Why I am still optimistic about our future relationship with the EU

Those who fear no deal or a bad deal are too pessimistic.

They exaggerate the importance of government, treaties and rules. They underestimate the energy, good will and positive approach of most people on both sides of the Channel.

The first thing to grasp is the UK will not be on her own. Under WTO rules which govern the EU as well as us, the EU cannot do anything adverse to us that it does not also do to the USA, China, India and the other major countries of the world. Similarly, under international law, the EU cannot pick on UK people, evict our citizens from their homes on the continent, or impose special taxes and requirements on UK people and companies that it does not also apply to Americans, Chinese and all other non EU citizens and companies.

The second thing to grasp is many people and governments on the continent think it a good idea to get on with their neighbouring states, particularly where they sell lot of goods and services. Just in case they don’t, the Treaty they all drafted and signed makes them pursue good relations and trade with the neighbours. I alway find it odd that the people who most love the EU have such a low view of the way it will behave, expecting it to be petty, nasty and to seek to operate outside international law and outside the norms of civilised behaviour. I think many of them are better than that, and those who might fall short have self interest to push them to keep open their access to the UK.

The third thing to grasp is all those companies on the continent wanting to carry on selling us goods and services, all those individuals wanting to come to the UK to take skilled job or to study, will still be a pressure on the governments of the EU. Just as there are many people in the UK who value their ability to travel on the continent, to study there, or to trade there, so there are many people on the continent wanting the same access to the UK.

Of course the EU institution will try it on and ask for lots of money from us, as they will miss our large contributions. They also know there is no legal basis or political reason why we should pay them any special extra payment on leaving. They also know that in the end, after much huffing and puffing, they need a deal. We know we can get on fine under WTO terms, if they really do want to be difficult.

Published and promoted by Fraser Mc Farland on behalf of John Redwood, both at 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU

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148 Comments

  1. fedupsoutherner
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 5:14 am | Permalink

    This is such a refreshingly good post John after the last couple of days. It helps me to realise I should stay positive about the situation.

    Can you assure us that others in your party feel the same way? I certainly hope so. The only worry I have now is that the Conservatives will not get the majority they need.

    • zorro
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 6:10 am | Permalink

      We all want a successful Brexit and have done for years. It is the May manifesto which is putting it in jeopardy and not us. I was listening to Nicholas Soames saying that it was a ‘manifesto for the times’ and that he fully supported it. The fact is that he would vote for Chaiman Mao in a blue rinse wig if it could guarantee him and the Tory party five more years (in office ed) Arch remainer Green couldn’t resist saying that there was no turning back on the dire manifesto – more chance doubtless that a successful Brexit would be put at risk and his beloved EU would not be forsaken…..

      zorro

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 24, 2017 at 4:14 am | Permalink

        Indeed, I have very little confidence that ex(?) remainer and clearly socialist Theresa May will ever deliver a clean Brexit. Let us hope the sensible wing of the Tories can force her hand.

    • alan jutson
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      Fedupsoutherner

      Agreed, back onto safe ground after the farce of the Conservative manifesto.

      Nice and clear analysis John, and that is why the leaders of all the other Parties are struggling, those of us who voted Leave knew exactly what we were voting for, and they still do not get it, but lets us not be too smug, the leaders in the Conservative Party did not get it at the time either, so had to go.

      LibDems getting worried too I hear.

      Seems like the sensible back bench MP’s are reading the populations minds better than any of the leaders of late given the stupid pledges made by all of them recently.

      Let us hope common sense prevails in the end.

  2. Mark B
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    The EU is like no other. It does not answer to its parliament, the member countries or the citizens of the EU. Look at how Greece is treated. To the EU they must be punished. The Greek people voted to end austerity only to have even worse imposed on them by Brussels.

    Any negotiations will not be about trade. They will be about how the UK will continue to work alongside the EU. An example of this is the border between the UK and Ireland. The sooner we discuss these arrangements the better.

    • Hope
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Quite right, but led by and encouraged by Germany. Why does Germany get to make unilateral decisions on behalf of the EU, like mass immigration from Africa, and a larger say than any other country? Germany also allowed to prosper at the expense of Southern European countries. It is a rigged club.

    • Yossarion
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      The Germans were given exceptionally favorable Terms after 1945 with the backlash of the Treaty of Versailles fresh in the memory of all concerned. Someone needs to remind Merkel that we only finished paying off lend lease to the the USA in 2006, Oh and whilst she was sitting in Her DDR, some of us were getting paid to to protect the West …..

  3. Iain Gill
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    The EU is not the biggest problem, the British political class is the biggest problem.

    • Mitchel
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      So true,when they lost the empire they had to create new (internal) colonies to administer to in the guise of socialism on order to keep the gravy train going.The boss class just became the bureaucrat class.

    • Hope
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Let us not forget the much lauded Bloomberg speech by JR and others as the blueprint for negotiating with the EU by Weasel Cameron. He dropped al, the main points before discussion and came away with “thin gruel” as one Tory put it. Shamelessly he still claimed to have reformed the EU and tried to scare us, with leaflets paid by the taxpayer, to stay with his other dishonorable side kick chancellor.

      Do not hold May’s speech with anything other than caution or contempt.

  4. Roy Grainger
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    But the Conservative manifesto makes clear that the law regarding an exit payment is not the whole story, it says we will also make payments based on the “spirit” of UK’s “continuing partnership with the EU”. This gives May/Hammond scope to pay them anything they dream up.

    • Nig l
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 6:19 am | Permalink

      Yes and it is a worry albeit that is a typical piece of political catch all BS so beloved of politicians, non specific, non measurable, but gives them the cover to justify whatever they do. Assuming TM wins, the make up of her new Cabinet will give us the first clues about the likely direction. My worry is the civil servants in the
      Treasury, I cannot forget the ‘lies’ they concocted to support project fear and the Fireign Office and we saw how they thought and operated when we relatively recently heard from a senior diplomat albeit he ultimately went because he was too vocal. My guess is that there will be plenty left with the same view who will be stealthily working with their European counterparts to ensure we continue to be hooked one way or another. Europe does not seem to be discussing scenarios without our contribution. Maybe someone has ‘whispered in their ear’?

      • Mitchel
        Posted May 22, 2017 at 10:02 am | Permalink

        My thoughts entirely.Behind a façade of which Prince Potemkin would be proud we will continue to be marched in lockstep with the rest of the EU/West towards fulfilment of the great design.

        Fake jobs,fake democracy,fake money,fake politicians,fake news,fake enemies all manipulated by a vast self-serving bureaucracy.

        A bit like another fake utopia ….of blessed memory.

