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serf - what's an oxymoron? surely 'moron' gets the idea across well enough?

Thank you, DavidB. I'd appreciate any links you can find to data supporting your assertions.

I'd also appreciate someone addressing these points:

Finally, I'd love to hear how realistic you think it is for Tory policy to change to supporting EU withdrawal between now and the next election, and the effects of an internal debate spotlighted in the media. How much risk would you be willing to take that the Europhile left will win the next election after such a debate (succesful or otherwise) with us as a one-issue party?

However my choice is pragmatic and I believe that ultimately to be pro EU and a Conservative is basically an oxymoron.

If you were presented with evidence that the withdrawing from the EU would be marginally disadvatageous to us, would you still want to leave? I'm trying to find out just how pragmatic you really are.

True Blue - buy a computer in Europe £1000.
Rest of the world $1000.

Cause - compulory 50% EU tarrif on all electronic goods.

Source of info - PC World, Dell Computers when you ask why we have to pay 50% more for everything than the rest of the world.

Boy - you really don't even know the basics about the EU, do you?

Why would a debate within the Conservative party about our future in the European Union make us automatically a 'one issue party' True Blue? This is yet another of the assertions you make that has no evidence at all to back it.

True Blue - buy a computer in Europe £1000.
Rest of the world $1000.

Cause - compulory 50% EU tarrif on all electronic goods.

Source of info - PC World, Dell Computers when you ask why we have to pay 50% more for everything than the rest of the world.

Boy - you really don't even know the basics about the EU, do you?

No - I must phone PC World and have them
tell me. That really explains a lot about your views - thank you. I made a serious request for information - I was not making a debating point.

Please can you, or any other interested party please point me at information about thess 50% import tarrifs on US imported electronic goods. It's useful data, and I'd like to see it.

Why would a debate within the Conservative party about our future in the European Union make us automatically a 'one issue party' True Blue? This is yet another of the assertions you make that has no evidence at all to back it.

If we backed EU withdrawal, that is what the election would revolve around. The best analogy is Labour's appalling "longest suicide note in history" made Labour's support of unilateral disarmament the election (losing) issue. We can't have a manifesto which says "...and by the way, we'll withdraw from the EU." That would be the issue, and it would our issue.

If we backed EU withdrawal
You don't have to back EU withdrawal, in fact I would encourage Cameron to campaign as a '2', a reformist eurosceptic who sees staying in as the right way forward.

He can then combine this with a referendum to show that he is in favour of staying in and letting the people decide.

Problem solved. Cameron shows his pro-EU credentials and the country gets its referendum.

Well, I've just looked up the duty on computers imported from the States, and guess what - it's 0%.

Source:
http://ec.europa.eu/comm/taxation_customs/dds/cgi-bin/tarduty?ProdLine=80&Type=0&Action=1&Lang=EN&SimDate=20060510&YesNo=1&Indent=-1&Flag=1&Test=tarduty&Periodic=0&Download=0&Taric=8471300000&Country=US%2F0400&Day=10&Month=05&Year=2006

You can look up any other tariffs you like there, too, and in future - check your facts. If you are paying too much for computers, I suggest you avoid your contact at PC World in future, as the are obviously lying to you.

TB,
Why would you disagree with Cameron offering a referendum and announcing that he will campainging to stay in?

Democratic and pro-EU. So if the result is as you expect, Cameron would be vindicated in his view, will be championed for embracing a clear demcratic approach to set Britain's relationship with the EU for the next generation.

The question could simply be:
Do you want Britain to remain a member of the EU?

..and the end of UKIP too!

Why would you disagree with Cameron offering a referendum and announcing that he will campainging to stay in?

What possible interest would he have in doing that? It's a bad idea for all the reasons I've stated in previous posts, possibly even worse. There is no strong objection or majority to leave the EU, and it's not an important issue for most people, and, in answer to your question, no party supports a "yes" and for extremely good reasons, because it is a poisonously bad idea economically, politically and diplomtically.

Would you like a referendum on abortion? Capital punishment? The monarchy? Why not?

