back to article Cameron's speech puts UK adoption of EU data directive in doubt

Cameron’s speech puts UK accession to any Data Protection Regulation and Directive in doubt. In yesterday’s speech on the relationship between the UK and the Europe Union, the Prime Minister raised doubts as to whether the UK will adopt both the proposed Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Directive in the field …


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  1. Magnus_Pym

    If they win?

    They didn't actually win the last election and they're not making many new friends. What makes them think they'll win the next one?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: If they win?

      Agreed. Cameron seems to have a penchant for crapping on previously core Tory voters (eg child benefit changes, upcoming pension/NI changes, raising student fees whilst gioving billions away in foreign aid, etc etc).

      However, looking at the Coalition economic policy, it's interesting to see what is happening. The Conservatives know that public spending is out of control and needs to be slashed. They would like to do this, but won't, on the basis that will send them back to the dark ages because they believe voters are too stpuid to understand the appalling mess of Britain's public finances and will blame them. So there's some token "cuts", with an expectation that kicking the can down the road in this way will mean that the next government inherits a yet bigger national debt and a yet more urgent need to slash spending.

      In the highly unlikely event that the Tories win, they claim a mandate and do the deed; if Labour win then they'll have run out of time, and Milliband will be forced to cut at least £50 billion from public spending (and even that level of cuts probably means his chancellor would still be borrowing £150m every single day to fritter on "public services"). This looks like recklessness by the Tories, banking on the expectation that the Labour party will have lost its reckless borrow and spend mantra.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If they win?

      The Miliband/Balls combo gives the Tories a fighting chance of winning.

      1. Magnus_Pym

        Re: If they win?

        "The Milliband / Balls combo"

        At the last election Gordon Brown was supposed to be the least liked / charismatic political figure ever, Labour had been in power for far too long and Cameron had (supposedly) won the election debates. He still came a close second.

        Cameron has got about as much chance as a turd in a perfume shop and he knows it. He's only doing all this in a feeble attempt to hang on the party leadership in the face of growing criticism that he doesn't actually do anything but visit factories.

    3. James Micallef Silver badge

      If they exit?

      I can't see the UK gaining anything from this. The UK are currently part of a club where they ALREADY have rules bent expecially for their benefit (only country to receive a rebate on their 'membership fee'). If they want the club to change it's rules (eg agriculture subsidy that largely favours France), they can agree on how to change the rules together with the other members. But what Cameron seems to want here is to extract more exceptions without giving anything back, at which point the EU will presumably say "don't let the door hit you on the way out".

      The UK has more to lose from being out of the EU than the EU has to lose with the UK exiting. Free movement of goods and labour is a big deal, and financial services can and will easily move EU-related business to Luxembourg, Paris or Frankfurt.

      I think Cameron is half-bluffing and will be left looking like a moron if EU calls his bluff

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: If they exit?

        "Free movement of goods and labour is a big deal, and financial services can and will easily move EU-related business to Luxembourg, Paris or Frankfurt."

        Free movement of goods is largely guaranteed by the WTO. Free movement of labour is hugely unpopular amongst that part of the population whose wages are undercut as a result. (Net migration has been into the UK recently anyway, and Spain and Greece are already starting to offload the more mobile part of their population.) The financial services are not going to move from London, where Dave wants to give them an easy ride, to the EU, where they will face new taxes on transactions. (They could have moved when the euro came in, but none of them did.)

    4. smudge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: If they win?

      > What makes them think they'll win the next one?

      Easy! Scotland will have voted for independence by then - so the rest of the UK will have a permanent Conservative majority.

      An independent Scotland will remain in - or get themselves re-admitted to - Europe.

      The referendum will then be about whether England, Wales and Northern Ireland remain in Europe or leave.

      If all this happens, then as a Scot who has lived in England for 35 years, I'll make damn sure that I get Scottish nationality.

      I might even move from England - to somewhere warmer, not Scotland. Could even stay in the Paris Hilton whilst looking for somewhere :)

      1. Magnus_Pym

        Re: If they win?


        At the last election even without Scotland Cameron did not get enough votes to get a majority.

      2. DF118

        Re: If they win?

        @ smudge: the "permanent Tory majority" thing is a complete myth, spouted by the (avowedly unionist) Labour party to scare voters. Check your facts.

        1. DF118

          Re: If they win?

          Oh, and lazy journalists. They spout it too.

    5. Anonymous Сoward

      Re: If they win?

      They didn't actually win the last election and they're not making many new friends. What makes them think they'll win the next one?

      I blame Clegg, that is sure one of the biggest lapdogs of ALL TIME.

