What is the single market?

Many of the people who tell me we must stay in the single market are usually unable to define it. Before deciding what our relationship with it should be, it is first important to understand it.

I was given several difficult jobs in government that I would not have asked for but was prepared to do. The worst job turned out to be Single Market Minister. I am sure the offer was meant nicely. I was asked to negotiate for the UK the remaining legislative items that made up the 1992 single market programme. It entailed passing 282 new laws. Some of them had little to do with trade. It always included  a “citizen dimension” of individual rights, and a “governance dimension” of legal controls.  This large legislative programme  was called “completing the single market”. After we did all that many more things were added in, and to this day in some descriptions they are still trying to “complete the single market”.

I approached the task only mildly sceptical about what I was being asked to do. I had  no problem with the alleged aim of the  policy, the expansion of trade and business between member states. I began by asking myself why it would need so many pieces of legislation to do that. The simplest way to achieve a freer market after all is to simply allow goods and services free access on the basis that if they are approved for sale in country A why not let them also be offered for sale in country B. Customers and a free press can make up their minds on whether they are wanted. The authorities just have to say they are legal.

I soon discovered that the so called free market programme was a huge legislative programme enabling the EU to greatly expand its power and reach with every Directive or Regulation that it passed.  It was about the doctrine of the acquis or the occupied field. Once we had passed a Directive on say environmental or safety issues for certain products all those issues fell to the jurisdiction of the European Court and under the policy and law making wing of the EU. I was soon in damage limitation mode, dashing round Europe or hitting the phones to organise blocking minorities to stop the most worrying features of proposed regulations and laws. Most of the  business lobbying I received was to take things out of draft laws or to soften them, not to have more of them. Sometimes I found enough support to prevent measures going through. Other times owing to qualified majority voting the UK  had to accept an unsatisfactory compromise to avoid something worse.

Today many of our former EU partners have a different view of the single market to us. There is no separate body of law called Single market law distinct from the whole body of EU law. The “Single European Act” has long since been subsumed into the enlarged general Treaty of European Union. Many members see the single currency, freedom of movement, environmental policy, health and safety policy and the rest as central to the single market. They do not see it as just a limited regulation of product and service standards and specifications in the way some UK businesses do.

Many big businesses lobby against new Directives or regulations when they are first mooted, or argue to amend their early drafts. They then come to accept the approved body of such measures, as they make themselves able to conform and see that they make market entry more difficult for smaller rivals. I was interested to read this week that more in the City now accept that leaving the EU means leaving the single market as widely defined by the EU itself. That does not prevent us trading with the EU market, as many independent countries around the world do very successfully.


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  1. Lifelogic
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    Exactly it is an EU power grab, a pointless job creation machine and a way to protect larger and often inefficient businesses (with extensive lobbyist and paid political “consultants”) from smaller competitors from entering the market. It is anti-competitive and essentially a conspiracy against the paying customers and tax payers. Sometimes even a way is found to divert taxpayer money directly into the hands of certain “well connected” companies and individuals.

    There is often rather clear “influence” brought to bear, bordering abuse & corruption to benefit vested interests.

    Governments (and the EU especially) are the main obstacles to free trade, very rarely indeed are they ever enablers of it.

    • rose
      Posted August 21, 2016 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      Daniel Hannan tells the story of how diesel fumes came to be inflicted on the whole EU population through lobbying by certain diesel engine manufacturers. It was smuggled into general use under the guise of reducing CO2 emissions – even though they knew it was highly poisonous..

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 21, 2016 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

        Indeed totally misguided with many, many deaths resulting.

        • Hope
          Posted August 21, 2016 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

          Angle market is not worth free movement of people or the core Eau principles. When is May going to act to reduce immigration? The public services cannot cope nor wait while she dithers and tries to keep the UK as entwined as she can to the EU.

        • JamesG
          Posted August 22, 2016 at 9:19 am | Permalink

          The actual scientific papers speculate only up to a 3 months early deaths (eg Halloween rather than xmas) and this is based on a highly suspect definition of life expectancy with error bars that are much larger than 3 months.

          One can imagine that soot is a problem and NOx less so but it is still a far cry from ‘highly poisonous’ or ‘many, many deaths’. The modern world depends on Diesels so don’t fall for unscientific green growth-killing hype or the media making a mountain out of a molehill because ‘if it bleeds it leads’.

          I might add that it is again the EU is pushing us towards pollution standards that only the UK takes seriously.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    Simon Heffer is surely right today. Just why is Theresa May merely nodding through Cameron’s appalling “remainers” honours list. Rewarding, as it clearly does, (word left out ed) dishonesty, lack of principle and general failure?


    Reply There were people on the list who do not meet your descriptions.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 21, 2016 at 6:36 am | Permalink

      How many?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 21, 2016 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      The few good eggs would perhaps be best advised to refuse the honours, so as not to be tainted by the rest.

    • rose
      Posted August 21, 2016 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      Yes, Oliver Letwin deserved some recognition after all he has done.

      • Hope
        Posted August 21, 2016 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

        What like his poll tax that ruined the last serving Tory administration? Or do you mean disposing of govt material in a public bin?

        • rose
          Posted August 21, 2016 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

          It wasn’t his poll tax and it didn’t ruin the then Tory administration. What brought down that executive was the EU – as it has a habit of doing.

          The poll tax had to be brought in in Scotland because the revaluation there (of the rateable value of properties) had lost the Conservatives many of their seats. Scottish Conservatives came down to London desperate for something to be done. When it was introduced in England and Wales – where Michael Hesletine as Environment Secretary had held off the revaluation by telling people to tear up their forms – it was at first going to be introduced gradually, not all at once as in the emergency situation in Scotland. Then the Conservative Conference demanded it come in straight away. The rest is history, but much rewritten.

          The real fault was with Nigel Lawson who refused to underwrite it from the Treasury. If it had come in at the same level as the BBC licence fee, it would not have been possible for the BBC to lead the charge against it.

          On the question of Mr Letwin’s worth, I will only say for now that it is fashionable at the moment to give Etonians and Oxford intellectuals a thoroughly bad press, taking words out of context and concealing their considerable abilities and achievements. I think the reason is envy, which one should never under-estimate the power of.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted August 21, 2016 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      BTW, something Brexiteers tend to ignore is how the right-wing / Conservative parties in the EU all seem to strongly disagree with Brexiteer Conservatives here in the UK about the EU. The right-wing Norwegian PM said that the UK will hate being outside the EU.
      Am I missing something? Should I really be looking more to right-wing American Republicanism than European right-wing Conservatism?

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted August 21, 2016 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        ‘Am I missing something? Should I really be looking more to right-wing American Republicanism than European right-wing Conservatism?’ Or is it just that right-wing / Conservative Europeans have it all wrong about the EU, and British Conservative Brexiteer have it all right?

        • forthurst
          Posted August 21, 2016 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

          “Am I missing something?” Yes. The main European conservative parties as well as socialist parties including those of the UK are there to offer members of different social classes the opportunity to engage in identity politics without having substantive differences between them on policy.

          • Mitchel
            Posted August 22, 2016 at 9:30 am | Permalink

            Rather like the “Blues” and “Greens” chariot racing teams and their supporters in 7th century Constantinople through which local politics were expressed whilst the Byzantine Emperor and his bureaucracy blithely ran the empire in their way and for their own benefit.

            Until one day,burdened by taxes,the blues and greens had had enough,joined forces and turned on the Emperor.

      • libertarian
        Posted August 22, 2016 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        Ed Mahoney

        “BTW, something Brexiteers tend to ignore is how the right-wing / Conservative parties in the EU all seem to strongly disagree with Brexiteer Conservatives here in the UK about the EU”

        Do you have any evidence for this. oh and BTW the The Conservative Party in the UK has always been pro EU too. Its the ordinary man and women in the street who is anti EU. Which explains the pro EU stance of the Norwegian PM , you know a country that isn’t in the EU because the Norwegian people vote against it. Oh and do you have any thoughts on 80% of Dutch people in a recent poll wanting to leave or 60% of French or 58% of Italians?