Again a whole bunch of assertions.What is the point of debating with you?

TB,

2 questions for you.

1: Which issue to you believe has been most divisive and damaging within the Tory Party over the past 15 years?

a: Europe
b: Abortion
c: Capital punishement
d: Monarchy

2: Which party has caused most harm to the tory Party, taking 16% of the vote in the euro elections and thus weakening the Tory voice in europe?

a: UKIP
b: UK anti-abortion party
c: UK capital punishment party
d: UK anti-monarchy party.

You see, I only want a referendum on the issue that is both most divisive and obviously a big enough issue for a single issue party of fruitcakes to poll 16% in the Euro elections.

Any sensible strategy requires options.

The EU could become all we want it to become - a free trading area of sovereign independent states. This outcome is unlikely to happen, but if we leave the EPP and start campaigning for what we want rather than sitting in perpetual silence, there is a small chance that we might succeed.

If on the other hand the EU continues to drag the continent down into oblivion, economically and politically, we should leave the EU.

Any policy which says we are committed to the EU is wrong. We should not be committed to it. On the contrary we should keep our options open, and act in the interests of our citizens.

If we must commit ourselves one way or the other, then we must leave ASAP. The evidence is that our economy would do far batter out of it than inside it. We could reestablish democratic accountability in the UK, which would stop the growth of parties such as the BNP and the increase in dangerous racist politics.

I've emailed Helmer's office for info on the tarriffs. Roger is in Washington this week, so his harrassed assistant will do some research for us. He'd love to get us out of the EU.

Again a whole bunch of assertions.What is the point of debating with you?

You have comprehensively failed to address any of my points. What exactly is it that you are referring to now? Where have I made either an unwarranted assumption, or not supported it with data or by analogy?


I've emailed Helmer's office for info on the tarriffs. Roger is in Washington this week, so his harrassed assistant will do some research for us. He'd love to get us out of the EU.

Thanks for this, but I think the EU tariff calculation site makes this a moot point, unless you can find some reasoned unaligned overview. You can pick any category you like on that site and find out what the duty is.

1: Which issue to you believe has been most divisive and damaging within the Tory Party over the past 15 years?

a: Europe
b: Abortion
c: Capital punishement
d: Monarchy

You avoided my question altogether. You've ignored the many reasons I've put forward why it is a bad idea to have a referendum.

DavidB, I'll try to address all of your points tomorrow.

TB did you look up the TARIC - that is duties payable on goods coming from outside the EU? Or the site for calculating duties sourced within the EU?

On the TARIC desktop computers are listed under 8471 4990 00, and laptops are listed under 8471 3000 00.

The TARIC is impenetrable to a member of the public. That's why I asked for Helmer's assistance.

From Patrick Minford, who says that (to paraphrase) the EU relies less on specific duties but more on informal agreements with foreign governments and manufacturers.

Generally the EU prefers to use the threat of raising tarrifs to keep volume of imports lower, and prices high enough to protect EU manufacturers.

He writes 'because it is not the result of a specific action but rather of a threat, it is convenient to a protectionist bureaucracy both in its ease of imposition and in its non-transparency to the general public.' No wonder we are all struggling to understand what's going on.

PC's he lists as being 24% more expensive in the UK, brown goods 66%, white good 11% and small domestic appliances 55% higher than world prices.

He estimates that the tarrif equivalent in the UK due all trade barriers erected and maintained on all manufactured goods by the EU, is to add 50% to their price. He quotes the same figure for food. We pay 50% more than world prices, as well as funding the CAP and the CFP.

He points out that as the higher price is paid to foreign manufacturers, the benefit goes not to the UK government or the EU, but to other countries. It would save the UK billions to get out of this system, and as we have a relatively smaller manufacturing sector than say Germany, our economy is significantly disadvantaged by it.

In total Minford estimates we would be £200 billion a year better off out of the EU.

William, I don't want to drink from your well. And if TARIC is impenetrable to you, I'm sorry to say that you've weakened your case.

