Friday, November 23, 2007

Telegraph Column: Should the Tories Steal the LibDem EU Referendum Policy?

I suspect my column in today's Telegraph may provoke a bit of a reaction. It suggests that the Conservatives should consider stealing the LibDems' policy of a referendum on EU membership. I reckon it would kill off UKIP and gift another twenty or thirty seats to the Conservatives at the next election. Read the column HERE.

I'm putting on my tin hat...
UPDATE: I particularly enjoyed this comment, left on the Telegraph site... " Why are leftwingers allowed to write for the DT? Send him to the Mirror!"


Anonymous said...

WHAT... Stealing policies, to get votes from the friut cakes.

Not happy with the youGov poll lead Iain. You know that obviously means nothing.

More importantly Edward Leigh’s leaked emails from march 2007 regarding the missing discs.. the rat is smelling even worse.

I must admit this is brilliant Andy Caulson. Rolling out one of the old guard to present emails he’s ( Andy ) been sittings on for months is genius

Geoff said...

I know its off topic but is anyone else appalled at this story Jahongir Sidikov is still in detention at Heathrow, having offered passive resistance to the attempt to deport him today. Next time they will use staff authorised and equipped to use force.


Anonymous said...

Excellent stuff Iain, I completely agree. Let's hope that CCHQ are listening to this good advice for once.

Anonymous said...


Should be interesting.

I can just see Cameron in a hung parliament, snuggling up to the nutters

Anonymous said...

I don't know who Jahongir Sidikov is and your link doesn't work, but how far do they think passive resistance would get them in Zimbabwe? It just reeks of moral superiority.

Anonymous said...

Worried are you.

And so you should be !!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Did they actually print that?

I'm not sure where to start really. You think we should propose a referendum which the Conservative party machine will take no official line on, and leave both the Labour Party and the Lib Dems to campaign as one voice for a 'yes'. A referendum in which a 'yes' result would provide any subsequent government with carte blanche to give any and all powers to the European Union, and in the unlikely event of a 'no' result (since the only party behind it would be the aforementioned UKIP) we would have no bargaining power with the E.U., since our ultimate sanction, full withdrawal, would already be the declared will of the people.

Free vote or no free vote, not only would this issue quite obviously split the party up, it would also voluntarily render us an inert force in deciding one of the most momentous questions in our country's history, and rally the depressed Labour Party at the same time.

I really haven't heard such utterly brainless hogwash in a long time.

Chris Paul said...

Tin hat? Rhymes with ... gnat.

Machiavelli's Understudy said...

The link works for me... Maybe the Internet's different in Mexico?

I'm not quite sure what Zimbabwe's got to do with the price of fish, though...

Moral superiority? Yes please- we should have more of it.

Chris Paul said...

You'll not be surprised Iain that I'm appalled at Alex Deane's Tory/Liberal mates behaving badly.

And Howard will depart the scene quickly, even if he were to win.

Tapestry said...

The link does not work in the Philippines either, but I get the gist from the comments here and from the post.

A good strategist keeps options open and only plays them when they need to be played, at the moment when they give advantage.

The suggestion of Conservatives backing the LD referendum proposal, (also mentioned by Keith Vaz and other europhiles as a ploy to undermine the promised referendum on the Constitution), is quite clearly an option, but should not be anywhere near the marketplace now.

It would take away the attention from where it needs to be - on government incompetence which is coming to light on an industrial scale.

As the anonymous poster (at 12.56) above notes, the Conservative Party would, in these circumstanmces be calling for a referendum which under current party policy would require the Party to campaign for a non-withdrawal from the EU.

It would open up old wounds, get Ken Clarke all excited, and undo all the good work Cameron, Osborne DD, Fox and many others have been doing. Iain Dale's proposal would not be helpful to party unity.

The more recent Hague statements on the EU that 'things cannot go on like this' (and encouragingly Heseltine has advocated in print the withholding of Britain's contribution until EU accounts are correctly drawn up) suggest that the Party is moving its position away from its earlier policy statements such as 'in Europe but not run by Europe', and is looking at the fundamentals of the EU again.

It would be better to complete the process of deciding exactly what the Party intends to do about the EU, if the Constitution is ratified, before implementing a half-formed follow up strategy.

The current and priority task is to fight the Constitution in Parliament. There is no point in helping the europhiles to muddy the referendum issue, which is about trust and broken promises by Labour.

A proxy for fighting the EU, is to carry on reducing Gordon Brown to the political shadow that he is fast becoming, compared to the leviathan he was presented as under Blair. This is where the game currently is being played, and all fire should be concentrated on the current target.

Keep the refertendum of the 'EU total' as an option to play when the time is right. That time is certainly not now. It would be counterproductive, and would let Brown off the hook he has got himself on.

Who knows? Labour MPs might jettison the Constitution and Gordon Brown, and seize withdrawal from the EU as their own saving policy.

Wait and see what happens. Play your cards to suit the way others play theirs. Don't just deal them out like an inexperienced bridge player, looking at a row of aces. Even aces need to be played at exactly the right moment.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Money...ok you wasnt taliing of money but this is well worth a read.

