How joining the EU led to a big decline in UK industry

There are also crucial issues to understand about how the asymmetric single market did damage to Uk industry. When we joined the EEC, now the EU, in 1973, more barriers to trade had been pulled down in manufacturing than in services. EU rules were often such that UK industry was badly damaged by the shock of joining and the continued shock of staying in as the rules increased and tightened.

When the UK joined the EU we had a 45 million tonnes a year steel industry. Today we are battling to save an 11 million tonnes industry.

When we joined the EU we had a 400,000 tonnes a year aluminium industry. Today we have just 43,000 tonnes of capacity left.

When we joined the EU we had 20 million tonnes of cement capacity. Today we have 12 million tonnes.

Just before we joined the EEC in 1971 we had a 1 million tonnes a year fishing industry. Today we have 600,000 tonnes.

The October 2013 government “Future of Manufacturing” Report shows that between 1951 and 1973 metals output rose 3% a year. Since joining the EEC/EU it has declined by more than 6%

Between 1951 and 1973 food and drink output rose by 5.6% per year. Since joining the EEC/EU it has fallen by 1% a year.

Between 1951 and 1973 textiles output expanded at 2.6% a year. Since joining the EEC/EU it has fallen by more than 6% a year.

Whilst it may not be fair to blame all this decline on membership of the EU, as there are other factors, it nonetheless shows categorically that joining the EU and helping create the so called single market has not helped us grow and has not saved many of our industries from decline.

In some cases EU policies are the main driver of the disaster. The Common Fishing Policy is clearly the main reason for the dreadful decline of our fishing industry, as many foreign vessels were licenced to take our fish. Our energy intensive businesses were often damaged by the high energy prices required by the EU common energy policy.

The EU has prevented UK subsidy of industry under its state aids rules, but has often provided subsidised loans and grants to businesses to set up elsewhere in the EU. The UK has seen a spate of factory closures balanced by new and expanded facilities in poorer EU countries. The UK lost van production to Turkey, car capacity to Slovakia, chocolate to Poland, domestic appliances to the Netherlands and the Czech Republic and metal containers to Poland amongst others in recent years. In various cases there was an EU grant or loan involved in the new capacity.

Looking at our huge balance of payments deficit today in goods with the rest of the EU, we can see the long term impact of the EU’s damage to our manufacturing capacity.

This April’s balance of payments figures show us in heavy deficit in machinery, vehicles, electrical machinery, mineral fuels, plastics, iron and steel, wood and clothing. Last year our total goods trade deficit hit £85 billion with the rest of the EU. Between 2008 and 2015 our exports grew at 5% with the rest of the world, whilst falling with the EU.

Perhaps remain might like to answer the following questions:

  • Why have we suffered industrial decline and closures with production shifting elsewhere in Europe since joining the EEC?
  • Why do trade in surplus with the rest of the world but have such a huge deficit with the EU?
  • Why have we ended up importing fish, electricity, steel and much else when we used to self sufficient?
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    1. Posted June 16, 2016 at 5:24 am | Permalink

      Dr Redwood, a cracking analysis as usual.

      Whilst of course not all declines can be laid at the door of the EU, as you say, the EU has been responsible in large part for some and has not helped in others.

      We’ll be running another piece on your views and figures shortly.

      Meanwhile, we’ve continued to produce factual output on a daily basis, showing how the UK will benefit from leaving the EU. Your readers may like to click the link below for all the news from June.

      Regards, the Team

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 7:48 am | Permalink

        Regarding your item about Theresa May, she must be confused because yesterday she said that if we stay in the EU then we should seek further “reforms” on the freedom of movement, even though Osborne had just said there were no plans to do that:

        And moreover some senior EU source has said not only that the UK was given too much but also that some of it is illegal:

        “… European leaders are now increasingly resigned to the prospect of Britain quitting the EU, but are not prepared to offer further concessions.”

        “The source said: “If the result is wrong – and Britain leaves – the fault is entirely David Cameron’s and the Tory Party’s. We have done everything to help Britain, gave them the best possible deal, but it was unrealistic to think they could change minds in three months. Really all we can do now is pray.””

        ““Ask any lawyer, what we gave Britain was outside the treaties, it’s illegal but we did it to help Britain. Britain got a lot and many others hold a grudge for that; we were more than generous.””

        That claim “it’s illegal” does rather contradict Cameron’s claim that it’s “legally binding and irreversible”, which has also been attacked here:

        • Anonymous
          Posted June 16, 2016 at 9:24 am | Permalink

          An overrider is that the EU is prepared to ignore its own laws, which it has already done on bailouts.

          We should not be grateful for the wavering of such laws but be concerned that:

          A) the EU will ride roughshod over them

          B) such laws exist in the first place

          “So the EU can’t do right for wrong ?”

          No. It can’t. Because it shouldn’t even exist.

        • Chris
          Posted June 16, 2016 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

          I believe that it was never “legally binding and irreversible”, David Cameron. This claim was apparently just another attempt at misleading MPs and the electorate. The problem is that many MPs believed it, let alone the electorate.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted June 16, 2016 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

          Mrs May is indeed rather confused. One minute stomping up and down muttering about immigration levels at the party conference, then telling us that we have control of EU immigration through Schengen (which is clearly patent drivel or worse a lie). Now pretending there is a “reformed EU” or we can reform it further in future. Cameron tried for years to negotiate and got nothing of any value at all. Did Mrs May not notice all this?

          She too has backed the wrong horse like Cameron. These Oxbridge art graduates are just totally out of touch with the public mood. Perhaps they should try meeting some of the public occasionally (normal ones who do not work for the state sector, the BBC, receive EU grants or academia).

          I would have expected a bit better of a grammar school lass (in part anyway it seems). She is a bit less out of touch than Amber Rudd though, she like Osborne certainly has to go.

      • Mitchel
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 10:02 am | Permalink

        The Spectator magazine has declared in favour of Brexit this morning – with a very good leader- Out-and into the world.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted June 16, 2016 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

          Needless to say the FT leader today is hugely in favour of remain. Just As they were for the ERM and the EURO.

    2. Mick
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 5:38 am | Permalink

      Yes all correct Mr Redwood, the only thing that isn’t reducing is immigration, Vote Out and as for Osborne and his side kick Cameron they are both toast after June 23rd along with all the other traitors to this country

    3. hefner
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 5:42 am | Permalink

      “Whilst it may not be fair to blame all this decline on membership of the EU, as there are other factors, …”. Could you please be more precise about these other factors? Any quantitative sorting out of the factors would be appreciated.

      • agricola
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 6:44 am | Permalink

        A major factor has been steel in the automotive industry. In part replaced by composites and aluminium, but by clever design, a reduction in the thicknesses of steel used. All aimed at increasing Brake Horsepower per Tonne, which I must admit is all negated by people getting heavier.

        • Ken Moore
          Posted June 16, 2016 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

          Not so cars have been getting heavier with more steel content despite the use of alternative materials – a 2010 ford Fiesta is actually a heavier car than a 1980 Ford Cortina. The manufacturers have been forced to make bigger cars with more equipment with stiffer, heavier steel shells with better handling and crash worthiness.
          High end marques are using aluminium more so that the fuel economy of the in my opinion ridiculously large Range Rover can be kept down.

          Better engine design has improved performance and economy inspite of the weight hike –

          • Cary
            Posted June 16, 2016 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

            Cars are heavier because they need to be built to higher safety standards and carry much more ancillary equipment (air conditioning, electric motors for seats and windows).

