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Europe's push-me-pull-you

Nick Robinson | 11:52 UK time, Wednesday, 27 October 2010

When David Cameron picks up the phone to Europe today his position will resemble Dr Dolittle's mythical two-headed beast: the push-me-pull-you (Pushmi-pullyu). The coalition agreement hammered out by the Eurosceptic Tories and the Euro-enthusiast Lib Dems is summed up by both sides as "not forward, not back". In other words, moving nowhere much at all.

David Cameron

 

The problem is that when the prime minister calls Chancellor Merkel and President Sarkozy and President Van Rompuy today he'll be reminded that France and Germany don't want to stand still - they never do. They believe that Europe's institutions need strengthening to protect the EU from a repeat of the eurozone crisis. Germany's constitutional court is demanding that new temporary powers be given permanent status in a new treaty.

What's more, when the PM answers questions today or in the tearooms afterwards, he'll be told by his backbenchers that they too don't want the EU to stand still. They want its budget cut and its powers reduced.

So, what will the push-me-pull-you do? He'll advise his fellow leaders to find ways to strengthen the eurozone without a treaty change which will lead to demands for a referendum here and an unpredictable parliamentary vote. Or, if they insist on a new treaty, he'll insist that it doesn't give Brussels fresh powers over British policy.

He'll also pick a fight over the EU budget, demanding that it be capped. Thus he will seek to convince all parts of his coalition - within Parliament and beyond it - that Britain is not moving closer to, or further from, the heart of Europe.

The moral of the story is, however, that it is only in fairy stories that nothing changes year in,year out. One day the push-me-pull-you will have to go one way or the other and, when he does, there'll be trouble.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Let us all hope that pragmatism overcomes bigotry! Picking a fight, as Mrs Thatcher so often did, just harms the UK.

  • Comment number 2.

    Yawn. Conjecture.

  • Comment number 3.

    "The moral of the story is, however, that it is only in fairy stories that nothing changes year in,year out."

    Except the Labour manifesto, eh Nick?

    Tax/Spend/Tax/Spend/Tax/Spend.

    Who fed you this line.... Bad Al Campbell? Damien?

  • Comment number 4.

    1 John_from_Hendon

    Picking a fight, as Mrs Thatcher so often did, just harms the UK.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    The rebate that she won by "picking fights" has saved the UK an enormous amount of money over the years. What a shame Blair surrendered some of it without getting anything in return.

  • Comment number 5.

    Tourble with who? The leaders of European countries? They themselves seem out of touch with their people, as recent polling suggests citizens across Europe are against a rise in the EU budget.

    If Labour MEPs really did vote against a cap then this is disgraceful. Is there an EU version of theyworkforyou? Would be good to see who's been doing what.

  • Comment number 6.

    I'll judge lord snooty by his actions not his words.

    At present he is deliberately putting a million people out of their jobs because he says we are in a world war two style national crisis.

    Yet he is willing to pay out over SIX BILLION POUNDS per year to the EU - even without the proposed increase he will allegedly resist. He certainly makes no mention of any cuts to that expenditure of taxpayers money.

    I stick by my existing view: thatchers economics + labours PC = ConDem government. The worst of both worlds - at least thatcher knew how to deal with the EU.

  • Comment number 7.

    3. At 12:27pm on 27 Oct 2010, Fubar_Saunders wrote:
    "The moral of the story is, however, that it is only in fairy stories that nothing changes year in,year out."
    Except the Labour manifesto, eh Nick?
    Tax/Spend/Tax/Spend/Tax/Spend.
    ================
    close, but I think Fu that there are a few Borrow/Spend in there too!

  • Comment number 8.

    3. At 12:27pm on 27 Oct 2010, Fubar_Saunders wrote:
    "The moral of the story is, however, that it is only in fairy stories that nothing changes year in,year out."

    Except the Labour manifesto, eh Nick?


    There were also one or two tweaks to the Tory and Liberal manifestos, or did I dream that?

  • Comment number 9.

    Another fault line in the coalition opening up. Pantomime season nearly upon us. Cameron will have to put on show without the Lib Dems. On the other hand Lib Dems are proving to be adept at being political chameleons.

  • Comment number 10.

    "The problem is that when the prime minister calls Chancellor Merkel and President Sarkozy and President Van Rompuy today he'll be reminded that France and Germany don't want to stand still - they never do. They believe that Europe's institutions need strengthening to protect the EU from a repeat of the eurozone crisis."

    Surely the problem is that the eurozone never thought that economic controls would be necessary. After all, when you have a collection of individuals doing their own thing then they will all go off in their own directions and do things their own way like they've been doing for years. This isn't as much to do with the eurozone or the treaty because it all came down to poor planning and with each country being different it was clear that a problem wouuld happen sooner or later.

    I simply say this:

    Eurozone = Nice idea but since when do ideas always work in practice. Probably more useful in the longer term (possibly the next few centuries?) but with the way humans, countries and politics operate I don't see the whole thing ever being able to operate collectivey as one. I wonder if we're more likely to end up at war with europe than ever get this eurozone thing working properly.

    I don't see a reason for really being in with the whole euro thing. I mean how often do you go round knocking on the doors of your neighbours and getting them to sign up to a street treaty where you will all live according to the rules of the treaty. I mean, what's wrong with simply being neighbours, you can be friends with them, you can help and support each other when needed, you can go next door for a bit of milk if needed, etc.

    So let's maintain neighbourly relations and keep it at that. We waste far too much taxpayer money unnecessarily due to this, it's about time we made better use of that money, especially considering the economic difficulties ahead.

    Or is our country that reliant and dependent on Europe that we have to eventually bow down to the whims of the French and Germans who see themselves as the royal family of europe?

  • Comment number 11.

    6#
    "I'll judge lord snooty by his actions not his words."

    That'll be a first. Your hatred has judged him already.

    7#

    Darn, how could I have forgotten that? :-?

    8#

    Definitely a product of deep REM sleep :o))

    Sorry just indulging in some NR baiting. Given the events of the last four days or so, the amount of things that have come out of the woodwork, I'm surprised he's led on this.

    Personally, if I wanted to read this kind of lazy "two-old-biddies tittle-tattling-over-the-garden-fence" style journalism, I'd read Littlejohn instead. I expected better of NR than this facile offering. Hardly worth pulling up the shutters for.

    I'm not saying the subject matter isnt important. It is. Maybe Cameron will get his way. Maybe it is possible to find the non-polarised way that Nick scoffs at.

    I have very grave doubts about that, personally and Camerons personal chances of achieving it. I dont think that he and Hague are going to have the wherewithal not to get stitched up by the French.

