Posts Tagged ‘Eurosceptics’

Ken Clark on the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill

Samedi, février 4th, 2017

31 January, 2017
Debate on the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill

With thanks to Robin Baker for supplying our blog page with the following contribution of Ken Clark to the debate:

Mr Kenneth Clarke (Rushcliffe) (Con)

Mr Speaker, you will not be surprised to hear that it is my intention to vote against the Second Reading of this Bill, if a vote is called, and to support the reasoned amendment, which I think will be moved very shortly by the Scottish nationalists.

Because of the rather measured position that the hon. and learned Member for Holborn and St Pancras (Keir Starmer) had to present on behalf of the official Labour party, it falls to me to be the first Member of this House to set out the case for why I believe—I hope that I will not be the last such speaker—that it is in the national interest for the United Kingdom to be a member of the European Union, why I believe that we have benefited from that position for the past 45 years and, most importantly, why I believe that future generations will benefit if we succeed in remaining a member of the European Union. It is a case that hardly received any national publicity during the extraordinary referendum campaign, but it goes to the heart of the historic decision that the House is being asked to make now.

It so happens that my political career entirely coincides with British involvement with the European Union. I started over 50 years ago, supporting Harold Macmillan’s application to join. I helped to get the majority cross-party vote for the European Communities Act 1972, before we joined in 1973, and it looks like my last Parliament is going to be the Parliament in which we leave, but I do not look back with any regret. We made very wise decisions. I believe that membership of the European Union was the way in which we got out of the appalling state we were in when we discovered after Suez that we had no role in the world that we were clear about once we had lost our empire, and that our economy was becoming a laughing stock because we were falling behind the countries on the continent that had been devastated in the war but appeared to have a better way of proceeding than we did.

I believe that our membership of the European Union restored to us our national self-confidence and gave us a political role in the world, as a leading member of the Union, which made us more valuable to our allies such as the United States, and made our rivals, such as the Russians, take us more seriously because of our leadership role in the European Union. It helped to reinforce our own values as well. Our economy benefited enormously and continued to benefit even more, as the market developed, from our close and successful involvement in developing trading relationships with the inhabitants of the continent.

The Conservative Governments in which I served made very positive contributions to the development of the European Union. There were two areas in which we were the leading contender and made a big difference. The first was when the Thatcher Government led the way in the creation of the single market. The customs union—the so-called common market—had served its purpose, but regulatory barriers matter more than tariffs in the modern world. But for the Thatcher Government, the others would not have been induced to remove those barriers, and I think that the British benefited more from the single market than any other member state. It has contributed to our comparative economic success today.

We were always the leading Government after the fall of the Soviet Union in the process of enlargement to eastern Europe, taking in the former Soviet states. That was an extremely important political contribution. After the surprising collapse of the Soviet Union, eastern and central Europe could have collapsed into its traditional anarchy, nationalist rivalry and military regimes that preceded the second world war. We pressed the urgency of bringing in these new independent nations, giving them the goal of the European Union, which meant liberal democracy, free market trade and so forth. We made Europe a much more stable place.

That has been our role in the European Union, and I believe that it is a very bad move, particularly for our children and grandchildren, that we are all sitting here now saying that we are embarking on a new unknown future. I shall touch on that in a moment, because I think the position is simply baffling to every friend of the British and of the United Kingdom throughout the world. That is why I shall vote against the Bill.

Let me deal with the arguments that I should not vote in that way, that I am being undemocratic, that I am quite wrong, and that, as an elected Member of Parliament, I am under a duty to vote contrary to the views I have just given. I am told that this is because we held a referendum. First, I am in the happy situation that my opposition to referendums as an instrument of government is quite well known and has been frequently repeated throughout my political career. I have made no commitment to accept a referendum, and particularly this referendum, when such an enormous question, with hundreds of complex issues wrapped up within it, was to be decided by a simple yes/no answer on one day. That was particularly unsuitable for a plebiscite of that kind, and that point was reinforced by the nature of the debate.

Constitutionally, when the Government tried to stop the House from having a vote, they did not go to the Supreme Court arguing that a referendum bound the House and that that was why we should not have a vote. The referendum had always been described as advisory in everything that the Government put out. There is no constitutional standing for referendums in this country. No sensible country has referendums—the United States and Germany do not have them in their political systems. The Government went to the Supreme Court arguing for the archaic constitutional principle of the royal prerogative—that the Executive somehow had absolute power when it came to dealing with treaties. Not surprisingly, they lost.