        • acorn
          Posted June 16, 2016 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

          Have you ever thought about; flying back to the UK, overnight in B747, sat in a window seat; that there is a sheet of aluminium 2 millimetres thick, between you and a seven mile fall to earth?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 6:53 am | Permalink

        The other factors are far too much UK government, UK red tape, expensive energy (both UK and EU driven), far too high tax levels, the poor quality of UK schools, most universities, the dire NHS, poor roads, over priced and over complex legal and tax systems, far too much green crap and climate alarmism, the pointless wars on a lie, far too many lawyers, far too much “equality” legislation and other damaging PC drivel, the endless BBC lefty, climate alarmism indoctrination, the over remuneration (and over generous pensions) of the largely inept state sector (by about 50%) a criminal justice system that lacks proper deterrents, a very poor and incompetent way of dealing with mental health patients, central wage controls, charities that are not really charities. Unfair subsidised state competition in health, housing, television and lots of other areas.

        Too many parasitic jobs and people getting in the way of business and far too few engineers, scientists, mathematicians, business people, sales people and doers in general. Far too many duff degree in nonsense subject at second rate universities. Let people pay for their own hobbies if they must.

        Many more obstacles too. Start by replacing Osborne and undo the substantial damage he has done.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted June 16, 2016 at 7:19 am | Permalink

          Above all the UK needs a much smaller state sector and much lower tax rates. These will increase the tax base hugely and raise more in the long run.

          One of the best growth areas in the UK was the nondom sector until The government & Osborne started trying to kill it. Get a low tax regime for all, encourage investment and wealth creation.

          Encourage more private schools, universities and private medicine with tax reliefs to take the pressure off the NHS and the education budgets.

          • hefner
            Posted June 16, 2016 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

            agricola, David Murfin, acorn,
            Thanks a lot for your answers.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted June 16, 2016 at 11:40 am | Permalink

          I had forgotten how awful, irritating and totally misguided Neil Kinnock, John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were. Especially G Brown with his slow clunking fist and ponderous delivery of economic gobbledegook and drivel.

          The more one sees of them the more leave must surely benefit. Odds nearly heading toward evens now. It is surely all over now? Still it is fun to watch the panic in the remain side and the establishment. The BBC still hugely biased on nearly every programme (save perhaps the daily politics). Even the non political ones.

          But how, post the Brexit vote, will we ensure we actually get out without the Tories breaking up?

          • Lifelogic
            Posted June 16, 2016 at 11:44 am | Permalink

            Such a shame that Cameron picked the wrong horse.

            Had he backed leave then it would have been a hugely decisive vote for leave that the Tories could have united behind.

            Still he has rather record of having a compass 180 degrees out. It was obvious his deal was worthless and he should have backed leave.

            Osborne certainly must go either way he is a disaster, another broken compass and wooden with it.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted June 16, 2016 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

          Listening to Amber Rudd’s propaganda just now (on referendum call radio 4) I decided she need to go almost as much as Osborne needs to.

          She seemed to think Cameron has negotiated something of value and even
          claimed that we have control of immigration if we stay in the EU! How deluded can you be.

          A rapid move to half price and reliable energy is needed energy A daft deluded, patronising, historian is not the person to do it. Get Owen Patterson, Peter Lilley or someone.

      • David Murfin
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 7:20 am | Permalink

        I can’t quantify these, but plastics have replaced steel and aluminium in many applications in the last fifty years. Also, I am driving a 15 year old car whose bodywork is still in excellent condition. In the 60s and 70s 6 years was typical before replacement or bodywork repairs.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted June 16, 2016 at 11:51 am | Permalink

          Cars are still mainly steel (rather than aluminium) but now mainly galvanised steel.

          Keeping an old car running is generally far greener and cheaper than buying and thus building a new one. Especially the new over complex electric and unreliable hybrid ones.

        • Jerry
          Posted June 16, 2016 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

          @David Murfin; “In the 60s and 70s 6 years was typical before replacement or bodywork repairs.”

          Sort of correct (more likely 10 years before a car became being to repair though, unless you were talking about some of the continental makes, were by 8 years the steel had returned to iron ore!), but then those repairs also take steel, either as new panels or sheet steel, and of course in the 1960s and ’70s it was far more common to repair accident damage, now either a new panel(s) is fitted or the car gets written off, which in turn means new steel in needed to make the replacement parts/cars.

      • acorn
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 8:02 am | Permalink

        You are forgetting what the government plan was and still is! We dropped from 45 million tonnes of steel to 11 million tonnes, because we had free access to 177 million tonnes of cheaper steel producers within the EU Customs Union.

        Likewise, energy intensive Aluminium production in the UK, was killed by government, with eleven different climate change policy levies and taxes. Some were imposed by the EU, but UK government alone, applied the rest.

        This has resulted in UK heavy energy users, paying over 50% more to government than the Germans! UK intensive energy users are paying 23% of there Gas bill; and, 29% of there Electricity bill, to the government.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted June 16, 2016 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

          A daft plan indeed. Get rid of Osborne, Rudd and the rest of them on 24th June.

      • oldtimer
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 8:47 am | Permalink

        Here are a few other significant influences in the extremely turbulent 1970s: the price of oil (up from c$1-2 per barrel in 1970 to $30 per barrel c1981); discovery and exploitation of North Sea oil c1975 (leading to oil accounting for c20% of UK exports in the early 1980s); suspension of $:gold convertibility c 1971 followed by formal adoption of floating fx rates c 1976 (leading to a decade plus realignment of the major trading currencies, notably the Yen, c800 to 200 to £1, and the DM, c8 to 2 to $1 between 1970 and 1985); acute inflationary pressures driven by oil price spikes (UK inflation averaged c15% per annum between 1973 and 1980, consistently higher than in other competitive economies); the 1970s were a decade of industrial unrest and disruption.

        None of the above were forecast in 1970. This only serves to underline the utter futility of the current Treasury forecasts of the next 15 years. These events occurred relatively rapidly and placed immense pressure on industries to adapt and change to the evolving economic circumstances under which they were forced to operate. Many did not make it.

      • Gary
        Posted June 17, 2016 at 9:18 am | Permalink

        By far the biggest factor for a decline in manufacturing is cheap money and the accompanying falling interest rates (financialization) of the economies, where “investment” went instead into houses , bond speculation and stock buybacks. When you can grow your market cap by borrowing money to buyback your own company shares, instead of using it for capex to grow market share for your products, your toast. This has also decimated manufacturing in all anglo saxon countries, even those with nothing to do with being a member of the EU.

        This EU narrative is becoming a complete farce. Next we’ll hear that the EU is the reason that the pygmies are short.

      Posted June 16, 2016 at 5:57 am | Permalink

      Sometimes a nation’s people needs waking up. A vote to Remain rather than Leave will set a course which will provide an education. A total immersion technique. In my opinion, rather more economic and political woe than even of some of the most pessimistic Brexiteers and the shock-jockeys of the Remain Campaign.

      The big decline in UK industry started in real terms before the EU membership. British people have been pushed out of certain areas of their villages and towns and classrooms. Now pushed out of certain elements of democracy which in truth never amounted to more than a “X” made on bit of paper once every five years. The British people will pay for their self-inflicted somnolence. A rude awakening. But they will then require far more than the Leave Camp are advocating.Indeed, far more than the Leave Camp would wish. People get very tetchy when awoken suddenly.

      • Anonymous
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 6:53 am | Permalink

        CH – Any tetchiness will come from the Remain side if it is a Leave result. We must be braced for this.

        Leftists and Europhiles do not play fair when the vote goes against them.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted June 16, 2016 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

          Well they have not played fair so far, with huge sums of government money and state sector propaganda coming out. Plus the huge bias of the BBC.

          They are not going to give in easily.