Off topic I know but....

Here's why, Life is getting harder, More expensive, why Both Parents now need to work.
Why we will not have Pensions.Or have to work longer, our Real wealth is being fraudelently vacuumed into the Vaults of the Elite in return for worthless 'credit'

In contract Law, we must compensate Like for like.

Supposing I set myself up as a Bank, I create a credit system, Issue cards etc...But, and here's the important point, I have NOTHING in my Vaults 'credit' is simply created out of thin air. Its simply a book keeping entry.

OK Now, Someone buys a £10,000 Car, using my credit card..the Garage now has 'money' transferred to his account, but this 'money' actually only costs about £5.00 to print, essentially its just paper..

But so far everything seems Ok, Now supposing he defaults on his payments. so I reposess the car, Hey Presto, Out of absolutely Nothing, I now have a £10,000 Car.

If I could arrange to periodically arrange for interests rates to go down, so lowering the cost of Borrowing, wait till I had ensnared enough people then raise interest rates again so significant numbers of them would not be able to repay I could periodically haul in the assets of tens of thousands of individuals and families on a periodic basis and all at no risk to myself.

In fact the guy who defaults, actually owes me Nothing because I lost Nothing (ignoring the amount of time to type in the transaction or, worst case scenario printing off £10,000 in Notes, total cost about £5.00)
So having risked nor lost anything, I have no claim against his assets.

All I'd have to do is have a secret deal with the Bank of England to periodically lower then raise interest rates and I could be onto a real winner........errr wait....

Did I say Bank of England, did you know that the Bank of England is NOT actually England's Bank.
Its a Privately owned company ( Rothschilds ) and they have been operating this scam for about 200yrs.

Lets rerun the above but with real money, IE Gold or silver, Suppose I am a bank, with a Vault full of Gold, Some guy comes to me and borrows £10,000 worth of Gold, he goes away and buys himself that new car, giving the Gold to the Car Salesman.
Things are now as they should be, the Car Salesman has £10,000 worth of Gold, the Buyer has his car and I, the Banker am Owed £10,000. (plus a small amount of interst for my trouble and risk, which we will ignore here for the sake of simplicity)
Supposing he now defaults on payment, in this instance, the man does indeed owe me £10,000 because he took from me something worth £10,000 IE £10,000 worth of Gold.

Banking Credit and our Money System based on Irredeemable Paper Money is a fraud, which when used with Periods of Inflation Deflation, Boom Bust cycles allows the Elite to periodically trawl in the Assets of those who have Over extended themselves with Credit.
Our Paper money system, and inflation, deflation system is purely designed to ensnare the Public wealth.
Over Many decades, Bankers have been able to become Fabulously wealthy using this scam, and now operate our Sham Parliament from behind the scenes.
This is how our Political System is now so Corrupt, Cash for Peerages etc.
I say again, we are being farmed,

Please pass on this Information to as many friends, collegues and relatives, asking them to do the same.

This man is Congressman Ron Paul

Anonymous said...

I can just see Cameron in a hung parliament, snuggling up to the nutters

If those nutters means getting rid of Brown, then thats a price worth paying....

Anonymous said...

The restoration of capital punishment would be very popular. The Conservatives might gain extra seats by advocating it.

Another new policy?

Not one of your better columns, Iain.

strapworld said...

I see the Labour kindergarten are out and about this morning. Please get back to making Christmas Decorations children!

Iain. The Conservatives should carry on as they are over the '''Treaty'''
then, should that debate be lost announce that they WILL do as you suggest. That would bring most Ukip supporters back as they are generally, from my knowledge, looking for a reason to leave that discredited group.

Anonymous said...

You are obviously not a chess-player Iain. The LibDems have put up this gambit expressly to catch people with non-analytical minds. If IN-OUT is the only choice in the referendum then the INs will probably succeed.

As you must surely be aware this is only a diversion to prevent a serious and concerted push to reject the EU Treaty by referendum. If that were the question then the LibLabs would lose quite heavily.

The concept of falling headlong into such an obvious trap purely in order to frustrate UKIP is very naive. You have just gone down several notches in my estimation.


Anonymous said...

Now Iain, the loonies had been stifled for the last year, with their drivel about "Blue Labour" and "I shall be voting UKIP next time".

Why do you want to go about stirring up a hornets' nest like that? Except to perhaps prove Godwin's Law?

Old BE said...

I don't think this is quite the right time to be calling an IN-OUT referendum. The Conservatives should first apologise for not having referendums on previous treaties. Perhaps suggest that they were taken in by the single market and hoped the single state bits would go away.

Then campaign wholeheartedly for a referendum on this treaty and propose a referendum on whether every EU treaty should have a referendum.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderfully silly idea Iain. The Lib Dems put up this [hypothetical] idea so they could campaign for a YES. You want to attract the great unwashed from UKIP, so are you seriously proposing that the Conservative Party should campaign for a NO, i.e. withdrawal from the EU?!!

Thank you cheering up a slightly rattled Labour supporter this morning.

Johnny Norfolk said...