What about the position of Members of Parliament? There is no doubt that by an adequate but narrow majority, leave won the referendum campaign. I will not comment on the nature of the campaign. Those arguments that got publicity in the national media on both sides were, on the whole, fairly pathetic. I have agreed in conversation with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union that he and I can both tell ourselves that neither of us used the dafter arguments that were put forward by the people we were allied with. It was not a very serious debate on the subject. I do not recall the view that £350 million a week would be available for the health service coming from the Brexit Secretary, and I did not say that we going to have a Budget to put up income tax and all that kind of thing. It was all quite pathetic.

Let me provide an analogy—a loose one but, I think, not totally loose—explaining the position of Members of Parliament after this referendum. I have fought Lord knows how many elections over the past 50 years, and I have always advocated voting Conservative. The British public, in their wisdom, have occasionally failed to take my advice and have by a majority voted Labour. I have thus found myself here facing a Labour Government, but I do not recall an occasion when I was told that it was my democratic duty to support Labour policies and the Labour Government on the other side of the House. That proposition, if put to the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr Skinner) in opposition or myself, would have been treated with ridicule and scorn. Apparently, I am now being told that despite voting as I did in the referendum, I am somehow an enemy of the people for ignoring my instructions and for sticking to the opinions that I expressed rather strongly, at least in my meetings, when I urged people to vote the other way.

I have no intention of changing my opinion on the ground. Indeed, I am personally convinced that the hard-core Eurosceptics in my party, with whom I have enjoyed debating this issue for decades, would not have felt bound in the slightest by the outcome of the referendum to abandon their arguments—[Interruption.] I do not say that as criticism; I am actually on good terms with the hard-line Eurosceptics because I respect their sincerity and the passionate nature of their beliefs. If I ever live to see my hon. Friend the Member for Stone (Sir William Cash) turn up here and vote in favour of Britain remaining in the European Union, I will retract what I say, but hot tongs would not make him vote for membership of the EU.

I must move on, but I am told that I should vote for my party as we are on a three-line Whip. I am a Conservative; I have been a decently loyal Conservative over the years. The last time I kicked over the traces was on the Lisbon treaty, when for some peculiar reason my party got itself on the wrong side of the argument, but we will pass over that. I would point out to those who say that I am somehow being disloyal to my party by not voting in favour of this Bill that I am merely propounding the official policy of the Conservative party for 50 years until 23 June 2016. I admire my colleagues who can suddenly become enthusiastic Brexiteers, having seen a light on the road to Damascus on the day that the vote was cast, but I am afraid that that light has been denied me.

I feel the spirit of my former colleague, Enoch Powell—I rather respected him, aside from one or two of his extreme views—who was probably the best speaker for the Eurosceptic cause I ever heard in this House of Commons. If he were here, he would probably find it amazing that his party had become Eurosceptic and rather mildly anti-immigrant, in a very strange way, in 2016. Well, I am afraid that, on that issue, I have not followed it, and I do not intend to do so.

There are very serious issues that were not addressed in the referendum: the single market and the customs union. They must be properly debated. It is absurd to say that every elector knew the difference between the customs union and the single market, and that they took a careful and studied view of the basis for our future trading relations with Europe.

The fact is that I admire the Prime Minister and her colleagues for their constant propounding of the principles of free trade. My party has not changed on that. We are believers in free trade and see it as a win-win situation. We were the leading advocate of liberal economic policies among the European powers for many years, so we are free traders. It seems to me unarguable that if we put between us and the biggest free market in the world new tariffs, new regulatory barriers, new customs procedures, certificates of origin and so on, we are bound to be weakening the economic position from what it would otherwise have been, other things being equal, in future. That is why it is important that this issue is addressed in particular.

I am told that that view is pessimistic, and that we are combining withdrawal from the single market and the customs union with a great new globalised future that offers tremendous opportunities for us. Apparently, when we follow the rabbit down the hole, we will emerge in a wonderland where, suddenly, countries throughout the world are queuing up to give us trading advantages and access to their markets that we were never able to achieve as part of the European Union. Nice men like President Trump and President Erdogan are impatient to abandon their normal protectionism and give us access. Let me not be too cynical; I hope that that is right. I do want the best outcome for the United Kingdom from this process. No doubt somewhere a hatter is holding a tea party with a dormouse in the teapot.

