The EU and empires

Mr Verhofstadt  (EU Liberal) warns us that the world is coalescing into empires. He thinks the UK has to join the EU empire as a counter to the Russian, Indian,  Chinese and US empires .

This is not a very liberal outlook. He does not specify why the USA or India is any kind of threat to us, nor why the EU will always get on fine with Russia or China. It leaves out of account the many smaller countries worldwide that do not belong to any of these blocs or major countries and seem to prosper. Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore and many others seem to flourish outside the EU.

I also take issue with him over what is an empire. If empire is based on size and power, let us begin by comparing the UK with Russia. The UK’s economic size is about a third larger than Russia’s. If we look at naval power both countries have one aircraft carrier. Russia has 12 destroyers to the UK’s 6, but only 10 frigates to the UK’s 13. It is true Russia has many more submarines. The UK of course has her potential power greatly augmented by membership of NATO.

An empire is usually  supposed to be a common government system with a single foreign policy and armed forces. It controls a wide range of different territories and former countries or governing units with varying degrees of devolved or delegated authority.  There was the Roman empire covering much of southern and western Europe, the British empire with India at its heart, and the USSR empire stretching through much of eastern Europe and parts of Asia. The UK willingly renounced empire after the second world war, allowing the peaceful establishment of a number of independent nations. The USSR empire was troubled by internal revolts and too passed when the centre allowed free expression. The USA has always opposed the idea of conquest followed by occupation, though it has intervened militarily in support of regime change in various countries. India was created as a separate governing  area from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka on independence.

I find it worrying that a leading exponent of more European integration uses the word “Empire” to explain what they are trying to do. Most of us want no more empires. We believe in the free determination of peoples. Recent votes and campaigns tells us that if people want anything they want smaller governing units, as with the independence movement in Catalonia, the Brexit vote in the UK, the movements for separation in many parts of the world.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. Tory in Cumbria
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    The point is that it is all about power. The EU is big and has lots of it. The UK was a big player in the EU, and was regarded as powerful accordingly. Now the UK has decided to scuttle away, and it is treated accordingly – humiliated in the last week alone by the PMs of Ireland and Luxembourg. Mrs Thatcher didn’t LIKE the EU, but my god she knew about power and so she signed up to the Single European Act. Brexiters, by contrast, want to run away, sticking their fingers in their ears and their heads in their sand

    • Dominic
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 5:42 am | Permalink

      I don’t recognise the term ‘Brexiters’. Democrat is the term you’re looking for.

      Democracy is a troublesome and inconvenient diversion for Europhile. All that nonsense about asking the peoples permission is just so annoying for Remain zealots

      Burn democracy’s foundations at your peril. One day, you’ll wake up and find a politician in charge that will make your blood run cold

    • Stred
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 5:48 am | Permalink

      Oh no! Not Luxembourg and Ireland. Where will they get their EU wonga when we leave?
      Call me Dave believes in the EU Empire. He wants it to stretch to the Eurals. No wonder Russia isn’t too keen on the idea.

    • Fred H
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 6:13 am | Permalink

      What a load of drivel.

      • Ian!
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

        Agreed, and a constant source

    • sm
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 6:24 am | Permalink

      On the one hand, we’re told the EU is becoming an Empire (many of us, who have for years warned it was developing into a re-born Holy Roman Empire, would agree), and on the other we are told not to worry, it’s just an amazing and wonderful and successful trading bloc.

      And correct me if I’m wrong, but I recall that Mrs T came to regret her pro-EEC actions.

      • Mitchel
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

        I think more the Carolingian Empire(hence the Charlemagne prize for those that have devoted themselves to the cause) than the HRE,though many people are apt to conflate or confuse the two(unlike the Carolingian,the HRE never included France)and after the disastrous falling out with the Popes and the Northern Italian cities resulted in the loss of influence in Italy, it became officially The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.

        What is fascinating about that period is the animosity between the real Roman Empire(that which we now tend to refer to as the Byzantine)run from Constantinople and the west,as revealed in many surviving documents, and how closely it mirrors relations between the west and Russia in more recent times.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 6:26 am | Permalink

      Our treatment at the hands of Ireland and Luxembourg is, in the great scheme of things, small beer. It was useful as a reminder of the petty, rude nature of our ‘partners’. My guess is that no British PM will find himself/herself needing to visit Luxembourg for the next ten years. As for the size of the EU, I gather that the economic strength of the UK is equal to about 9 of the EU’s current 27 members. Reflect on that!

      • Timaction
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 11:39 am | Permalink

        Actually equivalent to 19 smallest members, 11% of its budget at least with add ons like foreign aid and Turkey bungs, kit kat policy etc.!

      • graham1946
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

        It’s actually 19 of them.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 6:28 am | Permalink

      The UK was “a big player” in the EU ? A typing error there, you mean “a big payer”.

    • Julie Williams
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 6:29 am | Permalink

      So according to your argument, might is right: tell that to the schoolyard bully!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      It was a big mistake for Thatcher to sign the Single European Act. An even bigger one for Major to sign Maastricht and Blair Lisbon going back on his referendum promise for the constitution. Also for Cameron to break his cast iron guarantee. Leading to the current mess. With the many anti-democratic traitors undermining the Boris Johnson government at every step. Just leave, cooperation and trade yes, rule by no longer.

      • Ian!
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        All without reference to the People they purported to represent. The EU, first and foremost has no place in it to permit democracy – it is frightened of the concept.

        • Laura Jones
          Posted September 19, 2019 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

          Really? No EU laws are made without the consent of its Parliament, composed of MEPs directly elected by voters. Textbook case of democracy, I would say

      • NickC
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic, It was Brown who signed Lisbon. Though I get your point – Blair would have been even more eager to do so.

      • Ed
        Posted September 20, 2019 at 12:05 am | Permalink

        The Big Mistake is with the UK economy – we need an economy focused more on high tech – greatly increasing productivity, quality exports, and sense of patriotism in British businesses with huge positive knock-on effects on services in this sector and connected to. But government needs to wisely invest in infrastructure and skills and more – then leaving the EU would be a breeze not a quagmire.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      Yes, so big a player that Cameron got sent away with a flea in his ear when he begged for minor changes to what such a “big” player could do. The only thing we are big at is paying.
      I think you actually mean “bit player”.

    • Richard1
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 7:01 am | Permalink

      Had Margaret thatcher remained in office she would have vetoed the Maastricht treaty, and thereby the morphing of the EC as was into the EU. If the rest of the EC had then still wanted to create the euro and the further integration of the nice Lisbon and Amsterdam treaties they would have had to do it themselves outside the structure of the EC. And we wouldn’t be where we are today.

    • Sharon Jagger
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 7:04 am | Permalink

      The problem with the idea of the empire that Verhofstadt describes, the EU, is that it has been built on lies, stealth and force. Most of the member countries are unhappy at the loss of power to Brussels. But anyone who complains, is punished. There are many similarities to the old Soviet Union. Unfortunately, they are still at the champagne and chocolates stage to get people on board. Look at the luxury of benefits civil servants are given – but there’s always a cost to this. Generally, this cost is total allegiance.

      As a member, we’ve been more resistant than most to the loss of power and say, hence we are now being punished. Ably aided and abetted by those in Parliament who have sworn allegiance. And seeing Mays reactions since she stepped down….I’m sure she too had pledged her allegiance.

      I agree there are plenty of countries in the world who function well without being part of an empire. What’s wrong with being independent and working with other countries as allies?

      And Tony in Cumbria – I disagree that Brexiteers want to hide in a corner….quite the opposite! We want to stand tall in the world.

    • Woody
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 7:06 am | Permalink

      If it is all about power then its sensible for the UK to “scuttle” away from the eurocracy, as in it we had no power …we were one of 28 and even petty nations like luxembourg had more power than we did despite contributing a small fraction of the eu budget. The Luxembourg PM only succeeded in humiliating his own nation to the detriment of the eu and their image in the more mature respectful democracies of the world. Their actions and the patronizing and small minded support of the likes of Macron for their games establishes clearly why we need to move away to be among the grown ups of the world. These people were purporting to be our partners and friends when receiving our money, I for one don’t want anything to do with them any more. we have economically healthy and friendly nations out in the non eu world keen to work with us … and respectfully.

    • Amanda
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 7:13 am | Permalink

      The EU do not want the UK to leave as it is highly likely the EU would fall over like a pack of cards. The UK has the power but unfortunatly it also has a ‘ruling class’ who thirst to be part of an anti-democratic governing world order. It also has a bunch of mindless ‘middle-class’ blueshirts in love with a Coca-Cola ad from the 1970s and a myriad of people ready to serve them a coffee in Pret.

      Both these groups have been humiliating the UK for 3 years. Meanwhile, the pipsqueak and leprechaun acts are a warning to other countries of the effects of the EU ‘ Empire’- Greece and Italy offer further examples !!! Which is why sensible people back British Independence on 31 October 2019 – do or die.

    • G Wilson
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      Please list the things you imagine the UK did with this supposed “power” that can’t be done outside the EU.

      Demanding the freedom to make our own laws, and reject laws made by other nations, isn’t “running away”.

      The kind of failure to make a positive, fact-based case for EU membership demonstrated by you is the reason Leave won both the argument, and the referendum.

      • Tory in Cumbria
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 11:11 am | Permalink

        Number one on the list is participate in the EU’s single market. Mrs Thatcher’s greatest achievement. Now being trashed by ignorant Brexiters, leading to massive loss of investment in this country. Listen, you can hear the stampede of Japanse, Korean, US, Indian money leaving the UK and heading for the Eu27.

        • Richard1
          Posted September 19, 2019 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

 you can’t

        • graham1946
          Posted September 19, 2019 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

          Nope, sorry. We have the larges inward investment of the whole EU, in fact more than all of them put together.
          Others have access to the Single Market via FTA’s without paying or having their laws made for them. Your hearing is faulty, better see the doc.

        • NickC
          Posted September 19, 2019 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

          TiC, The USA does not need to “participate” in the single market in order to have access to it. Neither do we. And the USA sells a lot more to the EU’s single market than we do from the outside.


