The EU’s rigged trade means a bigger import bill for the UK

Amidst all the talk about our trade with the EU – which is not at risk on exit – the Stay in side always ignores the most important fact. The UK imports far more than it exports to the rest of the EU.

It’s not as if we are uncompetitive generally, because we usually have a surplus with the rest of the world, despite buying a lot from China. There is something about the way the EU interferes with our markets and imposes on us sector policies which means we end up importing too much.

Perhaps the worst case is fishing. The UK should be self sufficient in fish. The EU’s common fishery policy has instead allowed many industrial trawlers to come into our fishing grounds from elsewhere, taking large catches. In response to the damage they do to the fish stocks, the EU then imposes severe quotas on UK fishing vessels. Contrast the port of Lowestoft today with the bustling fishing port of 1970 before we joined the EEC. Most of the fishing vessels have gone. The UK ends up having to import far too much fish because our own fishing grounds have been both damaged and controlled.

Milk and dairy products is another area where our import bill has been increased partly by the EU regulation of our own dairy sector. The imposition of milk quotas for many years left us short of capacity to fill our own demand for milk and milk based products. UK farmers were told they could not increase their herds or augment their production. More recently a general surplus of milk has caused other problems from the EU milk price collapse. EU mismanagement of its wider milk market has been difficult for farmers.

In total we are heavy food importers. It makes sense for us to buy in Mediterranean and tropical fruits and other fresh produce out of our season. The UK though has much good soil and a temperate climate making it suitable for food production, where we should be able to offset the cost of imports with our own exports. The CAP has got in the way of us doing that on a big enough scale. It has also imposed duties on cheaper produce from non EU countries which we cannot grow for ourselves.

Energy is a major area of growing imports. As with agriculture, this is bizarre. The UK is an island of coal set in a sea of oil and gas. We were pioneers of civil nuclear power. Today we are discovering more oil and gas onshore, and there are apparently abundant coal reserves offshore which new technologies could convert into gas or energy sub sea. Instead of doing this, we are being made more reliant on the EU. The UK is putting in more interconnectors to buy EU electricity instead of generating enough for ourselves. We are dependent on large quantities of imported gas, some of which comes from a continent vulnerable owing to its dependence on Russian gas.

It looks as if the EU is determined to lock us into their own rather insecure energy policy. They have required us to become more dependent on wind energy – something all too many UK politicians also supported – which means ending up dependent on imports for back up when the wind does not blow. We should instead have a UK based policy using our natural advantages of access to plentiful energy resources including hydro and tidal.

We also manage to end up importing a large amount of timber from countries with slower growing conditions than ourselves. The Forestry Commission fail to be ambitious enough in meeting our timber needs.

The Uk needs a programme to reduce import dependence generally. Being in the EU makes this so much more difficult. Outside the EU we could reduce our import dependence in fish, food, timber and energy more easily.


  1. Horatio
    February 19, 2016

    Apologies, off topic:
    Question Time last night was utterly outrageous. Of the panel of 5, 4 were openly for remain and 1 was on the fence. Although, Theo Paphetis did an excellent job combating project fear (June Sarpong) with accurate statistics. He would be a welcome famous, media savvy, businessman to the cause.

    More importantly, where the hell was the balance? An actual member of a remain campaign group and 3 openly europhile MPs! (Good to put a face to the woman, Justin Greening, who sends millions to the Bangladeshis to prevent flooding. )

    This was the public broadcaster just a few months before a possible referendum. This wasn’t even a niche radio programme but the flagship political show on BBC1! I am livid. It is outrageous, absolutely outrageous. This should be raised in parliament. :

    Reply I agree the panel had no Leave speaker. Then the chairman tried to find Remain people in the audience when the audience tried to balance the panel!

    1. Mike Stallard
      February 19, 2016

      I was asleep in front of Newsnight at the time…

    2. Lifelogic
      February 19, 2016

      Usually the audience if even more biased than the panel. The situation is not help by the endless use of actors, tv personalities/presenters, pop musician and comedians who are nearly always BBC think, pro EU, greencrap, high tax, magic money tree, open door immigration lefties. Also not helped by the fact that most senior Tories are pro EU anyway.

      Sending money to the Bangladeshis will at least be rather more effective than build more bonkers, intermittent, heavily subsidised wind farms in the UK will be.

      1. Horatio
        February 19, 2016

        Would very much prefer the considerable millions sent to prevent Bangladeshi flooding were spent in the north of england. Charity begins at home sir.

        Just saw a length interview, on Sky, with Laura Sands, something of a head honcho for remainers. Adam Boulton pressed her not all, including when she said that leaving the EU would not prevent immigration from the EU!! Unbelievable. Funny how the BBC has pretty much taken their best and most balanced journo, Andrew Neil, off air this week.

    3. fedupsoutherner
      February 19, 2016

      Totally agree. It was outrageous but then it is what we have come to expect from the BBC. To think, we are paying for all this misinformation!! No wonder the audience agreed with Theo – we do not get enough facts or common sense from the BBC and this is unfortunately what most people are watching and they know it!

    4. Jerry
      February 19, 2016

      QT has has long been pasted its sell buy date, probably as much as 20 years, but now it is becoming an irrelevance anyway in the face of social media and blogging and other websites, or even just the 24 hours news cycle – I suspect only the “Disgusted of Tunbridge” type (of what ever political opinion) actually still bother to take the programme with any seriousness. Sorry to say but I suspect that the “Sunday Politics” is probably now the BBC ‘s flagship political programme, QT now just being the home of sound-bites and rants! 🙁

      The QT format needs axing, not modifying, it was born out of a time when even Parliamentary debate wasn’t fully covered, with not much more than a half hour programme at 23:30hrs on a weekday night.

      As for audience perspiration, that is their opinions, not the selected ‘questions’, surely it was good that the chairman attempted to balance the audience opinion, anything else would have been biased.

      Also had the balance of the programme been 4:1 for a Brexit I wonder how many this morning would be complaining, I suspect that many would have been slapping the BBC on the back for at last doing things properly…

      1. Horatio
        February 19, 2016

        On the contrary Jerry. I would have been happy with even 4 remain and 1 leave. Then at least points could have been rebutted and endless spouting of crap , allowed by the chair , could have been prevented.

        I did rather sense that if there had been a numerate and passionate Eurosceptic on the panel the audience would have loved it.

    5. Bob
      February 19, 2016

      The BBC is clearly campaigning for Remain, which is a flagrant breach of the Royal Charter.

      They are now running an advert on the BBC advertising the BBC with the strapline “For all of us”.

      Why do they need to advertise? Is there a Charter review looming?

      1. Mark B
        February 20, 2016

        Yes, “For all of us, so long as you keep paying otherwise we send the boys round !”

