The single market is not the same as free trade

The biggest success of the advocates of UK membership of the EU has been to perpetuate the myth that we need to be in the single market to trade with the rest of the EU, when the rest of the world trades quite successfully with the EU without being members. If being in the single market were just a case of accepting consensus or majority views on the regulations affecting goods and services then there might be a case for accepting it all. Instead the EU has used the cover of the so called single market to enact a wide range of measures that are now binding on the UK that have nothing to do with trade. The German view is the single currency is an integral part of the single market, and they think the UK is lucky to enjoy what they hope and expect to be a temporary exclusion of the UK from the Euro. The single market already encompasses freedom of movement of people, health and safety, transport and aspects of criminal justice which makes it so much wider in scope than a normal trade agreement.

The worst the proponents of continued UK membership can do is to take individual features of the single market that they like and ask us how we could possibly manage without them. This way of arguing ignores all the extra costs and baggage that the EU’s wide definition of single market leaves us with. It also ignores the fact that many of the trade features of our EU membership will continue because they are in the mutual interest of both parties. Many are guaranteed by our membership of the World Trade Organisation.

I spent part of Monday afternoon being interviewed by the BBC for a programme they are making on sovereignty. Much of the extended interview – not all to be broadcast I assume – was designed to try to get me to say that for example the EU anti state aid rule was a good one and we should be prepared to sacrifice the right to make some of our own decisions in order to get a common approach to state aids amongst the EU members.

Two things struck me forcefully about this line of questioning. The first was the Remain side have managed to persuade the BBC and others that EU membership is just about the narrow definition of the single market. As far as I am concerned the EU referendum is about getting our £10bn a year net contribution back to end austerity and spend the money at home. It is about making our own laws across the board instead of having to broker deals with 27 other states to make or amend a law. It is about controlling our own borders and granting our own citizenship under rules we approve. The Referendum debate should be more about the big issues than the minutiae of trade rules.

The second thing that impressed me was the idea that having some influence over the conduct of 27 other European countries mattered more than influencing the 160 plus countries that are not in the EU, including the three largest markets of the world, the USA, China and Japan.

The third thing was the misunderstanding about how best to negotiate. If we leave the EU we will get our veto back over all matters governing our relationship with the EU.That gives us more influence. Today we can often be outvoted so we lack influence on many crucial matters.

As always it was important to explain again the confusion some want to create between power and sovereignty. A country is sovereign when its people and Parliament can take any decision they wish without a foreign court and other institutions limiting their rights and choices. It does not make any country, not even the USA, all powerful. Each country has to live within the checks and balance of international politics and finance. I dispute that we are more powerful by being in the EU given our lack of influence over important issues.Of course large countries with more wealth, income and weapons are more powerful than smaller countries, but that does not mean small countries are wrong to wish to be independent. The UK is far from being a small country.


  1. Lifelogic
    April 6, 2016


  2. Mark B
    April 6, 2016

    Good morning.

    The BBC is very keen to promote the concept of independence of people, especially those of the former British Empire. But they are less keen to talk about how we are now no mare than a vassal state of the EU. They do not wish to address the loss in control on matters. The rest of the media in this country is no better and rarely, if ever, comment on matters going on.

    It’s as if they did not want us to know what was being done to us ! 😉

    April 6, 2016

    My, it’s been 30 years since the TV series”Brass” was screened featuring the Boss Bradley Hardacre and the fawning acquiescent worker George Fairchild. George seems the personification of most of the Labour Party in regard to the EU. To the Remain Campaign, it’s never the EU Boss’s fault. The EU-Deniers used to blame America for everything but I guess many of them have visited Disney Land , talked to Mickey Mouse and look to new external non-EU fiends. They’re mentioning China alot recently. It only takes one person to call them Chinese-phobic to shut them up. Mark my words. Then they’ll return to their Climate-phobia,- blaming all industry external to the EU for every ailment from sunburn to athlete’s foot.
    Seriously, it is not possible to have a sensible conversation or debate with the EU-Deniers. If the EU President gave them all a clip across the ears they’d say “On balance and taking all things into consideration there is a very high probability we deserved it.” then they’d wheel out some Chairman of a large company to say “It never did ME any harm”

  4. alan jutson
    April 6, 2016

    The comfort blanket of being a member with all of the propaganda that goes with it, seems to have dulled their senses and thinking, leaving many incapable of original thought.

    Unfortunately many of the big media interviewers have swallowed such propaganda hook line and sinker, and are blinkered in their view of what is reality.

    There is a big world out there, and the EU Countries are just a small part of that World, and each of the 27 Countries are but just a small part of the EU.

    Keep up the good work John.

    1. Lifelogic
      April 6, 2016

      Indeed a small and declining in importance, part of the world and set to decline even further given the absurd top down, essentially socialist, anti-democratic agenda of the EU.

    April 6, 2016

    What a superb article. As the days are counting down (80-odd until voting day), your arguments are more and more compelling and well-drawn.

    “Instead the EU has used the cover of the so called single market to enact a wide range of measures that are now binding on the UK that have nothing to do with trade.” – Yes and in fact this extends beyond any consideration of just the UK.

    The EU has for a decade been expanding the notion of trade deals to include almost anything it can think of, in addition to trade. And they’re trying to do this with non-EU nations. This is nonsense and has to be pushed back on. Difficult when they insist on negotiating in total secrecy of course…

    CETA (Canadian deal) and TTIP are classic examples of this. We’ll be trying to produce a ‘fact-box’ to explain this in the coming days. When these ‘deals’ are presented as a fait accompli, people will be amazed – if indeed it’s not too boring for most people to look at. Fortunately a major national Canadian organisation is helping us with some inside track on all of this.

    Your article covers several equally important points, and if my co-Editors agree we’ll re-publish it on our site on our articles page.