The problem is the Tory party has said it wont. This is very dissapointing and shows the reality of the party. They should do exactly as you recomend in your excelent ' left wing' piece.

Anonymous said...

I think the current Conservative policy to

"amend the 1972 European Communities Act, so that if any future government agrees any treaty that transfers further competences from Britain to the EU a national referendum before it could be ratified would be required by law. "

is likely to attract a significant proportion of UKIP voters, without frightening the rest of the country.

An in/out referendum would also distract attention from Labour and the Lib-Dems reneging on their pledge for a referendum on the EU Constitution. The Conservatives alone are sticking to their word.

Falco said...

Dave Bartlett - Nice idea but since the ratchet clause in the "not the constitution" renders that meaningless I doubt you will persuade too many UKIPers.

Even if it could work the EU has far to many "competences" already and should have some removed. There is no mention of a mechanism for this.

Anonymous said...

Fully agree with what you say, It should be coupled with a referendum in Scotland on the union.

By the way what will DC be recommending, in or out?

Anonymous said...

This would only make sense if your aims are (a) to get into power any any price (b) become fully subsumed into the EU superstate.

As others have argued, the LibDems and Zanulab will be campaigning for a yes vote but the Tories will not be taking a strong line one way or the other. Also the BBC will effectively campaigning to stay in.

Since the nuclear option will alarm many people, in the absence of a well-informed public debate, there would most likely be a low turnout with majority - albeit maybe small - to stay in. Then we are permanently screwed.

It would make much more sense to offer a referendum to repatriate one or two key policy areas (e.g. immigration, law courts, fishing), pledge then to take whatever steps may be necessary to repatriate them, and back this with sufficient political will.

The EU juggernaut is too massive to be reversed at the flick of a switch.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that it would win any extra votes, my main reason which restricts me voting Conservative is their hostile attitude to the EU. I voted Conservative last time solely because Iain was my local candidate, but David Cameron needs to look like a statesman, and rash statements on the future of the EU would not IMO win him any extra seats.

Mog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Newmania said...

No they should not because the centre of gravity of Conservative opinion is not decided on in or absolutely out but it is decided on no further federalisation which it does not want . I was writing about the dishonesty of the Lib Dums only yesterday

.... In their furtive way they also hate big immobile questions. This is why on the EU Constitution they advocate a referendum on the whole EU after it is agreed. A rancid subterfuge .That is not what the British were offered or want and relies on the same sort of tactic whereby an escalator takes you into a store but a ‘cliff ‘,takes you out . I doubt they would even dare this, if it were ever going to happen.

The Conservative Party should stick to its current cautious scepticism which is a far surer route to leaving or staying on our own terms than a referendum that might well produce a fake mandate for the end of the country. For thoughtful UKIPS this would be a an unwarranted move away from their position .In fact on Europe they are pretty much correct .

We must all continue to implore those tempted to split the right vote to recognise the overwhelming importance of removing the appalling Brown reich and box clever on Europe. the Lib Dums policy is sham and a policy for those who want " ever closer integration" but need to pretend the y are democrtatic about it .

Mog said...

Why bother with a referendum on membership? If we have one on the EU constitution as promised, the great unwashed (including myself) will treat it as a Yes/No for membership.

We just want a chance to vote on something to give Brussels a bloody nose.

Anonymous said...

Tories want to kill the UK off by leaving the EU we wopuld be pushed around by every major nation. Tnahks bunch UKIP. Tell the UKIP where to shove it.

Anonymous said...

If this became a realistic prospect it might be interesting as it would force the country to have a proper debate about "in or out." All too often the argument is "I am British, and I dont want to be made to wear leather shorts, like the Germans."

How would the Murdoch press react? Would dear Rupert campaign to keep us in, how would his empire be affected if he could no longer base so many of his companies in Luxembourg?

Could it be possible that rather than just looking towards Europe, it might actually open our eyes to the rest of the world we could trade with? In a world of modern technology and transport should our trade policy be based on what is closer to us geographically? Could we increase our trade with the Commonwealth, NAFTA etc.

Good article Iain. Sometimes governments and political parties have to think the something new, or else we would never move forward. I say bring on the debate.

Anonymous said...

It's Labour that will lose the election not the Conservatives win it.

Labour and particularly the "Brown Administration" is starting to have the "smell of decay" about it just like the final years of the "Major Government".

In his retirement -Brown will look back over the years and realise that he failed his particular "Rubicon" on 1st November and even the predicted Labour majority of 18 now looks decidely appealing with hindsight.

To paraphrase an old Labour mantra of 1997 "Thing's can only get worse !"

Anonymous said...

was the comment on the Telegraph signed off "Ghengis Khan" by any chance, Iain?

Paul Burgin said...

Well don't ever accuse Labour of stealing Conservative ideas then!
Still it's nice to have you join us lefties Iain! ;)

Anonymous said...

So you support leaving the EU Iain? I think we should be told. I suspect you are one of Commie Ron's useful people. You know full well the British are too stupid to vote to leave the EU - they would be cowed into meek obedience when the full fury of Brussels started threatening us with "dire consequences" of our freedom. It's a stupid question and you should be ashamed of yourself. Your support for and IN or OUT is either naive or you support the UK membership. And you know it is the latter.