      1. Fibbles

        Re: If they win?

        Voted for by every naive student in the country. I expect the greens will get a decent turn out at the next election. Who else are they going to vote for?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I dont remember the Uk vetoing any data privacy bills, didn't we have to rely on Finland among others to do that? Basically he's saying he wants to win the next election by sidestepping ukip while doing absolutely nothing. Blah blah stuff to appeal to ukip voters blah blah while appearing reasonable blah blah. Basically thinks a referendum will shut up the anti euro nutters, can we have a new government that's actually trying to run the country instead of struggling to run there own party please.

    1. Fibbles

      Re: hmm

      How about a government that has no party affiliation? A government made up of MPs who care more about their constituents' views than those of lobbyists and the whip?


  3. James 51

    Wow, I remember joking that half the reason the Tories wanted out of the EU was so that directives like this wouldn't prevent the exploitation of the general public. The EU needs reform sure. CAP is a joke, the accounts need a serious going over with a fine tooth comb which I have no doubt would land more than a few officials an politicians in jail. The Courts do have some daft decisions some times basically it seems to boil down to the EU tell the Tories and their supporters not to be naughty boys and play nicely so they are throwing a strop, taking their ball and going home. It’s a bit scary that I trust EU than I do the Tories.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      It’s a bit scary that I trust EU than I do the Tories.

      I think that might have something to do with the high standards set by the European Commission' admission process. To be a Tory MP you only need to have to go to right school.

    2. Magnus_Pym

      " taking their ball and going home" - It's not even their ball. If it ever happens, which I seriously doubt given the number of caveats rendered up.

      Cameron: "If you don't do as I say I'm not playing"

      Europe: "Bye"

      USA: "David who?"

      Rest of the world: "I wonder what happened to that whiny white guy"

      1. mike2R

        More like:

        Cameron: "If you don't do as I say I'm not playing"

        Europe: David, you lost the election remember? You aren't Prime Minister any more"

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "More like:

          Cameron: "If you don't do as I say I'm not playing"

          Europe: David, you lost the election remember? You aren't Prime Minister any more""

          Let’s hope so, because the blues are steering us into the dark ages! I don’t trust the UK population to know what is right or wrong. Look at the mess we are in right now! UK last to recover from the largest theft of funds seen since the last time the bankers put us here. Well done Dave!

          Pulling out of Europe makes the UK look like backward, tempered kids. It’s just inconceivable.

  4. Anonymous Dutch Coward

    "Amberhawk Training" things politician x years down the line will do y

    Based on a speech based on "ifs" while apparently the same politician already broke a cast iron promise to... never mind. Yawn.

    (BTW, kudos for dragging something IT-y kicking and screaming into this article.)

  5. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    "Biz types have Tories' ear", oh really?

    Apparently others beg to differ. Andrew Palmer of The Economist on Twitter:

    "Asked roomful of over 100 CFOs yesterday whether they thought a British referendum on the EU was a good idea. Not one hand went up." (


    The CBI has for years been begging successive governments to stop antagonising everyone else and try and change policies from the inside.

    Cameron's speech was a thinly veiled sop to the Tory party's loony fringe and of little further political importance, apart from pissing off much of the rest of the EU.

    UKIP can probably still expect to pick up plenty of seats at next year's European elections so that fucker Farage and his obscene chum can complain about the EU gravy train from the comfort of the EU gravy train.

    Odds on Cameron not being Tory leader at the time of the next general election.

  6. Len
    Black Helicopters

    Referendum is not very likely

    Interesting analysis. However, the chances of there actually being a referendum are very slim. The keyword is the 'if the Conservatives win the next election'. Considering the Conservatives haven't won an election in 21 years, did not win the last election (that is why we have a coalition), and are currently not doing very well in the polls, the chances of the Conservatives winning the next election are not very big.

    Especially not if you consider that voters generally have more important things to worry about than the EU.* It's the economy, stupid. Parties in power look less interesting than parties in opposition to the general voter, especially if they were in power during poor economic times. Britain's economy is in a terrible state and looks to be for another few years, with a Triple-Dip Recession, one of Europe's worst debt + deficit positions and a loss of Triple-A status likely.

    Then, even if the Conservatives were to win the next election, there is a chance they won't actually hold the referendum and find some reason to kick it in the long grass.

    * Lord Ashcroft: "So we’ve got a Europe policy – now all we need is a Tory government" -

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Referendum is not very likely

      "the chances of the Conservatives winning the next election are not very big."

      Don't bet on it! The fuckwit British electorate have put us in this position to start with.