    But, considering how much of Europhile Cameron is anyway, maybe thats not so surprising. If he does end up doing a Gordon and signing any future amendment without reading it and defying a promise for a referendum, then yes, there will be trouble, not only on his own benches, but also a negative effect at the polls from the public as well.

    Eitherway, regardless of all that, I just find Nick's tone, for an editor of a national broadcaster, un-necessarily sneery.

    Hence my response to "So, what will the push-me-pull-you do?"... "Yawn. Conjecture." Because that is all it is.

    Facts please Nicholas, not conjecture.

  • Comment number 12.

    Oh for goodness' sake!
    Does the UK want to stand with the US?
    Does the UK want to stand with the EU?
    Does the UK want to stand alone?
    It is no longer viable to remain "not forward, not back" because that is actually not progress. It's just a big stagnant maybe - like ill-discoplined child that wants it both ways.
    The Lisbon treaty has got to be revised.
    A revision will force the UK into a referendum.
    What I find most offensive about the UK position is that the Euroscpetic Tories want the EU institutions strengthened (to protect the EU from a repeat of the eurozone crisis), but is the UK part of the solution, is it contributing ideas...Nope, it's just whining - part of the overall problem.
    Here go the backbenchers joining in; they too want changes, budget cut and powers reduced. But the backbenches too are essentially doing nothing - not contributing ideas, not part of the solution, just part of the overall problem.
    To the UK, I say time to decide.
    Do your referendum thing.
    Either join the EU or stop with the criticism and finding excuses..
    Does the UK want to stand with the US?
    Does the UK want to stand with the EU?
    Does the UK want to stand alone?
    Decision time!

  • Comment number 13.

    And then we wonder why the EU goes nowhere... the day the UK stops peeing inside the tent, that day, we will be a Union.

  • Comment number 14.

    Nick you say:

    "He'll also pick a fight over the EU budget, demanding that it be capped"

    Is that a typo? Surely 'scrapped' would be better?

    The European 'Parliament' is a joke and has shown itself to be totally out of touch with reality. Budgets should be negotiated and agreed directly by ministers of member states, no one else.

  • Comment number 15.

    11. At 1:29pm on 27 Oct 2010, Fubar_Saunders wrote:
    6#
    "I'll judge lord snooty by his actions not his words."

    That'll be a first. Your hatred has judged him already.
    ==============================

    I'm quite willing to say I hate snooty and his type. I'll also say if he ever does anything I agree with.

    You don't comment on whether you think it is a good idea for snooty to carry on paying over seventeen million pounds PER DAY to the EU.

    Should we conclude you have no problem with that and think it is good value?

  • Comment number 16.

    6. jon112dk

    'I'll judge lord snooty by his actions not his words.'


    But no judgement on Labour MEPs who voted for an INCREASE in the EU budget. Wonder why that is?

    What's "labours PC" by the way?

  • Comment number 17.

    'Not forward, not back'
    Round in circles then.

  • Comment number 18.

    I wish they'd just get on with it and federalise Europe with us in it.

  • Comment number 19.

    15#

    If you're asking me personally, no I dont think it is any kind of value, let alone good value. I'd rather be out than in. I thought that the EFTA was a good idea. This half baked federalism and empire building that we have now, serves absolutely no-ones interests, except for possibly the French.

    Might do you well to have a look at Gavin Hewitt's blog for a different perspective, if you can get all that vinegar out of your veins for a moment...

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/10/unpopularity_and_the_eu.html

  • Comment number 20.

    16. At 1:50pm on 27 Oct 2010, TheBlameGame

    You mistake me for a labour supporter.

    If and when labour are ever in power I will be more than willing to comment on their policies. Did it for the last several years.

    At the moment the ConDems are the GOVERNMENT and those are the policies which will effect/destroy real people's lives - I make no apologies about commenting on them.

    You need to stop harping back to the historical failed policies of a party that lost and make some sort of attempt to defend your tory mates.

    Unless, of course, you find it difficult to defend policies like giving billions to europe during a 'national emergency' ? Are you saying you agree with that policy?

  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.

    @6. re: "at least thatcher knew how to deal with the EU."

    Really? The single European act was the biggest transfer of power and sovereignty since Heath's treason in 1973. Only the Lisbon Treaty could surpass it's treachery with it's removal of vetoes and ratchet mechanisms, stealing the last dregs of sovereignty by stealth.

    Yes, she did get us a whopping great rebate, thanks to the run-down areas created by mass unemployment caused by cutting the massively wasteful and out-of-date industries screwed by a couple of previous decades of continuous left-wing Wilson and left wing Heath governments.

    Heath was a tory trying to run a soft socialist conservative Government. It did not work.

    Cameron should change course on the scale of the cuts, (increase them massively) and on the EU (a great place to start them)

  • Comment number 23.

    @12 re: "Either join the EU or stop with the criticism and finding excuses.."

    That is a "heads I win, Tails you lose" situation.

    I agree that we need a referendum to decide this once and for all and to stop the split in the country. However your choices are false. Those choices should be:
    Either join the EU AND stop with the criticism and finding excuses
    OR
    Leave the EU as a full member and retain Norwegian/Swiss style trading area agreements.

    I would vote to leave the EU and retain British Sovereignty and our much more sane and free legal system (innocent until proven guilty) instead of the continental (assumed guilt based on accusation and prove yourself innocent)

    But I would alsohappily abide by whatever decision the British people voted for. If they vote to have the UK overtaken totally and broken up and renamed, I would accept the will of the people. That is the point, The people have never been asked about giving up this country to be ruled over by the EU, we were never asked if it was OK for the EU to make our laws, without them even being voted on in the House of Commons.

    EU laws at best are rubber-stamped. At worst, they are used to pin numerous added new laws which gold-plate the original EU diktat with further excessive legislation, without any democratic accountibility whatsoever.

  • Comment number 24.

    "The moral of the story is, however, that it is only in fairy stories that nothing changes year in,year out."

    Speaking of fairy stories, maybe the BBC can explain why it was that yesterday their headline was:
    "UK GDP economy figures expected to show growth slowdown"

    with the BBC constantly getting labour spinners on the tv and on their news site to tell everyone that the evil coalition had forced us into a pending massive second recession with their nasty cutting plans, and that the whole economy was now going down the pan because of the tories.

    ...and then a bit later in the day, when those figures were actually published, the BBC was forced to change their headline to:
    "UK recovery faster than expected"

    and then, once those facts came out, the BBC was virtually silent, with that economic news just being brushed aside, saying that the figures don't really mean anything.

    So, go on, Nick; explain the totally untrue initial BBC headline, the amount of pro-labour coverage you gave it, and explain why the true facts when they came out were just ignored as a meaningless blip.

  • Comment number 25.

    24#

    Probably still smarting about the chewing out that they got last week from one of the big bosses about twittering their ingrained lefty bleeding heart fluff and giving the baby-eaters a stick to beat them with... the facts not sitting correctly with the narrative might have had something to do with it as well.

