Brexit – a catalyst for political reform

Why do the Campaign for Independent Britain, Better Off Out, the Bruges Group, UKIP, the Democracy Movement and many other organisations and individuals support leaving the EU? Anyone who asked around would probably come back with a variety of answers – to escape from a failing political project, to curb immigration, to repatriate our sovereignty, to regain control of trade, fisheries and so on.

One benefit which hasn’t been discussed as much is the potential for real reform of the UK’s political system. Such reform is essential and a “leave” vote could provide just the catalyst we need.

Little has changed since a 2012 survey conducted by the Which? magazine revealed that only 7% of the 2,000 people surveyed trusted politicians or journalists. These two categories fared even worse than bankers and estate agents who jointly received the next lowest trust rating – a mere 11%. This is not to deny the existence of some honourable MPs – usually located on the back benches – and even a handful of decent journalists, but the low rating scored by politicians is not just a reflection of a cynical electorate but rather an indication of the deep flaws in our political system and its moral standards.

The recent resignation of the former Conservative Party co-chairman Grant Shapps following the tragic death of a young activist, Elliott Johnson, has shone the spotlight on a culture of bullying, affairs, blackmail, heavy drinking and dishonesty within the party, only a year or so after a scandal involving Lord Rennard engulfed the Liberal Democrats. We are also now hearing of bullying in the Labour party by its more extremist elecments. This poses the question:- are such people fit to be entrusted with the running of our country?

The answer is a resounding NO, but what choice do we have? What are the alternatives?

We have to vote for someone to be our MP, but what does it say about the state of politics when the campaigning in last May’s general election was so negative, with many voters voting not for a party (or candidate) they felt positively towards, but out of fear that the alternative would be far worse? What about the people who don’t vote, saying “They’re all the same”?

Such people have a point. Far too many MPs start off as political assistants on leaving university. Their entire lives are spent in the bubble of SW1. They have little experience of a “normal” job and the more ambitious types will be very dependent on the support of their seniors if their hopes of climbing the greasy pole are to be realised. This in turn means that rising stars are less likely to be original thinkers or men and women of principle but rather those who ensure their faces, opinions and behaviour fit with their party’s ruling élite. They are not fit to govern in the real world.

It was very telling that, during a recent meeting with a “leave” campaigner who knows many MPs well, he referred to one particular MP as being a really likeable, pleasant individual – pointing out how rare such people are in the Palace of Westminster.

What has this to do with leaving the EU? Potentially a great deal. A successful “leave” campaign which marshals popular scepticism about our leading politicians – especially the Prime Minister – will send a tremendous shock through the Westminster Village.

David Cameron will be attempting to sell the “British Model” as a great negotiating triumph, a good deal for our country obtained in the teeth of ferocious opposition. Of course, it will be nothing of the sort. It would be the worst of all worlds, locking us permanently into the EU’s second division.

However. if Cameron’s powers of persuasion, using his status as Prime Minister, backed up by the BBC, the Alan Johnson-led Labour in for Britain campaign, the European Movement, British Influence, Richard Branson, Britain Stronger in Europe and, of course, the EU itself fail to convince the electorate, reputations will be shredded and many smug egos will lie in tatters.

Of course, europhiles will not give up, even though re-entry to the EU would be a long, slow process with little likelihood of success. Norway’s political élite has still not given up hope of shackling their country to the EU, a full 23 years after the country’s voters rejected membership for a second time.

This is where a successful withdrawal campaign should seize the initiative.

The Harrogate Agenda which has been incorporated into the Flexcit exit plan as the final of the six stages of disentanglement from the EU, is exactly the type of reform we need – a decentralising programme making politicians more accountable to the electorate and reducing the power of ministers – with even the Prime Minister being chosen directly by the electorate rather than the current situation where the person leading the biggest party automatically gains the job. These changes, which wold bring in real (i.e., direct) demoracacy, would hopefully ensure that the deceit and dishonesty which characterised the original accession process in the 1960s and 1970s and which are still part of political life in 2015 would not be repeated after withdrawal.