      I never underestimate just how selfish/retarded the British REALLY are.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Referendum is not very likely

        I think you'll find that the load-mouthed fuckwit Blairites like yourself put us in this position. That the problem with labour supporting morons is they like to blame everyone else for their own shortcomings. Labour fucked the economy.

        1. Magnus_Pym

          Re: Referendum is not very likely

          "Labour fucked the economy"

          Nothing to do with the US Mortgage system timebomb that successive presidents have been warned about since it was set up in the wake of last great depression. Nothing to do with the chancer casino bankers betting our pensions on high-risk/bound-to-fail-in-the-long-term gambles that netted them massive bonuses. It must be nice to have a single hate figure to blame for everything and ready made trite sound bites, certainly easier than thinking for yourself.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Thumb Down

            Re: Referendum is not very likely

            Way to prove my point Magnus. Selling the countries gold at the lowest prices recorded didn't help things. After that there are the two ill advised wars, sold to a public who didn't want any part in them based on lies and media manipulation, that we couldn't afford. Brown ineptly predicted the end of boom bust and was complicit (I'm being generous there) in some stupid policies towards banking, specifically ill-conceived deregulation. Darlings handling of the whole Northern Rock debacle was embarrassing and inept. So yeah, Labour fucked the economy.

            1. Magnus_Pym

              Re: Referendum is not very likely

              "Labour fucked the economy"

              What. For the whole world?

  7. K

    If the Conservatives win the next General Election

    They won't!

    They are reliant on the Lib Dems for their majority.. Who will no simply jump ship and enter a coalition with Labor, laying waste to these plan.

    1. nichomach

      Re: If the Conservatives win the next General Election

      The LibDems are going to cease to exist as a force at the next election. They've alienated their own voters, anyone who might have jumped ship from Labour and a whole raft of undecideds. Disenchanted Tories will go UKIP, disenchanted LibDems of a lefty persuasion will go Labour or Green (possibly Plaid in Wales, maybe some will head SNP in Scotland - assuming Scotland is still part of the UK) and only the neoliberal orange-bookers'll be left. And good riddance to the treacherous bastards.

      1. K

        Re: If the Conservatives win the next General Election

        You raise some interesting points..

        But as a former Tory voter, I am actually now more inclined to vote Lib Dem, so while they have alienate some of their demographic, they actually attract from another.

  8. Alan Firminger


    There are none. I can only weep for what might have been.

    Usually things are put right by a crisis. Not now.

  9. K

    To our continental friends -

    Yesterday you may have seen some idiot pre-porting to speak for the UK, please ignore him, he will shortly be returning to the hole he crawled out of!

    He is like a very bad rash, comes on unexpectedly, but does eventually disappear and we'll wonder what all the scratching was for!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To our continental friends -

      Cameron is the UK's Bush!

      1. K

        Re: To our continental friends -

        Improved Bush... This one comes with crabs!

      2. PT

        Re: To our continental friends -

        >Cameron is the UK's Bush!

        If Cameron is the UK's Bush - and he seems out of touch enough - then Blair was the UK's Cheney. Cameron is ineffectual, but Blair was evil. Never forget the atrocities visited on the British way of life by the Blair government in the name of "security" (don't forget to hold your head up when you leave your house so the security cameras can get a good facial recognition). How anyone could consider voting for either of these parties is beyond me. By the way, who is this man "Clegg" I hear about every few months? Is he something to do with the government? If so, he must be Johnson's Hubert Humphrey.

        Given the unattractive choices in the next election, Screaming Lord Sutch would have had his best chance ever. Too bad he checked out too early.

  10. airbrush

    Why so vague?

    Why doesn't he tell us what these laws are that make us 'uncompetitive'? Perhaps he could spell out what they are, how we voted at the time, if we voted against what changes we wanted and what evidence he can present to show that law is uncompetitive. Surely its not just hyperbole?

    1. Len

      Re: Why so vague?

      I thinI think the main issue with the statement is that the other 26 EU members have to abide by exactly the same rules. Funnily enough, the majority of these 26 are doing anything from better to considerably better than the UK when it comes to their economy.

      The British economy is simply not very competitive. Not enough people in the world want to buy products or services made in the UK. However, the French, Italians, Germans, Swedes, Dutch etc. abide by the same EU rules (or some times even tougher!) yet seem to be able to provide desirable products and services to sell to each other or to the rest of the world.

      For a while the financial services industry managed to keep the country afloat and hide the lack of competitiveness lurking underneath the surface. Not anymore.