    6. Timaction
      February 19, 2016

      I didn’t watch the programme as it is not good for my blood pressure and keeps my wife awake when I irrationally start shouting at the screen. It’s been like this for years and I believe most people can see through it.
      Pick the times to watch when you see a balanced panel published in advance (rarely). Its going to get a lot worse. They’ll be publishing a disaster documentary soon. 100 days after we leave the EU. We’ll have been invaded by aliens, 10 million unemployed, no food in the shops, etc. The corporation is a disgrace.

    7. Martyn G
      February 19, 2016

      BBC Radio Oxford this morning fielded 2 smooth-talking reps of the remain party who trotted out the usual lies regarding the EU being so important to our export markets and how belonging gave us a major voice on the world stage (not mentioning the fact that we are but one lone voice in the EU). No one questioned anything they said, nor was there a balancing argument from a Brexit supporter. Clearly, the BBC is now no more than a propaganda vehicle partially funded by and for the unelected masters of the EU. Outrageous!

    8. Denis Cooper
      February 19, 2016

      At least when the Sarpong woman started to recite the nonsense about 3 million jobs she was met with more groans from the audience than applause, and then Theo Paphetis laid into her over it. But as he declared himself undecided I wouldn’t expect him to join the Leave campaign, and there is an argument that businessmen should not align themselves too conspicuously with either side. On Channel 4 News Cathy Newman persisted in asking some chap leading questions to try to get him to say that if we left the EU his company would shut up shop here, but had to admit failure:

      Cathy Newman ‏@cathynewman 14h14 hours ago
      I didn’t get the impression @HitachiCapital boss was THAT exercised about
      #Brexit – said company wouldn’t relocate UK base if UK leaves EU

    9. bigneil
      February 19, 2016

      Agreed – and also noticed that the “stay” comments were allowed to finish – the “leave” comments were interrupted. It was disgusting. It should now be took off the air.

    10. getahead
      February 19, 2016

      I no longer watch BBC.
      I especially no longer watch BBC political propaganda programmes.
      The BBC should really be made a subscription service.

      1. Anonymous
        February 19, 2016

        Getahead – With the exception of the recent adaptation of War and Peace just about every production from the BBC is propaganda.

        Drama and comedy is particularly loaded with it.

        I am also sick to the back teeth of hypocritical celebrities getting involved in politics.

        Emma Thompson should not be allowed to get away with sounding generous over migration, which will clearly be at the expense of other people.

        etc ed

    11. miami.mode
      February 19, 2016


      I’ve always quite liked June Sarpong but the way she was almost screaming to overcome any dissent from her views, does not bode well for her role in the BSE Remain campaign.

      The QT audience always seems to have a left wing bias but from what I have seen they often appear to comprise a large number of public sector workers who would naturally ally themselves with Labour in the belief that it will protect their jobs. The producers could always claim to have balance by having manual workers, health care assistants, nurses, doctors, teachers etc.

      It is noticeable however that all recent audiences seem opposed to the EU with the relevant jeering, so here’s hoping.

      1. Maureen Turner
        February 19, 2016

        For decades the BBC has been the voice of the Left. It no longer makes any attempt to conceal its political bias in fact it almost promotes it and in doing so breaks its Royal Charter ever day of the week.

        One can understand this might sit nicely with a Labour government but a Conservative one?

        I didn’t see QT yesterday evening but it isn’t surprising re the imbalance in the panel as the same goes for Any Questions and Date Line London. It’s the norm. I don’t think it is too far fetched to say it is almost as powerful as HMG but of course it can’t pass legislation etc. Its real power lies in the power of influence and it’s this huge power of influence they are using as a propaganda tool to return a Remain vote in our EU referendum.

        Why is our supposedly impartial public broadcaster being indulged in this way by a Conservative government?

      2. Horatio
        February 19, 2016

        Miamh. Mode

        I tend to believe, as shown by last year’s farage/clegg debates, that the British public -those who are actually impacted by the EU – are far more Eurosceptic and positive about the British than those in the bubble. JR excepted.

        In the EU elections , so called Eurosceptic parties including conservatives and UKIP poll massively more than the europhile rest. I believe that Boris will see this and I’m looking forward to some excellent speeches written by Gove.

    12. lojolondon
      February 19, 2016

      Horatio, I am afraid it is not outrageous, it is just the Biased BBC doing what they do every day. The campaign for IN has started, and until July you have no hope of a fair say, unfortunately our current Government is determined to ensure that we stay in, so they are doing nothing to control the bias because it works for them in this case.

      1. stred
        February 20, 2016

        Fortunately, I missed QT as I was visiting a property 200 miles away that is closed for repair. I pay for 3 other licences but this one has no tv or computer. I told them it is empty before but they persist. Two letters had arrived within weeks of Jan and Feb. I am to be investigated by enforcers and the court appearance could cost £1000. I phoned on a charge line to re inform them, listened to 3 minutes of information about paying methods and the website, gave the address and was then told that they could not deal with the message as they were closed for the weekend. Obviously this information at the start would result in a lot of calls being terminated and a smaller charge. I used to admire the BBC. Now I would like to see it broken up with a subscription for the few intelligent programmes available.

    13. a-tracy
      February 19, 2016

      Just stop watching QTime I did, much happier now, if we all switched off they’d soon have to rethink.

    14. l'Esprit
      February 19, 2016

      There is only one sure way to counteract the apparent BBC favouritism, which is for Sun TV or Richard Desmond’s Channel 5 to hold a competitive Question Time at the same time and day as the BBC version.

      My family members have long-distance abandoned watching any BBC News, Newsnight or Public Affairs programs. However, we appreciate that that won’t help the nation to get a balanced viewpoint about vital matters such as the EU referendum over the next 4 months. And frankly, raising it in Parliament does not seem to have the desired effect: we have been talking about BBC bias (aka Guardian TV) for as long as conservative opinion started getting the upper hand – at least 6 the last years, and no remedy has been proffered or taken up.

      The only way to fight fire is with fire.

      1. Anonymous
        February 19, 2016


        What would you expect the outcome of that new channel to be ?

        Most Tory MPs are Blairist.

        The bias on QT is as much to do with mono-politics as it is to do with BBC culture.

  2. Horatio
    February 19, 2016

    Excellent piece today JR. So many coastal towns are now unemployment hotspots wouldn’t it be gainful to revitalise our fishing industry? How, as an island, we can be a net importer of fish, is bizarre!

    With all the onshore oil and gas waiting to be fracked we could be the most energy independent country in Europe after Norway. Given the vulnerability of Russian supply it is not too much of a stretch to imagine us even exporting it. Fewer pensioners, some whom I know very well, scared to turn the heating on too.

    1. Lifelogic
      February 19, 2016

      Perhaps that explains some of the large increase in mortality last year. They are just too cold? That and the dire & deteriorating NHS and other public “services”.

    2. alan jutson
      February 19, 2016


      “How as an Island, we can be a net importer of fish is Bizarre ”

      The whole EU set up is bizarre, how Mp’s have over the years have allowed their powers to be constantly eroded bit by bit, on a whole range of major policy, finance, regulation, and law, is astonishing.