    Finally, sovereignty. We had a go at distilling this for the average voter the other day and have posted a fact box here:
    It’s an attempt to put things in simple terms.

    Thanks again and more power to your elbow, JR.

  6. Narrow Shoulders
    April 6, 2016

    Highly eloquent presentation Mr Redwood and deserving of greater coverage in the mainstream media. The Evening Standard keeps giving Nick Clegg an op ed page to espouse his version of the truth might they take the occasional piece from you?

  7. Richard1
    April 6, 2016

    Please flag up when the programme is to be broadcast, I hope a sensible representation of your arguments will be permitted. Was the argument put to you that memembership of the EU is a sign of solidarity amongst European liberal democracies in a world facing multiple threats, including on the borders of Europe, and that withdrawal would be a rejection of the friendship of our European allies and a weakening of the West and its values? (& if so what was your answer?)

    Reply NO it was not put. MY answer is nonsense. We will leave the EU but will remain strongly committed to working with all our western allies through NATO, many world bodies, and via a whole range of agreements with EU member states, the EU, other European countries, the Commonwealth, the USA and others. We are just leaving an expensive and wild ride to political union with a limited number of countries, not resigning from the west or from the world!

    1. Kenneth
      April 6, 2016

      One of the many good things about leaving the eu is that the UK can resume its previous role as a diplomatic bridge between the U.S.A. and Europe, something that is not possible while we are absorbed by the eu.

    2. stred
      April 6, 2016

      JR,I think you meant ‘ my answer is “nonesense” . Mustn’t confuse the voters.

      I have emailed you some graphs showing the close relationship between migration and house affordability, including a matched overlay which shows a remarkable match. Perhaps you could do a blog on the subject. The attempt to blame BTLs on the ludicrous house prices in London is shown to be minor in comparison.

      Reply Yes, thanks for the figures which I will look at hope to deploy.

      1. Denis Cooper
        April 6, 2016

        Well, Richard1, it happens that I had lunch with some old friends on Monday and one of them had brought along his copies of the “Yes” and “No” leaflets from the 1975 referendum, which he’d carefully preserved for the past 41 years, and apart from repeating many of the untruths in the government’s separate leaflet urging us to vote to stay in the EEC, produced and delivered to every household at taxpayers’ expense, the “Yes” leaflet:

        deployed the same kind of argument that withdrawal would “damage the whole of the West, at a dangerous time in a dangerous world”.

        Of course for those promoting that “Yes” leaflet there would NEVER be a time which was not “a dangerous time in a dangerous world”, all that some of them – Heath, Jenkins, Williams – cared about was keeping us in the EEC to push forward their semi-covert agenda for a European federation, and they didn’t worry in the least about how they accomplished that.

        Which is still the aim of some of those most actively campaigning to keep us in the EU in this referendum, they are determined to see our country legally subordinated within a European federation; and yet they are quite prepared to represent the politicians in other EU member states as not only as stupid and spiteful but also untrustworthy; and now apparently those foreign leaders are also so childish that if we decide against marriage, that is merging our country with theirs into a new country of “Europe”, then they will feel spurned and won’t even want to be our friends and allies.

        1. Richard1
          April 6, 2016

          It could be the argument was valid on both occasions. It is a question of a balance of pros and cons, as expressed eg by Nigel Lawson. The balance of advantage for the UK perhaps changed following the creation of the euro. It could have gone another way – I don’t think that was foreseeable in 1975.

  8. Lifelogic
    April 6, 2016

    You can be fairly sure that the “BBC think” staff will cut and paste your interview to distort your arguments and try to produce propaganda for the remain side. They nearly alway have a very distorted and pre-planned framework they want your interview to fit in to.

    Just as the BBC endlessly to propagate the BBC catastrophic warming (huge exaggeration of) agenda or their constant attempt to portray all outers as “racists little Englanders”. This when in fact they just want some quality controls over immigration and want to trade and interact with the whole World.

    Or their absurd women’s pay gap agenda or women in science agenda – which (where it exists at all) is clearly due to the work life balance choices that some women sensibly make.

    Clearly some interventions in market can occasionally can do good, but in the main they do huge harm. But control of this should surely rest with UK based democratic control. Not the anti-democratic EU, which almost never has the interest of the UK voters at heart.

    1. Lifelogic
      April 6, 2016

      Examples of interventions that do huge harm most coming from the EU are:

      The EURO, the ERM, CAP, the common fishing policy, most employment legislation, the fake “green” energy subsidies, the OTT building control regulations, poorly designed energy use laws on vacuums, boilers, cars and endless other nonsense.

      1. Bazman
        April 6, 2016

        Where does state intervention in the form of massive subsidy to private landlords fit in to this? We have had the vacuum cleaner argument before and you lost by sceintific reason. Non intervention and letting these companies do as they like will not lead to anything good.
        Basically more wattage does not equal more suction and the cheaper cost of the poor design is not passed onto the consumer who also has to pay for more electricity leading to more power use across the EU.
        Polluting energy inefficient cars, boilers, houses? Why are you repeating this and endless other nonsense when you have access to information from the internet?

        1. stred
          April 7, 2016

          My Henry has a booster switch. The motor goes faster and the wattage goes up in order for him to suck harder. Our new petrol car is supposed to be very efficient and do 60mpg+. The EU testing method says so- but it only does 45 average at best. My diesel cars do 60 mpg+ and I bought them because we were encouraged to by the EU. So did many drivers in France and other EU countries. They even have a particulate filter but now the EU has No2 limits and because these are exceeded in certain congested roads in London, Zac says he wants to scrap half the cars, vans and taxis.

          Hope this helps.

