Fanciful figures

This week we saw a couple of sets of fanciful figures intrude on the debate. There was Labour’s 10,000 police at £30 a year salary, hastily adjusted to £8000 a year, still way below what we normally pay our officers. Then there was the FT’s take on the EU bill for the UK leaving the Union, at Euro 100bn.

The first sets of numbers were mistakes, and have been adjusted upwards as much Labour spending will need to be to make it realistic. £300 m a year is nearer the mark.

The second story that the UK owes up to Euro 100 bn is just silly. There are no legal obligations to pay beyond the sums we owe for our regular contributions over the next twenty two months before we leave. If they want a political deal on money, then of course they would need to knock off our share of the assets. I don’t see that is a sensible or attractive way to proceed for them. They should just accept the Treaty that allows for no special bill.

The UK should continue to be friendly, outward going and positive about it all. We should continue to stress the great deal we are proposing for our future relationship. Free access to our market for all their exporters. Guarantees for all their citizens living and working in the UK. Continued large UK contributions to the defence, security, research and culture of Europe.

Stable and strong leadership is needed by the UK, to be optimistic but to be firm in resisting silly proposals that have no basis in law or political reality.
The EU disobliging briefings sound as if they are coming from people who suddenly realise their negotiating strategy of pressurising a member state into seeing it their way is not going to work. The EU thought the UK would want to stay in the Single market Custom Union. They could then seek to charge us for that. It was always a silly assumption, as the UK clearly wants to make its own free trade agreements with the rest of the world which means leaving the Customs Union. The UK was also clear it wanted to stop paying the money. It is the Commission who are most worried about the loss of the UK’s contributions, as it’s their budgets and salaries that will suffer.

The way countries pay to trade with other reluctant countries is via tariffs. If the EU wants to put tariffs up against us, it can only do so to a limited extent under WTO rules.It would be a lot cheaper than the bills we are hearing about. In return we can impose more tariffs on them given the nature and volume of their exports to us. That is why I have always thought it likely in the end they will want tariff free trade. It is, of course, always possible they wish to self harm. However, it seems it is more the EU Commission that favours a tough approach as the harm is to the member states, not to the Commission itself. The member states are more likely to wake up to the harm it could do their export companies and especially their farmers and want a more sensible approach.

If the EU seriously thinks we need to give them money to be able to sell them goods presumably they would need to give us money to sell us goods. I can’t see that idea catching on.

Promoted by Fraser McFarland on behalf of John Redwood, both at 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU

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  1. Len Grinds
    Posted May 4, 2017 at 5:05 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, you have consistently told your readers that the EU needs a deal more than the UK, and so we have a strong bargaining position.
    If this were true, the debate would be about how much the EU will pay to the UK for a deal. But it is not. The exact reverse is occurring.
    You have misled your readers.

    • Yossarion
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 7:54 am | Permalink

      Mr Junker said this was to close the Books, then let us see the books with an independent audit signed off for the last Twenty Years

      • Hope
        Posted May 6, 2017 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

        My big worry is that we had Cameron making big bold false claims he would not pay the extra £1.7 billion demand to the EU and then quietly paid £2.9 billion!

        However it might be disguised i.e. Transitional deal or whatever, not a penny more of my taxes thank you.

        Germany becomes rich at ten expense of the others let Merkel pay. She makes demands and imposes conditions on each country, time for her to accept the responsibility of enriching itself at the others expense.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      Attn Grinds–Where does it say in the Treaties that the EU is not a Golf Club?

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted May 6, 2017 at 8:52 am | Permalink

        Oh Well–Failed Mods again and there was me hoping to have someone explain how Juncker could be allowed to get away with spouting that the EU is not a Golf Club

    • David Price
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      The formal “debate” hasn’t started yet so we will see how the bargaining goes.

      Meanwhile, Monsieur Barnier apparently believes the EU is fragile and utterly dependent on UK funding.

    • libertarian
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      Len Grinds

      The fact that the UK does not wish to harm the rest of the EU by demanding a share of the assets seems to have passed you by completely.

      I’m afraid Len you have no clue what you are are talking about.

    • Hope
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      JR, there is nothing stepng and stable in the Tory govt as we have seen by the false cast iron guarantees, the unequivicol promises that never materialized i.e. Cut immigration to tens of thousands, clean up Westminster, Will not pay the £1.7 billion to the EU, reformed EU!, Bloomberg speech lauded by you, EVEL, mayors being imposed to stealthily impose federal England and U.K. And of course the central plank of the economic plan to balance the structural deficit by 2015. Which is now been extended to an unknown date if ever in the further.

      The public do not have a choice who to vote for because there is no opposition holding the govt to account. Even though the govt has stole their ideas for seven years! Sadly, we will get EU light spun as a good deal and the only option blah,blah blah. May’s record is appalling, her values, views are anything but conservative. Are we seeing another choiographed spat nonsense with the EU as we did with Cameron?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      That is because people like you promote the idea that we should pay them for the privilege of running a massive trade deficit as if that was logical and a matter of course. Look at Norway, they say, Norway is not in the EU but still has to pay the EU for access to the EU Single Market, taking care not to mention that Norway is a net exporter to the EU so the cases are reversed. It has been repeatedly pointed out here and in some other places that if anyone is going to pay anyone for free access to a market then they should be paying us for access to our domestic market, and if you were on our side not theirs then you too would be arguing that.

    • NickC
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      Len Grinds, The exact reverse is not occurring. Nothing has “occurred” at all, bar invoking Art50. The EU is just making loud outlandish demands. That is part of their negotiating strategy to try to extract more from us. We would be foolish to believe them.

    • Peter D Gardner
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      You are listening to the wrong debate. You are not listening to the negotiation between the UK and the EU, but to a stream of propaganda from the EU into the Rem supporting elements of British media and ripostes to that from others in UK. It has very little to do with what is actually going on between the people involved in the negotiations.

    • zorro
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Nonsense! That is because the EU are crying the most, maybe protesting too much. We haven’t made any demands on them…. yet! I think that we should sooner rather than later if it continues in this way.

      Why can you not see that they cannot demand such sums before even talking to us? Show me where in the treaties – deal with the reality – in any case, they lose financially in terms of tariffs so we can use other tactics as well. The attitude shown by the EU is born out of fear – that is clear.


      • Len Grinds
        Posted May 7, 2017 at 6:05 am | Permalink

        If you are right, then of course at some stage the EU will cave in, and say “Please let us carry on trading with you, name your price, we will pay it”.
        You should, however, note that all UK politicians close to the negotiation – Davies, May, Johnson – have very carefully avoided the sort of “we will pay nothing!” tablethumping preferred by Mr Redwood. This is because they have grasped that since 45 per cent of UK exports go to the EU, while only 6 per cent of EU exports got to the UK, the reality is that the UK is in a very weak position

    • getahead
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 6:31 pm | Permalink


  2. Newmania
    Posted May 4, 2017 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    You have not the slightest idea whether these amounts are due or not and if the EU pursue their case then we are likely to end up with third country status and the bill as well . They are not going to agree to any extension under such circumstances .
    They will suffer marginally but consider it worth it and if we choose to impose tarrifs on their goods and services we will make it even worse for us

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      UK’s net contribution to the EU is approximately Euro 10 billion a year. So a bill of Euro 100 billion represents ten years of net contributions. But you say we don’t have the slightest idea of whether that is justified ?

      • ian wragg
        Posted May 5, 2017 at 9:52 am | Permalink

        I’m beginning to believe that our net contribution is much higher than we have been told. What with the common external tariff that goes to Brussels plus a portion of VAT I think we are being mislead.
        There is no wonder Brussels is panicking if this is the case as they are about to lose a substantial income stream and the truth may be about to be exposed.
        It’s funny how they have billions to prop up Greece on a twice annually basis but can’t afford to lose us.