      It is like they are in a trance to all things EU.

      Its as if there is something in the water, in Downing Street and Parliament that has dulled most of their senses.

      1. Anonymous
        February 19, 2016

        On Brexit we reclaim our fishing grounds – and Spaniards turn up and fish in our territory anyway.

        What do we do ?

        With what navy ?

    3. fedupsoutherner
      February 19, 2016

      Horatio, we could also be one of the richest nations within the EU if we just to advantage of our natural resources. Everything that is going on regarding energy is self inflicted. We could do so much better but instead, particularly in Scotland, all we see are applications for wind farms. Only yesterday one came in for the Perthshire area of 40 gigantic turbines. Who is going to pay for this???? We are. So many days this week the turbines haven’t been turning because of the weather and when its too windy for them to operate or when there is too much wind on the grid they get paid to switch off. Yet they still continue to put in more.

    4. Jerry
      February 19, 2016

      @Horatio; Fish have no respect of international boundaries, which are actually only 12 miles anyway, no one is saying that the fish we import actually comes from our 12 mile waters nor those of the total EU area. Stocks are low due to man’s over fishing, that would likely be the case if the UK have been out of the EU since 1975 or had never joined, our fishing fleets would still likely be tied up or scrapped.

      As for energy, is there actually that much oil (and perhaps gas too) still waiting to be extracted, at a price that would allow pensioners to turn their heating up without care, surely the answer is to build (and control) our own nuclear power, electric is the way to go what ever, be it nuclear or the (turn away Mr LL for a moment…) greens love of PV etc. Also upon an acceptable Brexit, if it becomes a mater of political brute force, we might need all the extra capacity we can muster should even small numbers of ex-pats pack up and return ‘home’, many of them pensioners.

      1. Anonymous
        February 19, 2016

        Jerry – It doesn’t help fish stocks that we can’t eat already killed fish under a certain weight. Per the EU.

      2. Ted Mombiot
        February 19, 2016

        So why have the French and Spanish trawlers spent their time successfully fishing our waters since Heath gave them the freedom to do so ?
        On energy fracking could give us enough gas to be self sufficient if nuclear was also developed like the French have done.

        1. Jerry
          February 20, 2016

          @Anonymous; True but without landing quotes it would be even more of a free-for-all, the point is, collectively and internationally [1] we simply need to stop fishing at least for a time, otherwise many species of fish are in real danger of going the way of the Dodo.

          @Ted Mombiot; Indeed, but had we not joined the EEC those fishing fleets would still have fished up to our 12 mile territorial waters, our membership of the EEC/EU has had no effect on the worlds fish stocks for the reasons I gave, fish know nothing of our wish for them to remain within 12 miles of our UK coast line!

          [1] a role better played by the UN or even WTO rather than the EU

        2. Ted Mombiot
          February 20, 2016

          You are saying Jerry that EU nations also fishing in areas only the UK once fished and hoovrring up tens of thousands of tons of fish has had little or no effect on our fish stocks and that the restrictions placed on our fishing industry by the quota system has not affected their ability to remain in business.
          This is contrary to nearly everyone else’s opinions in the industry.

          1. Jerry
            February 20, 2016

            @Ted Mombiot; The point you miss is that in or out of the EU “our” fish stocks would still have suffered, as fish do not respect territorial waters. But heck, you carry on throwing your silly anti EU brickbats about, you might impress fellow europhobes but I doubt they will win many Brexit votes, once people use the internet to check and validate the claims of the BSE vs. GO groups etc.

            Also you seem to think that other EU member countries abuse the EU fishing rules, well they might or might not bend them but as for “hoovering up” of fish stocks, I suspect your anger would be better directed towards the likes of those Russian factory ships and the like.

          2. Edward2
            February 21, 2016

            I had forgotten you are always right Jerry
            I don’t know what came over me.
            As you say silly me.

          3. Jerry
            February 21, 2016

            @Edward2; If I am so wrong then I am sure you will put me right with some scientific facts that show how fish know what nets to swim into, thus avoiding non UK/EU owned nets, not to mention knowing they must not swim more than 12 miles out to sea!

            You just can’t help yourself, can you. Of course you might just have been looking for another one of your stupid arguments to waste more of our hosts time. Although judging by the time-stamp on your comment I suspect you might have just returned home, and in the cold light of this afternoon you’ll be wondering who has spoofed your account again…

  3. Javelin
    February 19, 2016

    What’s the point in having a Parliament if the PM needs to go begging around Europe to change a simple bit of legislation on child benefit.

    When will the penny drop?

    MPs are all redundant.

    John – You’re FIRED !!!

    1. Timaction
      February 19, 2016

      He needs to go around the EU countries to air that influence and voice in the world showing he’s not isolated and they always agree with him. The EU bills are reducing, powers are being brought back, immigration is being controlled, we’re stopping sending benefits to children who don’t even live here, the 5 Presidents report doesn’t exist and they’re not creating a United States of Europe by 2025.
      Is Sham Cam bringing his bit of paper back today? Is Boris/ Gove and the rest getting off the fence and putting Country before party and personal gain?
      I and 4 million others didn’t vote for any of this as we knew what would happen when you elect a Tory Government.

    2. Lifelogic
      February 19, 2016

      What is the point of parliament? Well it seems they are just there (like MEPs) to maintain a fake veneer of any democracy to fool they voters they still live in one. This while collecting good wages, pensions and interesting “expenses”.

      Cameron, Osborne and the faux Tories see to rather like this fraudulent arrangement.

    3. a-tracy
      February 19, 2016

      I read an article in the Mirror yesterday that was so poorly researched about benefits that I was left confused. They concentrated on dole, rather than the full range of out of work benefits available in this country them compared them with other Countries. Apples v Pears.

      When will we see the real situation, just what are all of the benefits in value now: dole (is it just six months you get this for? can you claim this immediately you’re out of work or do you need a certain amount of NI contribution history),
      sickness benefits (not those paid for by business now in the form of SSP),
      tax credits,
      out of work housing benefits,
      disability benefits,
      child tax credits
      child benefit

      Let’s not include state pensions (as benefits) is it true the vast majority of us have contributed 39 years worth of NI to this scheme, set up as a Ponzi mistake in the first instance, then robbed over the years for general taxation spending. Or is it easy to check how many people receive state pension having not got the requite 39 years of payments (inc. of the years for child rearing women) in the form of pension credits and housing benefits over retirement age having not contributed sufficiently which I guess would then be a benefit.

    4. Anonymous
      February 19, 2016

      We don’t need two governments.

      The referendum should not be about In or Out but about which government we reject.

  4. lifelogic
    February 19, 2016

    Indeed EU regulation, controls, limits and market distortions ties UK industry in knots at every turn.