As an IT importer I say that it is ludicrous to suggest that the EU has some underhand method to limit the volume of trade I do with my Taiwanese and Chinese counterparts. Duty has some impact but closer to 5%, nothing like 50%. The reason that computer equipment is more expensive in the UK is simply that our market is smaller and our costs (taxation, transport, rent, wages, etc) are higher. Our American division sells at reduced prices because A) it is forced to by competition and B) the scales make it possible.

Thank you for your expert opinion TD. I cannot get TARIC rates to work on the website so I am a dunderhead as you say.

As you see from the piece just above yours, I did a bit of research last night (when else is there time?) and found that the way the EU keeps prices of manufactured goods higher is not so much by obvious tarrifs - although I note you say that they exist at around 5% or thereabouts, but more the threat of more intervention if prices go too low, or volumes too high.

We saw the Mandelson intervention last year when China upped its export volume of textiles and shoes from Vietnam. This was presented on the news as something exceptional and all to do with Mandelson who stopped the shipments and froze them in the prots for months - when from Minford it appears to be the normal procedure for the EU and nothing exceptional at all.

We are forced to pay more because EU Trade Commissioners consistently won't accept low prices, or high volumes.

Are you selling an unbranded computer etc and maybe you are able to manoevre around the system a little more easily than Sony or Dell.

From reading Minford, it appears that if you did drop your prices in Europe and go for volume, you might get a knoock on the door - or your Chinese/Taiwanese suppliers might.

I think you might find, if you tried that there is a hidden category C as to why your European margins are kept higher than in the rest of the world....the threat of EU intervention.

I admit my knowledge is that of the amateur and yours is that of the expert. But if you take what Patrick Minford is saying, and what you are saying, they are not incompatible. In fact your information seems to confirm exactly what he is saying. And I thought I was late to bed!

Just for interest TDM, what is the price difference for a typical PC between the USA and Europe? In Asia I found that I could buy a top of the range PC for about £400 which here costs around £600/800. It came from Taiwan.

I would query the idea that wages are lower in the USA than the UK. We have a lot more EU-enforced employment regulation now which makes employing people a nightmare for small companies but wages cannot be that much different. Medicare is the big employment cost over there I believe. There's less red tape though.

Sales Tax is usually around 5% there compared to our 17.5% VAT, which we can allow for.

Why do you operate a UK-only operation in Europe? Isn't the EU single market working for you - and if not, why not?

If I was in that business I would go for the whole European continent, lower prices to the point where you got big volumes, and become a billionaire. If you want to hire me as a strategist....................

but then again, Mandelson and his chums stand in the way. You wouldn't want to run the risk of them moving in on you would you - or have any more staff than you absolutely have to have with EU regulations growing at 10% a year, while demand is static.

As you say, it's not the pure tarrif that stops you. But something does.


1. Protectionist trade policies against developing World

If we left the EU, are you suggesting that we unilaterally reduce tariffs and duties for developing nations? The EU wouldn't. The economic consequences would be very cheap goods dumped on our doorstep. Minford suggests that opening up our markets would completely destroy our residual manfucturing capabilities, making us into a service economy supported by lots of imported labour. This is a good libertarian trade model, and what he suggests will happen.

2. Tariffs damage non-EU trade

I'm not sure what you mean by this. Do you mean it is harder to export stuff from outside the EU into the EU zone? Do you believe in completely free trade? What do you think will happen if we remove all tariffs while the EU keep theirs?

3. It costs more than we get back

Net cost of membership - £50 a year. If we were a bit more clever about claiming grants and matching funds, it would be more. Net benefit, much greater than that in terms of trade and labour - free access to large, convenient markets, growing all the time. The massive problem is CAP - it needs root and branch reform.


4. Qualified majority voting means that a democratic government may be forced to do something it doesn't want to do
5. QMV also leads to back room bartering and dodgy deals

The veto (or threat of veto) has enabled us to protect our national interest pretty well. I think the accession of new member states will enable us to get our way with majority support.