        If you are after some genuine advice , I suggest you drop the old right/left schtick from 20th century and try to understand 21st century. Its now statist v individual freedom… Its nanny state knows best v localism , its planned markets v free markets . Happy to help

  3. Javelin
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    It would be interesting for you to compare EU “free trade” controls with other (e.g NAFTA) “free trade” controls to see the differences.

    • Anthony Makara
      Posted August 21, 2016 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      An issue more important than free trade is currency manipulation. Free trade is a great thing if the market works both ways but when the West has to fight aganst wage and currency differentials with the BRIC economies it’s never going to be on an even keel. It would be good to see Hard Currency economies working together and shutting out trade with currency manipulators like China through an alternate Hard Currency Free Trade Bloc. We can do it but it needs to be a collective effort led by the United States. Something Mitt Romney once proposed and something that looks even more likely if Trump becomes president. Still, Conservative Home will still be backing ………. Hillary.

  4. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    Of course a Single Market requires a single jurisdiction and of course the EU is much more than some trade cooperation. That was clear as from 1957. That said, as the new ministries appear unable to find enough qualified Brexit negotiators (even offering 5x the daily rate paid to other legal consultants) it is time for the likes of Mr Redwood, Farage, Cash and a few more politicians with long term EU involvement to offer their services. On the continent we don’t want to wait until the end of 2017 for this article 50 procedure.

    Reply We are offering our services! I have been sending the government the many and various papers and articles I have written on how to get out, as I am sure are other leading Brexiteer MPs. We want to get on with it and do it in a way which is good news for us and the rest of the EU, as they proceed to political union and more integration.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 21, 2016 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      Then you should urge your Prime Minister to publicly clarify that he regards the two year period mentioned in Article 50 as just a target rather than as a strict deadline, and he would strongly press for an extension if that was necessary to conclude satisfactory agreements on our withdrawal.

      That would help to remove the spurious

      “Once we have triggered Article 50 we will only have two years to negotiate the alternative arrangements and other countries like the Netherlands could be stupid and spiteful and refuse to extend that period and then we would have to leave on just WTO terms of trade and that would be very bad for our economy while of course it would not affect their economies in the slightest so they would have the whip hand in the negotiations as that deadline approached”

      argument which is being touted as an excuse to put off service of the Article 50 notice that we intend to leave the EU.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 21, 2016 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        Denis, why panic? There are procedures to extend the 2 year period. The Dutch are only 17 out of 500 million, the Netherlands only 1 out of 27 countries, and public declarations are not the most effective means towards a result. I believe the 2 year period (with possible extension based on consensus between the 27) is mainly for the “divorce” and the alternative arrangements will largely be formed after that period. The blog-host has no fear for a WTO arrangement, and I’d agree that there will always be trade. I don’t agree that passporting should remain for the City of London, but that may not involve so many jobs and the City will continue to be a mighty financial centre. Most banks will in future have a small staff on the continent as well, I don’t see a problem there.

        • Hope
          Posted August 21, 2016 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

          No panic, we do not trust remaining politicians. All their scare stories are falling apart and if there was a proper right to recall should be ousted for their deliberate dishonesty.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 22, 2016 at 7:17 am | Permalink

          I realise that the views of the Dutch Prime Minister carry much less weight than those of the German Chancellor, as we have seen in the past when he has made public statements but then retreated from them to avoid her displeasure. However in this case I don’t think she would be upset if he urged a clarification that the other EU member states would not bring the negotiations to an abrupt close on the day that the two year period expired, they would have more sense than to do that as some in the UK have been suggesting in order to delay the service of the Article 50 notice in the hope that in the end it will never go in and we will remain in the EU. For example:


          “The most pressing question, in terms of the Brexit timetable, is when the UK will trigger article 50 of the Lisbon treaty, which will set the clock ticking on two years of formal negotiations on the UK-EU divorce. That period can, theoretically, be extended beyond two years, but only with the unlikely unanimous agreement of all the 27 other member states.”

          I don’t agree that the most important part of the negotiations, those on the basic trading arrangements to apply after the UK has left the EU, will only be started once we have already left. Once again, that would be a stupid way to go about it, and once again I think that idea has been pushed by certain people with their own agendas.

    • Mark B
      Posted August 21, 2016 at 8:17 am | Permalink


      On the continent we don’t want to wait until the end of 2017 for this article 50 procedure.

      Unfortunately so people here in the UK are having a hard time coming to terms with the result. Boo-hoo !

      The problem with Art.50, Peter is that it has a guillotine clause in it. So best not to rush these things.

      I know people like Guy Verhofstadt want to get on and create the EU Superstate and that BREXIT has put a little spanner in their works. Sorry about that 🙂 But I am afraid we are in no rush. Apparently the previous administration failed to plan for such an eventuality and, as they say; “When you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. ” Which really summed them and their time in office up in a nut shell.

      Nice to see you back. How’s the continent taking the good news ?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 21, 2016 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

        As I understood at the time of the EU Constitution that “guillotine clause” in what is now Article 50 TEU was intended to guarantee that a member state which wished to leave could not be kept in against its will for more than two years, it was not intended to put an arbitrary limit on the time available for negotiations while all parties were willing for them to continue.

        • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
          Posted August 21, 2016 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

          @Denis: what I read and understand is that the 2 year period can be extended, based on consensus of all (27+1) countries involved. (No QMV)

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted August 22, 2016 at 7:30 am | Permalink

            That is the case, and according to two expert witnesses before the Treasury Select Committee recently that is what would almost certainly happen. If the negotiations were dragging on for many years without making any significant progress towards an agreement then that would be a different matter, then some or all of the parties might decide that they were a waste of time and urge that they be suspended or abandoned. But I don’t expect that will happen, I expect that there will be basic agreements to permit trade to continue without any new impediment and for some other essential purposes, and then later on other less important matters will be sorted out gradually over the years. As far as the EU was concerned, the first crucially important stages to make a safe and orderly withdrawal possible would be held under Article 50 TEU on the voluntary withdrawal of a member state, while the subsequent negotiations once the UK had left the EU and become a third country could be under Article 8 TEU on the EU’s neighbourhood policy.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 21, 2016 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

        @Mark B: 2 years is quite a long time I think. There is a lot of common interest between powerful continental and British parties, which will dictate the outcome of the initial separation.
        With such a divided country (52-48) as Britain, I gather we would have been worse of if the result had been the reverse (48-52). An amicable clean and speedy break is now the best.

        • Know-dice
          Posted August 22, 2016 at 7:01 am | Permalink

          “An amicable clean and speedy break is now the best.”

          Agreed 🙂

          Co-operate with Europe not be ruled by the EU 👿

    • APL
      Posted August 21, 2016 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      Peter Van Lueewen: “On the continent we don’t want to wait until the end of 2017 for this article 50 procedure.”


      As Richard North has pointed out, we need too, to know who we will be negotiating with. On the face of it, it will be the EU commission. But do you think Germany and France won’t want their say? That said its increasingly likely we will have a new Chancellor in Germany and probably a change of government in France to boot.

      So what you guys in Holland want, isn’t really pertinent to the issue.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 21, 2016 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

        If it is the EU Commission it will be the EU Commission under constant and close supervision by the political leaders of the other EU countries.

        As I have said before some people have agendas and any one of them may try to mould the facts to suit their particular agenda.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 21, 2016 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

        Dutch elections and a new government will precede German and French elections, but typical tabloid minds seem to believe that the EU consists only of two countries that matter. A continental government change wouldn’t imply a great swing in policy as it would in Britain.

        • APL
          Posted August 21, 2016 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

          PvL: “but typical tabloid minds seem to believe that the EU consists only of two countries that matter.”

          So it’s a mystery, then. Why every European, I’ve discussed the matter with has characterized the British role in the EU as a ‘counterweight to Germany”, and on that basis are unhappy that the UK intends to leave the EU.

          PvL: “A continental government change wouldn’t imply a great swing in policy as it would in Britain.”