      • David Murfin
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 7:27 am | Permalink

        “Sometimes a nation’s people needs waking up”
        Have a look at the recent Guardian/itv programme on Labour canvassing in Stoke-on-Trent, – the Indian taxi driver at 7min in.

        • Anonymous
          Posted June 16, 2016 at 9:28 am | Permalink

          The conclusion is that 9 out of 10 Labour voters want out in a Labour manufacturing heartland.

          This accords with my own experience. I don’t know where the 50/50 estimates are coming from.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted June 16, 2016 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

          Indeed the reporter estimated nine out of ten for leave in Labour dominated Stoke!

          How out of touch Cameron, Osborne, Rudd, Brown and even Corbyn types are!

          I suspect even Scotland may nearly vote for out.

    5. Mark B
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 6:11 am | Permalink

      Good morning.

      It is important to remember which political party advocated both membership of the then EEC and the Single Market.

      It is indeed true that EU is not entirely responsible for our decline in the late 60’s to early 80’s. Much of this decline was down to nationalisation, trades union militancy, bad management and government interference.

      Today we have crony capitalism and anti-democratic EU institutions damaging what is left with over regulation etc. The sooner we leave this and return to market forces, the better.

      I would still like to hear a detailed plan on how we will leaving the EU from you by the way.

      • Jerry
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        @Mark B; But was there that much of a decline, and who says it was caused by nationalisation, trades union militancy, bad management and government interference, rather than the world economic mess brought about by the 1974 oil crisis, until. that6 point it could be argued that like many pother countries the UK was just going through the usual ups and downs of the economic cycle – and of course much of the early 1970s industrial strife was caused by the illogical industrial relations Act from the same government who illogically took us in to the EEC!

        • Mitchel
          Posted June 16, 2016 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

          Wasn’t one of the problems at that time North Sea oil to the extent that it gave sterling a short-ish lived petrocurrency bounce which in turn meant we couldn’t hide our manufacturing inefficiency behind habitual currency devaluation.

      • hefner
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

        For £2.99 you can get the two 59 mn episodes of the BBC program on the EU by Nick Robinson for your tablet or laptop (search on BBC iPlayer).

        Before someone here hurls dirt at the BBC, may I say they are well worth watching, particularly the first one discussing the ’50s to ’80s, to get the historical perspective on what PMs Edward Heath, Harold Wilson, Margaret Thatcher did and said at the time of the UK entering the EEC, then around the time of the first referendum.

        In the present campaign, there are Leave supporters, even some handing out leaflets to passers-by in shopping centres who do not seem to have a clue on how things happened in those days. That’s tragic.

      • hefner
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        For £2.99 you can get the two 59 mn episodes of the BBC program on the EU by Nick Robinson for your tablet or laptop (search on BBC iPlayer).

        Before someone here starts hurling dirt at the BBC, may I say they are well worth watching, particularly the first one discussing the ’50s to ’80s, to get the historical perspective on what PMs Edward Heath, Harold Wilson, Margaret Thatcher did and said at the time of the UK entering the EEC, then around the time of the first referendum.

        In the present campaign, there are Leave supporters, even some handing out leaflets to passers-by in shopping centres who do not seem to have a clue on how things happened in those days. That’s tragic.

    6. Richard Preston
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 6:14 am | Permalink

      “Whilst it may not be fair to blame all this decline on membership of the EU, as there are other factors”

      You got that right. Most of the blame for the declines you cite lie squarely with the neglect and/or outright hostility they were subjected to by successive UK governments, including the one you served in, sir. The fact that they have thrived in other EU countries are failures by UK governments to make the EU work for us. Claiming UK industry declined as a result of EU yet another false argument from the Leave campaign.

      The Common Fishing policy, dear energy policies, subsidies to non UK areas of EU are all EU causes of big declines in some of our industries.

      • Anonymous
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 9:38 am | Permalink

        Richard Preston – You are quite right but we are where we are.

        Now, because of our EU membership, we must share what prosperity is left with whoever arrives from the EU disaster zone.

        Finally the people have had enough.

        Whether or not the EU was responsible for our manufacturing demise our membership of the single market certainly did nothing to stop it.

        The big news at the moment is the magnitude of the falsehoods being pedalled by Remain. They have been so utterly outlandish that Leave’s wildest claims can no longer compete.

    7. The PrangWizard
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 6:17 am | Permalink

      After Brexit and with new leadership the Conservative party and government should engage in a analysis of these facts and develop a policy to reverse the decline. There will be of course be no relocation of industry to the EU countries with grants from that organisation and it should be possible to reduce high energy costs.

      I would hope too that the ideological obsession that the purchase of our industries by foreign companies is a good thing to be welcomed will be ended. I would suggest that ‘inward investment’ has not been a success, the evidence of our decline does not support such an assertion.

      We should return to the earlier view that our industries should be given high priority to grow here and invest abroad, they should not be offered for sale for foreign purchase with the encouragement of City spivs so they can rake in fat commissions.

      Sadly, weak and wrong headed leadership has put us in a very precarious position after years of selling off our biggest and best and we must set in train a policy to restore and rebuild. Strategic industries, such a steel must be protected, after all it is of the greatest incompetence we import steel for our submarines.

      There isn’t much left from which to begin, but the UK must come first in all matters in future.

      • Anonymous
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 9:41 am | Permalink

        “We should return to the earlier view that our industries should be given high priority to grow here and invest abroad, they should not be offered for sale for foreign purchase with the encouragement of City spivs so they can rake in fat commissions.”

        This is why London should shoulder her responsibility and subsidise the rest of the nation without rancour.

    8. Roy Grainger
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 6:33 am | Permalink

      Here’s a fine example of what the EU elite think:

      “Sweden’s EU Minister, Ann Linde, slammed the British premier as an opportunist who has put the 28-nation bloc at risk for his own domestic political purposes, signaling that talks that would follow a Brexit vote are likely to be acrimonious.”

      The British Prime Minister putting British concerns first – what a disgrace !

      • Know-dice
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 9:36 am | Permalink

        When you have a bloc of 9 countries (1973) with similar economys then working for the common good just about works, if you assume that any good work you do for all filters back to help you locally.

        With 28 countries and vastly different economys, then the first priority is number one, then the common good (as long as it’s not detrimental to yourself)…

    9. Margaret
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 6:47 am | Permalink

      Perhaps John you can answer this question . I have already voted for out in a postal vote, but someone this am asked the question about a potential recession and who would be bailing us out if this occurred.

      Reply Brexit will not cause a recession. In the EU when we have had several nasty recessions we have bailed ourselves out.

      • Mark B
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

        Greece is in never ending depression / crisis, who is helping her out ?

    10. Denis Cooper
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 6:52 am | Permalink

      JR, many memories of the details may fade over the decades but it is clear that:

      1. There were a lot of different factors working against UK industry, but

      2. Officially none of the damage ever had anything to do with the EEC/EC/EU.

      Following the precept laid down in the 1971 Foreign Office paper FCO 30/1048, which was kept under wraps for 30 years afterwards:

      “After entry there would be a major responsibility on HMG and on all political parties not to exacerbate public concern by attributing unpopular measures or unfavourable economic developments to the remote and unmanageable workings of the Community.”

      • Chris
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

        Very useful to have this resurrected, Denis. Thank you.

    11. Ian Wragg
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      Watching Michael Gove last night I was pleased with his performance.
      Listening to that silly scientist on about EU grants, she was incapable of understanding that the money they receive was ours in the first place. She was also unable to define a billion.
      If this is the level of scientists we are funding heaven help us.
      The loss of our industries is mainly deliberate foisted on us by the ruling classes and their dozy energy policies.