  9. Ian Wragg
    April 6, 2016

    Your wasting your time with the BBC. All things EU are good and we the outers are little England loons.
    We still haven’t heard anything positive about EU membership from the remainiacs. Just endless stories about how beastly the EU will be to us for daring to contemplate leaving.
    We must get out of this monstrosity.
    I heard the ex Greek finance minister minister telling Jeramy Vine that the EU is a monster and we must remain to tame it.
    Good luck with that.

    1. stred
      April 6, 2016

      Varoufakis seems a nice chap and a toughie on his motor bike, but he daren’t tell them where to shove the euro and now he wants us to hold his hand. Just like the luvvie on Marr who wanted to be independent but thought he ought to stay to help them out of the hole they are digging, and forgetting that they always ou vote us.

  10. bluedog
    April 6, 2016

    It’s hard to think of anyone better equipped than our blog host to patiently and courteously demolish the pre-suppositions of a BBC political journalist. The programme on sovereignty promises to make excellent viewing, although one suspects, as our host intimates, that much may be left on the cutting room floor.

    This particular post illustrates yet again the psychological dependence of the EU which has spread like a cancer through the higher reaches of the British Establishment, of which the BBC is clearly a member. One can broadly say that all those who were born after 1960 and therefore became politically aware at age 15 in 1975, are at risk of infection.

    The last hurrah of the old, self-confident and gloriously independent Britain, that which emerged under Margaret Thatcher, was of course traitorously undermined by the Tory wets, of whom David Cameron is truly the heir. These Tory wets were largely those who had not had a good war, and who were embarrassed by British self-confidence and triumphalism. They followed Heath like sheep.

    Now we can skip forward to a younger generation, the children of the baby boomers who are fascinated by that earlier Britain. Despite years of anti-British propaganda from the elites, this young generation stands in awe of British achievements they can only read about, and wonders, how can we live up to that reputation? It follows that the EU stands in the way of their yearning, and it must go. They believe in free speech, they have been told taught to listen to arguments and now they are listening.

  11. Antisthenes
    April 6, 2016

    Free trade to my mind is primarily about tariffs. Does the EU impose tariffs on it’s members? It could be argued that it does not. Not directly but indirectly it most certainly does. Our contribution, having to conform to EU rules and regulations in many area as you point out that have nothing at all to do with trade and the restrictive practices that the EU imposes on us in the form of the CAP, CAF, Tax law, energy policies and more are all burdens. Burdens that may not be tariffs in name but are in practice and are far more onerous.

    As Mises Daily points out that as an economic, political and social success model the EU is not it. Europe has not succeeded in the past by adopting such a model and will not do so now or in the future. The evidence of this is abundant. Just the EU stumbling from crisis to crisis on it’s own is proof enough and there is much more to pick from.

    We are giving our sovereignty away for what? To be governed by an unaccountable elite who are even more wasteful, inefficient and incompetent than even our own domestic government. Having one such body is acceptable because it is our body but to have two and one of those is run by foreigners who do not know our care about us except for our contribution is not.

  12. oldtimer
    April 6, 2016

    Excellent points. It will be revealing to see how the BBC decides to use and edit your words. I would only add that single market will become single country if the EUrocracy get their way. It seems to me that the UK opt outs are temporary, not permanent.

  13. agricola
    April 6, 2016

    An absolute truth, to trade with the EU we have no need to belong to the EU. If the EU desires to protect it’s trade with the UK there will be no desire to create barriers on our departure. They have every incentive to protect their trade with the UK, as it exceeds ours with them.

    There is still a great lack of commonality in the EU or so called common market. For reasons I can only assume relate to the generation of income, the Spanish apply their own internal rules.

    Your UK issued EU driving licence complete with EU logo is, they maintain, only valid for six months within Spain.

    Similarly they do not accept that a vehicle of UK origin, registered in the UK can stay within Spain for more than six months, after which it is required to be re-registered in Spain at great expense.

    Income tax is the same. If you are in Spain for more than 182 days you are expected to pay tax in Spain. All inconsequential inconveniences, but they highlight the reality that the so called common market still has a long way to go. They are matters that could be sorted by mutual agreement that does not require any country to abandon it’s sovereignty on any matters of any consequence.

    All European countries have achieved this in the matter of flying licences. From 747 captains to balloon pilots there is a common licencing system throughout Europe. Once you have an EASA licence and medical certificate you can fly whatever you are qualified to fly throughout Europe.

    The above is proof that where there is a need and a will to cooperate for mutual benefit it can be done irrespective of whether you belong to the Euro, EU, EFTA, or EEC. You do not need all the pseudo political baggage to enable any form of sensible cooperation to work.

    1. stred
      April 7, 2016

      The idea of requiring a driving test for driving in the country of residence is interesting. Every day in and around London I the driving has taken on French and even oriental standards, with undertaking, tailgating, pulling out while being overtaken, horn blowing and light flashing to say move over and let me get to the front of the queue etc. I had thought we were not allowed to ask for a local test under EU rules but if Spain can do it, why can’t we?

  14. Richard1
    April 6, 2016

    I see Peter Bone MP of Grassroots Out is circulating leaflets in Wales saying “if you want to save the steel industry vote Leave”. Presumably this means the plan in the event of Brexit is for subsidies to the steel industry such as are now prohibited under state aid rules. We better deduct £500m p.a. From the possible £10bn saving in the event of Leave to pay for this. Remembering how loss making subsidised industries performed in the 1970s, we should assume this cost would rise in future years. How many other industries might we then have to pay for if they run into losses and populist politicians classify them as ‘strategic’?

    Reply I suspect he has in mind accepting responsibility for the pension fund which incurred substantial liabilities when the business was nationalised as well as thereafter, and sorting out dear energy. The government wishes to save the steel industry but will find its options circumscribed by EU rules and requirements.