    Osborne & Cameron then stick the knife in with his excessive taxation, over complex taxation, pension muggings, IHT ratting, minimum wage controls. landlord and tenant muggings, bonkers employment laws, expensive energy lunacies and the likes on top of this.

    It is amazing they manage to compete at all in world markets, with all this inconvenience inflicted by the EU and UK governments.

    1. Graham Wood
      February 19, 2016

      And the negotiations? Shakespearean allusions abound!

      ‘Love’s labours Lost’? ‘ much Ado About. Nothing? A Winters Tale?

      Best of all as far as Cameron is concerned perhaps: The Taming Of The Shrew?

    2. Lifelogic
      February 19, 2016

      Plus all the daft restrictive planning rules/taxes and the OTT, greencrap building controls pushing up costs of commercial and residential building too.

    3. Lifelogic
      February 19, 2016

      Yet another new tax from these “low tax at heart conservatives”. It seems they want to raise the probate “fee” tax from £215 to up to £20,000, quite an increase.

      This is of course on top of the 40% in IHT they are thieving off you on death (over the still £325K allowance) and the appalling & cynical ratting of George Osborne on his £1M IHT threshold promise. A promise he still absurdly claims to be keeping, clearly thinks the public are complete fools.

      Is there no end to the endless ways of mugging of the public these robbers can come up with? Meanwhile the limited and rather poor public services that are occasionally actually delivered, deteriorate further by the day and he is still borrowing to the hilt on top of this too.

      Just stop pissing money down the drain, Osborne for a change. Start with the EU fees, all the Green Crap, HS2 and the endless payments to augment the feckless and perhaps the cost of that vellum too.

  5. lifelogic
    February 19, 2016

    A huge amount of time was give to Lord Mandelson on Newsnight last night. He was, needless to say, as slimy and eel like as usual. He presented no sensible arguments and there was, needless to say, no sensible questioning of him by the BBC.

    The more we see of Mandelson the more the leave vote will surely advance.

    It seems the French want to try to ensure that there is a pretence that there will not be a further deal and referendum following the first leave vote. There surely will be one, regardless of any words inserted into this worthless agreement.

    The EU is desperate to keep the UK tied up and tied in, they will not give up that easily. Every one should vote leave and wait for the new, better deal. Then reject that too.

    1. Denis Cooper
      February 19, 2016

      Neither the EU as a whole nor any of its member states can prevent us having as many referendums as we like on any topic that we like, that is still a decision for our sovereign Parliament. However apparently some member state governments want to try to block any possible further renegotiations once this “deal” has been done.

      This seems double-edged to me. On the one hand it may deter some people from voting to Leave just to force further renegotiations, after which they might vote to Remain in a second referendum. On the other hand it rather knocks on the head the idea which is now being floated in Tory europhile circles that even though Cameron has not asked for or got everything we want in this “deal” it could be just the starting point for a gradual process of change afterwards.

      1. Lifelogic
        February 19, 2016

        You can be sure the EU will not permit a BREXIT without a real struggle, a better deal will certainly offered. No one should vote remain even if they want to remain. If we vote remain the UK and democracy are doomed.

        We must reject that better deal too.

    2. Mockbeggar
      February 19, 2016

      The same goes for Neil Kinnock on the Today programme yesterday. I didn’t hear a single question from the interviewer even when he came out with that hoary old misuse of statistics that says we export 51% of our stuff to Europe, but they only export 9% of theirs to us.

      1. Lifelogic
        February 19, 2016

        Indeed what compete and utter tosh that “argument” is. It is clearly the actual size of the trade that matters not the proportion.

  6. Margaret
    February 19, 2016

    I suppose one could look at it that when we have finished with other countries resources we will still have our own banked.

  7. Mike Stallard
    February 19, 2016

    Freedom is not just some sort of abstraction.
    Freedom is what makes an economy tick.
    If you take away the freedom of workers like fishermen, coal fired power station employees, dairy farmers and beef farmers, then you get control by bureaucrats who only care, ultimately, about number one and the other bureaucrats. And they mercilessly milk the system for their own gain.
    As coal miners and steel workers have discovered, too, there is also creative destruction of unnecessary occupations too. Without freedom, these continue their redundant lives.
    This is called extractive politics and it wrecks an economy.
    Freedom matters to an economy. It matters.

    1. Lifelogic
      February 19, 2016

      Exactly – Lack of freedom and over regulation of everything is damaging the economy hugely.

      Osborne, having at first pretended to be in favour of simpler and lower taxes has done the exact opposite in spades, He is killing the animal of which his parasitic state sector feeds.

      A state sector that is delivering fairly dire public services that deteriorate by the day. As we can see in the recent mortality figures and NHS statistics.

  8. Antisthenes
    February 19, 2016

    One thing that springs to mind reading your article is how much the EU resembles the old Soviet Union and other socials states. They believe and act on the idea that the state is best at planning and controlling the means of production and supply. The only difference is that most of the production is left in the hands of the private sector although much is not as the state is the provider all too often.

    The evidence has been and is that the state either controlling or providing services, goods and the means of production is economically untenable and leads to market distortions and poor consumer satisfaction. In short it impoverishes the nation and it’s citizens.

    Free market capitalism despite it’s flaws makes us all more prosperous and obviously so. So it has to be asked why has the EU followed the path it has and what can be done to right the situation. The EU is emulating the USSR because it’s structure was either by design or accident built so that it would and that structure is based on a bureaucratic centralised system. It has to be because a flexible and free association system would not make it possible to accommodate the multiplicity of needs and aspirations of 28 diverse nations and at the same time make them all sing from the same song sheet.

    In fact the EU could not exist in it’s present form and could not aspire to becoming a superstate. So if the EU is to exist and exist successfully and not impoverish us all it has to become more like the UN where sovereign states take the lead in deciding that which is best for their country to join or not join into such things as treaties, trade and cooperation. Also be free to make bilateral arrangements if it so desires. Of course the whole idea of political union would have to be completely discarded.

    Where in David Cameron’s deal or in reality non deal does it address or even recognise these problems and why does the EU not see them either. To me it is as plain as the nose on my face that the membership of the EU in it’s present form is a very bad thing to be.

  9. The PrangWizard
    February 19, 2016

    On which of this is Cameron and others demanding change? Answers on a postage stamp. On second thoughts, don’t bother. The only way is LEAVE.

    1. Lifelogic
      February 19, 2016

      I had no confidence in Cameron, but even I though he would get more than this. It is a complete joke – not even a legally binding joke it seems.

    2. Denis Cooper
      February 19, 2016

      Thanks, that’s saved me asking the same question.

      And remember, this “deal” will be it, there will be no further renegotiations and special “deals” for the UK, if something isn’t covered by this “deal” or it isn’t covered properly then there will be no second chance to get it right:

      “EU deal: France and Belgium demand ‘take it or leave’ clause to avoid second renegotiation in event of ‘leave’ vote”

      “France and Belgium are demanding that David Cameron signs up to a ‘take it or leave’ clause in Britain’s renegotiation settlement that would close down the option of a second renegotiation should voters reject the current deal being thrashed out in Brussels.