    Maybe not so many bottles of champagne strewn in the corridors of Broadcasting House this year on May 7th...

  • Comment number 26.

    22. At 2:27pm on 27 Oct 2010, purpleDogzzz wrote:
    (cuts) ... "the EU (a great place to start them)"
    =================================

    At least you talk sense on one issue.

  • Comment number 27.

    #12
    Why do you think we can't stand with the EU so long as it is reformed? Your's is a black and white, either/or question. Surely the answer will be more nuanced.

    Exiting the EU will only occur if voters are given this choice and we know they won't be given that opportunity. So, the best we can hope for, is that DC and the rest of the government, use our current economic climate and the 'acceptance-climate' for domestic cuts, and use these to push for economic reform of all of the EU institutions.

    The EU budget must be cut, to have domestic cuts and then fund the Eurocrat fat cats cannot be acceptable.

    The problems with the Euro and the EuroZone have been hashed out too many times. Surely by now, everyone accepts that the Euro as a project is in serious trouble and significant reform (two tier, anyone?) will have to take place (BTW will France be in the top tier with Germany and the other N. Europeans?. This though is a subject on which we do not have to dwell, too much.

  • Comment number 28.

    Another Hewitt perspective.

    Similar information, but different tone. Why is that, I wonder?


    https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/10/europe_fighting_over_reform.html

  • Comment number 29.

    20

    'You mistake me for a labour supporter.
    If and when labour are ever in power I will be more than willing to comment on their policies. Did it for the last several years.'


    I'm sorry jon, must have been confusing you with someone else. So it's nothing personal, just a touch of class bigotry? Fair play.

    What's "labour PC"? (your #6)
    Do you think Labour went a bit soft over the last few years? Not tough enough on immigration? Or on criminals? Shouldn't have crept out of Iraq/Basra with their tails between their legs? Think we should stay in Afghanistan and 'finish the job'? Where did they go wrong in your opinion? Making Brown leader? I know you're not a supporter but keen to understand what you mean by "labour PC".

    I'm pro-EU in principle btw but as with most political bureaucracies I don't have much faith in those who run the show.

  • Comment number 30.

    @ 23. purpleDogzzz wrote:
    "Leave the EU as a full member and retain Norwegian/Swiss style trading area agreements."

    Fair enough, but please explain what these trading arrangements are.

    I'll help you out - it means following at least 60% of the EU laws which we currently follow, including the "nasty" ones about free movement of labour, plus also paying a "membership fee". Norway pay around £1.3bn (calculated according to its size) and call the situation "Brussels by fax" as they have to follow all the laws but have no say on any of them. Oh yes, and there's also the "guillotine clause", which allows the EU to cancel the whole agreement if we fail to comply.

    Finally, it's only fair to tell all those thinking about retiring abroad in Europe or are already there that this automatic right will disappear and you'll have to apply for a residence permit.

  • Comment number 31.

    28. F_S

    A bit more substance there, quelle surprise.

    It's not irrational for countries who are forced to bail out other countries wanting some reassurance or guarantees.

  • Comment number 32.

    The moral of the story appears to eb that the BBC has become completely paranoid about its future under the coalition.

    It charges headlong into firing its high profile, highly paid staff, agrees a freeze on the licence fee, runs blogs asking to be forgiven for outbursts at random protesters and has substituted rational analysis for catchphrase journalism in an attempt to undermine the coalition.

    Did the BBC write the instruction to David Miliband on how to behave at PMQs that was read out by David Cameron today?? It sounds like the way they conduct their affairs these days.

    So we got precisely three minutes on the GDP numbers being better than expected last night on the ten o'clock news before we change topic completely. Heavens above the coalition policies might actually be working...quick, someone kill the story. What would have happened had the opposite been reported? A disappointing GDP? .. quick cut to several bleak high streets up and down the land with single mothers of all races about to be turfed out of their properties by the wicked baby hating coalition parties.

    As for the EU.. the only push me pull you going on in the EU is between the German economy rocketing at 3% plus growth and southern Europe trapped in a debt spiral... the push me pull you is the real two way tug for interest rates to stay low or go up.

    It's a great time to be a tory... when the opposition don't even understand the argument.

  • Comment number 33.

    27

    A two tier Euro would certainly sort out the struggling south European economies. They could devalue their currencies which would reduce their debt in real terms. The wealthier north Europeans would flock to the south for holidays again, which in turn would kick start the holiday destination building projects (currently abandoned which is why Spain has 20 percent unemployment rate etc).

    But it won't happen as the Eurocrats ego is more important than ordinary peoples lives. The fact is that the Euro top cats do not care about the hoi polloi. They are not elected so have no contact with normal people. The biggest con the UK politicians tell us is we have to be in the EU so as to have access to the single market. This is complete garbage: the likes of China, Japan and South Korea are not part of the EU, yet appear to have no bother in accessing the single market. Hmmm...

  • Comment number 34.

    There is a fear in Germany that they are the ones who will have to bail out the Euro if they don't protect themselves.

    Acting in haste now would lead us down the road to a Federal Europe which was their intention from the beginning. This is only the excuse for pushing Europe further down this road.

    A sovereigh debt crisis in Europe is still very much on the cards and passing more laws will not be able to stop it from happening and will make it even more difficult for other countries to extract themselves from the eventual outcome.

    Whatever happens this is political for Merkel will make sure Germany is protected but as for the rest they will sink or swim.

    A strong Europe is ideal but in the present circumstances it is anything but.

    It is not before time that the EU is held to account for its out of control spending and wastefulness and that is what most of the ordinary people expect to see happen.

    It is essential that Britain fights its corner for many of the other countries are finding themselves in an increasingly weak position as they have to turn to the European Bank for bailouts.

  • Comment number 35.

    31#

    Indeed, TBG. Makes interesting reading. Certainly much less sneery.

  • Comment number 36.

    29. At 3:31pm on 27 Oct 2010, TheBlameGame wrote:

    Labour PC - OK, there is no one term for it all, with a definition in a dictionary, but it needs a quick term to avoid writing a novel for each post. Here's an example...

    'Equalities' Act. Drawn up by labour, giving a variety of privileges to politically active groups, which are far from equal. No surprise when it was labour doing it. But I thought they were voted out? The disapointment is that along with tory economics we still have the act, coming in to force under the juristiction of the tories.

    In effect we have the worst of both worlds: thatchers economics and browns PC. Governments usually have advantages and disadvantages - with the ConDem package I just can't see an up side.

  • Comment number 37.

    I think we're in a good time of re-evaluation about what we do and don't want to pay for. Hopefully this means that we have a more open and honest debate about what we want from Europe and can go into this with our eyes open. Rather like the Labour socialist agenda, we've had a chance to see both the upside and the downside of European federalisation, and none of us want to be in Greece's position.