6. It is too Nationalistic; flags, anthem, day, Citizenship etc

I think there is a potential problem with nationalism - but it isn't from the EU. Very few people feel passionate about being an EU citizen - it's a fairly new, artificial construct. Nationalism is what causes some people to do things against their own country's economic interest, to promote a feeling of independence.


7. It will cause friction with America and a bi-polar world is never safe

I think the idea that world is bipolar is a nonsense, with China, Russia, India and the Middle East all at the table. What do the Americans think? Consistently since the war, Presidents have expressed a desire for Britain to integrate more closely with Europe, although more recently, Bush thought that the constitution was a step to far. So, the US would prefer us as part for Europe. I agree with their appraisal of further integration.


8. It can never be democratic as it lacks a coherent demos

Are you saying you want it to be more or less democratic?


9. One size doesn't fit all; why have 25 mediocre comprimised nations in a union when you can have 25 happy ones?

By enshrining cooperative principles in mutually agreed law, and by the principle of subsidiarity, the 25 nations will (and do) benefit economically and polictically. The reason the Eastern European nations are queueing up to join this supposedly moribund union is because they can see the massive benefits.


10. EU will not reform, it is too good for France which has a veto and will never give that up, and even then QMV would mean total stalemate

We'll see. If we don't try, we'll never know. The new member states can be persuaded to join our cause - in fact, making allies there is exactly what leaving the EPP is all about.


What we could do out of the EU;
1. Sign free trade as Australia, Norway etc

I think I have convered Norway, but in summary, we would have to enact EU law, including much of the nasty social legislation in order to be able to export to the EU. I don't want to be part of a fax democracy.

2. Rebuild farming and fishing

We need to get our fishing rights back and reform CAP. If we attempt to do that by leaving the EU, do you really think they'd let us reclaim most of the North Sea? I don't think so.


3. Save money and spend it better
4. Work positively with Europe instead of always being an awkward partner

I can't think of a more awkward partner for Europe than a UK which has withdrawn from the EU. Business would suffer - head offices would relocate, and we would have no say in policy we would have to implement.


Polls;
24pc want total withdrawal full stop
35pc want EU membership but with the EU only as a free trade bloc; the EU isn't a trade bloc, that's EFTA

This was a very badly worded poll. The only way you can make the EU a free trade block is by reform and renogotiation - if we left, this certainly wouldn't happen. It does not equate to wanting to leave the EU. In fact, it means 56% of the respondents support Conservative policy.

Policy;
1. 'Renegotiate' means nothing really

I have no idea what you mean. Do you mean renegotiation is impossible, or something else?

2. Policy could be settled by party ballot

A very bad idea. It's up to the MPs to listen to the grassroots, and then put policy together. That's why we select them. The views of actual members of parties are usually more extreme than those who consistently vote for us. I suspect there is a majority amongst members and activists for withdrawal, but another poster pointed at a poll showing that Conservative voters are against withdrawal. If we used the referendum method of determining policy we would be the Empire Loyalist, String 'Em Up, Beat Them, it Never Did Any Harm to Me, No More Immigration Ever party.


3. Withdrawal only by national referendum

This would certainly be one of the many preconditions, none of which will be fulfilled.


4. Free/Fair trade policy to be highlighted
5. Would show Cameron has changed the party
6. We're changing other policies so why not?

It would be a change, but a retrograde step. It would remind people of the 2001 election. Current Conservative policy enjoys the reluctant support of even most withdrawlists. A purely Europhobic policy would alientate most of the electorate, and split the party.

It may be that renegotiation fails, and then this issue will rear its ugly head again, but until then, we need to accept the party line and move on to other issues. Anyone who can't do this would be happier in another party.

we need to accept the party line and move on to other issues. Anyone who can't do this would be happier in another party.

Anyone who has dared to criticise those who have resigned from the party and offered advice like 'fight for change within' etc, please take the time to absord TB's advice as it is becoming ever more regular.

More and more, members are being told 'if you don't like it, sod off', then when those members do just that, they are accused of being cowards for not staying and 'fighting for change from within'.