      • LittleBlackCensored
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 9:24 am | Permalink

        I thought it was she who asked Gove what he meant by a million and he didn’t know.
        (Is a million now everywhere defined in the American way as 1000,000,000?)

        • zorro
          Posted June 16, 2016 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

          No, one million is 1,000,000…… A billion in modern international parlance is one thousand million or 1,000,000,000….. Hope that helps ?


      • Mitchel
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        I had never been a fan of either Mr Gove or Boris.I’m not a fan of Boris now although I do applaud him most sincerely for his very useful -and,I believe,effective – contribution to the campaign.Mr Gove,however,has risen exponentially in my estimation with his statesman-like performances.

      • Pete Stroud
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 10:27 am | Permalink

        I agree. As a retired scientist I was surprised at her ignorance. No wonder Michael Gove had a somewhat puzzled expression on his face.

      • Atlas
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

        Yes, as a one-time scientist myself I was less than impressed by the way the (reasonable) question was put. The monologue that followed from the questioner demonstrated that an answer from Gove was not really being asked for.

        Personally, I support UK scientific research – provided we in the UK decide what is done and who does it.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

        “The Prime Minister. No. The word “billion” is now used internationally to mean 1,000 million and it would be confusing if British Ministers were to use it in any other sense. I accept that it could still be interpreted in this country as 1 million million and I shall ask my colleagues to ensure that, if they do use it, there should be no ambiguity as to its meaning.”

        The Prime Minister being Harold Wilson.

      • Qubus
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        My sincere apologies to the original author of the following; I am not sure which website I got it from, although I have added a bit it.
        Michael Gove should have told the strident female scientist:

        • Horizon 2020: is open to all European countries, not just EU members; this includes Turkey, Tunisia, Israel.

        • The same is true for the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) and the European Space Agency (ESA); these are pan-European organisations, not EU.

        • CERN crosses between two countries an EU and a non-EU country.

        • CERN gets less than 2% of its budget from the EU.

        • EU policies have destroyed the European lead in Agricultural Biotechnology, put obstacles in the way of vaping at the behest of big pharmaceutical companies and tobacco growers. Excused homeopaths from efficacy trials; put CO2 reductions before air quality resulting in thousands of premature deaths.

        • Britain has less than 1% of the world’s population, but ca. 15% of the world’s most highly cited scientific publications.

        • Our biggest science collaborator is the USA.

        • The only EU universities in the top 20 are British.

        • The UK crackdown on non-EU migration is to limit total immigration because we cannot control EU migration. This makes it very difficult for Chinese, Indian, American scientists to get UK visas.

        • By 2030, 90% of STEM graduates will be non-European. We must continue to bring in EU scientists, but not discriminate against non-EU scientists.

        • UK R&D gets only about 3% of its funding from the EU.

        • One of the biggest recent scientific collaborations: the detection of gravity waves, LIGO, was an international collaboration based in the USA. The subsequent publication in Phys Rev Letters had 1,006 co-authors.

    12. Chris S
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 7:01 am | Permalink

      As Remain won’t give you any answers, I’ll have a go :

      Why have we suffered industrial decline and closures with production shifting elsewhere in Europe since joining the EEC?

      We are looking back over 43 years. Back to the bad old times of trade union power, weak and ineffective management and unsupportive Labour Governments. Many, even some of us posting here, will have no knowledge of the British Leyland Debacle including Red Robbo and his chums. The British Car industry is a perfect example to consider :

      I knew the Late Lord Donald Stokes in the latter years of his life. He was a wonderful gentleman in the true sense of the word who made his name as a superb salesman at Leyland Truck – he even sold a complete fleet of buses to Castro !

      Put in charge of a nationalised British Leyland, he had no chance.
      Lord Stokes even had TonyBenn at The Trade And Industry Ministry, for Christ’s sake !

      The Product Quality of Leyand Cars was terrible. In 1980 I was living in Germany and had a brand new Mercedes Estate. Best built car I have ever owned. The silver paint finish was perfection.

      At Christmas that year I was home for a visit and went in to our local BL dealer in Maidenhead with the intention of buying a new Jaguar XJ6.

      In the Showroom was an example which I thought must have just arrived from the factory with its paintwork under a layer of protective wax. When I asked the salesman when it would be prepared for sale and I could see it properly, he looked at me in amazement, saying it was ready !

      I took him outside and showed him the paint finish on the Mercedes 280TE and said, I’ll buy a Jaguar when the paint finish is as good as this”.

      He didn’t reply… …

      Buyers voted with their feet in droves.
      Now you know why they bought BMWs, Golfs and Mercedes.

      Lord Stokes was never allowed to get to grips with the problems and it took the Japanese to show us how to build mass produced cars properly, although in 1986, I did eventually buy one of John Egan’s New Jaguar XJ40 saloons the ride and refinement was streets ahead of the Mercedes even if the paintwork was not quite as good. It was followed by a V12 XJS which at the time was unmatched for crossing the continent.

      Why do trade in surplus with the rest of the world but have such a huge deficit with the EU?
      See above. A lot of it is down to our love of German Cars.

      Why have we ended up importing fish, electricity, steel and much else when we used to self sufficient?

      Fish Because of the .disaster that is the common fisheries policy

      Electricity. : We built the first Nuclear Power station ( Calder Hall ) but successive governments failed to invest in the technology while the French had the sense to build almost 60 cheap, clean nuclear power stations on a production line basis which greatly reduced costs. Blair and Brown built no new plant in 13 years but even today, Cameron still can’t get it right, can he ? Worryingly, we are rapidly running out of capacity so a new cable is being laid to buy more French Kws

      Steel : lack of investment over 40 years and the failure of governments to appreciate that we must retain ownership of strategic industries.

      I don’t believe that the EU is responsible for 80% of our past problems, most have been self inflicted and Labour has been responsible for much of it. It took a magnificent, strong woman to break the mould, ably supported by our host and others, it must be said.

      It would be nice to think that we have learned our lessons. Certainly after Brexit we will have to lift our game and everyone will have to pull together to make UK PLC a bigger success.

      Our embassies, particularly those further afield than the EU, must be staffed with sales people and everything Government does must be directed towards creating tariff-free trade deals with other like minded countries. We can only succeed if we go all out to improve our manufacturing base as well as our more successful services sector.

      • Anonymous
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 10:00 am | Permalink

        The unions rose to power because our people were suffering the effects of inflation to get rid of war debt, to defeat Hitler.

        This lead to the rise of the Left in Britain too, and the only acceptable version of capitalism which emerged is Blairism.

        The Germans were able to start with a clean slate – and with Marshall Aid. So don’t go too hard on us.

        To begin to make things good again we need to reject Blairism and the EU.

        • hefner
          Posted June 16, 2016 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

          The Marshall Plan, $13bn, benefited a total of 18 countries. The UK got 26% of it, France 18%, Germany 11%. Yes, Germany started from a “clean slate” but with less money than the UK.
          And how would you call the period 1979-1997, socialism?

      • a-tracy
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 10:14 am | Permalink

        We are importing skilled labour too in the form of Doctors and Nurses. I see this repeated all the time on the news and I just sit thinking, why are we having to? Are the overseas nurses we hire getting the same, equally demanding degrees we insist on from our home grown nurses, midwives etc. Do Polish and other nurses we’re using to prop up our hospitals do two years studying at A level and 3 years at degree level in Universities?

        Why aren’t we looking at the NHS hiring problems, why don’t we rename the role of ‘Nurse’ and take on more young male trainees, showing them the career ladder and further training available on the job? We should be seeking our own solutions and showing our teenagers the full career, pay and benefits packages available.