  • Comment number 38.

    re: 32. At 3:42pm on 27 Oct 2010, rockRobin7
    "What would have happened had the opposite been reported? A disappointing GDP? .. quick cut to several bleak high streets up and down the land with single mothers of all races about to be turfed out of their properties by the wicked baby hating coalition parties"

    I refer the honourable gentleman to the answer I gave a few moments ago (post 24), ie before the figures got released, the BBC did exactly what you said, and told everyone that the economy was headed for disaster because of the nasty tory cuts.

    When the truth came out the BBC had to eat their words, and then they hid virtually all proof of their original totally false headline.

    How they can get away with saying:
    "UK economy headed for slowdown, official ONS figures will report later today"
    and then an hour later be forced to say:
    "UK economy grows much more/better than everyone expected, official ONS figures have reported today."
    I really don't know.
    To me that's just a blatent breach of impartiality, and I'd REALLY like to know where they got that original headline "news" from because it was totally untrue.

  • Comment number 39.

    #32
    Wrote, amongst other things.....

    "substituted rational analysis"

    When did you get so interested in rational analysis??

    The EU surely has provided some good things which are worth having?Statutory Holidays, sick pay, limits on the stupid hours of work that would be imposed on us if the limits were not there, the prevention of another world war, subsidies to the arts, subsidies to agricultural development, the idea that we can all live with diversity and not against it. Not saying its perfect, but binning it altogether isnt much use i dont think.

    Its a great time to be tolerant.......
    you probably dont get the concept RockRobin, but dont work too hard on it, lest it distract you from bashing the "workshy"

  • Comment number 40.

    Since the Tories took us into the Euro project, without consulting the British people through a referendum, allied to the antics of the Grantham spam hoarder, they have been in total disarray. The Lib /Dems will determine the government's policy on EU matters, supported by Kenneth Clark.
    The EU question has the potential to destroy the Coalition, what a wonderful prospect.

  • Comment number 41.

    I fail to see where people get the idea that the Tories are Eurosceptic as they were the party that paved the way to the lisbon treaty, when Major signed us up to the Maastricht treaty. It is as most things a ruse.
    Please stop, stop, stop, Hey why did you stop?
    Perhaps a former chairman of a young conservative association Mr Robinson you should know better than to spin this drivel.

    3/10 must try harder see me after class.

  • Comment number 42.

    24. At 2:52pm on 27 Oct 2010, labourbankruptedusall wrote:
    "The moral of the story is, however, that it is only in fairy stories that nothing changes year in,year out."

    Speaking of fairy stories, maybe the BBC can explain why it was that yesterday their headline was:
    "UK GDP economy figures expected to show growth slowdown"


    I don't think anyone from the broadcast only departments reads, much less explains.

    You could try here:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/aboutthebbc/2010/10/new-bbc-editorial-guidelines-l.shtml

    But despite promises, answers are a bit slow in coming there too.

  • Comment number 43.

    36 jon112dk

    'Equalities' Act. Drawn up by labour, giving a variety of privileges to politically active groups, which are far from equal.'


    Jon, you agitate against spending cuts which allegedly discriminate against certain sectors of the public and could be construed as unfair yet you don't support legislation which strives for equal pay and treatment of all genders, religions, etc. in the workplace.

    "giving a variety of privileges to politically active groups, which are far from equal."

    Who are you referring to as 'far from equal'?

  • Comment number 44.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 45.

    What with disarray over child benefit,policy on Europe, double dip recession, and now housing benefit, whoever suggested that we may about to be governed by novices appears to be coming true by the day.
    Doe's anybody know if The Bullingdon Club is affiliated to the CIU?

  • Comment number 46.

    It's not just the budget that's the problem, but the creeping interference with the way countries conduct their own business.

    Consider the EU's plans for extending maternity leave.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11560112
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11340407

    I wonder if this will really help female employees in the long run as intended - or maybe it will just put employers off hiring younger women in the first place (like the old days). Of course, discriminating against women applying for a job is illegal - but it's also hard to prove. Will this legislation encourage employers to take on more women? I doubt it.

  • Comment number 47.

    According to reports 'Del Boy' Dave is going to fight the new EU budget proposals. He looks to me as though he could not fight his way out of a paper bag.Is it not time the 'Murdoch Hacks' and alleged ' Telephone Hackers' running the governments press office told him that when you join a club you are expected to operate within the rules. What a fool.

  • Comment number 48.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 49.

    44. S

    "As regards the Beeb, I have the utmost faith in their impartiality but the more suspicious types could easily detect pro tory bias"


    Absolutely right S... even to the point where their DG, the impoverished Mark Thompson, describes the BBC as politically, "like the New Statesman", that well known right wing Tory supporting publication. ;)

  • Comment number 50.

    47. At 7:04pm on 27 Oct 2010, IPGABP1 wrote:
    According to reports 'Del Boy' Dave is going to fight the new EU budget proposals. He looks to me as though he could not fight his way out of a paper bag.Is it not time the 'Murdoch Hacks' and alleged ' Telephone Hackers' running the governments press office told him that when you join a club you are expected to operate within the rules. What a fool.

    ===============

    I'm a member of a club, we get to propose changes to the rules AND VOTE on them.

  • Comment number 51.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 52.

    32 RockRobin

    Might this explain the heavy moderation and premature closure of blogs ?

    Off topic is the usual excuse but other obviously off topic posts are left alone whilst anything that could be considered anti establishment seems to get the boot.

  • Comment number 53.

    #47 IPGABP1

    "when you join a club you are expected to operate within the rules"

    There are a number of issues with this.

    Firstly, rules can be changed and are not written in stone.

    Second - the current system allows for and encourages unelected officials to make up new rules without consulting voters. (Who elected 'President' Van Rompuy?)

    Let me draw your attention to the British Citizenship Test Study Guide 2005 edition, a wholly unintelligible document undoubtedly written by a committee of nameless civil servants - who see nothing wrong with unelected officials seizing more power for themselves.

    Written for new immigrants who presumably want to learn more about our political system, page 49 states: "The European Commission. Based in Brussels, the European Commission is rather like the Ciivil Service of the European Union, taking care of the day to day running of the organisation..."

    A rosy picture, don't you think? If our own Civil Servants had allowed the nation's accounts to be so badly administered that the Auditors wouldn't sign them off for 15 years on the trot, people might have started taking notice!

    And finally, 'we the people' are the real members. The last Labour government, helped by the duplicitous Lib Dems, signed away even more of our rights to self-governance without the promised referendum.

    The club 'rules' to which you so dearly cleave have no democratic legitimacy.

  • Comment number 54.

