Leaving the single market

Let’s have another go at explaining why many of us want to leave the so called single market, whilst having access to sell into the EU internal market.

As Single market Minister who “completed” the single market in 1992 according to EU false statements at the time, I remember an endless procession of businesses lobbying me to water down, delay or scupper law after law the EU thought necessary for more trading. Business did not see these laws as helpful on balance when they were being brought in. The one that would have made the London Stock Exchange’s trading system illegal was a good example of the kind of problem we encountered. Having a Eurosceptically inclined Minister was a reassurance to them that I would battle to avoid disaster for them.

As a past Chairman of two global manufacturing businesses I always found it easier to do business in the USA and Asia than on the continent, despite the alleged advantages of the single market. As a Company Chairman I did not use my position to intervene in the political debate about the EU and its market. I was very conscious that I had responsibility for many livelihoods, that I represented employees of all political views, and had to sell to customers with an equally wide range of views. I kept the companies I led neutral on politics, and did not seek to know an individual’s politics or discuss UK party politics with employees.

When trying to do business on the continent I sought to select executives keen on the EU project with the necessary language skills to speak to each target market in their home tongue. Where possible we recruited nationals of the country concerned, as we were well aware of the cultural and linguistic barriers to more EU commerce. Despite this it usually proved impossible to sell manufactured product into Germany, even where we had a technical or competitive advantage that was appreciated in many other places.

It is true some of the businesses I was involved with in the past had complex supply chains involving procurement from places on the continent. They also had procurement from India, China and the USA as part of the supply chain. There was no noticeable greater complication in using the non EU parts of the supply chain. All was judged on assessment of value for money, seeking high quality at affordable prices.

I did not find the so called single market helped us much and were I still in post I would not be too worried about departure from it. I did find the European Exchange Rate Mechanism did a lot of damage with the recession it caused, and always avoided business in countries like Greece, Portugal and Spain given the damage being done to their economies by the Euro.

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  1. WingsOverTheWorld
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    Sir – the body of the post only serves to explain that in your experience, there were no perceptible issues different from trading elsewhere, Single Market or not. I can’t see how that might quell the concerns of many businesses who currently have not developed those supply chains ex-EU?

    I am for leaving the Single Market because to stay in it creates issues that run counter to the concerns of those who voted to leave, namely a reduction or cessation of the money we send to the EU, control over who the UK wishes to have trade deals with, and who this country wishes to absorb and in what numbers.

    NB, the concept of ‘control’ is the important factor here, not necessarily the figures themselves (e.g. if we are right and productivity increases at a higher rate due to all those trade deals, we are going to need more immigrants, not less; just of a higher calibre). In an ideal world we would rather have Single Market access without the non-trade baggage that comes with it (ceding power where it is unnecessary). That, unfortunately, is not the case, and is why, in the EU’s intransigence, we will need to leave the Single Market.

    • forthurst
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      “if we are right and productivity increases at a higher rate due to all those trade deals, we are going to need more immigrants, not less;”

      An increase in productivity implies a reduction in the manpower required to achieve a similar output or an increase in output using eqivalent resources; the effect is an increase in added value per unit of labour, not the need to import more people.

  2. Newmania
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    The truth is that staying in the single market was not a choice .The UK was told to take a hike if ti thought was getting a better deal now than Cameron could get . It was told before during and now after the referendum and it is politically impossible for Brexit to admit what a colossal lie they told
    We have now as a country been treated like an unwanted mendicant by India the US Australia the EU and , I don`t doubt , many more . That what you get when you negotiate form weakness
    Oh well next up Le Pen , I look forward to the congratulations on how she understood people`s real concerns . The only solace is to tuck the memories of who was guilty away and wait for their dim project to collapse as it surely will .

    • E.S Tablishment
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      You must “copy and paste” all your pro-EU arguments then soon translate them into most European languages so they can be posted on appropriate blogs in their countries as they leave the EU.

    • libertarian
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 2:57 pm | Permalink


      You might like to share with us what this colossal lie was?

      Oh and talking of lies you might like to provide some evidence or justification for this quote of yours

      “We have now as a country been treated like an unwanted mendicant by India the US Australia the EU and , I don`t doubt , many more”

      • Newmania
        Posted November 11, 2016 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

        The lie was that we could shut the door on Freedom of movement but continue to trade as before . ,John Redwood was still claiming this was the case only a week or so ago and just about everyone opined similarly. We have now shifted all the way to congratulating ourselves act actually being able to use WTO conditions ! Woo hoo

        It could not be worse , Well you have obviously forgotten how , in the early days of Brexit we sent pour valiant beggars to oz off for what reason no-one knows .. they were told no such deal could even begin until, we had left the EU . America`s New President couldn`t be bothered to call and in any case has made a point of his protectionist plans , I could go on .

        One of the interesting things about Brexit is the way a tiny group of Thatcherites completely misunderstand the anti Liberal forces they have unleashed and I am using the word in its economic sense ). Brexit was a vote against Internationalism and globalisation . Brexit either protects or loses

        • libertarian
          Posted November 11, 2016 at 10:21 pm | Permalink


          Blimey you really dont have a clue do you?

          NO ONE EVER on the leave side wanted to continue as before.

          We voted to leave the EU, leave the freedom of movement and to leave the single market. There was/is no lie from the Brexit camp.

          If you knew the first thing ( which you dont) about business and trade you would know that 162 independent countries trade quite well with EU countries. We will be doing the same

          As we are still members of the EU we are unable to negotiate our own trade deals, however I trust that the talks have started anyway. As you dont seem to be bothered to be aware of what happens in the real world heres a sit rep

          We are now at the front of the queue with the USA

          Australia, Canada, Columbia, New Zealand, India and China have all indicated they want to negotiate FTA deals ASAP

          You really are deluded, you actually believe the stuff you write? I think you’re a parody account

          • Hope
            Posted November 12, 2016 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

            Well said.

        • Richard1
          Posted November 11, 2016 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

          You have it wrong Numania. What there is a consensus for in the U.K. Is good political and cultural relations with the EU, easy travel arrangements and free trade. There is no reason for that to entail supra-national EU government, which the referendum debate made clear is the real agenda of the EU. Why does free trade necessitate unlimited immigration – there’s no other free trade arrangement anywhere else in the world that does?

          Tempers and emotions need to cool. It is in the interest of both the UK and the EU to continue to have tariff free trade, extensive political and cultural cooperation and easy travel. Cameron could have got there had he played his hand better. We will probably end up with much the same result as we could have got but with it taking a year or two longer. The election of Trump will help – EU federalists will have to acquire some humility.

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      The biggest lie is from Remain and it goes by omission. It is so big it goes unmentioned. They fail to tell us that membership of the single market means the abolition of one’s country.

      Done deliberately through rule from abroad and mass immigration. The point of the EU is – above all else – to create a single state and a single people.

      Remain singularly failed to explain to people in the referendum why on earth trade must come with wire strings attached to it and we still don’t understand.

      Stop accusing Leave of lying. (Battle bus ? Osborne told us we’d be paying £4300 extra tax a year !) You’ve got your dirty stick out again and are using smear to nullify the result.

      • Anonymous
        Posted November 11, 2016 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        Are you telling us the Trump win is not a positive thing for Brexit ? Really ???

        I expect a lot more people would vote Brexit today now that one big reason to Remain has been lost. (To the back of the queue)

        I hear London wants to break away from the rest of the country. The Standard certainly seems as though speaks for a City State pompously demanding that May hold Trump to things such as Climate Change commitments.

        I read elsewhere that London wants London visas for skilled migration to continue.

        Ah. That other Remain whopper. That Brexiters wanted to stop skilled migration.

        I expect London wants to continue importing cleaners, baristers and nannies who are prepared to live five to a room.

        • Mitchel
          Posted November 11, 2016 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

          In many ways The Standard,these days,writes through the prism of London as New York.

          NY-LON-it’s so last year,sweetie!

        • stred
          Posted November 11, 2016 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

          No more barristers please!

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

      Newmania. Are you for real??

      • Bob_of_Bonsall
        Posted November 13, 2016 at 9:12 am | Permalink

        Sadly, he probably is.
        It seems strange that those who are so full of hate are those same people who are, and have for a long time, accusing BREXIT and Trump as being driven by hate.

  3. Mark B
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    As a past Chairman of two global manufacturing businesses I always found it easier to do business in the USA and Asia than on the continent, despite the alleged advantages of the single market.

    That is for a reason. French state owned companies do not want competition and neither do their governments.

    Despite this it usually proved impossible to sell manufactured product into Germany, even where we had a technical or competitive advantage that was appreciated in many other places.

    I would be genuinely interested as to the reasons why this was so ?

    It was very good of you to admit the damage membership of the ERM did to the UK economy.