    • eeyore
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 6:49 am | Permalink

      An important and very disturbing comment. We can be certain the words Roy Grainger highlights were not chosen idly, and that they will be noted in Europe.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 22, 2017 at 8:09 am | Permalink

        The actual wording around “spirit” is this:

        https://s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/manifesto2017/Manifesto2017.pdf

        “The negotiations will undoubtedly be tough, and there will be give and take on both sides, but we continue to believe that no deal is better than a bad deal for the UK. But we will enter the negotiations in a spirit of sincere cooperation and committed to getting the best deal for Britain.”

        “As we leave the European Union, we will no longer be members of the single market or customs union but we will seek a deep and special partnership including a comprehensive free trade and customs agreement. There may be specific European programmes in which we might want to participate and if so, it will be reasonable that we make a contribution. We will determine a fair settlement of the UK’s rights and obligations as a departing member state, in accordance with the law and in the spirit of the UK’s continuing partnership with the EU. The principle, however, is clear : the days of Britain making vast annual contributions to the European Union will end.”

        I’m not too worried about any of that, but if the government does start to go astray we have MPs who are supposed to control expenditure.

    • zorro
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 6:51 am | Permalink

      Indeed, more waffle in the manifesto on potential payments down the train probably to ‘buy influence’ whilst selling the older generation down the drain. Well, we can all act in our own self interest then, and not have our estates plundered without a suitable insurance option!

      zorro

    • getahead
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      I hate the thought of paying the parasitic EU anything at all. We already have a trade deficit with the 27.
      Why should we pay the Brussels “institution” for it?

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    Indeed the main fear is that the structure of the EU leadership and its members. The EU structures & politics are so dysfunctional & inept that they can rarely even act in the interests of their own members.

    If we have to divert sales to supply home or other overseas markets (should the EU decide to cut off their nose to spite their face) so be it, we will be just fine.

    Or at least we will be fine if the Tories, post the election, forget May’s childish, red Ed agenda. Forget her prices and income policies, her building on EU workers “rights”, and her attacks on the Gig economy, her expensive green crap and the likes.

    All that is needed if to cut and simplify taxes, cut the reams of red tape that choke industry, go for cheap reliable energy, reduce the size of the largely inept state sector massively, cancel the bonkers grand projects and greencrap and give people real freedom of choice. Choice as to how they spend the money they have earned. Choice in health, education, business, housing, entertainment, tv channels, holiday indeed in everything the choose.

    This rather than stealing it off them under threat of imprisonment and spending (mainly wasting) it for them. On, for example, second rate, virtual state monopolies such as the NHS and education.

    Freedom of choice and get the state out of the damn way please. But can May be turned into a Tory? It seems rather unlikely. She is after all 60 and yet has gleaned so very little on how economies or business actually work.

    She still thinks the state is the solution when in the UK it is very clearly the problem.

    • stred
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      Re. Tezz turning into RedEd and his energy price cap. It is interesting that the team have said nothing about RedEd’s gag on OFGEM saying anything about the extra cost on bills caused by renewable subsidies, which are far higher than the so called rip- off tariffs which are to be capped. These subsidies will be double by 2020, as a huge expansion in offshore wind is underway, with the price agreed about 4-5 times that of gas without the carbon tax.

      https://www.thegwpf.com/fixing-ofgem-the-uks-gas-and-electricity-regulator/

    • Hope
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      LL, simple do not vote for her. Tories will be forced to become a centre right party not mainstream left wing socialists.

      Reply Do you want Mrs May or Mr Corbyn negotiating Brexit? That is the main question.

      • MickN
        Posted May 22, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        Reply Do you want Mrs May or Mr Corbyn negotiating Brexit? That is the main question.

        No Sir, I want YOU negotiating Brexit along with Mr Rees-Mogg !!
        Your question above is a no contest, but it is very much the lesser of two evils.

      • The Prangwizard
        Posted May 22, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        But it’s not looking good for her is it? Dithering Doris seems to have made a mess of the social care issue. How can we be sure now that she is strong and can do the job of getting us out, really out. Will she negotiate a botch-up after all?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 22, 2017 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

        May sounds like a dreadful, misguided socialist with no understanding of economics, but there is no other option. Corbyn is clearly even worse. A magic money tree baffoon who seems to believe he is Father Christmas, promising almost everthing to almost everyone – all paid for by “the rich” – who will mainly have left the country if he wins.

        At least with T May there is a chance that the sensible wing of her party can explain reality to her and Hammond – or replace them. This so they do not copy the economic & elecoral disasters that were Heath, Major & Cameron.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted May 22, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        It would appear TM is trying to lose the election.

      • Mark B
        Posted May 22, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply

        This is not about one single issue but, the fact that a political party that prides itself with being careful with the economy is embracing Magic Money Tree economic and social policies whilst borrowing large sums to give to others outside the UK and the taxing the people of the UK for the privilege.

        And as for BREXIT, that is going to happen in less that 2 years. Remember, and I have told you this so many times, Article 50 was a starting gun. The countdown has started, we are leaving and it does not matter who is running the show. 🙂

      • Richard1
        Posted May 22, 2017 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

        Mrs May of course, its no choice. but the social care U-turn doesn’t inspire confidence. Personally I thought the unamended policy quite sensible, but it obviously hadn’t been put together with any consultation with colleagues. Maybe the cap will be set at some sensible level like £1m, but I fear she will be browbeaten into agreeing £72k by the date of the election, thererby heaping another huge liability onto the backs of future taxpayers.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      A very sensible U-turn by May on social care, following on from her & Hammond’s sensible one on the self employed NICs. We now just need a few more – on the greencrap rip off energy, on the prices and income policy, on HS2, Hinkley, the probate tax, ratting on IHT, the need for simpler lower taxes and a smaller state, the need for far less red tape and far simpler employment laws …….

      Perhaps she should give me a call if she has any other plans and I could stop her making these very basic political errors – pro bono – it would only take me a minute or two anyway to decide. People who write the manifesto – with double firsts in history and the similar seem be unable to spot the blindingly obvious. Rather like Dennis Healey with his 98% income tax.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted May 22, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        Having dug herself into a hole May now needs (and very rapidly indeed) to say what this ‘absolute limit’ cap that people have to pay is.

  6. Len Grinds
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    Any state that did 45 per cent of its trade with a bloc on the basis of agreed rules and long-established and trusted system for resolving disputes, which are far more wide-ranging than anything offered by the WTO, and then chose to throw away those prizes without any promise of anything in return would be widely regarded as having taken leave of its senses.

    The world regards the UK as having taken leave of its senses.

    • DaveM
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      No it doesn’t.

      • hefner
        Posted May 22, 2017 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        – Oh yes it does!
        – Oh no it don’t !

        Eh guys, not Xmas yet.