    19. fubar.
    Indeed its very interesting your european stance. Happy to rather be out than in. And you voted for the united kingdom independance party. Yet you live and work in belgium and sometimes work on european contracts.
    A sort of "i like the bits that suit me" position.





    rolls eyes.

  • Comment number 55.

    jon112dk
    Did you read the article or any of the recent reports or listen to cameron at pm questions. The whole point is he is not willing to pay the £6 billion euro budget increase and shame on the labour meps for voting for it. The 500,000 jobs predicted to be lost in the private sector is pure conjecture by PWC, albeit they may have some vested interest because I will wager the government has been putting a lot of work their way by way of consultancies etc over the last decade. 490,000 in the public sector may be lost primarily through natural wastage and voluntary redundancy and is no different to the job losses the private sector lost in 2008/2009 and if scaremongers like the labour party and people such as yourself did not continue to talk the economy down they are well able to take on more staff if things continue to improve. What part of £44 billion pound interest per year do you not understand?

    Yes and shame on Blair for giving away the rebate Thatcher arranged years ago. Just one more thing to blame the labour government for. To be honest I do not really care which party you voted for. If you don't bother voting why bother having an opinion on a blog such as this.

  • Comment number 56.

    Perhaps Mr Cameron is more European than we think. Acting upon the aparrent injustice that some people who receive housing benefit, live where others who don't receive housing benefit cant afford to live. So he proposes the super successful Parisian policy. Cleansing the wealthy London boroughs of anyone who isn't well paid and creating the possibility of Parisian style suburban ghettos.
    A govt deciding where people can live and basically forcing them from their homes. I'm sure this must have been done before but cant think where and when.

    Of course many will read right wing stories of imigrants who live in expensive areas paid for by the taxpayer. But no stories of the man who cares for his sick wife and works part time and relies on housing benefit. But of course in sweeping ideology land these cases are ignored.

  • Comment number 57.

    'Germany's constitutional court is demanding' ...

    No wonder Britian is drifting, also in terms of its 'constitutional crisis'.

    When is Britain going to get a 'Constitutional Court'? At least the Tories would be able to stop going around in circles and stop more internal destroying of itself over 'Europe'.

    A UK Constitutional Court would mean that the long overdue constitutional debate over Britain's internal and external constitutional relationships would start in the right place and assert the rights and privileges of all British people and not just the 'super-privileged'.

    Perhaps that is just the problem ... the 'super privileged' don't want it and won't allow it to happen?

  • Comment number 58.


    David Cameron should send you in to negotiate with the EU Nick. I am sure given the way you dealt with those protestors you could deal with a few pesky EU bureaucrats.

  • Comment number 59.

    Perhaps one day our government will finally ask us, the people, whether or not we actually want 'ever closer union'.

    Our continued membership of the EU Project (i.e. a supra-national superstate) should not be taken for granted.

  • Comment number 60.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 61.

    So there'll have to be another election. DCam hasn't made another decision, the housing benefit decision won't go anywhere - it isn't a decision. We'll be invaded by Europe if it carries on like this much longer, everybody will be so sick and tired of waiting for a decision to be made.

  • Comment number 62.

    @60

    Off topic before the rest of us have time to consider?

    I am sure you were referring to David Cameron picking up the phone to Europe and your previous comments about the Beebs lack of bias.

    If this goes I give up!

  • Comment number 63.

    Not been reading this thread for a while so this is not on topic I guess but I'm in the middle of watching Newsnight and thought I had to say that I'm appalled by the way the programme has tee'd up people for the right wing to knock down the fairway. An Asian family on sick benefit and an obviously lovely woman who couldn't hold her own against professional politicians (who had a son with 'ADHD') my god I could see the screaming Daily Mail readers loving the mockery. Really shocking that they'd do the housing benefit argument in this way.

    Yes there is an argument about whether public money should fund uncapped housing benefit paid towards private landlords but frankly, who is responsible for the ridiculous level of rent there (£425 a WEEK for a FLAT!!)? It is the private landlords charging HUGE amounts of money for those bricks and mortar surrounding a space on a piece of land they'll never own. Madness, utter madness.

  • Comment number 64.

    Being a semi-detached member of a club is not very fullfilling.

    The more committed members tend to treat you with less respect, especially if you also try and face two ways simultaneously.

    Recent events here in England, particularly the shambles over Defence shows that at least in that area, we need to integrate more tightly with Europe because we cannot afford to play our part with the big military powers any more on our own accord.

    Nobody can easily predict the future but this blogger senses that the day will come when we are practically begging to join the Euro, as we watch Germany in particular, powering ahead.

    PS. Sadly, thanks to Camerons worst decision so far, lives will probably be lost in the future because of a much diminished search and rescue (SAR) facility in coastal regions resulting from the MR4A Nimrod has being cancelled - apart from its vital intelligence comms 'glue-function', which I mentioned in a recent post - surely this capability could be cross-funded through the EU?

  • Comment number 65.

    Not been reading this thread for a while so this is not on topic I guess but I'm in the middle of watching Newsnight and thought I had to say that I'm appalled by the way the programme has tee'd up people for the right wing to knock down the fairway. An Asian family on sick benefit and an obviously lovely woman who couldn't hold her own against professional politicians (who had a son with 'ADHD') my god I could see the screaming Daily Mail readers loving the mockery. Really shocking that they'd do the housing benefit argument in this way.

    Yes there is an argument about whether public money should fund uncapped housing benefit paid towards private landlords but frankly, who is responsible for the ridiculous level of rent there (£425 a WEEK for a FLAT!!)? It is the private landlords charging HUGE amounts of money for those bricks and mortar surrounding a space on a piece of land they'll never own. Madness, utter madness.

  • Comment number 66.

    NO to the EU!!! It's getting to the stage where the negatives outweigh the positives of membership!!!

  • Comment number 67.

    Weren't Germany being hailed as a coalition that worked? Shouldn't we be moving on this too? Their's is forced upon them anyway for being naughty re WW2. It's just slightly hypocritical to then say it is something to aspire to. Make up yer mind DCam. I don't know why there's a coalition anyway in UK. NClegg said No to Labour if they did not getthe most seats, why didn't Cons say No to NClegg, as Con had most seats. The Gov wouldn't constantly be overruled because nobody would be siding with anyone.
    The real winner was Gordon Brown. This coalition arrangement is no more stable than Labour continuing to govern, both being subject to testing, and of course you can never prove 'what might have happened if...'
    Both the Cons and the LDems would have had a leadership election if there was no coalition, and yet GBrown went. Madness.
    LDems have less seats than Labour and lost seats too - so on that principle NClegg could have formed a coalition with Labour.
    What do they do in Germany?

  • Comment number 68.