    I do not see the Single Market (a misnomer if ever there was one) as a market to sell good and services etc. It is a regulatory framework and much of your non-EU supply chain would have come up against that. Essentially, the Single Market through regulation after regulation is a closed shop protecting those in it. Mostly German and French business. I am of the view because the way in which leaving the EU is in my opinion fraught with difficulty, that to accept it as a temporary measure until we have something more suitable in place.

    Whilst in the EU we cannot negotiate trade deals. We will have to wait until ‘after’ the day we leave to ‘start’ negotiations. That puts us in a disadvantageous situation. Staying in the EEA and planning our withdrawal from that would be better.

    Steps and stages.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      Who do you think is going to plan our withdrawal from the EEA, who is then going to tell the other countries that having left the EU we are now ready to take the next step of leaving the EEA? Is there any way to guarantee that UK politicians in the future would ever do that, rather than just continuing to take the path of least resistance by staying in the EEA? Would we need to fight for and win another referendum, this time on whether we want to remain in the EEA or leave the EEA?

      • Mark B
        Posted November 11, 2016 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

        There is no easy solution and, to answer you question about who is going to plan our withdrawal, it will be whoever feels that it is in their best political advantage.

        We are in a unique position. We have a political class that has campaign (mostly) to remain in the EU and, are now facing that which they never thought would happen.

        The EU are not going to make this easy and they do not care one jot about what damage is done to whoever. So long as their precious project and their fabulous lifestyles are kept in place the new Bourbons can ride whatever storm. We cannot so easily. We need to have a more broader discussion and not just focus on trade. We are not in as good a position and there is no guarantee, even out of the EEA, that we will not be dragged back into the EU.

        By going for some sort of bespoke trade deal we too are opening up ourselves to some very hard and long negotiations which will take years.

    • Chris
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      “Staying in the EEA and planning our withdrawal from that would be better.
      Steps and stages.”

      While that may be the ideal economic argument/solution in theory, practically it is political suicide, as it would be regarded as the final step of withdrawal, and not an interim stage (even RN admits there is a risk here) by those europhiles in government (or in a future less eurosceptic government) and we would never get out. It would also provide a stepping stone back into the EU, which would not actually be that difficult in a future pro EU government. Where there is a will, there is a way, and this is why Brexit is proving more complicated as there is just not the full political commitment to it.

      • Mark B
        Posted November 11, 2016 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

        So we just walk straight out then ! Is that what you are proposing ?

        The reason leaving the EU is so hard and fraught with danger is no simple accident. It was designed like that.

        Welcome to the hotel California.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 12, 2016 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

          And the EEA was not designed as an easy way out.

          • Mark B
            Posted November 12, 2016 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

            There is no Art.50 or any means to keep us in either.

            If we truly allude to be a sovereign nation, then we just upsticks and leave.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted November 13, 2016 at 10:39 am | Permalink

            Well, there is actually, Article 127 in the EEA Agreement:


            “Each Contracting Party may withdraw from this Agreement provided it gives at least twelve months’ notice in writing to the other Contracting Parties.

            Immediately after the notification of the intended withdrawal, the other Contracting Parties shall convene a diplomatic conference in order to envisage the necessary modifications to bring to the Agreement.”

            But that is not the point, there would be a similar set of arguments against serving that Article 127 EEAA notice as there are against serving the Article 50 TEU notice.

    • ian wragg
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      I worked with both French and German companies. They only deal with their own to the exclusion of all others.
      Only French and German cars are available on the company car list so most Brits take the taxable allowance so we can purchase our choice.
      Whilst working in the Middle East we had some circulating pumps whose mechanical seals were leaking, my colleague rang me whilst on leave and I bought 4 UK manufactured equivalents. The contractor wouldn’t reimburse me. Luckily my Scottish boss was very grateful and he paid me from petty cash.
      Recently I was involved in a refurbishment project and despite the UK manufactured equipment being better and cheaper, the company still bought somewhat unsuitable units from Germany.
      They are now reaping what they sowed as the maintenance costs are astronomic.
      luckily a UK service company has been given the contract by the owners.
      I would say that the USA is probably one of the easiest countries to do business with and when you buy spares, they assume we are all dim and supply an idiots guide to installing. Very useful when you have a multi national workforce.

      • Mark B
        Posted November 11, 2016 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        Patriotism. Shame we do not seem to show it ourselves.

        • Bob_of_Bonsall
          Posted November 13, 2016 at 9:14 am | Permalink

          We do.
          Unfortunately our Political Masters do not.

      • Andy
        Posted November 11, 2016 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

        I’ve given up bothering with Continental Europe. What I make is the very best and infanately superior to French and German products and usually comparable on price, but they tend to buy their own. Waste of time. The USA is far better and much easier to deal with. The Single Market is a waste of time and actually having to abide by its rules across the economy and ‘pay’ into the budget just isn’t worth the candle.

    • forthurst
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Mark, the EU will not be allowed to run our country in future via the Single Market or anything else, whether Dr North thinks it’s a good idea or not; it is up to EU to decide what trade deal they want; by ‘they’ I mean that the EU bureaucrats can argue with their businesses who pay their wages whether those businesses would like to be damaged by the politicians’ vindictiveness and ineptude or not. However, the more damage that is done econmically to the EU, the sooner it will collapse. Furthermore, the nascent Leadership of the Free World which is probably still a Brexiteer despite Mrs May’s repellently offensive virtue signalling, will no doubt assist us with a quick and clean divorce as they do a lot of business with the EU via London and the UK.

      • Mark B
        Posted November 11, 2016 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

        The bureaucrats don’t care. So long as the gravy train keeps on chugging.

        Business are in a win-win. They do not pay the tariff’s, we the consumers do !

        • forthurst
          Posted November 12, 2016 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

          “Business are in a win-win. They do not pay the tariff’s, we the consumers do !”

          Nevertheless, the consequence is that EU produce becomes dearer in comparison to home and free trade sourced produce.

          • Mark B
            Posted November 12, 2016 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

            This all depends on currency fluctuations, efficiency, wage inflation and desirability of high value products.

            The biggest win for the UK in leaving is, that other non-EU countries will not be subjected to the Customs Union of the EU, and so their goods will help create more competition and lower prices. The UK will no longer be a captive market anymore.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 11, 2016 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        The Independent is now touting a fantasy that Trump could be blocked from becoming said Leader of the Free World.

    • Andy
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      Free Trade deals can be negotiated and signed before we leave the EU. They can come into force one second after we leave, and should do so.

      • Mark B
        Posted November 12, 2016 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        No they can not !

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Exactly right. I fail to see why so many in the UK see things in any other way. I assume because they have little experience and understanding of business and the relevant areas.

    The supporters of remain were largely state sector workers, bureaucrats, politicians, people in academia and students. Rarely the productive people in the private sector.

    Now we have a new president who has not been taken in by the climate alarmism religion and wants lower simpler taxes can we have similar policies here please? This instead of the lefty, greencrap & pointless vanity projects Theresa supports. This combined with a bonfire or red tape, easy hire and fire, a smaller parasitic sector, freedom and other sensible things.

    I assume Trump will drop, or at least go very quiet on his protectionist lunacy. He can be quite pragmatic when needed.

  5. Edward.
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    “Despite this it usually proved impossible to sell manufactured product into Germany”

    I have heard all about the Germans reluctance to allow UK products to be sold in the German market, whereas they [the Germans] seek to use every advantage, constantly citing “single market rules and obligations” so that their companies can access and do, UK markets.

    Notwithstanding the vicissitudes of the Royal Mail it’s woeful inefficiencies and hogtied as they are to delivery across the UK and to the provision of a, uniformly priced ‘universal service. As may be observed, we can see in the EU patently: some countries are quite evidently more ‘equal’ than others.

    An example of this.

    Would be Deutsche Post, who were so keen to break into the lucrative UK business post and parcel business, and where they [Deutsche Post DHL Group to anoint them with their proper moniker], along with, the Dutch company TNT helped break up Royal Mails’ monopoly of delivery. It should be stressed and is surely without doubt, that, the Germans lobbied in Brussels to have the UK RM monopoly broken up and by contrast the German Deutsche Post guard their monopoly jealously, vigorously [as did the French at one time until demands from Berlin].

    It is rather hypocritical, the irony drips, about and of the Germans, to wish upon us a ‘free market’ where business postal deliveries are concerned and rapaciously acquisitive as they, Deutsche post are [hoovering up DHL and UK MAIL] attempting very unsubtley as is the German’s wont, seeking to monopolise postal business delivery services in EU countries such as the UK, talk about wanting your cake and eating it.

    The stripping down of Royal Mail will eventually result in the loss of the universal service, indeed packets and letters etc will still be delivered at some point and it must be noted that, these days the loss of the universal service obligation; that will not mean much to many but for certain SME’s a reliable postal service is still a necessity and small and local was always better for the little guys.