        • libertarian
          Posted September 19, 2019 at 4:34 pm | Permalink


          If youre going to post why bother to just lie? Its so easy to check

          Investment in UK is growing by a big amount whilst investment in EU is decreasing

          In the last week alone

          Airbus, BMW, Goldman Sachs, Aldi, Citigroup have all announced major investments in the UK

          JCB, Norton, INEOS, Dowty Propellers, G-TEM, Forterra, IAC, Talgo, GKN Aerospace, Jaguar Land Rover, SNOP, Mettis, Spirit Aerosystems, Cranswick, TVR & Siemens are just some of the manufacturers building new factories & facilities in the UK

          You are completely ignorant of what is happening in the UK

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted September 19, 2019 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

          You should take that euroconch from your ear, then you will hear the sound of the UK economy ticking over steadily, pretty much it was before we voted to leave the EU.

        • Edward2
          Posted September 19, 2019 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

          You need to change your title to Lib Dem in Cumbria.

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

          Mrs Thatcher saw the single market as a means for trading not competencies.

          She got it wrong. It could still be worthwhile.

        • G Wilson
          Posted September 20, 2019 at 11:21 am | Permalink

          Trading isn’t a “power” we get from EU membership. We can do that without being members, without the constraint on our growth that single market protectionism demands.

          No, there is no money leaving the UK. We are still a leader for foreign investment, and our position is strengthening.

    • RAF
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      The point is that it is all about power. The EU is big and has lots of it. The UK was a big player payer in the EU…

      Fixed it for you.

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      Margaret Thatcher was overthrown because she was an obstacle to further EU integration. She would never have signed Maastricht.

      The EU is about to lose a large part of its nuclear capability, special forces and its only 5 Eyes member.

      The EU is about to lose one of its most profitable markets. It won’t be able to take our wealth or businesses if we tank… much of that will disappear in a puff of smoke because it has no real substance to it.

      Xavier Bettel should have shown us more respect, not least because our country rescued his several times.

    • formula57
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      @ Tory in Cumbria – the Soviet Union was big and powerful so we should have joined that, should we?

      • Fred H
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:52 am | Permalink

        Formula……plenty of members of parties, and lobbying groups, let alone those with doubtful motives still wish we had, and still could join.

      • Ian!
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        Ah, the love of his life…

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      Mrs Thatcher misjudged the EEC. She viewed it as a trading club, the single market. She thought the UK could shape the EEC as an Anglo Saxon trading club. Her misjudgement was that the bureaucracy within the EEC were working towards a federal EU.

      • Laura Jones
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

        So Brexiters , faced with your Brexit fiasco which is making this country a laughing stock, blame the civil service, the judges, the EU, MPs, Remain voters, The Queen.. and now Mrs Thatcher. But never ever do you blame yourselves. Grow up, take responsibility, and own the utter mess that you Brexiters have unleashed with your fairy stories about us holding all the cards

        • Edward2
          Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

          It is you remainers that are blocking us from leaving.
          Three years on and you are still denying the vote of the majority.
          Remainers were in charge if the negotiations and they were happy to make a complete mess of it.
          From the very first day after the referendum you have deliberately delayed and thwarted the leaving process.
          Now here you are trying to blame everyone except yourselves.

        • stred
          Posted September 20, 2019 at 6:27 am | Permalink

          The mess is entirely caused by the plotters listed by yourself, who have been working with the EU to avoid negotiations until we sign their entirely planned capitulation. This is recorded as ‘colonial ‘ on the film following the delightful Herr Verhofstadt, who was applauded at the Libdum conference for his empire building views.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      On October 30, 1990, Mrs Thatcher told the Commons: “Yes the Commission does want to extend its powers. So of course we are differing. Yes it is a non-elected body and I do not want the Commission to increase its powers against this House. Of course the President of the Commission Mr Delors said at a press conference the other day he wanted the European Parliament to be the democratic body of the Community and he wanted the Commission to be the executive and the Council of Ministers to be the senate. No! No! No!”

    • James Bertram
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      Small is beautiful.

      It adapts more easily to specific circumstances, it gives more power and freedom to individuals with greater opportunity to be involved in decision-making, it can be more dynamic and creative – Switzerland and Singapore are good examples of small economic powerhouses, both with higher living standards than here in the UK.

      Too, it offers diversity. How sad it is that human populations are being forced culturally by globalists and big business into one amorphous mass. Life is much more interesting when the peoples and cultures of the world are different. Too, from a biological perspective, diversity of species is fundamental to survival, to evolution, to progress.

      • Mitchel
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:03 am | Permalink

        Small is great,provided you don’t have global/great power pretensions.That is the UK’s problem-it-or rather the ruling/political class-hasn’t gotten over the loss of empire and wants to be involved in other affairs of other countries.

        I saw recently we are going to spend large sums(I think £100m over five years) on “supporting independent media in the Caucasus and Central Asia”-in plain English propaganda and subversion to try and disrupt the process of Russia and China-led Eurasian integration that is well underway.

        It will be a waste of effort and money.Anyone think of a better use of £100m of taxpayers money?

        • Robert mcdonald
          Posted September 19, 2019 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

          I can easily think of a better use of 20 billion a year. Glad to see we are keen to move away from the “powerhouse that is the eu” to stand alone in the world on equal terms with other non euers out there. If that’s pretentious then I’m all for it.

    • Neville
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      I think you need to correct the typo in your 3rd sentence. It should read the UK is a big payer into the EU, …

      When we start to flex our muscles then will we see where the power lies, it isn’t in Ireland or Luxembourg.

      Boris is becoming increasingly popular with each attempt to humiliate him. The EU will never understand us.

      • margaret howard
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 11:26 pm | Permalink


        ” The EU will never understand us.”

        Why should they? The EU has 28 members. Which ones don’t understand us?

        Do you understand ie the Spanish, Dutch, Germans any better than they understand you?

        The conceit it ludicrous.

    • Jake Bennett
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      The Single Europen Act was about market economics not political power.
      Clearly Tory in Cumbria has never read the Bruges speech of Mrs Thatcher.
      “We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain only to see them re-imposed at a European level, with a European superstate exercising a new dominance from Brussels.” 1988
      She believed in the ‘economic union’ not ‘political union’.

    • William Long
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      As we are now seeing from the process of negotiating a way out, our power in the EU is zero. A demostation of power would be just to Leave.

    • Kenneth
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      I would not confuse negotiating bravado with our future relationship with other European countries.

      I am sure we will get on fine and there will be mutual respect once we have left the eu.

      As you say, it is about power and, as such, it will be in all of our interests to get along post-Brexit.

    • Hereward the Wake
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      “The point is that it is all about power. The EU is big and has lots of it. ”
      It has regulatory power through the Single Market but no power at all geo-politically as evidenced by the Iran Nuclear Deal fiasco. Peugeot and Renault have just been told they will never be allowed to return to Iran. What is your powerful EU going to do aboout that. absolutely nothing.
      A sprinkling of UK retread politicians within the EU hierarchy does not make the UK powerful although as you say it may make it “regarded as powerful”. Ireland has a number of high profile Eurocrats but its absolute powerlessness is currently being demonstrated in the Apple tax case which completely undermines the Irish tax policy up which its current prosperity is based.
      The EU destroys nation state power and puts nothing in its place.

      • Sharon Jagger
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        “The EU destroys nation state power and puts nothing in its place.” says Hereward the Wake

        The only thing the EU is interested in controlling with its power, are its members! It wants to add to those, by getting other independent nations to conform to their rules, but when it comes to looking out for the member countries….they look the other way!

    • MG
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      Get back to the scheming Rory

    • bigneil
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      The UK was a big player in the EU ?? More like a big PAYER – Nothing more.

      • rose
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:20 am | Permalink

        Mr Cameron told us on the wireless this morning that when he used our veto the EU ignored him and went ahead anyway. John Humphrys rushed past this point on to something else when one would have expected it to be the main revelation.

        • Sea Warrior
          Posted September 19, 2019 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

          Which Cameron veto was that? I must have missed it.

          • rose
            Posted September 20, 2019 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

            9 December, 2011.

    • Original Richard
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      It is because we are still in the EU that we can be treated badly by Luxembourg, Ireland and Malta.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:22 am | Permalink

        It is because we are still in the European Union that we cannot be treated badly by Russia, China, the US, and who knows, maybe by Argentina yet again one day?

        • Fred H
          Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:49 am | Permalink

          O.Richard ……sadly these tinpot warriors with a chest arrayed full of self minted medals for sitting in a junta, seem quite willing to send hundreds of their untrained young men into effectively a war without bearing the horrendous outcome of their citizens getting them back in bodybags.

        • Woody
          Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:53 am | Permalink

          Don’t see the connection there, the eu got stuffed by russia during its empire building attempts to expand eastwards didn’t it. We currently trade with the USA and China significantly and respectfully without the help of the eurocracy.

          • stred
            Posted September 20, 2019 at 6:37 am | Permalink

            When we needed extra bullets for the Falklands, Belgium refuses to sell us any. France was still servicing the Exocets. Only the US helped us initially.

        • julie williams
          Posted September 19, 2019 at 11:52 am | Permalink

          Were we massively supported by the EU during our spat with Argentina or recently with Iran?
          Can you think of an instance where the EU was there for the UK; certainly not when French farmers “roasted” our lambs…………

        • Sea Warrior
          Posted September 19, 2019 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

          Argentina attacked a British Overseas Territory when we were INSIDE the EU. And Spain regularly breaches the territorial integrity of Gibraltar, while we are inside the EU. Your argument is facile.

        • Original Richard
          Posted September 19, 2019 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

          MiC : The last time we were treated “badly” as you describe it by Argentina, although we were in the EU, the Italians supported Argentina and the Belgians refused to sell us ammunition.

          We received little assistance at all from the EU.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted September 20, 2019 at 6:32 am | Permalink

            There was no European Union in 1982.

        • Dennis Zoff
          Posted September 19, 2019 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

          Martin in Cardiff

          Utter nonsense…NATO lad, NATO..and the USA as an ally. The UK still has nuclear weapons technology!

          Your lesson for the day…”The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about” Wayne Dyer

    • J Bush
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      Morning Tory, or is that Rory?

      • Ian!
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        Right on the button!