Anonymous said...

The Conservative Party will never back this idea because there is an increasing chance that the result of such a referendum would be to back leaving the EU which the public increasingly see as a costly failure.

However I think even the europhiles will start to have second thoughts when the euro eventually implodes. I give it two years.

Anonymous said...

How does it make you a commie to support the free trade union iof the EU. You euro skpetics are just pig headed. Everything left wing or free trade is commu nist in your book. How is free trade communist.

Anonymous said...

The euro skeptics have been saying for years the euro will implode i know they like stir up unrest and economic collapse like hitler types allways do.

Roger Thornhill said...


As I posted over at the DT, I think the "in or out" will be used as a framework for a massive scare campaign to make people stay in. If you say no to the treaty, however, the reaction of the EU and mess makes an "out" campaign so much easier.

re: anon 4:38. You are a social creditor and I claim my £5 in gold sovereigns. When you repossess the car, you sell it and then you need to cancel the debt, which means destroying the fiat money you originally created.

Anonymous said...

So Iain Dale thinks that the Tories should get down in the gutter with the Liberal Democrats.

Let's get this straight - an MP who pledges support for Referendum A to help get himself elected, but once elected uses his vote in the Commons to help prevent Referendum A taking place, doesn't put himself in the clear by calling for some other Referendum B instead.

Both Huhne and Clegg were elected on the manifesto pledge that ratification of the EU Constitution "must be subject to a referendum of the British people". Now they're both saying that they would order the Liberal Democrat MPs to help Brown get virtually the same legal substance ratified without a referendum.

And while proposing to break his word about a treaty which is coming up for ratification in the near future, Huhne even has the bloody cheek to be all self-righteous about "there should have been" referendums on previous treaties in the remote past.

The fact is that even if the Reform Treaty was an entirely new treaty, and not a rehashed version of a treaty mentioned in their 2005 manifesto with the clear demand for a referendum, it would still fulfill the criteria for a referendum which the Liberal Democrats have always laid down in the past - that is, until the time comes when they may have a good opportunity to actually get a referendum.

Eg see what Menzies Campbell had to say on that subject in 2003, here:


"If any Government propose to agree to a major shift in control or any transfer of significant powers from member states to European institutions, or to agree to any alteration in the existing balance between member states and those institutions, there should be a referendum of the British people."

Rather than emulating the hypocrisy of the Liberal Democrats, Cameron should be exposing and condemning it - and pledging that as far as he's concerned we will have the referendum we were promised, even if it has to be a retrospective referendum.

The Huntsman said...


Though superficially attractive, I belive that you are absolutely wrong on this issue and that the course you propose would Labour to seize back the EU agenda, the LibDems off the hook and UKIp to claim a moral victory.

I have a long post ( which sets out why I think your proposition is wrong

Warenne1304 said...

As has been pointed out, by signing up to this policy we fall into the trap the Lib Dems have set for us. It means accepting the premise that 'In or Out' is the only option. What is needed is what Giscard D'Estaing has called for: a 'special status' for the UK whereby we don't have to sign up to all the integrationist stuff but remain a member.

This could either mean repatriating a whole series of competences including employment, fishing, agriculture, health and safety etc.

People may say that we can't get this but we are actually in a very strong negotiating position. The EU has a very large trade surplus with the UK so a trade war would hurt them even more than it would hurt us. At a time when the EU is becoming more interested in projecting itself politically, we have the most effective Armed Forces in the Union. As Sarkozy said 'Europe needs Britain'. If we go to Brussels with a firm negotiating position which will protect and further British business, then they will be willing to negotiate and give us what we want. In many ways they will be relieved that the UK's objections will be out of the way and they can press on with integration unhindered.

Things dont have to be like they are, political and social integration doesnt have to be a joint package deal with the customs union but if we support an In or Out referendum we are implicitly saying that they are inextricably linked.

Whispering Walls said...

Yes of course we should. The EU can't be a one-way ticket

Anonymous said...

I really do worry about someone like you going into politics Iain. You seem very likeable, but you can be a total buffoon, no offence.

Like I said above, if the 'outs' win, what then? We have to go to Europe and be forced to accept whatever terms they choose to give us, which I imagine will be pretty crap, don't you?

With full withdrawal on the table as a threat, but not as a foregone conclusion, determined negotiation may well secure us much of what we want without giving up our membership. Or it may not. But it's surely worth a try.

Madasafish said...

Yet another Conservative trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory..

Let sleeping dogs etc..

I believe you are in danger of belonging to the Heatcote Amery school of politics which is when you are winning then ask a stooopid question in order to get your opponents off the hook..

Ann Winterton will love you.. Your are just her type of politician..

I'm so disappointed.