        • stred
          Posted June 17, 2016 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

          My bird fell down the stair after Christmas and her ankles were badly bruised. We carried her to the car next day and went to see her GP in London. He was too busy to see a trivial injury and suggested an NHS walk- in centre. We arrived at 10am and I left her on a chair in the waiting room with a walking stick. She had to limp to the desk to fill forms in. At 4pm I returned to find her still waiting. I moved the car again and came back to find she had been seen by a foreign doctor who had told her that she only had a sprain and did not need an x ray. In and out in 5 minutes. The reason was that if she had broken her leg she would not have been able to come to a walk in centre.

          2 days later the pain became worse and we went to an A and E in another city. There in 2 hours they diagnosed a broken leg, treated her and fitted a surgical boot and issued crutches. A week later another foreign consultant said he would need to operate. Finally colleagues in her workplace found a top surgeon who decided that the surgical boot was fine.

          I was left wondering whether the first doctor was qualified at all, let alone badly trained with a dodgy degree.

      • Jerry
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 10:29 am | Permalink

        Apologies to our host for the length of this comment but there are several misconceptions in the comment I’m replying to.

        @Chris S; Re British Layland, the problems pre-dated nationalisation, people forget that BLMC existed as a private company long before nationalisation in 1975 [1] (BLMC was formed out of mergers and acquisitions in 1971), there were ingrained management issues from the start and consequences to decisions dating back to the 1950s and the creation of BMC from the separate Austin and Morris companies. One could almost suggest that many of the problems date back to and stem from (Sir) Leonard Lord, which of course were compounded by the merger of so many marques into the single entity of BLMC.

        One only has to delve into the history and development of the cars in the late 1960s and early ’70s to understand this, look at the development history of the Austin/BL Allegro or Maxi, both are classic examples of (pre nationalised) management cock-ups, being often worse than the car it replaced; the Allegro was worse than the car it replaced and lost sales (probably due to the horrific write up the press gave it on launch, and then early problems with windows falling out), although it was cheaper to make so the accountants were happy at least; whilst for the Maxi, had it not been for the accountants it would have been a world leading four/five seat family hatch-back [2] – this in 1969! As it was, due to to the interfering accountants it became what the already extant Austin 1800 range wasn’t, often under powered, with indifferent gear change, the only marketing advantage over the 1800 being the tailgate, but of course it was cheaper to develop because it used the 1800 passenger doors so the accountants were happy. In hindsight it would have probably been better/cheaper to have just added a tailgate to the 1800 range!

        In contrast, by the late 1970s, after nationalisation and public investment, BL had started to sort its self out, people forget that it was a Labour government who appointed Sir Michael Edwardes in 1977, and he had already started to challenge the likes of “Red Robbo”.

        Also, talking of poor paintwork, in the 1970s I well remember paint literally pealing off some cars manufactured in Germany, especially Fords, whilst Italian cars could be showing signs of rust whilst sitting brand new in the dealers showroom awaiting purchase and registration.

        [1] and do not forget that it was (partially) nationalised because the private BLMC had gone bust

        [2] I know this as I knew one of the R&D technical staff on the project, he showed me ‘would have been details’ of the car back in the mid 1970s, long before they started to appear in books etc. that chart the history of BL(MC).

      • forthurst
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        In condemning the quality of management and of product innovation in British manufacturing, it is important not to underestimate the consequences of successive governments ignoring the demoralising and economically damaging effects stemming from much of industry at the time being run by shop stewards of different craft unions who could black changes of manning or call strikes at will, supported by strikers from other unassociated plants. It is difficult to see how how British manufacturers could compete with countries whose laws did not permit economic treason.

        • Jerry
          Posted June 18, 2016 at 7:16 am | Permalink

          @forthurst; The fatal flaw in your anti union bash is that similar unions issues with working practises due to new technologies etc. and/or wages existed in Germany, so how come Germany did not suffer the same fate as the UK industrial base did – perhaps because both management and unions are seen as equals, it always takes two to tango as they say…

      • Colin Hart
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

        There is another explanation for what happened to British Leyland and it is connected to prices and incomes policy. You couldn’t pay people more but you could give them a better car. So British Leyland went for fleet sales to corporates.

        The rest of us, who didn’t get company cars, didn’t much fancy Marinas, Allegros and Princesses and there was a distinct lack of decent family estate cars in the range.

        So while corporate man was forced to drive around in BL rubbish, the rest of us went out and bought Peugeots and Volvos. Employers eventually started giving people the money for a car instead and they started to do the same. Add to that mix the toxicity of labour relations at Cowley and Longbridge and you get to where we have got today.

      • stred
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        Re UK nuclear industry. We finally decided to builda Pressurised Water Reactor and copythe French when Mrs T sorted the economy out. It has been succcesful and delivers competitive cost electricity. Another 5 could have been built by 2000 and we would have had low carbon power without the huge costs of alternatives. Aluminium and other high users would still be here.

        But Blair/Brown were greens and it was No Thanks to nuclear. They sold the design – Westinghouse- to the Japanese for a pittance. Today DECC are in the process of decidingwhethertobuild small modular factory produced reactors which may allow the disatrous cost of the EPR to be reduced and also building times. And guess who is one of the leading competitors.

        Westinghouse Toshiba.

      • acorn
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

        “It took a magnificent, strong woman to break the mould” And, break the back of British industry, just to get back at the Trade Unions. Thatcher didn’t understand economics, she was a Chemist.

        She thought the UK could survive on the profits of the Spiv City of London by selling Collateralised Debt Obligations (CDO); Credit default Swaps (CDS) and numerous artificial / virtual, first and second derivative, financial instruments, to mug punters.

        Thatcher and Reagan, with a little help from Clinton, lit the fuse for the 2008 financial crash.

        • Yulwaymartyn
          Posted June 16, 2016 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

          @acorn. Well said.

        • Jerry
          Posted June 18, 2016 at 7:40 am | Permalink

          @acorn; Indeed and that’s the tragedy, rather than just removing a batch of poorly mixed contents from the mould she chose to destroy the mould as well.

    13. Jerry
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      Sorry but if you think this piece will get anyone other than already paid up right-wing eurosceptics on board the Brexit message you are so wrong, we are meant to be taking the fight into those Labour heart-lands, not retreat from them!

      Also if the EEC were so culpable in the decline of UK industry and manufacturing in the 1970s and into the ’80s then why on earth did Mrs T ever sign up to the SEA treaty, earlier, why only demand a proportion of our contributions back and not 100% (a Brexit in the early 1980s in other words)? Sorry but if this piece is not economic revisionism then it posses far more questions than it answers, such as Mrs T’s grasp own grasp on economics, not to mention that of her then Chancellors, and just why someone who was an advisor to Mrs T/government felt that his position was still tenable when his advice was obviously being disregarded so often…

      Reply I can answer all those points but today isnot the day to examine the Thatcher record and the rows we had then. Today we need to concentrate one proper analysis of the impact of the EU on our lives and businesses for the referendum

      • Chris S
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        Reply to reply

        I agree that before the 23rd is not the time but could we please, please have chapter and verse on it afterwards ? After all, it is one of the most fascinating periods of recent political history.

        Unless, of course, you are writing your memoirs as we speak.

      • Jerry
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

        @JR reply; Trouble is it never is the day or time, nor does it help to delete factually correct comments/replies that do not site comfortably (nor can length be a reason as the reply was shorter than the comment being replied to).

        Sorry to say but am I’m minded to reconsider my vote, why, because at least I know what voting Remain means (as bad as that might be), sorry to say but I’m increasingly unsure what Brexit will mean or bring when so many of the mistakes of the past 43 years appears to be off limits, have lessons been learnt or not, 25 years out of the last 43 are thus not being debated by those wanting a Brexit – well that’s not entirely correct, the Brexit left are quite happy to do so, including their 18 years at the helm…

        • Edward2
          Posted June 16, 2016 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

          No need to apologise Jerry
          Do whatever makes you happy.