    • Sam Duncan
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      Mrs. Thatcher was always implacably opposed to the European Union. It was the near-immediate resurrection of the political aspects of the SEA, which she thought she had buried, as what eventually became the Maastricht Treaty establishing the European Union which changed her mind about the whole project.

      She mistakenly supported the EEC and ended up regretting it. She was never in favour of the EU.

  2. GilesB
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    The world is much more stable with many independent sovereign nations, than with a few large power blocs. With many sovereign states local border disputes do not have to escalate into larger conflicts.

    Also many sovereign states maintain cultural, social and economic diversity, rather than convergence to a grey goo. Nature shows over millennia than diversity is essential to survival. Homo has lost the benefits of genetic diversity because of the triumph of Homo Sapiens: maintenance of cultural diversity is essential to the survival of the species

    • James Bertram
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      Agreed, GilesB – see my post in reply to Tory of Cumbria

  3. Dominic
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    The UK contributes three times as much to the EU as Belgium. No wonder this idiot finds the idea of the UK leaving the EU a major concern

    Little Belgium provide around 4%. The UK around 12%. Which nations are going to step up and fill the 12% EU funding gap when we leave?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      The European Union’s budget is only nominally about one percent of GDP for the total of each of the nations.

      It is absolutely tiny, compared to the sum of the members’ domestic budgets.

      So the answer to your question is probably “all of them”, to a greater or lesser extent.

      • NickC
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

        Martin, That is the Remain “tiny EU” fallacy. And you have fallen for it.

        The EU makes new rules and the member states (civil service, and other government bodies) have to implement them. So the bulk of the cost of EU rules is met directly by member states, and is never even counted in the cost of the EU.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted September 20, 2019 at 6:34 am | Permalink

          Well, we’ll soon see, won’t we, Nick?

      • Edward2
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

        When it suits you you use cash figures then when it suits your purpose you use percentages.
        Oh it’s only 1% you say.
        When it is billions in cash terms.

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

        Martin in Cardiff

        It will most probably be the current Givers that stump up the required 12%. Germany has already stated it is not happy to provide more funding!

        The current Receivers are looking for more handouts, not less, and with the addition of poorer countries coming into the EU fold, with their own requests for EU financial assistance….which Giver is willing to carry the extra monetary burden?

  4. Wil Pretty
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    We are in an English speaking block. The EU is a long way from a common language.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      So is Canada. And China. Your point is?

    • margaret howard
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 12:02 pm | Permalink


      Most languages spoken in EU countries belong to the Germanic language groups including English, Dutch, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian etc spoken by population of about 515 million people mainly in Europe.

      If like me you spoke more than one of them fluently you would recognise their similarity. In fact many linguists maintain that English is not a separate language at all but just another Germanic dialect.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

        Mh. So what. I speak French and Spanish but prefer English. What’s the big deal?

      • LikeABoss
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

        I’m a linguist at Cambridge, and this is nonsense. German has many dialects (Swiss, Austro-Bavarian, Swabian etc) and English is not one of them! It’s arguably not even Germanic, being >60% Romance influenced. English is a unique blend. And yes, I speak fluent German, and French, also some Swahili. Normally I charge for tuition but I’ll school you for free. I can’t believe poor Sir John has to vet your drivel.

        • margaret howard
          Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:54 pm | Permalink


          “I am a linguist at Cambridge”

          “English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and eventually became a global lingua franca. It is named after the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes that migrated to the area of Great Britain that later took their name, as England.

          The language is closely related to Frisian and Low Saxon, and its vocabulary has been significantly influenced by other Germanic languages, particularly Norse (a North Germanic language), and to a greater extent by Latin and French.”

          PS My son read languages at Trinity College, Cambridge. What college did you go to?

          PPS Thanks for the free tuition offer but I speak fluent German myself and quite a few others from Latin to French. And my son has offered to teach me Russian but I’m afraid I’m getting a bit too old to learn any more.

          • Dennis Zoff
            Posted September 20, 2019 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

            margaret howard

            Never to old to learn Margaret.

            I once met an 80 year old lady studying for a degree in maths from the Open University. She was previously a Headmistress and, in her own words, “lived for learning”.

          • margaret howard
            Posted September 20, 2019 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

            Dennis Zoff

            Thanks for the advice and I share your lady mathematician’s belief in keeping your brain active throughout your life. But the old brain decides otherwise and often refuses to oblige.

      • Fred H
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 5:04 pm | Permalink


      • NickC
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        Margaret H, That is totally misleading. As usual from you. Many modern English words or forms derive from British, Latin, Greek, and French languages – none of them Germanic. Many syntactic constructions in English are very un-Germanic.

        Old English may have started as a proto-Germanic language but modern English is now a hybrid, a long way from German. Very few European languages contain the two “th” sounds, for example, even though it is such a feature of English.

        You frequently express hatred of UK independence, so the obvious answer – since you are bothered about language – is for you to agitate for the UK to become the 51st state of the USA, rather than the default province of the EU empire.

      • Edward2
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Margaret, good to know there are 515 million people all belonging to Germanic language groups.
        I’m sure they are similar in many ways.
        But when for example a Dane is speaking Danish to a French or German person they cannot understand each other.
        Whereas when I speak to Australian or American or Canadian people I can.

      • Martyn G
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

        ‘Das ist kaum wahr, nicht viele englische wörter entsprechen voll und ganz deutsch’.
        Translation: ‘That is hardly true, not many english words fully correspond to german’.
        English as a German dialect seems unlikely, though I suppose that English, being a living, vibrant, evolving language, will have be some English words that mirror German words. Grammar, of course, is a different issue altogether…..

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

        Just to be clear…

        Circa 215 million Europeans are native speakers of Romance languages.

        Circa 210 million Europeans are native speakers of Germanic languages.

        The rest is a mixture of Greek, Slavic, Baltic, etc

        However, English, as a second language, is predominant throughout Europe (EU).

  5. margaret
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    Eric Blair also warned about the 3 world division overseen by controllers. Perhaps it is already true in one respect .It depends which country you are linking others to. For instance we could have a division which encapsulated English speaking Countries and this would include Australia . It would be where you drew boundaries . They don’t need to be triangulated to be a divide , but Orwellian as it is there does appear to be controllers ,,the trillionaires etc

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:09 pm | Permalink


      One of my favorites…

      “Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear”

      ….The EU wishes to take this freedom away, as do many in Parliament!

  6. Mike Stallard
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    The next Commissioner for Foreign Affairs apparently wants to suppress Catalonia and advance the claims of Scotland. And he has a fiery temper.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      Really? Then I hope that the FCO will deny the EU’s EAS permission to establish any presence in our smaller nations.

  7. Mark B
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    To be fair to, Guy I think he was struggling to find the right words so as not to give the game away. Of course he could have used the German word for empire, but I’d doubt that that would have gone down to well, even amongst the LibDems who seem only too happy to accept anything so long as it did not have the word British as a prefix.

    We could, as I mentioned to another contributor here, mean Orwell’s 1984 versions of empire. The one between Oceania, Eurasia and East Asia. One imagines that the EU would be a good fit for Eurasia with the Americas’ as Oceania and East Asia as China ? We must also not forget the other warnings from the book about Big Brother and the rise of the State. We see this in the Remainer, ‘Double-Speak’. Their blind loyalty and faith that BB knows best, and so on.

    The United Kingdom has always been throughout history a bastion of liberty and freedom. But over the last half century this has come under repeated attack. It is well past time that we began to reverse many of the laws that slowly chip away at such freedoms and the naked assault that is taking place in the courts on our democracy. If you call what we have a democracy ?

    Time will tell.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

      Mark B

      Though I am against the neo-soviet style EU in principle (and practice) and believe in absolute United Kingdom Sovereignty and democracy, perhaps your idea of freedom and liberty in the UK differs from mine.

      The idea that the working class (the largest part of the population) was free in the strictest sense is a myth perpetrated by the elitist establishment. Perhaps from the 1930s, this may be partially true, but prior to 1930 I think not? #

      # Democracy is an oft used word, but there many flavours of Democracy? Surely this current political debacle gives us a hint to its Orwellian reality? ##

      ## Brexit has given us all a true insight into the inner workings of our so-called democracy?

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted September 20, 2019 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Mark B

      Unfortunately, our kind host (or one of his moderators) chose not to submit my reply to you? Perhaps my comment was to close to the truth, for one’s liking?

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted September 20, 2019 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, John

  8. Shirley
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    Verhofstadt is wrong. Look at the evidence. More people are wanting independence. The UK from the EU, Scotland from the UK, Catalonia, etc. The UK gave freedom to it’s colonies. Forcing a nation to be ruled by an unwelcome supranational government can only lead to unrest. Local government makes politicians more accountable to the people. The EU is accountable to nobody.

    Which form of ‘Empirical’ government would the EU prefer? One based on China, or one based on the USA. It seems unlikely, as EU Presidents are not appointed by the people as they are in the USA. The EU avoids democracy, rather than enhances it. When (if ever) will the EU allow the EU people to vote on the formation of an Empire, or any other major change to the continent?

  9. Peter Wood
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    Never mind strange Belgians with a yearning to regain the Congo…

    Our worry is how to get the Brexit we voted for. As Mr. Farage has noted yesterday, we are going to get a representation of the May Treaty with Backstop tweaks; what are we going to do?
    There needs to be wide publication of reasons, cast in straightforward terms, as to why the May Treaty is UNACCEPTABLE. You, and others, have already done the work, all that is needed is some good copywriter to distill this work down to 4 or 5 critical issues, that can be presented and repeated as often as possible in/on the MSM.
    Second, when BJ realises HIS surrender treaty will not fly, he must go for a GE with an accommodation with the Brexit Party. This arrogant attitude to TBP must stop, and JRM has the nous to understand that and arrange a deal. The objective is more important than any party principle.

    Reply I have often stated we need to take back control of our laws,money and borders and the WA does not do that

    • James Bertram
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      Agreed, Peter. (see link at the top of this page) have today published a 12 point article (“Boris, binning the Backstop still isn’t Brexit,” say six Brexit groups) as a printable pdf file that should be sent out to all MPs and MSM offices – the public will need to do this, as clearly the Government will not.
      I am having 2,000 copies printed (£110) that I will distribute locally.
      People need to take action, either individually or as a group – or democracy will die

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted September 20, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

        James Bertram

        Commendable James. Others are also following your lead!