          The political fallout from the BREXIT vote isn’t over yet. It may soon become significant where a British citizen puts his or her vote, like it hasn’t been for about thirty years.

          You guys are welcome to the charade that democracy is on the continent. We in the UK now have a real chance of the real thing.

        • Anonymous
          Posted August 22, 2016 at 7:43 am | Permalink

          The tabloid mind well understands that the EU comprises many diverse nations of wildly different needs and expectations. And that the one-size-fits-all currency is a stupid STUPID idea. Too clever by half, these broad sheet readers.

          The tabloid mind experiences the full brunt of EU integration and knows when it is being shafted.

          So the tabloid mind uses fair and peaceful means and votes to Leave the EU by means of intelligently applied pressure on the ruling elites and through the ballot box in the ensuing referendum.

          I suppose PvL would advocate the removal of franchise from readers of certain journals. His condescending comment seems to indicate so.

      • Richard1
        Posted August 21, 2016 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

        It would be better if those working and arguing for Brexit did so in a way which recognises the critical importance to the UK of continued friendly and co-operative relations with EU countries, in particular those such as the Netherlands which are generally and historically allied diplomatically (and commercially and militarily) to the UK.

        • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
          Posted August 22, 2016 at 9:33 am | Permalink

          @Richard1: Apparently the Dutch and UK prime-ministers had a phone or skype just before Mrs May went on holiday, from which Mark Rutte reported in very friendly terms: the many ties in many fields (economic, cultural) will remain, we’ll try keep things as they were. Understandable, because there is so much trade between the two countries and if Britain wants to lose its influence in Brussels, that trade should still go on.
          Now that I read this morning that the UK should become the new South Korea, that would be a nice ambition. I wouldn’t mind having a rich, and technology rich neighbour across the North Sea as that will only increase our trade. And the UK no longer a spanner in the works as far as European cooperation is concerned can only be an extra benefit.

          • Richard1
            Posted August 22, 2016 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

            Yes I think it could work out fine. A few tempers and emotions need to cool and then a rational and a mutually beneficial arrangement can be struck.

    • libertarian
      Posted August 21, 2016 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Peter Van Leeuwen

      ” Of course a Single Market requires a single jurisdiction” No it doesn’t you are totally wrong . It just requires unrestricted access

      • sm
        Posted August 21, 2016 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        “The fusion of economic functions would compel nations to fuse their sovereignty into that of a single European state”…Jean Monnet, a founding father of the EU.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 21, 2016 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

        @libertarian: That might be true for a libertarian “rule of the jungle” market but not for a civilised Single Market with rules for competition, worker rights, human rights etc.

        • Edward2
          Posted August 21, 2016 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

          Is there a “rule of the jungle” in the 160 or so nations that sit outside the EU construct of the single market?
          I find many have better standards of living and worker rights for their citizens.
          The failure of the Eurozone to provide jobs and growth is very sad.
          The UK did not need the EU to give workers rights
          We started it many decades ago
          The EU took things that were already standard in the UK and rolled them out in Europe.

          • APL
            Posted August 21, 2016 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

            Edward2: “Is there a “rule of the jungle” in the 160 or so nations that sit outside the EU construct of the single market?”

            Well, Yes!

            It’s the biggest beast gets what it wants. That means the EU gets to destroy the livelihoods of subsistence fishermen in Africa, by buying licenses to fish territorial waters from despotic African rulers.

            Contributing in no small part to the mass migration out of Africa, we are currently seeing.

        • libertarian
          Posted August 22, 2016 at 3:28 pm | Permalink


          Sorry my friend you are deluded .

          1. The EU doesn’t have a single market

          2. UK worker rights are far in advance of EU worker rights

          3. The EU doesn’t conform to global competition rules so why should it make up its own? Africa anyone?

          4. I think you’ll find its the EU that has 50% youth unemployment

          5. I think I’d rather take my chances with UK law and human rights and habeas corpus

          Oh and just so you know Socialists such as yourself making up labels like rule of the jungle and dog eat dog and all that other nonsense shows exactly why you dont understand a) What a free market is b) why it works and c) why free markets are responsible for the huge rise in living standards, health, wealth and happiness for the entire population of the planet. Planned economies went out with the collapse of the Soviet Union

          • Edward2
            Posted August 22, 2016 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

            Indeed Libatarian you are totally correct.
            Sadly the EU is an organisation which is gradually reducing the standards of living of it’s people.
            They try to plan but modern business is years ahead.

    • Nigel
      Posted August 21, 2016 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      JR: But have you had any indication that they are prepared to listen to you?

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 21, 2016 at 9:27 am | Permalink


      Continuing from Dr Redwood’s reply to you:

      We are not leaving the EU. There are mountains to climb in Britain’s legal, political and civil service establishments – not to mention the BBC which has been overtly anti Brexit in nearly every news bulletin. It saps the will eventually.

      To coin a famous song used by others many times because it is so apt to this situation – the EU is a hotel that “You can check out any time you like but you can never leave.”

      You said of the nature of the Single Market “That was clear as from 1957” and I agree with you.

      OUR politicians lied to us and in 1973 I believe that the British people would have voted Out of the EU had they been told the truth. EU politicians cannot be blamed. They are what they are and have never hidden it.

      I liked Dr Redwoods “Our former EU partners…” (in this article) We are still in the EU and I expect we are still taking EU Directives, regulations and freedom of movement at this moment. If so – and if we are really leaving the EU – then why ???

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 21, 2016 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

        Merkel has said that we are leaving the EU and should get on with it.

        • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
          Posted August 21, 2016 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

          @Denis: Yes, and Merkel agrees with most other EU-leaders on this as far as I can make out, but with the infamous EU-fudge, there are always creative solutions possible.

          Imagine a United Kingdom (Scotland included), but with slightly different facilities (closer relationship) for Scotland, N. Ireland, and maybe London. You might think this outrageous, but I wouldn’t bet on it being impossible.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted August 22, 2016 at 7:37 am | Permalink

            I don’t think it’s necessarily outrageous – not leaving the EU after a referendum vote to leave would be outrageous – but I doubt that it would be feasible to have very different external treaty arrangements for different parts of the UK. There may be scope for different internal arrangements to modulate the effects of Brexit on different parts of the UK.

        • Anonymous
          Posted August 21, 2016 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

          Denis – As ever the problems have not been caused by the EU establishment but by our own.

          Perhaps one day soon it will dawn on the British people that the laws, the mass migration of poor uneducated people, the enthusiastic enforcement of edicts, Directives and regulations… the difficulty in removing overstayers and foreign criminals (and the importation of more of them) has been to the liking of those in our own elite and not the EU’s.

          I have no problem with the people rejecting the EU but they are mistaken if they think it will cure our ills.

          A second referendum must not be held and must be resisted as far as possible. To show what the elite is up to.

          So Merkel wants us out ? Other EU leaders want us out ?

          What’s stopping us then !

          • Know-dice
            Posted August 22, 2016 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

            “I have no problem with the people rejecting the EU but they are mistaken if they think it will cure our ills.

            Too true, one step at a time though.

            First the EU the “the cloak of invisibility”, our civil servants/bureaucrats/MPs will have nowhere to hide no one else to blame for their failures.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted August 21, 2016 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

        Sorry, but I think you WILL be leaving the EU. Even a very special status for the UK as the kite flown by this German minister still means outside the EU.
        I would actually like that too.

        • Anonymous
          Posted August 21, 2016 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

          PvL (1.46)

          I would like that as well.

          The EU is diseased. The Fit Man of Europe should leave.

          Btw. For years you’ve visited here purporting to be a genial fellow. In recent postings your mask has slipped – a disguise that I saw through ages ago.

    • Lindsay McDougaal
      Posted August 22, 2016 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      Peter, what is it about not wanting political union with European nations and not having any laws and courts superior to our own that you don’t understand? Neither Mr Redwood nor myself wants to bother with Article 50. I want to repeal our Act of Accession to the Lisbon Treaty PDQ to remove the tyranny of the two year wait. Mr Redwood is even more radical. He wants to repal the original Act of Accession, although it is not clear where that would leave us with regard to subequent treaties.