Quite how much opportunity for reform will be on offer by the time of the 2020 General Election remains to be seen, but a vote for withdrawal will add still further to the complexities of this potentially fascinating election. David Cameron has stated his intention to stand down by then, probably before then, so as to give his successor a clear run. Would a vote to leave cause him to go sooner?

A vote to leave would also seriously dent George Osborne’s chances of succeeding him, as he has been so closely associated with Cameron’s sham renegotiation. Labour, come what may, will still be in a state of civil war while the Lib Dems, founded as an implicitly pro-EU party, are unlikely to recover from their drubbing at the polls last May if we vote to leave.

What future awaits UKIP? The party was founded specifically to campaign for UK withdrawal. With that target achieved, its mission would have been accomplished. There are still unquestionably many voters utterly disillusioned with the three established parties. Could UKIP change into something that will fill this void?

We can but speculate on such matters but one way or other, the momentum created by a vote to leave will not be dissipated. Those of us who see withdrawal as merely the start of a re-shaping of politics in the UK will find ourselves presented with possibly the biggest opportunity in our lifetime.

In the 18th Century, the French philosopher Montesquieu claimed that the UK had the best political system in Europe at that time, having the only government constituted for the specific purpose of maximizing political liberty. Sadly, the USA and, in particular, Switzerland, have overtaken us. Indeed, our subservience to the EU has been a step backwards as far as democracy and freedom have been concerned.

It is now time to regain the initiative and to become again a leader in the field of democratic development. Our country is crying out for something better than the current system and we owe it to our fellow-countrymen not squander the opportunities presented by a successful “leave” campaign.

Prussia and the EU

Jean-Claude Juncker comes from Luxembourg – a tiny state only the size of Hampshire! Yet he is leading a German European Empire, larger than Bismarck’s Empire, maybe even larger than Charlemagne’s.  He heads up the European Commission, a  totalitarian, unelected and corporatist body that was designed to be the motor for the creation of a political superstate. How did this unwanted atate of affairs arise?  – and how was Britain enslaved into joining a political and customs union?


History has much to teach us. We could do worse than begin with the largest and most powerful state than came to dominate a united Germany. Prussia built up a customs union, a Zollverein, in a 40-year period beginning in 1819. The developing and highly efficient Prussian civil service learnt how to cajole and bully the smaller states, letting them think that they were keeping their sovereign rights. This was the same tactic used by Heath and all subsequent UK political leaders – including David Cameron.

Within the customs union, the Prussian weights and measure system became the standard, just as the Metric system was introduced into the UK in the 1970s.

Prussia also enforced a common currency, the Prussian Thaler, just as the EU has tried to do with the Euro. It brought in uniform legislation on the regulation of workers and industry. The EU now has similar Regulations and Directives and these are usually introduced into the UK quietly as Statutory Instruments without the UK Parliament noticing. Certainly, the people are ignored and are ignorant of what transpires. It all sounds horribly familiar.

Good Reads

I would recommend the works of Lindsay Jenkins. Her first book, Britain held hostage, was  written in 1997 and she personally gave me a copy on 16th March of that year. My eyes began to open about Disappearing Britain, the title of the third book in 2005. Yet only now, 10 years later, are the people of the UK finally awakening to their fate. See also Rodney Atkinson referred to below.

WW1 and WW2 and Lisbon

The concept of Germany economic hegemony of Europe never died out after the first World War; it was continued and developed further during the second. Walter Hallstein, the founding father and first President of the EEC springs to mind. The idea was continued by both the Nazi and Fascist elements in the German Foreign Office and in the post-war Intelligence Services.  This is all clearly exposed by Rodney Atkinson’s book And into the Fire. It is an easy but fearsome read yet utterly absorbing. The death knell for democracy and liberty is foretold with deathly clarity. Great cheer for the corporatists and federalists who, like all supporters of the Lisbon Treaty and of the Sovereign Constitution of the EU, despise democracy and the people of all 28 Member States.