  10. Sea Warrior
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    I see that EU empire-building is likely to include an accelerated accession by a number of Balkan states – including Albania. For the EU, principle will always trump rationality. When Albania joins we can expect organised crime and other problems to sky-rocket. Perhaps it’s a test-run for Turkey?

  11. Andy
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    His speech was quite brilliant – and, if you listen to it all, he gets most of it spot on.

    It is perfectly clear if you listen to the whole thing that he’s not using the word empire in the context you describe.

    He has used the wrong word, it is a bit clumsy – as he’s talking about alliances and coalitions.

    But then English is his fourth language and he still speaks it better than most Brexiteers that I come across.

    • Alan Joyce
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      Dear Mr. Redwood,

      Dear @Andy,

      You make a possibly valid but arguable point about Mr. Verhofstadt and his use of the word ‘Empire’ to describe the European Union.

      However, you then go on to debase your argument with a gratuitous insult of those who are for Brexit.

      One has to draw the conclusion that you are not confident in your understanding or belief of the true nature of the EU and have to resort to abuse, jibes, barbs and slurs in order to get your point across.

      It just comes across as rather infantile.

    • mancunius
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      Are you suggesting Verhofstadt is such a numpty that he cannot speak or understand his own country’s other language, French?
      The word ’empire’ is identical in French, and with an identical meaning.

      But then, how would you know that? Like most clichéd remainers you are proudly ignorant of any other European languages or cultures. You know nothing about Europe, except what you read in the FT.

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      Then the word ’empire’ was used in the correct context, Andy. Everyone knows what it means – even Brexiteers.

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted September 20, 2019 at 9:08 am | Permalink


        ….even Brexiteers.

        A slur right there, by insinuating Brexiteers are somewhat slow-witted.

        I am sure you did not mean to be demeaning?

  12. BCL
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    If we were to align ourselves with any “empire” I’d choose the USA over the EU any day. I feel much more in tune with the americans that the europeans, perhaps because of language. Many dislike Mr Trump for reasons I understand although I don’t share them, but he won’t be president for ever and in any event I’d take him as my ally before Mr Junckers or Mr Verhofstadt.

    • Mitchel
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      The new policy briefing from the European Council for Foreign Relations(”Give the People what they want:Popular demand for a strong European foreign policy” by Susi Dennison,10/9/19,makes interesting reading.

      It confirms the trend of other polls from earlier this year(like Atlantic Bridge) that Europe increasingly wants independence from the US.If you are a fan of NATO you won’t find comfort.

  13. Nig l
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Maybe it was a ‘second language’ problem?

    • mancunius
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      He’s perfectly aware of what the word means. Why should he dissemble about his bellicose megalomania? He’s extremely proud of it. Not a day goes by without his tweeting some self-righteous insult to some other European government.
      Never to the one in Belgium, naturally 😉

    • graham1946
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      If that’s the case, what about his office on tv broadcast stating that they want the as a ‘colony’?

      • graham1946
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

        ‘UK’ as a colony.

  14. Richard1
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    It was an extraordinary and revealing speech, and should be taken together with mr juncker’s remark in a speech that the EU [empire] has no use for ‘part time’ members – I.e. like the UK, which, eg, isn’t in the euro. There is a logic to the speeches. Mr V doesn’t of course want an empire of conquest, and I have no doubt that he and other leading EU figures have entirely benign and even noble intentions – maintenance of peace, promotion of prosperity etc. But their view is very defensive, and even dystopian – and as you point out highly questionable, given there are plenty of peaceful and prosperous nations which aren’t and don’t want to be in any of these empires. Nor do we in the UK think of the US (or India) as any kind of threat to be countered by joining a rival empire.

    But above all what it shows is the Remain option isn’t the pre-2016 status quo. The EU must and will integrate further. It has no use for an unwilling member, trying to drag its feet with opt-outs here and vetoes there. Perhaps there are arguments to be in the EU empire as a full and proper member – but the Remain side in our referendum never made them.

  15. ChrisS
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    I fear that the world is moving towards groups of large Blocs which push their own special interests. China is the most obvious example in the 21st century, buying influence all over Africa and South East Asia, in particular. There will inevitably be a stiff price demanded by Beijing for their apparent largess further down the line.

    It will still be possible for an economically large Country like ours to thrive without being a full member of any particular Bloc, However, given a free choice, I would choose to build one of our own with like-minded nations from around the world. Modern communications render it unnecessary for a Bloc to be made up of a single geographical area like Europe or China.

    Our natural home would be a Bloc made up of the Anglo Saxon world : the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Gibraltar and the British Overseas Territories plus any other Countries like Singapore that would like to join us. With our natural common interests, language and legal systems and backed up by NATO, it would have real power in the world order, both militarily and economic. We already have, for example, two permanent members of the UN Security Council.

    This would be a completely different organisation to the Chinese or EU Bloc because our member nations would only ever want a loose arrangement based on security and economics. It could never become an integrated political body on the Chinese or European model which are inevitably going to continue to make the mistake of demanding rigid control from Brussels ( Berlin ) or Beijing.

    Once successfully detached from the EU, we will be free to pursue closer ties with the Anglosphere. But to do this we must not make the mistake of allowing ourselves to be tied down and hamstrung by European regulation as Brussels, Berlin and Paris are demanding. All that will do is limit our ability to build successful trade and other relationships with like-minded Countries around the world.

    This is, of course, what the EU fears most about Brexit.

  16. formula57
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    “I find it worrying that a leading exponent of more European integration uses the word “Empire” to explain what they are trying to do.” – that did not stop him getting applause from our Liberal Democrats (so called) though.

    Surely it is the tendency to empire that so self-undermines the E.U..

  17. Excalibur
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    It is all about ‘World Government’. It is easier to merge large blocs than to co-opt individual nation states.

  18. agricola
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    Question is John, are Empires a virtuous thing. Much as the UK has had one, I would maintain that in the present day they are an out of date concept. In ours there was undoubted exploitation, advantages and disadvantages to both sides. The UK Empire, in the final analysis, accepted the desire for self determination. This was facilitated, sometimes clumsily, but on the whole amicably, to morph into what we have today , a Commonwealth of nations running on varying democratic principals. A largely friendly club which with a bit of political vision could as I have often said be turned into the biggest free trade area in the World.

    Mr Verhofstadt is way behind the game in effect trying to create another USSR. He would not agree, but in my analysis the blatant lack of democracy in the top down creation he believes in amounts to yet another USSR. It is never more obvious than in the arrogant way they strut about their fledgling empire, dictating without consultation or approval how its citizens and nations should behave. I sense it is doomed to failure before it gets off the ground.

  19. George Brooks
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    The UK is a big player in the EU but they have decided to go on a path not of our choosing. Now they are beginning to understand what life will be like with out us. They don’t have the same connection that we do with the US and India and will be the poorer without it.

    If Mr Verhofstadt reckons that the EU is becoming an empire he would be well advised to look at the history of the Russian empire and the contraction of Communism after the last war. Many of the countries that went against both movements are now members of the EU and some are not very happy with direction the EU is going He has spelt out yet another good reason for us to leave.

    The EU is now getting rattled as it would appear that our negotiating team is beginning to regain high ground. They have used two small countries to throw spanners in the works and be rude, namely Ireland and Luxembourg. Now Finland is telling us there is a new time limit of September 30, no doubt an idea thought up by Macron.

    They have been told that they will have our proposals by the 17th October and they will have to live with that.

  20. Everhopeful
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    There is a story that the EU has always wanted to replicate the Roman Empire ( or how they imagine it was.)
    Interestingly many archeology progs bend over backwards to “prove” the mistaken idea that equal Roman citizenship was liberally bestowed on all comers and that Europe was joyfully multi culti.
    Much guffawing and tin foil hattery.
    BUT the EU seems to be very happy with dreams of Empire.
    Hope that at long last people realise the dangers of being sooo bl**dy desperate to please the left. Maybe too late tho?

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Enjoying reading Gibbon’s ‘History of the Decline and Fall of the EU’s Empire.’

    • Fred H
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      Well the Romans pillaged and stole the spoils of war, followed by enforcing slavery on the losers.. It does sound rather familiar?

      • margaret howard
        Posted September 20, 2019 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

        Fred H

        The British empire?

  21. Kevin
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    The situation now seems to be that a man, Mr. Johnson, thinks he can
    outdo his female predecessor and sell a deal that she agreed and which
    most MPs rejected when presented by her. Is that why we had a new prime
    minister? Because turning the UK into a vassal state is an easier sell when
    you hear it from a man rather than a woman?

    • graham1946
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think it’s a gender thing but an election thing. Now that the ‘Honorable Members’ are looking down the barrel of an election where a large number are going to lose their nice cushy livings, they are doing all they can firstly to delay and secondly may well take the deal they previously rejected with a few cosmetic face saving tweaks. When they thought they had loads of time to serve, they were happy to play games but now wish to face the electorate having ‘delivered’ Brexit. Problem for them is that we have memories and know who need booting out for their lack of respect for the electorate.

  22. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    John, true empires, like the British, French, Spanish, Belgian, Dutch and so on were all established by violence against the unwilling conquered.

    The European Union is an association by consent by free, willing, sovereign nations. The sole fact that the UK is able to leave by peaceful means is proof enough of its not being an empire.

    It is an entity unprecedented in world history, and so comparisons and predictions based on dissimilar arrangements are as pointless as they are abusive.

    Reply I did not call it an empire, Mr Verhofstadt did

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Yes John, English is not his first language, and if it were, then I don’t think that he would have used the word as he did.

      I doubt very much that he attached the same meaning to it that you do, and your attempt to build a serious case against the whole European project, on that single misuse of a word by a lone MEP is distinctly unimpressive.

      Reply I think it is revealing of a mindset and deserves a discussion. You sound very defensive about it.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:41 am | Permalink

        Well, we can never read anyone’s mind.

        However, even if Mr. Verhofstadt has grandiose aspirations for a concentration of power into the institutions of the European Union and away from its people – and there’s no other evidence for this – then it would go against its declared treaty objectives, and even against those of the earlier European Community, which have still not been realised.

        If this were just another instance of the use of such terms among a general tendency with MEPs then you would perhaps have a case.

