How I am a good European

One of my main arguments for the UK to leave the EU was to allow the rest of the members to complete their union free from the UK seeking to hold them back. Anyone looking at the state of the Eurozone can see that the poorer parts of the zone need larger financial transfers from the richer parts. The way the system works at the moment is through the so called Target 2 balances. The latest figures show that Germany now has a huge  deposit of Euro 796 billion with the European Central Bank. This is lent out interest free for as long as it is needed to the large deficit countries. Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal are the main beneficiaries.  In a normal currency Union the equivalent region to Germany would simply send more grants to the parts of the Union needing more money. These balances may well become an important part of the German election debate over how much money Germany should share with the rest of the Union, and how that should be organised.


David Cameron felt he had to keep the UK out of the Fiscal treaty that wanted to start to address this issue. The UK always made clear as a member it did not wish to see a bigger EU budget and did not wish to send more of its cash to the poorer high unemployment regions of the south of the Eurozone. The rest of the EU with the possible exception of a few richer Northern countries did want a growing budget with more solidarity recognised in higher transfer payments.  It was increasingly difficult to be in the EU but not be in the Euro, the central feature of the EU. The UK was also reluctant to work on a European defence identity or common armed forces, was out of the Schengen common borders and an opponent of the planned political Union with an EU Treasury and more common taxation. The UK public had always been told the EU was just a glorified free trade area which should  be good for our exports. In practice it was a customs Union with many and growing features of a full economic, monetary and political union, which was better  for their exports to us. It stopped us having free trade agreements with many other parts of the world.


One of the strange things about the UK debate since the decision to leave is the wish of some  to argue both that the UK will lose out badly from leaving, and that we have to be punished to make sure we do lose out. The Commission and some in other member states who keep on saying they need to demonstrate we will lose from departure argue a contradiction. If, as they say, belonging is such good news, leaving is punishment enough. If, as they imply, belonging is such bad news, then of course they need to replicate as many of the undesirable features of  belonging as they can on the departing state to stop it doing better! It makes it a highly negative approach. Pessimism rules, and a few  suggest revenge is  their favourite dish. They will of course discover revenge is a boomerang. They cannot hurt us because we are shaking off their controls but they can hurt themselves by imposing high tariffs on their agricultural exports to us and higher taxes to make up for our lost contributions. They should also remember that their own Treaty makes it clear they have a legal obligation to get on well with a  neighbouring state and to trade with it.


I find the delay in the EU acknowledging that all UK citizens legally settled in the rest of the EU can stay there is shocking. Surely these officials and politicians understand that no decent country expels legally settled law abiding citizens from its jurisdiction?  The UK has no wish to  expel EU citizens legally here in the UK. What is holding  back the rest of the EU saying the same? This should not  be a negotiation. This is not something the UK wants and has to pay for.  This is just basic decency, and international law.



  1. Lifelogic
    February 17, 2017

    Revenge will indeed prove to be a boomerang. But then self harm is a constant feature of the EU. As with their employments laws, expensive energy agenda, endless daft red tape, one size fits all lunacies, the agricultural policy, fishing, the EURO…

    The main problem is that the EU is so sclerotic and cumbersome. With all the conflicting interests of its many members and the interests of its bureaucracy it cannot achieve anything quckly or efficiently.

    Most things it does get “acheive” are actually seriously damaging to their economies and their people’s.

    1. Ed Mahony
      February 17, 2017

      We put too much faith in political systems – whether in or out of the EU (although political systems are useful, of course). As if getting the right political system will lead to Nirvana. The problems are greater than political systems (flawed or otherwise). It’s the human condition people keep forgetting that is the underlying problem.

      So, yes, much good about Brexit, but also much good about being in the EU (and yes, downsides to both). But until we focus firstly on the underlying moral problems of our country and world, then talk about being in the EU or outside the EU, whether the populists are right, or the social liberals, or the Capitalists or the socialists – is all missing the point, and we’ll just carry on living in a seriously dysfunctional world, but with just another political system in place – whatever that may be.

      1. libertarian
        February 19, 2017

        Ed M

        I agree

        We need to eradicate politics and religion to two make believe systems that have held humanity back

  2. Richard
    February 17, 2017

    It was Boris Johnson who spoke of “punishment beatings”. No politician outside Britain has used such crass language.
    The rest of the EU has no wish to punish the UK, and no politician from outside the UK has suggested they might. They have said the UK cannot have as good a deal as a non-member as it had as a member, but that is plain comm0n sense. You can’t stop paying membership fees to your golf club but still enjoy cheap drinks at the members’ bar.