        • DaveM
          Posted May 22, 2017 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

          Hef,

          Couldn’t be bothered to write what Roy wrote below, so just wrote what I’d say to a bloke in the pub if he came out with that statement!

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      You weaken your case with your absurd last sentence, how on earth do you know that “the world” is unanimous in thinking we have taken leave of our senses ? For example, that “world” obviously mustn’t include the Republican party and their voters in USA, or Le Pen voters in France, or a significant number of Italians (as I know from personal experience), or Russian politicians, or a significant number of politicians and people in Australia and on and on. By “world” you simply mean “people who agree with me”.

      • Mitchel
        Posted May 22, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        see also the term “international community” and it’s usage.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      The world may not realise that the balance of trade is not in our favour.

    • Know-dice
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      I guess that is “the world” according to Len Grinds.

      Stay in the EU and become a region of the United States of EU Land, everything paid to and controlled by Brussels – Is that what you want?

      Have you read the “Five Presidents” report?

      • Len Grinds
        Posted May 22, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        Yes, know dice, I read the Five Presidents report with care.
        Not one line affects the UK, since we have watertight opt outs.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      Attn Mr Grinds–We clearly live on different worlds–Nothing in return?–You must be joking–Are not our contributions something, in fact quite a lot as rEU is fast coming to realise?–I suspect that you are not exactly pro US but be assured, as I know personally, that the main view there is that “They need you more than you need them”–Just think of the Joy of being free from their over-reactive, bureaucratic and just plain daft and unnecessary regulations. Then there is the return of our fishing.

      • graham1946
        Posted May 22, 2017 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        I hope you are right about the fishing, it should be the case. However, I am far from convinced that Remainer May is not going to sacrifice the fishing grounds for some spurious ‘advantage’. The EU have plundered our waters for too long for them to stand down and burn their boats as we did after Heath sold them out. Another Tory remember. We don’t have much to thank them for vis a vis the EU. They lied us into the whole stinking morass and most of them still do.

    • Edward2
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      You are assuming trade between Europe and the UK will stop which is plainly not going to happen.
      Many nations trade successfully with Europe without being members of the single market.

      • Jerry
        Posted May 22, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

        @Edward2; Once again you are attempting to reply to something Roy did not say. No one is suggesting trade will stop, that only happens in times of war or more likely now due to UN sanctions, but it is the level and cost of the trade that really matters. If the EU27, or just the EU (and yes that might be in a fit of peak…), want to play hard ball there is nothing that can make them buy UK goods or even sell to the UK -even more so if they have or can find alternate markets.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 22, 2017 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

          Thanks for joining in Jerry.
          I was replying to Les Grinds actually.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 22, 2017 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

            I’ll remember that reply for when you jump in on me Eddie….

          • Edward2
            Posted May 23, 2017 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

            Please do.
            My comment was towards Les Grinds.
            Simple as that.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 24, 2017 at 5:35 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; Eddie, if your comment was meant to be private then take it to email, otherwise do not make such comments on a public forum…. Once again you try and troll me but only succeed in trolling yourself! 🙁

          • Edward2
            Posted May 24, 2017 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

            You have lost me there Jerry.
            You live in a fantasy world where you don’t believe what others tell you and only your views are right.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 25, 2017 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; This is a public forum, even though a private website, our host invites comment, you seem to be objecting that anyone can reply to anyone else! As for your second sentence, once again the filthy pot appears to be trying to call the kettle dusty.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 26, 2017 at 8:45 am | Permalink

            You are objecting to me posting and remarkably calling me a troll .
            You say don’t comment “take it private” “use e mail”
            The attempt at shutting down debate on here is yours not mine Jerry

      • jonP
        Posted May 22, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        To Edward2.. Yes but they were not part of the EU like UK is. Other nations have successfully traded with EU but from a long distance off and with little or no association.. what we are facing now is the complete dismantling of more than forty years of union. It won’t be easy. If negotiations go terribly wrong trade between the EU and UK could very well stop or at the very least be interrupted- there are no guarantees

        • Edward2
          Posted May 22, 2017 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

          Ridiculous to say trade might stop.
          How are a few technocrats going to stop hundreds of millions of consumers and suppliers from buying and selling goods.

    • P2017
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      But John Redwood says it is simple so it must be.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      Nonsense, plenty of other people and markets to export to, plus home market substitution, if they fail to be sensible.

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    More Corbyn as Father Chistmas policies from Labour. This time on university fees. Angela Rayner saying that the average student leaves university with a debt of £44,000. Though actually only about half of this is actually likely to be paid back so half is a grant anyway.

    More to the point most also leave university with fairly worthless degrees for the money too.

    • Know-dice
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      That could be a Corbyn “own goal”.

      How many ex-students have outstanding loans that are not going to be written off by Labour?

      How many ex-students have paid off their loans and will ask Labour “will you give me my money back?”

      I would guess there are more going to ask those questions than voting students that will take advantage of this in the next Parliament…

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      No, by then their assets will be sold on death to repay the student loan.

  8. Richard1
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    An excellent summary

  9. Prigger
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    “Under WTO rules which govern the EU as well as us, the EU cannot do anything adverse to us that it does not also do to the USA, China, India and the other major countries of the world. ”
    How can our media be balanced unless the interviewer tells Remoaners …immediately…that when they say the opposite they are in error?

    • Len Grinds
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      The adverse thing the EU will do is simply to say – you are not in our club, you do not get the benefits anymore.
      That is almost half of all our export trade which will suddenly revert to WTO-only terms: not even the US trades with the EU on those terms, because it has a whole slew of bilateral deals with the EU. The Uk loses all that.
      This is the simple reason why Brexit day means economic disaster, unless a deal is agreed – which everyone with understanding of trade recognises needs 10 years.

      • David Price
        Posted May 22, 2017 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

        But the UK doesn’t “lose all of that” as automatically as you attempt to imply. The UK is a contracting party to very many of the bilateral deals so the existing terms could continue unless the counter party, eg the USA or Canada, objected. Why would the counter parties move from tariff-free to tariffs?

        • Len Grinds
          Posted May 23, 2017 at 5:34 am | Permalink

          Thank you for your question.

          Canada will object, because it knows it can get a better deal from the UK – population 65 million – than it can get from the EU – population 600 million.

          The US will object, because it knows it can get a better deal from the UK – population 65 million – than it can get from the EU – population 600 million.

          I could go on – Korea will object, because it knows it can get a better deal from the UK – population 65 million – than it can get from the EU – population 600 million – but I hope you get the point

          • David Price
            Posted May 23, 2017 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

            But the market for a product in the EU is not 600m people and the UK already trades with these countries. We already export more to the US than we do to any single EU country, why would any of these countries damage trade they already have?