    1. Richard1
      April 6, 2016

      I suspect he is hinting that Brexit would mean either the UK govt could / should simply backstop the losses, as it used to in the days of nationalisation in this and other industries, or that tariffs and protectionism could be imposed – moving the cost of the subsidy onto consumers of steel (as happened in the US when Bush Jnr briefly and disasterously did the same for populist reasons). It would be nice to get rid of the dear energy policy, but there is no reason to expect that in the event of Brexit – the vote House of Commons for Milibands Climate Change Act was overwhelming. The main reasons the steel industry in Wales isn’t viable is a collapse in world prices. All EU membership is doing is stopping the UK govt playing economic pretend and propping it up with subsidy. This is not a good argument for Leave by Mr Bone.

    2. JoeSoap
      April 6, 2016

      It’s clear that UK interests don’t equal EU interests.It might well be in the UK interest to keep Port Talbot going, but not in the EU interest. In that case you have to choose. Accept that you’re propping up the EU at the expense of UK interests, or helping the UK to compete regardless of EU rules. Your choice.

      1. Richard1
        April 6, 2016

        No I don’t agree. As we weigh up the pros and cons, the fact that EU countries agree not to use taxpayers money to subsidise failing industries is one of the pros – it assists prosperity. True, if there is a strong Thatcher type govt, the govt can simply refuse to adopt such policies. But look at the pressure – even supposedly Thatcherite Conservative MPs are variously urging subsidies, protectionism and even nationalisation! There may be many bad things about EU membership, but on this issue it seems to be saving us several £100m p.a. Which otherwise the likes of Peter Bone and Jeremy Corbyn would impose on us.

        Reply It is EU policies of dear energy etc that have damaged our steel industry to begin with

        1. Richard1
          April 6, 2016

          I have not seem accounts but reports say that energy costs are c 10% of the total, and green policies have added c 20% to these. I certainly agree the steel industry would be better without them. But set against a > 70%(?) collapse in world market prices due to over capacity energy is not the deciding factor. Also – would you not agree that with all political parties in the HoC and the large majority of MPs believing in ‘green crap’ to combat global warming there is little chance of the dear energy policy changing post Brexit?

  15. Vanessa
    April 6, 2016

    The EU Referendum is so much more than just getting our money back. We need to be in control of everything “British” and not have to keep jetting off to Brussels with “begging bowl” to ask for permission to do anything. No government of a country outside Europe has to play that humiliating scene. Remember Greece ? It was disgusting of a country which is the seat of Democracy.

    We need to be able to test people coming into this country to work for language skills, qualifications and allegiances. We do not want terrorists, or any other like-minded people dressed up as refugees etc.

    Britain has at least one thousand years of experience in running its own affairs, I think we can probably find a Leader who will do the same – NOT a Conservative who seem all too willing to give our independence away to line their own pockets.

  16. Bert Young
    April 6, 2016

    Democracy is dead within the EU . When others decide what we can and cannot do and when things are enforced on us by the ECJ and other EU bodies , our voting system is made a mockery . The fact is Germany is now able to control Europe and slowly and gradually has vented its wrath against this country ; any student of History would vouch for this . The Prince Consort tried , through his daughter Vicky , to influence a unified Liberal Germany ; when Bismarck emerged on the scene he put paid to this ; he saw the end of the German monarchy and established a Teutonic discipline that has prevailed since .

    We must preserve our independence and show to the world that we stand for individuality , fairness and the value of difference . A one size cannot and will not fit all and one country must not be allowed to dominate others whether large or small . Surely the media ought to support and broadcast these values if they stand for any sort of reason .

  17. Lifelogic
    April 6, 2016

    I see that the state have found yet another way of extorting money from the public. This time by painting disabled bays round cars and then fining the owner even before the paint is dry.

    It also seems they acted in their usual super efficient manner. The disabled bay was requested over two years ago and when they finally got round to it the disabled person had already died.

    Rather a parable for our times. extort money from the public (to pay the wages/pensions of state sector workers) all to achieve nothing of any use and two years late. I assume it will take them another two years to remove the bay.

    The last thing the state needs is any more money to piss down the drain in their usual manner. The soon we are rid of tax borrow and piss down the drain and job destroying wage “fixer” Osborne the better.

    1. Bazman
      April 6, 2016

      You have yet to address any sensible arguments put forward by myself and others on the rigged housing market, low wages and have had your arguments over energy efficient appliances taken down.
      Employment regulation questions and exit from the EU further diluting them been cowardly ignored. Much of this nonsense is wilful ignorance repeated. Yet you have the temerity to tell is of the BBC’s bias.

      1. APL
        April 6, 2016

        Bazman: “sensible arguments put forward by myself ..”

        Oxymoron of the month award is hereby won by Bazman.

        Congratulations Sir.

        1. Bazman
          April 7, 2016

          I not you have not addressed any of my points and are just attempting to insult them. The Tory right in particular the like of Boris Johnson believe they own the facts, but seem to be getting a harder time from the media such as C4 News and SKY. How dare they! We cannot even blame them for bias like the BBC as no licence fee is paid!

          1. APL
            April 9, 2016

            Bazman: “I not you have not addressed any of my points ”

            Your points should be coherent and comprehensible. They are not.

            Bazman: “The Tory right in particular the like of Boris Johnson believe they own the facts, ..”

            Facts are not owned. Facts are facts.

      2. Lindsay McDougall
        April 10, 2016

        The rigged housing market is due to easy money, low interest rates and excessive immigration. Low wages are due to excessive immigration. If immigration were terminated, employers would be forced to use labour more efficiently and would pay for their own apprenticeships. As it is, the UK Government has created a huge number of apprenticeships, many of them totally useless, and is forcing industry to pay for them.

        If you followed current Conservative politics, you would recognise the grubby fingermarks of Lord Heseltine, the man who said that he would intervene in the economy at breakfast, lunch and dinnertime. He is the mentor of Messrs Cameron and Osborne.