We need success in these trade negotiations to recoup at least some of the losses that we will incur as a result of leaving the single market. If all is lost on the main principle, that is the big principle that the House must get control of and address seriously, in proper debates and votes, from now on.

I hope that I have adequately explained that my views on this issue have not been shaken very much over the decades—they have actually strengthened somewhat. Most Members, I trust, are familiar with Burke’s address to the electors of Bristol. I have always firmly believed that every MP should vote on an issue of this importance according to their view of the best national interest. I never quote Burke, but I shall paraphrase him. He said to his constituents, “If I no longer give you the benefit of my judgment and simply follow your orders, I am not serving you; I am betraying you.” I personally shall be voting with my conscience content, and when we see what unfolds hereafter as we leave the European Union, I hope that the consciences of other Members of Parliament will remain equally content.

PM’s real demands for EU renegotiation vs Eurosceptic dreams?

Mercredi, novembre 11th, 2015

“Renegotiation is just a fig leaf to keep his party together. In reality, the referendum will be about our national identity”,
as published in The Times newspaper Cameron, the emperor with no EU clothes by Rachel Sylvester.

However, now that the Prime Minister has revealed his main demands for renegotiation, isn’t it the turn of the Eurosceptics to spell out in more practical detail their current dream of the UK’s future outside the European Union?

Why I’m pro-European…..by Robin Baker

Lundi, juillet 27th, 2015

……….and will vote Yes to the UK’s EU membership.

The most important reason why I am pro-Europe is peace. I lived, albeit as a very small child, through the Second World War and although I had no understanding of the war at that time, I could to some extent understand its horrors fairly early thereafter and well remember what we had to endure in the post-war recovery period. The move to a united Europe started with the Schuman declaration in May 1950 when the French Foreign Minister called for the creation of a Coal and Steel Community saying:

« Le rassemblement des nations européennes exige que l’opposition séculaire de la France et de l’Allemagne soit éliminée : l’action entreprise doit toucher au premier chef la France et l’Allemagne.

Dans ce but, le gouvernement français propose de porter immédiatement l’action sur un point limité mais décisif :

“Le gouvernement français propose de placer l’ensemble de la production franco- allemande de charbon et d’acier sous une Haute Autorité commune, dans une organisation ouverte à la participation des autres pays d’Europe.” La mise en commun des productions de charbon et d’acier assurera immédiatement l’établissement de bases communes de développement économique, première étape de la Fédération européenne, et changera le destin de ces régions longtemps vouées à la fabrication des armes de guerre dont elles ont été les plus constantes victimes.

La solidarité de production (de charbon et d’acier) qui sera ainsi nouée manifestera que toute guerre entre la France et l’Allemagne devient non seulement impensable, mais matériellement impossible. »

English Version:

“The coming together of the nations of Europe requires the elimination of the age-old opposition of France and Germany. Any action taken must in the first place concern these two countries.

With this aim in view, the French Government proposes that action be taken immediately on one limited but decisive point.

It proposes that Franco-German production of coal and steel as a whole be placed under a common High Authority, within the framework of an organization open to the participation of the other countries of Europe. The pooling of coal and steel production should immediately provide for the setting up of common foundations for economic development as a first step in the federation of Europe, and will change the destinies of those regions which have long been devoted to the manufacture of munitions of war, of which they have been the most constant victims.

The solidarity in production thus established will make it plain that any war between France and Germany becomes not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible.”

Clearly the key to his proposal was stopping any further conflict between France and Germany after the disastrous wars of 1870, 1914 and 1939. This was achieved while, at the same time, permitting the reindustrialisation of Germany which France’s history gave it so much reason to fear. And it was that which lead to the enormous improvement in the economic lot of the participants. Schuman was right, war did become impossible and this first European institution developed into the EU of today. Britain got it totally wrong, the Foreign Secretary of the time (Herbert Morrison) saying that we could not join the proposed Coal and Steel Community because “the Durham miners wouldn’t wear it.” Unfortunately when the Conservatives came to power, we still refused to join because of Anthony Eden’s belief that Britain’s future lay with its Empire. Of course today some people say that the avoidance of war is no longer relevant, war would remain impossible even were the EU to be dissolved. I would agree with them if they could tell me when they predicted that there would be war between the armies of Russia and Ukraine when the Soviet Union broke up. I see serious risks of instability in Europe that could arise were there to be no longer an EU: look at Hungary, look at the internal problems of Italy and Spain, look at the potential conflicts that could arise over the wave of migration from Africa. So I believe the Schuman argument remains valid and I want my country to be part of this.