      Under plans put forward at a meeting of EU leaders any agreement would contain wording making clear that the deal represented the EU’s ‘final offer’ to Britain and could not be re-opened in the event of a ‘leave’ vote.

      Senior British Government sources suggested that such a ‘self destruct’ clause might be acceptable to Mr Cameron “depending on the precise wording”.

      It would allow the Prime Minister to go into the referendum with the clear message that voting to leave would mean just that – and not, as some leave campaigners have suggested, the opportunity to get a better deal in the future.

      “The idea is to kill the idea of a second referendum,” said one eurozone diplomat involved in talks.””

  10. Ian Wragg
    February 19, 2016

    Why the surprise John. The whole point of the European elite is to hobble the UK. This is eminently obvious with the current non negotiations. Particularly with power we are required to help stabilise the German grid and the plug can be pulled at a moments notice being an excellent way of blackmailing us.
    I still don’t have any response as to why the great and good want to remain shackled to this monster which is definitely not in our interest.

    1. eeyore
      February 19, 2016

      I begin to feel that as this whole question is being referred to the sovereign people for their decision, it is not only unnecessary but positively improper for HMG to take a view in advance. They should humbly supply all relevant information, allow the opposing sides room for debate, wait for their masters’ verdict, and then obey.

    2. bigneil
      February 19, 2016

      Shouldn’t you have put inverted commas round the “great and good”?

  11. Roy Grainger
    February 19, 2016

    Oooh … tough negotiations …. carrying on through the night ….

    It would be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic. When do you reckon the triumphant breakthrough will be announced ? Just in time for the evening news at the weekend ?

    1. Lifelogic
      February 19, 2016

      Still he have plenty of clean shirts it seems. What an expensive theatrical farce it and he is.

      Let us hope the public are not taken in this time.

    2. DennisA
      February 19, 2016

      This is the same crisis food for the media that operates at every annual UNFCCC Conference of the Parties. It always goes to the wire and then the fudged deal is proclaimed as a major success.

    3. Bob
      February 19, 2016

      @Roy Grainger

      “When do you reckon the triumphant breakthrough will be announced ? Just in time for the evening news at the weekend ?”

      He will proclaim that in exchange for giving up what’s left of our rebate, the British people will be allowed straight croissants for the next four years.

      Naturally the BBC will herald this as a major concession for which we should be grateful.

    4. AndyC
      February 19, 2016

      Not before lunch, and probably not before dinner! Don’t expect an agreement until the attendees notice that the caterers have started packing up.

  12. Horatio McSherry
    February 19, 2016


    An excellent article as always, however I think this one particularly deserves a wider audience for the topics you cover well and so succinctly. It’s argument like this which will win the vote with people who turn off at the mere mention of “politics”.

    I thought your interview with Adam Boulton last night was good and he was surprisingly fair in giving you the time to answer properly. As mentioned above, not something I’d expect from the BBC, who are this morning covering a story on their website with the scandalous headline “Thatcher Regime…”. Would they use that term with any other prime minister?

  13. agricola
    February 19, 2016

    Yes John, in a nutshell the EU is a debilitating disease, but I see no sign that Dr Cameron has diagnosed this. Even less that he can produce a cure. Perhaps he thinks the country just has an anxiety condition that a few mind numbing pills can subdue. He may be right under his care. When the patient realises the doctors shortcomings and his immunity to a second opinion, it is time to find a better doctor. Let’s do so before he removes the wrong leg.

  14. David Cockburn
    February 19, 2016

    While you properly highlight ways in which our trade in physical goods with the continent is disadvantaged, I’d suggest there is much more serious discrimination against us in services trade which is our area of greatest strength in trade withe rest of the world.

  15. Leslie Singleton
    February 19, 2016

    Dear John–Everything you say today is true but a worry is that so much of the opposition – those who want to stay In – are looking at matters, and agitating, from a completely different angle. The TUC for instance doesn’t give a hoot about our competitiveness or our exports or indeed much else as regards the country as a whole: all they care about is the fact that as they see it, and they may have a point, a lot of the worker-friendly changes, to maternity leave this and holiday pay that, have come from the EU. If the TUC and their pals pitch this right we may get stuck in the EU forever solely by reason of such considerations because there are a lot of “ordinary working people” out there. Jacob Rees-Mogg did his best against this point of view the other night on C4 News but I felt he was swamped by what the woman from the TUC (Nicola Smith, was it?) had to say on this, perhaps because it took him by surprise. I felt at the time that this appeal to individual workers’ concrete “rights” and entitlements is going to be hard to rebut in comparison with what, to the average worker, are airy-fairy concepts like Sovereignty and the patriotic good of the country as a whole. We need to martial some better ability to mitigate the impression given to the many that UK democracy alone is somehow anti the good of the people at large. For a start, who knows what Hell on wheels the EU’s bastardised version of democracy will come up with in the future , when if the In vote prevails there will be nothing we can do about it.

    1. Leslie Singleton
      February 19, 2016

      Post Scriptum–And of course the very idea that (after a Remain In vote) there will be any kind of move towards greater accommodation of our desires is simply barking. Not hard to understand which side of the debate that is coming from.

    February 19, 2016

    The great difficulty Mr Cameron is having is forming pass-the-parcel bi-lateral trade agreements around a table but especially under the table with 28 players.
    Cameron is trying for all to swap and pass one another’s agreements and their resultant commodities and services as with a giant swap and barter circular system engaged upon so often by people in former Eastern Bloc countries. So, one way or another such countries as Poland will not lose Benefit payments at all as they will be paid by other means in other ways with the money not taking a direct route from UK Treasury to Poland Treasury but via five or six or even 28 bi-lateral agreements and trades completely unrelated to Benefits.
    The end result is that Cameron will seem to have won a victory but money will be leaving the UK by the backdoor and shunted around the 27 other countries through back-doors, front-doors, through windows and down chimneys so no one in those countries nor ours will quite know the ins and outs of the deception. A typical bankers trick. A conjurors shell game but not played with a pea and 3 shells using slight of hand but with 28 shells… and the pea marked “Benefits.”
    The question is: Will Cameron bring a big top hat to Parliament and as a grand finale actually pull a real rabbit out of the hat? Always end an act with a laugh.He could quite easily find a duck egg behind Mr Corbyn’s ear.

  17. alan jutson
    February 19, 2016

    I like your statement about fish stocks JR.

    On a more local note its like having apple trees in your own Garden, but only the local residents are allowed to pick them by decree of the Local Council.

    So if you want apples yourself, you need to go to the supermarket and buy them.