    1. Denis Cooper
      February 17, 2017

      “UK must pay price for Brexit, says François Hollande”

      “There must be a threat, there must be a risk, there must be a price … “

      1. DaveM
        February 17, 2017

        Quite Dennis. Bring it on Francois. I’m sure you’ll find someone to fight your corner for you.

        Oh no, it’s us that usually do that……..

    2. Ian Wragg
      February 17, 2017

      That’s the problem Richard. There’s no cheap drinks at the members bar. We are paying punitive fees to be members when 80 % of members pay nothing.
      We are taking our money and are open for business. If the EU wants to act stupid so be it.
      They are already trying to steal our territorial waters and insist that they have budget oversight for 5 years after leaving.
      These are not real people we are dealing with.

    3. Original Richard
      February 17, 2017

      The problem for the EU will be making our non-membership of the EU worse than membership.

      We never had “cheap drinks at the members’ bar”.

      For example :

      £10bn/year membership fee (net) when the majority of members are net recipients (and will increase still further when the EU continues its expansion eastwards)

      £100bn/year trade deficit with the EU.

      Millions of EU migrants coming to the UK for jobs instead of being unemployed back home and who send vast sums of money back to their countries, much of it working tax credit paid for by the UK taxpayer.

      Giving away our fishing grounds to the EU.


    4. Lifelogic
      February 17, 2017

      Nothing crass at all about Boris’s analogy. The UK will surely get a better deal outside as it will be nimble, be a democracy again and anyway the EU needs the deal with us at least as much as we need one.

      No EU deal at all is far better than the current arrangement. At least outside we are free to do our own trade deals around the world, to cut red tape, lower taxes, reduce the bloated state and go for cheap energy. Let us hope (contrary to all indications) that May and Hammond actually do this, or are rapidly replaced by real Conservatives who will.

    5. David Price
      February 17, 2017

      So are why so many, in Germany, Austria, Poland, and Italy for example, declaring that the UK should not be punished? There’s no smoke without fire.

    6. Mike Stallard
      February 17, 2017

      Please do read my comment below.
      We have to look at both sides.

    7. Anonymous
      February 17, 2017

      Richard – Nothing more crass than your golf club analogy.

      My golf club doesn’t tell me how to spend my household budget or who I must have living in my home.

      The ‘tariff free’ zone is nothing of the sort. It comes with an incalculable cost of which the £350m is the least of it.

      It is ‘common sense’ that we are not expecting the same deal either, whether it is as good, better or worse is a chance that the 52% have been willing to take and so far so good.

      Remainers ascribe to us expectations and opinions which do not exist, usually of the lowest motivations and intelligence. This is unfair. We have been very patient, democratic and brave throughout.

    8. Roy Grainger
      February 17, 2017

      So the French socialist politician who said we would have to pay Euro 50 billion to leave wasn’t trying to punish us ? Odd golf club. Your post is very naive, you assume every single politician has the same view on Brexit – you are about to find out how wrong you are.

    9. Edward2
      February 17, 2017

      The EU is an odd “golf club”
      27 members all with voting rights yet only 9 pay in, with two of these nine paying in the most.
      The remaining members just take money out.

    10. Sir Joe Soap
      February 17, 2017

      Well you should expect cheap drinks if you’re offering cheap drinks AND a cheap round of golf for them at your club….

    11. Ed Mahony
      February 17, 2017

      ‘The rest of the EU has no wish to punish the UK’

      – Well said.
      The EU wants to PROTECT the EU not PUNISH the UK. In trying to protect the EU (from falling apart), it will do what it can, including trying to prevent the UK’s departure unravelling the EU (not forgetting, of course, they’re aware of some Brexiteers and members of Trump’s administration wanting the EU to unravel).

      It would be great if we could have some CALM, BALANCED PRAGMATISM right now as people turn to extremes – either for or against the EU, when, at end of day, being in or out of the EU isn’t going to lead to Nirvana either way.

    12. matthu
      February 17, 2017

      It is unclear in your analogy who would be subsidizing the cheap drinks for all the regulars if I were a member?

    13. Andy
      February 17, 2017

      Politicians outside the UK have used similar sentiments and this is a prevailing attitude in a number of capitals and in the commission. So there is a desire by some to ‘punish’ the UK for seeking to leave an organisation we should never have joined in the first place.