My second reason is the impact of Europe on material prosperity. In the period up to the UK joining the EEC in 1973 our economic growth rate was significantly less than the EEC’s. My strong impression at the time was that this gap was reduced to an important extent thereafter. But the position is complicated to assess. North Sea oil production started in the UK sector in 1975 and that clearly had an impact, although there was also oil and gas production in other EEC countries. There are two articles about this I think worth quoting. One was in the Economist’s Free Exchange column that quoted a study of the impact on GDP of EU membership using a comparison of member and non-member states’ data. That reckoned that the UK GDP was over 20% higher than it would have been had we not been in the EU. The second is a research paper by the House of Commons Library that studied the economic benefits of EU membership. That points out that it is impossible to give a definitive figure because it involves estimating what would have happened had we not been a member. It does summarise a number of studies that have tried to answer this question and shows the range of different conclusions as follows:

uk-net-benefits-of-eu2

As can be seen, the estimates range from UKIP’s conclusion that membership costs us 5% of GDP to that of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills which estimates a gain of 6% of GDP p.a. The only one of these studies that I have read is the UKIP one, from which I concluded that their estimates were absolutely absurd; of course the study is readily available on-line.

But it does seem to me to be simple common sense that being a member of a major trading block with a population of over 500 million and GDP exceeding that of the USA, is of very substantial benefit. The EU takes 50% of UK exports (Nigel Farage claims that it is only 40% but that is not correct). Were we to leave, we might remain a member of the European Economic Area so still benefit from free trade with the EU but that would require us to accept all European trade regulations without any say in their development. Norway does that and it is called a fax democracy, because the EU Commission sends them a fax saying what new laws their Parliament must pass in relation to new rules, and they duly pass them. If we were outside that Economic Area, we would face the common external tariff on the half of our exports now going to other EU members. As an example, that would mean a 10% tariff on British motor vehicle exports to other EU countries, which amounted to £17 billion in 2013.

I would like to comment on some of the arguments currently used against EU membership. Nigel Farage is keen on saying that 75% of UK legislation is made in Europe. Daniel Hannan MEP has said that it is 84%. Again there is an excellent House of Commons Library research paper on that subject. That raises the interesting question as to how does one go about calculating a proportion of legislation, but finally concludes that:

“It is possible to estimate the proportion of national laws based on EU laws. In the UK, estimates suggest that over the twelve-year period from 1997 to 2009, 6.8% of primary legislation (Statutes) and 14.1% of secondary legislation (Statutory Instruments) had a role in implementing EU obligations, although the degree of involvement varied from passing reference to explicit implementation. Sectoral studies suggest that the agriculture forms the highest area of EU influence and defence the lowest. The British Government estimates that around 50% of UK legislation with a significant economic impact originates from EU legislation.”

Much of these laws related to the construction of the Single European Market, but little European law is now arising from that so the impact of Europe on UK legislation is falling.

The fact that agriculture is a high proportion is important, as a lot of EU legislation on agriculture relates to farming olives and tobacco, which does not impact on the UK.

Another much used argument is that of bureaucracy. Of course the EU is a bureaucracy; it is run by human beings. But while the number of civil servants employed by the UK Government is 479,000 (out of the 4.4 million total in the public sector costing 23% of total government expenditure) and in France, civil servants number 2 million; the Commission only has 30,000 employees, i.e. three quarters of the staff employed by the City of Paris. What is remarkable is that this is achieved despite the fact that the EU has to work in 23 official languages and provide for interpretation between them, which obviously increases staff numbers. But, despite that, it spends only about 6% of its budget on staff, administration and building maintenance.

Is often said that, when we joined the EEC in 1973, we were told that we were joining a free trade area. This, of course, is rubbish, we were already in a free trade area (EFTA) before we joined the EEC and we left it because it did not work. It did not work because it did not prevent non-tariff barriers to trade. The EEC, and now the EU, works because non-tariff barriers to trade are prohibited. They can only be prohibited by having a central authority that sets regulations to stop such barriers (a recent regulation struck down German internal market rules that effectively prevent British manufacturers selling chocolate in Germany). That this was made clear before we joined is shown by a few examples appended.

There are many positive reasons for EU membership, for example:

1. We are part of a group of countries with a common cultural and historical heritage co-operating together for the greater benefit of all.

