Speech at 40th anniversary conference on Margaret Thatcher

I spoke on Saturday at the Anniversary Conference at the Thatcher Centre, Somerville College Oxford.

I spoke about wider ownership policies, about the poor economic background to the start of her premierships and about the impact difference on European policy had on her period in office. I am asking for a copy of the video of the speech to be available here for those interested.

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Carbon dioxide levels keep rising

The more the UK cuts emissions of O2 the more the rest of the world increases them. Someone sent me the 2018 latest figures from the BP Energy Review. Since 2010 world CO2 emissions are up 9% whilst the UK has been cutting. Last year there was a 2% global rise, with only the UK and Europe down. The increases were led by China, India and the rest of the world excluding the USA and Europe.

China still uses coal for more than half her energy demands, whilst the UK has eliminated coal in its generation mix. Last year an additional 280 million barrels of oil equivalent of gas, oil and coal was consumed, compared to just 100 m barrel equivalent increase in non carbon renewables and nuclear.  Renewables now account for just 4% of world energy, with hydro and nuclear 11%, whilst coal represents 27% and oil and gas 54%.

Those who see rising carbon dioxide as  a major threat need to answer the simple question what are they going to do about the huge increases in fossil fuel use outside the UK and  Europe. The figures show even if the UK succeeded in eliminating net carbon usage world use and output of CO2 would continue upwards with no visible impact of the UK on the world graph. It will take major changes of behaviour and investment in China,India and the other large carbon users to shift the numbers in  the way climate campaigners want.

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A parallel currency?

The Economic Adviser to the Lega party, the larger of the two governing coalition partners in  Italy, has come up with a scheme for mini BOTs or low denomination Treasury Bills. The Italian Parliament recently passed a motion in favour, though this is not binding and the Treasury is not yet printing and issuing  these bonds.

The Italian state like others issues Treasury Bills to institutional investors. These are usually short term loans to help finance public spending. They can be traded against their electronic certificates.

This  new scheme is to issue so called Treasury Bills or  bonds with no repayment date and no rate of interest payable.  They would be issued with physical certificates or notes in 10,20, 50 etc Euro denominations. Individuals could pay tax bills with them, or buy any goods or services from the state like petrol from a state owned filling station.

The European Central Bank has been asked about this. They have said if this is a parallel currency it is under the rules of the Euro scheme illegal. If these are debt instruments they have to be under the overall budget deficit and borrowing controls that apply in a single currency.

The mini BOTs look much like banknotes and would give the Italian state the effective right to print a money substitute to get round some of the controls on their economy from the Euro scheme. It is a provocative idea. So far they have put the idea into circulation but not the notes. If they did start to issue them it would be a major challenge to the Euro.

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Briefing on the development of populist politics in the EU on 24 June

On 24 June I will be briefing the foreign correspondents interested in populist politics at the Brand Exchange 3 Birchin Lane EC3 at 2pm

I will talk about the success of  populist parties in the EU and the last European election, look at what they want and how they are developing their power and influence, and explain how Brexit has changed UK politics radically.  The thoughts in  part come from my latest book, “We don’t believe you”  (available on Amazon) and will assist with further updating of that book.

Please let me know if you are wanting to come.

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Remain does not do democracy – they just assert they know better than the people

The Remain MPs who lost the referendum now tell us we must believe in Parliamentary sovereignty and let Parliament decide whether we leave the EU or not. They try to claim Leaver MPs are not democratic in wishing for us just to leave. They want to pitch Parliament against the people, and get Parliament to dilute or cancel Brexit. They do not accept our argument that Parliament gave the decision to voters and promised to do what they decided, so to do otherwise is to undermine the sovereignty of the people.

This week they had their way and put so called No Deal back to the vote. They lost. Under their own doctrine they should now be saying that Parliament has exercised its powers and has come to a decision. Some of them, of course reveal yet again their anti democratic instincts by claiming Parliament must vote again on  this issue as it got the wrong answer. Clearly as they see it Parliament did not understand the question!

The irony of the Remain position is huge. These Remain MPs who delighted in voting away our Parliamentary powers in treaty after Treaty, Directive after Directive, now like to pose as upholding the rights of the very Parliament they trashed  by removing much of its freedom  of action. Now they demand that Parliament votes to deny the people their decision. Each time they lose they demand a re run on  the grounds that Parliament, like the people, has got it wrong and needs to vote on it all over again.

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Court cases arguing the UK has already left the EU

Some correspondents want to know why we learn nothing about these cases. As far as I can see it is because their sponsors are not writing or talking about them, so we do not know where they have reached and what is happening. On this occasion it does not appear to be a media inspired news blackout as some fear.