  18. acorn
    February 19, 2016

    We have to be a bit careful here. The UK, currently, has the second highest Current Account deficit on the planet. Imports are a benefit to the UK domestic population; (exports are a cost). We get to play with them BMW M5s and them AMG Mercedes; the Germans who made ’em; don’t. They just get a bag full of Pounds Stirling, because they brought cars to the UK and sold them in our currency area.

    As long as the Germans are prepared to “save” Pounds Sterling, as cash, bonds or Chelsea mansions; no problem. Or, as Neil Wilson says; it’s the foreign money you throw in the drawer when you get back home from your holidays.

    A large Current Account deficit and an Osborne style “budget surplus”, means the non-government sector households and firms, have to use up their savings; then start maxing out the credits cards, to buy those imports. Both of which have practical limits in the real world; something will have to give, most likely Osborne.

    You could buy a Jaguar as “import substitution”; but, the last time I looked, 60% of the bits to make one were imported.

    1. l'Esprit
      February 19, 2016

      There is only one sure way to counteract the apparent BBC favouritism, which is for Sun TV or Richard Desmond’s Channel 5 to hold a competitive Question Time at the same time and day as the BBC version.

      My family members have long-distance abandoned watching any BBC News, Newsnight or Public Affairs programs. However, we appreciate that that won’t help the nation to get a balanced viewpoint about vital matters such as the EU referendum over the next 4 months. And frankly, raising it in Parliament does not seem to have the desired effect: we have been talking about BBC bias (aka Guardian TV) for as long as conservative opinion started getting the upper hand – at least 6 the last years, and no remedy has been proffered or taken up.

      The only way to fight fire is with fire.

      1. Anonymous
        February 19, 2016

        And the one person to challenge BBC QT bias was hung out to dry by Tory types.

    2. l'Esprit
      February 19, 2016

      Merc, BMW, VW at al probably import an equal % by value in their cars as Jaguar and the others. But a large national motor industry does attract local parts suppliers which are a very important aspect of import substitution. Our business exports materials to Spain, Taiwan, China and USA which ends up in Mercs, BMs, Nissans and other marques sold in UK, Germany and so forth.

      And btw, my 10 year old Jag has been the most reliable and cost effective limo of all the Mercs, BMWs, Volvos and other upmarket cars I have had. I am delighted with it.

      1. acorn
        February 20, 2016

        Likewise, I have an X type and an XK8 Convertible. One for summer and one for winter, love them both.

    3. forthurst
      February 19, 2016

      “We have to be a bit careful here. The UK, currently, has the second highest Current Account deficit on the planet.”

      Acorn: Apart from leaving the EU, can you think of any other way we can start to remedy this situation?

      1. acorn
        February 20, 2016

        Frankly forthurst, I can’t see a way forward inside the EU. But; I haven’t seen a ready made plan for a way forward outside the EU; because, there isn’t one.

        The Conservative party will leave everything to the private sector markets and proceed to give up its role as Trustee of the public sector, and become the Official Receiver / Liquidator of public sector employment, assets and services. The Labour Party? Who knows where they are going. Trying to be “austerity lite”, ain’t going to do it for them.

        Hence, the UK will be like trying to run Tesco; BP or BT, without Boards of Executive Directors to make them function and grow profitably. We need a new type of government; we need a proper learned “Executive” outside of the legislature that knows how to lead from the front; and, doesn’t play Dickensian Punch and Judy all day.

        Reply. Nonsense. A Conservative government would seek to govern in the national interest and would have more if our money to spend on good public services when we get our contributions to the EU back

        1. acorn
          February 21, 2016

          How far do you think this “£10 billion” a year saving is going to go? It’s circa 1.3% of TME next year! It is about the same as the Treasury is currently paying the BoE in interest payments on its Gilt holdings.

  19. Bert Young
    February 19, 2016

    Anyone with a knowledge of elementary maths can understand why the EU wants to keep trade with the UK alive – the Germans most of all . Yesterday in a simple analysis of how an investor thinks benefited from the article in the Daily Mail by Neil Woodford . His overall conclusion backed by several ways of looking at the investor’s economic scene was “We have nothing to fear by Brexit”. This information was aimed at a limited audience ; I am concerned with what the average person in the street knows and believes . A very concerted effort is required to get the message across – often and simple enough to convince voters .

    It is obvious that the negotiations in Brussels are meeting areas of stiff opposition and it now seems more than likely that Cameron will come away with his tail between his legs . Of course his words will say otherwise and he will continue to plod along with his quest to stay “In”. I hope that Saturday will begin with an enormous riposte from the “Out”, “Leave”,”Brexit” spokespersons followed by an equally effective onslaught by the media.The general public deserve to know and understand the truth ; they must not be persuaded by PR twaddle .

  20. MikeP
    February 19, 2016

    Listening yet again (to people younger than me) spouting the age-old scare stories of the 3 million jobs dependent on EU trade (BBC QT and BBC Breakfast), I am now convinced that we’ve molly-coddled the last two generations. They seem to want everything on a plate, everything to be nice and even and predictable and they blame us baby-boomers for all their woes, we had it so good. Really?
    Like 17% mortgage interest rates, double-digit inflation, 3-day weeks, electricity black-outs, union militancy, the Cold War, the Falklands War, the Irish “Troubles”, high unemployment, the Winter of Discontent, limited university places, a fraction of the welfare state and other public services that we see now.
    The difference between then and now, may I humbly suggest, is that having grown up in real austerity after the war, we had a simple choice, go for it or moan about it. We had so very little (think about the plastic and technology inventions since the 1940s) so those who wanted to get on had to go out and make their way, move to where the new jobs were, work hard at school, and uni or technical college if lucky to get a place, and particularly at work, to take responsibility, put in the hours and make huge sacrifices for their kids who came along later.
    And that’s exactly what our businesses must do, fight for the trade – in Europe and further afield. Nothing is ever a given, and the Eurozone debacle has yet to play out its worst nightmares.
    Douglas Carswell points to a useful statistic in his recent video, that just 8% of our output goes to the EU, 80% goes domestically and 12% to the rest of the world. So in a 48hr week, say 4 hours is spent doing something for the EU. Are the Remainians really saying we can’t sustain or replace those 4 hours, God help us if that’s the level of defeatism among our business leaders !!

    1. Anonymous
      February 19, 2016

      100% employment. Low crime. Civility. A country you could honestly call your own. Affordable house prices. A common sense ideal of right and wrong with the legal system and political establishment to back it up. No political correctness…

      I’d give all my worldly goods to have that and the optimistic future that you enjoyed.

      Can you honestly say that you would trade places, Mike ?

      It is no longer a case of ‘work hard and you will get’. Young people are going to witness levels of poverty and distress that you cannot possibly imagine.

      1. Anonymous
        February 19, 2016

        So much employment that they had to instigate mass immigration to fill vacancies.

        Welfare is not a blessing. It’s a curse.