2. Co-operation within the EU covers areas where action by individual nations within the limits of their national boundaries would be at best ineffective and at worst meaningless. An obvious example is environmental protection. Competition policy applied across the EU is another example giving wide benefits.

3. Because of the Common Agricultural Policy, we are part of an economic block that is self sufficient in food. That important to me as I remember the rationing in WWII and the post-war period.

4. As citizens of the European Union we entitled to move freely, to live and to be employed anywhere within the Union. Also we can hold and transfer funds freely within the Union.

5. There are positive impacts in other areas which most people, including the press, never consider. An example is higher education in the UK which benefits from the EU providing a common economic space within which talent can move freely. The EU enlarges our nation’s research base. Over 80% of the UK’s internationally co-authored papers are written with EU partners. The UK secures over €6 billion of EU research, development and innovation funding; the University of Kent calculates that every €1 of such funding increases the added value to industry by €13.

6. Importantly for me, citizens of the European Union living in a member state other than their own, are protected against discrimination against them by their own government in relation to social benefits. For example, British state pensioners living outside the EU have their pensions frozen, despite having paid the same contribution as those living in the UK whose pensions are increased to allow for inflation. Pensions of Britons resident in the EU cannot be frozen.

Robin Baker
BCiP member

Apendix

What we were told about joining the EEC

Edward Heath

House of Commons Debate in August 1966.

The Community is so much more than a market … the phrase “Common Market” underestimates and undervalues the Community, and, for this reason, tends to mislead those who have to deal with it.’…. Those who say that the British people must realise what is involved in this are absolutely right. There is a pooling of sovereignty. Member countries of the Community have deliberately undertaken to achieve their objectives, and, because they believe that the objectives are worth that degree of surrender of sovereignty, they have done it quite deliber¬ately … When we surrender some sovereignty, we shall have a share in the sovereignty of the Community as a whole, and of other members of it. It is not just, as is sometimes thought, an abandonment of sovereignty to other countries; it is a sharing of other people’s sovereignty as well as a pooling of our own.

9th May 1967, “There can be no doubt that the logical conclusion in a common market is to move over de facto or de jure to a common currency.

As Prime Minster 10 June 1971: “We have said that as members of the enlarged Community we would play our full part in the progress towards economic and monetary union.”

Also in June 1971 the Foreign Secretary (Sir Alec Douglas-Home) said; “On two counts I am in full agreement with the opponents of our entry into Europe. The first is that our application is a step of the outmost political significance, and the second is that there is a danger of its political importance being overlooked in the public debate on the economic issues.”

Third reading debate on EEC entry 13th July, 1972, Sir Geoffrey Howe (Attorney-General):

“The concept of a common system of Community law, uniformly expressed, operating and enforced throughout the Community, is integral to the community system. If this country became a Member of the European Communities it would be accepting Community Law….The constitutional innovation would lie in the acceptance in advance as part of the law of the United Kingdom of provisions to be made in the future by instruments issued by Community institutions. … It is open to right hon. and hon. Members opposite to declare that they have changed their minds and that the concept of a uniform system of Community law is no longer acceptable to them. However, it is simply not open to them to suggest that this concept is an optional extra to the basic treaties which they once accepted.”

And, of course, the opponents of EEC entry also made the position clear, e.g. Peter Shore in the same debate: “The area over which under the treaties European institutions will be able to make our future law is largely undefined, and is certain to grow. It already includes not only a general capacity to make laws but now a substantial capacity to raise taxes. Indeed, for the first time since the Stuarts we are to be taxed without the consent of Parliament. What is so deeply unacceptable is that we have no right to repeal, to change, to amend the laws to which we are about to become subject—no right, that is, unless we breach the treaty itself. That is the dilemma with which we are faced. So what it comes to is this: the Bill will create, from the moment it takes effect, a large “no-go” area for British democracy, an area in which Community jurisdiction will apply and Community laws will have to be obeyed. That is the truth of the matter.”

Britain & the Future of Europe - Paul Thomson

Samedi, mai 16th, 2015

The BCiP Key Issues Programme

As a result of the May 7th election outcome the referendum on Europe now stands front and centre in both British and European Union political life. BCiP therefore has launched a programmatical series to identify and help clarify the big issues attaching to the question of Britain’s place in Europe: “Britain and the Future of Europe: BCiP Key Issues Programme”.