  18. forthurst
    April 6, 2016

    “It does make any country, not even the USA, all powerful.”

    It doesn’t make any country, even the USA, all powerful;

  19. Iain Moore
    April 6, 2016

    The single market is about the 90% of our economy, that has nothing to do with EU trade , having the terms conditions set for the interest of the 10% of our economy that does. It’s the tail wagging the dog school of economics.

    The single market is a misnomer really for it is less of a market and more of an area of bureaucratic conformity, which not surprising is failing the nations of the EU as they see their share of world trade in steep decline.

  20. Denis Cooper
    April 6, 2016

    When Cameron and his ilk extol the virtues of the EU Single Market they always steer clear of four important truths.

    Firstly, that it doesn’t just help businesses based in the UK to export to other EU countries, it also works the other way round so that businesses based in those foreign countries find it is easier to sell into the UK domestic market. Which they do very well, it has to be said, so that the UK has run a chronic trade deficit with the rest of the EU.

    Secondly, that the net economic benefits of the EU Single Market are actually rather small, around the 2% of GDP level. Compare that with the long term trend growth rate of the UK economy, which is about 2.5% a year, and it can be seen that over more than two decades the whole of the EU Single Market has been worth less than the natural economic growth which we have in a single average year. In fact looking at the economic growth rate of the UK economy back to the 1950’s it is impossible to see any clear benefits from joining the Common Market in 1973 or from the later development of the Single Market.

    (Choose the “Max” option here: )

    Thirdly, in the 1975 referendum we were told that a) Community-wide law would only be needed for a few commercial purposes and b) we would always have a veto on proposed laws. Now there are few areas of life which are not touched by EU law, we rarely have a veto and we have just 8% of the votes.

    Fourthly, the Single Market has frequently been used as an excuse to interfere in all kinds of matters which have very little or nothing to do with trade. Should the international collaboration of medical experts in Europe on the diagnosis and treatment of rare and complex diseases, the European Reference Networks mentioned by Lord Darzi in a recent article, really be organised by an EU Directive as part of the EU Single Market?

    Having said all that, given the complexity of the present practical arrangement for trade I believe that it would be better to stay in the EU Single Market as a transitional phase rather than trying to completely extricate ourselves with one mighty bound, and the way to do that will be to continue membership of the EEA – and it should be noted here that the UK is a separate party to the EEA agreement, by its own sovereign right and not just as a member state of the EU.

    We have to plan for an orderly, smooth and speedy transition, and we need to reassure people that notwithstanding all the scaremongering, and threats, from our despicable government it will be safe for them to vote to leave the EU.

  21. Perception Finance
    April 6, 2016

    Absolutely right, great post.

  22. ChrisS
    April 6, 2016

    We will almost certainly all agree on a list of the most important issues that make Brexit such an important move for our country. The only difference between any of us is likely to be the order of importance in which we place those issues.

    In my case, and borrowing a phrase, I would list them, as follows :


    I say this because in our relationship with the EU, every single concern that any of us has ever raised here on JR’sD flows from the loss of sovereignty that we have suffered through our leaders signing us up to successive EU Treaties, each of which has chipped away at our ability to make decisions for ourselves that cannot be altered or struck down by others.

    I would define Sovereignty in a modern democracy as :

    “The supreme and independent power and authority granted to the representatives and government of a country by its citizens by means of a free and fair election.”

    Thanks to the EU treaties, our Westminster Parliament is no longer “Supreme” nor is it “Independent.” Therefore by any reasonable definition one can find, we can no longer be citizens of a sovereign country while the United Kingdom remains a member of the EU.

    Please Note : Sovereignty cannot be “shared” or “pooled”.
    This is a deliberate falsehood used by pro-EU politicians.

    A country is either Sovereign or it is not.

    When other world leaders such as Obama implore us to remain within the EU, they are expecting us to continue to accept a degree of subjugation that they and their own citizens would never for one moment contemplate accepting. Their hypocrisy can therefore safely be ignored.

    Of course we are unlikely to win the referendum if we campaign solely on the issue of sovereignty. To succeed, we have to win over our fellow citizens on specific issues that are important to them, the solving of which we know can only be achieved by regaining the ability to make decisions for ourselves.

  23. formula57
    April 6, 2016

    I am aware of a number of young persons (20’s) whose enthusiasm for Stay rests heavily on “the idea that having some influence over the conduct of 27 other European countries mattered more than influencing the 160 plus countries that are not in the EU”. Bizarrely, some buttress their view by reference to the importance of international co-operation on climate change.

    1. hefner
      April 6, 2016

      One possible explanation for this is some young people (not all, obviously) having a rather different grasp of the role of British colonialism than their elders. They might give some examples, which historically speaking are good examples of rather awful events perpetrated by representatives of the British Empire.

      They then see various Leave-inclined people (their parents or grandparents) only able to talk about the brilliant aspects of the BE, without their elders accepting that at times the British have been acting as bad as the French, for example. So to sum up, they have a very different outlook on the world around them, having had the opportunity of an Erasmus grant, or an internship at an out-of-UK location.

      Younger people are also more inclined to take climate change, whatever its future intensity, more seriously than older people, specially when considering that developments in various greener technologies are only likely to bring a better way of life. This seems to be overlooked by the older generations who tend to think that what was good for us will be good for them.

      In this respect, I am awfully disappointed by this blog, which my impression is only caters for oldies, and not only oldies but oldies roughly in agreement with JR. To such a degree that any discordant view, even when, I think, properly argued and externally sustained (Dieter Helm’s book on energy policy since 1979) is in the worst of cases censored.

      Bye and good luck in June.

      Reply I am a great fan of technology that can improve our lives. I cater for adults of all ages

      1. formula57
        April 6, 2016

        I see. I supposed that if these young persons really did take climate change seriously, they might acknowledge that the climate extends beyond the borders of the EU and so cooperating with countries beyond might be an advantage.