    Furthermore, with conversations had with contacts and friends over the years, people heavily involved in the business of selling stuff across the world, and comparing to experiences of, trying to sell stuff to France and Germany it is very hard not to surmise that, the ‘single market’ and facilitating, helpful to enabling UK business to freely trade in the EU – is, an utter fantasy.

    I’d go further and honestly, vehemently say, that, unless you are a bureaucrat and part of the Brussels gravy train, there is not one benefit ever accrued to the people of Britain by and through our becoming members of the European Federal superstate. Finally, what adds insult to injury, we have to pay in [an enormous sum but for what?] and that is surely, Brussels extracting the micturition.

    • a-tracy
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      The question is why haven’t the Royal Mail managed to compete with the goodwill it had built up over years. If they can’t compete on price for the same quality why?

    • rose
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      And what does Wee Nicola have to say about the EU threat to Cal Mac? How else can a ferry service to the Isles survive except in its present form?

  6. Caterpillar
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    “They also had procurement from India,China and USA” – should I infer that the PM’s visit to India, and head of the queue (if UK ever leaves EU) with President Elect Trump don’t matter then?

  7. David Price
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    My experience in global technology companies over three decades pretty much matches your description of EU and global markets. Germany in particular was very parochial and after several attempts we realised we were being used by potential customers solely to help the indigenous players with their pricing policies and technical solutions. After a particularly blatant episode where our proposed approach was extensively plagurised by a local manufacturer at the behest of the customer (NDAs are no protection) I stopped involving myself in European activity and focused on the APAC and Americas where we always did well.

    From my business and commercial experience with EU countries I have never believed we have benefited much from our deeply constraining involvement with the EU experiment, I have always believed we were better off out.

  8. Fred
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    The trouble is there is absolutely no sign that we are leaving it. The government should have invoked Article 50 the day after the Brexit vote. There was no doubt of the result of the vote and Parliament has no right to go against the people. They are supposed to be our servants not our masters yet here we are months after and nothing has happened. Arguing about the rights and wrongs is simply wasting time and giving the Remainers the chance to bring spurious court cases. Leave now. Anything else strips the pretense of democracy bare and shows the reality that voting changes nothing.

  9. Roy Grainger
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    The single market is just being used as a proxy by Remoaners who want to retain freedom of movement. They should be brave enough to argue that case directly.

    • Mark B
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      On this I agree. Those that wish to keep the so called Single Market need to explain themselves better as do those who wish to leave. And I include myself in that.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      Either they are positively in favour of uncontrolled and unlimited mass immigration from the EU, or from wherever, or they are not too bothered about immigration from the EU and would be content with “some limited” control of numbers:


      “It would also give us a unilateral right to exercise some limited control over immigration from the rest of the EU.”

      Actually it probably wouldn’t, as the other countries wouldn’t agree to us staying in the EEA on the basis that we hoped to abuse Article 112 in the Agreement.

  10. Miguel Federico
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, I warmly agree with you that your experiences in manufacturing make you very rare among the politicians of today! And I very much respect the efficiency with which you managed your firms. I really do.
    The problem is that since then things have changed a lot. One of the worst things was, of course, 9/11 where terrorism suddenly became present and dangerous in our civilized Western society. Restrictions had to be arranged on transport of goods – and arranged they have been very effectively indeed both with Europe and the rest of the world too.
    If we just snip the cord that binds us to Europe, then we will make such arrangements impossible. checking of all goods will have to be done at the borders of Europe on ships, lorries, cars, planes. And the arrangements at the moment – dealing with each company individually under an AEO system to take just one example – are so complex that they are going to take years (literally) to unravel. And the EU is in no way easy to negotiate with as you mention above.
    That is why it is imperative that, when the Article 50 card is played, we remain for the time being in the EEA with all its disadvantages. Then, very gradually, we can disentangle ourselves from the Single Market arrangements without causing a catastrophic disruption.
    I knnow you will not publish this, so I shall recommend Dr Norths website again. Things have moved on since you ran your companies. And things have changed very much.

    Reply I was last involved with a global manufacturing business in 2013

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      “Then, very gradually, we can disentangle ourselves from the Single Market arrangements without causing a catastrophic disruption.”

      Except that we probably wouldn’t, would we; we would stay stuck in the EEA “with all its disadvantages” either in perpetuity or until we rejoin the EU.

      Which Dr North himself has come very close to openly admitting:


      “Thus, should we take advantage of the EEA-interim solution – assuming we can – the divergence between the Single Market and any free trade agreement that we can broker is likely to increase. The idea then of using an interim arrangement to buy time to negotiate something worse then starts to look absurd.

      Without some serious thought, therefore, the idea of an interim solution isn’t going to fly. And one of the add-ons which we will have to secure in any end game is the full application of the mutual recognition principle.”

      The question is to what extent disentangling ourselves after say five or ten years out of the EU but still in the EEA would be easier than doing that straight away in just one step, probably with the commonplace device of transitional provisions being written into our new treaties with the EU.

      As far as I can see most of the current objections to leaving the EEA would still be there five or ten years after we had made the supposedly first step of leaving the EU but staying in the EEA, and according to Dr North himself the obstacles could be even greater and therefore the objections even more powerful.

      • Chris
        Posted November 11, 2016 at 11:29 am | Permalink

        I would agree entirely, DC, and I have written something of the sort in a comment above, not having read your comment first. I too mentioned that RN admits there is this danger. I make the point that although this step by step withdrawal, via the EEA, which he recommends, may look good on paper and be supported by the economic arguments, it would be political suicide, as the EEA position would indeed be regarded as the final step, and we would never leave the EU.

        • Mark B
          Posted November 11, 2016 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

          The EEA is not the EU.

          • Chris
            Posted November 11, 2016 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

            I am perfectly well aware of the distinction MB, but the point I was trying to make was that having taken the EEA step, it would be relatively simple for that to be used as a stepping stone BACK into the EU (should a future govt be so inclined) and thus we would never actually leave the EU.

      • Mark B
        Posted November 11, 2016 at 1:18 pm | Permalink


        My view is that we stay with the EEA until we have arranged our affairs with the rest of the world and re-established ourselves at the very top tables of international trade and regulation. Then we issue to the 31 members of the EEA a simple ultimatum. Change into a proper Free Market or, we leave. The harm to us will be far less than the harm done to them. And yes I doubt they would take it. But that would truly be the beginning of the end for the EU because it will effect the one country that can be said to truly bind the EU together – Germany.

        A stagnating German economy will spell doom for the project. All it now takes is just one good heavy kick to bring the whole rotten lot in. BREXIT isn’t it.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 11, 2016 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

          I really can’t see the UK government doing that.

          Just in theory we could have Treaty A with the other countries, which said in effect “The UK will leave the EU but because of all these legal and practical complexities it will stay in the EEA until they’ve been sorted out and then it can move on”, and that could even be concluded for a fixed number of years N rather than “for an unlimited duration”, but with the obvious risk that after those N years our politicians would decide that they didn’t want us to move on after all, or we could have Treaty B which said in effect “The UK will leave both the EU and the EEA now but because of all these legal and practical complexities some aspects of the EEA Agreement will continue to apply to the UK until they’ve been sorted out”, and it could be written in that the maximum transitional period for this set of legal or practical problems will be 3 years, while for these knottier problems the treaty will allow 5 years, etc etc.

          I know which I would prefer, and that is Treaty B which would take us out of both the EU and the EEA the moment it came into force, but with certain transitional provisions included, rather than Treaty A which would leave us still in the EEA as a transitional state where we might stay forever, that is if we didn’t go back into the EU.

        • David Price
          Posted November 12, 2016 at 10:54 am | Permalink

          It is far too late for all that, the EU will not change as this will put Germany and France at too great a disadvantage.

          I agree with Dennis that the EEA is more a trap than a relief, one we should avoid otherwise our weaker politicians and civil servants will lever it to re-entangle us.

    • Mark B
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 1:11 pm | Permalink


    • Flyinthesky
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      I’m sorry Mike I have to disagree, EEA membership is a place marker for continuance. It can be used both ways. The most likely way is to further our entanglement. The EU are not going to sit on their hands while we decide our direction are they. It just gives them more time to formulate policy and legislation to further their own interests.

      A soft exit is notional, not an exit at all.

      • Chris
        Posted November 11, 2016 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

        Agreed, and this is the danger.

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      Miguel Federico – So you’re saying we must (to thwart terror via the EU) be able to import pre-scrutinise goods and that this will be imperilled.

      Yet (via the same EU) we must import millions of unscrutinised people and we’re called racists if we dare even demand that they undergo even basic dental checks.

      Yours is the weakest defence of the EU I think I have ever read.