    The problem for Britain is that if the EU does tighten up the rules on debt then Britain will be punished and fined because of the utter neglect of our finances under the last Labour government. Our budget deficit is one of the largest in Europe so we will be penalised the most. And had Labour still been in power clamouring for even more public spending then the fines would be greater still. We already give far too much charity to Europe. They don't need any more, especially when we are struggling to make ends meet ourselves.

  • Comment number 69.

    My problem with the UK's position is our inability to see ourselves a country in our own right. It seems that we are always dancing to a tune either played by the USA or by Europe.

    Surprisingly perhaps, Scotland appears to be the only part of the UK that has its own sense of identity and culture.

    On balance I'd rather be part of Europe than part of the USA.

  • Comment number 70.

    "Since the Tories took us into the Euro project, without consulting the British people through a referendum, allied to the antics of the Grantham spam hoarder, they have been in total disarray."

    I never thought you'd make me chuckle as much as you just did this morning Souter, I hope you're well and your ongoing recovery is progressing.

    "Grantham Spam Hoarder..." ...arf..!

  • Comment number 71.

    It's a slight tangent but it's interesting to note comments from fubar and absurdity highlighting BBC bias both within this blog and on Newsnight - as it happens apparently reflecting both ends of the political spectrum. Whilst it's broadly good to know Auntie is capable of reinforcing all biases it would be a darn sight better if the BBC got out of the business of manufacturing the news. In one sense Nick is right - the complexities of the UK and European positions are probably broadly irreconcilable - but the sitting on the sideline braying routine is wearing a bit thin. God forbid that the swingeing cuts due to strike us all in the new year should take a slice out of the BBC white noise department; mind you if they did perhaps the venerable organ would have to go back to being a provider of news, and stop being a perpetrator of unsubtle perceptual engineering.
    Here endeth the rant.

  • Comment number 72.

    "It is the private landlords charging HUGE amounts of money for those bricks and mortar surrounding a space on a piece of land they'll never own. Madness, utter madness."

    Indeed it is. However, turn the taps off, leave their places unoccupied for long enough and they'll soon change their tune. The current level of expenditure on this though is unsustainable and too easily abused. The famous case of the family in St Johns Wood where the husband the woman was seperated from was a lawyer and she had what, five or six brats and hence unable to work - what the hell was she doing in St Johns Wood at such public expense, especially when the family was originally from Bradford? Utter insanity.

    And remember, these are only the cases you hear about that the press seizes on. There will be many others.

  • Comment number 73.

    64#

    Nice idea, but the only thing any EU armed forces co-operation will be funding would be more jobs for the boys at a bureaucratic level. It is absolutely not needed, the apparatus of NATO already delivers the level of co-operation required in Europe. The EU absolutely does not need to get involved.

    Speaking of NATO, as there is with Common Air Defence, so there is with Maritime Patrol as well. What was previously covered by Nimrod is covered by other long range MPA assets from France, Norway, the US and other nations. So, to say that there is no long range maritime patrol or SAR cover within the UK's area of responsibility is not completely true. There is no LOCAL capability... but there is cover. How long it can be provided for (and what the reaction times are) is another matter.

    It is absolutely true, as an island nation, that we should have an MPA capability. But, by the same token, allowing BAe to take the you-know-what for over ten years on the Nimrod project was unforgiveable. The rope had to be snapped back in somehow as this company has been pulling our collective chains for far too long.

  • Comment number 74.

    56. At 9:00pm on 27 Oct 2010, lefty10 wrote:

    "Perhaps Mr Cameron is more European than we think. Acting upon the aparrent injustice that some people who receive housing benefit, live where others who don't receive housing benefit cant afford to live. So he proposes the super successful Parisian policy. Cleansing the wealthy London boroughs of anyone who isn't well paid and creating the possibility of Parisian style suburban ghettos."

    Damn right as well. But, I'm sure your bleeding heart would be quite happy to make up the shortfall for a separated lawyers wife with five kids to live in St Johns Wood doing nothing, three hundred miles away from her family, wouldnt it lefty?

    So long as its someone elses money you're spending, what with all that off-the-cards, cash-in-hand work you're doing....

    Why should anyone who isnt doing anything be entitled to live at public expense in Zone 1 or 2 of Central London when those who DO work there (and in some cases provide the type of vital public services you're forever bleating about - tube drivers, firemen, dustmen, police officers, shop workers) - cant afford to and have to commute, from anything upto thirty miles away, regardless of whether they've got a mortgage or whether they are in private rented accomodation? I worked in Zone 1 on three occasions in the last 12 years and the closest I could live, even as a contractor was in Pinner. When I was permanent, the closest I could live was fifty miles away in Bedfordshire.

    "A govt deciding where people can live and basically forcing them from their homes. I'm sure this must have been done before but cant think where and when."

    Oh dont be so damned melodramatic for gods sake. Far better to spend the money on providing these kinds of services for those who are in genuine need of accomodation in the area, such as the critical infrastructure workers than for every man jack who hasnt heard of contraception and isnt working.

    Or are you in favour of free taxpayers money for everyone, from all over the world? Yeah course you are, you're a "socialist".

  • Comment number 75.

    There's no right or wrong at present. The increase of Budget is simply out of question if you consider that Britain should either reduce the EU influence or leave altogether.
    But it makes certain sense in regards to investing in a wider influence and unification should UK decide to go forward in making a more influential part on it.
    The main problem does not lies with Conservatives or Lib-Dems but in the catastrophic failure from Labour in finally defining whether UK should have joined further the EU or actually left altogether. The failure to hold a referendum at any time of their government crucially before the Lisbon Treaty was a failure that will always be with them.
    To not repeat the failure of previous govern, the actual one needs to make one single crucial decision: Will or will NOT the UK remain in the EU?
    Once this decision is made either by referendum on internally, all other decisions will follow: budget, sphere of influence, general policies, etc..
    It is long overdue the need for the UK to "leave the wall where it is sat" and take action on its future either by being a party as influential as Germany and France for example (or even more...) in the EU or by living altogether and having an independent life.
    Either will bring some disadvantages but will also carry a lot more advantages.
    Time to decide.

  • Comment number 76.

    54#

    I live and work in Belgium because your dumb Labour administration decided that it was perfectly OK to import half of Eastern Europe and India to undercut most of the professionals in my line of work you fool. There are 60,000 unemployed home grown IT professionals in the UK lefty, and all the time, we're shipping more in.

    I work over here for an international organisation on an international project using skills gained in a very niche sector. I pay my taxes over here, I have effectively emigrated. The EU, and membership of it, has absolutely no bearing on my employment whatsoever. This is between me and the Belgian exchequer. And there are tens of thousands of other Brits and other nationals as well over here in the professions doing exactly the same, putting in a damn sight more than they take out of the system, rather than importing the worlds dregs on the cheap like the UK is doing, to keep the client state in Dorritos, SCS Sofas and Jeremy Kyle DVD's.