The first event will set the stage for those following, by recalling the institutional framework of the main European bodies, highlighting strengths, weaknesses, attendant (desirable or less so) institutional dynamics and unresolved difficulties. The picture thus emerging will be set against the expressed positions of the Conservative Party – both as to end results sought and process to get there. And then we shall ask: (a) what are the big institutional issues? and (b) starting from here and now, how can they be tackled?

Subsequent events will focus on different policy fields or choices of existential importance to both Europe & Britain: the sources of identity – Britain and Europe compared; the geopolitics of Europe & Britain’s understanding of its own defence and international relations game plan; comparative economics: staying on board versus jumping board; and in conclusion, to step back and sum up: strategic and cultural choices – what is at stake? what does Britain really want?

Internal and external speakers will figure.

We hope to draw participants and/or observers to the Programme from beyond as well as within BCiP.“

Paul Thomson
BCiP Vice Chairman

Why Europe matters by Laura Sandys

Jeudi, mars 12th, 2015

Laura Sandys who has written the article linked to below is Member of Parliament for South Thanet and Chair of European Movement, UK.

“In the lead up to one of the most important elections of recent decades and, potentially, one of the most important debates about the UK’s political arrangements we have ever seen, it is crucial that we are constantly talking and thinking about the relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union, two great entities that can do so much for each other when they work in tandem, cooperatively and positively.”

Why Europe matters

Ken Clark & Prime Minister’s EU Reform Plans

Jeudi, novembre 27th, 2014

The intervention below from Ken Clark, complements very nicely the previous article by BCiP member Robin Baker on “Freedom of movement within the EU”.

Speaking at The Guardian on 19th November, 2014 and concerning British Prime Minister David Cameron’s EU reform plans, Ken Clark the former Conservative Chancellor said:

” fellow EU leaders would not agree to change the free movement of people on the grounds that it is a fundamental tenet of the EU and had been championed by Thatcher in the creation of the single market.”

He added:

“The idea that you are going to make Brussels give up freedom of movement of labour – Margaret Thatcher was an advocate of this. It was a British Conservative government that gave momentum to the single market.

“The Conservative party and the Labour party have been advocates of freedom of movement of goods, services, capital and labour. It is one of the underpinning things of greater prosperity that we are all trying to get back to.”

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/nov/19/ken-clarke-lets-rip-at-david-camerons-eu-reform-plans

Freedom of Movement within the EU - by Robin Baker

Jeudi, novembre 6th, 2014

The freedom of movement of workers within the Community and the freedom of establishment of nationals of one member state within the territory of another are, as we are frequently reminded, fundamental principles established by the then EEC in 1957 and maintained by the European Union today.

Currently they are increasingly questioned by the Eurosceptic wing of the Conservative Party. To me that means that is has become time to go back and ask why these principles were established.

There are two key reasons. One is the question of individual liberty. Governments should not dictate to citizens where they can go and where they can live and work. The benefit of that hardly needs emphasising to UK members of British Conservatives in Paris; we take advantage of it either just to live or to both live and work here. Many French citizens do the same in Great Britain.

The second is that this liberty is an economic benefit, to individuals and to the economy of Europe as a whole. It permits workers, particularly the most motivated and the most valuable among them, to go where the contribution that they make is most valued and most appreciated. That maximises the economic benefit that they make to Europe as a whole. Many of the French who work in the UK are a good example of this. Their economic contribution is more appreciated in our country because our lower level of bureaucracy enables it to flourish and bear fruit whereas in France it could be stifled by control and regulation. That benefits the French concerned, the UK in general and in time it may benefit France itself if it eventually forces the Government here to reduce their regulatory controls.

What I do not understand is how any Conservative can oppose these principles of individual liberty and the prevention of government imposed rules leading to sub-economic decisions. Both are fundamental to the Conservative Party. In the 1960s and 70s, leaders of the Conservative Party such as Macmillan and Heath understood that. These principles need re-asserting now so that our political leaders can learn to understand them again.

Robin Baker
BCiP Member

Value of EU not just its price.

Samedi, octobre 18th, 2014

Read this interesting article below published on www.europeanpublicaffairs.eu :

“The outcome of misinformation on the one hand and total resignation of pro-EU advocates on the other has resulted in one thing – Europeans have learnt the cost but forgot the value of the EU membership.”