        However, I have never heard of any such usage in a similar context, and so this appears to be an isolated, unrepresentative case, so I don’t think that you do.

        Most decent people will defend the honourable from an unjust accusation, so you are correct in one sense with your last remark.

      • Fred H
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:45 am | Permalink

        reply to reply…..We are surprised you bother to engage, I guess years of dealing with ill-mannered heckling of all types is no problem for you.

      • APL
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

        MiC: “Yes John, English is not his first language, ”

        Do you think for one second that Verhofstadt writes his own speeches?

        The staff member who does, will be fluent in the language of the anticipated audience. There was no error nor mistake in the use of the word ‘Empire’.

        • Anonymous
          Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

          As mentioned earlier ’empire’ is exactly the same word in French too. Double slip up if that’s the case.

      • dixie
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 2:05 pm | Permalink


        You are extracting the water, you know very well it was not a slip of the tongue by one EU functionary, it is their guiding policy revealed by a number of their luminaries over several years

        Paris, November 9th, 2018, M. Bruno Le Maire, French Minister of the Economy and Finance, Opening speech to the French Business Forum;

        “EU as a “peaceful empire”/European sovereignty – Why? Because it’s a key issue. There is only one issue today for future generations: building European sovereignty between Donald Trump’s United States and Xi Jinping’s China. ”

        ” .. Europe has got to assert itself as a peaceful empire in the next 25 years. Beyond these great ambitions, it is essential to build this peaceful empire and European sovereignty brick by brick”

        Except it is not peaceful and is not using peaceful means, the EU way is to uses economics as a tool to enforce their policies and punish those it considers naughty and unworthy both inside the EU and out.

    • Old person
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      Totally agree. But, of course, our soon to be free nation had a referendum to leave this association by consent. Bravo, bring it on.

      Ask the sovereign people of Greece if they now share in these aims.

      Next year, according to the Lisbon Treaty, each nation loses it’s veto in favour of qualified majority voting.

      More worryingly, is the aims of the Verhofstadt’s EU Empire in regard to the European Defence Union. Do they really expect the UK to let the other EU nations take over our armed services or come near the button of our nuclear deterrent?

  23. Sydney Ashurst
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    NO we do not want to be part of a European Empire, political, economic and monetary.
    Empires always fall, and do not always break up peacefully.
    They invariably break up because of a dictatorial bureaucratic rule that is too oppressive.
    The Soviet Bloc broke up, and now many of its ex members, the Visegrad Group are showing defiance to political diktats from Brussels.
    How long can the EU survive with a tin pot dictator like Guy Verhofstadt thinking he can subdue the UK and turn it into a vassal state.

  24. Bob
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Have you noticed how much airtime is being given to the Gina Miller case compared to the virtual radio silence over the Robin Tilbrook case?

    We’re being played and the MSM is in on the act.

    • Fred H
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      Bob – – Not only airtime! Would someone care to explain why she was afforded 3 Policemen to accompany her to the Court today? We regularly see Corbyn, Gove, Boris etc leaving homes with no Police in sight. If she feels she needs protection ( why would she?) hire a bouncer – that is what Mr Farage has to do.

  25. Pete S
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    His comment of not wanting the UK to be; ‘Singapore on the North Sea’. Was far more telling of the EU’s motives.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      Love Singapore. Let’s do it!

    • mancunius
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      Exactly – for ‘Singapore on the North Sea’ read ‘dynamic and successful’.

  26. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Off topic, I have this little letter in the Maidenhead Advertiser today, headed:

    “Why aren’t we prepared for a no deal Brexit?”

    “It is not uncommon for historians to get into disputes about dates, and perhaps in the future scholars concentrating on the brief Brexit period in our national history may wonder whether the recently released Operation Yellowhammer document was correctly dated.

    Surely, some will argue, it is scarcely credible that on August 2 2019, the date given on the report, the country should still be so ill-prepared for a no deal withdrawal from the EU.

    On August 2 2016, shortly after Theresa May had become Prime Minister, yes, then that kind of cautionary report might have made sense.

    But after she had spent three years telling all and sundry that ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’, surely she would have made sure that by the time she handed the reins over to Boris Johnson all the necessary preparations for a no deal exit were well advanced?

    I am no fan of Boris Johnson, far from it, but how can it be right for a politician to say one thing but do another, and then stay silent while her successor is pilloried for the dire situation she bequeathed to him?”

    Also in the Advertiser today, “Theresa May has been officially announced as the Tory candidate for Maidenhead in the event of a General Election”.

    At a meeting on Monday evening the local UKIP branch decided not to field a candidate but instead throw its weight behind the Brexit Party candidate.

    In 2017 the UKIP candidate won only 871 votes but in 2015 it had been 4,539 votes, not that far behind the Liberal Democrats and Labour; so UKIP joining forces with the Brexit Party should increase the chance of getting Theresa May out of Parliament.

    • Fred H
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      Denis … appropriate should it happen.

    • Bob
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      Yellowhammer is Phil Hammond’s equivalent of Alastair Campbell’s WMD Dossier.

  27. Dan
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    The EU will, of course, be a benevolent empire, created not by conquest but by litigation, by act and by treaty where the bureaucracy hold the reigns of power allegedly at the behest of national leaders but really by stealth, nepotism and cronyism. Can anyone name an EU president who achieved anything of note before they joined the EU? Would they have been able to achieve anything if they had to rely on elections to do so? It is so hypocritical of many on the left and within the LibDems to constantly excoriate and denounce the former British Empire whilst championing a replacement that ignores the lack of democracy at its heart.

  28. EarleyRiser
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    You’ll be happy then for the Scots to be independent if they choose to split from the Union so that they can stay in the EU?
    And I don’t mean happy as in allow, I mean genuinely happy about it?

    Reply I believe in self determination which is why I warmly welcomed the Scottish referendum. If they had voted to leave I would have accepted their decision but I am pleased they decided to stay. There is n o need for a second ref anytime soon.

    • James Bertram
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Well said, Sir John.
      Self-determination is essential. I note that our African colonies in the early 1960s all grabbed the chance of Independence when offered. None put economic success before Freedom. Where has the British Bulldog Spirit gone? – why is the country so full of timid or traitorous Remoaners? – where are the Nelson Mandela’s amongst our governing class? A sad state of affairs.

      • Iain Moore
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

        I find it a bit humiliating to find the US Ambassador and Australian politicians have more faith in our country to make a go of our independence than our political class sitting in Westminster

        • dixie
          Posted September 23, 2019 at 7:22 am | Permalink

          It is humiliation for the political and bureaucratic classes polishing the seats in Westminster and Whitehall.

          It is not humiliation for those who voted Leave.

  29. Gareth Warren
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    I would comment further on Russian naval power being split to protecting unconnected oceans. Worse still is the condition of some of the kit with the aircraft carrier being elderly and around half of its toilets not working due to heating failure. There is a good reason Russian fleets are accompanied by a tug.
    Our navy is too small, but still a blue water navy.

    But empire is not defined by force, our navy was mighty, but our army quite small during the British empire, the empire existed because it was profitable, its end was dictated by the events of 1776. We could have kept our empire longer in India, but at great cost in treasure and morals.

    So I view those trying to setup a EU empire with pity, I do not see the great wealth that supports it, trying to impose it likely will cause war and severe loss of prosperity.

    • Mitchel
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      Russia does not need a blue water fleet-it’s land mass covers 11 time zones across the whole of northern Asia and a large part of Europe,providing operational reach(aircraft,missiles,drones,etc) over most of the supercontinent.It’s equipment design strategy is based on denial of access to it’s approaches.Aircraft carriers are now effectively obsolete.

      Russia is financially stronger than the UK too-it does not operate a ponzi economy based on money printing,extend and pretend debt accumulation and asset bubbles-nor does it depend on the goodwill of financial markets as it has shown since 2014 -the UK would have collapsed long ago if the same pressure had been applied.

  30. Mark
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    One ring to rule them all. The EU is headed towards Götterdämerung with internal contradictions. The USSR started out in 1917, but by 1991 it was gone. The EU is nearing that timescale while becoming increasingly divided on policy and with a currency system that is being stretched towards breaking point. We need to be out before it all falls apart.

    • Mitchel
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      The USSR was established in 1922.

      • mancunius
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

        Excellent, then the EU project – initiated in 1950 – will collapse five years earlier than expected, in fact its 69 years are already up.

    • margaret howard
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 11:49 pm | Permalink


      But the euro is thriving and the £ tanking against it. Furthermore unlike the USSR countries are queuing up to join the EU, not being forced into it.

      And Goetterdaemmerung has 2 ‘mms’ -:)

  31. David
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Signing up to the single market was Mrs Thatchers big mistake, but John Major topped the lot with treasonous Maastricht Treaty. Mrs Thatcher might well have found out her mistake four years later the famous NO NO speech too late the gate was shut after the horse had bolted. No leavers are not running away we are facing a very sinister EU and we are having our turn at NO NO and we want our country back and recover all that was fought and died for in two world wars, and get rid of the EU for good leave the EU to get on and mind their own business and we mind ours. What a grand opportunity to walk away let’s not waste it. May the Verhofstadt dream perish!.

  32. Gareth Warren
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    I note few empires collapse peacefully, to its credit both the USSR and British empire did so relatively peacefully. like Spain and Catalonia I don’t see much chance of an EU reliant on regions letting them go when it has control of information and security.

  33. Leaver
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    I think it’s true that people want smaller governing units.

    However I am concerned this will lead to the break-up of the United Kingdom, as it seems Scotland and Northern Ireland are now likely to secede.

    But, perhaps as Sir John points out, this is a good thing as it reflects the free determination of people. I honestly don’t know.

    Reply Scotland has recently voted to stay in!

    • Fred H
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      reply to reply…..however, the noisy neighbours, should they redouble their efforts to align with the EU, are welcome to leave the (Dis)United! Kingdom.

    • margaret howard
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      You forget to mention that this Scottish vote was taken before our Brexit vote. This changes everything.

  34. acorn
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Sadly JR, this site has degenerated into a slagging match orchestrated by the “wrong” and “wrong-again” crowd, who have run out of cogent argument having exhausted their knowledge base. “Cut & Paste” is no social media substitute for actual knowledge of the subject.