Bloody crass.There's a thing called timing. Learn about it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

" How does it make you a commie to support the free trade union iof the EU. You euro skpetics are just pig headed. Everything left wing or free trade is commu nist in your book. How is free trade communist."
What free trade? You have obviously never done business in the EU. With sales this year approaching 15 million pounds, perhaps 3 per cent is in the EU. The EU is SOVIET it is governed by a politburo and it is a dictatorship. Ask the Poles, they know **** when they smell it. That is why they are the awkward squad. The British just have tea and crumpets and get annihilated by the Europeans who know them to be a pushover. Now pay more money to the EU you British slave. Funny how other countries trade with the EU without being forced into legislative servitude. Iceland and Norway come to mind. Switzerland (NOW THAT is a democracy). Any one who thinks the EU is a democracy has serious post recto cranial insertion. But then the UK is not a democracy either or we would have the death penalty and 2 million less immigrants and no possibility of ID cards. Your blog is tepid. Get some fire into it.

Anonymous said...

12:17. I cannot swear on my blog as i would lose google adsense, and i am too well mannered. You talk rubbish about the EU. It is not communist. Eastern European nations joined it. It has nothing to do with communism. It is a free trade organisation the largest on the planet. A great free trade group. The fact you see it as communist does not make sense, it shows you are extreme and ignorant of economics & politics. Where is the communism in the EU? To compare it to politburu shows you have no idea what the poliburu was. No one can see communism in the EU except ignorant people who do not know what communism is or was. As for thinking the UK and the EU are not democratic this is just a further sign of your extreme views. Switzerland and Norway have to accept the trade deals that the EU decides. Norway relies on oil. Switzerland is a shrinking tax haven.
No one will ever get through to you. You are an extremist into ridiculous conspiracy theories that show incredible offenisve ignorance..

Anonymous said...

It's all rather simplistic Iain, and I don't think it would make the nutters go away either.

Anonymous said...


Have you been got at by 'Calamity' Clegg or Humiliation Huhne? Are you being seduced by the 'Dark Side'.

A Yes/No referendum would possibly result in a 'yes' vote and then we'd be stuck with the ever increasing integration of the USER super-state.

Stick on the current path. listen to Obeone Hague, and call for repatriation of powers and stay away from the UKIP and Libdem Nutters.

You really shouldn't pander to Libdem desperation.

The Hitch said...

I could be in danger of voting conservative again.

Chris Paul doesnt rhyme with gnat
However he is a twat!

Me vs Maradona vs Elvis said...

I would very much like the chance to express my opinion on the EU in a referendum Iain, but is now necessarily the best time to be coming out with such a controversial policy announcement? To do so would surely just allow Labour to deflect the pressure of themselves and keep their calamitous antics of the front pages?

Me vs Maradona vs Elvis said...

dirty european socialist, I fear it is you who is ignorant of politics. The free-trade agreement has everything to do with the EEA and very little to do with the EU. In fact, the French government wanted any mention of a commitment to free trade omitted from the text of the new European Treaty!

Anonymous said...

It works for me.

Cameron would have to make it clear that this was their 2nd option after a referendum on the constitution & were thus not breaking their election promise like the other parties. I would certainly work for a vote to leave & since the EU costs us £73 billion a year, even according to EU assessments
I think the public would be quite likely to vote to leave, even against the advice of the "great & good".

Now if you could just "steal" the LD's policy on a democratic electoral system a Tory victory would be absolutely guaranted.

Anonymous said...

Leaving the EU would destory our economy and leave us at the beck and call of any large nation on trade treaties. We would be wrecked. It is against free trade to leave the EU. The North Korean wing of the tories must love the idea

Mulligan said...


In order to support your point could you tell us just how much of our export trade is within the EU, as compared to the rest of the world?

Anonymous said...

Don't be a plonker, Iain. At a time when there are so many other issues to discuss, why pick the scab off this old sore. Only ask for a referendum when there is a demand for it. Most people don't want to leave the EU; they want to change it. Ignore UKIP. They are of no consequence and you will never appease them unless we become a kind of nineteenth-century Tibet, sealed off from the rest of the world. Win a Libdem vote down here in Hampshire and it counts double: we gain one and the main opposition here loses one. Cameron is right to concentrate his fire on the Libdems and Nulabour.

Anonymous said...

1:21 The rest of the world trades with us on our terms because we are in the EU. With the reate economics like India and China re growing, and even Brazil they would all be able to boss us about like fleas. We need a group that can stand up for our interest. Only a Chinese agent would support us leaving the EU to break up Europe and invade. Are you a Chinese secret agent? The games up, enemy of UK.

Mulligan said...


Nice new handle DES. Now what was the answer to what should be a very simple question for an EU expert?

Anonymous said...

I just said the answer. Trade that the UK has with rest of the world is dependent on us being in the EU. As we would not be able to get such great trade deals with out the EU. I do no want to get into an argument where you use figures to protect your view. I have written an article on this.

Warenne1304 said...

Leaving the EU would only wreck our economy if, in revenge, our EU partners instigated a trade war against us. Given that they have a £31 billion goods and services trade surplus with us, it seems highly unlikely that they would do so.

We are not a small economy, we are the 5th or 6th largest in the world so we aren't going to get bossed around by other countries. The idea that a country the size of the UK is unable to organise its own trade policy is frankly ridiculous but that is exactly what we have done.