Why Holding an EU Referendum May Be a Good Idea After All: Learning the value of the EU not just its price
15 October 2014 | by Frank Markovic

Thank you Mr Carswell - by Robin Baker

Vendredi, septembre 19th, 2014

Thank you Mr Carswell (the former Conservative MP for Clacton and now UKIP candidate) for leaving the Conservative Party. We are better off without you. To see why, let us look firstly at the blog you have published as a new member of UKIP:

We need change in our relationship with Europe.
When we joined what was to become the European Union all those years ago, we imagined we would be joining a prosperous trading block. In the early 1970s, it accounted for almost 40 percent of world economic output.
Today it accounts for a mere 25 percent. In a decade, it’s expected to be down to 15 percent.”

Yes, and a very good thing this fall in the EU’s share of world economic output is too. The EU has 7.3% of the world’s population, does Mr Carswell really think that our share of the world’s wealth should be more than three and a half times our share of the population? This change results from the strength of economic growth in the emerging economies and that is to everybody’s benefit: firstly because economic disparity between the poor and the rich is dangerous for world stability, secondly because we should be glad to see the world’s poor becoming less so, and thirdly for the selfish reason that the richer they are, the more they will be able to trade with us and so increase our prosperity as well.

Mr Carswell should be aware of one simple illustration of how the world has changed. When we joined the then EEC in 1973, the price of oil was some $2 - 3 per barrel. Today it hovers around the $100/barrel mark. Does he think that this should not have changed the balance of economic wealth?

He then followed this blog with an article in the International New York Times, which repeated that inanity from the blog and added:

Instead of using primaries to select candidates for parliamentary seats, party hierarchies parachute in those whom they favour.”

The only reason I can think of for Mr Carswell to use a foreign newspaper to write such rubbish about his own country, is because most of its readers will not recognise that his remarks are simply untrue. The decision on the selection of Conservative parliamentary candidates was previously always made by a general meeting open to all members of the local party. True, Party headquarters has, on occasions, tried to parachute in a preferred candidate from outside, but these attempts have generally failed, indeed for a candidate to be known to have HQ support has been the kiss of death. But the Party is now more and more moving away from the “local Party members” system to taking these decisions by “open primaries”, i.e. a primary in which any elector in that constituency may vote whether or not they are Party members. Two Conservative MPs elected in 2010 had been selected in that way and a number of candidates have already been chosen by that system for the election in 2015.

The Conservative candidate for the Clacton by-election caused by Mr Carswell has been chosen by such an open primary, this was done on 11th September, a week before Mr Carswell’s article was published. There was, however, one candidate who was parachuted in by his party hierarchy for this by-election. The UKIP candidate for Clacton had already been selected, by local UKIP members. When Carswell defected from the Conservative Party, that candidate was unceremoniously booted out and Nigel Farage parachuted in Douglas Carswell to fight the seat.

One other lie in the New York Times article, which says: “Most Laws made in Britain this year emanated from the European Union.” Mr Carswell may no longer be an MP, but he can still read reports by the House of Commons Library, a highly respected and independent source of information. They have studied this question and found:
“It is possible to estimate the proportion of national laws based on EU laws. In the UK, over the twelve-year period from 1997 to 2009 6.8% of primary legislation (Statutes) and 14.1% of secondary legislation (Statutory Instruments) had a role in implementing EU obligations.
It is possible to justify any measure between 15% and 50% or thereabouts. This includes olive and tobacco growing regulations which are unlikely to have much impact in Britain.”

We do not need Mr Carswell’s shallow thinking in the Conservative Party, nor do we want his lies. He is highly suitable for UKIP, where such thinking is a requirement for membership. That is why, Mr Carswell, the Conservative Party is better off without you. Thank you for leaving the Conservative Party.

Robin Baker

A Return to Pragmatism in UK - EU Relations?

Jeudi, juillet 17th, 2014

Here’s an article by Thomas Fillis and published on-line in European Public Affairs:
A Return to Pragmatism? Lord Hill announced as UK Commissioner Designate

“British Prime Minister David Cameron has just announced Jonathan Hopkin Hill, Baron Hill of Oareford (ergo Lord Hill) as the British Commissioner designate. This nomination may prove to be the most important in UK-EU relations, and indeed in the history of the College of Commissioners, given the ever-more precarious position of the UK within the European Union. The choice will speak volumes about Cameron’s strategic calculations, as regards his proposed “renegotiation” (a concept as abstract as the constantly mooted, but never defined, “reform” of the EU) and the negotiating tactics he will use.”