        I have not heard reference to the BE as you call it for many years, at least in connection with contemporary debate.

      2. bluedog
        April 6, 2016

        Sorry to read you are leaving the blog because it espouses attitudes with which you seem to disagree. As someone who qualifies as an oldie, but who is closely associated with the natural environment, one can share your concerns about the climate. It is wrong to assume that ‘oldies’ are dismissive of the risks, after all, what parent wishes to see their children and possibly grandchildren suffer in ways that cannot easily be imagined? However, those of us with a bit of experience are possibly able to filter the fake and the phoney from the real a little more quickly. For example, the idea of renewable energy by wind-farm has always seemed like a mechanically inefficient system with the additional handicap of the unreliability of its power source, the wind. And yet apparently intelligent people continue to promote these unsightly devices, demanding a tax-payer subsidy for inefficiency! Is it wrong to protest about this absurdity?

        We are starting to see on this blog a well-informed debate about the emergence of a high devolved power system based on small nuclear reactors that both supply a locality and contribute surplus power to the Grid. It may even be that the instigators are oldies!Imaginative applications of existing technology such as this have obvious appeal if we wish to preserve our living standards in the longer term.

        One of the most interesting books of the last decade is the study by the US-British thinker Dr Ian Morris entitled ‘Why the West Rules…for now.’ In this book he quantifies social development using an index based on various metrics. Without exception, the most developed societies at any point since the emergence of human civilisations after the last Ice Age have been those with the highest energy consumption. Initially this energy was wood, with obvious limitations. But the development of economic systems based on the use of coal in the period since the seventeenth century has lead to extraordinary economic and social progress. Morris’ book is long but well worth reading.

        A lot of this progress has happened under the aegis of the British Empire, as the historian Niall Ferguson records in his many excellent books. It is of course easy to deride the BE on the basis of today’s values. But if you use your imagination and reposition yourself in England at the time of the death of Shakespeare (topically), knowing only what was known then in all regards, the subsequent achievements become quite outstanding. Why today, when the ruler of China greets the ruler of India they do so in English. That’s not because the use of English is mandated by the EU either.

        1. margaret
          April 8, 2016

          Well said Blue dog .Generalisation is never an accurate way of assessing situations nor is categorisation. It is a mode that many youngsters are channelled into at school particularly with the advent of computers and box ticking. If they study literature for example they will have definitions or boxes which are put into good / bad boxes in association with many facets and objects of life. Colours of passion are said to be red and green ,red heads angry, blondes dumb ,and so it goes on in a Dickensian fashion . It is becoming increasingly difficult to break these moulds to let adults think out of the box.
          Incidentally I am watching the Durrells on the box . My family and other Animals was part of the GCE syllabus and it always had an impact on how I saw things. I went to Corfu many years later expecting to see the daffodil yellow villa and pink villa only to find cans of lager and beach club night life , yet I bet those villas are some where in the back ground.

      3. forthurst
        April 6, 2016

        Yes, young people have suffered an educational process that has demonised their countries past quite apart from anything else, an education process which is now so bizarre that a local school requested that the children identified themselves with one of a selection of about two dozen different sexual/gender orientations. Unfortunately, it will nor be possible to deep clease the educational establishment before the Referendum. Young people are far more gullible than older people who have realised that those in authority sometimes lie and are self-serving, which is why grooming young unformed minds is much easier and has been practiced by all totalitarian states.

      4. stred
        April 7, 2016

        Hefner. It will be a shame if you go as, your links and comments have been interesting and thought provoking. I think young people have pro green and EU views because they have been educated to do so. People tend to read blogs that they agree with and there are only a few masochists or stubborn bloggers who don’t mind being roughed up in arguments. But this makes it more entertaining. When Peter the Dutchman left it was disappointing and some bloggers asked him to stay as we wouldn’t have anyone intelligent to argue with.

        JR puts a lot of different views on, including half literate and illogical. These add colour and are often very funny. THe moderation stops the downright insulting stuff that appear on other blogs, such as the newspaper comments. I rely on him to stop me going over the top and hope some of them give the editors a laugh.

  24. Wingsovertheworld
    April 6, 2016

    What say you of the BBC’s Anthony Reben’s “Fact Check” :

    which claims you have your sums wrong (and without fully explaining why he thinks it is so). The BBC has a clear agenda to torpedo the Leave campaign. Unfortunately, it has become so farcical I no longer trust it for news. A sad state of affairs.

    Reply Your BBC source seems to endorse my figures. They all came from government sources.

    1. Dennis
      April 6, 2016

      Reply to Reply ‘Your BBC source seems to endorse my figures.’

      That source says:-
      ‘But that money will not cover private sector grants such as those to universities, to which the report also refers, which adds another £1.4bn.
      It means that the amount the government had left to spend would be £8.4bn and not £10bn.’

      I don’t see this endorsing your figure of £10bn. The source may be wrong of course but you haven’t discounted it.

      Reply They confirm all my figures and decide to reduce them by another figure which I dispute. The money our universities get back through the EU budget are included in my figures. Money from programmes like Erasmus are not EU programmes and so are not at risk.

    2. Ian Heath
      April 6, 2016

      Err… not quite. What about the “private sector grants such as those to universities, to which the report also refers, which adds another £1.4bn” in Anthony Reben’s “Fact Check”.

    3. stred
      April 6, 2016

      This Anthony Reuben seems to be a spokeman for the remain campaign. He claims in this article that the deduction to the balance is because of private grants to UK universities and research etc. Private is private and could be likened to trade. How much extra to we pay because we are in the EU for food which would be cheaper from outside? How much to we give to EU researchers? What about the huge amount remitted to the EU by eastern Europeans? If he wants to muddle it lets join in.