      And as has been explained a number of times even if the EU impose tariffs that will be very much to their detriment as it will choke off their trade with us because it will lift the price of their goods here. The Treasury will gain billions. And when we leave we could pay all our exporters tariffs and still save billions by not paying the ‘membership fee’. So we are in a club we have no business being members of and not only pay excessive ‘green fees’ we are also mugged when we go to the bar. Not much of a club is it.

    14. NickC
      February 17, 2017

      Richard, False analogy. Our being part of the EU is not like the UK being a member of a golf club. It is more like the EU being a member of the UK golf club at the same time as the UK is a member of the EU golf club. When we just trade golf clubs it is mutually beneficial.

      Your supposed “good deal” involves us in paying twice as much for our drinks as most other members. We won’t miss that. We are big enough to have our own golf club and trade with other golf clubs around the world.

    15. nigel seymour
      February 17, 2017

      Read Prof Patrick Minford…

  3. Leslie Singleton
    February 17, 2017

    Is Blair now positioning himself for his dream world of a reformed EU, one perhaps that doesn’t have five presidents and all the rest, one perhaps with some new emperor-type position at its head, which the new and revamped whole would, as he might hope, beg him to step in to in gratitude? Having just read his speech, it seems that way to me. Or am I wrong and does he think the EU is immaculate as it is?

    1. Mike Stallard
      February 17, 2017

      Have you looked at the new Constitution for the EU?
      You can find it here:

    2. Jerry
      February 17, 2017

      Leslie Singleton; “Having just read his speech”

      Funny, so you have, at just before 7am, read a speech that is only now being made as I post this comment….

      1. Leslie Singleton
        February 17, 2017

        Eh?–I said read and meant read as against heard

        1. Jerry
          February 18, 2017

          @Leslie Singleton; How can you read a transcript of a speech not yet made, you can’t! Even if what you read was from an officially released media briefing paper it was by now means certain that the speech you read would be verbatim that actually delivered…

          1. libertarian
            February 19, 2017


            “How can you read a transcript of a speech not yet made, you can’t! ”

            WHAT ? You can’t be serious. He said he read the transcript of the speech that has been PUBLISHED… Good grief Jezza you are as deluded as your namesake

    3. Ginty
      February 17, 2017

      We are not leaving the EU.

      Blair’s hope is to make it seem like it was our choice and portray himself as the saviour.

    4. Sir Joe Soap
      February 17, 2017

      Yes, his game is to be the man who saved the day for the EU.

    5. nigel seymour
      February 17, 2017

      I have the abiding memory of Margaret Thatcher leaving Downing Street for the last time – it was iconic and always will be. She wanted to continue as PM but dark forces intervened and won the day. She never did anything to me and I watched her (state) funeral till the end. We then had Blair who just chucked in the towel…
      He now re-emerges for no other purpose than to ensure the EU remains his cash cow. It will indeed be a very sad day if the the EU referendum result is wrecked by such a man as Blair.

    6. DaveM
      February 17, 2017

      The BBC has had 3 different pictures of him on their website today – each of them with him standing in a messianic pose. So funny.

  4. Lifelogic
    February 17, 2017

    Basic decency is not really the EU’s strong point (indeed what is) nor is making quick, sensible decisions on anything.

  5. Richard1
    February 17, 2017

    What do you think of Prof Patrick Minford’s plan (Economists for Free Trade) for unilateral removal of tariffs and immediate move to WTO rules? He argues that if we go to WTO rules with retaliatory tariffs etc against the EU in tact it will restrict our ability to do other trade deals. By contrast EFT argue that removal of all tariffs will have an immediate benefit due to lower consumer prices and lower input prices for U.K. Producers.

  6. zorro
    February 17, 2017

    All very true, but with regards to the last paragraph, there is an assumption that the EU is a decent organisation. I suspect that this is not a safe assumption. They have no power under the ECHR to remove foreign/EU settled nationals unless they are a danger to the state. They are of course playing dirty politics with their fears. I hope that remainers are proud to have supported or want to stay members of such an organisation…..


    1. Alan
      February 17, 2017

      Yes, I am proud that I support and wish to stay in a union that allows free travel and right of residence to all its citizens within its borders. And ashamed to be a citizen of a country that is destroying this.

      1. DaveM
        February 17, 2017

        You’d better move house then, because we’re leaving.

      2. James Matthews
        February 17, 2017

        Apply for asylum. The EU welcomes migrants. You will be losing one country, but gaining twenty-seven. Given your feelings it looks like a no-brainer.

      3. zorro
        February 17, 2017

        Not at all – the other 27 countries can do what they want. We want and need effective border controls. If it was any good, our leaving wouldn’t destroy it ?…..