The EU is NOT a free trade area, it is a customs union, which means that for trade purposes it is one country. The EU is not particualrly free trade friendly as an organisation, hence its protectionist attitude towards China. The French are particularly mercantilist and it is doubtful whether as an individual state the UK is better off having contracted out trade policy to the EU than it would be otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Travis Bickle - Right. And while he's completing this assignment, could he break it down into sales and purchases?

I think DES will be disappointed to find that Britain buys far more from the EUSSR than we sell. Thus, we are net customers, and if they tried to punish us, they'd be shooting themselves in the foot to the tune of billions of euros a week.

If we left I will tell you what would happen. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. A lot of hot air in several languages. Yawn.

The only knock-on effect would probably be that Denmark, maybe Holland and maybe Sweden would follow us. This kind of organisation does not suit peoples with democratic roots going back over a thousand years. Iceland may come along as well. Their Parliament, the oldest in the world, was formed in 930, so they've grown accustomed to democracy. It's called the Althingi. Isn't that great?

One interesting fact about that is, they only met a few times a year, and if they didn't think they had anything to discuss, they cancelled the meeting.

Anonymous said...

What Warren1304 said.

Anonymous said...

2:59 How on earth can you say it is not a free trade area, It is not communist. People can trade over the border for free. Your defintion of free trade is bizzare.
I don't know if the EU would harm us and pick on us but other countries would. Do you think China or India would treat us with kit gloves no they would rip us a new one economically. We are not a big country. We will not be the 5th biggest economy for long. Ofcourse I never said we would not be able to organise our own trade policy. I said we would be bossed around by larger economies, whether we could organise that is not the issue.
more powerful economies get it their way. So we will not be part of a large trade bloc which can get things their way.
3:42 Where did I say the EU would punish us. I think nations outside of the EU would punish us. We would not have the EU to stand up for us. The EU over the long term would by default punish us, not deliberately but just they would get deals for their interest and not ours.

Anonymous said...

DES - We don't need the commie EU to "stand up for us". We have stood up for ourselves for 2,000 years, thanks, and only got thrashed once in all that time.

You think the Chinese would stop selling to us once we free ourselves of the communism they are also shedding? Are you mad? Someone will know the trade figures, or where to look for them, but I would be astonished if the balance of trade with China was in our favour.

You are terribly, terribly naive and unworldly.

Once we junk the EU, we can have genuine free trade - and that means letting the Africans in to trade with us and you will see the prices of fruit and vegetables go through the floor. The EU intentionally keeps the Africans on a charity/client basis because the trade borders of the protectionist EU are sealed.

We could start selling things at our own unregulated prices to Latin America, for example. Why should the Spanish have all the fun?

DES, you are very insular. The EU is a giant boondoggle. When enough countries leave, they (the southern European countries) will take in the Magreb and the near East and go to perdition in their own inimitable way. And we will remain free traders, as we have always been.

I see the wretched Danes are to be subjected to another referendum on the euro.

Anonymous said...

You are conspiracy theorist.
You say the EU is communist it has nothing communist about it.
How are privately run farms communist. Then you say it intentionally keeps African countries poor. That is sick, and shows your hatred of the EU. It does not it gives them aid. Food from the CAP is often given as aid to Africa.
Then you say we should set up our own trade deals with Brazil. In the future these countries such as Brazil will be larger than us, so we will de dominated by them. What so we should leave the EU to become poorer abnd give these countries better deals. All that will happen is the USA and China will step in.
The EU does not keep these countries client states.
The CAP guarantess food security. Africa should subsidise food in their own region to guarantee food security. Your free trade idea would leave us dependent on a region thousands of miles away often in political and climatic turmoil, thanks a bunch, what a stroke of genius. You would be like we are now with oil. Would it be like the British empire was with India where India sold food to us while their own peiople starved. You talk of a fantasy land dream land economic situation where we trade with Africa and they and we benefit. What would happen in reality is we would be dependent on unstable nations. What would happen to our farmers they would go out of business. Who cares? Depdendent on other nations for our opwn food super. Let's do that with energy too.

neil craig said...

The idea that we need Brussels to negotiate to allow us to trade with the rest of the world is ludicrous. If that is the best they can do the europhile larder is indeed bare. There are very many countries in the world with smaller economies than ours which managed to succeed without having the EU to negotiate "wonderful trade deals" for them. China & India & in a previous generation, Japan used to be among them.

Anonymous said...

DES - what an ignorant, insular, frightened little diatribe. BTW, when I referred to Latin America and said 'why should Spain have all the fun?', you quoted as an example the one country in the whole of Latin America that doesn't speak Spanish. What a hoot!

Africa is the richest, in terms of minerals and agricultural potential, continent in the world. They don't need leftovers from the EU table in the manner of being a dumping ground for surpluses.

Let them in to trade with us and the dynamic entrepreneurs will be creating wealth in Africa instead of sitting by the side of the dustry road with their begging bowls out. The was to end African dependency culture is to go back to free trade.

The EU is monstrous.

I guarantee, if we go, other northern Europeans will follow us.

Anonymous said...

Plus what Neil Craig said.

Anonymous said...