      Mr Redwood’s experience with building the single market demonstrates what I have long said, that free trade in Europe reached its zenith following the passage of the Single European Act on 1st January 1987. Nothing that has happened since has benefitted the UK. The single market as it is simply isn’t wanted.

      We in the UK do owe the continental nations an apology. It ought to have been clear that we joined an organisation with deep political ambitions on 1st January 1973. Enoch Powell forced over 100 divisions against his own Conservative government during the passage of the accession bill throughout 1972. In spite of this and Enoch’s message to vote Labour in February 1974, the British people voted to remain in the EU in the 1975 referendum, by a majority of 2:1. I still find it difficult to believe that so many people could have been so naive.

      Reply I agree. As a young man it was one of my first votes. I read the treaty of Rome which was clearly a centralising Treaty and voted to leave.

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 23, 2016 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      Your question Peter got me wondering why we had so few British negotiators in the European team, surely a Country our size and with our inputs should have had more say in trade negotiations?

      It takes 3-4 years to train university graduates up to Master’s levels, we should choose the brightest and the best boys and girls that are graduating now and offer previous graduates to sit new entry examinations to gain access to post graduate courses in trade negotiations, led by the best of the current crop of negotiators and just train them well with cross over skills that can then be used by our international trade organisations to promote the UK to the World and win more business for our future prosperity to rely on.

  5. Richard1
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    It seems to be the City where this is really sensitive. Will UK financial services firms be free to give advice, arrange capital markets transactions, trade securities with, issue loans to and accept deposits from EU customers and counter-parties? There is a lot of uncertainty and confusion. It should be remembered that the EU doesn’t just do the UK a favour by allowing financial services to continue as now – free access to the London capital markets and expertise is essential for EU companies, investors etc.

    Reply I expect there will be continuing close trade and flows, and as you say they need passports to London.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 21, 2016 at 7:08 am | Permalink

      I’m still waiting for somebody knowledgeable to explain why US hedge funds can get passports but a firm in the City could not get a passport unless the UK was in the EU or at least stayed in the Single Market.


      “US hedge funds get EU passport


      19. JUL, 18:41

      The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) in Paris Tuesday said US hedge funds can get a “passport” to operate across the EU because there is no risk of “market disruption”. The ESMA verdict bodes well for the City of London, which is likely to undergo the same vetting process after the UK leaves, Leonard Ng, a partner at law firm Sidley Austin in London, told the Reuters news agency.”

      • acorn
        Posted August 21, 2016 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        Denis, this just means that such hedge funds, like any other financial institution, just has to register once with the EU, rather than registering with all 28 EU States individually. The UK already has this status inside the EU. It would be difficult for the EU, to come up with a reason not to extend the same privilege to a Brexit UK.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 22, 2016 at 7:39 am | Permalink

          So what are the concerns, which if left unaddressed will be disastrous for the City and therefore for the UK as a whole?

    • Mark B
      Posted August 21, 2016 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      The Single Market in Services is incomplete. This is because we are very strong in this sector and the French and the German’s so not want to be out done by the UK. Remember, this EU thing is primarily about them.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 21, 2016 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Somebody elsewhere has also pointed out this from March:


      “European Commission adopts equivalence decision for CCPs in USA”

      “The European Commission has determined that the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has the equivalent requirements as the EU in regulating central counterparties (‘CCPs’)”

      “Commissioner Jonathan Hill, responsible for financial stability, financial services and capital markets union said: “This is an important step forward for global regulatory convergence and implementing our agreement with the CFTC. It means that US CCPs, once recognised by ESMA, can continue to provide services to EU companies. We look forward to the CFTC’s forthcoming decision on substituted compliance which will allow European CCPs to do business in the United States more easily”.”

      “This assessment is undertaken in cooperation with the regulators in the country concerned. If a determination of equivalence is made, it is given effect through a legally binding implementing act in accordance with Article 25(6) of the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) (Regulation (EU) No 648/2012). These decisions follow previous determinations of equivalence made in October 2014 for: Australia, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, Canada, Switzerland, South Africa, Mexico and the Republic of Korea.”

      I don’t pretend to understand the details of this or how it might apply to other financial services, I just note that such agreements between the EU and third countries are possible and there is no obvious reason why they should not be possible when the UK becomes another third country.

      • Newmania
        Posted August 21, 2016 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        You don`t need to be an expert to grab the basics. If you wish to sell Insurance , let us say , in the EU you must be capitalized asnd compliant within the EU. The same , as is sometimes forgoitten is true if you wish to buy Insurance , banking and so on , from the EU .
        Outside the single market EU Insueres , eg could not sell inot the UK and visda versa. You could only get around this by setting up seperate subsidiaries in the EU ie doubling the money and red tape.
        Switzerland has an imperfect fascicile of this acghieved by bi lateral agreements but it is nbo imperfect as to necessitate their Banks ( notably) locating in London

        These are but somke of the jobs Mr Redwood would be happy to see gone and some of the families whose blighted futiures he thinks are worth the whole grim Brexit ordeal.

        Reply Nonsense, I do want the Uk to lose jobs and have explained how we should handle these matters.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 21, 2016 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

          There won’t be a “grim Brexit ordeal” outside the fevered imaginations of a small disaffected minority who can’t visualise our country being a normal independent sovereign country.

        • Richard1
          Posted August 21, 2016 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

          Newmainia, it is difficult to see why the cross border sale of insurance should require common government between the relevant countries any more than does, say, the cross border sale of cars. UK and EU consumers are perfectly free to ‘buy’ banking, advisory and capital markets services in the US today. Clearly they have to abide by relevant market regulations and standards to do so. There is no logical reason, beyond mutually self-destructive protectionism, for the EU to deny reciprocal access to UK financial services providers, post Brexit, as now.

          • Alexis
            Posted August 22, 2016 at 9:18 am | Permalink

            Indeed, it doesn’t.

            Other trade blocs do not faff about creating a political union, trying to share a currency, or pretending mass migration is some kind of economic cure all. They just trade. They make rules for trade. It’s really not that hard.

        • Anonymous
          Posted August 21, 2016 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

          Newmania – The people voted Out. It’s you that has the problem with grabbing ‘basics’.

          Live in a nice area not under threat of mass migration, do you ?

          • Anonymous
            Posted August 21, 2016 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

            Newmania – Did you give much of a toss when manual jobs were outsourced to EU countries ? Or when taxi drivers were displaced by incomers ???

    • rose
      Posted August 21, 2016 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      And they need all the specialist ancillary services which have grown up in London, such as lawyers etc.

  6. The Active Citizen
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    A fascinating insight JR.

    “Many of the people who tell me we must stay in the single market are usually unable to define it.” How true! I’m certain it’s still the case that very few members of the public know that the Single Market has little to do with a trade agreement but a lot to do with EU control over everything it can get its hands on.

    The understanding of the Single Market has been deliberately obscured by the EU and the Remain campaign. Even City types I speak to have no understanding of what it really means. As a businessman, I have.

    I find it not the least bit surprising that there is no formal EU definition of this entity that I’ve been able to find after months of trawling official documents.

    On a separate note, goedemorgen and welcome back Peter! (PvL) We need some light relief from time to time. And it’s good to know that we’re finally on the same side. We, too, have no desire to prolong our departure from your dysfuntional organisation. Perhaps we can now all work together on this? 🙂

  7. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    This from Jeremy Warner in the Sunday Telegraph today would be hilarious if it wasn’t such a serious matter:


    “In defence of the Treasury, it should be noted that its analysis of the short term consequences of a vote for Brexit was never actually intended as a forecast, even if this is how it was used in the hands of the politicians. Rather, it fleshed out a series of possible scenarios based on certain assumptions, some of which have already been rendered redundant. For instance, its warnings of a recession were predicated on there being no counter acting policy response, which was always faintly ridiculous. There was bound to be one, and there was.”