      • Miguel Federico
        Posted November 11, 2016 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

        You and I have, to the best of my knowledge, never met have we? You assume that I am a Remoaner. I can assure you that I am most certainly not. I have been studying the EU now for some years and have been a convinced Brexiteer.
        I have also done my homework which you will find here:
        I recommend monograph 11 and 14.

    • David Price
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      Why must we remain in the EEA, why can we not establish our own arrangements under WCO?

      The attitude must be that we are leaving and we will find ways to deal with necessary issues. It cannot be that we will hold off leaving until we have addressed every single subclause and sentence that gives Richard North’s merry band to worry a bit.

      Commerce and enterprise requires effort and resolve and risk. It is a continual process and never stops just because some treaty is signed between politicians. Even the so-called single market/internal market has not reduced the need to compete, all it has done is give certain countries more of a whip hand.

  11. Bert Young
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    John , I agree with you ; my experience – in a different field , was the same . I withdrew my offices in Brussels , Amsterdam , Frankfurt and Paris and concentrated on the USA and Japan . I never had any sort of a problem operating with the co-operation of the Americans and Japanese ; all of the branches ( 4 in the USA and one in Japan ) were profitable and expanding . Resistance and all manner of obstacles were the rule of thumb in Europe ; I did not want to waste my time or that of the other professionals I employed .

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      Without flattering you, you’re obviously a smart and successful man. But not all companies are equal (Surivial of the Fittest) and will find it much more difficult to trade outside the EU (and many smart and successful people in business, in and outside the EU, such as Martin Sorrell, see the EU as a great advantage to them).
      BTW, my father did most of his business in Japan. Maybe things have changed, but he said that back in his day many Europeans and Americans failed in Japan because they just didn’t understand Japanese business culture (my father said he was lucky, meeting someone on a trip to Japan who marked his cards how to do business with the Japanese, and after 40+ years, many visits to Japan, and reading many books on the Japanese, he still found them challenging to deal with – although he said they were extremely loyal and decent at same time).

      • libertarian
        Posted November 11, 2016 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        Ed Mahony

        Couple of points you might like to ponder

        92% 0f UK businesses have NEVER done business in the EU so it won’t have the slightest effect on them

        Martin Sorrell is indeed a smart business man he runs one of the worlds largest advertising agencies…. that is a SERVICE business it is not covered by the Single Market which is a market in goods only. So what ever Mr Sorrells views of the EU are they have nothing to do with his business having access to the single market…. WPP has 3,000 offices across 112 countries with its “exec office in Dublin ” ( for tax purposes ) & its HQ in London

        • Mark B
          Posted November 11, 2016 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

          Wrong. Services is one of the, ‘Four Freedoms’.

          • libertarian
            Posted November 13, 2016 at 11:49 am | Permalink

            Mark B


            A free movement of services is an AIM of the EU as yet unimplemented fully

      • Anonymous
        Posted November 11, 2016 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

        Oh gawan, Ed. Flatter him ! It won’t cost you anything.

        • Anonymous
          Posted November 11, 2016 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

          PS, A little less of the ‘my dad said…’ it never looks good.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted November 11, 2016 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

          ‘Oh gawan, Ed. Flatter him !’

          – OK .. also add, JR isn’t precious about comments that criticise his views unlike other blogs where you’re not allowed to disagree (you’re not allowed to saying anything).

          (that’s it, off now unless someone else calls me ‘silly’ – not you someone else – when the person who called me this, in the same comment, said the EU wasn’t about services, but about goods only ..)

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted November 11, 2016 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

          Also, so much more to life than whether we’re in the EU or not (important as that is):

          Love, sex, family, friends, art, travel, peace, job satisfaction, Shakespeare, what happens after death, books, Bach, beautiful beaches, wine, chess, exploring claims about the existence of God.
          – to name a few ..

          ‘One Love! What about the one heart? One Heart!
          What about – ? Let’s get together and feel all right’ – Bob Marley

          • Mitchel
            Posted November 14, 2016 at 10:04 am | Permalink

            “What’s love got to do with it”- Tina Turner!

    • ian wragg
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      My brother in law opened a branch in Amsterdam and found his Dutch manager was procuring business for another firm routinely undercutting his quote by 5%.
      It only came to light when mistakenly a Dutch haulage company did some intra company business by mistake leaving the brother in law shocked when the driver said he did loads of business for this company.
      Over the bank holiday weekend he cleared the office and returned all his vehicles back home. The internet is great for doing business.

  12. Lifelogic
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Not much sign of good grace from all the protesting Clinton supporters.

    Meanwhile the leader of the anti-democratic, anti liberal, greencrap, climate alarmism promoting and the dire Tim Farron says he is determined to defeat the will of the people on Brexit.

    Surely we need an election (so the rest of the few remaining Libdems can also be kicked out). Hopefully all those in the Tories too. The Ken Clarks, Osbornes, Grieg Clarks, Amber Rudds and the very many others.

    I still remain to be convinced that May is much different to a Libdem remainer. Let us hope Hammond can show he is a real Tory in his autumn statement shortly. Just undo all the Osborne tax increases and arbitrary complexity drivel. But undo his IHT ratting and finally keep the £1M each IHT threshold promise.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      Has Hillary Clinton condemned the violence of her protesting sore looser supporters? The BBC still appear to be on their side at every turn.

      Great fun listening to all the lefty Guardian, BBC, Woman’s hour types and Luvvies getting so upset.

      Trump was clearly the lesser of the two evils and by a long way.

      • NA
        Posted November 11, 2016 at 9:57 am | Permalink

        Great fun listening to all the lefty Guardian, BBC, Woman’s hour types and Luvvies getting so upset.

        Yes, but it means they also have to go,we cannot have the entire media hostile to the US President. They’re done.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted November 11, 2016 at 10:52 am | Permalink

          Hopefully someone can finally get the BBC off their absurd, green crap, big government, ever higher taxes, pro EU, PC drivel, fake equality, glass ceiling, fake “equality”, magic money tree, lefty, anti car, anti plane, pro bike, “renewable lunacy” agenda somehow.

          But then people like Cameron/Osborne loved to reinforce this with people like the dire Lord Patton. This as they were clearly innumerate, irrational, BBC think people themselves.

          • Anonymous
            Posted November 11, 2016 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

            Hopefully the refusal to respect Brexit will force millions to do that through the voluntary licence fee.

        • rose
          Posted November 12, 2016 at 11:57 am | Permalink

          I don’t know which was more nauseating on this subject: the Scottish Parliament or the Youth Parliament. Probably the Youth Parliament, nearly a hundred mini Merkels getting up to speak for Le Grand Remplacement. Diversity of opinion is obviously verboten in the next generation.

  13. oldtimer
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Your observation on the difficulties of selling manufactured products into Germany sounds familiar. Many other businesses, whether based in the UK or elsewhere, have shared your experience.

  14. Mick
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    I cannot wait until the next general election when we will see the likes of Tim what’s his name, clogg, millipede, sourbpuss and all the other traitors to democracy are voteed back into the wilderness were they belong for good

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      I think it’s unlikely that there’ll be enough MPs willing to vote to prevent us leaving the EU, most have too strong an instinct for self-preservation. On the other hand the unelected legislators-for-life in the Lords don’t have to worry about the reaction of their constituents, having none, and there is no doubt that as a consequence of decades of highly selective packing of their ranks the great majority are against us leaving the EU, even more so than the MPs; so the real question is how far they will be prepared to go in defying the will of the people as expressed in the referendum. It seems that some will be determined to do that even if it puts the future of their House at risk.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      Mick. I couldn’t agree more strongly with what you say. It made my blood boil when I heard about him actively saying he wants to vote against Brexit and he wants a second referendum over what Brexit will involve. Who does he think he is? He is a nothing in the big wide world, same as Clegg, Milliband, Soubrey and all the others who would seek to deride democracy. We don’t need them and if they don’t like it why don’t they emigrate to Europe?? We would be well rid of them and would club together to pay their air fares.

      • Mitchel
        Posted November 11, 2016 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

        Yes why don’t they go.They are like all those UK-based “intellectuals” who never stopped promoting the virtues of the Soviet paradise while never actually moving there.

  15. David Tomlinson
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    For 20 years I was a non executive of a British manufacturing company (current sales about 20% UK, 35% EU, 45% Rest of World). I agree with JR on every point. Selling engineering products into Germany is almost imposssible even when you are a world leader technologically. No problem in USA or China.
    Most importantly, the EU is not a ‘single market’. It is 28 different markets: different languages, different legal systems (try taking a case to a French commercial court!), different cultures and totally different operating costs.
    The result is that my company has two operating sales subsidiaries in the EU and separate distributors in each major country – a heavy overhead. In contrast we have one subsidiary in the USA with 8 sales engineers covering the entire country and one wholly owned subsidiary in China with 6 sales engineers again covering the entire country.
    Import duties are immaterial. Theoretically our products going to USA should bear a 5% tariff. In fact we ship them over in a few major parts (semi-manufactures are tariff free), screw them together in a warehouse in Akron, put them in an American made box and hey presto! they’ve become an American product.