      Looking him up, there seem to be two, one with a beard and one without. Both work for the BBC. Interestingly, the one who has a blog has published the latest immigration chart fro the OBS. Measuring the EU and non EU bars, it appears they think the total is 350k and not the 325k given by the ONS. Fuuny how these highly paid statisticians and economists can confuse us.

  25. Tad Davison
    April 6, 2016

    Today, Open Europe reports:

    ”In an interview with Bild, French President François Hollande said that “I wish that the UK stays in the EU as it is in the European interest,” adding that “whatever the result will be, I am in favour that after the referendum an initiative will be taken allowing those countries which stand for more and quicker integration to do so. Those who are not part of the Eurozone and do not want to join have to be fully respected as EU members. But they cannot slow down the development of the union.”

    And surely this spells it out – it’s in the European interest for Britain to stay in the EU because we contribute to their expansion and consolidation, but as we know from John’s on-going analysis, it is not in Britain’s interest. And if we stay in, we won’t be allowed to slow the others down, so when MPs write to me and try to defend their decision to remain in the EU and confidently predict that we (the UK) can change it from within, I am inclined to think they are seriously deluded!

    Tad Davison


    1. Lifelogic
      April 6, 2016

      Totally deluded.

      Why, one wonders, have Cameron, Osborne and half of the Tory MPs fallen for this absurd delusion when it is so clearly that?

    2. peter davies
      April 6, 2016

      Spot on, that’s my analysis and judging by what people like William Hague have said I am guessing they are thinking that way as well.

      In a nutshell we are being asked to sacrifice UK interests for the sake of a supranational entity we have no interest in being part of

  26. Chris
    April 6, 2016

    Thank you, Mr Redwood, for your Bow Group comments (EU referendum, sovereignty, Obama intervention) reported on Breitbart London website today.

  27. Ex-expat Colin
    April 6, 2016

    Good one from you here Mr Redwood:

    “Former Thatcher Advisor Blasts Obama Over EU Intervention: ‘Americans, Try And Explain To Your President We Are Fighting OUR War of Independence’”

  28. Kenneth
    April 6, 2016

    The BBC has a “you right-wingers all like the Single Market, don’t you?” attitude. This shows the usual misunderstanding of free trade.

    The Single Market is stifling innovation and entrepreneurship. It feeds the large corporations and freezes out small businesses.

    Free trade – in fact life itself – is a constant process of pruning the old to make way for the new. The Single Market disallows this vital process which is one of the reasons eu members are falling behind the rest of the world.

    We must get out before the eu turns into the USSR.

  29. Atlas
    April 6, 2016

    Well said John.

  30. peter davies
    April 6, 2016

    If only someone could put together a visual image of what you have summarized in this blog post making it easy to understand, something we cannot unfortunately trust the BBC to do.

  31. NickW
    April 6, 2016

    If the British people vote on June 23rd that they wish to be governed by Brussels, not Westminster, all those who voted for “Leave”, (probably around 50% of the electorate) are unlikely to continue to participate in UK General elections.

    What would be the point?

  32. Philip Kean
    April 6, 2016

    Well said, John. The Federal enabler that is the so-called “Single Market”.

    I have been saying this for years. @PhilKean1

  33. Mitchel
    April 6, 2016

    I suspect many of the commentators who maintain that we must remain in order to reform the EU are not so much “seriously deluded”as downright deceitful.They know it can’t be reformed,they don’t want it reformed,they agree with the direction of travel but are looking for a more palatable message to con the doubters with.

  34. ian
    April 6, 2016

    June 23 2016 is your last chance for freedom by way of referendum from the EU, that’s why you need a plan B and the only plan that will be left to you will be the free parliament with independent MPs from each area to bring the voice of the people into parliament.

    As always stand by you brother and sisters.

  35. ian
    April 6, 2016

    The only person I see that has come clean on his offshore tax heaven in parliament is zac goldsmith.

    Reply Most MPs do not have any investments abroad”!

  36. Lindsay McDougall
    April 6, 2016

    I have agreed to help distribute Vote Leave literature on Saturday 16th April. I may well add your blog to the pack if it’s OK by you.

    On Tuesday 5th April, the Daily Telegraph carried a headline “Project Fear is working”, based on the latest opinion poles and inside carried another dose of FUD from David Cameron. The bit on trade in goods is easily refutable but he had this to say about services:

    “Leaving the single market would also hit our service industries hard – and this is where our economy faces the biggest risk. Today, British brainpower and industry are in demand. We’re the country that designs the building, advises on the deal, arranges the finance, insures the business, draws up the contracts, produces the film, creates the advertising campaign, sells the product and audits the accounts. All these are service industries.

    The figures speak for themselves. Our service industries are growing at a rate of nearly three percent a year on average. They account for almost 80 per cent of our economy . And they amount to 40 percent of all British exports – with Europe being by far our biggest market. Indeed, an extraordinary 116,000 small businesses export services to the EU. And new analysis shows that two million jobs are either directly or indirectly linked to these exports.”

    This analysis needs to be countered. For a start, it is selective with its statistics. The number I would most like to know is the value of UK service exports to the EU as a percentage of UK GDP. My second point is that services often float on the back of construction projects and ending our £14 billion annual cash contribution to the EU could partly be used to finance more construction in the UK. My third point is that the single market has not led to free trade in services. Both language and protectionist policies get in the way. For example, it is virtually impossible for non-Italian consultants to sell engineering services to Italian Railways.

    I hope that Mr Redwood will devote an entire blog to this topic of services and the EU.

    1. Narrow Shoulders
      April 6, 2016

      Services are not part of the single market and should therefore not be at risk if we leave.

      1. Lindsay McDougall
        April 7, 2016

        Nevertheless, Mr Camron is making great play of the ‘fact’ that UK services gain a lot from the single market and would lose a lot if we left. This needs systematic rebuttal.