    Having said that, just two months after the vote to leave the EU there are good reasons for cautious optimism about the short and medium term overall economic effects but really no more than that. It’s still a case of “Keep calm and carry on”.

  8. alan jutson
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Your posting today shows why we should invoke article 50 immediately and leave, and only after all parties have agreed we have left should we then start negotiation from a position of zero compliance.

    We should not under any circumstances be looking to start to negotiate on the basis of withdrawal of some existing constraints/agreements that are already in place, and the keeping of others.

    We need a simple trade agreement, full stop.

    Then we can negotiate and agree about simple co-operation on other matters, which is not binding.

    Free movement of people must never be accepted, controlled immigration yes, but only under the rules which we set ourselves, which should the same for people from anywhere in the World.

  9. agricola
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    As you say, all we want and much of the EU for that matter is tariff free trade. No need to be involved in the suffocating legislative cement of the Single Market which can be protectionist of big business and agricultural interests. All markets and products have their rules so in effect it is just a matter of us supplying what the customer requires at an acceptable price.

    You know better than me, but I suspect that the protracted trade negotiations between the EU and the USA are largely down to protectionism, quite possibly by both sides.

  10. Antisthenes
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    The EU has made it so that staying in the single market makes it impossible to fully withdraw from the EU. It is too complicated and would take very protracted negotiations to do so and is probably impossible even then. The only practical solution is to just agree a date to leave when all the EU treaties would remove the UK’s name from them.

    Even then there are going to be considerable difficulties in deciding on what EU liabilities the UK will still have after Brexit. What is to replace the many areas of cooperation that the UK and EU member states wish to continue with. How to detach from common policies like agriculture and fisheries and on what basis trade will continue

    Perhaps the Scots can learn from Brexit as it will teach them that leaving the rest of the UK is not as easy and as plain sailing as it sounds. On the other hand if Brexit is achieved it will show them how they can do the same. Brexit has opened a Pandora’s box which exposes the many stupid and evil things the EU has built because of a ridiculous dream of building a European superstate. It exposes and reinforces the fact that political and vested interests ambition is very dangerous and should always be kept in check.

  11. Mark B
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    One thing I think we must all agree on, is the so called Single Market, is not a market at all.

    The tragedy is though, due to this concealed power grab by the EU we now find ourselves more bound to it than we would like. Which I might add, was the intention all along. And it is this what makes extracting ourselves from the EU so difficult.

    If we are to leave the EU we must have a plan that allows us to do it at ‘our’ pace. This means accepting the Single Market, at least for now, and then agitate for change from then on. If not change happens then we move to leave that. By which time we will be in an even stronger position.

    The one thing that the EU is most afraid of, and I have said it here and elsewhere before, is contagen. That is, other countries in the EU deciding it is actually better to be out rather than in. This could lead to the breakup of the EU and its downfall. To that end the EU will make leaving as difficult as possible. Accepting the Single Market, at least for now, side-steps this.

    Steps and Stages. Not one big leap !

    • forthurst
      Posted August 21, 2016 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      “If we are to leave the EU we must have a plan that allows us to do it at ‘our’ pace. This means accepting the Single Market, at least for now, and then agitate for change from then on.”

      Mark, there is really no purpose in echoing the thoughts of Dr. North when they simply dont make any sense at all. To suggest that we might have more influence on the direction of the Single Market after leaving the EU than whilst a member, especially when you have just read how Dr. Redwood’s own actual experience demonstrated that negotiating on behalf of the government from within the EU with a majority with entirely different ideas about the direction of travel was so unrewarding, is illogical; outside the EU we would not have a seat at the negotiating table, so how would we apply influence on the constitution of the Single Market ?

  12. oldtimer
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    This is a very useful post as it helps define the central issue of the referendum – the baggage that comes with “the single market” as defined by the EU. The issue in the coming negotiation will be how much the EU wants to compromise its access to the UK in return for compromising UK access to the EU post Brexit. I imagine that the business communities on each side just want to carry on as before as far as is possible; it will be some politicians who will want to screw it up if they have a chance.

  13. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    As before the referendum I believe that the overall economic benefits of the EU Single Market have been grossly exaggerated, and the only good reason for staying in it is that we are already in it and so it provides the current legal basis for the numerous and complicated practical arrangements which are necessary for trade. Therefore the best way to achieve a smooth transition without disruption of trade and other arrangements could be to leave the EU but stay in the EEA for an interim period.

    I would even have been willing to tolerate a continuation of unrestricted free movement for some years until we could get the EEA Agreement changed to substantially qualify that principle, which could possibly be achieved with the next enlargement of the EU when we would have a veto on the new EU country also joining the EEA.

    It may be recalled that this is a tactic which Cameron mooted in December 2013, but only after he had already passed up the opportunity to use it in the case of Croatia:


    “I’ll veto new EU states unless we deal with mass migration, pledges David Cameron”

    However since the referendum I’ve seen people saying that we should stay in the EEA on arguments which logically could mean that it would not be just an interim phase, instead we would be in the EEA forever, and moreover saying that we should continue to accept undiluted free movement forever; so now in response to those reactionaries I’m much more inclined to say that we should bite on the bullet and have it out with our neighbours now, not try to put it off to some future time which may or may not come.

    Therefore I now believe that the UK government should go into the negotiations with the other countries with an absolutely immovable red line that we must resume total control of our immigration policy, and get the best deal possible on that basis. And by “total” control of our future immigration policy I mean just that, no qualifications.

    Posted August 21, 2016 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Some people say the Single Market is a myth. They allege that many incorrectly associate it with a kind of Free Market…another myth. Well such agreements as TSG ( traditional specialities guaranteed ),PDO (protected designation of origin) and PGI (protected geographical indication ), may surprise quite a few Labour MPs who bang on about the EU giving access to a single market. Of course those “understandings” have a whole host of “misunderstandings”, that is, products which could not be agreed upon or legislated upon to the satisfaction of interested parties.
    The EU Single Market has a whole host of other criteria which it attempts to stick on to trade. This is largely why the EU has failed to reach trade agreements even with the self-proclaimed champion of the Free Market America but also importantly India and China.

    Particular EU nation-states wished to block in very recent and still ongoing but stalled EU/US negotiations certain American agricultural products and insist that persons from Bulgaria and Romania get virtually the same rights as in their crossing European borders to work and live but to cross American borders too and even thence through Canadian borders.
    The EU negotiations have virtually come to a stop and even the alleged “Free Trade” agreements of the EU have so many ifs and buts in them that they look as though Cameron’s speech writers wrote them.
    No country can speak meaningfully to the EU about trade as it has to wait for the every EU-state and his dog for agreement in crossing every “t” and dotting every “i”. And no country in its right mind is going to allow 500 million people to cross its borders whenever they feel like it.

  15. William Long
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    As so often, you set out what one has always suspected to be the real situation very succinctly!
    One wonders how many in the new Government are now learning this for the first time. At least I was pleased to read in one of the ‘What I will be packing to read on Holiday’ articles, I think in the Sunday Telegraph, that David Davis was just taking all the EU treaties and legislation he could find: an encouraging contrast with Kenneth Clark who was proud of the fact that he had never read the Mastricht Treaty while urging all to vote for it.
    Patrick Minford has made it very clear that even the purely financial aspects of the single market are not that wonderful and we have the great negotiating point that if we ended up with higher tariffs it would actually benefit us as we are net importers from EU countries.

  16. Ed Mahony
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    ‘That does not prevent us trading with the EU market, as many independent countries around the world do very successfully’

    – 0.85% of Canada’s exports are to Germany (73% of its exports are to the USA – easily exporting the most to its nearest geographical neighbours)
    – 4.2% of the USA’s exports are to Germany (17% of its exports are to Canada and 13% of its exports are to Mexico – USA exporting the most to its nearest geographical neighbours)
    – 4.3% of China exports are to Germany (exporting 11% to Hong Kong and 7% to Japan – China exporting the most to its nearest geographical neighbours).
    In other words, relatively-speaking, Canada exports very little to Europe, and huge amount to its nearest neighbour, USA
    – Consider the USA has lots of brands it can easily export, its trade with Europe is relatively low compared to Canada, Mexico, China and Japan).
    – Consider how China is able to undercut other countries so easily in selling cheap goods (and not so cheap goods now), its trade with Europe is still relatively low compared to its trade with Hong Kong, Japan and the USA).