      • Hope
        Posted May 5, 2017 at 10:45 am | Permalink

        What is not a fan CIL figure is the car registration numbers dropping by 20 percent. Grayling and May must be proud of their warnings on behalf of the apocalyptic green lobby that always costs us money. In this case it is effecting the economy. Are they really this daft at a time when manufacturing and production is needed?

    • DaveM
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      “You have not the slightest idea whether these amounts are due or not”

      Does anyone?

    • libertarian
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 9:37 am | Permalink


      You obviously went to the Diana Abbott school of numbers and logic

      Article 50 has NO PROVISION for the payment of anything on leaving the EU. The only sum that could be reasonably requested is our contribution whilst we remain a member.

      The EU are trying to impose a fee in order for us to have full rights to a so called “soft Brexit” The problem with their approach is that we dont want or need a “soft Brexit”

      • zorro
        Posted May 6, 2017 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        He would have been expelled from that school! ?


    • Andy
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      There is no basis for a ‘Brexit Bill’ either under the EU Treaties (go read them) nor under International Law and custom. The EU is financed in a certain way derived from the Treaties. When the Treaties ‘cease to apply’ those sources of funding cease also. Any spending committments made have been made by ‘members of the EU’ utilising the budget of the EU. And there is provision in the Treaties for the budget to be revised and this is what the EU should be busy doing.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      What amounts? These numbers are just being made up as part of an EU propaganda campaign, which is why the sum demanded can suddenly change from €60 billion to €100 billion and the news of that massive hike is then fed out to the UK public via a consistently pro-EU newspaper. And the reaction to that supposed news has really sorted out the goats from the sheep in the UK.

    • MickN
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      What some of you remoaners need to start getting your head around is that the good ship EU is sinking. I for one am glad that we are on the first life raft away from the wreckage. When it eventually happens , yes it will affect us, but it will be nothing like the problems of those that insist on clinging to the wreckage or going down with the ship.

      • Anonymous
        Posted May 6, 2017 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        Indeed. There is never anything from Newmania about how the EU is meant to turn out or what course it is on.

        What will push its disintigration (and our escape) – as usual – is the scenes from the Med and millions of pushy young blokes making their way to the EU.

        The differing thoughts on this problem – between the elitist Left and ordinary people – are never ever going to be reconciled.

        The bad news will keep coming and coming, right wing extremism will grow and grow and is a far greater issue on the Continent than it is here, where fascism really can’t take hold.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      “… we are likely to end up with third country status … ”

      If you knew what you were talking about rather than just parroting what others say then you would understand that any country which is not an EU member state has that third country status as far as the EU is concerned. So we will “end up with third country status” when we leave the EU, there is no way to avoid that apart from not leaving the EU which is of course your position.

    • NickC
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      Newmania, If the UK imposed half the EU tariff on all imported agricultural produce (per WTO rules), EU produce would increase in price, but World produce would reduce by the same amount. The UK consumer would be slightly better off (due to preferring cheaper World food), and the government would get to keep the import duties. What’s not to like?

    • Robin Wilcox
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      It’s obvious to anyone that the EU are making this up as they go along. The Government has taken legal advice and the EUs claims have no basis in either the treaties or international law.
      If the EU wants to take legal action then let them. international law takes years and is difficult to enforce. I look forward to hearing their explanation as to why their accounts have not passed an audit for two decades.

    • Peter D Gardner
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Third country status is EU-speak for a Free Country. You don’t seem to understand that every country in the world except for EU members is a ‘third country’. Since UK is leaving the EU, it will automatically become a third country.
      There is no legal basis for demanding any contributions to the EU budget, financial and stability funds or any other EU budget or guarantee once UK leaves.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 6, 2017 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

        Every non-EU country in the world, including the three in the EEA.

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      Of course, it would help to be able to determine what we owe if any bill that the EU sends us will be accompanied with a full disclosure of EU accounts for the past 20 years.

      It is doubtful that these accounts exist – that they somehow blew out of a secretary’s hand and went straight into a shredder.

      You’re on the wrong side of history, Newmania.

    • zorro
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      Not a clue….


    • getahead
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      Newmania the EU cannot make us pay for anything we do not agree to. Why do you keep doing your country and yourself, down?

    • James Sutherland
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      “You have not the slightest idea whether these amounts are due or not and if the EU pursue their case then we are likely to end up with third country status and the bill as well”

      You say that as if “third country status” were something to be avoided at all costs, rather than precisely what we should be aiming for! (The only place I’ve seen this complained about so far was the German complaint, where the Germans seem to think it outrageous that we would put all our immigrants on a level playing field rather than reserving a special ultra-privileged status for EU immigrants above all others – not something we should even consider, unless the EU were to pay us handsomely for doing so.)

      The EU’s own lawyers, as well as the House of Lords, concluded the bill has little or no legal substance behind it, and virtually no prospect of collecting their wished-for payout unless they can persuade us to agree to it.

  3. Anonymous
    Posted May 4, 2017 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    I am bothered that we are being led away from the no-deal option. I’m not saying no-deal is what I’d prefer – just that to get the best deal in any negotiation means walking away has to be an option.

    George Osborne’s London Evening Standard, Gina Miller and others are saying “An election win will not be a mandate for extreme Brexit” They are trying to corner Mrs May into saying something extreme and if she doesn’t then she will have no mandate.

    This is bordering on treachery – as though having opponents on the other side of the Channel isn’t enough to contend with.

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      Let’s hope UKIP losses aren’t being read as buyer’s remorse over Brexit.

      • DaveM
        Posted May 5, 2017 at 7:38 am | Permalink

        I shouldn’t think so considering the losses sustained by the LibDems and Labour.

      • sm
        Posted May 5, 2017 at 7:58 am | Permalink

        Anon – Being read thus by whom?

        UKIP’s raison d’etre has, to all intents and purposes, been achieved, and it is not unreasonable to suppose that their voters are now returning to the mainstream parties.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted May 6, 2017 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

          But not necessarily their previous party; UKIP having detached some Labour supporters they will not all go back to Labour.

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted May 5, 2017 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        With the Conservatives winning seats, Labour/UKIP losing seats..LibDems (who cares) is presumably people’s wish for the Conservatives to get on with Brexit with a clear mandate….pretty simple really.

        As for the ridiculous posturing by EU officials, one can only conclude it is a sign of weakness in their negotiation argument…as they say “If you’re taking flak, you’re right over the target”

      • getahead
        Posted May 5, 2017 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

        UKIP’s voters have temporarily crossed over to support Theresa in her negotiations.
        We haven’t gone away.

      • Anjela Kewell
        Posted May 6, 2017 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        UKIP votes are going to the Tories so I rather think that confirms their stance on Brexit.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      The mandate comes from what May puts in her manifesto. That will be key.

    • David Price
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      The likes of Gina Miller, Tony Blair and George Osbourne are not arbiters of what mandate the government does or doesn’t have. That will be decided by the electorate voting on a manifesto in combination with the clearly expressed wish to leave the EU.

      • Anonymous
        Posted May 6, 2017 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

        Then the manifesto is going to have to be quite blunt.

    • NickC
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      Anon, You are right. However there is no such thing as “hard”, “harsh”, “soft”, or “extreme” Brexit, there is only “Leave” or “Remain”. Anything where the UK remains under EU control in any way (money, laws, courts) is a fake Brexit, or really Remain.

    • Robin Wilcox
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      Incredible isn’t it how less Europe requires voting and scrutiny until the Europhiles get the result they want. It seems the only acceptable mandate is their mandate.
      We were never at any time given a vote to decide whether we wanted to join the Common Market or the EU.

      • Anjela Kewell
        Posted May 6, 2017 at 10:24 am | Permalink

        Mrs M. and George Osborne wouldn’t be satisfied with anything other than staying in the EU. Theresa May needs to hold her nerve and go for Brexit. I really think these are the very last people she should be listening too. We have had court cases, votes in the HoL and now crowdfunding across Europe by Mrs M just to stop Brexit under the guise of democracy in action. I sincerely hope that Mrs M will be shown the door by the voting in the country on 8June because she certainly hasn’t been democratic so far. George Osborne is yesterday’s man trying to take revenge on Theresa May. It will backfire because she has the emotional intelligence that he lacks.