    14. Lifelogic
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 7:07 am | Permalink

      As far as I can see Brexit is virtually home and dry in this referendum, but still you can get 7:4 odds on Brexit. Osborne and the treasury’s dishonesty, with his absurd emergency Brexit budget, was surely the final nail in the coffin for remain and indeed for Osborne.

      Brexit voters are surely far more likely to vote too.

    15. Denis Cooper
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      An interesting fact which Cameron and his allies never mention is that as far as trade in cars is concerned we do trade in surplus with the rest of the world – a £15 billion surplus in 2014 – but have a huge deficit with the EU – £20 billion in 2014:

      I wouldn’t recommend it because apart from anything else it would restrict consumer choice, but surely the 10% tariff on cars we are repeatedly warned about could potentially shift the balance of trade with the other EU countries towards a smaller deficit, while not affecting our profitable trade outside the EU?

      It also occurs to me that if the German government did decide to have a go at the City and succeeded in that malign endeavour then that could significantly reduce the UK customer base for German cars …

      • Chris S
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        They would just buy the cars from their new office in Frankfurt but then Merkel would get to keep the VAT.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted June 17, 2016 at 8:19 am | Permalink

          Not if they’d lost their jobs.

    16. Gary C
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      While we need to trade with others being as dependant as we are for essentials like power & food is surely holding ourselves open to blackmail from the EU despots, self sufficiency is something we should be working towards.

      It is beyond belief successive governments have been happy to sell off our essential needs to others giving them control over us.

    17. Posted June 16, 2016 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      Cameron himself told the CBI in November 2015 that the UK could thrive and prosper outside of the EU. He condemned doubters for not having confidence in our own country. Yet he now campaigns to remain in what is a framework of legislation and policy making that is clearly detrimental to the United Kingdom. Why?

      Your article clearly demonstrates that we could be a great trading nation once more if freed from the shackles of EU membership. Facts don’t seem to sit well with the Remain campaign. Again I wonder why?

      What’s in it for Cameron and Osborne to make them deny what their own common sense tells them – that we could do better outside the EU. And why the total U Turn?

      Remain are now getting desperate. If you have to rely on two failed Labour Chancellors then you must know you’ve lost the argument…

      • Peter Davies
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 11:37 am | Permalink

        All I can think of is bilderberg input, he has one or two figures from the past in his advisory circle

    18. Chris
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      A blistering attack from Allistair Heath today in D Telegraph about Osborne’s budget, and his reliance on fighting this referendum the way of the Scottish referendum, and how that is a flawed policy.

      “…I cannot remember any Western government threatening its voters with such a suicidal set of policies: it is perhaps the sort of thing that a bankrupt Greek government facing collapse might do to encourage its people to back an IMF bail-out plan, but it ought to be unthinkable for a British chancellor presiding over a strong, growing economy to act in this way.

      The Chancellor believes he won the Scottish referendum thanks to his original Project Fear; he is clinging to the hope that a similar strategy will allow the Remainers to halt and reverse the surge for Leave in the opinion polls, as happened in Scotland………

      But Mr Osborne’s decision to go nuclear on Middle England will end in tears, for him and his party, regardless of which way the vote eventually goes.”

    19. Bob
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      Slightly o/t, but I cannot help but notice that the BBC is giving excessive unchallenged prominence to the announcements of the Remain campaign, and at the same time playing down and challenging remarks coming from the Leave side.

      Also, this morning they ran a piece on Michael Gove’s sacking as Secretary of State for Education, saying that he was disliked and implying his decision to campaign against the PM was motivated by sour grapes.

      They then reported the “Fishing for Leave” flotilla and Bob Geldof’s counter protest, but conveniently omitted any reference to the fact that some Remainers disembarked in disgust at Geldof’s condecending behaviour & foul mouthed abuse directed at the fisherman.
      This is bias by omission.

      I was very disappointed at John Whittingdale’s failure to properley tackle the BBC problem, which means I will not be buying a TV Licence for the foreseeable future. I hope that you and your colleagues will now recognise the pernicious effect that this organisation has on our society.

      • Jerry
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 8:59 am | Permalink

        @Bob: “This is bias by omission.”

        But that is a problem on both sides of the debate, and with all of the media, it is not just a “BBC problem”, as you call it. Bias by omission affects all media outlets (print, broadcast and web), so that might be why John Whittingdale chose not to open such a Pandora’s box. Bias is just as damaging who ever delivers it – for example, and getting back on topic – how many Brexit supporting media (or otherwise) outlets are or will report apparent on the record comments by one Mr Gove this morning, no not that one, but his father Mr Ernest Gove, in relation to the real reasons he sold his fish processing business.

        • Edward2
          Posted June 16, 2016 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

          Guido Fawkes has further details on the way newspapers contacted and interveiwed Mr Gove snr with a determined effort to extract their desired headline.

          • hefner
            Posted June 16, 2016 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

            That’s assuming Guido Fawkes is clean of any ideological bias. Funny how one always sees the straw in the opponent’s eye and …

            • Edward2
              Posted June 17, 2016 at 7:34 am | Permalink

              Have a read anyway hefner.
              Make of it what you want.
              Presumably you consider yourself bias free.

            • Jerry
              Posted June 18, 2016 at 7:44 am | Permalink

              @Edward2; Thanks for, once again, proving my point!

      • Anonymous
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 10:05 am | Permalink

        It works in favour of Leave. Most people see through Bob Geldof and all young people see is a silly old man trying to act and dress young. He doesn’t realise he’s aged.

        Thanks Bob !

      • Chris
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        It is a running sore, the whole BBC question. I think that many perceive that the real reason Cameron via Whittingdale did not radically alter the BBC was because the BBC served his purpose. Disgraceful situation. It should be top of the list for any new Tory leadership/government.
        There is more in the Press today about EU funding applied for and obtained by the BBC and apparently not declared.

      • Qubus
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        Is it my imagination or do the BBC tend to put Brexiteers on the Today programme before 8.00am and Remainers after 8.00am?

    20. Bert Young
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      I agree that our decline in most areas of manufacturing cannot be laid at the EU door . There were many difficulties facing industry in the early 70’s mostly caused by Unions and poor labour productivity . At this time outside organisations – Japanese and German , arrived and introduced their own standards of control ; they were able to impose disciplines on a take it or leave it basis . When British motor manufacturing went to the wall , these new organisations benefited from the the import of British management who had previously been constrained . Things like “measured day rates” and “unit cost manufacturing” became a thing of the past .

      Organisations from the EU rubbed their hands in glee at their opportunity – ICI disappeared and German Paint and Chemical producers took over , British Leyland collapsed , Nissan came and installed their traditional approach to controls .

      Much of British industry had also suffered from the clutches of “family controls” and the consequences of in-fighting ( I could name many large groups in this category where organisations such as the one I Chaired were involved in invoking long overdue change ).
      Once the changes to ownership and Board composition were made , the turn-arounds were impressive . Cost of manufacturing became competitive , products were re-aligned and new markets were exploited .

      Inevitably sectors of the economy were damaged and much unemployment ensued . Recovery took a long time to occur before the high standards that exist today were in place . We can now face the world knowing that we can compete successfully and face all challenges . Standing alone is the best way for us to now go forward .

      • Anonymous
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 10:07 am | Permalink

        German workers weren’t suffering inflation to pay down war debt. Inflation is what caused the union strife in the ’70s.