  16. Iain Gill
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Its just another tactic to try and delay and stop our exit from the EU. Rather like the Lib Dem leader on the radio today asking for another referendum, completely lost the plot, he has lost massive vote share, numbers of MP’s, and their position on the referendum and he still persists in pushing views that the majority have clearly rejected.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      Indeed thank goodness the voters are far more sensible than the dire Libdims.

  17. Ed Mahony
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    If it was easier to do business in the USA than the EU, then why make trade with the EU even more difficult by leaving the single market!
    Doesn’t make sense to me. Fundamentally, it isn’t about whether we’re in the EU or not that really counts, when it comes to the economy, but how competitive our companies are (except that in re-jigging our economy, it can take years for things to settle back down – with no real big economic gains not making it all worth it).
    For those companies that aren’t so successful/dynamic/competitive as others (e.g. Darwinian Survival of Fittest), and find it cheaper and easier doing business in the EU (because Europe is closer and so quicker to travel, cheaper and quicker to export to, as well as the advantages of non-trade tariff barriers, then why make life more difficult for these companies?).
    Also, others in business have very different views to you. Take Martin Sorrell who was very pro remaining in the EU for trade reasons (he trading really successfully in the UK, the EU and outside the EU but not wanting impediments to trade with the EU in the future).
    But it isn’t just about trade. It’s also about geopolitics. By building up Europe, we secure the prosperity, peace and security of our continent that affects us in the future, including economically (as well as working on big scientific and commercial projects that we can’t do so well on our own – space exploration and travel, building state of the art satellites and advanced planes etc). As well as the geopolitical concerns of working with our European neighbours to stem the threat from Russia, Isis, and mass immigration from the Middle East and Africa. Brexiteers seem very quiet on our geopolitical role in Europe which I find extremely concerning.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      “Brexiteers seem very quiet on our geopolitical role in Europe … ”

      You’ve said things like this before, and I’ve explained before that apart from a small minority the British people do not want to be part of the EU’s geopolitical project to establish a pan-European federation, a planned new country called “Europe”.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted November 11, 2016 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        ‘and I’ve explained before that apart from a small minority the British people do not want to be part of the EU’s geopolitical project to establish a pan-European federation’

        – You’re making a category error here / attributing an argument to me i never made!

        I never raised the point about people wanting or not wanting to be part of a pan-European federation – you did (and then attribute that point to me!). That’s a different subject. Or in debating language, a different category (=> category error).

        The point I raised was about our response to the geopolitical issues of Europe (whether we’re in or out of the EU or whether the EU even existed or not).
        1) How to build a continent that is prosperous, peaceful and secure. Because whether you like it or not, history shows that geopolitics in Europe is crucial to our own future in terms of the economy, peace and security.
        2) Plus there are the geopolitical issues of how we, as a continent as whole, deal with Russia, Isis, and mass immigration from the Middle East
        3) And Africa, whilst how we respond to the scientific and commercial demands of working with others in Europe over projects that require the work of more than one country to accomplish successfully.

        Thanks for responding, but please respond to the point I made, and not a different one and attributing that point to me (and then, in effect, just responding to yourself – in other words, it’s as if you’re debating with yourself).

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 11, 2016 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

          James Matthews seems to have understood it!

        • libertarian
          Posted November 14, 2016 at 10:16 am | Permalink

          Ed Mahony

          Russian IS a European country when you talk of continents. There are 44 countries that make up Europe as a continent and Russia is by far the biggest.

      • James Matthews
        Posted November 11, 2016 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

        Yes. It does seem to be a recurring theme. The concept that we might profitably and sensibly mind our own business is obviously too difficult.

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      “why make trade with the EU even more difficult by leaving the single market!”

      Because the EU have made very clear that being a member of the Single Market requires the abolition of one’s country.

      Through mass immigration and the ceding of powers to Brussels.

    • libertarian
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      Ed Mahony

      You’re making yourself look silly, you clearly have no idea about business and trade. There are many successful business people on this blog and you aren’t one of them.

      Your waffle about Darwinian Survival of the fittest is nonsense , the companies that aren’t fit go bust it has nothing to do with how close France is……

      Martin Sorrell runs a service business and the Single Market is a market in goods only !!!

      WPP has offices and subsidiaries in every European country already so it doesn’t make a blind bit of difference to his business whether we are in or out .

      Hes a remainer for his own personal reasons not for any business advantage

      Brexiteers are extremely quite on our “geopolitical role” because we have a better understanding of how these things work than you do. You do NOT need the EU to establish collaborative projects and to work with talented scientists, engineers and others from around the world. Most of the Worlds leading authorities, standards and regulatory bodies are global and we already have a seat on most of them.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted November 11, 2016 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        ‘You’re making yourself look silly, you clearly have no idea about business and trade. There are many successful business people on this blog and you aren’t one of them’

        – Instead of calling me ‘silly’ please get your basic info correct – you write here:

        ‘the Single Market is a market in goods only !!!’

        – Nonsense. The single market is both goods and services (see TFEU article 56).

        • Andy
          Posted November 12, 2016 at 9:31 am | Permalink

          And the French and Germans ripped the heart out of the Services Directorate of 2005. Even the EU Commission will tell you that the ‘Single Market in Services’ is yet to be completed. It never will be.

        • rose
          Posted November 12, 2016 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

          Ed, all the time France was outside NATO we worked with her best of all our military allies. Much better than with the Americans and no friendly fire either. You don’t need to be in these clubs to work together.

  18. Antisthenes
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    One of the biggest mistakes I made was to open a business in France it suffered immediately from bureaucratic interference, draconian employment laws and a xenophobic local population. That made the UK look like a bureaucratic haven, which says a lot as ours are no shrinking violets. It also made me realise that although the French have every reason to dislike the British their intolerance is not confined to us it is wide spread. It makes the UK look the most tolerant country in the world which actually it probably is. As for hiring and firing for what ever reason almost impossible. A 25 hour week and retirement at 55 is not unusual although I do believe they have started to tackle that. Sounds wonderful until you realise the employers and the country cannot afford it. The only saving grace was their healthcare it is excellent.

    The business did not last long like most French businesses few survive more than a couple of years or so. Those who do survive are either owned by the government(55% of the population are employed in the public sector) or are given preferential treatment. It is only their protectionist and anti-competitive policies that allows French companies to thrive.

    I have no real knowledge of how the rest of continental Europe works but Brussels workings are no doubt a reflection of it. With the added disadvantages that comes with an incorporated political objective. Which tells me it is not that dissimilar to French ways some worse some not quite so. It all adds up to the fact that the single market is not open and free and is therefore not a market that favours UK being a member of it as it offers far more constraints than it does opportunities. More favourable is for the UK to trade with EU in the same way as after Brexit it will with the rest of the world. Thereby trading with the EU on the same terms as it does with everyone else. As equals and on a level playing field. Where decisions from anything from the shape of a banana to what our foreign policy is is decided by the British for the British. Not by the EU.

    • Antisthenes
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      Another reason for not being in the single market is it is there by treaty. A treaty means obligations and conditions on the interaction between the parties to the treaty. Fine if they are confined to mutually acceptable areas of cooperation(political and economic union is not mutually acceptable to the UK) that leads to enhanced security of those parties but not if it is about trade. Trade if it is truly free does not need a treaty it is just allowed by omission. A trade treaty is an instrument to protect producers at the expense of consumers. Each party to a trade treaty will ensure it does protect producers they believe will be vulnerable to competition. So in essence a trade treaty is about protectionism not free trade.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 11, 2016 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        Although as I mentioned the other day the term “single market” does not actually appear in the EU treaties, it’s always “internal market”. It’s as you move further away from the basic treaties that the term “single market” starts to appear and becomes predominant; so for example Elżbieta Bieńkowska is the present Commissioner for “Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs”, but she is involved in various “single market” projects.

        I don’t know if at some point some PR-minded person said “Let’s always try to use the word “single”, rather than “internal”, when communicating with the European public about the internal market, it has that subtly different, perhaps less threatening, flavour to it.”

        They may have done; words do matter, and if they keep saying that it is the EU’s “internal” market then eventually it may strike some as a bit strange to suppose that you can be external to the EU – which is what a majority in the UK voted for on June 23rd – but still be part of its “internal” market.