        • Amandine
          Posted May 6, 2017 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

          Can we just clarify that ‘Mrs M’ is Gina Miller?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted May 11, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

          George Osborne is a dire lefty, pro EU, tax increasing failed ex-chancellor who wasted money hand over fist on things like HS2, green crap grants, wage controls, apprentice schemes, compulsory pension and the likes.

          Let us rejoice that he has finally gone. Lots of tedious stuff from him in The Spectator today too. Perhaps I shall cancel my subscription.

  4. oldtimer
    Posted May 4, 2017 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    It seems possible that the Commission is encouraged by Germany to see what it can extract from the negotiations, as Germany will be by far the biggest contributor to the Commission budget after the UK leaves. The initial briefings and exchanges indicate that the actual negotiations will get off to a bad start in a hostile environment. The chances of no agreement must be high. I trust that Mrs May remains true to her word that “no deal is better than a bad deal”.

    • getahead
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      I doubt if German car companies are at all interested in the sort of closure that Brussels seems to want.
      Brussels is more interested in its own survival than the well-being of rump EU countries.

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted May 4, 2017 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    Indeed but fanciful figures is just what politicians do. When asked about the costs to the economy of the four extra bank holidays proposed by Corbyn, he said people would spend more over these weekend, so their might be no net cost! Clearly the man is an economic genious. We might as well all stop working completely then. Except then where would this money to spend come from, and where could we actually spend it?

    The idea that the UK should pick up the £10 Billion (as was suggested) of pension liablilities for the British EU staff is also totally absurd. We did not employ these people, the EU did. Their pensions liablities are the part of the costs of the EU employing them and should have been provided for at the time by the EU.

    Anyway do Mandelson, Patton and the Kinnock family types really deserve any gold plated low tax pensions for what they did to the UK?

  6. Jerry
    Posted May 4, 2017 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    The EU is doing what the EU does best, and no one should be surprised by this behaviour, even more so when many suggest that eurocrats consider they are now fighting for the very survival of the EU – Brexit today, perhaps Frexit tomorrow and so on. The EU can ask what ever it likes, the UK can legally simply walk away, perhaps that is what the EU actually wants, the UK accepting WTO rules. It is the symbolism, the message it will send to other EU27, that is important to the eurocrats.

    As for that silly miss-speak from Diana Abbott made, it was obvious to anyone with a first clue she must have meant £300m, so obvious that any impartial radio presenter would have offered the correct figure as a simple yes/no question to Abbott and then had a laugh about it! Funny how few on this site criticise LBC for their bias, but then they give an open-mic to their hero (no, not our host)…

    • Know-dice
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      Diane Abbott is Labour front bench (Shadow Home Secretary), not just another Labour MP.

      You can’t get away with those sort of errors if you expect to be taken seriously in politics.

      I don’t listen to LBC ever so can’t comment on whether they are biased or not…

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      Diana Abbott?

      I disagree. When a holder of an office or a senior member of a Board of Directors can get such a simple sum wrong and clearly struggle in representing the data, one is left in no doubt that person is ill-prepared, which in turn is an insult to the audience! Her argument was not thought through and badly delivered. If our Group Financial Director came and presented in such a manner he would get short shrift from the BOD!

      But then that is the difference between real world businesses with accountability and Politicians with no accountability!

      90% preparation 10% execution still holds water!

    • libertarian
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink


      Agree totally with the first part of your post

      On the Abbott interview, Ferrari said £300,000 are you sure? Thats where it went wrong for Abbott. Instead of stopping and thinking she just tried to bluster her way through it by patronisingly plucking figures from the air. We all realised that she meant £300 million up front it was what she did after that was the problem.

      I dont see whats biased about calling out any politician on their numbers when they are so blatantly wrong

      • libertarian
        Posted May 6, 2017 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        Diane Abbott on local election results programme

        Interviewer . Do you know how many seats Labour has lost so far?

        Abbott At the time this interview is being recorded its around 50

        Int Its actually 125

        Abbott When I looked just now it was 100

        WTF… This is a Cambridge educated , barrister and shadow home secretary.

        I am beginning to seriously worry about this ladies state of mind.

        • Dennis Zoff
          Posted May 6, 2017 at 5:49 pm | Permalink


          Could have been worse? She could have been representing you in court! The mind boggles!

      • Jerry
        Posted May 6, 2017 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        @libertarian; “I dont see whats biased about calling out any politician on their numbers when they are so blatantly wrong”

        I never said he should not have ‘called out’ the error [1], the point is that it was such a blatantly wrong figure that it couldn’t have been anything other than a miss-speak, it was the way he called out the error – had some radio or TV presenter reacted the same to a Tory or UKIP candidate making such an obvious miss-speak how many on this site would be branding the broadcaster, especially the BBC, biased instead of defending the indefensible actions of the presenter during an election period?

        [1] if you re-read what I said in my OP you will note that I suggested that the presenter do exactly that, but by offering the likely correct figure by way of a question

        • libertarian
          Posted May 7, 2017 at 9:58 am | Permalink


          Sorry mate as a radio presenter myself that kind of cobblers from a politician is audience gold. Its not my or Ferraris job to save a politician from their own ignorance .

          She had a big chance to correct herself , she didn’t. She tried to lie her way out. See also her interview on nuclear weapons and Labours lost seats.

          Have you ever listened to a political interview on the radio before? BBC interviewers do the same thing ( rightly) to UKIP, Tory & Lib Dems too all the time, its just that Abbotts mistakes are so glaringly stupid

        • Jerry
          Posted May 7, 2017 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

          @libertarian; Thanks for proving my point! Ratings and not the truth is more important to the commercial media.

          Sorry Walter but I do not believe you are a radio presenter, never mind a producer, even less ‘own’ a radio station – you are to clueless of Ofcom rules and the law for starters…

    • Edward2
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      Commercial radio stands or falls on its listening figures
      It can be biased if it wants to be.
      Left right or centre.
      But the BBC, which most on here do criticise, is very different.

      • Jerry
        Posted May 6, 2017 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        @Edward2; “[LBC] can be biased if it wants to be.”

        Wrong again Eddie! We are in a (local & general) election period, by law the broadcast media have strict rules they must follow, one is to be unbiased.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 7, 2017 at 9:27 am | Permalink

          I was talking about general long term attitudes not just this precise moment.
          Let’s hope the BBC are listening to your warning.
          I thought Nick Ferrari.was quite polite considering his guest’s complete lack of preparation.

        • libertarian
          Posted May 7, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink

          Wrong again Jerry

          Here is Ofcom rule on impartiality

          “Presenters and reporters (with the exception of news presenters and reporters in news programmes), presenters of “personal view” or “authored” programmes or items, and chairs of discussion programmes may express their own views on matters of political or industrial controversy or matters relating to current public policy. However, alternative viewpoints must be adequately represented either in the programme, or in a series of programmes taken as a whole. Additionally, presenters must not use the advantage of regular appearances to promote their views in a way that compromises the requirement for due impartiality. Presenter phone-ins must encourage and must not exclude alternative views.”

          Its the 21st century a lot of radio & TV stations aren’t even governed by Ofcom rules

          • Jerry
            Posted May 7, 2017 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

            @libertarian; But Walter, you missed of the bit about special rules applying (enforced by statute law) during election periods.

            As for your last paragraph, indeed non UK and internet only steams are not but LBC are, as are all radio stations and TV channels licensed to use the RF spectrum.

    • Hamsterwheel
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      You call it bias, some of us call it “holding them to account”.

      • Jerry
        Posted May 6, 2017 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        @Hamsterwheel; No, it is bias. On the other hand it is quite possible to hold politicos to account without being biased.