Intolerance to those who do not agree with the current direction is noticably increasing here and is in line with the local election results showing strengthening support but in a narrower base.

Anyone who has dared to criticise those who have resigned from the party and offered advice like 'fight for change within' etc, please take the time to absord TB's advice as it is becoming ever more regular.

You are misrepresenting my views again. My view on this topic is as follows:

If your view of the EU informs everything you think about politics, and withdrawing from the EU is an essential part of your ideology, then the Conservative party is not a suitable home for you. Why?

1. Conservative party policy is, and will remain, being part of the EU. Do any withdrawlists on this list think there is the slightest chance of this changing before the next election? No amount of harranging, setting up campaigns, debating on the internet is going to make any difference to this policy.

2. On this basis, the presence of people in the party for whom withdrawal is essential is bad for both them (they won't get what they want), and us (we are less likely to get elected)

If, however, you are in favour of withdrawal but can live with current party policy as the best of a bad bunch then by all means stay. From a pragmatic point of the view, the best result for you (out of those that are even vaguely possible) would be an overall majority for the Conservative party at the next election. Any other result would lead to closer integration into Europe for certain.

There are a number of Conservative policies I do not wholeheartedly support, but the overall package offered is far better than any other party. EU withdrawal is not, and will not be part of that package. If the Conservative party hit one of my button issues (for example banning abortion or legalising capital punishment as a fixed policy), I would take my vote elsewhere.

TrueBlue, judging by your comments I would question your chosen colour scheme, or is it some kind of chameleon multi-coloured blue?

"If we left the EU, are you suggesting that we unilaterally reduce tariffs and duties for developing nations?"
Bi-laterally of course. We drop them, they drop them, simple. Like Australia, Norway, NAFTA etc.

"The EU wouldn't."
They would, or we'd tariff them. Even Blair says we could [see my earlier post's quotes].

"The economic consequences would be very cheap goods dumped on our doorstep. Minford suggests that opening up our markets would completely destroy our residual manfucturing capabilities, making us into a service economy supported by lots of imported labour. This is a good libertarian trade model, and what he suggests will happen."
It's called a free market.

"2. Tariffs damage non-EU trade"
Since the EU taxes imports to the EU, other countries do the same to us, damaging our exports.

"Do you believe in completely free trade?"
Yes. Don't you?

"What do you think will happen if we remove all tariffs while the EU keep theirs?"
We won't remove tariffs until the EU does for us; result, bi-lateral agreement for no tariffs.

"Net cost of membership - £50 a year."
Per person that is;
£50 x 60 million people = £3,000,000,000
Plus increased costs from quotas/tariffs, an estimated £12/week on the average food bill etc. Costs are hard to calculate as much is through increased costs due to limited supplies, this 3bln figure from the FCO website is just the Treasury's bill!

"If we were a bit more clever about claiming grants and matching funds, it would be more."
The budget simply isn't in our favour as we are a successful country since Thatcher and her Conservatives made Britain a free market.

"Net benefit, much greater than that in terms of trade and labour - free access to large, convenient markets, growing all the time."
As in free trade, just with free trade we could have free access to European, Asian, African and American markets too. The only benefit is the single market trade bloc which Norway has without the EU.

"The massive problem is CAP - it needs root and branch reform."
It needs abolition. Replace it with land management environment grants and a free market in food.

"The veto (or threat of veto) has enabled us to protect our national interest pretty well. I think the accession of new member states will enable us to get our way with majority support."
Get our way with majority support, over a minority which will be overruled. I do not want my country to govern other countries full stop. And what when it goes against us? QMV is a political roulette wheel, gambling our future in the hope it goes our way.

"Very few people feel passionate about being an EU citizen - it's a fairly new, artificial construct."
Something we agree on.

"Nationalism is what causes some people to do things against their own country's economic interest, to promote a feeling of independence."
Yes, like sell our sovereignty to a failing project that damages our trade with those outside of it. Euro-Nationalism.