    You need good, close relations with your closest neighbours to trade your those products and services more difficult to trade further afield (not all products and services are equal.
    Moreover trade with Europe isn’t just about short-term trade, it’s also about building up Europe as a strong, prosperous continent, which provides us with more strong trading partners in the medium to long term future as well as making Europe more stable in terms of peace and security – geopolitics which Brexiteers seem completely quiet about.

  17. acorn
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    “So when the UK leaves the EU either the Single Market theory is true in which case the EU has to buy stuff from us, or it is false and we don’t need really need the Single Market at all.” (google -Neil Wilson Brexit and the Single Market)

    “The Single Market is largely irrelevant to the UK – and likely dangerous. Its purpose is regulatory harmonisation. But regulatory differential is how you control globalised operations – force them to be different in every nation so that they can’t get power over the nation from economies of scale.” (google – Neil Wilson The Red Pill it is.)

  18. oldtimer
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Interesting article here on the different points of view of the EU Commission versus the EU member states (as a follow up to my earlier post):

    The author points out that the Commission has a vested interest in tariff barriers as a source of its income. It will want the UK out of the EU before agreeing any terms of EU market access. This will not necessarily be to the advantage of EU businesses who export to the UK. It looks as though the battle lines between the Commission and the other member states will be as important as those between the UK and the rest of the EU. A fascinating, as well as fundamental, three dimensional negotiation lies ahead.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 21, 2016 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      I read that article.

      The premise that the EU Commission gets more money to spend through high external tariffs is incorrect; if it gets more from customs duties then it gets less from the member state contributions to the agreed budget.

      There are also no grounds for supposing that the Commission will “get its way” and “the UK will have to pack bags and leave the European bloc first before negotiating any new arrangement”. That would be so silly, so economically destructive for them as well as us, that even if the Commission did seriously propose it the EU political leaders would slap them down.

    • acorn
      Posted August 21, 2016 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      If I were you, I would stop reading Conservative Home. All you get is the Conservative Party house journal (Daily Telegraph) on speed.

      The EU gets about €15 billion from customs and other tariffs, about 10% of its budget. Yes, it does gain from customs duties but, loses in aggregate EU GDP. The latter being far more politically significant.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 21, 2016 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

        Yes, as I understand there are three contributions to the EU’s revenue; as two of them – tariffs and levies, and a VAT-based contribution, are subject to unpredictable variations, the third is adjusted to compensate.

        Page 14 here:


        “The balancing item in the EU budget is the GNI-based contribution made by member states: the difference between planned spending and forecast receipts from other sources is made up by a contribution from each member state that is proportional to their GNI.”

        Hence within the same agreed budget the more received from tariffs the less received from the GNI-based contributions.

  19. Antisthenes
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Team GB’s successes at the Olympics 2012 and now in 2016 tells us a few things. Success needs competition which the UK when it realises it encourages excellence. That those states that discourage competition in the name of equality and use other nefarious methods to gain success when those methods are taken away do not do well. The UK can do well on it’s own and have plenty of people who have talent and ambition. Can rise to be great again under it’s own steam.

    • Anna
      Posted August 21, 2016 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      Team GB’s Olympic success is also due in no small measure to financial investment: many millions of lottery money have been wisely focused on improving every aspect of each discipline – fitness, nutrition, equipment, motivation etc.

      I think the government is sitting up and taking notice. Our established excellence in many fields from science to fashion will benefit from wise and prudent investment. The US government has long funded academic research and invested in start-ups developing technologies, hence Google etc.

  20. boffin
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Thank you, Sir, for this most illuminating personal insight.

    The ‘Common Market’ for which the nation was misled into voting never seemed to happen – just a slow progressive assumption of unelected power by the EU dragging on over forty years. By contrast, the North American Free Trade Association appeared to be set up and running remarkably quickly.

    It would be very interesting if you could offer a comparison of NAFTA vs. the Single Market morass, perhaps in a future Diary entry.

  21. Anthony Makara
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    The very concept of the Single Market, in the beginning, was to develop the economies of member states in a stable economic environment, hard currency economies trading with each other hard currency economies in a Western European trading bloc. However once the ECC became the EC and became the EU, it lost the plot and took on political objectives such as adopting ex-communist states and opening up trade to currency manipulators in the East. The Single Market as an idea was already a misnomer. Its politicization and its various conditions such as free movement of labour, made it clear that the Single Market wasn’t about the well being of national economies but about the destruction of nation states, to be replaced with a highly political European Superstate. So the very idea of a Single Market is now toxic and we are better off having nothing to do with it. Far better if we build up our own UK Internal Market and build new trading arrangements around the world, with the focus on hard currency economies like the United States.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted August 21, 2016 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      I’m sorry but you’re totally ignoring GEOPOLITICS.

      – That is by building up Europe as a whole, you achieve the following:

      1. You help to build up others nations in Europe, creating a stronger trading block in Europe overall so that countries within the continent have more countries to trade with in the medium to long-term future (Ireland is a good case in point, poor in the 70’s, and now relatively rich and one of the UK’s main trading partners – yes, I know, lots of problems in Europe at moment but no reason to throw baby out with water when looking over the long-term).

      2. You help to create a peaceful, stable Europe to stave off things such as Communist dictators and political terrorists (Ireland is a good case in point in terms of terrorism – much of the problem of violence in Ireland was to do with poverty – now Ireland is more prosperous, terrorism doesn’t have such a strong foothold). And don’t forget all the wars Europe has had over the centuries.

      These are the two most important geopolitical points but there are others too (for example A. coming together in big, scientific projects B. coming together to work in things such as aeronautics, building satellites and space travel, working together to stop mass immigration from outside Europe, and more).

      So anyone want to respond to my point about geopolitics? Brexiteers seem very silent on this.

      Reply From outside the EU the UK will doubtless co-operate and agree in many areas. It will not stop us having a shared wish for peace and more trade. Why are some suggesting all these peace loving pro trade EU people might want to put barriers in the way of their trade with us, if the EU is as you describe?

  22. Bert Young
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    What a convoluted mess !! . Having read John’s post this morning and digesting the detail of it , I came to the conclusion he was a man of steel dealing with the “Single Market” headache .

    Products and services emerge from a demand from the public . If they are designed to do what they are supposed to do and are priced competitively , they will be purchased ; if they do not , they will be ditched . This is a primary factor of concern for all businesses ; naturally they do not waste their money or resources creating something the world would not want .

    Pharmaceutical organisations have to tread very carefully ; they are all internationally focused and have to steer between the lines ; it is also true of the automotive industry . If you are exposed to the hog wash of bureaucracy dished out from Brussels on top of any market constraints , you would say “nothing doing” . A typical example was the US tyre company that considered the take-over of an existing manufacturer in the North of France – the market was there to exploit and the overall opportunity seemed to make sense , however , when the specified restrictions on working hours were added to the cost of manufacture it made a nonsense of the proposition . Obviously they walked away from the deal .

    I withdrew 4 offices I had in Europe after 12+years of exposure to EU nonsense ; the time spent in dealing with the various conditions there that prevailed at the time made the use of my time and the supervision necessary an absolute nightmare . I never had anything like this experience in the USA ( 4 offices ) and Japan ( one office ) . These locations were profitable and the services offered were always in demand . The EU was and still is a bureaucratic mess . We have much to gain by getting out of it asap .

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted August 21, 2016 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      ‘I withdrew 4 offices I had in Europe after 12+years of exposure to EU nonsense’

      – which countries and which products/services? What’s bad for you isn’t necessarily bad for others. Your feedback is useful but can’t be used to generalise about people’s experiences in general and what’s best for businesses overall.

