Coffee House

European Commission does eurosceptics’ dirty work, again.

9 June 2013

4:33 PM

9 June 2013

4:33 PM

Defenders of the status quo in the European Union like to argue that 3 million jobs in this country currently depend on Britain’s membership. Aside from the rather shaky maths behind that figure, it’s striking that today Chris Grayling is making a stand on a Brussels plan that will cost jobs in this country, rather than boost them.

The Sunday Telegraph reports the Justice Secretary accusing the European Commission of ‘not living in the real world’, with new data protection laws threatening to cost british businesses around £360 million a year. Grayling makes it very clear in his interview with the newspaper that he views these proposals as a direct threat not just to Britain’s competitiveness, but to Europe’s position in the ‘global race’ (that phrase isn’t going away). He says:

‘Britain and Europe are in a global race. UK and EU business are fighting through difficult times to be able to keep up employment levels and win business around the world. If the EU keeps on trying to produce more and more complex laws that put more and more costs on to business, it’s just going to cost jobs, and that would be mad.’


Coupled with Iain Duncan Smith’s stand-off with the Commission over benefits, this new law is another example of Europe doing eurosceptics’ own dirty work when it comes to making the case for reform. These are serious examples of the ways the current settlement can threaten rather than enhance this country’s economic progress.

But at the same time, the Tories will want to offer hope that there is a chance to stamp down on these threats, rather than suggest that all is lost. Members of the Fresh Start Project are continuing their meetings in European cities to set out some of their ideas for reform, knowing that the Foreign Office has a keen eye on their progress. They are keen to emphasise that they are finding a great deal more enthusiasm for reform on the continent than those seat dead against Britain’s continued EU membership like Lord Lawson might believe. They can offer the positive vision, while the European Commission can continue to offer examples of how it needs reform.

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Show comments
  • global city

    are the Tories pushing their ideas via a campaign with the wider group they have formed in the EU parliament?

    That would be a good way to gauge the temperature inside the EU body politic for the reforms.

  • Andrew Paul Shakespeare

    With enemies like the EU, who needs friends?

  • Eyesee

    What is a Eurosceptic? I’m not sceptical about the European Union, I know it exists. If the title is supposed to refer to people who oppose the workings of the EU, you could more accurately call them democrats, just as you could call those who support the EU Marxists. When one sets out to deceive, it is often necessary to change the meaning of words.

    • Andrew Paul Shakespeare

      Is David Cameron a Marxist?

      • anyfool

        No, he is a cypher, no one can tell what he is.

  • Tim Reed

    “But at the same time, the Tories will want to offer hope that there is a
    chance to stamp down on these threats, rather than suggest that all is

    Most sensible people have known for some time that the latter is the case, but our political class persist in either deluding themselves or lying to us. How much more evidence do these fools need to convince them that not only is the EU unreformable, but that its authoritarian, centralising, bureaucratic empire building is simply unstoppable. We need to remove ourselves from this madness before we reach a point of no return. I fear that our so-called leaders already consider us well beyond the rubicon, thus the uniformity of their ‘better of in’ message.

    2014 will be the year they realise just how detached they are – when they discover just how many people don’t see our continued membership of the EU as inevitable.

    Pile on the pressure – vote UKIP.

  • Radford_NG

    Question is :`Do we want a Waffen europe [theEU];or a Hansa europe?`.We need to re-establish the Steel-yard and promote a Hansiatic europe.

    • Makroon

      Exactly my thought !

      The Hanseatic league worked very well for northern Europe (including the UK) – given that Merkel was born in Hamburg of Prussian parents, it is strange that Cameron hasn’t explained to her that the UK would prefer a Hanseatic EU. Perhaps he didn’t do modern history at Eton.

      • Andrew Paul Shakespeare

        Would the airline of the Hanseatic Europe be Luft Hansa?

        My knowledge of the Hanseatic League is non-existent, but the thought does leap to mind that, if it worked so well for northern Europe, why did it cease to exist?