    Yesterday’s “smart meter” thread was a case in point. Just another opportunity to slag off the EU and remainers with a subject they obviously know none of the technical details of; which, uniquely to the UK, caused the lack of interoperability required by the Directive.

    • Edward2
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      Getting to you is it acorn?
      Let’s spin back to the smart meters post by Andy.
      He denied smart meters was anything to do with the EU and tried to “slag off” the UK government saying they introduced the initiative.
      Wrong and wrong again.
      Get your facts right if you dont expect others to put you right.

      • Edward2
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 11:06 am | Permalink

        The interopability argument you have introduced into the argument is a complete red herring acorn.

        • acorn
          Posted September 19, 2019 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

          More know-nothing leaver bullshit from Edward2. Notice the word “interoperabilty” in this government consultation.

          “The programme to upgrade systems to support the interoperability of first-generation (SMETS1) meters is underway so that consumers retain smart services when they switch energy suppliers.” (DELIVERING A SMART
          SYSTEM Consultation on a Smart Meter Policy Framework post-2020.)

          • Edward2
            Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

            You are getting all cross now acorn.
            Resorting to the usual low level abuse.
            One moment you take the high ground claiming how clever you remainers are next post you show your true colours.
            Andy claimed smart meters was a UK programme.
            He was wrong.
            It us an EU directive.
            Your angle of involvement is a complete red herring.

          • Dennis Zoff
            Posted September 20, 2019 at 3:20 pm | Permalink


            Get your facts right…..please!

            The European Commission, pushed a Europe-wide plan to roll out smart meters years ago.

            Link for your edification.


            I trust our kind host will allow the link to be used.

            Btw, I believe one of my European companies was involved in the original consultation?

    • dixie
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      The issue is the EU dictated imposition of smart meters at a cost to the consumer for no imrpovement in service and tangible benefit to the consumer, not the fact that the government screwed up the central database systems supposed to enable interoperability.

    • Peter
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      acorn, I’ve noticed this too. It seems like about 80% of contributions are from people, on both sides of the debate, who just repeat the things they have been told. These people seem to be constantly shifting further and further to the extremes of their viewpoint, with apparently no interest in empathising with the views of those whom they regard as “the enemy”.

      Little tip to anyone who reads this – there is no such thing as a “Remainer” or a “Brexiter”. Do not allow yourself to be manipulated into thinking about the world in such simplistic terms. Challenge your sources, use your own eyes. Think about our similarities, not our differences. Don’t be afraid of examining your own opinions – being stubborn and unchanging is not strength, it’s weakness. Brexit does not have to be 100% good or 100% bad, and anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to trick you.

      • acorn
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

        Peter, my late father frequently told me that the UK would eventually be destroyed by its own print media. He was never to know that comments on social media sites such as this one, would accelerate that process by several multiples. His assertion was the UK had the poorest education system in Europe, which gifted control to its elite schooled ruling class.

        • Edward2
          Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

          Good job we have highly intelligent remainers like you acorn regularly telling us on here how clever they are.

      • Edward2
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        The decision to be member of the EU or to not be a member of the EU is a simple binary choice.
        Consensus politics may work for certain items in politics but this is one area where you need to make your mind up.
        It’s not extremism to make your mind up.
        Being half in and half out, the consensus position, will be, in my opinion the biggest disaster.

        • Peter
          Posted September 20, 2019 at 9:06 am | Permalink

          Edward2, I think you misunderstood me. I’m not saying that people aren’t allowed to have an opinion one way or the other. I’m saying that people who take an immovable stance on Brexit and then proceed to ignore any evidence to the contrary are either (a) trying to force a specific narrative, or (b) only get their information from people who are trying to force a specific narrative. Neither are to be trusted. The first category are malicious and exploitative, the second are lacking in critical judgement.

          • Edward2
            Posted September 20, 2019 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

            You say people having an immovable stance on a political issue are not to be trusted.
            Very odd idea.
            Of course it is sensible to listen to the continual debate and there is nothing wrong with changing your mind, but there is nothing wrong with keeping your opinions and beliefs firm.
            For decades I have felt being in the EU is not in our best interests.
            I respect those who feel the opposite view is correct.

          • Dennis Zoff
            Posted September 20, 2019 at 3:08 pm | Permalink


            My negative experience and annoyance at the EU shenanigans/interference is first hand (from a business perspective in the first instance).

            However, being open minded and pragmatic, I am willing to learn from a Remainer, that has had direct experience, and not from someone that uses a third party media source?

            I would nevertheless welcome your take on why we should remain in the EU and some of the direct tangible benefits derived from our membership?

            The floor is yours.

    • libertarian
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 4:43 pm | Permalink


      The smart meter thread ON WHICH YOU WERE TOTALLY WRONG , it was you who threw abuse .

      This from the person who tried to blag me that the French government would never sell a French military shipyard to a foreign government . A shipyard that at the time was owned and operated by a South Korean company and the French government were trying to sell it to an Italian company, which they eventually did.

      Tell you what acorn, try being less pompous especially when you get so much wrong

      • Edward2
        Posted September 20, 2019 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

        Well said Libertarian.
        I notice how the abuse is nearly all one way.
        Even when presented with facts showing they are wrong, instead of saying “I was wrong” they get all cross, start making personal comment,s, refuse to climb down and go off on a red herring hunt.

  35. mickc
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    It is debatable if the British “Empire ” ever was an empire. Some historians regard it as a trading system…free trade, enforced by the Royal Navy.

    The USA is certainly an empire despite pretending not to be.

    The EU wants to be an Empire…a German one…but probably will break up before it can be.

  36. ukretired123
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Empires are unsustainable without imposed discipline and eventually fail for this key reason.
    Picking fights with others to cover up their own inadequacies ends up with mutual destruction.
    History is believing the past lessons….z

  37. Alec
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Certainly I agree that Britain needs independence form the EU and every other power block but did I read that correctly? “The USA has always opposed the idea of conquest followed by occupation…” Afghanistan, Iraq, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Phillipines, half of Mexico. In fact their whole country was created by conquest and occupation. We only have to look at the news to see that any country that does not follow dictats from Washington is subjected to vilification, subversion, colour revolutions, blockades and invasion. The only thing that is currently stopping even more is the sheer inability of their armed forces to actually win any war at all.
    Russia is vastly more capable militarily than the UK. Simply counting numbers of ships proves nothing except different priorities. Also the British military is hampered by NATO not strengthened since all the other countries have their own aims and priorities and most of their armed forces are about as useful as an umbrella in a hurricane.

    • Fred H
      Posted September 20, 2019 at 7:08 am | Permalink

      totally agree with the final paragraph.

  38. graham1946
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    UK humiliated by the EU -Ireland and Luxembourg.

    They are supposed to be ‘friends and partners’. Never been much sign of that in the last 40 years. Why would anyone want to belong to such a small minded institution that it cannot stand to let a member leave in case it is successful without their ministrations?

    As I have said before, small men in big jobs (except Ireland and Luxembourg, who together amount to less than London where there is real financial power, not a skint organisation like the EU) so are those two are pipsqueaks.

    • graham1946
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      Actually, less than half the size of London.

  39. Alan Jutson
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Empires are old hat, they always fail in the end, usually after the leaders get drunk on power !

  40. John Fitzgerald
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    We lost our empire due to getting the ungrateful Europeans out of the mess of the second world war, how soon they forget! Perhaps, in hindsight, we should have kept our nose out and left Hitler to it!

    • BritinDeutschland
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      With the climate changing as it does now a conservative number for “climate refugees” is projected to be 200 millions by 2050, with the Middle East and Africa (plus Pacific Island countries) among the worst affected regions. In 2015, about a million came to continental Europe.

    • BritinDeutschland
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      JohnF, The British Empire mobilised 8,410,000 forces during WW1, 1,357,800 died in Europe. A non-negligible number of those forces were from the Empire, seeing how the Brits were far from invincible (and also how they had been used as cannon fodder), they returned home even more convinced that their future was as independent from Britain. Plus Woodrow Wilson the US President was against colonialism.
      There are plenty of good books on this period …

      • Gareth Warren
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

        I’m quite interested in military matters and I’ve never heard o f soldiers being used as cannon fodder. In every example of high casualties its incompetence, brashness or bad logistics at fault.

        • Dennis Zoff
          Posted September 20, 2019 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

          Gareth Warren

          The first attested use of the expression “cannon fodder” is by a French writer, François-René de Chateaubriand. In his anti-Napoleonic pamphlet “De Bonaparte et des Bourbons”, published in 1814, he criticized the cynical attitude towards recruits that prevailed at the end of Napoleon’s reign.

  41. rose
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    The most worrying thing was the red faced and furious assertion by Barnier – I think it was he and not Verhofstadt – that he would never allow a Singapore off the coast of EUrope. If we want to be a Singapore, or a New Zealand, or just the United Kingdom, it is entirely up to us and nothing to do with him. This was indeed Imperial aspiration.

  42. Ed M
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Joan of Arc won great victories in her life-time. She was always betrayed and unfairly put to death (like Christ). But blessings of victory came to France after Joan’s death, and a few years later, France was completely victorious and sovereign – through, ultimately, the faith, humility, patience, courage, honesty of Joan of Arc.

    Joan is now a saint in Heaven. But the victories she won for France will in some, shape or form, be glorified in some way in the future at the end of time (the Church has always taught that the good we do here on Earth – including in the realm of patriotism – will not be lost but rather added to when God glorifies the world at the end of time).

    Patriotism is a beautiful thing – like a FABERGE EGG! An egg that is begun here on Earth and completed and glorified by God both before the End of Time and finally after The End of Time when men’s earthly bodies and Earth (and everything good man has done on Earth including patriotism) will be glorified! (And man’s bodies properly united with their souls and with the Heavenly realm). Please God for us all.

    For God, Family, Queen and Country

  43. a-tracy
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    TiC is entitled to his opinion in 1. above, however, I don’t see how the PM was humiliated.

    I think these little Countries showed themselves for the power-seekers they are from their tiny bases trying to be big boss to the bigger more powerful UK and it’s just a Napolean complex. They like to attach themselves to authority figures in the EU, and try to manipulate themselves into positions of control. Boris is comfortable in his own skin and this is starting to freak people out and cause them to try to bring him down but they are reducing themselves.