    • MickN
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      So you condemn LBC for their political bias demonstrated by Nick Ferrari. I take it that you turn off when James O’Brien comes on in the same way that I do then.

      • Jerry
        Posted May 6, 2017 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

        @MickN; I do not condone bias from any in the broadcast media during election periods, who ever they are.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 7, 2017 at 9:28 am | Permalink

          How very noble and even handed of you Jerry

    • forthurst
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      “… it was obvious to anyone with a first clue [Diane Abbott] must have meant £300m”

      Then why did she change the figure to £80m? She did not misspeak, she was plucking numbers out of the air as is Juncker and neither of these politicians is remotely plausible or competent.

      We should not waste any more time ‘negotiating’ with the EU but instead tell them we intend to go for WTO, but if they want a trade deal congruent with that which we already have, we would listen; a WTO deal would be extremely damaging to EU agriculture and beneficial to our farmers as the tariffs are deliberately high so as to enable countries to protect their own agricultural industry (which we cannot do in the CAP) thus Brussels would become knee deep in excess produce dumped by angry farmers as we would supplement our own more efficient farmers’ production with produce from outside the EU now that we have a larger population than can be sustained.

    • Robin Wilcox
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      Yep the Lisbon treaty allows for a maximum of 2 years after A50 is triggered. Then we are out deal or no deal. No deal means no money. The EU has already stated nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      LBC are not funded by licence.

      Diana Abbot was useless. It did not take bias to bring that out.

      • Jerry
        Posted May 6, 2017 at 11:32 am | Permalink

        @Anonymous; Nor is any Radio in the UK, the Radio Reception Licence was abolished in the early 1970s! Next, ignorant, anti BBC rant…

        • Anonymous
          Posted May 6, 2017 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

          According to the BBC website, licensing funds their radio as well.

          OK. Have it your way. Diane Abbott for Home Secretary.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 7, 2017 at 9:29 am | Permalink

            @Anonymous; OK have it your way, the BBC radio stations are funded by the TVL fee, but we have a choice about watching TV and thus the need to buy a TVL, what choice does the average consumer have about funding LBC, or any other commercial broadcaster?

            Thus it is far more important that commercial radio and TV are seen as having zero bias, after all many a hard line Corbynista will have funded that LBC programme as UKIPer, LD, SNP, PC or Tory (and indeed, perhaps BNP) supporter did.

        • libertarian
          Posted May 7, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink



          From BBC website

          “What does your licence fee pay for ? Each week, 96% of UK adults use BBC services, from TV channels and BBC iPlayer to national and local radio stations, and entertainment, services and information online.”

          Abolishing a licence and rolling it into one overall licence means it still licences just on a different basis

          Careful with the word ignorant Jerry it may come home to roost

          • Jerry
            Posted May 7, 2017 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

            @libertarian; Oh for Christi sake, go read the TVL Act! A reception licence is not required to receive radio broadcasts in the UK.

            If I’m wrong go to the Post Office, or emaill the TVLA, and try to buy a radio reception licence, but don’t be surprised if you get laughed at and asked were you’ve been since 1971…

    • zorro
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      She should correct herself a bit quicker….. She nade another gaffe today!


      • Anonymous
        Posted May 6, 2017 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

        All she had to say was “I can’t remember the figures.”

  7. matthu
    Posted May 4, 2017 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    The sudden “tough” approach probably has more to do with dissuading French voters from supporting Le Pen than influencing British voters. Either way, I suspect that it will have back-fired spectacularly.

    The British election has more to do with putting distance between the outcome of any negotiations with the EU and any forthcoming general election. A very wise move, considering the shenanigans of Osborne, Blair and Mandelson.

    A good read (but probably only if I can find a good summarised version!) must be “The six Brexit traps that will defeat Theresa May” by Yanis Varoufakis (who led Greece’s failed attempt to negotiate with the EU) – there is an interesting one-page summary in one of today’s left-wing national newspapers.

    • formula57
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      @matthu – Many thanks for notice of the Varoufakis comments. He seems to imagine though that Mrs. May is as naive as he was himself in recognizing how the Evil Empire actually operates and I doubt she is.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 5, 2017 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        Well perhaps not, but she seems very naive about a lot of things:- the wisdom of government price controls, wages level controls, gender pay reporting, Hinkley C, HS2, the size of the state sector, building on EU employment laws, greencrap energy, absurdly high tax rates, the dreadful monopolly NHS, religious schools, interventionism everywhere and lots of the other total insanities that she seems to love.

        The was also naive enough to want to remain in the EU and to think that UK controlled its borders (within the EU) through Schengen. Even though she was a long term Home Sectretary.

  8. Mark B
    Posted May 4, 2017 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    No to contributions to the EU budget regarding defence and security. We already have NATO and need the keep the intelligence we offer as a bargaining chip in any future trade negotiations.

    Indeed it is the Commission that is the most hostile to the UK. And it is also true that it’s the member countries of the EU that have most to lose if talks do breakdown. So it is worth reminding ourselves who is doing the negotiations.

    As I have said before, I think these negotiations are going to prove a disaster and government know it.

    • getahead
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      Sums it up Mark. Without the Brussels politburo negotiations would have a good chance of doing much better. The politburo is frit of losing its stipend.

  9. agricola
    Posted May 4, 2017 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    That is some of what I said yesterday and in earlier comments. If you wish to gag over your cornflakes read the Daily Express. If you wish to put off the statins then do not panic Mr Mainwearing, just sit back and work it out logically. The only loose cannon is the EU with it’s apparent desire for self harm. The latter being an easy option if you are more into the theology of the EU than the day to day effect it has on it’s citizens.

    • Jerry
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 6:38 am | Permalink

      @agricola; In what way is the EU ‘self harming’? If the UK can survive with WTO rules the EU most certainly can when it comes to our post-Brexit relations.

      • Bob
        Posted May 5, 2017 at 7:54 am | Permalink

        The EU members will be worse off with WTO rules if the UK strikes free trade deals. Tariff free cars, wine etc. will become cheaper from outside the EU.

        • Limited
          Posted May 7, 2017 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

          Doesn’t,t it worry you India, Australia, New Zealand, USA etc have all said the EU is a bigger fish for them than sad old England?

      • David Price
        Posted May 5, 2017 at 8:29 am | Permalink

        For starters, approx 800,000 vehicles exported from Germany to the UK each year.

        The EU Commission are not dependent on voters and have no effective connection or loyalty to EU citizens. They will not be the ones suffering the consequences of a bad deal, it will be suffered to varying degrees by the people in the 28 countries.

        • Jerry
          Posted May 6, 2017 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

          @David Price; You seem to want it both ways, for the EU27 there is no other market that they could possibly sell to, for the UK after Brexit there is the RotW to sell to – never mind over capacity within many existing supply chains, especially the motor industry [1]. Not exporting RHD vehicles into the UK would reduce much over capacity and also reduce costs for many car companies who do not also export to the Far East and Australia (it costs European car manufactures a lot of money in R&D, tooling and then manufacture for UK RHD spec vehicles).

          [1] one of the big worries for the UK with regards the pending sale of GM’s European operations to the PSA group is that PSA have much spare capacity in their own factories

          • David Price
            Posted May 7, 2017 at 6:09 am | Permalink

            Where are they going to be able to sell 800,000 more cars each year with the same profit levels, particularly after the european car manufacturers were so naughty with emissions testing?

            Bear in mind that the UK is not the only RHD country (Australia, Japan, India, parts of Africa) so the manufacturing difference will remain and the change won’t magically create 800,000 new sales.

            It is the EU that wants it both ways, extort ludicrous punishment payments from a major customer while dictating trade terms and that the ECJ/EU commission have control over our internal affairs.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 7, 2017 at 9:38 am | Permalink

            How would not selling cars into the UK reduce spare capacity for EU car companies?