            In any case, these countries haven’t been objecting, it would appear they have instead been lining up to offer trade agreements, which is the opposite to what you assert.

  10. PC Saynt
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    ” I alway find it odd that the people who most love the EU have such a low view of the way it will behave, expecting it to be petty, nasty and to seek to operate outside international law and outside the norms of civilised behaviour.”
    It is because they truly despise and loathe foreigners.Etc ed

  11. Freeborn John
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    I do think that May took her eye of the ball during the critical period before negotiations start during which the EU was preparing with ‘negotiating mandate’. She likely was thinking of holding the election, but in not setting expectations with the EU she allowed them to not just “try it on” as you say, but domso repeatedly as they interpreted her silence as acceptance. The EU is a very inflexibly body and once the negotiating mandate has been agreed by them, it will be difficult for them to adjust. The end result is either that the UK will cave in to the increased demands (as the EU expect) or the talks will break up and we fall back to the best alternative to a negotiated agreement which is WTO most-favoured-nation trading rules. I have no problem with the latter, but May is still likely to favour the former and the UK price for that has risen because of her lack of ability to prepare for the negotiations (despite the incredibly long period she took at invoke Article 50).

    One really has to conclude that UK politicians are extraordinarily bad negotiators. No businessman would long survive with the niavity and tardiness displayed by May.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      I don’t know about their ability of ministers as negotiators but the government has let the UK mass media feed rubbish to the population without effective rebuttals.

  12. Alan
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Of course we have all the advantages of good relationships with the other countries of the EU whilst we remain a member. All that Mr Redwood seems to find objectionable is our financial contribution to the EU. Everything else is good. This is a very different attitude to his usual one of constant criticism.

    Now, having told the EU that we are leaving, he expects all these advantages to continue without the payments and without any trouble in working out the details. It won’t happen like that. We are actually leaving and that means we are giving up all those advantages. If we want them back we have to negotiate them. That includes even basic things like rights of travel and residence, and there will be associated costs.

    Mr Redwood is confident that we will re-negotiate all the advantages of being in the EU with a lower total payment. Maybe we will, but I suspect we will spend so much and lose so much in the course of doing so it will not be worthwhile, and even when we have re-negotiated we will find that our relationship is not so seamless as it is now. There will be inefficiencies that lower the productivity of our industries. In the end we will be paying more but in a different disguise. All countries that trade with one another have to support the infrastructure that is needed for trade, from the collection of customs duties, the inspection and enforcement of standards, to policing and legal structures. All these cost money.

    Don’t be in any doubt that financially we will be worse off outside the EU, and we will be less influential. For some time we will be able to pretend that this is not so, but as time goes by it will become more and more obvious that we have made a bad mistake by leaving.

    reply We will be better off and more influential globally when out

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      I have yet to be convinced what the advantages are too the UK being a member of the EU.
      Untrammelled immigration, a7% tax on all our exports. Unable to deport criminals and educating EU students free of charge.
      Our share of trade with the EU declines annually and the costs increase exponentially.
      Please advise on any perceived advantage.
      Don’t give me the old canard about travel as I did that in the 60,s without a problem.

      • DaveM
        Posted May 22, 2017 at 7:44 am | Permalink

        With you there, IW.

      • Alan
        Posted May 22, 2017 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        Immigration is necessary to staff our services and industries. It will not be possible to reduce immigration without damaging our industries.

        I’m not aware of the EU imposing a tax on our exports, so can’t answer that.

        The EU does not prevent us from deporting criminals, nor does it require us to educate EU students free of charge.

        Our trade with the EU increases, but the rest of the world is getting richer faster than the EU (although it starts from a lower level), so the proportion the rest of the world takes is rising. Our trade with the EU is vital to us. Fortunately it will not stop when we leave the EU, but it will be a bit more difficult, a bit less profitable.

        As for advantages -being a member of the richest market in the world is obviously advantageous. The complete absence of obstacles to trade mean that our industries can construct the complex supply networks that are needed for modern, complex, equipment and doing this throughout the EU gives us the advantages of scale. Being a member of the richest market makes us influential, able to take part in far better trading agreements than smaller countries can get.

        Then there are all the smaller things – it is important that it is easy for people to live and work throughout the EU. Travel is far cheaper than when you did it in the 60s because the EU has encouraged low cost airlines. It has enforced low charges on phone calls. It has enforced cleaner beaches and other environmental improvements. It has established common standards for trade throughout the EU, standards which are usually adopted by non-EU countries because of their quality. It provides inspection and policing for these standards. It provides cooperation on policing, and hopefully soon on defence procurement.

        I could go on, but what’s the point? Those who want their country back have won and nothing I can say now will change that. All these advantages will have to be renegotiated at great trouble and expense, and I suspect we will not get as much as we have now, nor do I expect there to be any significant advantages at all to leaving the EU. Nor do I expect that the Brexiters will even realise that things could be better.

        • rose
          Posted May 23, 2017 at 10:07 am | Permalink

          “Immigration is necessary to staff our services and industries. It will not be possible to reduce immigration without damaging our industries.”

          How did we manage before, including running an empire? And how does Japan manage now? In fact, we used to be a country of emigration because there wasn’t enough land.

          Mass immigration is a wasteful and inhuman policy, treating some people like commodities, along with goods and services, and others, the home grown ones, like rubbish, to be thrown away on to the welfare heap. No incentive to educate or train, no incentive to have good working conditions or decent wages. Furthermore, the “commodities” imported from other countries leave those countries denuded of workers. The Anti Emigration Party won the last election in Lithuania – but it won’t help them as long as they are in the Protection Racket.

          Then there is overpopulation. It may indeed help big business etc to have cheap labour flooding in every year but where are you going to put them? At the moment they are squeezing in, several to a room, or taking council housing from the British. What happens in the next generation? You will no doubt say you need even more cheap labour flooding in tobuild all those extra cities. How many are you planning and where are you putting them?

          You may think people are just commodities, but they need housing and sewage, schools and hospitals, roads and transport – probably cars -, water, and green space, food …I could go on but the people who don’t want their country back don’t think of any of this. They won’t mind if it is covered in concrete and not able to feed or water itself. Just on that one point, water: people use a lot more of it than they did in the fifities, you know and we are already short of it from time to time. Wars start over water in other parts of the world. Think of the future, not just the selfish present. Even in the selfish present, look at the GDP per capita and how low it is, thanks to mass immigration. It is lower than Ireland. GDP is misleading. It doesn’t signify a high standard of living or good quality of life. It only signifies a growth in the population.

          • rose
            Posted May 23, 2017 at 10:40 am | Permalink

            PS what will you do with the surplus population you have imported when there is no longer a need for it, because of automation? You can’t expect it to leave a generous welfare state and go home.