      If companies in Germany thrive, then why can’t companies from the UK in Germany (or German companies in the UK)?

      ‘Japan’ – my father did most of his business with the Japanese. He liked them a lot but said they COULD be really hard work to do business with (‘yes’ could mean ‘no’ and then they’d get back to him to go ahead with a deal after remaining silent for a year). (And saying that, my father said the Japanese were extremely loyal once you built up their trust – which many westerners failed to do – maybe things have changed since my father’s day, 10+ years ago).

      And you talk about ‘Japan’ as if others are easily able to sell and ship their products there. Not all products and services are the same or equal. For many, it’s easier to sell or ship their products to Europe than Japan.

      And you’re forgetting geopolitics. That the EU is also about building up a wealthier trading block for countries on the continent to trade with in general (whilst the EU is also about building up peace and security on the continent of Europe). There are lots of prob.s with Europe. But don’t throw baby out with bathwater

      Reply When I ran a global manufacturing group we found France and Germany two of the most difficult markets to access. We did far more business in Asia and the Americas.

      • rose
        Posted August 22, 2016 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        When I went to Japan I was told it was rude to say “no”. One had to find a thousand other ways of doing it – like “we could talk about it” or even “yes”.

  23. Fenman25
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    I doubt that BREXIT will ever happen, although I hope I’m wrong. The UK is so tied up in legislative knots by virtue of the asinine treaties our governments have signed, aiming at a mutually acceptable divorce from the EU has no prospect of success.

    Instead of hiring hoards of expensive consultants led by the ‘fumbling three’ to extricate us through negotiation, we should examine and effect a ‘big bang’ solution akin to changing banks before the fast switching service came into operation.

  24. Kenneth
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    I think the idea that some supranational body can prevent governments from using regulations for protectionist purposes is misguided because, as we have found, it leads to regulations piled onto more regulations and starts to erode democracy and all the unelected vested interests have their say in the regulations.

    And where does it all end? If we ended up with a global single market and every trade transaction was brought under its control and we ended up with a global currency (to counter the inevitable currency wars), would this not inevitably lead to communism followed by a police-state planet Earth?

    Of course this will never happen so why embark on the journey in the first place since it will inevitably come to a sticky end?

    We have lived with protectionism for centuries and most states around the world practice it in one form or another. Rather than see this as something to be regulated – an impossible task – surely we should see it as another form of competition, albeit at state level.

    From individual products and companies up to tax rates, currency values and state-aid – these are all elements of global competition. These things will always be with us so let’s live with them and not try to turn the world into a police-state.

  25. James Munroe
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    No mention of the EU being able to vet and control the conditions of new, worldwide, trade agreements the UK could make, if we foolishly remained a member of the Single Market.

    Can you clarify the situation on that issue, please?

  26. Dennis
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    JR you wrote – “to stop the most worrying features of proposed regulations and laws. ”

    Why don’t you give us some examples?

  27. jeffery
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Many of the people who tell me we must stay in the single market are usually unable to define it.

    Not surprising, since a crucial element of any actual single market (as opposed to a political construct) is a common currency. Otherwise the important role of prices in providing information to buyers and sellers is considerably reduced. Of course, the euro is the unmentionable in this. Only Heseltine seems open about it – literal participation in a European single market requires joining the euro and wherever that is headed.

  28. Ian Wragg
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    It’s interesting that the EU gets the money from the common external tariff. So will the EU insist on 10% on UK cars to the detriment of French and German manufacturers just so they can maintain their revenue stream.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted August 21, 2016 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      ‘So will the EU insist on 10% on UK cars to the detriment of French and German manufacturers just so they can maintain their revenue stream’ – it’s really simple:

      The EU is going to be nice to the UK (mainly not to damage their own economy and for geopolitical reasons). But they’re not going to be that nice. Why? Because if they’re too nice, the EU could unravel and that would cost much more than some loss of trade with the UK.

      The EU have admitted openly, Brexit is bad for the EU. But they’ve also said it’s bad for the UK as well. But it will be worse for the UK than the EU. Plus we’re in denial that it will be bad for the UK

      Regarding Germany, 15% of our exports are to Germany – 7% of Germany’s exports are to the UK.
      Plus instead of buying British, might be cheaper and easier for other EU countries to buy elsewhere in the EU.

      So the time for being tough with the EU is over (when we got lots of special treatment compared to other countries). We need to start being a lot nicer if we want the best trade deal we can get.

      Lastly, hope Brexit works. Because if it doesn’t, it’ll be back into the EU, except this time, it’ll be on the EU terms, including joining up to the euro (which I would dread).

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 21, 2016 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        Another defeatist.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted August 21, 2016 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

          ‘Another defeatist’

          – Until you come up with the hard work of coming up with a DETAILED PLAN about how Brexit is going to be better for this country in terms of prosperity, peace, security, the union, reducing immigration, and geopolitics in Europe overall, then your comment is nothing but a cheap jibe.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted August 22, 2016 at 7:45 am | Permalink

            Try being a bit more positive. You lost the referendum and we are heading out of the EU, so now is the time for you and others to think how we can make the best of it.

          • Alexis
            Posted August 22, 2016 at 9:11 am | Permalink

            Pro Common Market people, and later pro EU people, never had a DETAILED PLAN for how their grandiose idea was better for this country.

            They expected people to take their wisdom on trust – which they did, to their cost.

            This country and many others already have a proven track record for successful self government, dating back centuries. The track record for EU style government has been short, and disastrous.

            It’s time for something new; and if you really need details, you will have to join the civil service and crack on.

      • ian wragg
        Posted August 21, 2016 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

        15% of our exports are to Germany – 7% of Germany’s exports are to the UK.
        You fail to put a value on exports, we are the second biggest market for Mercedes, BMW and until the scandal Volkswagen.
        The remainiacs like to use the percentage figure without pointing out we have a colossal £80 billion p.a. deficit with the EU.
        We are negotiating from a position of strength.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted August 21, 2016 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

          ‘You fail to put a value on exports, we are the second biggest market for Mercedes, BMW and until the scandal Volkswagen’
          I did put a value on it but you’re clearly not listening and being binary in your argument.
          I said the EU was ‘going to be nice.’ NICE.
          But not that nice. Why not? The mathematics is very simple: If they’re too nice, it will cost Germany and so on more than not being completely nice to the UK, because otherwise other countries would want similar treatment as the UK, and the EU would unravel.
          The EU unravelling would cost much more to Germany and so on than not such a nice trade deal with the UK.
          (And the EU has already admitted Brexit would be bad for the EU, and the UK – it’s just that Brexiteers won’t admit this truth – they think the EU needs us and we don’t need the EU).

          Reply As the UK is opted out of the Euro I see no need for the EU to unravel on our departure, and see they can proceed more quickly towards Union without us.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 21, 2016 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      Not for that reason, because what the Commission gained from that it would lose from the GNI-related contributions from member states, see above.

  29. Newmania
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    That does not prevent us trading with the EU market, as many independent countries around the world do very successfully.

    So why do you think Swiss US Chinese Banks Insurers go to all the trouble of setting up their vast offices in London? I would love to know what the theory is or how much you think the average immigrant hating tattoo canvass the Brexit xenophobic campaign attracted would know about it. Shall we suggest zero as a starting point?

    You are not a racist and I frankly doubt you care much about the English as an ethnic community . You are a constitutional obsessive Tory courtier that thinks your version of democracy is so important it trumps jobs homes peace and security .
    I don`t really believe you think the opinion of very respected voice and authority is really inferior to your own on the economy, or that you really so entirely misunderstand the relevance of pan European compliance and capital , or that you are really are so ignorant as to think the US has the same access when it has been spending years trying to achieve just. It is not possible.