    The choice was simple... Stay in England and end up unemployed on the scrap heap thanks to Gordon and look forward to the possibility of five more years of his boom (ka-boom, more like) "economics" or go to Belgium and earn the thick end of 600 quid a day and get a decent quality of life.... Hmmmm, what a difficult choice that was...

  • Comment number 77.

    Could I have my expenditure capped please and maybe a small rebate on the 62 years of NI payments or maybe a small raise of the mip that has just been cut or what about ??? I could go on and on. Straighten your back man. Stop whinging and start getting your facts right. you are coming out of a reccesion and your country is booming now? 0.8% Pay up and shut up.

  • Comment number 78.

    Wow how absurd.

    "but is the UK part of the solution, is it contributing ideas...Nope, it's just whining - part of the overall problem"

    We have a solution, we've had it for years. If the EU wants to fix it's budget it needs to reform the CAP.

    Problem solved. Given that the CAP was €49.8bn in 2006 and has in all likelihood grown since - and shouldn't exist for a huge list of really obvious reasons to anybody with an IQ over 12 they need 6Bn more or whatever it is?

    There, UK contributing ideas. We contributed it years ago and it's still being contributed. Until the cap is reformed the EU budget should not be allowed to increase - at all costs.

    Given Germany pays more into it that us and German taxpayers hate it more than us - I can't understand how it isn't Germany's line too.

  • Comment number 79.

    73

    Must be a number of ex-Defence Ministers and ex-PMs, one in particular, who have done well out of that company.
    Amazing what you can get away with under the protection afforded by "national security".

  • Comment number 80.

    I am confused.
    The Lisbon Treaty was sold to the peoples of Europe as nothing to do with the failed 'constitution' but merely a tidying up exercise. The Lisbon Treaty was supposed to be about making the E.U more efficient, we now find that this increased 'efficiency' requires a large increase in the budget and extra staff and resources. There lies my confusion, how can this be described as more efficient.
    Not only that it appears the powers that be were fully aware that this increased 'efficiency' would cost more and had already agreed budget increases in advance. I cannot remember any proponent of the Lisbon Treaty explaining that when it was introduced

  • Comment number 81.

    "mind you if they did perhaps the venerable organ would have to go back to being a provider of news, and stop being a perpetrator of unsubtle perceptual engineering."

    Hear hear. Well said. I dont want to hear anyones angle or conjecture, just tell me what happened. Just looking at the differences between Robinson and Hewitt's reporting of the same event for the same organisation on the same day, highlights it beautifully, I think. Personally, I think Hewitt's reporting has the better balance. But thats just me.

  • Comment number 82.

    @John_from_hendon

    "Let us all hope that pragmatism overcomes bigotry! Picking a fight, as Mrs Thatcher so often did, just harms the UK"

    What are you talking about? It was Maggie's fight that got us the rebate! The same rebate that Tony decided to reduce. When it comes to Europe, one has to be tough. Tony Blair's soft, negotiating approach was well meaning but to be fair (I'm not being party political) didn't get the UK much from Europe.

  • Comment number 83.

    The common market was and still is a good idea. But can anybody honestly list for me the real benefits of the political union?

    There's disagreement over Kosovo, there's disagreement on how to deal with Russia, there's disagreement on the relationship with the US, there's disagreement of how to deal with China and India, there's a huge waste on subsidising farmers (CAP). How can anybody say that the political union has actually improved Britain's standing in the world? On top of that, we have 4 executives! Yes, the council of ministers, the European president, the European Comission, the rotating European presidency. Who is in charge!? What a load of unelected bureaucracy.

    Why can't the UK be like Norway or Switerland, i.e. part of the common market but not of the political union?

    How can we accept the rulings of the European commission who nobody voted? Even the parliament is not entirely democratic as what MEPs of other countries can be foisted to us against the will of the british people.

    It's time to accept that a federal union cannot work because there is no common identity, and naturally most countries have different ideas about how should foreign policy be carried out. It's better to have separate treaties when cooperation is necessary, such as the one we're doing now with France in regards to military cooperation.

  • Comment number 84.

    When the BBC says that Cameron is 'pleading' with the EU (despite the fact that it is the EU begging for more money) and Robinson calls him a 'push-me-pull-you' (something he would never have dreamed of saying of Brown had he still been PM) it is not hard to see which side the BBC is on.

    And what is the pro-Labour/pro-EU BBC stance on the fact that if our continental friends get their way they will fine countries heavily for exceeding the budget deficit by more than 3%, given that their Labour chums got it up to 11% and would now no doubt be increasing it even further were they still in office?

  • Comment number 85.

    Nick Ridley was right - its a racket but now its a FrancoGerman racket hell bent on dominating the rest of Europe. Delors has not gone away - the assault is just more subtle. Thatcher produced results but did not turn the tide - upsetting our partners is as much for their good as ours. The European machine needs to be 50% smaller, accountable and without the CAP.

  • Comment number 86.

    83-84

    Well said, good comments, totally agree.

  • Comment number 87.

    I think the thing that bothers me most about the Europe expense matter is this (taken directly from the BBC article):

    "Labour's Wayne David accused Mr Cameron of "vacuous rhetoric" on Europe and said he should demand a budget freeze"

    I assume this is in the same way that Labour should have demanded a budget freeze on the EU for the last 13 years, yet made no effort to do so? Conclusive proof that politicians will only say the right thing, rather than actually do it.

    Nevertheless, I have no doubt being an EU member provides us with some benefits (not that we, who pay for it, actually see many of these) but sooner or later it has to be accepted that enough is enough. If those on high want the voters to accept the EU machine then perhaps we should be given a say in who runs it (with a properly elected EU leader for example) and they should actually tell us what they plan to do before we vote, as opposed to how it is now whereby they simply sit in power and bark orders to the populace.

    And as for why the EU should have a say in the UK budgets (as it is pushing for and as no doubt will end up happening) is utterly beyond me. Methinks our MPs and MEPs may want to start doing some work on behalf of those that put them on the gravy train sometime soon...

  • Comment number 88.

    Kill the hot air. Referendum.

  • Comment number 89.

    What if he fails?

    At least he was prepared to have the debate. At least he's not handing back the rest of our rebate that Tony Blair gave away for no reform.

    This is the absurdity of the BBC's position and that of the labour party and its apologists. labour promised so much and never delivered; the ducked every major issue instead opting to jet hose the problem with cash.

    So the EU referendum was ducked.

    The reform of the NHS was ducked.

    Reform of public services generally was ducked.

    A second United Nations resolution was ducked.

    Pension reform was ducked.

    Infrastructure spending was ducked.