    2. Lindsay McDougall
      April 10, 2016

      I now have the figures that matter, for the year 2014:

      UK GDP £1,750 billion
      Value of goods exports £295.4 billion
      Value of services exports £219.8 billion (10 year growth rate 6.7% pa)
      Value of services exports to EU £81.3 billion (10 year growth rate 5.8% pa)
      Value of services exports to non-EU £138.3 billion (10 year growth rate 7.3% pa)

      So the value of UK services exports to the EU is only 4.6% of GDP.

      An the value of UK services exports to the EU is 37% of all our services exports, and is a declining proportion because their slower growth rate.

      If we leave the EU and can negotiate our own trade deals, there is every prospect of growing our services exports to non-EU countries more rapidly.

  37. Bazman
    April 6, 2016

    Belarus-on-Sea will be a more realistic picture a one party state with crony capitalism and sky high prices, specialising in tax evasion and money laundering.
    To think that Britain will be able to leave the EU without sanctions for doing so is cloud cuckoo land. This judgement is as flawed as believing China should be given free market status. Its interesting to see that no leading Tories are for strengthening trade union laws and rights, but when asked of the effects of a withdrawal from the EU’s effects on low paid and zero hours contract workers cowardly just say that the electorate will be free to choose the amount of workers rights. This will be pretty much across the board as we see paid holidays and most other employment rights eroded. What we will see in reality is employers more free to exploit the workforce and make larger profits at their expense outside the EU, anyone who complains will be seen as anti Britain.
    Scrounging tax evaders, landlords corporate welfare and any other crony capitalists will be rife and welcome. See all previous privatisations and power projects. Many EU companies will be out of here the next day due to sanctions from the EU and the idea that we can just stop migrants coming here to work is for the birds. Who will replace them. Desperate British? How and who? Get real.

    Reply the Conservative party hasn’t plan or wish to repeal employment rights on leaving

    1. Narrow Shoulders
      April 7, 2016

      If you wish to remain in EU to keep a handle on the UK government you have little confidence in the electorate keeping them honest. Do you not get the whole sovereignty case?

      When sovereign if we don’t like our government we vote them out. Under the EU nothing can ever change as the cabal is unelected.

      Pretty sure that Labour has been in power for as many years as Conservatives since the war and I am not looking for EU protection from comrade Corbyn

      1. Bazman
        April 7, 2016

        How do you square off sovereignty with huge swathes of corporate companies and massive amounts of land and property owned by foreign countries and nationals? Hmm. Billy Britain Never had a problem with that did he?
        Who will provide massive subsidies for Rich Tory landowners after a Brexit and what about all these foreign owned companies just leaving as the face penalties for being outside the EU as they surly must do as they cannot have the same rights outside the club.
        How will the companies remaining find cheap labour, even though cheap labour is bad?

  38. HampsteadOwl
    April 6, 2016

    £10 billion is 1.3% of total UK government expenditure. Is Mr Redwood really claiming that if we repatriated such a sum by leaving the EU to “spend the money at home” we would be “ending austerity”? What sort of fools does he take us for?

    £772 million – total government expenditure – doesn’t sound terribly austere to me, and I always thought that Mr Redwood believed in controlling such a gargantuan sum, reducing the deficit and cutting taxes. Or, since the sum in question is attached to an argument about leaving the EU, is he simply resorting to trite populism in order to try to make a point?

    Reply. Our contributions to the Eu since 2010 exceed the cuts in public spending growth rates that have been called austerity

    1. HampsteadOwl
      April 6, 2016

      “That have been called austerity”

      Yes indeed – which is exactly my point that cuts of the order of 1% of the total are hardly “austerity”. And, so far as I am aware, it is also a point that Mr Redwood has made himself on many previous occasions. Yet, when it suits him, as part of his argument for leaving the EU, to label £10 billion as a remedy for an austerity he doesn’t really think exists, he does so. This is not honest argument.

      Reply My statement is true and as you point out it is not dishonest as I refer to the austerity as defined by others.

    April 6, 2016

    Off Topic: The Government is spending £9m of our own money to tell what to vote for in a democratic free Referendum.Paradoxically it really does say everything, absolutely everything, about the EU

    1. Denis Cooper
      April 6, 2016

      I said from the start that Cameron would “try to do a Wilson”.

  40. miami.mode
    April 6, 2016

    The Leave campaign needs to get on the front foot. It’s impossible to win a fight by defending all the time.

    Not sure how the finances and rules of engagement work but Leavers need something like a Daily Fact that is put out in the media that is a positive for leaving. Our host has often come out with a number of facts of what would be to our advantage in the event of Brexit and I’m sure there are a number of individuals in the Leave camp who could easily come up with some punchy one-liners and if it’s a really important point then it would stand to be quoted on more than one occasion. As a suggestion put ‘self-government’ out every 10 or 14 days.

    Bang a fact out on a daily basis and leave it to the Remains to offer a counter argument. You never know, it might even make each day’s TV news.

  41. BOF
    April 6, 2016

    Excellent article John.
    We know that David Cameron will never debate the EU with Nigel Farage, but can he not be persuaded to join a live TV debate with you? I would confidently predict a huge audience.

    Reply I doubt it, though I would be happy to do it.

  42. fedupsoutherner
    April 6, 2016

    Not totally on topic but for anyone interested this chart shows how high our energy prices are compared with the rest of the EU. We are top of the chart.

  43. Lindsay McDougall
    April 8, 2016

    I hope that, when this Government sponsored (taxpayer financed) document is pushed through our letterboxes, someone in the Vote Leave organisation will systematically trash it. Effective politics is about sticking the boot in to bad arguments.

    Nigel Farage is good at this sort of thing – remember the debates with Nick Clegg? It is high time that he was inside the tent pissing out.

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