      If Britain wants to become more competitive (both with other EU countries and globally) one of the first things that will need to go is the mentality of blaming others. If even the British government now prefers to buy trains built in Germany over trains built in Britain, it doesn't help to strong-arm the government in buying British (that will only make it worse), you need to make trains they want to buy. You know, you might even be able to sell those trains to other countries too. The market for trains has exploded in the last decade, why couldn't Britain-based firms try to have a slice of it? Stop blaming EU red tape that others don't seem to suffer from, stop blaming protectionist countries when others seem to sell their stuff there perfectly fine. Stop blaming others, start making and start selling.

      1. Dave Bell

        Re: Why so vague?

        I have, for sundry reasons, been looking at how the British economy has been run for the last hundred years or so.

        The much-vaunted City is a bunch of incompetents, most of the time. There have been plenty of talented individuals, running businesses that worked, from Mr Selfridge to Lord Sugar. As City interests have replaced the original management, the businesses have faltered. And often the City-types have started shifting the wealth into tax havens.

        And now Tata, from India, has bought Jaguar Land Rover, and with the same workers and managers and factories, the business is booming.

        Since there do seem to be close ties between the British and American money-shuffling industries, and they seem to be the crooks and liars who got us into a mess, it would not surprise me that, if this referendum ever happened, there are those in the EU who would be glad to be rid of the British economy.

      2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Why so vague?

        "Funnily enough, the majority of these 26 are doing anything from better to considerably better than the UK when it comes to their economy."

        That would explain why we are a net contributor to the EU and they are busy arguing over when the Germans are going bail out the euro.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why so vague?

          "That would explain why we are a net contributor to the EU and they are busy arguing over when the Germans are going bail out the euro."

          Must explain why even Italy has got more industry than UK. As for Germany, France, Holland, Sweden, Austria and others, UK is having a job to keep up; actually, apart from the French variations of M. Hollande, it is not really keeping up. Even the yanks want UK in the EU just as an English speaking, lax regulation stepping-stone into the real money on the Continent and have been kind enough to say so, with the genle encouragement that they will abandon the offshore islands if it comes to it (one positive thing at least).

          Why not enjoy the freedm of being in the EU, use it to move to and work in another country and broaden your mind and ideas? A couple of million already have done and millions more seem to like holidaying among those hated foreigners, with their nasty food, horrid weather and primitive languages.

  11. Jason Hindle

    Is there any promise easier to break?

    Than the promise of a referendum after the next election?

    1. James 51

      Re: Is there any promise easier to break?

      I read this as the promise of a refund after the next election. If the Tories get in I'll be asking for one.

  12. Mark Leaver
    Black Helicopters


    Politicians used to get into the business to try and make a difference for the common folk who share the same beliefs they did. They would try and introduce laws that were based on common sense and would work hard for their money. They actually had some respect in the community

    These days however, most politicians are getting into the business for the high salary, the overpaid pension when they are removed from office (if elected), the chance of rorting the system with dodgy expenses and the chance to get on the book circuit after they retire from politics. Modern politicians are the best that money can buy... just ask most of the big businesses around the world and have them trot out their collections of brought and paid for politicians who will pass any law they want. And any modern politician who goes into the business with good intentions usually finds out that the only way to get ahead is to give head... to the lobby groups and special interest groups who will help them get elected again if they just push through this silly little law.

    These professional politicians are harder to get rid of than herpes... and illegal to kill.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If they do win the election and then manage to negotiate a deal whereby they eliminate most/all of the worker-protection & human rights stuff, they may just end up getting the "wrong" result in the following referendum - no point in voting to remain a member of EU if they remove most of the reasons to stay in.

  14. TheOceanian

    "If we win the next election" - as above on that one ... "I'll negotiate with the EU to claw back powers" ... best one yet. Hasn't anyone told him that the whole point of the EU is that once it has powers it NEVER EVER gives them back!

    Or maybe he's hoping the whole thing will go t!ts-up by the time a referendum is due and he'll have done bog-all but be able to claim victory - for 'us' of course ....

  15. Rol

    I bet

    Surely, one of the overriding reasons Cameron is considering exiting the EU is to protect London's financial services from taxation.

    Unlike Joe Bloggs' flutter at the bookies, gambling on stocks and shares incurs no betting tax, something EU would like to redress by introducing a very, very small transaction tax.

    This tax would be a huge contribution from an industry that has historically run screaming to the Caymans with it's bag of swag at every opportunity and one that is morally and financially justified.

    No doubt Cameron's dorm buddies are gleefully swigging the Bolly knowing their gravy train is still on track.