            With modern CAD and automation of toolmaking costs, the making LHD or RHD vehicles isn’t a problem
            These days vehicles are built with hundreds of different choices of assembly items.
            The customer chooses from a long list of inerior and exterior options.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 7, 2017 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; You do not have a first clue as to the prototyping, testing etc that is required for new components – then of course there is the tooling-up costs, then any adoptions to the production line and so on.

            If you actually do work in the automotive industry take a look at any parts list, you will be supplies just how many options there can be for. In some cases even the bodyshell is different.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 7, 2017 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

            @David Price; As you went on to say yourself, and thus answerer the question you posed me, there is a whole world out there for the EU27 (never mind the post Brexit UK) to sell their products to, including their cars.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 8, 2017 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

            Notva first clue..says Jerry
            Apart from 30 years in the industry, I have no idea.
            But obviously you are yet again the expert Jerry
            No proof from you just vague assertions that others are wrong

          • Jerry
            Posted May 9, 2017 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; OK, so lets accept that you work in the motor industry but doing what I ask?!

            You are so utterly clueless Eddie about production development and tooling costs, never mind the hidden differences between a car built to LHD spec and those built to RHD etc. that I suspect you work in an office all day dealing with non production paperwork issues such as payroll issues or the like, if you do deal with production all you see are spread-sheets and figures not parts or vehicles.

            I say this as someone with over forty years practical shop-floor experience and knowledge in the motor industry. It is you Eddie who keeps making the vague assertions, yes I could go into the detailed differences needed for RHD or LHD spec vehicles, such as (for example) scuttle panels, bulkheads, peddle boxes and their linkages, in wiring loom and related electro-mechanical parts, perhaps a different or modified gear lever or parking brake, even differences in seats frames etc. just to name a few but this site is not the place.

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted May 5, 2017 at 9:33 am | Permalink

        Good will Jerry, good will!

      • Edward2
        Posted May 5, 2017 at 10:09 am | Permalink

        Because the EU seems to be trying to discourage other member nations from leaving more than it is trying to achieve a good deal for itself.
        A deal which would make its citizens jobs more secure and the EU more prosperous long term.

      • Robin Wilcox
        Posted May 5, 2017 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

        We are offering a generous no strings attached deal to the EU. It’s the EU who are demanding money even though the balance of trade is in their favour. I expect it will be the EU who seeks to exert control over the UK by insisting on various different unacceptable strings. That will all mean a deal isn’t worthwhile or acceptable.

      • getahead
        Posted May 5, 2017 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

        The commission appears to be lashing out in all directions because its gravy train is being reduced. You are right in that the EU can survive with WTO rules.
        The Brussels Commission however is not the EU.

  10. David Price
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    By all means offer a friendly and positive relationship with those countries that reciprocate but ramp up building the means to support independent activity and be very public about it.

    We will need independent standards, regulatory, diplomatic, trade support, border and other services that are fit for purpose in short order, well before the two year deadline.

  11. Doug Powell
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    Yes, the 100bn euro severance bill is just one big joke. What is depressing about this demand is the fact that Poland was a supporter of this risible demand. There have been all round benefits for the UK economy, Polish immirants, and thePolish economy itself from money sent back to Poland, so to see Poland putting its name to this demand seems strange, as well as a snub to the UK.

    The fact is the EU will be in deeper trouble financially when it no longer has the UK’s contribution.

    In an article by Alasdair Macleod entitled “The Decline and Fall of the EU” he makes the point that much of the money the EU thinks it is entitled to, is money spent that is above and beyond the agreed budget (as of end of 2016, running at 238bn euros overspend) therefore, as the UK has not agreed this level of spending, there is no liability for UK to pay up.

    I attach a link to this excellent article if anyone is interested:

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted May 6, 2017 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      Thank you Doug, appreciated.

  12. margaret
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    Yes quite, Why do some put ourselves in a begging position ?This scenario where we are beholden to everyone is not healthy we are equal partners in the 28 at present .

    • margaret
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 6:35 am | Permalink

      I think there is a problem with the site. We are equal partners in the 28 at present.

      • Bob
        Posted May 5, 2017 at 7:58 am | Permalink

        Not equal Marg. We pay in more nett than the other members apart from Germany.

        Germany is more equal than us.

    • margaret
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      Initially only the first line was in the’ awaiting moderation box,’ but I can see that the full comment went through .

  13. alan jutson
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Because the EU have had a whole selection of UK Prime Ministers since Thatcher who have just rolled over and caved in at every demand, they think they can simply get their own way as before, if they put on enough pressure.

    It has worked with Greece, it has worked everywhere else, so why not now with the UK, we have caved in before, a whole list of treaties have been signed and rebates given up after pressure has been applied.

    The big difference this time is the people have spoken, and it would seem, at least at the moment, we have a Prime Minister who is going with the people.
    In addition we have a trade deficit with the EU, (so they need us more than we need them) and we are net contributors, indeed the second largest net contributor.

    Signs are that some Countries in the EU are getting very worried about possible tariffs on their trade with us, certainly they are all beginning to understand what £10 billion a year less income to the EU coffers will mean to them.

    As I have said before, we need to stand firm and be prepared to walk away if common sense does not prevail.

    Offer them a free trade deal with us for no payment, simple and quick.

  14. agricola
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Don’t know what happened with this diary entry as it is dated the 5th, but appeared on the 4th when I briefly commented, back to the future. Now it is back again so here goes.

    We have our normal annual financial obligations to the EU and they to us. This amounts to a nett contribution of around £20 billion up to our date of departure. There are many other ways in which we may continue to cooperate with the EU which all have a price tag, however nothing as outrageous as the touted £100 billion. To the best of my knowledge there is nothing within Article 50 that demands any form of severance payment so we should not even consider it. From memory of the twenty seven members of the EU only around eight are nett contributors. That leaves nineteen dependants. Of the eight France gets back a very large proportion of her contribution presumably to support her delightful, by products, but expensive through inefficiency, agricultural industry. The EU will have to learn to live within it’s means, end of story.

    Being a largely socialist organisation, the EU only knows how to spend money, always other peoples. A commercial organisation, in the same position would look at what it is doing to find savings, close unproductive branches, and retrench for the new business climate. No such thoughts pass through the minds of the socialist EU, so expect chaos as the gravy train hits the buffers.

    Reply Two pieces were ready to go yesterday and I posted two by mistake which I corrected.

    • Know-dice
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      It might be worth adding pensions to the bill, but to paraphrase Mr Junker who said that –

      “you are ‘Union officials.’ You work for Europe. You left your national ‘hats’ at the door when you joined this institution and that door is not closing on you now.”

      This fully indicates that the EU is solely responsible for the financial affairs of its employees/ex-employees

    • Mitchel
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      If the EU is a socialist organisation why is the hard left mostly against it?Why do large corporates spend a fortune lobbying?Who benefits from the unrestrained spending?Whatever it’s original purpose it has become a corporatist project which should be obvious from the identity of the backers of the Remain campaign here and M Macron in France.It may suit it to be thought of as socialist -rather like the Soviet Union but as George Orwell would have pointed out that wasn’t really socialist either-it was totalitarian state capitalism or authoritarian collectivism.

    • Tweeter_L
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Yes, a less dysfunctional organisation would have re-jigged its budgets: they’ve known for nearly a year that the UK was leaving.

  15. Ian Wragg
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    How about an unequivocal rebuttal of the 100 million in the manifesto.
    Clear and concise commitment to pay no exit Bill or give EU citizens preferential treatment after Brexit

    Tusk says they will fight for their rights. That will be the bureaucracy not the voters of Europe.

    • bigneil
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Some EU citizens already get preferential treatment here. I worked over 40 years to retire early through injury, then told I was going to get nothing. Thousands of EU “diversity-bringing” Roma arrive, having never worked here, and get everything handed to them. Blatant proof our own govt hates us and prefers non-contributing foreigners.