    For you it has always been clear, that if the referendum was mandate to stop Freedom of Movement it was necessarily a mandate to leave the single market and thereby force the most complete constitutional Brexit possible .In other words your plot is to employ precisely the linkage you have otherwise denied and the Brexit campaign did all it could to hide from the British people . I have enjoyed the delicate tip toe towards the real issues no end

    This is not in my view a way to treat the vast majority who expect a level of fair dealing and truth from politicians and it was the fundamental lie of the Brexit campaign .

    Reply I and others made clear before and during the Leave campaign that we would be leaving the so called single market which includes freedom of movement, contributions etc as well as leaving the EU that subsumes it. That was what it was all about – Take back control was the slogan. I do fundamentally disagree with the forecasts of deep recession we heard from official and investment bank sources during the campaign, just as I did forecast recession from the ERM when the official forecasters did not.

    • rose
      Posted August 21, 2016 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      “I would love to know what the theory is or how much you think the average immigrant hating tattoo canvass the Brexit xenophobic campaign attracted would know about it. Shall we suggest zero as a starting point?”

      Not sure what this means but there seems to be a degree of bigotry and bile which doesn’t help your argument. This was the problem with the Remain campaign as a whole: calling people names rather than reasoning with them in the civilized tone set by the Brexiteers.

      • Alexis
        Posted August 21, 2016 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

        I agree. Where does xenophobia come into it? Or tattoos? Those are ridiculous slurs, which cheapen the rest of the post. Unfortunately they are not untypical from pro EU people.

      • zorro
        Posted August 21, 2016 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

        Pure, nasty prejudice from Newmania which belies his withering contempt for his fellow countrymen who dare to disagree with him….. Keep on taking the medicine, we know it doesn’t taste nice for you but it will help you in the end ?


    • Jack
      Posted August 23, 2016 at 1:30 am | Permalink

      Because London has lighter regulation, lower taxation, and is a nicer place for highly paid people to live than is Frankfurt.

  30. Margaret
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    It has concerned me for some time how group perceptions change to gain power over people. Who is it that changes these working ideas , who is it that adds to the rules and misinterprets them so that a few words can be taken out of context and misguide the many.

    My speciality has been ethics , so I touch on aspects of law and many times cannot see the sense of all the constraints there are in a free world. Of course freedom / free will is a strange term in these highly socialised days but if we play by the rules and don’t murder our fellow men etcetera we are allowed a little freedom and decision making within the global cage. Free trade should simply be this. I suppose the rules of competition impact on this though as well , even under the wings of the WTO.

    What relationship do we want? I cannot think that anyone would want to block trade which was beneficial to everyone ( excepting those sanctions where one Country thinks it can rule the roost by violence).

    As I listen to radio 3 and Tchaikovsky I even love Russia and feel that If the world could communicate in the same objective yet passionate way and channel their lust for power into freeing the world, yet allowing individual communities to thrive then Eden would look a better place.

    • Bert Young
      Posted August 21, 2016 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      Margaret , well said !.

  31. turboterrier
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    When politicians start looking after their own before worrying about the EU could be a very good place to start.

    The EU is doomed to failure it is just a matter of time. For all the remoaners out there get used to it and come up with a plan that will keep you working!!

  32. norman
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    From my limited involvement in facilitating and enforcing Single Market issues (1) A producer could not export to the EU, unless they complied with the relevant Directive. Enormous lengths were gone to to comply, otherwise trade was blocked, and the company fortunes would be limited to domestic expansion (2) Small businesses that could not comply, and did not want to export to the EU, eventually had to, because of the relevant Directive becoming an EU Regulation; (3) Compliance with either the Directive or the Regulation often became a basic minimum to export to various ‘Third Countries’, which would add little extra hoops to jump through of their own. (4) Large companies that went to the trouble to comply with the relevant Directives, (once compliance was achieved and often at great expense), were in no mood to let smaller competitors off the hook, so some of these were squeezed out. (5) The Directives and Regulations, though prescriptive to the nth degree, had a certain inexorable rationality to them that was very appealing in terms of modern standardized specification.
    With the best of Brexit intentions at heart, it is rather difficult to see how all this could be put into reverse. Even if industry continued to comply in principle, without a binding regulatory framework, I cannot see how trade could continue, without endless bilateral agreements. Am I missing something? I certainly hope so. It seems to me, David Davis and team certainly have a huge challenge before them.

  33. The Prangwizard
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    Building the Single Market? It’s like building Socialism – it never ends and can never end, that is the philosophy, merely more and greater control over people and the economy.

    etc ed

    • The PrangWizard
      Posted August 22, 2016 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      Failed the test Mr Redwood.

      History proves my censored words. Were Chairman Mao, Josef Stalin not Socialists – did they not kill people in the end? Historical fact is just too much for your sensitive middle-class skin it seems, but the grown ups who read these pages are surely capable of handling it.

  34. Alexis
    Posted August 21, 2016 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    I loved this article, and the insider’s view it offered. Especially with regard to the ever retreating task of ‘completing the Single Market’.

    I have tended to label the Single Market as a mere pile of regulation, and not much more.

    Now I see it is a Trojan Horse for appropriating political competence, and a protectionist racket to stifle entrepreneurship.

    In other words, an expensive millstone. Let’s have done with it!

  35. Rods
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 12:58 am | Permalink

    In the 1980’s and 1990’s I exported all over the world, every continent except Antarctica, so 95% of what we produced (computer software) was exported.

    Building up a global distribution network is time consuming, mostly rewarding (bad debts are much higher than working with domestic suppliers, but can be offset by trade insurance), and then you have to work with the local distributer on localization (always, always use a native speaker) and finally local compliance to their standards. Some countries are easier that others; always found Germany more difficult than many and China the most difficult of the lot, Japan was easy (very honourable people), but quite pedantic on getting it right.

    I always found, having a good product at the right price, that with local advertising and marketing, it will be in demand, the key was finding local distributors, (much easier, than many think, with most countries as they mostly spoke the international business language of English), agreeing terms, a market development fund and cap (MDF) and then shoveling the goods in there. In the 1980’s and 1990’s this was boxed goods, these days it is a local digital downloads.

    What helps the UK is our time zone at 9:00am, talking to Japan people at 9:00pm at their local time, to the US East coast at around 1pm and California at 4-5pm.

    Exporting is easy, now with our trade deficit we need to excel at it, like we have at the Olympics. John we need an “Export GB” to help many companies that don’t export and don’t realise it is easier than they think, to do so.

    The Conservative Government’s adverts on exporting to-date, IMO have been poor.

  36. JamesG
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Maybe an easy way to get out is to stop paying the EU any money and let them kick us out.

  37. Chris Meakin
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Of course the EU and the Single Market are not quite the same thing; the Single Market is, strictly speaking, defined as the European Economic Area which includes the EU but is not bound by it. So Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are also in the Single Market but outside the EU. And that is a powerful precedent to throw at Brussels, Berlin and Paris : : : : Next, the fourth member of EFTA (at present) Switzerland is outside the Single Market but INSIDE the Schengen Area. Meantime the UK is the exact opposite one of three EU countries which remains OUTSIDE the Schengen Area : : : : Got all that, everyone? Nor is it merely academic. If the Brexit negotiations get dirty and the EU rabble start digging their heels in, there are already enough precedents in the above to make them look ridiculous whichever way they turn. Whether matters even get that far rather depends on the fate of the EU itself; as it stands the EU probably has no more than six months left to live – and what’s the point of attempting to negotiate with a corpse? [ [ Much more about that to be found in my daily journal on Facebook — which it is adding Friends at the rate of a hundred a week and is currently approaching 3,2oo ] ] . . . . Chris Meakin, Kent.

    • Jack
      Posted August 23, 2016 at 1:25 am | Permalink

      Just as an economic bubble can last longer than anyone might expect, and that markets can remain irrational longer than any individual can remain solvent, so the EU can continue longer than reason would suggest is possible.
      The odds on the EU collapsing in the next six months are much longer than those of it collapsing eventually.

  38. Over60
    Posted August 22, 2016 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    You can be glad that you’re on the outside . Freedom from dashing around.
    Time to think and plan . I feel sorry for David Davis he will be dashing around not the best thing for over 60’s really.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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