    1. Steve the Cynic

      Re: I bet

      Goody, I get to be a pedant today!

      "gambling on stocks and shares incurs no betting tax, something EU would like to redress by introducing a very, very small transaction tax."

      Do you mean a transaction tax that is different somehow to the existing UK transaction tax on share transfers, formally called "Stamp Duty Reserve Tax" but colloquially (in the trade) known just as "Stamp Duty"? This is set at 0.5% of the transaction amount, and therefore qualifies easily for "very, very small".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I bet

        Pedant allert : different FROM, similar TO.

  16. Frankee Llonnygog

    Electoral boundary review

    Is there any way we could reshuffle the electoral boundaries so that all the Daily Mail readers are moved to (say) the Isle of Man? They can they get on with being the United Kingdom of Leaving-the-EU-maintaining-the-special-relationship-with-the-US-peeking-out-from-behind-their-lace-curtains-and-fearing-anyone-different-land, while the rest of us crack on and enjoy life.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward long, farewell

    Well if the UK chooses to leaves the EU no doubt I'll be picking up our hosting and moving it into the EU along with all those companies that host in the UK in order to operate in a location covered by said EU data protection legislation.

    That's another million out of the UK economy.

    1. Anonymous Dutch Coward

      Re: long, farewell: hosting & Data Protection

      Leaving the EU and not joining the European Free Trade Association (or the European Economic Area or negotiating free trade agreements etc) are 2 different things. Ask Switzerland or Norway.

      Apart from that, WTO regulations already prohibit import tariffs etc.

      As for data protection: if the US can get their dodgy Safe Harbor provisions through the EU, perhaps a non EU UK will be able to prove that their data protection is good enough to meet EU standards (then again, maybe not).

      Unfortunately, every politician that thinks our countries should stay in the EU (and/or the EU should move to fiscal/political union regardless of the voters' wishes) trot out the sham argument that leaving the EU means cutting trade etc.

      Happens here in Holland, too.

      1. gjw

        Re: long, farewell: hosting & Data Protection

        >Apart from that, WTO regulations already prohibit import tariffs etc.

        This is just not true. There are lots of import duties in effect, and the WTO doesn't really prohibit them, just mitigates. Or in WTO speak: There is no legally binding agreement that sets out the targets for tariff reductions.

        >(politicians say that) leaving the EU means cutting trade etc.

        Be that as it may, every country that wants to export their goods/services to the EU has to play by the EU rules, rules that only the member states decide upon. Leaving the EU would just mean: leaving the biggest single market in the world, still having to abide by their rules but not being able to influence those rules.

        Smart move!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: long, farewell: hosting & Data Protection

        That may be true but I have had to deal with a long list of clients for whom hosting outside of the EU is simply a non-starter regardless of the EU's recognition of "adequate safeguards" afforded by other countries.

        So rather than get into a deep, and frankly pointless, conversation where we try to face down the security policies of our clients. So we will keep our hosting in an area that can serve the EU population without having to get special exemptions from each national DR registrar, for each client, to host data on their citizens outside of the EU.

        As for the UK -- we'll host them out of Canada.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't be so sure that UK can do just fine alone

    With not much oil left, the UK depends on human capital, which is in a big percentage foreign. Getting out of the EU would make places like Germany comparatively much more attractive. As it is now, you can already see more advertisements for German language courses than for English ones in certain southern EU countries. I for one am considering moving because of the uncertainty and I can tell you that many important corporations are in London to have access to European talent.

  19. CmdrX3

    "reducing the regulatory burden to secure growth"

    I believe the US tried that with banking system and look how well that turned out.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If there is a referendum on UK fascism

    I plan to vote with my feet.

  21. Derichleau

    The EU Directive is rubbish

    EC Directive 95/46/EC on which the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 are based is too confusing. We could do away with the PECR 2003 and just have the DPA98. And if the e-mails are bothering you you simply opt-out under section 11 of the DPA98.

    What we need is a review of the DPA98 to make it easier for individuals to seek compensation from companies that abuse their data protection rights. At the moment, a solicitor wants £5000 to bring a case under section 11(2) of the DPA98 - where a company has continued to market me after I have opted out under section 11. The process needs to be easier; I should be able to claim a set amount via the small claims court. So I opt out under section 11 and that company cannot send me direct marketing by phone, by post by e-mail by text etc, If they do then I can take them to court and walk away with, say £250.

  22. GotAHandleOnIt

    The real reason for Cameron's speech

    His speech is just pure sophistry. The real reason behind it can be found by looking no further than

    Cameron has to keep 'head office' happy.

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