    The integrated transport strategy was ducked.

    So many years to do so much with so much money and yet so little achieved when the asnwer could be avoided by the customary jet hosing with cash of the police, the NHS, the EU, schools.


    And we are supposed to take fright that David Cameron is prepared to get into a discussion about these issues?

    Don't make me laugh; he's the first person with any spine to hold the office of prime minister for twenty years.

    It's a great time to be a tory...

  • Comment number 90.

    No76 Fubar,
    Do you think it may have been the 'Dumb Tory Administration' that signed The Single Market Agreement rather than the 'Dumb Labour' one?

  • Comment number 91.

    17. At 1:51pm on 27 Oct 2010, Poprishchin wrote:
    'Not forward, not back'
    Round in circles then.

    ====================================

    And here's me thinking it was dithering. Never mind.

  • Comment number 92.

    1. All prime ministers frequently have to find a balanced position between opposing points of view. This is inherent in politics. Some people always want more of whatever it is and other people want less. I don't see that Cameron is in a particularly unusual situation justifying the "pushmipullyu" description, nor speculation about breaking up the Lib-Con coalition.

    2. I calculated, according to todays BBC news report on the EU budget, that the UK pays 15 billion pnds pa to Brussels, which is 2.1% of UK govt spend. Assuming this figure is correct, while this is obviously a substantial figure, it is hardly the overwhelming cost which the Daily Mail and other anti-EU folks pretend. It would be interesting to know how much of our GDP and employment depends on membership of the EU. My guess is well over 15bn, (UK GDP is 1400 billion. So our budget payment is just 1% of our GDP) so we would probably lose financially be leaving the EU.

    I wish the relative size of our EU payment was more often stated by the media and politicians so ordinary people understand it more clearly.

    3. I fully support that the EU budget shows zero or small growth this year. The EU looks very irresponsible with a 6% increase at this time.

    4. Regarding heavy financial penalties for countries which break the eurozone rules over debt, is a truly broke government going to be able to pay large fines ??!! Fines will just worsen the situation. It is like fining someone for being bankrupt.

  • Comment number 93.

    No85 Michael,
    If I remember right Nick Ridley was sacked for his stupid anti EU comments. He did worse than that in preparing the ground for his son/relative to become chairman of Northern Rock. What a disaster the Ridley's turned out to be.

  • Comment number 94.

    #82,#83. lordsandwich wrote: précis: I hate my neighbours - even if by doing so it hurts me.

    70% of our trade is with the other members of the EU. Presently bankers steal quite a lot of the value we might get from that trade! You must work for bankers, or you have be conned by them!

    To have a just trade market without an equivalent legal framework just exports jobs to the least common denominator - it is a beggar my neighbour policy and is just daft. You apparently want this! (Again you must work for a bank!)

    Historically the UK benefited hugely from our Empire and that was because that we not only exploited the Empire but we also has a single currency. We need to be inside the Euro for our manufacturing businesses to gain their proper returns and so that we have a hope of re-balancing our Nation's business and commerce. Only a Banker gains from the instability of floating currencies - so you must really love bankers.

    As to Mrs Thatcher - her handbagging of he fellow Europeans hugely damaged this country by excluding and marginalising the UK she might have won a rebate but she lost the war!!!!!

    Your write simply nonsense to claim that we have no common identity - such a comment is just garbage and one which I and many other have refuted extensively so I will not bother to do so yet again! It is the argument that I summarised in my précis of your contributions.

  • Comment number 95.

    90#

    Mate, I have no problem with the single market and the free movement of labour within the EU. Genuinely, I dont. It works over here in Belgium.

    Problem is though mate, that its not just Europeans we're competing against. When you combine it with offshoring to the subcontinent, particularly to big outsourcers and have "rules" like the widely abused Intra-Company Transfer scheme, say nothing for the porousness of some of the outer-facing EU borders on some of the Schengen countries, then you end up cutting your own domestic industry off at the knees.

    I heard something this morning about the online industries providing about 8 percent of GDP these days. Now, thats everything from software as a service, to online gambling, to other online services, suddenly coming out of almost nowhere to be half as productive as the City was at its height (20% GDP).

    I dont consider free movement of labour within the EU to be the issue here mate. Its the letting every man and his dog in between '97 and '09 to cement multiculturalism, buy votes and rub the right's nose in it that I've got the problem with. Nothing to do with Maastricht :o)

  • Comment number 96.

    Is it just me or would others find it helpful if someone at the BBC could explain what practical options are open to Mr Cameron?

    All of his (or his 'spinners') words mean very little unless someone can explain what he could do if he wanted to.

    Nick do you know anywhere on the BBC site I could find this sort of analysis?

  • Comment number 97.

    If Cameron wants to borrow Maggie's handbag, all he needs to do is make it clear that if he doesn't get what he wants, he'll put it to a referendum.

    I wish we could have one, if only to stop all the complaining about whether we should embrace the EU project or leave - at least if we've all voted then there will be an answer either way and the losers can shut up or leave. Having said that, I'm sure the sceptics would, if they lost, invoke a grand EU tradition of insisting on repeating the vote until they got what they wanted. The philes would be in a harder position, because once out, I'm not sure that the EU would let us back in even if we voted to rejoin.

  • Comment number 98.

    6 "Yet he is willing to pay out over SIX BILLION POUNDS per year to the EU"

    I suspect that Cameron is not 'willing' but 'having' because of commitments Labour left behind.

    Obviously your vexed at the "SIX BILLION POUNDS". Presumably you'll be writing a letter of the complaint to the cretins who preceeded the current Government and put us in this position in the first place?

  • Comment number 99.

    Oh and in my opinion there are a lot of blow hards in this discussion who seem bang on about a situation before properly thinking it through.

    Fubar,John,Dean,RockRobin what do you think are the practical options available to Mr Cameron and which option would you suggest he follows? Seems to me until you answer that the rest is just empty rhetoric.

  • Comment number 100.

    15 "I'll also say if he ever does anything I agree with."

    Do you agree with the proposals to increase the personal tax allowance to £7,475 next April with the intention of getting it to £10,000 as soon as practicable? (much bigger increase then Labour ever managed).

    Do you agree with the lowering of the rate at which 40% tax starts? This means that ONLY basic rate taxpayers will benefit from the above personal tax allowance? (unlike the 20%/10% tax fiasco which left very low paid people worse off than those earning £20k more than them)

    Do you agree with the lowering of the amount that can be contributed to a pension tax free from £250,000 a year to $50,000 a year and the lowering of the lifetime pension pot limit from £1.8m to £1.5m. Neither of these things were done by Labour and they ONLY hit the wealthy.

    Or do you think they should have left things as they were. Under Labour, when the rich were better off than under the above proposals?

 

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