  44. Lifelogic
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Mogg wants Brexit supporters (30% at the last election) to return to the Conservative fold (9% at the last election and fifth). Well perhaps some may but not if Boris comes back with some duff deal as seems quite likely and not if any of the 21+ Conservative Traitors are allowed back in so as to undermine the next government. Some accommodation is needed with the Brexit Party it is in both parties interests. There is a natural advantage in some seats for one or the other.

    Well done Boris in Luxembourg. At least they did not try to imprison him there as the Conservative Traitors (and enemies of the people) seem to be doing in the UK.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 20, 2019 at 4:57 am | Permalink

      Sorry Brexit Party supporters I meant.

  45. Original Richard
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    The issue is that the EU wants to see continued expansion of its “four freedoms” empire to include Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia Moldova, Serbia and the Ukraine.

    Followed by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, Armenia, Georgia, Libya, Syria, Azerbaijan, Israel, Tunisia, Belarus, Jordan, Morocco all of whom receive money we send to the EU for its “European Neighbourhood Policy” (ENP) to help with their preparation for EU membership.

    Not forgetting the 7 “stan” countries Mr. Cameron wanted to join in his “Atlantic to the Urals” speech in Kazakhstan in July 2013 and his promise that the UK will do everything it can to help Turkey to “pave the road from Ankara to Brussels” in July 2010.

  46. Mitchel
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    The Roman empire covered rather more than”southern and western Europe”-Anatolia,the near east,the Balkans and North Africa were also part of it-and,for a rather longer period than the western provinces that fell to the “barbarians”.These provinces were also generally wealthier and more sophisticated culturally.And the capital of the whole Empire was moved east to Constantinople long before the west disappeared.

    The following table of the world’s largest city (by population) from the peak of the Roman Empire to 1900 illustrates just how brief has been the western ascendancy(source:Spectator Index).

    300 Rome
    400 Rome
    500 Constantinople
    600 Constantinople
    700 Chang’an
    800 Chang’an
    900 Baghdad
    1000 Baghdad
    1100 Baghdad
    1200 Hangzhou
    1300 Hangzhou
    1400 Beijing
    1500 Beijing
    1600 Beijing
    1700 Beijing
    1800 Beijing
    1900 London

    Beijing’s long ascendancy resulted from the unification of China by two alien ruling peoples-the Mongols and the Manchu.

    For anyone interested in the mindset behind Asian/Eurasian empires-very different from that of western empires-I can thoroughly recommend “The Formless Empire-A short History of Diplomacy and Warfare in Central Asia” by Christopher Mott(2015).It will save you having to read the histories of the Russian,Byzantine,Mongol,Ottoman,Persian and Chinese empires(that’s a lot of reading!)-and might be quite useful given where power is moving.

    • Fred H
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      mitchel…..fascinating research – shame city population is not particularly relevant.

      • Mitchel
        Posted September 19, 2019 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

        I think there is probably a fair degree of correlation between size of metropolis and power/wealth of empire,certainly in those pre-modern times.

        • Fred H
          Posted September 21, 2019 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

          in other words – not very relevant in modern times?

          • Mitchel
            Posted September 22, 2019 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

            Yes,due to welfare,overseas aid and development,etc.That’s why my table stopped at 1900!

    • Derek Henry
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      What did the Romans do ?

      The winners of wars get all the imports. Losers have to use their skills and real resources and send goods and services to the winners.

      Just ask Japan after WW2.

      Countries have a screw loose if they choose to export their way to growth.

      • Edward2
        Posted September 20, 2019 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

        Tell that to China.

  47. A Father
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    The powers of an Empire are by and large the power to intimidate, the power to control, the power to harm. These are not powers I would ever want to exercise or to be exercised on my behalf. Those who exercise such powers should be opposed, not sided with. Moreover, Empires typically centralise power. A few have power and the many are denied it.

    The concept of power figured largely in my decision to vote to leave. The powers that concerned me were the powers to make law, to regulate our society and our economy, to control that part of my income that I pass to the Government as taxation, and to control how it is used to benefit society. These are not the powers of empire. These are the powers of any independent nation state.

    I hoped that my vote to leave the EU would place more of these powers back into the hands of the elected representatives or our country. By doing that, I hoped that the power of my vote, and in future the power of my daughter’s vote would be enhanced. Of course, the power of one vote is very small, but if you compare the fates of peoples through history who have had a meaningful vote compared with those who have not, you quickly see that a vote has been a good thing to have. Even the small power of a single vote should help my daughter to be able to have a proper and meaningful dialogue with her democratic representative about how to use power for the benefit of her future and the country’s future.

    There are many groups that wield power in a modern state; politicians, big business, the media, pressure groups, political parties, the civil service and others. Statistically, it is unlikely my daughter will ever be one of those individuals who will exercise power through any of these mediums, but rather she will be one of sixty million people whose only power in the political system is through their vote, and their relationship with their political representatives. If their political representatives have no power, she and her fellow citizens will have no power. I hope therefore that by returning the powers of a nation state to Parliament, she and her fellow 60 million citizens, with their voices and their votes will have a stake in and a proper part to play in the future of our country.

  48. David Maples
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    The EU is a ghastly, pre-paradigmal cocktail of the 19th century German Zollverein and the 14th century Hanseatic League. Both have disappeared, although the former eventually morphed into a Prussian dominated, united Germany. Make no mistake, this glorified customs union is German through and through. Amongst the 27 they wield enormous and decisive power, and their writ runs far and wide. But without Britain, and without federalization and fiscal union(aka United States of Europe), and a resurrected €uro, they will crumble, as indeed have all attempts by Germany to dominate Europe since 1865/70.

    As far as leavers are concerned, we are simply exiting a customs union, but for remainers it is oh so much more, a pipe dream of an idyllic utopia
    of peace and happiness.

    • Fred H
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      DM …..sunshine and birds singing in the trees. Oh were it that simple.

  49. Doug Powell
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Verhofstadt is as ‘Liberal’ as the Lib Dems are ‘Democratic’, perhaps that is why they get on so well!

  50. Doug Powell
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    For Verhofstadt to associate himself with, and promote the slogan “Bollocks to Brexit” says all we need to know. It suggests someone with unsavoury political ambitions dressed in Liberal clothing. One would like to know, if, in his Empire’s Army, etc ed

  51. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    The four Federal SuperStates – the USA, Russia, China and India – are all a menace to traditional nations – and Verhofstadt and his cronies want to create another one!! They are polyglot (but only collectively) and multi-cultural and, as we all know, multi-cultural doesn’t work. They lack natural internal cohesion and can only generate artificial cohesion by bullying their neighbours and allies of convenience.

    For the time being, the UK must be an ally of the USA, but that doesn’t mean that we have to agree with all of their foreign policy or all of their wars. Trump is a vast improvement on his predecessors because he seems to be determined, in spite of his rhetoric, to avoid involving the USA in foreign wars. He is seeking a deal with North Korea, an improved deal with Iran, and withdrawal from Syria, Iraq (more or less achieved) and Afghanistan.
    Only China seems to be a bete noir, because of its trade and economic policy.

    As for an EU Federal SuperState, with a Franco-German army at its core, no thank you. And not all EU Member States are too keen on developing an EU military capability.

    • Mitchel
      Posted September 21, 2019 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      Multi-cultural in the most basic sense works better in the east/asia than in the west-there always has been a greater sense of collectivism there-nothing to do with communism,although it might explain why communism took hold more easily there.Eastern empires have tended to have more staying power than those based in the west.

  52. Ian!
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    The old adage ‘Power Corrupts’ is played out daily in the EUSR, that is its sole objective.

    Being a minnow and free may not perfect but is always a safer option. You then have the option to adapt.

    Even in the UK we have emanating from our corrupt parliament delusions of power. For the most part, with just a few exceptions, if people are permitted their freedoms they excel. One system cannot fit all and be called democracy or freedom.

  53. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Related topic. The Labour Party is dedicated to a Referendum, with the electorate invited to choose between a Norway style option (Customs Union and the Single Martket) vs Remain.

    There are three types of Second Referendum that would be acceptable to Brexiteers (not that we want one):

    Option 1: “Do you wish the four nations of the United Kingdom to become provinces within a Federal European SuperState?” Yes or No

    Option 2: Hierarchical ballot paper
    Level 1 question: Leave vs Remain (a rerun of 2016)
    Level 2 question: (open only to Leave votes) What type of Leave do you want? List of options to include No Deal

    [It is not acceptable to have No Deal, (e.g) Mrs May’s deal and Remain at the same level on a first-past-the-post basis. If the split was 35% / 20% / 45% then Remain would win, clearly unfair.]

    Option 3:
    A straight choice between No Deal and Remain.

    In short, any attempt at Gerrymandering via a Second Referendum would lead to a constitutional crisis. No Deal has got to be available on the ballot paper.

    • Andy
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      What a silly post. No deal is not a real thing – it does not exist. Even if you have not realised this yet.

      Why? Well if we want our planes to be able to fly to their countries then we need their agreement for that to happen. We can not just send aircraft without their permission. If we want our people to be able to travel to their countries – and for them to come here – we need to reach an agreement with them about the terms under which we are allowed to do it. These agreements exist with most countries which is why you need visas for some, visa waivers for others and nothing for others.

      These are very basic things – but there are a vast number of areas in which we simply need to have some sort of arrangements in place with the EU just for relatively normal life to continue.

      No deal is not the status quo. No deal is the North Korea option. It is willingly shutting yourself off from a large swathe of the world – including all of your neighbours – simply because the Dear Leader and his increasingly mindless supporters are delusional.

      • Edward2
        Posted September 20, 2019 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

        Oh no not the planes wont fly and no one can travel to and from Europe after October 31st.

  54. Ian!
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Big, is when you join a gang. The better gang is always the one with the biggest Thug running it.

    Our so-called democracy in the UK as with the EU is made up of gangs, they do anything to get into power and then do anything to hold onto it.

    That type of power is a long way from Government by the People for the People, the generally accepted principle of a democracy. Its just thuggery, and the reason the HoC is getting away with fighting the People of the UK – they have created a situation were they are no longer challenged by the electorate.