  7. Mick
    February 17, 2017

    Well I’m not a good European, but I am a good English man, you say our government as no wish to expel eu citizens well just say those that arrived legally upto June 23rd can stop, all the others can apply to stay and then be vetted, not rocket science, then if the eu say all brits have to leave after the 2yr period then simples send all there nationals back, what’s complicated about that, off topic what happened to the illegals that were caught in the back of the truck the other day, if not sent straight back why not, and then there’s the muppet Blair who open the floodgates in 2004 to let everyone in spouting his rubbish saying remoaners should rise up for another referendum, it’s a pity the tower isn’t used anymore ??

    1. Peter Parsons
      February 18, 2017

      One of the proposed amendments to the Article 50 bill was the following:

      “Nothing in this Act shall affect the continuation of those residence rights enjoyed by EU citizens lawfully resident in the United Kingdom on 23 June 2016, under or by virtue of Directive 2004/38/EC, after the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.”

      Included in those who voted against this proposed amendment: rh John Redwood.

      Reply Because we await the guarantees for UK citizens on the continent!

  8. Prigger
    February 17, 2017

    I am not a good European. I am not a good Asian. I am not a good a good Inuit.

    I am British

    ASEAN may be a very good economic and political union. I have no thoughts on it good or bad. Singapore,Vietnam, Brunei, Indonesia,Philippines,Cambodia,, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand are probably wonderful countries with lovely people. I wish them well. But I am British.
    I hope Tony Blair does not wish us to “rise up” tomorrow as he does against Brexit and join ASEAN instead or rejoin the EU. There are no Weapons of Mass Destruction in Brussels. He should learn and stop moaning about it.

    1. Anonymous
      February 17, 2017

      Tony Blair knows we are staying in the EU come hell or high water. The Lords will block it and they will not be reformed.

      His aim is to make it look like it was our decision and to avoid bringing the anti-democratic nature of the EU and our own Parliament into full view.

      1. Prigger
        February 17, 2017

        We are not staying in the EU. The House of Lords does actually have a duty to examine stuff. It’s just that any tinkering with it simply undermines our negotiating position.

        The Labour Party + LibDems + SNP deliberately undermined the original Cameron negotiation by shouting out they would accept ANYTHING. They haven’t changed their wimpish position.
        If the EU suggested hammering their heads together they would agree and thank them very nicely for it and say it was a benefit to the NHS and how the NHS would fall apart if they hadn’t had their heads banged.

  9. DaveM
    February 17, 2017


    I usually agree with most of what you say. However, in my opinion, being a good European (which I don’t consider myself to be, being an anglo-saxon and therefore loyal to England and our friends in the wider anglo-saxon world) would mean helping the people of Europe.

    What you seem to be talking about is helping the EU bureaucracy achieve their aim of a fiscal and political union – precisely the thing that you have railed against for decades. IMO being a good European would mean destroying the EU and giving European countries and people back control of their own homelands.

    1. hefner
      February 18, 2017

      Interesting point of view: how do you know that the majority of people in the other 27 European countries want to get out? Don’t you think it should have nothing to do with the British people? Wouldn’t it be better to let the individual European nations take their own decisions? After all, there are elections coming in the NL, F, D, and possibly other countries in the coming months. Why not wait and see?

      After all, the British Empire, if I am properly informed, mainly disappeared in the 50s. No need to interfere or as JR seems so keen to do, give “good advice”.

      I would think the quality of continental politicians cannot be so much worse than the one here in Britain.

  10. alan jutson
    February 17, 2017

    Has our government organised any policy cut off date or deadline yet for EU citizens entering our Country, or how it is going to prove that entry date in any argument..

    May I suggest an entry date stamp be put on all passports of all people on entering the UK on the date article 50 is served.

    Any passports subsequently lost, are deemed to have been stamped after that date.

    Then and only then will we even start to get back control.

  11. oldtimer
    February 17, 2017

    The idea that political union is near seems unlikely to me. German voters have been assured by Mrs Merkel that they will not be liable for Greek bailouts and the like. I do wonder if Germany is quietly taking precautions about a future breakup of the EZ. It is reported that Germany has repatriated about half its gold reserves to Frankfurt, most of it from the Federal Reserve in the USA and some from Paris.

  12. Michael James
    February 17, 2017

    The EU is quite capable of harming itself trying to punish the UK for leaving. What is the euro if not a giant act of self-harm?

  13. Mark B
    February 17, 2017

    One of my main arguments for the UK to leave the EU was to allow the rest of the members to complete their union free from the UK seeking to hold them back.