  21. alan jutson
    February 19, 2016

    The photograph on Guido Fawkes website this morning say’s it all.

    Our Prime Minister looking like a naughty Schoolboy waiting for his homework to be marked.

    Just look at the body language and who is in control.

    How embarrassing for our Nation, and this after months, and months of begging.

  22. MikeP
    February 19, 2016

    Much is made about the potential to lose our influence if we leave the EU. Well Cameron is demonstrating – as well as anyone with their eyes and mind open could imagine – what influence (or lack thereof) in the EU means:
    – you set out saying that you want fundamental change, for the whole EU not just UK
    – the shopping list includes Sovereignty, repatriation of powers, protecting our borders, immigration, growth, competitiveness, improvements to the single market, the pound alongside the Eurozone, a guarantee against “ever closer union” for UK
    – then 6 months of shuttle diplomacy sees an elected Prime Minister of the 5th largest global economy, scrabbling around begging to secure agreement from 27 stubborn Europhiles to some tinkering around the edges of our own benefits system and a red card system that will never be invoked.
    There is even much doubt about any of these meagre scraps being legally binding. If it wasn’t so serious and desperately embarrassing it would be a comedy sketch. If that’s the “Influence” that Remainians wish to protect, they have no right to be in positions of power and influence to develop our country, such a lack of ambition !

    1. Anonymous
      February 19, 2016

      Careful Mike.

      The ‘weak’ chap you criticise is the one that Mr Redwood and friends have to tip-toe around.

      He is not weak at all.

      He wants us to remain in the EU and so we will.

  23. DennisA
    February 19, 2016

    The whole thing is a sideshow. There can be no binding deal without treaty change and lock-in positions cannot be written into a treaty that has not been formulated.

    With reference to the Forestry Commission, they have been too busy chopping down trees to make way for lucrative subsidy driven wind turbines on forestry land:
    “Rental payments vary and are secret but, say property agents speaking in confidence to the Guardian, landowners can now expect £40,000 a year “risk-free” for each large turbine erected on their land. Those set to benefit include senior members of the royal family and the Forestry Commission in Wales and Scotland.”

    1. fedupsoutherner
      February 20, 2016

      DennisA, totally agree with your comments on forestry. We have seen the destruction of VAST areas of forest chopped down to make way for wind farms. There is one about 5 miles away from us being erected as I type. The amount of wood that has been felled is a disgrace. Done throughout the breeding season and the lorries have completely demolished our roads. 99 gigantic turbines are being erected in their place and this is being repeated all over Scotland with no regard to deep peatlands either. It doesn’t look like much replanting is going on to me.

  24. F Lankester PhD
    February 19, 2016

    All very true-but do you think John that there is any safe option for Leave to promote than the Norwegian one-as a first step at least, as it ensures we stay in the Single Market. The WTO option, if I can call it that, does not offer the same certainty of trade relations continuing. To deal with the “we’ll be isolated & it’s a risk” accusation we need to show that the UK will still be in the market-which is of course what we originally voted for (including myself at three weeks past 18).

    That means telling the truth about Norway-that it’s contribition is £58 perhead to the UK’s £153 which people can work out from the Norwegian government website, and that it actually gets two bites of the cherry at consultation.

    Reply No I do not agree. We can get a much better deal than Norway as they sell us so much. There is no need to carry on making contributions to them in order to import from them!

  25. Denis Cooper
    February 19, 2016

    I see nothing about agriculture or fisheries or energy in the draft “deal”.

    Nor do I see anything about social and employment policy, where the Tory leaders said they would demand repatriation of powers; or anything else than involves power flowing back to the UK from the EU as Cameron promised, even though that is what a plurality of the British people want according to opinion polls such as the one mentioned here:

    and the one mentioned here:

    24% Leave the EU
    38% Stay in EU but reduce its powers
    18% Leave things as they are
    10% Stay in EU and increase its powers
    4% Work for single European government

    Nor do I see anything about the restoration of lost vetoes, even though over two years Cameron and colleagues opposed the Lisbon Treaty which abolished 68 vetoes:

    And previously opposed the Nice Treaty, which abolished 46 vetoes – including the one on the activation of Article 122(2) TFEU, which enabled the EU to drag us into eurozone bailouts whether or not we liked it – and the Treaty of Amsterdam, 24 vetoes lost.

    (But not the Maastricht Treaty, 30 vetoes abolished, or the Single European Act, through which the veto was surrendered on 10 areas of decision making.)

    And nor, to remount my own hobby horse, do I see anything proposed to amend the EU treaties to slow or prevent the increasing minoritisation of the UK as a member state of the EU which has not yet adopted its currency, until eventually a future UK government of whichever party would declare that this position was no longer tenable and bounce us into the euro, with or without a referendum as they saw fit.

  26. graham1946
    February 19, 2016

    Our only function in the EU is to provide money.

    If we stopped sending 55 million every day (enough to build a new hospital every week) we’d be out in a flash. All done and dusted. How can we stop the cheques being signed?

  27. Know-Dice
    February 19, 2016

    I have a problem with the EU and fishing rights.

    In essence the waters surrounding the UK are a UK asset and should not been seen as something to be shared with other countries just because we are in the EU.

    How would the Polish like it if we arrived in Poland and started taking their coal?
    Surely that should be seen as “shared” just as much as our fishing grounds?

    1. forthurst
      February 19, 2016

      “In essence the waters surrounding the UK are a UK asset and should not been seen as something to be shared with other countries just because we are in the EU.”

      Giving away our ancestral fishing grounds was as a result of a stitch-up by the French who invented the CFP six months before we joined, which traitor Heath acceded to in order to persuade the Six into allowing us into their club of never ending stitch-ups.

      1. fedupsoutherner
        February 20, 2016

        You can always trust the French to look after themselves first. Shame our leaders don’t do the same.

  28. miami.mode
    February 19, 2016

    A sensible balanced post on many items that are of vital importance to the UK.

    Hopefully when leaflets are produced for the Leave campaign they will include some or all of these points plus important others to inform the electorate of what is wrong with the EU and what can be achieved on our own.

    Surely George Osborne must realise that in addition to manufactured exports, these rather more natural products will assist him in balancing our trade deficit.

  29. bigneil
    February 19, 2016

    Think I detect a touch of cynicism there.

    how much in extra contributions is the “breakthrough” going to cost – -and the obvious will be opening the doors – -and UNLIMITED immigration to destroy us.

  30. M Davis
    February 19, 2016

    Please could you get David Cameron to read this Blog, JR, plus Comments, he may learn something?!!

    1. Anonymous
      February 20, 2016

      Please could you get David Cameron to read this Blog, JR, plus Comments, he may learn something?!!

      Did he not once say he reads this blog when he wants to know what the grassroots are thinking and when he needs to “get real”?

  31. agricola
    February 19, 2016

    Dutch PM, so says the Spectator, warns we could on Brexit end up a mid sized economy in mid Atlantic. Where do such people reside and get educated.