    • Richard1
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      The advantages of EU membership have been easy travel for business tourism and study, friendly (sort of) political relations and free trade. None of these require subordination of the UK’s parliament and courts to the EU, the payment of billions a year in what amounts to aid for equally rich countries or unlimited immigration. Such requirements are not a condition for trade anywhere else in the world. So the only way Brexit could make us worse off is if the EU engages in a mutually damaging trade war to deter any other potential leavers. This seems very unlikely – but if it does happen we should be relieved not to be part of a bloc which behaves like a protection racket.

      • Alan
        Posted May 22, 2017 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

        The EU is more than a trading agreement, it is a union of European countries trying to make Europe a richer and more influential region in the world. You need to think of it as comparable to the USA or China but without the single government that would make it easy to run. Money that goes to running the market and improving the infrastructure should be a good investment.

        Actually most trade agreements do require the members to pay. There have to be inspections and policing of standards. These may be hidden in the costs of national laboratories, customs officers, national courts, but the costs are still there.

        Don’t forget it is us that is breaking away from the EU, not them that are throwing us out. We can’t expect the same terms after we have left as we have whilst we are in.

        • rose
          Posted May 23, 2017 at 10:53 am | Permalink

          “You need to think of it as comparable to the USA or China but without the single government that would make it easy to run.”

          We don’t need to think of it as you describe because Macron has given us another vision: one single finance minister for the Eurozone; one corporate tax rate (sorry Ireland) – soon to be joined by other taxation no doubt -; one army; no borders; no such thing as French culture; and unlimited immigration from other continents. On top of that, a stated resolution to punish Poland, Hungary, and us, for daring to be individual countries. It is a madness like Napoleon’s but on a bigger scale. You should stop being so starry-eyed about it.

          Eventually, this superstate will divide, with France and the Southern countries versus Germany and the Northern countries, and the Visigrad countries possibly being driven back to Russia. Well done Eurocrats. Well done EU fanatics. If you are going to run a successful empire, do it with a very light rein, and let the vassal states have their own currencies and laws.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      “All that Mr Redwood seems to find objectionable is our financial contribution to the EU. Everything else is good … ”

      I think you must have been reading a different article …

      • Alan
        Posted May 22, 2017 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        I thought Mr Redwood was making the point that there is much that is positive about the EU. I thought he wanted this to continue, just without us paying the into the EU.

        Reply Not about the EU but there are positives in our many trade,cultural, academic and other Links to EU countries which we can keep

    • graham1946
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      Why do we need to pay someone to sell their stuff to us? Surely with the deficit in their favour they should pay us? We don’t pay anyone else for access to their markets, we just produce goods to their spec and price and if necessary the importer pays a duty. Why is the EU different? Why do you want our money spent building motorways in Europe whilst our cars are wrecked with the potholed mess we have?

      • Alan
        Posted May 22, 2017 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

        We don’t pay for them to sell to us, we pay for us to sell to them. This is quite common, but is collected in customs duties rather than a direct contribution.

        However it is true that the UK government will collect more in customs duty in the future than the EU will collect from us. The governments will all gain and the exporters and the customers will all lose. In the round we will lose more than we gain, because the total amount of trade will be less than it would be if we had stayed in the single market. The EU will lose as well. It is lose-lose.

        • graham1946
          Posted May 22, 2017 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

          You don’t make any sense. If they sell more to us, why should they not pay us more than we pay them in access fees? We currently pay to suffer a shortfall, so desperate have our politicians been in the past to belong. It’s over very soon.

          Customs duties are not the same thing at all. They are not borne by the exporter, but by the importer, i.e. the public. Customs duties are not a cost to access the market, but a means to limit products coming in by making their own public pay more therefore making imported goods dearer. This is why food prices in the EU are 20 percent higher than world prices, to protect inefficient peasant farmers in the EU with the ‘Customs Union’.

          How do you know trade will be less when we leave? We don’t even know the terms yet. It will be tariff free if the EU has any sense and no fees payable if our government has any sense. WTO is a last resort and we could still offer tariff free if we wanted – not likely, but it’s our choice and that is the point. Tariffs are a bar to trade and the world is moving to get rid of them. Customs Unions are a dinosaur waiting for the meteor.

  13. Jerry
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    WTO rules say nothing about were a manufacture chooses to make their products, for example if a French car company might choose to build their recently acquired range of cars where or even if at all, why build cars outside of the EU when you can use spare manufacturing capacity inside the EU.

    International law might well make UK ex-pats have to take out medical insurance in their adopted country, it might also force them to return home, perhaps with little but what they stand up in plus a (walk-on) suitcase, arriving back in Blighty to pick up on their UK lives, claiming their rights under the UK law as UK citizens who have paid their due taxes.

    I do not fear Brexit, I fear that some, out of political principle, are creating an unfunded black-hole in the national finances that will dwarf the supposed black-hole that some accuse the Labour parties manifesto of creating.

    • Jerry
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      Off topic, I see that the Tory Manifesto pledge of extra NHS funding has unrivalled, rather than extra funding (as implied) it turns out to be nothing more than moving the deck chairs around on the Titanic – not trying to patch the hole.

      To think that the Tories have the nerve to accuse Labour of not ‘funding’ their manifesto….

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted May 23, 2017 at 3:05 am | Permalink

        Attn Jerry–Re “has unrivalled”–Was the “has” intended to be “was” or was the “unrivalled” intended to be “unravelled” or perhaps both? No danger obviously of your reading what you churn out before giving us the pleasure–Yes I have worked out you have a lot to say.

    • Bob
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      @Jerry,

      “International law might well make UK ex-pats have to take out medical insurance”

      If Mrs May gets her way, so will people born, bred & resident in the UK who have slogged all their lives, paying huge amounts in various taxes, duties and National Insurance contributions, and mortgage interest to wealthy bankers in the vain hope that their offspring may avoid being in hock to said wealthy bankers.

      They’ve virtually privatised the universities, and people are increasingly using independent schools due to the dire state alternative and it appears her intention is that other social services should be on “user pays” basis – and if that is the case, then fine, I would expect correspondingly lower tax rates, otherwise we are paying twice for the same thing.

      People in some of the more affluent parts of London are even employing their own security patrols because the police find it easier to sit in call centres issuing crime numbers to facilitate insurance claims.

    • Mockbeggar
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      One reason why Peugeot is more likely to close a UK Vauxhall plant than an equivalent in France is that it is easier to do it under UK law than under the repressive employment laws in France. Quality of manufacture comes second to that.

    • Edward2
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      What “international law” will “force them (UK citizens) to return home”?