    Of which I 100% agree 😉 The sooner those lemmings get to that cliff edge, the better.

    It was always the case, even since the days of Lady Thatcher that the UK would either have to join the Euro or leave. Even Lord Heseltine has stated for the record that he believes the UK would one day join the Euro. A prediction I glad may never come true 🙂

    The situation regarding UK nationals in the EU is sadly, a fact of life. They, like EU citizens in the UK, will have to have visas or, attain EU citizenship.

    I have said it before. The number one thing the EU is afraid of, is contagion. ie Others leaving.

  14. acorn
    February 17, 2017

    You say, “I find the delay in the EU acknowledging that all UK citizens legally settled in the rest of the EU can stay there is shocking.”

    EU citizenship is a member state competence not an EU competence. You only acquire EU citizenship by naturalisation via an EU member state’s law. It would be worth considering getting French citizenship. The UK allows dual nationality (citizenship); but some EU member states don’t. Have a read of Nomad Capitalist How to get a Second Passport and Second Citizenship. And, consider all Brexiteer statements to be Trumpism.

    1. Denis Cooper
      February 17, 2017

      Why then do national leaders keep saying that they cannot agree anything now, it has to be an EU-wide agreement?

  15. Mike Stallard
    February 17, 2017

    Let us cross the Channel for a second.
    The situation is desperate. Unfortunately this site will not allow me to put up a chart, but the fact is that the EU treasury is more or less supported by Germany and Great Britain with France, the Netherlands and Italy coming a poor second. Most of the other countries are either coasting or costing.
    We now have the possibility of France and Italy and Holland losing the elections and leaving too.
    In which case, Germany will be left paying for everyone!
    M. Juncker can forget about trade deals. UK must be kept in at all costs. At all costs.
    Associate membership would solve all this easily: no commissioner, no place on the Council, no MEPs and nobody in the Ukrep. But the same – or more – to pay.

    1. alan jutson
      February 17, 2017


      The EU had all of the opportunity in the World to keep the UK within the EU.

      All it had to do was give David Cameron some tiny little nugget of a concession on his requests, and it may have been enough to sway some people to vote remain instead of leave.

      But what did they do, they bigged it up, and threw all of his requests back in his face, and at the same time insulted the intelligence and sense of fair play of the UK population.

      Cameron then doubly insulted us, by trying to present absolute failure as a success.

      Blame the EU and a weak willed UK Prime Minister for us leaving, no one else.

      The EU were given every chance to keep us in, they through it back in our faces, now they realise they may be short of money but they still nevertheless threaten us again with financial punishment.

      Why on earth do they think we would want to remain in such an organisation.

      1. alan jutson
        February 17, 2017


        Threw !

  16. Alan
    February 17, 2017

    One of the strange things about the Brexiters is that they believe that trading with the rest of the EU is a poor deal for the UK, but then seem worried that we might not be given a free trade deal with it.

    They based some of their campaigning before the referendum on saying how confident they were that the EU would agree to a good trade deal – remember all those articles saying that the Germans were desperate to sell us cars and the French their wine and cheese? Now it turns out that this may have been too optimistic. Instead we are now being told that free trade agreements with Australia, New Zealand, and other unspecified countries will make up for leaving the richest market in the world. Well, we will see, but this is quite a gamble.

    There is also no mention that we will be losing the trade agreements with non-EU countries such as Mexico and South Korea that the EU has negotiated on our behalf. These will have to be re-negotiated, presumably on poorer terms in most cases.

    Reply I made clear throughout the referendum campaign that we might end up with WTO MFN trade which will work fine.

    1. Denis Cooper
      February 17, 2017

      It will be up to Mexico and South Korea to decide what they prefer to do about those trade agreements.

      Yes, they could be awkward about them – and with the EU as well as the UK – or they could say: “For the moment let’s just continue trading on those agreed terms”.

      In the latter case they would only need to exchange letters with the UK confirming that both parties were content to do that.

  17. Anonymous
    February 17, 2017

    Of course, fiscal union and redistributive taxation is the next step in the EU project. Why would any Remainer/Good EU citizen be happy with the elderly in other regions being stripped of their youth and their wealth creators ?

    Of course the importation of the EU’s economic refugees (some 400,000 this year) is another way of redistributing wealth.

    So Britain becomes a concreted, crowded, hot house workshop and then gets taxed to the hilt to prop up the other EU regions.

    I can’t see us leaving the EU properly. Tony Blair is now on the case and the Lords will not be reformed if it blocks Brexit. I think that is Mrs May’s plan. To stall article 50 until the obstacles can be constructed.