    21. Chris
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      I see that Switzerland has just withdrawn its application to join the EU (it had been dormant for about 20 years). At least the timing of this is helpful, quite apart from anything else.

      • Bob
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 10:45 am | Permalink


        “Switzerland has just withdrawn its application to join the EU”

        There was no mention of this on the BBC R4 Today program this morning. They must have missed it in all the excitement regarding Michael Gove’s sacking in 2014.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 16, 2016 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

        Indeed Norway & Switzerland certainly do not want to join the EU, that surely says something they far prefer their current arrangements and Switzerland is even surrounded by it.

        We will clearly get a far better deal too.

    22. MikeP
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      Given we’ve been a net contributor to the EU coffers in all but one of our 43 years of membership, the greatest irony is that all the EU loans and grants that underpinned this manufacturing exodus were funded by OUR taxes.
      More worryingly is the short-termism of our business leaders, their natural inclination to sell off or re-locate our assets (electricity, steel, vehicle plants, railways, airports, banks, etc) to make a killing for themselves and their shareholders, regardless of the impact on the home workforce. A natural consequence of capitalism perhaps but surely there should be some Government intervention when it comes to strategically important industries like defence, transport, energy and metals?
      Isn’t it the case that Germany found ways around this, I gather Italy has too, so we should play the same hand?

    23. Denis Cooper
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      Off-topic, I’ve just been reading this blog article in the Guardian:

      which concludes:

      “There is, in other words, not the remotest chance that a leave vote will lead to a £30bn austerity budget. It is a scare tactic, the last roll of the dice from a desperate chancellor.”

      But suppose that the dire predictions of the Treasury’s rigged model somehow came true, and the Chancellor had to allow government borrowing to rise by another £30 billion so that he could maintain public expenditure at the planned levels, just how bad would that worst case scenario be?

      Well, according the chart here:

      government net borrowing in 2016 – 17 is forecast to be about £43 billion, and adding on the putative £30 billion would make that about £73 billion; looking back, borrowing in 2015 – 16 was about £70 billion and in 2014 – 15 it was about £88 billion.

      In other words, even if Osborne’s grossly exaggerated predictions were correct and there was a £30 billion “black hole” in the public finances then that would just set back his deficit reduction programme by about a year.

      If a £70 billion government net borrowing requirement did not drive Osborne to panic when it happened last year, why should it have that effect if it happened this year?

      And if necessary there would be the possibility of rounding the existing £375 billion of quantitative easing up to £400 billion, that would cover most of the £30 billion.

      • acorn
        Posted June 17, 2016 at 9:57 am | Permalink

        Rounding up QE wouldn’t affect the £30 billion. Central Bank QE does not increase the net fiscal assets in the economy. The Treasury would have to increase its creation (spending) of new money into the economy, which would increase the budget deficit and at the same time speed up the economy; OR, more likely under Osborne, stop it from slowing down faster.

        As the government has a voluntary “full funding rule” it would, all else being equal, issue Gilts to cover the £30 billion; that is increase the PSNB by the same amount. There is no operation requirement to do this, it could leave this spending as “reserves” at the central bank, until it all comes back to the Treasury as taxes.

        The government wants you to think that its finances are the same as a household. Households get into debt because they are currency USERS. The government never gets into debt in its own currency; it is the currency ISSUER it never runs out of its own FIAT money. There is no bill, in its own currency, it can’t pay; including the interest on the Gilts.

        Be thankful we are not in the disastrous Eurozone, where every member state is a currency USER, like households.

        PS. Good argument about Helicopter Drops over at .

        Mainstream economists and macro-media, believe that politicians can’t be trusted with money; everything has to be delegated to the Central Bank and monetary policy. They just don’t want to admit that monetary policy operated by a central bank, just does not work, as the last eight years have proved.

    24. Know-dice
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      Off topic 😳

      How come Mark Carney Governor of the Bank of England has a referendum vote?

      In a letter to Bernard Jenkin:

      “Mr Carney wrote back to Mr Jenkin, saying that he had not “made my views known” on the referendum.

      “Nor do I intend to share my private opinion other than via the anonymity of [the] ballot box when I join millions of others to cast my vote,” the letter says.”

      I though Carney was Irish (ROI?) – Canadian?

    25. a-tracy
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      My children applied for postal votes because they’re not at their university address on voting day, they haven’t got them yet!

    26. Chris S
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      I listened to Humphries pretending to interview Brown this morning on the subject of immigration. He failed to push hard on any point and allowed the so-called Big Beast to dictate the airwaves for more than seven minutes.

      Utter claptrap – Humphries allowed him to blame illegal immigration for all the problems.
      Nobody will be fooled by that. It will just bring even more Labour voters over to our side.

      All we need now is for CMD to hold that proposed joint press appearance with Brown, Blair and possibly Major. That will be Cameron’s Kinnock moment.

      Hopefully Major will have more sense than join the three of them.
      Maybe they would then invite Junckers to make up the numbers !

      Interestingly, polls in Scotland are moving our way but nowhere near enough to win there. But Sturgeon will no doubt take on board that there is a majority against another independence vote in the event of Brexit. Will she reign in expectations of her more rabid
      Supporters ?

      Pity that…….. If we could add the £15bn we would save on all that state aid for Scotland to the £10bn we send to the EU, £25bn would be a very useful sum !

      Actually it would probably be more than £25bn because, being a poorer region, I suspect Scotland is a net recipient from our contribution to the EU budget.

      Over to you, Denis, for that bit of research.

    27. Yossarion
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      I see the UK as no more than the Butty to the EUSSR Barge, no matter who we put at the Helm, whether they wish to steer hard to Port or Hard to Starboard it makes no difference because the Bargee pulls us in what ever heading the Euro Zone ( DM) wish to take.
      Next Thursday we finally have the long time coming Referendum that will allow us to Unfasten the Shackle and throw the line.

    28. Sakara Gold
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      To answer your points, firstly industrial decline from the 80’s onward was caused in the main by deliberate government policy to break trade unions coupled with a lack of investment in new manufacturing technology. Nobody was going to make big investment decisions in new industrial capacity whilst Thatcher and Major were fighting it out with the TUC.

      N Sea oil gave us the cheap energy, the problem was high taxation necessary to replace profits from sold-off state run infrastructure industries that was being used to pay highly skilled workers to sit at home watching TV. Except in Wales, where you did manage to bring a lot of low-paid manufacturing jobs to the Principality when you were Secretary of State.

      Secondly, we priced ourselves out of the market for manufactured goods with the EU because they invested in highly productive manufacturing capacity making good quality products at a lower price than we could. Primarily because high inflation meant high wages for our workers, who wanted to put a loaf of bread on the table for their families, or be able to send their kids to school wearing a pair of shoes. Remember 24% inflation? I do.

      Lastly, we sold our fishing rights to the foreigners willingly for hard cash, mostly the fishermen took the money and retrained as builders, which was seen as a growth industry. Steel has always been an industry where new capacity overseas produces cheaper products. And our hugely polluting old metal refineries were fueled by equally polluting British coal.

      I find your Brexit arguments persuasive on the surface, but as I’ve said before you can’t blame the EU on all our industrial problems when so much was damage was caused by government policy in the 80’s & 90’s. You make much of the roughly £8b net saving if we leave, but compare that the the £45b servicing cost of the national debt!

      And if we did leave, we would still have to play the game by their rules as do the Norwegians. Better to stay in and fight our corner than pull out and suffer the serious short term economic consequences, with the promise of an indeterminate amount of jam on our bread tomorrow.

      What we need is a PM who can stand up to Merkel and win meaningfull concessions. More free energy from greater investment in windfarms and solar power installations would also help. Solar power is now the cheapest form of energy in the UK (and in the southern US) but we need more investment in the National Grid to store and transmit it. Sounds familiar?