      • Limited
        Posted May 7, 2017 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

        Utter racist lies. Immigrants are subject to the same rules as everyone else. It is the British way

    • Graham Wood
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      Ian. Very good suggestion, though I think due to your typo you meant £100 Billion not £100 million.
      In todays public mood of outrage about the EU’s preposterous claim I think at this stage in the current debate and the opportune moment presented by the imminent GE, then Conservatives would be on to a winner if this specific repudiation appeared in the manifesto.
      If Barnier and other EU leaders threaten to “see you in court” over these outlandish payments then well and good.
      Firstly it would remove the barrier of their creation of a pre-condition before discussion of a free trade deal and other vital matters and then presumably negotiations could begin without further delay.

      Second, If the matter went to the Hague court (as opposed to the ECJ which our government would refuse to sanction) then I believe the EU would lose.

      Third, a court process is likely to take years not months and from a UK point of view that has every advantage politically, both on our own domestic front and in relation to the remaining 27 member states.

  16. Anonymous
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    Why will immigration controls take 5 years ? This was the central plank of Brexit.

    Why do we need coffee shop visas ?

    If they can’t find workers for their low wages then they can close. They add nothing to the economy, and demand its workforce is subsidised.

    What’s wrong with people taking a flask and sandwiches to work ?

    I save literally thousands a year using a flask and a lunchbox.

    • Anonymous
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Amber Rudd seems to be saying “Nope. Our people can’t manage making up a lunchbox and a flask. We need to keep the borders open, therefore. Coffee shops are that vital, Britain’s borders must not be enforced.”

      Never mind the tax-haven coffee shop chains getting their imported workers free healthcare and services when they’re here – goodness knows what else if they stay and sprog up.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      Getting someone else to make your coffee is counted in GDP…doing it yourself isn’t counted, you get what you measure.

      • Anonymous
        Posted May 6, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        Indeed. Entirely fake economic growth with each of us sharing an even thinner slice of a growing pie. A total political lie.

  17. formula57
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    I wish I was confident that the UK would not be making a financial settlement in favour of the Evil Empire and I certainly agree it is not required.

    The UK might be well-served to withhold its normal contributions (at a net figure of £850 million a month it amounts to a very substantial sum of course) pending a deal on Brexit on the apparently very reasonable grounds that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”.

    The likelihood of achieving a mutually satisfactory deal looks slim and so conserving our resources by any means is prudent. Likewise, a recognition that the Evil Empire is and will be for its remaining life a hostile power would serve us well. (Note in passing Mr. Macron in debate with Mrs. Le Pen said the UK would have to pay €60 – €80 million to leave.)

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      Simple rhetoric, puerile aggression and injudicious bluffing….quite normal in business negotiations and indeed political/legal dealings! EU’s tactics are transparent and rather amusing and somewhat amateurish, given they are supposed to be seasoned negotiators!

      €30B, no €50B, no €80B……no no €100B… could not make this stuff up….Politicians I ask you!

      Watch it all settle down when push comes to shove……”nerves dear boy, nerves” she said!

  18. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    I would have hoped that the subscribers to your blog are astute enough not to be taken in by repeated sound bites, preferring substance over propaganda.

    Please avoid the strong and stable leadership line. Externally Mrs May has been held to account by her small majority and performed several u turns. There is no evidence of strong and stable leadership to date and some may think that a remain backer with an increased majority might not be as robust towards the EU as at present.

    • Mitchel
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      I totally agree with you;I’m astonished by the naivety of people getting excited by words rather actions.

      The time for heaping praise on Mrs May will come when we get the verified report from Enoch Powell’s metallurgist.

  19. Peter Martin
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    “£300 m a year is nearer the mark.”

    Each one would be paid about £30k and if we multiply that by the 10,000 officers that’s the figure we get. Simple enough?

    BUT Is £300 million really the ‘right’ answer? What about the tax and National Insurance that the Govt will collect off each new recruit? We know from our own experience that we lose about a third of our pay in deductions. Plus there is the employers contribution. So if we include this, £300 million comes down to £200 million.

    But does it stop there? What about how this £200 million is spent? The new recruits will meet up in the pub after work for a drink now and again. That will add to the VAT and taxation revenue the government receives. Then the bar staff will be paid from the proceeds, they’ll spend that money and the tax collectors will again take their cut. There’s a strong multiplier effect.

    Yanis Varoufakis was told by an audience member on Question Time a couple of years ago that economics was simple. He had to stop spending when he ran out of money so, in his view, Government should do the same. Yanis explained that his income, unlike Governments, was independent of his expenditure. If Governments spends more its income rises. If it cuts spending its income falls. So you can’t easily close a deficit by cuts.

    When doing these kinds of costings we need to take a comprehensive view of what really happens in the economy. We can’t just work out how much income tax needs to rise to raise £300 million or whatever we calculate on the back of an envelope.

    Diane’s Abbott’s figure of £80 million probably wasn’t right either. I’d say that was actually an over-estimate too! Maybe her first figure of £300k was about right! It really all depends on what those 10000 people would be doing otherwise. If not a lot then it doesn’t cost much at all to provide decent employment.

  20. A.Sedgwick
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    The reality/panic may be dawning on this organisation, which does not worry about having audited accounts, that the UK will no longer be around to prop it up.

  21. ferdinand
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    So many figures get banaded around about our trade with the EU. The World Bank figures are : 27.6% of all UK trade is in exports. Of that figure 44% goes to the EU. So only 12.1% of all our trade is exports to the EU.

    • Know-dice
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      Don’t forget to add/subtract the “Rotterdam effect” i.e. exports to the rest of the world that transit through the Netherlands.

      And how many jobs in the EU, especially Germany, France, Italy and Spain rely on those countries exporting to the UK?

    • Mockbeggar
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      Yes, but I’m told that a proportion of that export to EU figure is actually going elsewhere. It goes through the entrepot depot of Rotterdam. I’d dearly like to know how much. Denis, you’re the expert researcher; can you help?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 6, 2017 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

        Nobody knows, but maybe a couple of percent should be knocked off.

    • ian wragg
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      The percentage of trade with the EU is declining year on year.

    • Peter Martin
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      That’s useful information. So say our exports to the EU suffered a 10% drop, which I’d say probably wouldn’t happen for any length of time, then our trade would drop by 1.2% overall. We could make that up by increasing our trade with non-EU countries.

      In any case, this is a much smaller effect than caused by the crash following the GFC! I’m sure we can all survive on 1.2% less for a time if we really have to.

    • Mark Watson
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      I think it’s actually around 36% due to the Rotterdam effect.

  22. acorn
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    A number of us have been suggesting for some time now about getting the “executive” out of the “legislature”. The strategy of having a Presidential approach for the local elections, appears to be enthusing the electorate. Yesterday, there was definitely an air of electing Mrs May, rather than a party representative the voters had never met or even heard of.

    Electing anyone into Local Government (LG) office is a waste of time. LG has very few powers to change anything and little discretionary spending power to go with it. Nearly all of what it does is dictated by Whitehall and “penny packet” funded by numerous statutory instrument formulae.

    Scotland and Wales have fully “unitised” local government. England, has a complete mess of metropolitan and shire counties; metro and non-metro districts; unitary councils; boroughs; Electoral wards / Electoral divisions etc etc. Now they have added a random bunch of Mayors with differing powers.

    Electing El Presidente May, hopefully will start some new thinking. Downing Street could become our White House with professional management. We might even get a proper congress rather than our Punch & Judy amateur parliament.

  23. Lesley
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    I can imagine that there might be a case for the UK to have to continue to pay the pensions of the UK staff and the other hangers on that were contracted, but can’t think of any other reason that would require more cash.

    • rose
      Posted May 6, 2017 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      How can there be a case for our paying the pensions of people employed by the EU? Quite apart from the fact that they are loyal to the EU, not to us, as you can see from their treacherous utterances.

  24. a-tracy
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    In the £8.4bn figure to the EU does it include all the add on extra’s, like the extra bill we were presented with for taxes on prostitution and drugs even though we don’t collect the tax on these activities. Does it include the 80% import duties on goods into the UK that the EU collectively insists on?