A corporatist society is one run by the state for the interests of corporatists (large unions, big business, unelected supranational powers, professional interest groups, media manipulators by way of example). Corporatism is the socialist form of capitalism and it holds sway in most western “capitalist ” countries. It is completely incompatible with democracy and nationhood.

The project to destroy liberal free trade capitalists and the democratic rights revered for centuries in the UK was thus German in origin. This corporatist plan was launched with totally undemocratic structure of the European Iron and Steel community. This set the precedent and skeleton for the EEC/EU.

Thus, as Atkinson says on p44, ”…the European Union is precisely that combination of German ethnic and political imperialism on the one hand and European Fascism on the other, which the UK, together with the USA and their allies had fought to have vanquished in 1945.” These founders of the EEC/EU adopted a non-democratic structure from the very beginning as the basis of thier project.

The essence of the EU is that it is a tyranny by the unelected and un-dismissible. The EU parliament, the one elected body, has no power over fiscal matters nor can it originate or repeal laws. The executive power is beyond its reach. It is impotent and bovine and so expensive that soon the Commission will be rid of it, but not before the destruction of the nation states of the EU has been accomplished.

The Lisbon Treaty destroyed key aspects of our sovereignty. It destroyed the sovereign power of our Supreme Court and of the Queen in Parliament. Juncker, as President of the Commission, proposes and the poor Queen in Parliament at Westminster dutifully disposes. The peoples of Britain dutifully obey – or maybe not so dutifully, as the prospect of escaping the EU’s clutches in the forthcoming referendum is looking a distinct possibility.

More trade and Better off with Brexit

Professor Alan Sked writes “Most students seem to think that Britain was in dire economic straits, and that the European Economic Community – as it was then called – provided an economic engine which could revitalise our economy. Others seem to believe that after the Second World War Britain needed to recast her geopolitical position away from empire, and towards a more realistic one at the heart of Europe. Neither of these arguments, however, makes any sense at all. The EEC in the 1960s and 1970s was in no position to regenerate anyone’s economy. It spent most of its meagre resources on agriculture and fisheries and had no means or policies to generate economic growth.” It was clear therefore that the EEC had to arrange to steal all the UK Fisheries in the days just before the Heath finalised his “negotiations”. They were not negotiations. Heath told the Foreign Office to accept it all and accept it quickly. Likewise the Common Agricultural Policy was swallowed. It has been a disaster for the UK too. “In 1973, when we entered the EEC, our annual national growth rate in real terms was a record 7.4 per cent. The present Chancellor would die for such figures. So the economic basket-case argument doesn’t work” says Professor Sked. Furthermore, from the 1980s until 2008, the UK out-performed countries that adopted the Euro and our economy began to recover far sooner after the recession.

The UK needs to to maintain its access to the EU’s single market, but this can be achieved from outside the EU by re-joining EFTA. At the same time, we need to take steps to loosen ourselves from the EU’s control of our trading arrangements with the rest of the world, as this is where the growth is happening. Demographics alone point to the EU become less important to us as a trading partner, with exports to the EU likely to fall still further from the current figure of 37% of total UK exports  ( or 7% of UK GDP) Furthermore, the design faults of the single currency look likely to condemn the southern members to an ever-deepening depression as  they pay the price of the inflexible failed Euro experiment.

In summary, there is no future for the UK in the EU. It is pointless calling for the EU to reform. It is holed below the waterline The UK is better off out.

Photo by woody1778a

The EU – A failing superstate experiment

“The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our life-time.” Sir Edward Grey, Foreign Secretary 1905 -1916

Sir Edward Grey’s prescient words on the eve of Europe’s ruling élites’ tragic and barbarous folly, the First World War, resonate again today. Even the leaders of the European Union (EU) recognise that something is amiss with their experiment to weld together an EU superstate from the people of diverse countries.

Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the EU Commission, declared “Europe is not in (a) good place” – an understatement if ever there was one. Cameron wants the UK to remain a member of this club of failures. He cannot succeed except through weight of deception, untruths and the real risks of remaining as well as the induced fears of illusory risks of “Brexit”. Does Cameron trust to the assertion “The mistakes that have been committed in foreign policy are not, as a rule, apparent to the public until a generation afterwards”? [Attributed to Otto von Bismarck, the Iron Chancellor who united the German states with Prussia into a united Germany by similar guile about Sovereignty, Power at the “top table”, Fear, Intimidation and Force].

The EU is breaking up as can be seen from:- The closing of EU borders, the abandonment of Schengen, the increased destruction of the economies of Southern Members by an overvalued Euro, the similar economic suffering other Euro members to the North to a lesser extent, and the implacable strict economic régime of the Commission. Only Germany seems to have thrived on the economic strategy of the EU as its economy grows and exports increase due to an undervalued Euro currency. This is all economically and politically disastrous for the UK.

But if disaster is again in the offing for the UK where exactly are we heading?

To foretell the future is guesswork; the unexpected happens. Yet much is predictable. Basic economics and ingrained habits are two guidelines which may offer us a fair idea of what lies ahead. For example: ruling élites and bureaucracies always tend to pursue their own interests often to the detriment of the people who have only that electoral power now valueless in the EU. Remove that people power, as in the EU, and the élite is free of all democratic restraint. We have seen that in the USSR and it does not work!
On the other hand, major demographic shifts and mass population movements are occurring, adding religious fears to economic and personal uncertainties. Yet today, whilst the aspirations in poor as well as rich countries are rising, the disappointments with the EU are deepening.

The EU is ill-equipped to cope with any changes that affect its pre-planned course of travel. It is hopelessly inept in this fast changing world.

As technological innovation accelerates, the EU doggedly pursues its pre-set direction. It maintains a definite order of precedence in its fixed direction of travel, mindset, policy making and actions, come what may! It is the Prussian way!

More important than anything else is the EU’s raison d’être – the creation of a centralised, homogenised, internal borderless, bureaucratic, non-democratic, ever expanding superstate with limitless territorial ambitions, which seeks to advance its own institutionalised interests even over powerful neighbours like Russia! There is also a secret and urgent imperative to expand Commission control over the member states and the individual lives of all EU “citizens”.

In furtherance of EU aims, any sense of democratic legitimacy, transparency and accountability must be ignored; laws must be manipulated whilst national cultures and heritages, including the Judaeo- Christian heritage, must be undermined or removed in the name of the great cause of furthering the EU project.

Deceptions are repeated by the Commission daily until its “achievements” are irreversible; corruption is always tolerated or even facilitated in the cause; whistle-blowers made to “disappear”; acquiescence in “mistakes” is concealed and their consequences unacknowledged and unrectified.

This deceitful policy is not an encouraging recipe for any stability, prosperity or general wellbeing in an increasingly competitive, technologically advancing and dangerous world in which the EU is already falling far behind.

How will the EU, its political/bureaucratic ruling élite and their privileged fellow travellers cope with the challenging future? Not well, based on their performance to date. The EU will dogmatically follow its existing agenda and will be slow to respond even when problems are obvious. The EU is likely to exacerbate even existing major problems and engender an ever-increasing range of new ones, which will impact adversely upon peace, security, well-being and quality of the lives of the citizens of the member states.

The biggest areas for concern within the EU include: increasing incompetence and a lack of ethical standards; poor economic management and prioritising the redistribution of existing wealth rather than facilitating urgent new per capita wealth creation. Taxes are high and the regulatory burden on businesses deters innovation (see the hidden costs of EU membership). The EU has either taken over, or plans so to do, many policy areas formerly under national control, including, economic policy, defence, security, health, safety, border control, migration, national infrastructure (such as roads, railways, air travel, energy), criminal law, and yet more agriculture and fishing, to name but a few.