"I think the idea that world is bipolar is a nonsense, with China, Russia, India and the Middle East all at the table. What do the Americans think? Consistently since the war, Presidents have expressed a desire for Britain to integrate more closely with Europe, although more recently, Bush thought that the constitution was a step to far. So, the US would prefer us as part for Europe. I agree with their appraisal of further integration."
I don't care what the US prefers. I am only concerned that a US-EU rift would open what with France etc.

"Are you saying you want it to be more or less democratic?"
More, but it never can. Look up democracy, it's more than just elections.

"The reason the Eastern European nations are queueing up to join this supposedly moribund union is because they can see the massive benefits."
Of free trade, not union. That's why they are positive with the new grouping idea, and why several are members of the Europe of Nations group.

"[Reform] We'll see. If we don't try, we'll never know."
True, but we have tried. Even with Thatcher in Number Ten the project continued.

"I think I have convered Norway, but in summary, we would have to enact EU law, including much of the nasty social legislation in order to be able to export to the EU. I don't want to be part of a fax democracy."
No, we wouldn't. We'd not need to do anything we don't already do, a lot less in fact. We don't enact US law, or Norwegian law, or Indian law, or Chinese law, yet we trade [not freely due to EU]. Australia trades freely with USA and Taiwan yet don't get their laws. It's trade of goods, not laws. Free trade is free trade, no more, no less. Like Cuprinol, does exactly what it says on the tin.

"We need to get our fishing rights back and reform CAP. If we attempt to do that by leaving the EU, do you really think they'd let us reclaim most of the North Sea? I don't think so."
Do you think they'd let us if we stayed in the EU? No. And 'let us', 'let us!' My Goodness are we children subservient to them. If they don't like it, tough. They were ours originally, take them to the UN.

"I can't think of a more awkward partner for Europe than a UK which has withdrawn from the EU."
We'd not be a partner, but a close friend. I want to get on with Europe, not marry Europe. We need the diplomatic version of 'I just want to be friends'.

"Business would suffer - head offices would relocate, and we would have no say in policy we would have to implement."
1. We'd not have to implement any policy except our own
2. Businesses would love free trade
3. Head Offices couldn't care less about EU membership, they just want the single market [aka free trade]

"This was a very badly worded poll. The only way you can make the EU a free trade block is by reform and renogotiation"
Or replacement by a free trade area.

"I have no idea what you mean. Do you mean renegotiation is impossible, or something else?"
Renegotiate to what exactly? What are we giving in these two way negotiations? Will they agree?

"It's up to the MPs to listen to the grassroots, and then put policy together."
I guess you hated the leadership ballot and CH Campaign to keep members votes.

"That's why we select them. The views of actual members of parties are usually more extreme than those who consistently vote for us. I suspect there is a majority amongst members and activists for withdrawal, but another poster pointed at a poll showing that Conservative voters are against withdrawal. If we used the referendum method of determining policy we would be the Empire Loyalist, String 'Em Up, Beat Them, it Never Did Any Harm to Me, No More Immigration Ever party."
Now you're just being silly; it's one, devisive issue, referenda solves division.

"It would be a change, but a retrograde step. It would remind people of the 2001 election."
No, it wouldn't be our focus, plus it would be FREE EUROPE and MAKE TRADE FAIR AND FREE instead of keep the pound; which was promised by Labour anyway by 5 impossible tests and a national referendum.

"A purely Europhobic policy would alientate most of the electorate, and split the party."
Not Europhobic, but Euro-Liberal or Internationalist.

"It may be that renegotiation fails, and then this issue will rear its ugly head again, but until then, we need to accept the party line and move on to other issues. Anyone who can't do this would be happier in another party."
What about your dislike for free trade?

A national inclination to vote for the BNP at 17%, and in London at 25% does not indicate that the public are warming to the EU. The fastest growing Party in British politics, however much it is hated by the elite, must indicate something about the direction events are taking.

For the Conservatives to now bury their heads in the sand on Europe and claim the EU is now a subject to park, could, if the BNP continues to surge prove electoral suicide, and a tragic consequence of our abandonment of responsibility.