    Play nice or you’ll find out how belligerent we can be if we think you’re not being FAIR. Perhaps our news organisations shouldn’t keep winding everyone up reporting intimidating messages from all sorts, people we’ve never heard of before like Tajani another president of Europe, in addition to Tusk, Barnier, Junker, Muscat, ….. and on.

  25. Bert Young
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Panic in Brussels is understandable . Each year they have dished out monies on all sorts of things that their Auditors have refused to sign off . There never was any sign of them attempting to balance their books . Today they face the reality that they will no longer be able to create a loyalty based on their bank account and without our contribution they know they are sunk . The introduction of the Euro was nothing more than a dream moment .

    Merkel also faces a dilemma . She knows that her desire to lead Europe will , in the future , depend on Germany supporting the ECB directly and exposing its reserves . She knows that German industry and the welfare of the German people depend on the markets they have secured within the EU countries ; any form of reduction will immediately reveal how exposed Germany is . Were I in her shoes I would want to see the end of the Euro and of a Politicised and Bureaucratised Europe .

  26. Michael james
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Self-harm by the EU is all too likely. It’s what the EU is all about, isn’t it? The euro is a disaster but unreformable.

  27. Oliver
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Just a question – I believe the EU only allow us to keep 20% of the tariffs we “earn” from current trade with non EU countries. Isn’t the 80% we’ll get to keep [assuming we keep the tariffs] a very material offset to this process?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 6, 2017 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      At present they are EU duties, and the member state is allowed to keep 20% to cover the costs of collection on behalf of the EU.

  28. jack Snell
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    The real figure is in a magic envelope, sealed, and in Barniers safe, that even he does not yet know the final price yet.. but their will be a price.. past commitments will have to be settled before any further business can be conducted.. Bernier has his very clear instructions in this regard and there will be no negotiation only a demand and any other talk is fanciful and delusional- I fear- we are in big trouble now!

  29. Tweeter_L
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Dr JR: I would like to ask your opinion on the reported EU demand that once EU citizens have been granted their rights and privileges, they must also be able to bring in family members to enjoy the same rights in perpetuity. Is this something the UK should/could agree to?

  30. Original Richard
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    The FT/EU’s fanciful £100bn exit fee figure is an indication of the amount that the EU was expecting to bill the UK over the next 3 years in order to mitigate the Euro and illegal migrant crises plus pay for further expansion.

    It is also a negotiating tactic to extend negotiations for as long as possible so that we can be kept paying into the EU for the reasons given above and importantly to continue to have massive uncontrolled immigration in the meantime, to the benefit of the EU and the FT’s corporates/wealthy elites.

    The only way the UK will be able to leave will be to unilaterally implement the 2 year article 50 clause and without an agreed deal on trade.

  31. Prigger
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    The Labour, SNP and Lib Dem parties are arguing we should hand over billions to the EU. They are on the side of the EU.Why don’t they emigrate to Germany? Instead they insist all Europe should be given automatic residence here. Why do they wish to stay in the UK and not their belov-ed EU? Are they masochists or liars or both?

  32. Kenneth
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    I suspect that, over time, the eu commission will be increasingly marginal to these discussions as the European Council and members states start to take control of the talks and then things will become more sensible.

    The member states have to consider real people and real life whereas the eu commission is dethatched from the ballot box

    I do not rule the prospect of different trade rules with different eu states.

    • Kenneth
      Posted May 5, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      I do not rule OUT the prospect of different trade rules with different eu states.

    • Limited
      Posted May 7, 2017 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      So you genuinely think the world is flat?

  33. Maringa
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Does the Commission’s logic mean that if Poland (or another of the many net receivers) leave the EU they get given a payment?

  34. Prigger
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    I believe we will all live to regret the prestige and power of regional mayors on their less than 30% turnout.
    You can see how they will go on TV discussion programmes and inteviewed by all media as IMPORTANT people perhaps more important than town and ciity MPs. With the electoral madate, in real terms, of a village Councillor who promises to plant tulips and daisies on the roadside verges. Great trouble lies ahead with this magnificeint democratic deficit and gross error self -inflicted wound by the Tory Party upon all of us.

  35. The Prangwizard
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    The numbers are indeed fanciful, and I’m all for a strong and stable leadership. Let’s hope we get it.

    I fear there are those however, always anxious to avoid confrontation and of being accused of being ‘hardline’, who will be inclined by their nature, and to show we are good and reasonable people, urge government to make a ‘goodwill’ payment. If that happens the EU will be laughing all the way to the bank and our nation will be humiliated. It will undermine all that may have gone before; it is what the EU will be counting on and they will claim victory.

  36. jeffery
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Some hardy folks think the UK’s present arrangements with the EU are not a bad deal, but that it is probably best to get out before large euro bills fall due. Fortunately, we are impervious to eye-rolling from both sides. But the big EU payments being touted do seem to make the point. There will have to be large budget transfers from north to south within the eurozone. It is the basic quid pro quo for Germany and others sucking money out of these countries through large balance of payments surpluses. Northern EU politicians are going to have to break the news to their flocks quite soon now. After all, how much longer can the ECB fill its balance sheet with such dodgy assets? A lot of money is going to have to be found by the EU government and the UK was always one resource for tapping. The payment to the EU is going to be a tough, and very real, fight.

  37. BOF
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    I am sure there will be much relief in Conservative circles at UKIP losses.

    The surest way to revive UKIP is to pay a ‘leaving fee’ to the EU, fail to control immigration or not regain control of territorial waters and fishing grounds.

  38. Anna
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    I was shocked to hear on Newsnight that Yannis Varoufakis had been so appalled by the lies, misrepresentations and distortions of the EU about their negotiations that he actually had himself wired up to record what was actually said. The same tactics were clearly tried again with the ‘revelations’ by Mr Juncker after his Downing Street meeting. Mrs May, with dignity and composure, rejected them and Mr Juncker later rowed back a little with a half-apology.

    I don’t know the etiquette of high-level negotiations. Would it be incorrect to ask that recordings be made? In long, exhausting negotiations misunderstandings can occur. Referring back to recordings could eliminate these, and also inhibit the ill-intentioned from making public any false and damaging claims about the opposition.

  39. Mark
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    I note the EU has been setting the mood music in the background with another set of tough demands and threats against the Greeks in their bailout, including a German promise of no loan write-downs after their election and a demand to slash pensions by 18% (perhaps we should suggest the EU does likewise for its own staff?). Formal approval of the Greek deal is due May 22nd, where it will jostle with Brexit on the EU Council agenda.

    The Council are allegedly going to approve the appointment of the EU Commission as the Brexit negotiator at that meeting (see Brexit Next Steps announcement on April 29th): surely a big mistake, as it will hand power to Juncker, rather than hiving off Barnier and his department to report directly to the EU Council. We will then have to plan to wait for Juncker’s retirement on 31st October, 2019 before we can expect to see a reasonable attitude towards an Article 50 deal. The UK will in the mean time have left the EU automatically under the guillotine, so we will need to plan to cover the interregnum before a proper deal is in place.

    There is still just time to head this off at the pass – but it would be a big blow to Juncker to be rebuffed so publicly, and therefore difficult to achieve. However, Council have made a rod for their own backs by failing to address the real questions that arise from Brexit – how best to manage without the UK in the EU, and how to trim budgets and reallocate contributions among themselves. The EU have revealed the weakness of their position when Barnier admitted that without the unjustified payout, the situation inside the EU would be “explosive”. In effect, the EU is ill prepared for the negotiations, and now needs to go away and think again. They will need to posture publicly while they do so.

  40. Richard1
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    I hear dreadful things about the Home Office’s process for giving permanent residence to EY citizens, many of whom have lived in the UK for years and payed lots of taxes. 500-1000 pages of docs and forms have to be submitted and 30% of applicants are turned down for missing a page or so. Applicants have to provide evidence of all trips over 10 years or so (I couldn’t begin to do this!), historic tax returns, bank statements and medical records (I wouldn’t be able to provide these either myself). This process apparently became much worse during Mrs May’s time at the home office -it used to be quite simple. Presumably it also means we are wasting millions on home office bureaucrats reading all this rubbish.