    I would remind Mark Rutte that it was his country that gave sanctuary to the Kaiser after WW1, and then capitulated to Hitler shortly after the kick off of WW2. Meanwhile the UK was happy to be offshore from Europe as it put it’s hands up and ran. It gave us time to regain our strength, and with help, to pull Holland and the rest of Europe out of the fire of Nazi domination. The Dutch people seemed happy to be bombed with food from Lancasters in the latter stages of WW2.

    Now he has the gall to tell us that our destiny on Brexit is that of a mid sized economy outside the EU. We are already at least number six in the World economy league tables with Holland around seventeenth I believe.

    Much as I like Holland and the Dutch, do we have to tolerate such ill advised rubbish from a Dutch politician.

  32. A different Simon
    February 19, 2016

    Fish move around a lot .

    A bass which is inshore Sussex or Hampshire between April to October could well spend the colder months in the South of France .

    Fish farming is not a clear win .

    It takes something like 3 kilograms of wild sand eels to make enough fish pellets to produce 1 kilogram of farmed salmon .

    Sand eel stocks in the north sea have fallen so low that cormorants have moved to inland UK waterways and devastated roach and trout populations . are trying to commercialise a fermenter in which bacteria convert natural gas into protein which is digestible by fish and pigs . This has the potential to reduce the impact growing human demand for farmed meat places on natural fish stocks and land used for animal feed such as soya beans .

  33. mickc
    February 19, 2016

    If we stay in, surely this cannot be the last referendum because is there not legislation which confirms that any change in EU rules which affects our constitution must be put to a referendum?

    Can our host clarify this?

    Reply No of course it can’t be the last if we want another

  34. Original Richard
    February 19, 2016

    The polls consistently show that the country wants to see the current mass immigration halted.

    Mr. Cameron believes that mass immigration from the poorer EU nations can be severely curbed through the implementation of minor and temporary/phased amendments to some benefits.

    If Mr.Cameron wins the referendum on this basis and the country then finds that mass immigration continues as before, if not actually increases as a further 6 or 8 poor countries join the EU, then there will be a massive shift in voting patterns just as we saw in Scotland after their referendum.

    Mr. Cameron seems to have already forgotten that in the last EU elections his party only came third.

    1. agricola
      February 19, 2016

      You might be correct, but if we make the mistake of voting to stay in the EU the outcome of UK elections will become largely irrelevant. Reduced to the level of a local council. Whatever party gets voted in within the UK, they will not have control of the sovereignty of the country which increasingly resides in the committee rooms of Brussels. Should Brussels find themselves in conflict with whoever is nominally in power in the UK, witness Greece, Italy, Cyprus, and Portugal, they will step in and change things to their liking. Etc ed

    2. Ken Moore
      February 19, 2016

      If Cameron gets his way with his Eu stay in stitch up/project fear , it will make John Majors ERM disaster look like a little minor blip.

  35. Peter Davies
    February 19, 2016

    Is there any way of breaking out the trans ship exports from eu exports to understand our true eu trade deficit?

    If they hit the UK with import duties they would probably be doing us a net favour. Throw in fish and agriculture and we could leave the eu smelling of roses

  36. a-tracy
    February 19, 2016

    Does the USA have these sort of quotas imposed on their individual states, eg Milk production quotas, fishing quotas, energy quotas? The USA is always used by the Lets stay in the EU side so are they as draconian as Brussels, Strasbourg etc.

    Are we the only water lined Country in the EU to suffer these targets/quotas? Do other EU nation states import as much milk? what are the comparisons like?

  37. Ken Moore
    February 19, 2016

    I can hardly bring myself to read John Redwood’s thoughtful pieces about the Eu as they just serve to underline the shear uselessness and treachery of Mr Cameron’s regime.
    The only glimmer of hope is that voters cannot be shielded from reality forever..Mr Cameron can spin and lie but he cannot make bad news go away entirely….

    Just a reminder that if Conservatives Mp’s had done their job properly and vetted Cameron we could have been spared this referendum circus of national humiliation. How much more can we take ?.

    Did nobody ask Cameron if he would like to ‘dock’ the uk in the Eu?…..what part of the tragic experience with the hapless pro Eu Major did the Conservatives not understand?.

    John Redwood’s and Mr Cameron’s ghastly ‘modern Conservatives’ with their worship of political correctness and all things Blair are are poles apart.
    How strange it is they think it inappropriate to operate within the same party – one is a Conservative the other is a cultural revolutionary and social liberal.

    Jr’s doctrine is what we could have if only the England hating Emma Thompson faction would stop despising everything this country once stood for .

    Only a small fraction of those voting on the referendum will bother to read Mr Redwood’s and others views…but instead will turn to the government and the BBC.

    A politician like a doctor should ‘do no harm’… is very clear to me and others that Eu membership has and will continue to inflict very severe and irreversible harm on this country if we do not get out. It’s a tribute to the Greatness of this country that we have continued to do relatively well despite the drag of Eu membership.

    But even the strongest of lions, cannot survive indefinitely when it has become infested with parasites..there will come a day when it is overwhelmed….I just hope I’m not around to see England fall to it’s knees…

  38. petermartin2001
    February 20, 2016

    Its good to read a politician discussing the UK’s net import bill. I’ve been banging on about this for some time. If we are concerned about deficits, then the trade deficit is the one to be concerned about.

    Previous generations understood, what we seem to have forgotten, that if any particular country, as a whole, has a net deficit trading position with the rest of the world then either the government of that country, or the inhabitants of that country, has to fund that deficit by borrowing. In other words, the internal deficits run by governments, and the extent of the debts which can accumulate in the private domestic sector, are directly related to the external deficits caused by a trade imbalance.

    So, we can see that countries such as Germany, Switzerland, Holland and Denmark which run large trading surpluses do not have any of the public or private sector debt problems which we see in the UK or USA which run large trading deficits. Unfortunately, though, the solution to world debt problems cannot be for everyone to run a large trading surplus!

  39. Countrylad
    February 26, 2016

    The comments on forestry are, no doubt inadvertently, misleading (Ref: “We also manage to end up importing a large amount of timber from countries with slower growing conditions than ourselves. The Forestry Commission fail to be ambitious enough in meeting our timber needs”).

    The reason sawmills import timber from countries with slower growing conditions is that colder, slower, growing conditions (Scandinavia et al) produce the denser timber desired for many construction applications.

    I wouldn’t want to comment much on the FC role, but supply from FC woodlands has traditionally provided the very much needed base of constant timber availability that the industry needs. Private landowners tend only to fell/sell when the price is highest (and can choose to do so due to the long term nature of forestry), whereas sawmills and the broader industry need constant supply. The FC has consistently provided that baseline supply.

    Forestry is a long term industry, and needs to be seen in that context. Trees take time to grow.

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