        Civilisation doesn’t generally do away with unqualified good things. For example, I don’t hear anybody suggesting that we cease teaching poor people to read. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody say, “I wish we’d never invented vaccination.” While there are plenty of governing authorities looking to improve and develop sewer networks, I’m not aware of any that are determined to demolish them.

        So if the Hanseatic League was such a good thing, why did they get rid of it? For that matter, are you sure that the challenges and issues facing Europe in the twenty-first century are something to which a fourteenth-century solution could readily be applied?

        Come to that, are you sure Merkel gives a flying #### about the Hanseatic League?

        Perhaps Cameron studied modern history at Eton better than you did?

  • the viceroy’s gin

    Which Londonistan bubble denizen wrote that final paragraph for you, lass?

    Come on… come on… ‘fess up. You haven’t the nous to sculpt that broad, sweeping establishment apologia, so who did it for you?

  • Smithersjones2013

    They are keen to emphasise that they are finding a great deal more
    enthusiasm for reform on the continent than those seat dead against
    Britain’s continued EU membership like Lord Lawson might believe.

    But remember the second rule of politics

    You can’t trust the Tories over Europe

    Who will believe them? Even hardcore seccessionists like Carswell and Hannan have made themselves look like prize arses given the contortions they have undergone to try and give Cameron and his delusional proposals the semblance credibility.

    There is only one certain way of ensuring that EU power grabs end for good and that is withdrawal!

  • Abhay

    A very badly written article indeed.

    After reading it I have little idea as to what it is that EU want in data protection incrementally, what is Grayling opposed to which makes him so valiant.

    Is there some substance in all this or is this another piece of ”theatre of the absurd” for the gullible?

  • John_Page

    “Fresh start” might conceivably reverse one or two measures but it has no chance of changing the direction of the Commission’s travel and that’s the key.

  • Shlomo

    it’s striking that today Chris Grayling is making a stand on a Brussels
    plan that will cost jobs in this country, rather than boost them.

    This is a classic Tory theatre production. What with the loaded headline Chris Grayling attacks EU jobs ‘madness’ and the finger-wagging pic of Grayling, Tory High Command hope that we’ll ignore the lack of detail (‘plans to reform data
    protection laws’) and vote Tory in order to fight ‘Eu jobs madness’. What a load of tosh! The idea is to get us to believe that politicians are somehow ‘standing up to the EU’, when in reality virtually all our MP’s, and certainly every single member of the Government, are willing participants in the project for ‘ever-closer union’. How so?

    Well, take this ‘Eu jobs madness’ that the Torygraph are banging on about, Grayling is well aware that the Commission outlined proposals to ‘reform’ existing data protection legislation a year and a half ago. So why the sudden ‘stand’? What does Grayling propose to do about the unspecified directive or regulation? Although we have no idea what it is that Grayling supposedly opposes, and this is typical of our media, we can can be fairly sure that it is the proposed requirement for there to be a Data Protection Officer within every company employing more than 250 people that supposedly irks him and has provided Whitehall statisticians with some cost figures to grind.

  • andagain

    this new law is another example of Europe doing eurosceptics’ own dirty work when it comes to making the case for reform.

    Eurosceptics are ill-named these days. They do not have any doubts about the EU and they do not want to change. They just want to leave it. Or possibly destroy it.

    Still, Conquests Law states that any organisation will behave as though controlled by a coalition of its enemies. E.g. the EU, the Labour Party, the Conservative Party, and so on.

  • Daniel Maris

    “Global race” must rank alongside “a place in the sun” as one of the most idiotic phrases ever to dominate a political debate.

    The idea that we can beat 1 billion Chinese with a pool of 400 million dirt poor labourers and no free trade unions or right to strike in a “global race” is so absurd and nonsensical as to be hardly worth discussion.

    The real issue facing this and other developed, civilised countries is “how do we want to live” not “how are we going to win the global race”.