This is a developing situation where we have much to gain by withdrawal from the EU, not least that we would put racists and the BNP out of political business.

A strategic view can only say that we will stay in the EU only if it can be made to work, and to do so without running the risk of fracturing our society.

Otherwise we go, and we should go BEFORE our society is riven in half by the frustration of citizens believing they have been disenfranchised - with all three major parties committed to the EU when the electorate is not in agreement with this.

Attempting to make the EU work means exiting the EPP and getting on with the job of changing the EU from within - from the monlithic immovable bloc on the world that it has become - into a free-trading association of independent democratic states.

If we cannot make it work as an economy and a democracy, then we must get out of it. If we cannot even exit the EPP and start the job, then we should withdraw now.

Suppressing the BNP is a mistake. The Conservatives should take the lesson from its growth that they are not perceived as offering an alternative solution to Labour by nearly one quarter of the electorate. Two years from now this figure could grow to a level that collapses the Conservative Party's support.

I believe that seeing the BNP become a major force in British politics is a price that is not worth paying for EU membership. It would be better to quit the EU than run the risk of this happening.

Once such a party wins power, it would be hard to rebuild the tolerant society we once were before we signed away our democracy in the hope of something better within Europe.

DavidB - very few people believe in absolutely pure free trade, You may be one of them, in which case, I can see why you would want to leave the EU. The US, the EU, China, in fact no country I know has no duties for imported goods. If you want free trade, that is where you would start. If you want no manufacturing industry at all, and instead import goods made in sweat shops by effectively forced labour, because that's free trade, then you are welcome to this view. I am in favour of free trade, but this is not the only consideration. If country A imposes tariffs on us, do we still give them access to our markets?

A large proportion of the party believe in capital punishment. Most of the MPs don't. The reason that capital punishment isn't an issue is because people don't keep banging on about it every time any vaguely related subject comes, don't launch "Better Off Dead" campaigns, and don't oppose the established, vote-winning policy on this subject. The problem isn't the policy, the problem is the rump eurokooks attempting to poison the party.

Of course the membership needs a vote on the leadership - you are voting for a manifesto, not appointing a delegate for your pick-and-mix popularity referendums.

William - the BNP will not gain a single seat in parliament. The greens polled more than they did. In national elections, they will get nothing. Adopting their policies in order to defeat them is an inherently ridiculous idea.

That's why they are positive with the new grouping idea, and why several are members of the Europe of Nations group.
This dataum vindicates my position. Europe has new, Eurosceptic members who want free trade - suitable allies for the Reformation.

To All:
Thank for your your various responses. It's clear that you won't address the main questions I've put forward, and will not stop banging on about Europe on other threads at every opportunity, and intend to attempt to bring the party down with you. I do not think that you will suceed this time - Cameron's instincts and knowledge on this issue will prevent this. We have, and will continue to have a pragmatic Eurosceptic policy on Europe. You will not make a blind bit of difference to Tory policy on this.

This brings me to another issue. It's unfortunate that this blog has turned into a platform for the usual suspects. I am also concerned that I am one of those usual suspects, except with an opposing view to most of the others. I am battling constantly against an unrepresentative crowd.

For this reason, and as of today, I will not be posting any more to the blog. I sincerely hope that those of you who are obsessed with withdrawal from the EU will keep your EU related comments off subjects which are not (at least to the average punter) related to the EU, so that this blog can return to the headier days of free debate.

I also hope that you learn to have the good grace to admit when you are wrong on facts - I do.

For example, William, you said the tarrif on imported computers in the EU from the USA was 50%. When it was demonstrated conclusively that you were completely wrong, you should have admitted it. This kind of behaviour is far too prevelant now.

William - the BNP will not gain a single seat in parliament, you write, True Blue.

TB If you actually read what I wrote, you would see that I was wrong but I was right. The cost of the unstated EU Common Manufacturing Policy is that people in the EU pay about 50% above world prices for manufactured goods, not as a tarrif, but as a result of the threat of tarrifs.

Have you read Minford? He estimates the same cost is added to food - 50%.