        • Antisthenes
          Posted November 12, 2016 at 9:53 am | Permalink

          To joint the common market as it was then called involved signing a treaty and all the subsequent treaties since. All of which were a way to dupe nations into signing up to a free trade area, which is actually in name only and to push the integration agenda. Free trade does not need a treaty. Simply an invitation to join that stipulates all participant are tariff and customs free. Cooperation in other areas including free movement of labour would be subject to mutually acceptable treaties. The freedom to choose which cooperative areas to participate in or not being entirely discretionary. The internal market is a sham a smoke screen to hide other more nefarious and sinister objectives.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      But we cannot form a view on Europe on just a few anecdotal stories on someone’s blog.
      If we want to know what business think then we have to find out what business thinks across the board and how this could affect our GDP and economic growth prospects as a whole.
      And our country’s future doesn’t just depend on what individual businesses alone think. There is also geopolitics. We also have to take in the views of foreign-affairs experts regarding the peace and security of Europe (that also affects us economically in the long-term), as well as the views of economists on the economy overall in the UK, Europe and the world, and how that affects us in the short to long term).

      Reply How does the UK leaving the EU do any damage to European security. We will still be members of NATO, paying our full share unlike the other EU members, and will stil collaborate with tge EU and its states where needed.

      • libertarian
        Posted November 11, 2016 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

        Ed mahony

        Oh dear oh dear, please Ed at least go and do some research on the world of business and trade.

        Here are some starters ( these are facts easily checked)

        There are 5.6 million UK businesses
        You could try asking them but their owners all had a vote in the referendum

        92% Of UK businesses have NEVER done business in Europe

        85% of ALL economic activity is internal to the UK

        Your favourite word Geopolitics or foreign affairs as most people know it.

        The UK is a member of several international organisations. These include the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the G7 .

        The UK is acknowledged as the 2nd most powerful ( soft power) nation on the planet

        The UK is 6th largest economy and the fastest growing of the G7 countries

        Why only the peace and security of Europe ( which by the way is a continent of 54 countries including Russia) ?

        You have heard of NATO?

        Please please do not take any notice what so ever of economists they are never right, they are as useful as a political opinion poll. 71 leading economists have been forced to admit already that their forecasts about post referendum UK were totally wrong

    • James Matthews
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      Not entirely sure why the French have every reason to dislike the British. Please elucidate.

      • Antisthenes
        Posted November 12, 2016 at 10:04 am | Permalink

        Not heard of the 100 years war over the English claim to the French crown. At one time more of France was English territory than it was French. Not heard of Napoleon , Trafalgar and Waterloo, Wolfe, Clive and much more. De Gaul could not stand us or the Americans. Britain and France did not have good relations for over a 1000 years. We won more often than they and we have had to come to their rescue quite a few times. If it was the other way round do you not think the British apart from the Scots (that is another story) would not be resentful. So why are you not sure. Most of the French do not know why they dislike us but that dislike has been passed down as a tradition. Besides they do not like anyone but themselves very much. I speak in generalities of course and there are plenty of exceptions.

        • James Matthews
          Posted November 13, 2016 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

          Wars which took place more then two hundred years ago (most of which we ultimately lost, though we did win some notable battles) are not “every reason” to dislike us, nor is being a major ally against the Russians (Crimea) and the Germans, nor is past empirical rivalry.

          If you had said the French irrationally dislike us, as seems to be he burden of the latter part of you post, you might well be right, though at a personal level that is not readily apparent ( I can not say the same for the Scots).

    • hefner
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      I guess a lot of French people would love to work only 25 hours per week and retire at 55.
      Eurostat gives 1521 h/year for France, 1580 for Germany, 1624 h/yr for the UK. And the productivity is 103 for the UK, 107 for Germany 114 for France.

  19. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, I’m shocked that Trump thinks Egypt is the most important country in the world, after the USA of course. Followed by Ireland, Mexico, Israel, Turkey, India, Japan, Australia and South Korea, all of whose leaders got personal calls from Trump before he spoke with Theresa May. I think that really puts us in our place in the modern world, nine down from Egypt, and it certainly does not bode well for the future of any “special relationship” or any accelerated US-UK trade deal, we won’t even be in the queue at that rate. There is however the small hope that Nigel Farage might be able to mediate with Trump on our behalf, and perhaps get us moved up his rankings by a few places. Let us hope so or we will be doomed, and that does put a very different complexion on this idea of cutting ourselves off from Europe and trying to go it alone.

    [Information courtesy of the Telegraph & the Guardian]

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Well let’s pretend your idea is not pure fantasy and the order in which he called people determines whether they will get trade deals – we rank ahead of Juncker/EU, Germany, France, Belgium, Italy and all other EU countries except Ireland so it looks like a good decision to leave the EU then ?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 11, 2016 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

        Neither the Telegraph nor the Guardian noticed that …

      • Yudansha
        Posted November 11, 2016 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

        Roy Grainger – You beat me to it on the EU. A similar argument to “I don’t have to outrun the bear, I only have to outrun you !”

        At worst it seems we were right to leave the EU. At best we’ve escaped very real *doom* by dodging the Clinton Putin-basher. At best we’ve called America right over Brexit and Trump will do his best to help us make anti-establishmentarianism on both sides work.

    • Chris
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      It will have done Theresa May no harm to have waited. The UK government needs to learn a bit of humility, and gain some perspective, I believe. Their apparent outright rejection and smearing of Farage over the months cannot be dismissed. He is a key player, whether they like it or not, and that is how he is perceived in the USA – Mr Brexit. The problem is that our government has actively excluded Farage, and many in it, plus Eurosceptic MPs, have delivered many insults about Farage, being determined to exclude him, and belittle his role in the whole Brexit issue. We shall see what happens, but it would be a supreme irony if Farage were to offered a key negotiating role in the UK/US/EU scenario. Stranger things have happened.

    • Richard Butler
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Calling Egypt first was brilliant. What it says is Trump is all for middle eastern countries to run their nations, their way, no more Hillary nation building, no more trying to bring about western democracy in Arab lands, fewer sanctions, more understanding.

      The Arab spring was cheerlead by enthusiastic, misty eyed grandee BBC reporters that were very influential in it’s spread. From Tunisia to Egypt it was a disaster. Egypt’s flirtation with democracy gave them the Muslim Brotherhood. Thanks goodness the military booted them out and order is restored.

      Trump will speak softly and carry a big stick.
      I’m actually very excited about the future.

      • Chris
        Posted November 11, 2016 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

        I am too, and I am relieved beyond all measure that we are not going to be dragged on false pretences into a war with Russia.

    • James Matthews
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      I think it probably says more about our opinion of ourselves if we worry about it than it says about Trumps opinion of us that it happened.

      Clearly neither our political class nor our media have done much to endear us to him during he presidential campaign, but it is time we got over the “special relationship” anyway. It really means little or nothing on the other side of the Atlantic. The US will, as always, look to its own interests. If you supported leaving the EU because you expected anything else I think you were seriously mistaken.

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, Israel, Turkey, India, Japan, Australia and South Korea …

      Sounds pretty random to me. I wouldn’ t read too much into it.

      He owes a lot to Brexit Britain and he’s praised no other nation more than the British in his speeches.

    • libertarian
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      Denis Cooper

      I assume you are being satirical?

      The order in which people were called does not reflect the importance of each country. There could be any number of reasons i.e. he doesn’t mind calling Egypt at 2 in the morning but is more respectful of waking UK ? Maybe he called and they were busy ( you have called a list of people before, right?)

      Maybe he called them alphabetically from his rolodex? Abdel, Enda, Enrique, Narenda , Shinzo and Theresa ??????

      • Anonymous
        Posted November 11, 2016 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        Indeed. I’ve heard in conversation surrounding the US that Mrs May will be the first foreign leader to be met. We shall see.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 11, 2016 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

        Your assumption is correct.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

      Dear Denis–You are overreacting to this telephone timeline (non) issue–you normally address more serious stuff. First, he may have left the best to last, Secondly he may have more to say to us, with what he has to say to others being merely courteous or perfunctory, Thirdly, there may be minor specific things he wanted to sort out with the others, clearing his desk, Fourthly, remember that he is at least half British so wasn’t minded to fall over himself getting on the phone to his own people, Fifthly, I do not see that he could have spoken in more glowing terms about us (Help us to ditch the EU, so said the Express, and we now at front of the queue etc), Sixthly, he owes Nigel a favour and I see nothing but good from that, Seventhly, he has no, or fewer, inbuilt prejudices against us (unlike Obama), Eighthly, if he is a bit miffed at MP’s having debated whether we should let him in, I don’t blame him, Ninthly, there were other silly insults such that we perhaps should be grateful he rang at all, Tenthly, he hasn’t had time yet to appreciate Mrs May’s charms. All in all, stick around.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted November 12, 2016 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

        I suppose I should have remembered that it is usually a mistake to attempt satire, or even irony, on the internet …

    • rose
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

      It can’t have helped that Mrs May and both her pilot fish publicly insulted Mr Trump. On top of that her spokesman has said Mr Farage is an irrelevance.

