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August 12, 2007

Tory Deregulation Plans

Well, it's certainly an interesting list of things to try and achieve. I wouldn't necessarily call it radical though, it's very much a circumcision job, taking 10% off the top, rather than something revolutionary.

It also suffers from one or two other problems:

In a section that seems certain to inflame internal Tory rows on Europe, Mr Redwood argues that Britain's opt-out from the European Social Chapter, which was removed by Labour within days of taking of office in 1997, should be restored.

This is from memory, but I'm not sure that opt out even exists any more. Wasn't it extinguished in a subsequent treaty (Amsterdam, 2001) ? Further:

As a "last resort", the document says, Britain should legislate at home to "disapply EU regulation unilaterally where we think its is against our national interest". Such a course of action would set up the biggest conflict between Britain and Brussels since the UK joined the Common Market in 1973.

That's true, yes, it would mean we would have to leave. All to the good of course, but there's a large chunk of the Tory Party (sadly) which doesn't think so.

So while along the right lines, not sure that it will actually happen, for I don't think that the implications have been fully thought through.

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Britain should legislate at home to "disapply EU regulation unilaterally where we think its is against our national interest" ...

... it would mean we would have to leave.

No bad thing, as you say, but I've a feeling that we could get away with it and stay within the EU. Reasons:
1. Loss of face for the more Europhile nations that we have rejected and left their glorious club if we did leave.
2. Fear among the likes of the Danes, Poles etc about the change in the balance of power within the EU should the UK leave (OK, the likes of France, Germany, Belgium etc may welcome this aspect, which does somewhat negate point 1).
3. Fear among the EU staff and handout junkies about the loss of our money.
4. We could always point out the lacklustre implementation of certain EU rules by other countries when it doesn't suit them.

So, as an experiment, why not disapply some EU rule we don't like, and if anyone objects cancel the Direct Debit? For added fun, announce that the money saved will be used to order a fifth Trident sub, to be named HMS Veto :-)

Posted by: Ed | Aug 12, 2007 11:05:25 AM

I profoundly hope we quickly move past the rapidly emerging, if predictable, Yaa-boo politics of this and get down to an open, informed public debate with detail and specifics.

We need to know what, specifically, is being proposed and why and reject the noisy Labour claim that this is just a "right-wing" agenda - whatever that is supposed to mean beyond puerile abuse. A recent judicial decision was that: "The government has been acting unlawfully by keeping prisoners in jail longer than necessary . . "

If so, why should we automatically accept that all regulations, regardless, are necessarily well-drafted and fit-for-purpose?

John Redwood's policy group will have performed a valuable public service in identifying superfluous, dysfunctional and counter-productive regulations, among the many thousands, and comparing the costs of compliance and unintended consequences with the claimed intended benefits.

Posted by: Bob B | Aug 12, 2007 12:03:07 PM

Excellent work, John Redwood (who is so mad that you have to admire him), UKIP will be able to just cut and paste all this into their own manifesto.

Posted by: Mark Wadsworth | Aug 12, 2007 5:00:17 PM

Just why is John Redwood supposedly mad?

I don't always agree with him but he seems a pretty bright guy to me - but then from very ordinary origins he achieved an Oxford first in history and was awarded a fellowship at All Souls.

And btw I once had some dealings with him through his private office at the DTI.

It would be really sad if what is an important national issue about whether many regulations are fit-for-purpose became submerged in silly name-calling and puerile abuse about being "right-wing". The fact that a debate has started in that way suggests to me that some are short of rational arguments to make their case.

Posted by: Bob B | Aug 12, 2007 7:00:52 PM

The British people do not want to leave the EU and an attempt to get us kicked out by our own actions could destroy a government.

To believe that the Brits want out of the EU is a bit like one of those looney lefties from the eighties believing that the British people wanted socialism.

OTOH we would have to break many many rules for it to even be considered - we don't want to leave (sorry Tim et al) and the other Europeans don't want us to leave.

There is a big difference between moaning about Europe and quitting the union - quitting is not going to happen, silly even to discuss it.

I suppose that if we did leave then we could become a whore nation like switzerland and even propser like the swiss, but nobody likes the swiss.

Posted by: johnnybonk | Aug 13, 2007 1:11:24 AM

Why would we have to leave? There is no procedure to suspend membership, and no enforcement procedure to enforce fines levied by the ECJ.

Posted by: Marcin Tustin | Aug 13, 2007 10:57:02 PM