    This is really bad news, it is economically foolish and creates a terrible impression. I urge Conservative MPs demand a radical reform immediately after the election.

  41. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Related to this, I read here:

    “The EU also maintains that the U.K. must pick up the tab for the negotiations, including all technical expenses, such as travel costs — essentially sparing the EU budget from Britain’s decision to leave the bloc.”

    There’s nothing in Article 50 TEU about the withdrawing member state being required to bear any administrative or other costs associated with its withdrawal.

    There could have been – for example, Article 332 TFEU says:

    “Expenditure resulting from implementation of enhanced cooperation, other than administrative costs entailed for the institutions, shall be borne by the participating
    Member States, unless all members of the Council, acting unanimously after
    consulting the European Parliament, decide otherwise.”

    – but there isn’t anything at all about costs in Article 50.

  42. John Probert
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    The EU Commission is very upset about the hole in its bucket, this means
    tightening budgets with the same old problems of Greece & bankrupt Italian
    banks etc..
    ECB is still in QE
    So there is quite a lot of pressure on the EU.

    When common sense prevails progress will be made

    Damaging the UK will not help

  43. Peter D Gardner
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    As I understand it, the EU’s position is that the Brexit Bill is part of withdrawal arrangements under Article 50 and is not related to any future relationship, other than settlement of it being a precondition for agreeing any future relationship. If correct it is not about ‘buying’ access to the single market, but meeting obligations the EU has undertaken and to which UK has also committed.
    The first problem is that there is nothing in the treaties to say any such commitments should continue after Brexit. On the contrary the Article 50 is quite clear that the treaties cease to apply.
    Furthermore, one is entitled to ask why the EU is making financial commitments in the full knowledge that a member state contributing funds is entitled to leave unconditionally within two years of giving notice and make no further contributions. The answer can only be that it expects to meet the resultant funding gap from other sources.

    So how should UK respond? Apart from pointing out these facts, the UK is under no obligation to negotiate, other than in the context of gaining access under a future relationship to EU managed programs – R&D or whatever. But that is the future relationship, not arrangements for withdrawal.
    What is relevant to withdrawal is UK’s shares in the EIB which cannot be held by a non-member state. The EU is therefore obliged to pay them out.

    So the correct response is that there is nothing to discuss and UK demands its shares to be paid out.

    If the EU refuses to discuss this or breaks off talks, it runs into the problem that the Treaties require it to negotiate. If it refuses, it is technically in breach of the Treaties and the UK would be entitled to cease all payments immediately and unilaterally withdraw from the treaties.

    • Len Grinds
      Posted May 7, 2017 at 6:09 am | Permalink

      What you miss is that unilateral withdrawal hurts the UK about 8 times more than it hurts the EU. This is because 45 per cent of our exports go to the EU, while only 6 per cent of theirs come to the UK.
      This is why the UK is in such a very bad bargaining position, and this is why the money that was promised for the NHS will in fact have to be paid over to the EU to settle the costs of the UK leaving

  44. P2017
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood continues to demonstrate he doesn’t understand the negative consequences of no agreement with the EU because he is incapable of speaking beyond tariffs. No mention or understanding of non-tariff barriers.

    Threatening to shoot yourself in both feet is not a good negotiating position.

  45. getahead
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    “It seems it is more the EU Commission that favours a tough approach.”

    The Brussels bureaucracy fears loss of its gratuity.

  46. John
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    The EU doesn’t want Tariffs for the simple reason Tariffs are paid to the nation states.

    They want a trade agreement whereby there are no Tariffs so that, as they see it, they can charge us for access.

    I think the PM and Brexit Minister are wise to this.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 6, 2017 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      Customs duties are indeed collected by the nation states, but then 80% of the money collected is passed to the EU. The 20% deducted is to allow for the costs of collection incurred by the countries on behalf of the EU.

    • Original Richard
      Posted May 6, 2017 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      “The EU doesn’t want Tariffs for the simple reason Tariffs are paid to the nation states.”

      This is not correct and in fact the EU takes 75% of all import tariffs, leaving just 25% with each state as “collection costs”.

      This is a nice little earner for the EU (as opposed to individual states) and may partly explain why free trade deals are so difficult to achieve with the EU and why it also looks like the EU are not aiming for a free trade deal with the UK.

  47. Prigger
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    21% turnout in Teesside voted for Mayor but in the context and communal mindset of a local election where you vote for persons who might get your bin emptied more regularly. So, Northern powerhouses are built on sand. Soon be ripe for the taking by any dedicated flavour of the year pressure group like the SNP.
    “Local people, 21% of them, are the best people to decide on major issues involving billions of pounds. You think? Why study economics in Harvard? Well you could appear on BBC Questiion Time and be shouted down by an audience who appear to be built by robots

  48. ChrisS
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    I’ve had enough of hearing threats and bluster from the European mainland and the pathetic utterances from Remoaners like Clegg who traitorously run our country down at every opportunity.

    We will stand firm but I’m convinced that the other side will not back down enough to enable a deal to be made.

  49. anon
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    Strong and stable?

    Why was the trigger date not June 23rd 2016?
    Why was the letter not sent immediately if subject to a legal caveat?
    Why wasnt a vote called much earlier to ensure the letter was sent?

    So given the EU’s position , why don’t we claim “force majeur” . e.g. after one of few proper democratic votes in 40 years.

    We should revoke all EU law and tentacles of control and immediately start on a WTO path. We wont get co-operation so no point waiting.In fact i would also threaten to suspend current payments unless they remove their negotiating team and start again.

    The poorest can start to enjoy “world prices” and we can leave the rest sort itself out.

    I repeat.We wont get a deal. We don’t need a deal and i very much suspect we dont want any deal our EU loving elites and government would try to foist on us. Knowing its 5 years to the next election.


  50. ian
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    You don’t seem to understand the european people. What each state wants is bribe money, because they know you need their vote for agreement to leave the EU, and if you do not come up with what each state wants you will not receive their vote for agreement to leave. If you think talking to them will do the job, you do not know the europeans. The bill for the bribes is already at 100 billion, with more state still to add to it, and may come up to 175 billion, and this has to be sorted out before any talks on anything, like universities, which costs you now 6.3 billion a year with a rebate of 2 billion, but after you leave no rebate, so can you afford all the little add on on top of the 175 billion of bribes after you leave. I don’t think so. So just leave.

  51. cornishstu
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    I have a few questions, why do we continue to implement Eu directives/ laws when we have no say since article 50 was submitted, as essentially have left the Eu subject to future trading terms. From my understanding the 2 years is not a minimum time for negotiation but a maximum so if an agreement is made in the first month on future terms (how ever unlikely) then that’s it. Any security / defence co operation is covered by NATO etc, so any combined forces should be a no no. We should always be in control of our assets I.E total sovereignty and I am wary of a stitch up, to me the running down of our armed forces had more to do with future EU combined forces than saving money, reading between the lines I think that there is a desire for this to continue. Am I wrong?

  52. rose
    Posted May 5, 2017 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    Please Mr Redwood can you stop our ministers from referring to “divorce”?

    This unsuitable metaphor is enabling the gangsters to keep upping the ransom on the ground that we are “a partner ” leaving a marriage and threatening to land the other one with all the financial burden.

    In other words they have talked themselves into believing that we should go on paying them into the future, as well as a lump sum. This propaganda is being regularly fed to the whole world and will damage our credibility unless it is corrected. We can’t stop the reptiles referring to “divorce” but surely civil servants and mps should be told to stop.

    If they insist on a metaphor, rather than calling independence independence, then let them say it is like moving from a flat. Once you have moved, you don’t pay towards the management committee’s plans for the future.

  • 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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