The EU is not a monster, is a dream. We tried your idea before the EU. Africa is not our colony we do not control it. You talk as if we would have exclusive trade deals with then. I donlt see how that helps the UK either. We should do trade deals with Africa with the EU helping them. But youir idea that we should leave the EU and set up deals with Africa is unstable and not good for the UK. I do not see how it would be good for Europe. Africia would be betterof setting up itls own trade deals. And it's own CAP, and trading with us as a strong region. We do need to be depednet on them. There is also the danger of a explotitive relationship.

Anonymous said...

And i never said we cannot organise out own trade deals i am saying we would be bossed around by everyone else. You don't seem to realise that. Bigger gets more. You see trade between nations in a very simplistic idealistic way, that is not the way things happen and would not be the way trade with other nations happens outside of the EU. The EU is the only place you will find what you expect where nations can trade equally.

Anonymous said...

'Dirty European Socialist'

Apt name by the way!

The EU is not a monster, is a dream

No its a corrupt nepotistic nightmare!

Anonymous said...

DES - We would not leave the EU to help Africa. We would leave the EU to be free to negotiate our own trade deals - some of which MAY or MAY NOT be with traders in some African countries. As well as China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Ecuador, Chile, S Korea ... wherever the hell. Plus, of course, the Commonwealth countries.

To our own benefit. That's what free trade means. The EU is a millstone round our necks in every single respect: trade, law. What else is there?

Mulligan said...

DES has convinced me, after all why could we possibly ever want to throw away a negative trading relationship where we pay billions in membership to subsidise (for example) French farmers or pay Spanish to dump perfectly good oranges, whilst allowing French fishermen to help themselves to as much cod as they want whilst our fishermen have to throw back fish because only our bureaucrats obey EU quotas and laws. And why would we want to get control of our borders back in any case? And of course we couldn't go green without them (courtesy Nanny Hewitt in PMQs) even with the unnecessary carbon they expend in moving between Brussels and Strasbourg. And anyway who needs properly audited and certified accounts in the first place.

Yep, europhilia, that's the vision for me.

Warenne1304 said...


there is a difference between a free trade area, like NAFTA, and a customs union like the EU. There are lots of technical difference to do with place of origin for good etc but the most important difference is that members of a free trade area can negotiate bilateral deals with other countries: members of a customs union can't. Therefore Mexico, which is a member of NAFTA, can negotiate a free trade deal with the EU and still remain a member of NAFTA. The UK, as a member of the customs union, cannot negotiate a bilateral deal with ANY other country. The two things are definitely not the same but it a common mistake to conflate them.

The UK is a big economy, being in the EU has definitely helped it become one but we, more than most EU countries, look outside the Eu for a large proprotion of our trade. China and India are big exporting countries; it is therefore in their interest to keep tariffs low, something which we are in favour of.

We are a big enough country and economy to fight our own corner if we needed to. Much of our non-EU trade is with Anglophone countries with which the EU had not struck particualrly good trade deals with anyway. The Eu is not particularly free-tradist in outlook but we are. As Gordon Brown himself has said, when faced with a choice between protectionist and the open seas Britain 'has always chosen the open-seas'. Only problem is at the moment we can't!

Anonymous said...

Now you're not stupid and you and the rest of the Tory hierachy know what they're doing. Please explain why you are happy in giving away our country? And no, you cannot possibly be in Europe not run by Europe where the British MEPs make up a tiny percent and they're there just to vote on what the commission has already decided.
Why not steal the Lib Dem policies aswell as those you are already taking from those 'fruitcakes' in UKIP?

Anonymous said...

Iain - UKIP have only said they won't stand again sitting MPs who sign up to Better Off Out (not candidates). Secondly, why don't you just say what YOU think of the EU coup d'etat that's already 75% there - are you for it or against it?

Anonymous said...

Warenne1304 - You beat me to the point I was going to make next. Mexico is a member of NAFTA - the North American Free Trade Area and, benefits from no customs duty in either direction. It has prospered out of this, but it isn't tied down. It trades with the rest of Latin America with no strings attached to NAFTA.

I would be perfectly happy to be in a free trade zone, like EFTA. I would also like to see the Commonwealth as a free trade zone.

We wouldn't have to stop doing business with the EUSSR. We should continue to turn a penny where we find it, but we cannot sign away the future of our nation to them. Especially to a political construct that is so alien to our notions of trade and liberty.

To DES, I would far rather see us become a free American state than a subject nation in the European bloc.

Anonymous said...

Yes, why are Commie lovers like you allowed to right for the telegraph?

Let's define left and right, shall we?

Left = Socialism, which includes National Socialism.

Right = A monarchy, or a Dictatorship.

Britain is a constitutional monarchy.

So what is a country, which is legally defined as being "A Country where all men are born equal under God"?

Now that is socialism, and as that is their stated national purpose, that makes your (and Gordon Brown's) friends in America, who revolted against our monarch, NATIONAL SOCIALISTS.

So what is a Nazi lover like you doing writing for the Telegraph? I think it's about time our Monarch started rounding up all Nazi lovers in our government, and in the press, and executing them for high treason.