      Mr Trump evidently knows a lot more about people abroad than they realize.
      The moral for people in public life is, always be polite about people: you never know who they’ll be.

      I can understand the order of priority except for Ireland. What am I missing there?

      • rose
        Posted November 12, 2016 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

        Silly me. Rudy Giuliani will have arranged the Irish call with the very important Diaspora in mind.

  20. NA
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Followed by Ireland, Mexico, Israel, Turkey, India, Japan, Australia and South Korea, all of whose leaders got personal calls from Trump before he spoke with Theresa May

    I hope Theresa May apologises on behalf of the British people for the disgraceful comments by Cameron, which could now deeply damage our country (should Trump take them to heart). I hope she has promised Trump that this national embarrassment will not be making any more outbursts.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      NA.. Count Scotland in that list of apologies needed. They were perhaps the worst with their offensive remarks and Sturgeon refused to meet with Trump at his golf course in Turnberry and publically stated she wanted him banned from the UK. What a way for a ‘leader’ to carry on. Still, it’s what they are good at – throwing insults at anyone they don’t agree with.

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      The Lefty UK press isn’t helping. Especially the London Evening Standard, which countless Americans must be reading on our tubes and trains.

    • rose
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      And the almost as disgraceful comments made by her.

      Shocking too that her spokesman said that Mr Farage was an irrelevance.

      Do these people never learn?

  21. Kevin
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    The decision that was taken on 23rd June was that the United Kingdom should leave the European Union.

    Leave aside for a moment the question of what Cameron, Osborne, Gove and Johnson actually said about leaving the so-called single market.

    Assume, hypothetically, that we did not hear them, and that we remained in the single market while, at the same time, “leaving the European Union”.

    What exactly would be left to leave?

  22. Ed Mahony
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    (Sorry, last comment here – I totally reject those who want to prevent Brexit, we must proceed with Brexit and quickly and get behind it and hope it works out, BUT we must have a back-up in place in case it doesn’t work out, and that is if we have to return to the EU then we must play a leading role this time in trying to REFORM it, something we’ve never really tried to do: trying to get concessions for the UK is not the same as trying to reform the whole of the EU – Regards).

    • ChrisS
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, Ed there will be no going back to the EU whatever happens after Brexit.

      First, there is much doubt in my mind that we will ultimately do better outside than we ever would staying in. This, partly because we will be more innovative and flexible that any group of 27 countries could ever be, but mainly because the EU as we currently know it is going downhill and while they have been able to limit damage so far, partly by breaking their own fiscal rules, and also by sacrificing Greece to save their banking system, nothing has been done to solve the underlying problems of the Euro. The latter is because there is not the political will to try and implement the changes necessary to make it work because Politicians, except, perhaps Juncker, know full well that the people will not support what is needed.

      Sooner rather than later I believe there will be a fiscal crisis that they cannot kick down the road, that, or the political side will fail when someone like Marine Le Penn is elected and another state choses to leave. That could be France, Italy, The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden or Austria. Take your pick !

      In truth the choice on 23rd June was not the EU as we currently know it or some uncertainty around Brexit. It was a choice between a very large degree of uncertainty over future developments in the EU or the certainty that a country the size and strength of the UK will always be able to make its own way in the world comfortable in the knowledge that the levers of power are in our own hands.

  23. Ed Mahony
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,
    Thank you very much for allowing me to comment on your blog. I won’t further for fearing of repeating myself and boring you and your commentators .. Apologies for being verbose and sharp at times.
    I respect and like you (again, above all for not being a show-off / schmoozer as you often find in politics / the media. I also agree with you and other Brexiteers on a lot, but not overall. And i think what you say about things like Energy – and other things in politics – really interesting and useful.
    Best wishes to you (and your readers),

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      I think I’ve been doing the same, Ed. It’s because it’s Friday. Don’t worry.

    Posted November 11, 2016 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Shock news that Mr Osborne has today been given an honour from the Cameron.. I was always taught that “in writing”, one should write “a honour” but in speech say “an honour”. Same as in not needing to write “the” in the phrase ” Today is 11th of November”. I only mention it because I’m knocking on in life and there is so little time to annoy mankind with my trivial thoughts. Who will do it when I’m gone? I ache when I think of the future of mankind.

    • purple haze
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      To C. Houston
      I like your posts.

      Didn’t know about ” a ” honour, knew something similar about hotel.

      Would it be rude to ask how old is ” knocking on ”
      If rude, please ignore.

        Posted November 12, 2016 at 2:39 am | Permalink

        purple haze
        I don’t find you question rude. I prefer not revealing my age. You see, all my life I have told what to do. Officialdom always asks questions. Even when the answers are of no use to them whatsoever sometimes.
        1/ How old are you?
        2/ What is your date of birth?
        3/ What is you marital status?
        4/ Do you consider yourself white, black, other?
        5/What is you religion?
        6/How long have you lived at your address?
        7/Do you consider yourself Conservative, Labour, or other?
        8/Have you ever considered buying a new set of bathroom mats?

  25. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    The first thing to get clear is that the economic benefit of the EU “internal” aka “single” market to the UK is routinely, and deliberately, vastly overstated by its advocates.

    As acknowledged by the UK government it was originally projected that the creation of the so-called “single” market would make a one-off addition of about 5% to the collective GDP of the EU member states, but by the estimate of the EU Commission itself that has turned out to be more like 2%. Moreover that 2% enhancement of GDP is the average across the EU, and according to this report:


    the benefit to the UK has been just 1% added to per capita GDP.

    I will generalise this by speculating that international trade is now so free that on the whole there is relatively little to be gained by freeing it up any further, in most cases it is now a matter of diminishing returns.

    To take the most topical example of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, which is being heralded in some quarters as massively important, and one might think more or less the start of a new economic era, what would that actually be worth in terms of enhanced GDP?


    “The study uses a computable general equilibrium model to estimate the gains from bilateral trade liberalisation between the EU and Canada. Subject to the inherent limits of such models and the assumptions made, the overall results indicate that liberalisation of trade in goods and services will bring benefits to the EU and to Canada. The annual real income gain by the year 2014, compared to the baseline scenario, would be approximately €11.6 billion for the EU (representing 0.08% of EU GDP ), and approximately €8.2 billion for Canada (representing 0.77% of Canadian GDP).”


    “The CETA is expected to lead to overall gains in welfare, real GDP, total exports, the balance of trade and wages in both Canada and the EU over the long-term. Based on modelling results, these gains will be maximised under an agreement that offers the highest degree of liberalisation. Specifically, the modelling estimates that the EU will experience increases in its real GDP of 0.02% to 0.03% over the long-term, while Canada is estimated to see increases ranging from 0.18% to 0.36%.”

    Of course this cuts both ways for us, insofar as we should not expect too much from new trade deals around the rest of the world after we have left the EU.

    • StephenS
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

      Exactly. Modest benefit that can be recovered from increased trade with the rest of the world. The real problems are overstatement and quasi religious devotion to the project and the group think of the ‘experts’ where real life experience as outlined by our host is just ignored.

  26. Prigger
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    The BBC and SkyNews are moaning on about how social media have fake news reports which can influence elections ( Yes really this is just another moan about Brexit and Trump ) They whine on about “It is responsibility of (social media ) to ensure news items are correct.” Broadcasters said it with dead-pan faces. We should hasten to ensure our morality is somewhere near theur dizzying heights.
    On a social media today there was an interactive poll:
    How would you describe journalists?

    05% Honest with good morals
    95% Absolute total scum

    Well as the BBC and Sky News reminded us in the Trump election and in the referendum, you can believe polls.

    • Twitterer
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      Makes you wonder what the media thinks the Social Media actually is. My Twitter account provides a steady scrolling page via the Home Button. It shows tweets from individuals on my “Follow List” but in addition many others from theres . Some of them give links to international newspapers and magazine articles I never knew existed with access from there to their online newspapers for all kinds of stuff.. Also there is a list on “Trends” on my page which gives access to whole tweets from thousands of people on certain themes like “trump” or “Poppyday “and again opens out to thousands of tweets ongoing from all over the world and with links to hundreds of other TV and radio stations videos and recordings. I can actually type messages to people who may be engaged in watching an important event and ask a complete stranger “Hey what’s going on?” And they answer!
      It is Communication and news heaven. Google automatically translates their words if foreign
      A few months ago I was reading the tweets from a retired ex-fighter pilot in the Germany who I would never have met ordinarily. A trump supporter . He was making his first Yorkshire pudding, showed of a near disaster of one. Asked for advice. He got 20 returned tweets in seconds, links to recipes, personal stories, etc from people all over the world in occupations and roles you could not guess at and you could write to them too if you wanted, compare notes, what it’s in like for beer in Vladivostok? etc.Go away BBC and Sky News! You are cave paintings in 2016!