Meanwhile, restrictions are placed on personal freedoms, democracy has been extinguished and any powerful vested interests gain more and more power. Things can only become worse, with crises of mass migration, terrorism and financial crashes which will add to the alienation from the whole EU project of all people across the member states.

So, being the problem, how can the EU be part of the solution? Any meaningful or substantial ‘reform’ of the sclerotic and obsolete EU is very unlikely even with the obvious existence of strong evidence that fundamental change is vital. Cosmetic change only is proposed. Cameron’s ‘reforms’ and ‘renegotiations’ then are a misleading chimera created out of a Sisyphean task; renegotiation could have a sting in the tail and any gain in “Cameron freedom” by adopting ‘Associate Membership’ of the EU (the so-called “British Model”) would be a short-lived illusion and descent into the abyss.

No interest and certainly no desire for any, let alone, radical change can be discerned among the EU’s ruling élite. Essential mechanisms for such change do not exist. Superficial change may occur, but it will neither be far reaching enough nor irreversible. It will not change the underlying culture, objectives or direction of travel of the EU.

Professor John W Hunt, in his studies of organisational behaviour in the EU and other international bodies, concluded that reform always gets pushed to the bottom of the pile. He noted: “International bodies rarely have a power base of their own….. To justify themselves, highly paid, often initially idealistic staff spend their time developing yet more ideas that can’t be implemented. The result is the worst of all worlds, there being nothing more cynical than a bunch of rich, demoralised ex-idealists.”

The only conclusion to be drawn is that “Brexit” is imperative – we must leave the EU as soon as possible

Photo by YanniKouts

Cameron is using Norway to make the Leave campaigns look risky

By Jonathan Lindsell of Civitas

During last week’s Prime Minister’s Questions and again at the Northern Future Forum in Reykjavik, David Cameron attacked the Brexit model known as the ‘Norway option’. This involves leaving the EU but joining the European Economic Area, a trade grouping that currently hosts Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

Cameron appears to be positioning himself firmly on the In side of the EU referendum without saying so explicitly. Not only this, but he is using his prominence as head of government to try to outmanoeuvre the main “Leave” players.

He argued that ‘Norway actually pays as much per head to the EU as we do. They actually take twice as many per head migrants as we do in this country but of course they have no seat at the table, no ability to negotiate.’ This is not wholly accurate: in a Norwegian situation Britain would pay about £1bn less each year, and a Civitas paper explores the ways Norway can affect EU legislation without having a formal vote.

Still, the Norwegian situation has its drawbacks, and Cameron declared he ‘would guard very strongly against [promoting it].’ Why has he done this?

The answer lies in the Leave side’s response. Vote Leave‘s campaign director Dominic Cummings said: ‘Vote Leave does not support the ‘Norway option’ for Britain. After we vote leave, we will negotiate a new UK-EU deal based on free trade and friendly cooperation. We will end the supremacy of EU law.’ The rival Leave campaign,, responded similarly, with co-chair Richard Tice remarking ‘Of course we can negotiate our own UK EU trade agreement.’ Ukip’s only MP, Douglas Carswell, wrote in The Express, ‘The PM’s not wrong about Norway’s relationship with the EU: she has got a duff deal from Brussels’.

At the moment it makes sense them to attack the Norway model, because Cameron is drawing attention to its flaws. But by ruling Norway out as their own preferred Brexit blueprint, these Leave leaders back themselves into a corner. The Norway option is the simplest way to leave the EU, retain access to the single market, gain control over our own trade policy, and evade some (not all) EU law.

The model is probably the safest Brexit option to push for, because it is closest to the current EU situation, and because it already exists, so all the kinks and questions are already worked out. By forcing the Leave campaign to deny they like Norway’s situation, Cameron forces them towards more radical, less tangible Brexit promises. These he can attack as unrealistic fantasies later in the campaign.