    • Normandee

      China’s problems lie within the numbers you give, the dirt poor and others not so poor in China are getting fed up with being treated like crap and signs of unrest already exist. Coupled to a completely false value to their currency means that China is heading for trouble. You don’t think that communications are strictly monitored because they don’t want us to know how happy everybody is do you ?

      • Abhay

        Do you have a prediction for when the apocalyptic Chinese revolution will happen since you sound quite certain and seem to have the inside track?

        • Normandee

          Could happen anytime, look how many oppressive regimes have gone up in smoke recently, the only difference is China’s bigger. Not that that will change anything, the biggest fireworks have the same size fuze as the small.

          • Hexhamgeezer

            No, there is more to differentiate than size. China is a coherent unified entity. Their Confucian mindset still produces a polity that is going nowhere fast soon. Problems at their geographical fringes are merely that – fringe problems.

            • Normandee

              I appreciate the difference, but they have suffered without relief for so many years, and as they get more and more information from outside, there has to be a point at which the mindset will be overcome.

    • Abhay

      Thanks for bringing some sense here.

      • Makroon

        That is not “sense”.
        It is Maris’ usual ignorant xenophobia. He knows about as much about China as he knows about energy technology.

    • DavidL

      Fair point, but this isn’t a zero sum game. There has been a movement of manufacturing jobs FROM China TO the USA in the last year. Wages may be higher in the US than China, but the US has other advantages, not least cheap energy (as we might in the near future).

    • ArchiePonsonby

      You forget India and Brazil, with whom we’re also supposed to compete. It’s absolute rubbish of course: how do we compete with wages that are a fraction of ours and elfin safety is non-existent?

  • Adrian Drummond

    “doing eurosceptics’ own dirty work”??

    A poor choice of words, Isabel (aside from reporting, try thinking more deeply).

    • Abhay

      Don’t present such a steep challenge to her.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    Interesting phraseology – that eurosceptics’ work is ‘dirty’.

    The hilariously inept and inapt ‘Fresh Start’ will make much pretend and some sincere effort to get an agreed agenda for reform. If they succeed they get an agenda which will wither and die some long time in the future – job done in other words. We have had talk of beneficial alliances since the 70s and I’ve not seen any evidence yet.

    Where is this ‘great deal’ of enthusiasm? I suspect it exists more in the minds of the Bubble heads than anywhere else.

  • Bert3000

    Stop being ridiculous. Why shouldn’t we have proper data protection laws? Once again it takes the EU to legislate while the British government is posturing uselessly.

    • barry laughton

      EU is pleased to announce our data protection are perfect. Well worth the job losses to ensure this splendid outcome.

  • Andy

    Can’t quite work out if the EU are actively driving the UK to the exit, or if they are bringing forward these daft and half baked ideas only to withdraw them and be able to say ‘we are reforming ourselves’. I’m leaning toward the former proposition.

    • Alexsandr

      no. they are simply deluded wazzocks, I think they actually believe this rubbish, which is quite worrying.

      • Andy

        You’re probably right.

    • Makroon

      I think you have to differentiate between the (mostly) pragmatic European politicians and the “true believers” of the Eurocracy.
      The Eurocracy fear a German/UK alliance, and we are the main, perpetual, block to their loonier delusions. They seem to have decided that they want us out, to complete their “project” and restore the cosy French-German condominium. It is a sign of desperation as the whole of Europe slowly turns against the “project”.

  • Normandee

    There will be no “Fresh start”, it’s more smoke and mirrors to get the EU over a difficult period, promise and agreements will be made under the heading “renegotiations”, none of which will hold water for longer than it takes for the awkward elections and promises to go away. The only secure renegotiations can take place from outside, and who is going to believe the EU ever again. Although we say that and they keep putting labour back in office

  • chudsmania

    The Eu doesn’t require reform. It needs to be disbanded asap , for the good of all Europeans. Enough of this ghastly , bloated , over bureaucratic , anti competitive nightmare.The public are beginning to see the light , its just a shame that politicians who see the Eu as career advancement on the gravy train can’t.