Anonymous said...

[8:54] - Key to understanding: under God. In other words, they believe that God places equal value on every human being. Here is the actual sentence from the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--"

In other words, every person has an inalienable right to pursue his own happiness and prosper according to his own wishes. Not the wishes of the state. His life does most assuredly NOT belong to the state.

That, my friend, is democracy, the meaning of which the British long buried in all-controlling socialism.

Further to my last post, and to Warrenne's - We don't even have to go as far as NAFTA to explain free trade. Every one of the 50 states in an actual country, not just a treaty signatory with other countries, is a free trader. Texas does an enormous amount of trade with every oil-producing nation in the world. Wyoming, less so.

The price of their goods and services is determined by companies domiciled in Texas. Not some ass-hats in Washington DC, with a vote taken in all 50 states.

All that money earned goes into the Texas treasury. That's why there's no income tax in Texas. They're rolling in gravy from free trade.

I hope that seeps into the cloudy mind of DES.

Anonymous said...

"I can just see Cameron in a hung parliament, snuggling up to the nutters"
Yes Tories and Lib Dems together - how sweet.

Anonymous said...

Dirty European Socialist.I've just read a few articles on your blog.
To describe them as not very good is being very kind indeed.

Anonymous said...

malcolm @11:45

That's a tad harsh, don't you think?

I had a browse too, and found this insightful analysis:

"How can the right always say the BBC is biased to labour. And the right then come up with reports from right wing groups to prove it. If the BBC is so left wing an communist how do you explain this list.
5) Patrick Moore: He was a member of the Conservative Party and joined UKIP, becoming a long standing supporter and patron of the eurosceptic party. He is presenter of The Sky at Night"

Mad. As. A. Box. Of. Frogs.

Anonymous said...

6:14 While i suppose every other nation is a utopia
11:45 Why should I respect your view. My blog has been complimented by better, and more intelligent, and polite people than you. You are merely a creep who makes up fake names to make offensive remarks. A coward, a back stabber. I am certain of your type. I have no respect for someone who uses fake aliases to put forward views they do not have the guts to put their real name too. I am not surprised an odious cowardy creep like you would find my blog to high a level to enjoy. It is not meant for the likes of you. Good riddance you pathetic nobody.
1:13 How is pointing out the right wing lie that the BBC does not employ right wingers is ripped apart when you actually look at who works at the BBC. Is it a sign of sanity just to ignore the facts? Well wow. Your mad box of frogs, must be really full of insanity. By the way why the **** do you keep a box of frogs.

Anonymous said...

9:41 So you would leave the EU to join Nafta, and get the same issues just with North America. What is the point? Are you Brtish or a yankee? NAFTA is going to be the American EU. Why waste our time leaving to join another one.
We are stronger together.

Anonymous said...

DES: "So you would leave the EU to join Nafta, and get the same issues just with North America."

No. If you listened to what other people had told you, you would see that this is a silly statement. A customs union like the EU has to - at a minimum - have supranational institutions to collect and redistribute tariff revenues - something that facilitates political interdependence. A free trade area doesn't. If NAFTA was customs union, with HQ in Washington DC, issuing directives and regulations as well as legal decisions that overrode the sovereign powers of its members, then your point would be valid. But it isn't, and NAFTA is a free trade area with politically independent members.

Anonymous said...

DES - writes that if we joined NAFTA we would have the same issue.

There are no issues. It's a free trade zone, that's all. Import and export without duty. That's it. No "harmonisation" regulations/laws/restrictions. We don't have to have a NAFTA license plate on our cars. We don't have a common passport. JUST FREE TRADE. Why are you so uneasy with that?

You are bereft of knowledge of history if you think we are weaker than EU countries. We will be stronger and richer once we're out.

(We don't have to join NAFTA. It was just an idea. But it works just dandy over here.)

YOu seem to be an ignorant, frightened "Little Europeaner".

Anonymous said...

11:40 The USA will introduce the Amero for ther whole of North America.
3:45 This is the euro skeptics lie that it is insular to support the EU and golabalist to want out. Rubbish I know the real agenda Wanting out of Europe is insular. We do not have an empire anymore.

Anonymous said...

DES, I think you know you've lost the arguement. Is Singapore a stinking, economically parochial backwater because it's not part of some protectionist supranational trading block? Likewise, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Australia, Canada, Switzerland, Israel, Malaysia, New Zealand, etc, etc, etc.


Anonymous said...

11:29. Why would I think I lost the argument. You mention nations like they dissproove fact. Most of the countries you mention are either in trade organisations or poorer than us. I am sorry ti dissapoint you, but we would be in backwash.

Anonymous said...

Yes, they may well be members of trading organisations - not supranational political organisations. Again, your confusing the EU with a free trade area; for the difference between the two reread my earlier post. If Britain renegotiated it's membership of the EU, or simply pulled out, chances are we'd become members of the EEA easily enough - as both Switzerland and Norway are. We'd be in a 'trading organisation' without being ruled from Brussels.

Anonymous said...

DES get back in your pram you have nothing to offer nothing to say. Your whole EU GB government is about to go down the pan