    Expect record immigration this year.

    I suppose we’ll have to settle for second best. To bring the contempt of our people into the open. All Blair’s plan is is to make it look like it was our choice and to hide this contempt from view.

  18. Sir Joe Soap
    February 17, 2017

    Yes, all bien connu….

    Then we find in the postbag this morning a rather shocking letter about a small business unit we were looking at expanding into:

    Rateable Value 2016/2017 – £20,500
    Rates Payable 2016/2017 – £10,188.50

    Rateable Value 2017/2018 – £26,000
    Rates Payable 2017/2018 – £12,454

  19. Bert Young
    February 17, 2017

    Now that Blair has entered the fray I expect our attitude to Brexit will harden . His decisions when PM took us into conflicts that were nothing more than his ego sucking up to George Bush ; the costs of his errant ways in lives and money will never be forgotten or forgiven .

    The EU is not and will not be a sharing and caring democracy ; there are too many divisions of culture that will not permit a single identity . Its bureaucracy can strive and make every effort to try to stitch things together but the only consequence is further division . Each member country has its own agenda and particular priorities and they will never come together as a cohesive whole . The poor ones want the riches of the better off ones ; the better off ones simply want to expand their markets without loss to themselves . Looking beyond this simplicity is a fools paradise .

  20. Roy Grainger
    February 17, 2017

    There are 3 million EU nationals in U.K. and one million UK nationals in EU. If the unelected EU negotiators want to indulge in self-harm let them get on with it, in the end the national governments (e.g. Poland) will force them to agree to a reciprocal deal, unless the House of Lords scuppers it by a unilateral amendment to the A50 bill.

  21. Antisthenes
    February 17, 2017

    Blair and all the other remainers believe that we should all be subservient to the state. A benevolent entity that knows what is best for us. The bigger the state then all the better and the EU fits that bill. Most these days see nothing wrong in statism even though the disadvantages of it are so blatantly obvious. Oddly though whilst not decrying statism the people are calling to have more control over their lives. Devolution, Brexit and the growing number of protest parties are manifestations of this.

    For real change and improvement to happen then blame for our social and economic woes have to be accepted that they lie with our current form of governance. Too little government and there is chaos too much and you have stagnation, corruption, tyranny, waste, miss allocation of resources, incompetence and more. The EU is the apex of this bureaucratic and political mess we have made for ourselves by embracing statism.

  22. DaveM
    February 17, 2017

    OT – good to see the most reviled PM of recent times is being given a solid platform in line with the BBC’s anti-democratic agenda. I like being told daily – via the BBC – that I’m stupid and didn’t know what I was voting for!!

    Even better to see Trump berating the BBC’s duty Trump-watch reporter.

  23. forthurst
    February 17, 2017

    In the bad old days, the North of England was wealthy; it did not need alms from rich Southerners to survive. Their industries (apart from deep pit coal-mining) were destroyed by egregious and imbecilic government policies. Before the Euro, there were not basket cases in Southern Europe. Politicians need to wake up to the fact that when there are permanent and massive imbalances between regions, they are responsible for correcting this, not by removing the wealth of one region to dole out to another, but by rectifiying their own ineptitude.

  24. Our bless-ed media
    February 17, 2017

    Sky News at midnight is going to show its entirely unbiased, fair,non-Fake News balanced view: “Trump: The Disruptive President …Cordelia Lynch reflects on Donald Trump’s second week in office and his disruptive influence at home and abroad”

    1. DaveM
      February 17, 2017

      Don’t worry, no one will watch it.

  25. James Neill
    February 17, 2017

    The problem is that there are too many EU politicians and administrators with long memories still around who suffered at the hands of the UK political establishment and UK press over the past two or three decades. It is fair to say that more than enough decent and indecent remarks and insults including personal insults have been hurled across the floor of the EU parliament on a daily basis. Britain has no friends remaining in Europe and we had better get used to it.

    The British retirees in the main will have no choice but to return home first of all because they will not be covered by the EU health insurance system whereas young Europeans working in UK will be quite entitled to the NHS services because they will be paying in. So what’s that you were saying about forging new relationships and new trade deals- where?

    1. James Matthews
      February 17, 2017

      Britain already gets a billed for the healthcare of expatriate pensioners (in some case for better care than would be provided here). Meanwhile they take money into the countries in which they have settled. No reason why they should choose to come home and no reason why they should be ejected.

    2. ChrisS
      February 17, 2017

      James, you are not correct on the issue of older people living in the 27.