I checked with Mr Robin Tilbrook’s website yesterday, as he brought the first case. His  last blog post I could see about the court case was 14 May when he attacked Bill Cash and Nigel Farage but did not bring us up to date on how well his case is progressing. Maybe his lawyers are telling him not to tell the rest of us about it.

Nor have I seen any news on the Barry Legg case. I would be happy to comment here if news is released that we are allowed to talk about. Both cases I believe argue that Mrs May’s two delays were not legal in EU/UK law, though they are clearly being regarded as such by the government.

Supporters of Robin Tilbrook tell  me the Legg case has not yet appeared in the courts. They want me to write a positive article about their case. I have explained that if Mr Tilbrook  or his lawyers publish an up date I would be happy to write about it.

I just want us out of the EU. I have also been supportive of  Sir William Cash’s statements in Parliament about the failure of the government to delay our exit in a legally watertight way and joined in the unsuccessful Parliamentary pressure to defeat the move to delay. I spoke at the Committee we demanded to consider the relevant Statutory Instrument so I could condemn the delay.

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The Conservative leadership election.

As I expected there was Boris and the rest.  I voted for Boris as I agreed with his clear statements that we have to leave by October 31st, and that failure to quit would be deeply damaging to our democracy and to the Conservative party. Next week will be about deciding who should go forward to challenge Boris, who commanded enough votes in the first round to secure one of the last two places, assuming all his voters stick with him which is likely.

It is difficult to see Rory Stewart, Matt Hancock or Sajid Javid staying in  contention. Dom Raab’s votes are likely to drift away to Boris as the Get out candidate who can win. I expect Jeremy Hunt will extend his lead over Michael Gove and stay in second place. Michael Gove is trying to sell himself as another Leave candidate, but he was one of the most insistent advocates of the Withdrawal Treaty which was the opposite of leaving, and now says if necessary we should delay our exit beyond October 31. None of the candidates who rule out No deal Brexit have explained why the EU should negotiate a revised Withdrawal treaty, nor how they could negotiate anything without the leverage of just going if necessary.


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The BBC takes free tv licences away from older pensioners

The BBC pocketed the higher licence fee but has now gone back of the idea that they should finance the free tv licences for the over 75s.

Should the government now decriminalise payment of the licence fee? Should it review BBC funding and spending to see why the BBC cannot afford to meet its obligations to pensioners?

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Parliament makes a sensible decision at last on Brexit

Yesterday the combined forces of the Opposition parties united to try to hijack the business of the House in the future to delay or prevent our exit and to ban a so called No deal exit. By 309 votes to 298 votes this proposal was defeated. They wanted time to legislate to stop Brexit or to prevent the government counting the clock down to our exit on 31 October without allowing the Parliament yet another say on the Brexit options.

It is traditional for governments to control the business of the House. If a majority builds up in the House against what they are doing then the opposition forces have the right to table and vote on  a motion of No confidence. If the Opposition wins that motion it  ends the government’s tenure. The Opposition is not afforded the right  to have Parliamentary time to have its own alternative programme of new legislation or its own alternative foreign policy . As it does not enjoy a majority there would be  no point in allowing this. It enjoys plenty of time to question, criticise, debate and comment on the government’s approach which is its role. The Opposition is free to table  any amendments it likes to government legislation, and free to try to persuade government MPs to join them in amending or opposing it.

The last time the Opposition tried a hijack to secure legislation it was to ask the government to seek a delay to our exit. As it happened Mrs May wanted to seek a  delay anyway, so when the vote was won by just one  vote it did not change anything as the government wanted to ask for a later exit date. As they found when trying to legislate then, all Parliament could try to do was to bind the hand of the UK government. They could not legislate to require a delay because that also required to consent of the EU.

It is good news that this time Parliament recoiled from allowing those MPs most hostile to our exit from the EU to take control of the Order paper. If they did so they would undermine the UK’s negotiating position further, humiliate our country again internationally, and thwart the clear wishes of the British people by refusing to implement the Brexit we voted for.


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Thanks to the IEA for a good event last night

The IEA had 100 acceptances for a full house last night to discuss my book  “We don’t believe you”. (The book is  available on Amazon) The questions went on for almost two hours . We discussed everything from the collapse of traditional political parties to Brexit, from the Trump phenomenon to austerity economics, from  the middle Eastern wars to the distrust in the media. I will draw on parts of the discussion in blogs to come.

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  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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