potential immigrants are barred from entering England, because they do not come from the EU. Yet hundreds of thousands (or is it millions?) of totally unskilled, unproductive, economic migrants flood in.

  50. bigneil
    March 3, 2016

    John – you do a great job coming up with these posts every day and you come up with great topics. Would it be possible for you to ask the question( on here) of what can be expected at the news (if correct) that Turkey is to have visa-free travel to the Schengen zone, later this year. It would be a very short one for you to write – and I think , one that should bring rather a lot of comments, at the possibility of 80 million extra given the “open door” to the zone.

  51. Denis Cooper
    March 3, 2016

    September 2009:


    “No vote will have ‘consequences’ for Ireland”

  52. miami.mode
    March 3, 2016

    Surely free movement must be a contender.

    How on earth can a government make forward plans when their population growth is exceeded by a relatively high percentage?

    Conversely the poorer and less developed European countries must also suffer by losing so many of their productive and enterprising people.

  53. Mick
    March 3, 2016

    Watching and listening to the news on the dreaded eu on the pro-European BBC and Sky channels is making my blood boil, don’t we have some sort of body that can step in and stop all this bias towards the eu, then we also have to listen to all the bleeding hearts going on about the hard done to migrants, then you have the migrant complaining that they are not allowed to move on, sorry but you should be grateful that you have got to a safe country like Greece and stop moaning because GB is full and we don’t want you only the genuine ones who can prove persecution

    1. JGD
      March 4, 2016

      Given that asylum seekers have an obligation to declare themselves and ask for asylum in the first safe country, I don’t see why we should be accepting any refugees from EU countries regardless as to whether they have been persecuted in their own homelands.

  54. Iain gill
    March 3, 2016

    You missed the German Chancellor inviting all comers from the rest of the world to come and stay. Or giving India unlimited ict work visas etc ed Or the sheer waste of Brussels.

  55. fedupsoutherner
    March 3, 2016

    just listening to the six Oclock BBC news. Just one big scaremongering episode.

    Can it get any worse? I would think that most people would be so sickened by France and their threats that coming out would be the best option. The French need us to keep their farming industry going. Let’s see how they get on without us. What could be worse than looking after our own borders rather than stay in and then get lumbered with millions of migrants a few years down the track when they all have their EU passports?

  56. forthurst
    March 3, 2016

    It’s all about quotas. Our farmers have quotas; our fishermen have quotas; we all have quotas on the amount of CO2 we are allowed to produce.

    Brexit means a a quota free economy unleashing the the energies of all those who wish to work hard to better themselves without interference from the 30k Eurocrats in Brussels. Let’s get out before we are allocated quotas of millions of refugees from ME neocon scumbag wars of choice.

  57. Loddon
    March 3, 2016

    The EU Bank loaned money to Turkey at very favourable rates (at a time when inflation in Turkey was running at 9%) so that Ford could build/expand/equip a factory for manufacturing Transit vans. This lead directly to the Ford Transit plant in Southampton being closed with the loss of hundreds of jobs.


    It is also said that the EU helped export jobs from the UK involving BAT, AC DElco and Twinings in a similar way.

    How does this policy of taking work and jobs away from British businesses and workers helping the UK?

    This is good enough reason in itself for the UK to Leave the EU>

    1. ChrisS
      March 4, 2016

      I did post some time ago about the loss of jobs at Ford in Southampton.

      Ford deliberately moved a plant building vehicles for sale within the EU from Southampton to Turkey, a country outside the EU.

      This demonstrates very clearly that the Remain camp is lying by stating as if it were a definite fact that manufacturers would transfer jobs to mainland Europe if we leave the EU.

      They will not. They will base their production in any country where it is beneficial to do so, whether or not that country is in the EU. The efficiency of UK plants, their proximity to Europe and the relatively benign business environment is what brings them here in the first place.

      After Brexit we will be able to make relatively small but necessary changes that will increase the attractiveness of the UK. These will encourage more to come and those here already to stay.

  58. Qubus
    March 3, 2016

    This has Mr Cameron’s finger prints on it.