The theoretical deals Cummings, Carswell and Tice prefer simply do not exist at the moment. They may be attainable, they may be much better than Norway, but you cannot point to them and prove it. As the referendum approaches, the Remain campaign will be able to say that Brexit supporters are fantasists who have ruled out the only path that preserves the single market. What’s left? A Swiss model that currently includes unrestrained immigration,that has no free movement of services, and that took over a decade to negotiate. Beyond the Swiss model there are yet fuzzier allusions to comprehensive free trade deals . When all 27 remaining EU members will be able to veto a UK exit deal, it will be hard for Out campaigners to convince voters that hypothetical perfect deals could be delivered. After that you’re left with the World Trade Organisation option, with Britain facing tariffs, barriers and quotas on all its EU exports.

There are actually smaller groups that support permutations of the Norway option, including Futurus, the Bruges Group and ‘Flexcit’ supporters. They don’t see the Norwegian situation as a final destination, but argue it would be better to take the exit step to the European Economic Area (EEA) first, then use it as a stepping stone to negotiate a more comprehensive settlement.

The EEA is useful for this because it preserves most EU law and the single market in goods, services, labour and capital. It already works, is already in operation, so would be simple to join. This is very important because after formally telling the EU that Britain had decided to leave, the government would have only two years to negotiate an exit arrangement. Disengagement from the EU would be complicated and would need to be comprehensive – less ambitious deals I’ve studied have taken much longer than two years to finalise. Moving to the EEA would be simpler, its supporters argue, and easier to sell to the public as a sensible option.

Cameron’s tactic may then pay off. At the moment he looks foolish, having attacked an exit proposal that the prominent players do not actually want to defend. But further down the line, assuming Cameron fights for his renegotiated EU membership, he will be able to say that the “leavers” are gamblers, that they jettisoned the low-risk option in favour of big vague promises they cannot explain how they would deliver. And he’s sure to bring up this week’s denials if they try to U-turn.

Used with the author’s permission. For the original article, see or

Photo by liknes

Tory Tyranny

The Conservative Party HQ has written to local associations warning them not to step out of line on the EU referendum. Well aware that the predominantly pro-withdrawal Tory rank and file are not going to swallow Cameron’s renegotiation package, it has banned them from using any party resources on campaigning to leave:

“The Party Board has decided that Party resources, which includes any buildings, equipment, or finances, must not be available to either campaign or any third party participants in the campaign” says the letter. Association employees are only allowed to campaign “in their own spare time”, while “Staff who wish to get more fully involved in the campaign must request unpaid leave of absence”.

The draconian rules also state that anyone who expresses an opinion can’t do so as a Tory: “Individual members of the Party may of course take part in the forthcoming campaign on any side they wish, but they may only do so as individuals and must not suggest that they are representing the Party nor must they make use of any party resource to which they have access.”

There is also a ban on associations holding any public meetings to discuss the referendum. Any discussions must be done in private: “Associations may wish to hold meetings of members about the Referendum to which both sides of the argument should be put. They may not, however, hold public meetings.”

So Tory “Outers” are theoretically banned by “President Cameron” from talking about Europe in public meetings, banned from using their offices or office computers to campaign, and have to make clear at all times that they are speaking as individuals and never as Tories.

You can bet the email went down like a lead balloon in many Associations across the country last week! However, Cameron and his friends in Conservative Central office are not the Tory party, even if he currently has the  honour to lead it. How Peter Oborne can consider such a man to have the makings of a “truly great Prime Minister” is a mystery to anyone who has followed his behaviour in repsect to the referendum in recent weeks. With his combination of pig-ignorance and sheer wilful deceit, he risks leaving as a legacy a degree of loathing matched by that shown to only one other Conservative Prime Minister – Edward Heath.

If South Korea can do it, why can’t we?

THE PRESS OFFICE OF                                                           

The Lord Stoddart of Swindon (Independent Labour)  

News Release

3rd November 2015

Peer hammers Government for pro-EU bias and stay-in campaigners for belittling our country’s ability to stand on its own

During a debate on the European Union Referendum Bill in the House of Lords (02.11.15), the independent Labour Peer, Lord Stoddart of Swindon has pointed out the bias being exhibited by the Government in the debate about Britain’s future in the EU and strongly criticised fellow peers who regularly talk down Britain’s ability to cope as an independent sovereign nation.