      • Jerry
        Posted May 22, 2017 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

        @Edward2; Go and actually read our hosts diary entry at the head of the page, then you might understand the reference!

        • Edward2
          Posted May 22, 2017 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

          I was hoping you might justify your own post Jerry.
          You claimed international law would force deportations of uk citizens carry only a few belongings.
          Im puzzled what law would create that scenario.

          • Jerry
            Posted May 22, 2017 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; I did, did you actually bothers to read Mr Redwood’s article?

          • Edward2
            Posted May 23, 2017 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

            Yes I did.
            Still no proper reply from you.
            What international law is it that will enable UK citizens to be deported with just a few belongings?

          • Jerry
            Posted May 24, 2017 at 5:42 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; Thank you for proving that you have still not actually read our hosts article or -more likely- have failed to understand it. Had you done so you would understand my reference to international law.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 24, 2017 at 8:21 am | Permalink

            Still no response from you
            Remarkable
            You should be a politician Jerry

  14. acorn
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Trade will still go on but the prices will change and consequently the volume of trade. There will still be UK citizens who can afford to buy them BMWs and Mercs, tariff or no tariff.

    If the TPP and TTIP go ahead, courtesy of another Trump reversal, along with the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), that will likely spell the beginning of the end of the WTO. Mind you, a TTIP between the UK and Mr Trump, would be the fastest way to privatise the NHS, using the Investor State Dispute Settlement secret courts. 😉

  15. Eh?
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    No. I’m not a member of the Conservative Party. It’s £25 or £5 if you’re under 23 or £15 for a serving or former member of the armed forces.The catch is, YOU have to pay that to the Party. Not only do you give your all for free but they actually want you to pay THEM!!! It wouldn’t surprise me if they said they expect you to go pushing leaflets through doors for free too. They must think we’re all a set of dangos! 🙂

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      Personally, I think that the membership charge is too high at £25 per person (£50 for a couple). I believe that no one should have to pay too much to become a member of a political party. If, say, a couple were on limited means, and it was a choice between spending £50 on groceries or a utility bill, guess which one would win!

      A member is not ‘expected’ to go out campaigning and delivering leaflets, but is often ‘requested’ to do so, and often urged to ‘Donate’ to Party Funds.

    • Beecee
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      Ah, but they do! And leaflet posting is on the tasks required list.

      And Theresa has now upset all the old folk. Ooops!

      As Mrs May told us – this is my manifesto. A fact confirmed by unnamed ‘senior’ Tories who had no idea what was in it until it was published.

    • Jerry
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      After last Thursday’s manifesto I wonder how many Conservative Party membership cards are being torn up? No doubt the party will put the non renewals down to “Churn”…

    • Lifelogic
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      If I was daft enough to join a party with a socialist leader why would you join the Tories – you can have the real thing with Labour.

    • sm
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      All political Parties do that, it’s called support!

    • rose
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      Are you being ironic? Or do you want political parties to be funded by the taxpayer?

      Our conservative candidate has no leaflets yet because she has no money. She is trying to raise it from the very few Conservative constituents. It is not a target seat, so no help from HQ, but almost daily requests from them too for money. The Conservative Party is no longer the “Well-oiled machine” it was when women didn’t work and there were plenty of retired men with money and time to spare. Our seat used to have the biggest Conservative majority in the country but population churn has changed all that. Now we await with interest to see whether the socialist woman will beat off the new socialist “green” woman, or whether the Liberals will take it back. They are fighting each other hard – no sign of a coalition of chaos in electioneering here. We may get some conservative leaflets to deliver some time.

    • graham1946
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      Being a member of any political party is bonkers, except for the professionals. Why accept all the rubbish a leader spouts just because they say so? Better to be in a position to criticise anything you don’t agree with, except for the professional politicians, of course, who are given their opinions, which is why none would answer any questions until their manifestos came out. They were all in the dark and even now Mr Redwood cannot answer my question posed yesterday as to what the level of income will be for the fuel allowance to be stopped. He does not even dare to venture an opinion of what he would like to see it at.

      When I was young joining the Tories was because they had better looking girls. Now there is a reason!

      Reply There will be a statement and consultation on the level for fuel payments when I may well have my say.

      • graham1946
        Posted May 22, 2017 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

        According to Mrs. May it will be after the election. Pig in a poke. If she had something nice to say she’d say it. Not getting my vote like that, Brexit or not. I think the old ‘uns won’t be easily fooled after a lifetime of being conned.

  16. Chris
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Regarding my comment above, it should have read “See Financial Times report…”

    • Chris
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      The comment to which I was replying has not been posted. A shortened version of it is as follows:
      I am not optimistic simply because of the style in which Theresa May conducts her government. The shambles over the dementia tax is inexcusable, and if these reports of quotes from so called senior Tories are correct then the role of Nick timothy in apparently holding undue influence over Theresa May and government policy should be challenged by fellow Tories.
      http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/807515/Theresa-May-dementia-tax-plans-top-Tories-manifesto-launch-Boris-Johnson-General-election
      Theresa May did not disclose ‘dementia tax’ plans with top Tories before manifesto launch.

  17. agricola
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    The UK is one voice blaspheming against the theology of the EU, and they hate us for it. Behind them are their largely socialist parliament followed by twenty seven countries and their people who will be most affected by the outcome. I will be truly amazed if common sense and interest prevail, ending in an agreement that satisfies all those in the UK who voted for it.

    As you say the WTO is the fall back position and one hopes that international law covers everything else. A comfortable conservative victory in the coming election is the only route to clarity on our side. Aspects of your manifesto have not done much to ensure this. Do not assume that all in it’s eighty eight pages is automatically endorsed by a conservative victory. To me it seems somewhat arrogant that the manifesto is not first put before all those that have to fight on it before it gains the status of the ten commandments. It is a car with defective steering, but the only one for sale to people desperate for transport. A source of trouble ahead.

  18. Bert Young
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Our attitude to Brexit is one thing , the EU’s attitude – and that of certain countries , is another . It will be interesting to see how the Spanish reconcile their position over Gibraltar and the presence of so many economically contributing Brits who live there .

    There is no doubt that Germany will want to establish its dominance in Europe much more so than it does now ; we have always been the check on their influence during our membership of the EU but , once we are gone , Bismarckism will take over . Ingrained in the German attitude is the ignominy of the 2 wars ; they have the determination and discipline within their character and it will show .

    Of course we will rise above all the challenges that present themselves and , hopefully , show the grit and determination that is within our character . If we succeed – and it will be due to the leadership we have , we will restore our proper respected place in the world .

    • Bert Young
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      Why am I always subjected to “moderation” ?.