  59. DaveM
    March 3, 2016

    The PM’s oath:

    “I, (Insert full name), do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God.”

    The Queen of course being the embodiment of national sovereignty.

    I just witnessed – on TV – our PM stand next to a foreign president and listen to him threaten to allow our country to be invaded and threaten us with “consequences”. This is the man who is supposed to assure (as far as is possible) the security of the country.

    Your leader, Mr Redwood, is an utter disgrace to the country, his, office, and your party. If he had a single ounce of loyalty, honour, or indeed spunk in his whole body, he would have – at the very least – walked off the stage. If he was a real man, the next words out of his mouth would have been “how dare you…etc”.

    The worst thing the EU has done (by whatever means) has been to castrate the democratically elected leaders of our countries.

    1. The Active Citizen
      March 4, 2016

      Powerful stuff, DaveM. The very sad thing is that increasingly I’ve had similar thoughts. Others have referred to ‘treachery’ and ‘treason’.

      Yesterday on a Conservative site I wrote: “The mood music which the PM has set is extraordinary and has shocked many people. Putting aside the insults to members of his own party, he and his colleagues are guilty of acting against the interests of the country. They seem to do nothing but give ideas to our EU partners in how to treat us badly going forward – whether we stay in or not. And the overall effect is to destroy the positive image of the UK which most people round the world have of us.”

      It feels extraordinary but I think we’re getting to a point where the PM and some of his colleagues can in fact be accused of something very serious. Maybe Denis Cooper with his legal research abilities will suggest something? All I know is that it has to stop.

    2. DaveM
      March 5, 2016

      If either of them think that’ll scare us they really don’t know us at all.

    3. Bryan Harris
      March 5, 2016

      Very Well put Dave

      I feel like framing your comments

  60. Chris
    March 3, 2016

    Boris did not waste much time in demolishing this:

    “London mayor Boris Johnson has been asked about a French minister’s warning his country could end UK border controls in Calais if Britain leaves the EU.

    “Donnez-moi un break as we say in Brussels,” Mr Johnson, who is campaigning to leave the EU, replied.

    He said the Calais arrangement was agreed by an international treaty and “has nothing to do with the EU”.

  61. Denis Cooper
    March 3, 2016

    This is quite amusing – the graphic at the top of this propaganda email from the FT has Brexit precipitating the total disintegration of not just the UK but the whole of Europe, including those parts which are not even in the EU:


    One wonders just how absurd the Remainders will get by June 23rd.

  62. Original Richard
    March 3, 2016

    The most damaging EU policy so far is freedom of movement.

    It reduces the wages of the workers in the richer countries and causes crises in welfare funding, housing and services such schools and the NHS.

    At the same time it reduces the poorer countries ability to make economic and social improvements as the very people who should be contributing to these improvements have left the country.

    So the rich countries get richer (although the GDP/capita decreases as their population dramatically expands) and the poorer countries get poorer, an effect amplified by the Euro.

    The damage will get worse as the EU expands to include Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Serbia, Bosnia and Turkey (75m people alone). Plus all the countries of Eastern Europe as far as the Urals if Mr. Cameron gets his way (Kazakhstan speech 01/07/2013).

  63. JGD
    March 4, 2016

    The most damaging EU “policies” – (1) Freedom of Movement. This principle was mooted in the context of a limited number of nations, then enjoying approximate parity economically, to facilitate the movement of workers. As the make-up of the EU has changed, so this aspect should have been revised and brought p to date to ensure that the abuses we now see would not occur. It is crass and wrong for the EU to regard the strict letter of half a century ago to apply today. (2) Human Rights – unlike Freedom of Movement – this was intended to be set in stone, expressing, as it did, limits to which the signatories signed. It was never intended as “private” as opposed to “public” international law , yet the unelected European Court has treated it as a living instrument and used it to interfere with nation’s own perfectly respectable and accountable legal systems.

  64. David
    March 5, 2016

    The Inners say that leaving the EU is a leap into darkness. Well, item 2 in the list is a clear indication both of what happens when closer union is attempted, but also an example of the benefits of leaving closer union. We have done it before, we can do it again.

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