Lord Stoddart said that it is impossible to obtain unbiased information from “…the Government because they are in fact biased. I say that because the Prime Minister has just been to Iceland where he made his position perfectly clear, which is that he wishes to remain in the EU. He believes that it is the best thing for Britain to do, so he has made his position absolutely clear. How can the Government be unbiased?

In a hard hitting speech, Lord Stoddart bluntly stated that “the British national interest cannot be served in the European Union. That is because the European Union is exactly what it says it is and what it wants to become. It has been made perfectly clear by unelected officials and indeed by elected people that they want further integration. However the Prime Minister tries, he will never be able to join a full Union unless he is prepared to agree to more integration.”

Lord Stoddart also expressed serious concerns about the habit those who support staying in the EU have of belittling our country and its ability to thrive as an independent nation. “The other thing that has worried me about this debate is the lack of confidence that so many people have in this country’s ability to negotiate with other countries and to stand on its own and build up its own businesses and exports. Why is it that other countries in the world can do it? Why can South Korea do it with a population of 25 million? Why cannot Britain, with a population of 65 million, negotiate successfully with other countries when smaller countries including Saudi Arabia and Iceland can? The Prime Minister of Iceland made it perfectly clear that it was doing very well outside the EU with a population of 350,000 and did not want to go into the EU any longer. Why have we lost confidence in ourselves?”

The full text of some of Lord Stoddart’s remarks during the debate are as follows. Click on this link for the full debate.

Referendum Bill – second reading

House of Lords – 2nd November 2015

Lord Stoddart of Swindon (Ind Lab): My Lords, I have been listening to this debate all afternoon and I find it very interesting indeed. I also realise that all the amendments are well meant, but I think that the noble Baroness, Lady Royall, has hit the nail on the head. What she wants is unbiased information, and she believes that you cannot get it from the Government because they are in fact biased. I say that because the Prime Minister has just been to Iceland where he made his position perfectly clear, which is that he wishes to remain in the EU. He believes that it is the best thing for Britain to do, so he has made his position absolutely clear. How can the Government be unbiased? The noble Baroness said that we have civil servants and they will be unbiased. Civil servants are never unbiased; they take their lead from the boss, as in fact they should. Knowing that the Prime Minister has gone abroad and said that he believes that the United Kingdom should remain in the EU come what may will condition whatever is put into these reports. We should make no mistake about that.

2 Nov 2015 : Column 1450

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Would the noble Lord allow for the possibility that the Prime Minister might have reached the position he now holds because of his concept of the British national interest and his position as Prime Minister in trying to define that national interest?

Lord Stoddart of Swindon: Yes, I believe that the Prime Minister believes that, but the British national interest cannot be served in the European Union. That is because the European Union is exactly what it says it is and what it wants to become. It has been made perfectly clear by unelected officials and indeed by elected people that they want further integration. However the Prime Minister tries, he will never be able to join a full Union unless he is prepared to agree to more integration, and that of course will also mean joining the euro. Further integration must include the euro and anyone who wishes to be part of further integration will have to join it or else leave or become some sort of associate member. Those are the facts and we should not try to deny them.

6 pm

The other thing that has worried me about this debate is the lack of confidence that so many people have in this country’s ability to negotiate with other countries and to stand on its own and build up its own businesses and exports. Why is it that other countries in the world can do it? Why can South Korea do it with a population of 25 million? Why cannot Britain, with a population of 65 million, negotiate successfully with other countries when smaller countries including Saudi Arabia and Iceland can? The Prime Minister of Iceland made it perfectly clear that it was doing very well outside the EU with a population of 350,000 and did not want to go into the EU any longer. Why have we lost confidence in ourselves? Why is it that so many people say we have to be members of this great organisation to succeed?