    • John Hatfield
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      Parliament is no longer democratic. It needs to cleared out. We need a modern-day Cromwell.

    • Mark B
      Posted September 20, 2019 at 3:35 am | Permalink

      True ! And they have, finally, revealed themselves to be such.

  55. davies
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    And how many times and by how many people was it repeated that the EU is not a federal project, there was to be no EU army, everyone would not be forced into a single currency, it was all a load of dangerous conspiracy theories peddled by extremists.

  56. Chris
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    The “Empires” GV refers to are in fact supranational political blocs of the globalists, poorly disguised as trading blocs. They are an integral part in the advancement of the One World Government, which apparently functions using a global organisation (such as the UN) to hand down “initiatives”/”directives” based on the UN Agenda 2030 for the supranational blocs to translate into legislation. It is already happening e.g. climate change agenda/global warming scaremongering, UN Migration Compact (which we have already signed). The Agenda 2030 is very alarming to put it mildly. I just wonder how many UK politicians have read it and understood it, let alone how many ordinary people.

  57. mancunius
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    As Verhofstadt knows well, the Belgian Empire in Africa was a blot on his country’s brief history. It was undertaken with an equally aggressive enthusiasm, and the same disregard for other people’s lands and lives.

  58. BR
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    And since empires have armies to defend them, would we really want to be defended by the puny military efforts of the EU countries?

    At some point Russia could wade in and take over without much resistance and we have to wonder how the USA and what remains of NATO would react if Europe were conquered as quickly as, say, France was in WW2 when its now-infamous Maginot line was dealt with by the German armies simply driving around either end of it.

    The French loathe the fact that we had to liberate them from Germany and show little by way of gratitude. History repeats itself, but not precisely – next time we may be liberating them from Russia.

    • steve
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 5:46 pm | Permalink


      “would we really want to be defended by the puny military efforts of the EU countries?”

      Especially Luxembourg, eh ?

    • steve
      Posted September 19, 2019 at 5:56 pm | Permalink


      The French loathe the fact that we had to liberate them from Germany and show little by way of gratitude. History repeats itself, but not precisely – next time we may be liberating them from Russia.”

      I doubt it. Next time we shall remember their lack of gratitude and we’ll either be congratulating Russia or politely declining to get involved.

      And did the french ever show gratitude for our island being at risk of vaporisation during the cold war ? No.

      The french also have a seriously screwed up national psyche – they can’t live with the fact that half their country actually sided with Hitler i.e. vichy.

      • margaret howard
        Posted September 21, 2019 at 11:46 am | Permalink


        “And did the french ever show gratitude for our island being at risk of vaporisation during the cold war ? No.”

        Why should they? All Europe was at risk of being ‘vaporised’ during the cold war. It was a game of brinkmanship by two of the WW2 allies, Russia and the US.

        And the US of course being so far the only country using atomic bombs when they ‘vaporised’ Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

      • Fred H
        Posted September 21, 2019 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

        Steve …..reminds me of the old rather tactless joke – ‘What does it take to defend Paris’ – answer ‘Who knows, it has never been done’.

    • L Jones
      Posted September 20, 2019 at 3:18 am | Permalink

      And not only liberating the French in WW2, but in WW1 also standing up for ”poor little Belgium”, going to war, and taking thousands upon thousands of Belgian refugees into our country as they fled from the unspeakably brutal German invaders.

      Still, if they can come to terms with all that, then that’s their business. They are welcome to cosy up to their erstwhile enemies who are now buying them instead of invading them. Pragmatism at its best. We just don’t care to join them in thrall to those who are now their masters.

  59. Harmz
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    You say you find it worrying that a leading exponent of liberalism should use the word Empire- so why should you worry? Because after 31st Oct It will have nothing to do with you

    Then you say- ‘most of us want no more empires’- but this supposes that a sizable proportion of UK people do want an empire again- and am afraid that is the crux of the problem today- there are too many old folk still around who hark back to the good old days- as they see it- of course you and the UK rag press know this very well as you have been pandering to them for years to further your own careers.

    Lastly you believe in the free determination of peoples- well bravo!- even if this sentiment comes at a late stage- i remember well when thousands were shot out of hand by British Army murder gangs in Malaya, kenya, Aden to mention a few- not much concern there for peoples determination- you’re in dangerous territory here.

    • libertarian
      Posted September 21, 2019 at 12:13 pm | Permalink


      Give it up.

      This latest meme of the remainers about Empire doesn’t have a shred of substance. Its another in the long line of “these people voted to leave because” insert stupid theory here

      After 3 and half years YOU STILL haven’t got a clue why people want to leave the EU, by the way its not just here you know , theres lots of people in the rest of the EU who would like to leave too, I guess they are all harking back to the old days of British Empire too

      People get shot in wars ….wow who knew . Indo China, Congo, Madagascar, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia

  60. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    From July 11 2007:

    “Barroso hails the European ’empire'”

  61. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Off topic, quickly, compare these two articles today:

    “The European Commission President said a no-deal Brexit would be “catastrophic” … ”

    “No-deal Brexit could knock three per cent off UK growth, says OECD”

    And put them both in the context of the UK economy expanding at a long term trend growth rate of nearly 2.5% a year, with no obvious evidence of any significant gain from either the UK joining the EEC in 1973, or the UK participating in the newly created EU Single Market in 1993:

    but with something like the “catastrophe” predicted by the enemies of Brexit, foreign and domestic, a 6% drop in GDP just in the first quarter of 2009, which disaster had a lot to do with the incompetence of the Labour government and nothing to do with Brexit.

  62. Chris
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    An excellent article on the danger of having a rehashed WA and PD. Christopher Howarth refers to the two sides of Boris, and shows the danger of the current situation where a resurrected WA could/is likely to happen. This gets to the heart of the matter viz that many voters do not trust Boris and think he got to be leader by misleading people, and that he is likely to betray true Brexiteers:

    “…There is however another Boris Johnson. That alternative Boris voted for the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration, presumably for reasons unconnected to its content. This Boris has spoken about the need to remove the backstop but has remained silent on the problems contained in the rest of the agreement. This Boris has surrounded himself with ministers who also voted for May’s deal and advisers, in the form of Dominic Cummings and his cult followers, who all advocated the deal in various blogs, WhatsApp groups and newspapers….”

  63. Pauline Jorgensen
    Posted September 19, 2019 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    We now have two Carriers now HMS Prince of Wales has left Rosyth…what we need is more naval ships to go with it, I hope we will deliver that with the Brexit dividend. To be picky Russia currently has no active carriers as the Admiral Kusnetsov was damaged when Russia’s largest floating dock sank whilst she was under refit…its currently not operational and I await my next edition of Navy News for more info!

    • Fred H
      Posted September 21, 2019 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      carriers allow fighters (and very light bombers) to have a range denied from a land base, and not that advantageously compared to very modern missile and weaponised drone capabilities, launched from light sea-going craft. They also need extensive defensive systems to reduce, ideally to remove aggressive response. Russia has developed submarines and associated technology to disrupt and even sever communications cables and pipelines capable of causing major difficulties. Carriers are a step towards convincing the public at large that we have a real defensive ability and a potential threat in the wider world. Largely nonsense. Stealth submarine technology, smart armed drones, defensive take-out missiles, and fast attack craft plus our own dedicated Geostationary Navigation system will be of much great use. And cheaper and updateable.

  64. Mrs Alison Houston
    Posted September 20, 2019 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    A Rondeau Redouble requires its last two lines: ‘a’, and ‘Ar’, where ‘a’ rhymes with the first line A1 and Ar is either all or a portion of the first line. it cannot end on ‘b’, that is like finishing a tune on chord V.

  65. Rien Huizer
    Posted September 20, 2019 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, Mr Verhofstadt does not speak for the EU. If and when he does, he tends to be less subjective. The Idea of an EU state (federal, like Belgium) has been associated with him as long as I can remember and of course he has a following, just like you and other politicians with outspoken views. The word “empire” is also often used (by continentals) for the sphere of influence of the US to which all European states belong. Not that a latter day Orwell treks through the jungles of Lithuania to represent the US empire..

    I think Britons love to think that other countries and political cultures have imperial (in the sense of ruling over peoples against their will, like the UK did in, say, Myanmar, or Spain in Peru). Despite that being an obsolete business model for international hegemony. The US can afford to be generous to other countries yet maintain a situation where it does not take much to make a foreign head of government pay attention. The EU is not in that p[osition and it would take the equivalent of the US Civil War to achieve that. As to the latter, I regard WWI and II as European civil wars. Neither had the effects civil wars between English speakers in the Americas and German speakers in Middle Europe had. The former created the modern US as distinct from Canada and the Confederation; Bismarck combination of selective warfare and diplomacy created modern Germany (unfortunately governed by incompetents and idiots after him). So do not fear the might of the EU. EU countries are very happy to leave warfare to the Americans, but we will lend a hand when it suits us. But we do not intend to fight each other, except maybe in the European Parliament..

    I look forward to whatever it is that will constitute a Conservative Parety compromise solution for the Brexit question. It is about time.

    Reply The Japanese attacks in Asia had nothing to do with a European civil war . It was a world war. The EU does make countries and large blocs of national voters do things they do not want to do, hence Brexit, the Syriza revolt etc

    • margaret howard
      Posted September 21, 2019 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      So outside Brexit Syriza is the only example you can give? But Syriza, a left wing party consisting of many individual minority interests that wouldn’t even have a chance in a million to get anywhere near government under our outdated, first past the post system, says it wants to stay in Europe and the euro, a position widely held by the Greek people. They remember what Greece was like before it (cheated to ) join Europe.

      Reply Lega, Cinque Stelle, Podemos, AFD etc

  66. Peter D Gardner
    Posted September 20, 2019 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Verhofstadt is by no means the first to speak of an EU empire. Barosso, when president of the commission, was quite clear that the EU, as an expansionist supra-national regime, was already a ‘nice little empire’.

  67. costas
    Posted September 22, 2019 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Modern empire could be seen to be based around information technology. In that respect, it is clear the UK already belongs to the US empire together with its 5-eye compatriots, Canada, Australia and NZ . The odd one might be Europe, which would need to ally itself with an IT innovator like China, India and Russia. It does not have enough tech clout to go it alone.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page