    • DavidMR
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      This sounds to me like a comprehensively accurate assessment. I recall the patronising laughter when the notion was toted during the Referendum campaign that this could all ultimately end in a war. However as Bert here notes, we now have an interesting situation brewing in Gibraltar with Spain having the capability, should it choose to exercise it, to veto whatever deal we ultimately strike with the EU (that is, if we’re actually able to strike one at all). We’ve therefore handed Spain her best opportunity in modern times to demand – and get – Gibraltar back in exchange for acquiescing to that deal. Spain knows this, as do the Gibraltarians – hence the panic when the story was first leaked. I take it for granted that HMG would never admit such a possibility, so matters are likely to get unpleasant two years from now. How then would we respond to Spain sending in troops? Laugh if you wish, but I’m old enough to remember the Cod War: such flare-ups between allies can and do happen. There’s also the question of the Northern Irish land border with the Republic – which could potentially either see troops on both sides of it once more, or a united Ireland within the EU. And then of course there’s the possibility of Scottish independence, potentially leading to yet another border with the EU along Hadrian’s Wall. The government will need to deal with these issues, if and when they arise, spectacularly well – because if they fail to do so, there are 16 million Remain voters who will be falling over themselves to throw them out at the next General Election for screwing it up.

      Reply The aim is not to impose new borders in Ireland and for Scotland to stay in the UK as they voted to do. There are no military threats.

      • DavidMR
        Posted May 25, 2017 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps. In common with many others I noted the speed with which Michael Howard reached for his sabre when the Gibraltar story first broke, but never mind about that. The Brexit negotiations will take two years – so that’s how long we have to wait before we find out whether this is going to become an issue or not, and a lot can happen in that time.

  19. Michael
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    The cost of defusing a big World War Two bomb in Birmingham last week should be deducted from the EU exit bill amassed in Brussels.

    • hefner
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      Do you know that in some parts of Germany (Hesse), there are on average 2-3 bombs per month to be defused. Does Germany ask Britain to pay for these?

    • Jerry
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      @Michael; OK, quid pro quo, the UK should then pay the cost of evacuating 50,000 people and the defusing those three UK WW2 bombs found in Hannover earlier this months, perhaps it could be it added to our exit bill from the EU…

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      I like that!

  20. Bob
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    ” there is no legal basis or political reason why we should pay them any special extra payment on leaving”

    is the PM and her mostly pro Remain front bench aware of this??

  21. acorn
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    How to pay for social care, without using the government’s currency issuing powers to pay for it. According to ONS, UK households were worth £11,100 billion, last time they looked. £4,440 billion of it in private pension funds; £3,885 billion in property wealth.

    The UK spends about 1.2% of GDP (£26 billion a year) on Social Care. It was 1.4% until the 2010 election, its been dropping since then.

    As most private pension funds will go technically Ponzi eventually. There won’t be enough people or sponsors left to pay in and the investment income won’t cover the payments to more and more pensioner members. Private pension scheme liabilities, can last a lot longer than the companies that set them up, ask the people at BHS.

    Suggestion. Relieve all private sector companies of their pension fund liabilities by nationalising all private pension funds. Put all the assets into the NS&I and let it pay the pensions; using the DWP pension paying system. Remember, the government will never run out of its own money to pay for pensions and social care.

    https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/personalandhouseholdfinances/incomeandwealth/compendium/wealthingreatbritainwave4/2012to2014/mainresultsfromthewealthandassetssurveyjuly2012tojune2014#private-pension-wealth

  22. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    “I always find it odd that the people who most love the EU have such a low view of the way it will behave, expecting it to be petty, nasty and to seek to operate outside international law and outside the norms of civilised behaviour.”

    It is a bit strange that the so-called europhobes and xenophobes who want us out of the EU will often express a better opinion of our neighbours than many of the enthusiasts for the EU. I suppose one explanation could be that the latter believe that something like the EU is essential to provide a legal framework to keep some of the national governments under control, as otherwise they really will start another world war.

    “I think many of them are better than that, and those who might fall short have self interest to push them to keep open their access to the UK.”

    I have to admit that so far my belief in this has been rather weakened by the irrationality, in fact sheer stupidity, of some of the comments which have been made. However we seem to have reached a point whether the EU’s official negotiator Barnier is beginning to row back on some of the more idiotic statements which have been fed to the UK media.

    • acorn
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      Denis, you have confused me now. “… so-called europhobes and xenophobes who want us out of the EU …”. I had you slated as associated with at least one, if not both, of those descriptors. Are you dissociating from those two; I think we should be told. 😉

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted May 23, 2017 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        I should have put #sarcasm at the end.

  23. alastair harris
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    You make good points and you make them well. There is a more fundamental point here. It concerns a strategy for leaving. And it concerns the strategic mistake Mrs May is making. That is in trying to tie together the negotiations for leaving with a new (set of) treaty negotiations. Because it gifts the EU too much complexity in which to wriggle, remembering that for the most part they will be playing to the UK gallery. All the guff about ongoing relationships can and should wait until the exit is complete. At which point we negotiate from a position of strength.

  24. Posted May 22, 2017 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    As you have said many times before, as far as trade is concerned they need us more than we need them!
    An issue that concerns and annoys me is those erstwhile MPs and others who seem far more concerned about EU citizens living in this country than our citizens living in the EU. I would have thought their primary duty was looking after our citizens and ensuring that they will have no problems.

  25. rose
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    An uplifting post today, Mr R, thank you.

    Let us hope our negotiators rise to your standard.

    • Paul w
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      Well rose..sorry to disappoint..we are in for a hammering..we’ll very likely end up half in and half out of the customs union..paying in for the privilage but with absolutely no say adto its future direction and development..in fact the worst of all worlds..so better not to believe a word from messrs davis fox or boris..evrn mrd may is at itnow wiyh fake news and spin..i’m sick of it

  26. Antisthenes
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Trade treaties are as much about protecting favoured producers as it is about giving consumers better access to better quality and priced goods and services. Free trade does not need treaties. We only need to ensure we have sensible laws and regulations that protect consumers and producers from being exploited by dishonest practices. We erect barriers to trade and other practices for what we believe are perfectly reasonable reasons. Either because they are morally abhorrent to us or we calculate that they disadvantage us commercially. Often but not always the price we pay for doing so is far higher than if we had not erected those barriers in the first place.

    The EU single market is one such barrier that is designed to deny it’s consumers/citizens access to the worlds markets by imposing tariffs and even internally by imposing producer protecting regulations. Brexit will free the UK from the EU’s constricting trade practices and allow it to open it’s trade with all the world including the EU and cooperate with anyone we believe it is in our interest to do so. We can address the world as an equal again and not as a sub element of the EU.