      Any Brit in receipt of a UK state retirement pension requiring medical treatment in an EU country has the bill paid for by the UK Government. It is only people below state retirement age that have to pay their own costs of join a local scheme.

      It is therefore possible for the UK Government to continue this practice for our retired people, even if the 27 decide not to provide reciprocal benefits for their own retired citizens living in the UK. In that case the UK could then require them to take out private health Insurance.

  26. a-tracy
    February 17, 2017

    Junker “If you look at what Europe is doing in defence, plus development aid, plus humanitarian aid, the comparison with the United States looks rather different. Modern politics cannot just be about raising defence spending,” he said.

    Does this mean we can lump all of our spending together for defence, development aid, humanitarian aid and drop some of the %GDP spending on the aid to match with others in Europe because that is quite a saving to spend back on UK priorities like our Health Service and Social Care Bill.

  27. Ed Mahony
    February 17, 2017

    Tony Blair: please jump back into your political box. Apologise first for Iraq (1. you didn’t allow Hans Blix to confirm there were no WMD, 2. no post war planning 3. It was ultimately a pre-emptive strike not one of self-defence – helping to kick up a hornet’s nest of terrorism and instability in the middle east), and then we might listen to you.

    1. margaret
      February 17, 2017

      Rise up and go against the will of the people.. just like ISIS?
      We didn’t have the knowledge so we can change our minds! we have first hand knowledge of living under EU rules .

  28. ian
    February 17, 2017

    so your saying that people from the eu who live hear on housing credits and in work tax credits will able to stay in the uk for the rest their life with all freebes that go with it, how are you going to tell after you leave the eu, who is coming to work or just coming for a holiday and what about extended families rules and able to get NIs numbers and driving licences because you have no cheques in place, it just going to be free for all as usual, no wonder the overseas rich people are buying all the land they can in and a round the M25.

  29. Julien Tabulazero
    February 17, 2017

    Please Mr Redwood. As you well know, the rest of the EU is absolutely willing to discuss the situation of expats on both side of the Chanel as soon as the UK deign triggering article 50. Barnier said so. Tusk said so. Verhofstadt said so.

    I would also like to bring to your forgetful attention that the first major British politician to have questioned the right of EU nationals to stay in the UK was Theresa May herself in July 2016 during her run for the conservative leadership. Prior to that, no one, not even Nigel Farage, had put this into question.

    I personally find ham-fisted the attempt by the British government to use the situation of expats on both side as ploy to test whether the rest of the EU was serious about the no negotiation before article 50 that the EU has set itself. It turns out they are.

    You could assume that if the current conservative government had any genuine care about the European and British expats, then the United Kingdom could have started by explaining how it intends the future relationship to work. It should have at the very least started to float a plan detailing how the rights & obligations between the various parties be split.

    Yet other than a deafening silence and crocodile tears from British conservative pundits… nothing.

    I strongly urge you to stay away from this subject as it may actually anger the exact people who have to deal with it and its uncertainties. Please find something else to write about.

    Reply This should not need a discussion. EU countries should just issue the reassurances needed

  30. Andy
    February 17, 2017

    I don’t know why you are shocked that the Continental Europeans would be using the rights of UK nationals resident across the EU as a hostage to negotiation – I fully expected them to behave like that. But I doubt in Law the residency of UK nationals after we leave the EU is an EU matter anyway. I would have thought these were bi-lateral matters between individual Nation States, and I certainly think we should approach the issue in that way.

  31. Ed Mahony
    February 17, 2017

    ‘but most Conservatives i know here in the UK’ – ordinary voters who i know / am friends with – not politicians (don’t know any personally – but i’m sure there are increasingly more Conservative MPs who would agree).
    – the guy’s dangerous.

  32. John O'Leary
    February 17, 2017

    “..they can hurt themselves by imposing high tariffs on their agricultural exports to us..”

    Mr Redwood can you please explain this? It is my understanding that any tariffs applied to EU exports to the UK can only be the action of the UK government imposing them.

    Reply If tgey choose to go to MFN WTO tariffs the only high ones are on ag

    1. Julien Tabulazero
      February 17, 2017

      I see the WTO argument cropping up very often but one thing I do not understand is that under WTO rules aren’t you supposed to treat all member equally.

      So if we assume for argument’s sake that the EU and the UK strike a tariff free sectorial deal on automotive parts (something the current government would like) then wouldn’t the EU and the U.K. Have to extend the same terms and condition to the rest of the WTO including China under the Most Favored Nation Clause ?