Why the emphasis on wrong and right? You asked me to find the story and I have. We were both right, but I was more right than you, if you insist on a slugging match.

The EU has far higher costs than people realise - the UK cost is estimated at £200 billion a year - £12,000 per household per annum. YEOW!!

You are so certain about the future course of events that it is quite scary, True Blue. Good strategists accept that future events are uncertain, and they approach the future witrh a range of options to meet the uncertainties ahead.

We don't know whether the BNP will win a seat in Parliament yet - or 50 seats. We don't know how catastrophic the Eurozone will turn out to be, with Spain and Italy showing signs of severe distress. We don't know what will happen in the Euro Parliament if we quit the EPP.

We may need to exit the EU for any number of reasons. We will do that far more successfully if we realise it is an option in advance and plan for it, rather than be hurled into a political and economic crisis of unpararlleled proportions completely unprepared.

What scares most about True Blue and people like Frances Maude is their total certainty that they are right about everything. For God's sake we're dealing with human beings.

I think that the risks of not leaving the EU are getting greater, and the benefits are mostly achievable with a looser arrangement than we currently have.

We must not close the door on the 'leaving the EU' option. Millions of Britons and Europeans are depending on the Conservative Party to represent their views, and navigate through dangerous times. There is nothing more dangerous than a creed that believes it can control the future, and its exponents such as True Blue do great harm to our Party, and our country by their arrogance.

"If country A imposes tariffs on us, do we still give them access to our markets?"
No, we bi-laterally abolish tariffs. That's both countries, at the same time. Just like no-one wanted to have unilateral nuclear disarmourment, but accepts bi-lateral nuclear disarmourment. Bi, means two.

There would only be a party referendum as it is a divisive issue among all. TB, I am sorry you feel that you have to leave this board after our discussions, it should not cause this. Furthermore, we do not believe all policy should lead to talking about the EU; just our Europe policy. That is why it's not UKIP. Our tax, health, education etc policies wouldn't say anything about the EU.

TB's sign off is outrageous....
For this reason, and as of today, I will not be posting any more to the blog. I sincerely hope that those of you who are obsessed with withdrawal from the EU will keep your EU related comments off subjects which are not (at least to the average punter) related to the EU, so that this blog can return to the headier days of free debate.

Not only does he know the future. He won't allow anyone to debate with and rock his certainty. It's worthy of Soviet propaganda - his freedom in exchange for your slavery. I for one will not be silenced by such total arrogance.

In Commissioner Barroso’s speech of 31st March 2006, he quoted Hallstein, “Firstly, the Community is a creation of law. It is this, at the end of the day, which has allowed the successful and peaceful unification of our continent, when all previous attempts to unite Europe by force have failed.”

“Secondly, the Community is a source of law. This is the spark of fire which brings life and dynamism to what would otherwise be just another association of states. The Commission, with its largely exclusive right of initiative, has a central role to play here. It is the motor of Europe’s law making engine”.

Finally, the Community is a legal system, a coherent order based on treaties and legislation. Unlike international organisations, it is neither a talking shop nor a technical operation set up simply to ensure that single market rules are correctly applied, for example. Like all true legal systems, the community guarantees the legitimacy of action by its institutions, and offers legal protection to those affected by those actions.” It has often been said that the Commission is the Guardian of the Treaties.

If the quotes above are what he believes in and the final quote re Guardianship, then I would ask why are so many new Agencies being set up, and why are so many articles being removed from the EU Constitutional Treaty and incorporated without a Treaty? Why is there no respect for the people if the Charter is for the rights of the people?

"which has allowed the successful and peaceful unification of our continent, when all previous attempts to unite Europe by force have failed.” So, Hitler having failed to 'unify' the continent, it was decided so very soon after the devastation of the second world war, to use devious, deceitful ways to take over all the once sovereign States that fell for the rhetoric, to transfer sovereignty in sensitive areas like justice, defence and foreign affairs and the economy and crown coinage?

All the best powerful and loyal people must have been killed in that war, for what we have been left with are not capable of looking after a stall in the market.

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