      Reply My period of study includes 18 Labour years where the results were even worse.

      • ChrisS
        Posted June 17, 2016 at 3:29 am | Permalink

        What we need is a PM who can stand up to Merkel and win meaningfull concessions.

        Wishful thinking, I am afraid.

        If CMD’s “renegotiation” taught us anything, it’s that the elite in Brussels and a large majority of National leaders of Eurozone States are not yet ready for a rethink of what can realistically can be done at an EU level with the support of the electorate. To use a well-worn phrase, they haven’t yet smelt the coffee.

        I suspect Cameron was shocked when he conducted his first round of renegotiation talks during which he must surely have based his list of objectives on Blumberg.
        He would have been shocked at just how intransigent his colleagues were going to be.

        They clearly dismissed any possibility of us voting for Brexit although there were obvious signs that should not have made them so confident. I suspect a degree of arrogance was a big contributory factor : it would have been unthinkable to them that a large European State would ever contemplate leaving their wonderful construct.

        Well, we are where we are.

        Subject to the aftermath of yesterday’s tragic event not unduly influencing voting intentions, it does look like we are heading for the door.

        Will Hollande really try to re-run the evil vindictiveness France showed towards Germany at the Treaty of Versailles ? Yes, I think he probably will. It’s embedded in the French character and his in particular. But he is so evidently a lame duck : if he chooses to run again in 2017, French polling gives him only a derisory 15% of the vote.

        Merkel will be far more interested in preserving trade with her biggest market for the hugely influential German car industry. She will probably be pragmatic and agree a smooth transition and negotiate a good deal for both Germany and the UK.

        As we all know, in the 21st century EU, what Merkel wants, Merkel gets.

      • stred
        Posted June 17, 2016 at 11:19 am | Permalink

        S.G. We need more windfarms and solar + Eural to stand up to Mutti?

        This in the week that the German energy minister has said he will refuse to close coal as ordered and keep using lignite until 2045.While their offshore wind is proving unreliable and onshore wind and solar have to be keep going by importing French nuclear, having closed their own. Please also note that solar has higher CO2 emissions than nuclear according to the wiki table. While despite all their green efforts Germany is less efficient than most EU countries in terms of CO2 produced per GDP. Switzerland- 9293, France- 5928, UK- 4284, NL- 4023, Germany- 3621 and EU average- 3712.

      • stred
        Posted June 17, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink
    29. ian
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      Yes I remember a debate between john smith and tony benn just before the ref in 1975, when the UK had already been in EEC and benn was saying that industry already loss 10% in less than 2 years and smith was saying it was a bump in the road and will pick up after the vote but it never did because the EEC put import duties on your market outside of EEC area and jobs were lost and unions took their men out on strike and that was only half the story.

      The other half was the money exchange, 144 pence to the pounds to 100 pence to the pounds which put up inflation which lead to more people going on strike because they could afford buy as much with their wages.
      Another part of story was the retooling of German and French factories which you paid towards but could not afford to retool your own, so imports started pour in form France and Germany because of free trade with the EEC.
      They new what was going to happen and the banks politician and media keep it from the public, Mr Churchill said in the fifty it was going to be a political union because it was fought up before world two ended by the USA and cool war started and the arms race and now we see the same thing happen again with the EU building another wall around Russia for the USA and talk of war again.
      If you want to follow your political parties down the same road again that is your business.
      When labour party came along the political structure was put in place as you know it to day that is parties with whips to make sure they do they are told when voting in parliament and policies and made behind close door out of view of the public, where as before each politician voted as they liked as independents and that is why this country done so well before the structure of parties came in.

    30. NickW
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      We should be aware that there are large numbers of influential people and organisations who would consider it very much in their interests to cause as much financial instability and adverse stock/currency movements as possible in the run up to our referendum. The hope is to cause a market meltdown and panic which will put people off voting Leave.

      (names left out ed)

      We need a Governor of the Bank of England and a Chancellor who promote stability instead of undermining it.

    31. ian
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      If you had kept independent MPs in parliament most of what has happen to you for last 100 years would never took place and you would still been a independent country trading with the world and had much bigger industrial base and 60 mile limit at sea for fishing and a commonwealth to trade with and china in your back pocket by now.
      Happy voting.

    32. ian
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      I read a lot on this site about getting rid of politician in the con party like replacing most the remain politician in the cabinet, they are just people who are picked by the party behind closed doors to make speeches to the public and get the public to vote for the party, the agenda is all ready set by people behind the closed doors in each party, so changing the people up front will make no difference to what is going to happen.

      When no if no buts goes with wet & mad to take up their million pounds jobs they will most likely be picked to also sit behind the closed doors to make con party policys and pick out new politician to put into areas as the old ones step down or get deselected so people who control the party get what they want.

      That’s how party politic work, they are not allowed to think for themselves they have to follow the party line, they keep john and politician like him because they win seats for the party, so they put up with them.

    33. Chris S
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      I am sure all of us are totally shocked by the killing of Jo Cox, a wife and mother of two who also happened to be a Labour MP. All she was doing was innocently going about her constituency business.

      Not sure how this will effect the conduct of the referendum over the last week, but I can’t imagine any decent person will have any appetite for campaigning after what is, first and foremost, a very personal family tragedy.

    34. ian
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      Brexit campaign suspended, poor labour woman shot dead by mentally ill person.
      Will not do the campaign for out any good but politician will now take more notice of services that mentally people need instead of giving it lip service and doing nothing.

    35. ian
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      Shot in arm for markets and remain as campaign is suspended

    36. zorro
      Posted June 16, 2016 at 6:28 pm | Permalink


      We have all made a big mistake – apparently…. ‘for every £1 that the UK invests in the UK, we get almost £10 back in low prices, jobs, trade, growth and investment…’ according to the ‘Better In than Out’ campaign….. Funnily enough, I am struggling to find any data to support this argument. Are you aware perhaps of this wonderful data which means according to their logic that the UK must benefit to the equivalent of approx £200 billion pounds per year in ‘low prices, jobs, trade, growth and investment’…. Really 😉 …. Will there be any interest in this from the UK Statistics Authority?


      Posted June 16, 2016 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      Off Topic:
      I have written many times on here, though my Comments were generally not published because perhaps of my matter-of-factness and detail of the security threat I perceived


      1/ The UK has been on “Severe” Security Alert for months. The highest possible security alert

      2/The UK is days from the greatest vote on its security and well-being this century.

      3/ A UK MP during this time was slain at a regular advertised venue.: her surgery

      4/ The crime took place in broad daylight with plenty of cover for security forces

      5/ And MPs are shocked/surprised an attack took place.

      Posted June 16, 2016 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      JR, I do hope that you ….at least from the 600 MPs riding into the valley of death, canon to the left of them, kalashnikov range one mile plus to the right of them, and completely unarmed, watch your back even by covert security, which is best.
      West Yorkshire is not the idyllic close-knit communities as painted on TV. They never were. But they’re certainly not now. It is no coincidence the London Islamic bombers predominantly came from here, Leeds/Dewsbury/Bradford/ Huddersfield etc. Nor that a madman will get it into his head to assert his own diminished importance as an individual whatever the peripheral politics. Yorkshiremen are too proud to be lessened by clever political talk
      MP after MP has come on TV tonight bleating about openness and democracy and how you need to not close away the public. The public is NOT close-knit…now there’s a euphemism.
      Even landlords here have minders. Big, brawny, not nice, like in the TV series Minder I’ve met them, much to my displeasure. They exist.

    • About John Redwood

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

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