  27. Juliet
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    I have always worked on global / international scale,
    leaving the Single Market is not going to be a loss

    I do not see the value of a Single Market, same way I never believed in single currency:
    – if it was a person it would be called a ‘dictator’
    – if it was a business, it would be a ‘mid-range supermarket’

    Single Market is a control mechanism to confine member state countries:

    – depresses capacity, restricts economic growth of European countries
    – economic integration is mess … “look at eurozone ”
    weak economy countries that shouldn’t joined in 93, recent mix of poorer countries !
    – industry/sector asset stripping … “moving from rich to poor European member states”
    – European Single Market today no longer represent its founding freedoms
    – freedom classed as a benefit … “it’s not ‘free’ it comes at a price ”
    – fragmented/conflicted … “rules, red-tape, regulations, freedoms ”

    Does Single Market really exist, and what are we leaving (all the above)

  28. Maureen Turner
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Only two weeks ago I read the PM considered it would take longer than two years from invoking Article 50 to finalise a ‘good deal’ for the UK on departing the EU. It is difficult to understand why she is adopting a similar stance re a deal, any deal, considering the humiliation PM Cameron received re his negotiations.

    This word deal is most likely to involve a lengthy protracted affair – just look at the years it took to get a Canadian EU trade deal. As someone here today has already said once you go down the path of deals with the EU you only get yourself further entangled in what amounts to legal entrapment. Mr. Schulz has repeatedly advised access to the single market and open borders are not divisible. I’ve got this horrid feeling Brexit means Brexit will run and run being little more than a ‘calm down dear’ catch phrase but I’ll be more than delighted to be proved wrong.

    • ChrisS
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      You are right Margaret and all the time they delay we will be paying them £850m a month.

      So in who’s interest is it to prolong the negotiations ?

      Certainly not ours !

  29. stred
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    For an example of Remoaning, this headline and the graph showing a rise in housebuilding is one of the best. The Guardian readers in the BBC newsroom have just repeated it.


    • Mark B
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      Construction is still strong and if you read the whole piece the overall picture is good. many large infrastructure projects have been announced so there will be activity for sometime to come.

      Housing is always variable and subject to sudden change.

  30. ian
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    The fact is most UK companies sell at lost into the EU apart from big companies like rolls, gsk, bae and a like, why, so they can buy more raw goods and make a bigger profit at home, selling into the EU is nightmare, sales team, hotels, wine&dine, endless talks, the time you paid for all that and getting the goods there and then you have to keep sending sales reps to remind them to order, phone and fax does not work most of the time unless it something they really want and when other mid to small companies hear that they shy away from the EU and go somewhere else or don’t bother, the EU is a dead loss apart from holidays and banking which will rebound on them when italy banks goes down with others, just another loss going to be record there at the end of the day and most of the goods going to Holland by ship are not going to the EU but are recorded as going to the EU, its a big con job to suit neo con libs story and for the figure of 229 billion worth of UK goods sold in the EU, you be lucky if it 180 billion a year.
    That’s the facts not political neo con libs BS.

  31. John Booth
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Mr Redwood. Please send this diary post and your previous ones about leaving the EU and the Single Market to Tim Farron because he seems to have a problem understanding this.

    • Chris
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      I see that Labour are not going to support the Lib Dems in the Lords calling for a second referendum.

  32. John Booth
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Mr Redwood. Please send this diary post and your others re leaving the EU and the Single Market to Tim Farron as he appears to have trouble understanding this.

  33. Embarristering
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    We are being forced to revisit the pre-Referendum Debate under the banner of “Single Market” to satisfy Remoaners and their attempts to sabotage and undermine democracy. Same with the Courts. Just Remoaner sophistry. Also an abuse of our legal system. Useful though in the respect that until now most of us held the experience and intellectual integrity of barristers and judges in some esteem. Turns out they are but low tier polysyllabic moaning minnies without merit.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      No they are more than that, lying, deceitful, dishonest comes to mind. Today we have Farron seeking to shift the goal posts on the EU, not an uncommon sight where the Libdems and the EU are concerned. They sat on their hands when it came to forcing the Labour Government to hold a referendum on the Lisbon treaty , failing in their duty as part of the opposition , and denying the British people a say on it . This they sought to justify on the convoluted justification that a Lisbon treaty referendum would be by default an in out referendum, so they wouldn’t support it, instead offer the British people an in/out referendum. This they offered the British people without any caveats, no meddling in the process, no second referendum, just an in out referendum. Now Farron seeks to renege on it.

  34. ManicDepressive
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    Personally, I was baptised with Leonard Cohen’s Suzanne. Stuck into me like a nail..a big one.Rusty

  35. NA
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    John, EU leaders are using trumps remarks about NATO as an excuse to push for a EU army.

    • Mitchel
      Posted November 12, 2016 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      Well,so what!Let them have one.None of our business anymore.

      • NA
        Posted November 12, 2016 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        John, EU leaders are using trumps remarks about NATO as an excuse to push for a EU army. Well,so what!Let them have one.None of our business anymore.

        Thatcher was wary of German re-unification, now we have a proposed franco-German army. We fought for the peace and stability of Europe, our young men – so yes we have a say.

  36. Golden Whoops
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    I hope Mr Trump takes FIRST Private Eye to Court which, should be a satirical magazine and not a little doggy black bag.
    Heaven only knows how they expect, the owners of a satirical magazine, to survive when the satire against the magazine itself is greater than its output.

  37. NA
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    I just watched QT, the BBC is out of control, something must be done urgently.

    • Andy
      Posted November 11, 2016 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

      Aye. Abolish it ! Lets have broadcasting diversity instead of monopoly.

  38. ChrisS
    Posted November 11, 2016 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    At first it looked quite concerning that Farron could assemble a group of 84 MPs willing to attempt to block Brexit by calling for a second referendum.

    But then it became clear that this group included the SNP’s 54 MPs so, assuming all 8 LibDems support him, he has only managed to drum up support from 22 Labour and SDLP MPs. Nothing like enough to win any kind of vote in the Commons so it’s no more than gesture politics.

    Contemptable – but then the Libdems always have been, especially under Clegg.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 13, 2016 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      But Farron is the leader of this force of 84 MPs, according to all media reports. Not Salmond, the leader of the 54 SNP MPs, but Farron, who brings just 8 more but is being bigged up the great rebel leader … why, what is the media plan here?

  39. richard verney
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 3:01 am | Permalink

    I do not understand why we cannot negotiate trade deals now. For sure, they cannot come into effect until we leave, but what is effectively preventing us from starting the negotiations today and getting everything in place for a last moment sign on the dotted line ?

    What can the EU do to stop us negotiating deals at this stagw?

    IF the EU were to fine us, why would we pay this fine? If we were to pay this fine, why would we not simply fine VW for the emission scandal whatever sum we need to pay to the EU for any fine levied by the EU and/or any final payment the EU requires on oyr departure?

    It may technically be illegitimate to commence trade negotiations at this stage, but in practice the EU cannot really do anything about it. There is no effective redress/penalty they can levy on the UK.

    Our bargaining position will always be stronger if we have already negotiated trade deals, which are ready to come into force the day we depart the EU.

    I say get on with the trade negotiations with the rest of the world, and when the time comes, play hard ball with the EU.

    Germany is in a wak position, it is fighting too many fires such that we can stand up to Germany and tell it what we want. The last thing Germany wants is a trade war witjh the UK, and we can always divide and conquor by offering very favourable trading terms to the French, Italian and Spanish (say zero tariff or WTO tariff of typically 5 or 6%), and very onerous terms to Germany (say 100% tariff on German goods). This would cause big risks for Germany since this could lead to a geopolitical shift of power away from Germany towards France, Italy and Spain. You can bet your bottom dollar that self interests will come to the fore and this geopolitical shift in power would be appealing to France, Italy and Spain, and that will split the EU acting as a block.

    What we need is some hard nosed commercial negotiators, not some politicians who have no experience in running a business.

  40. Original Richard
    Posted November 12, 2016 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    The fact that we have a trade balance deficit of £70bn/year with the EU clearly shows that the Single Market is not working for us.

    Quite probably for the reasons already mentioned above.

    Whilst we are in the EU, and consequently the Single Market, we will remain powerless to counter this enormous imbalance, which will get only worse as the EU expands further to include more countries to the east of Europe, some of whom are not even classed as European, and as the full effects of QMV are applied in many areas in April next year.

    Contrary to popular belief amongst Remainers there is no safety for our service industries or for our financial institutions, including the City, by being in the EU and the Single Market.

    In fact, quite the reverse as Germany and France are desperate to move these businesses to their own countries and will use QMV to achieve it.

    • rose
      Posted November 13, 2016 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      And they will bring in an FTT. We need to get out.

  • 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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