      How do you think the just-about-managing families of Nissan Sunderland will fare in direct competition with their colleagues from Dongfeng in Wuhan ?

      Your thoughts on the above would be useful.

      Reply Tariffs are on final products, not components. If we strike a free trade deal with tge EU we register it as a special deal with the WTO and do not have to extend it to third countries

  33. Martyn G
    February 17, 2017

    The EU is fundamentally undemocratic and cannot be democratised. It is a creation of powerful political, economic and bureaucratic elites, few of whom have democratic legitimacy and authority, there is no European “demos,” and no European people bound together as they are within their own nation state. The more these elites push for “more Europe” and the more the national democracy of its Member States is whittled away, the more they demonstrate their political illegitimacy and lack of democratic authority.
    The Euro is based on a monetary but not a fiscal or political union. This does not make the EU an established State with legitimacy based on a common government and true sense of a shared national solidarity underpinned by a common political and fiscal transfer systems. How, then, can the EU ever become a fully-fledged State or, as it wants to, the US of EU in such circumstances? It must and will eventually collapse under the weight of its own sclerotic incompetence and the day that we leave this sinking ship, the better it will be for this once proud and truly sovereign nation of ours.

  34. ian
    February 17, 2017

    James neill, uk people living abroad for more than 6 months are not entitled to anything when they come back to the uk, they have to wait 6 months before the entitlements are reinstated, it not like immigrant coming to live hear who are entitle to everything on day one and can come and go as they please, look up the rules, british people come last.

    1. James neill
      February 17, 2017

      Ian.. exactly.. we are in deep trouble and it is all of our own making for listening to the spin and lies from Farage Gove and Boris, and then voting accordingly… in fact most pensioner retirees returning home will very likely have to take out private health insurance- if they can afford it- just to get them through any waiting time before they are entitled to UK benefits..

      On the other hand maybe the extra 350 pounds per week we were promised for the health service might go some way to easing any problems during this period? – well i suppose we won’t have very long to wait to see…

    2. fedupsoutherner
      February 18, 2017

      Correct Ian. Ex pats have paid half their taxes in England while living abroad and yet get nothing for 6 months. It happened to us when we came back from Spain. It is about time the government got their priorities right.

  35. ian
    February 17, 2017

    That why troop who come back from overseas and leave the army have the law used against them by councils.
    You to pay for NHS and all free services and are not entitled to housing.

  36. tony
    February 17, 2017

    What confused me and continues to do so is; (1) why eight months on from Brexit, we have not even managed to submit a formal notice of our intention to leave where there was clear expectations of an EU backed counter insurgents hand fighting to stop it not only inside parliament, but also our courts? (2) Why has the law of treason not been placed back on statute to guide those seeking to make reasoned objections and arguments against those seeking to support a hostile foreign power who threatens to harm our country? (3) Why has the European Arrest Warrant (EAW), legislation so contrary to Magna Carta and the sworn coronation oath of Queen Elizabeth ll, not up for total repeal. (4) Why has the government not provided its total commitment to the full restoration of our sons of the sea birthrights?

  37. John
    February 17, 2017

    If it is a good idea for rich EU countries to send money to the poorer ones in the south, why, in this country, is it a good idea for for the poor English nation to send money to rich Scotland, N.I and Wales? After all they get thousands more per head than we do.

  38. ian
    February 17, 2017

    If you think things are going to get better when or if you leave the eu your in for a another lesson on how things are done in this country, like sir joe soap points out with small business rates going up with lot more underhand ways coming to keep small businesses down and people who have good jobs now will be getting their P45 as big businesses move to bring more cheap workers for I.T. and engineering and jobs like that, business all ways get what it want from your MPs in parliament. Happy voting.

  39. Simon
    February 19, 2017

    It is all very well of you to suddenly impose your personal preferences on the rest of us as though they were matters of high legal and moral principle of which you alone are the custodian. I see no justification at all for giving a carte blanche to EU migrants to go on living here. It might surprise you to know that taking back control for many of us does not mean staying stuck at the status quo. It is taking back control for the purpose of then doing something positive. That should mean a sharp net reduction in migrants living here, and a complete withdrawal of free NHS treatment, education and benefits from the remainder. The most powerful advocates of Brexit are not those who are necessarily going to shape its future according to their own pet foibles.

  40. Julien Tabulazero
    February 21, 2017

    Dear John,

    knowing that 26% of front-line NHS Doctors do not hold a British passport, your proposal to remove all healthcare for the EU expats may prove to be a problem in its own. How do you expect an already overstretched NHS to cope without foreign doctors working for it ?

    Best regards

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