  27. jason wells
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    John.. you can forget about being optimistic.. we can all see its only election talk.. a little bit of fake news thrown in to draw attention away from yesterdays awful reaction to the manifesto- I think Mrs May must harbour some terrible, barely concealed, contempt for the British public to attempt to try this on us- the technocrats must have been working overtime to come up such extreme ideas- that she agreed to put these ideas out only goes to show the terrible pressures she is under- but one way or another- it was an awful mistake.

    Again as far as the EU is concerned unlike you I am not at all optimistic- brexit is a disaster for Britain- and it is not good for the EU either and will take years of bitter talks to untangle the mess- unlike china the USA and India, the EU has the UK in its sights now for causing this terrible trouble and as has already been said loud and clear by messers Macron Merkel and Junker to name but a few that the UK cannot ever be better off outside the EU bloc than in it- and that’s the truth and everything else is just fake news and spin. Its what I believe- there will be no cakes on the table for anyone- only salt and vinegar- Tusk quote

  28. Mike Wilson
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    You might be surprised and find it is not your party that is doing the negotiation. Everyone I have spoken to, including me, is FURIOUS about the ‘Dementia Tax’

    I’ll be voting Labour for the first time since 1974. Many I have spoken to are not going to vote.

    What happened to ‘paying in all your life’ for health and social care. Why bother paying taxes if you end up having to pay for yourself if the risk of needing care is not shared?

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      Correct. Think I’ll vote Labour too (my constituency is Labour-held marginal) because as a pensioner I’d be better off with them based on the two manifestos.

  29. P2017
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    ‘They exaggerate the importance of government, treaties and rules’

    Is this the closest Mr Redwood has ever come to mentioning a non-tariff barrier? Not sure whether to laugh or cry, because they really are very important. And all Mr Redwood continues to demonstrate is his immense comfortable​ blissful ignorance of them.

    Reply I have run large exporting companies in the past and am well aware of the procedures for selling outside the EU, which work just fine.

    • John O'Leary
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      Reply to JR’s reply.

      But we aren’t addressing procedures for selling outside the EU are we? We are talking about the EU’s existing non-tariff barriers (NTBs) which apply universally to what the EU term “third countries” (those outside the EU or EEA), i.e. the UK when Article 50 talks end. That is upto 40% of our export trade at risk and you expect us to take your word that it will be alright on the night? I voted for Brexit assuming that the government would have a viable plan to extract us from political union without trashing the economy. Every day I read reports about their current strategy I cringe because it is totally inept.

  30. Longinus
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    OT
    Oh dear, weak and wobbly May appears to be backtracking over ‘dementia tax’. Will May lose an unassailable lead?

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      Is she? What has she said? She MUST backtrack over the ‘dementia tax’.

      All our lives we have been paying income tax, national insurance, VAT, council tax, car tax, duties on fuel (and alcohol if you can afford a pint after paying all the other taxes) and other taxes and, of course, a bloody MORTGAGE. As well as paying for maintenance and upgrades such as new kitchens etc. If your home is now to be considered an asset – another tax – for the state to grab hold of if you are unlucky enough to need long term care – you should be able to offset the cost of improvements, the mortgage and to value your time doing houses up.

  31. Roy Grainger
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Hmmm … the rapidity of the U-Turn on the (entirely uncosted) social care strategy in the manifesto makes me think the policy originated with Mr Hammond rather than Nick Timothy as everyone thinks. So now there is a cap on total payments from someone’s estate, but no mention of what that is, pathetic half-baked policy making on the hoof.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      Hear, hear. Strong and stable government? It looks more like Fred Karno’s army every day.

      Since growing up, I have – and what is the right word – almost detested Labour. I’m wondering what it will feel like to put my X against a Labour candidate’s name for the first time since 1974. From UKIP to Labour, what a journey!

  32. John E
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    So I see Mrs May is now thinking about consulting on a U-turn on social care having got you all to defend the disgraceful manifesto yesterday. Not actually u-turning, just throwing a few crumbs to shut us all up.

    Those EU negotiators must be trembling in their boots at the quality of the negotiators they will be up against.

    It seems Mrs May’s problem with the EU meddling and bureaucracy was that they stopped her acting like a dictator. Not that she is opposed to meddling and interference in every aspect of our lives, just that she wants to do it, not them.

    I may be wrong but I don’t think that’s what most Brexit voters were voting for.

  33. lojolondon
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    John, the problem is that the elite inside the system really do believe the EU is a fantastic organisation that adds a lot of value. I believe we should start with a bargaining position that we want to be completely, totally out of all agreement and relationships with the EU,relying on WTO rules. From there we can row back, but at the EU member state requests, as they will realise they want favourable terms more than we do.

  34. Atlas
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Indeed so John. It is just a shame that May has overstepped the mark with her pensioner winter fuel allowance cut. I mean, if 9 million out of 12 million pensioners (most of whom do vote) are told they are well off when they are not then they might not look so kindly upon the rest of her claims.

  35. agricola
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Surprise, surprise, an emaciated rabbit called cap has emerged in Wales from the manifesto hat. It is vague and irrelevant. If in old age or for that matter at anytime in your life you suffer from, Multiple Sclerosis, Dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or Motor Neuron Disease, in fact any disease that does not require hospitalisation, but does require care at home or in a care home will be charged against your estate over £100,000. No idea what the cap might be. It is just floated as an election disaster stopper. However if you are hospitalised or suffer any other disease it will be paid for.

    It would appear that you only pay if you have led a frugal life living within your means and endeavouring to improve your security by buying a house etc. Bare in mind all the assets you may own have already been taxed to hell and high water throughout your life. You pay nothing if you have been profligate throughout your life. What sort of conservative message is that. Just what one expects from a time warp bubble called Westminster.

    The proposed tax is nothing more than an extension of inheritance tax which should have ended long ago. It could not be more socialist if you were called Corbyn.

    As I have told you, get fracking and build a social fund on the proceeds.

  36. The Prangwizard
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    How many times have we read that it will all be fine and the EU will behave like gentlemen. It’s more wishful thinking than optimism or realism.

    We had the same tone and content in the discussion about EVEL. That was naive and as many forecast, the Scots walked all over it.

  37. Chef
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    I have noticed JR’s reading and acceptance Comments often pauses briefly at 57 . which reminds me of an old song. Second verse is below
    Today’s Tuesday
    Today’s Tuesday
    Tuesday’s soup
    Monday is washing day
    Is everybody happy?
    You bet your life we are

    Though today is Monday. But 57 could mean soup or 57 different varieties of something or other. Of course Mr Cameron will also be associated in the result of his negotiations with the EU referred to by Jacob Rees-Mogg MP in Parliament as “Thin Gruel”
    I always associate Labour Party efforts with Uzbekistan’s Lagman Soup garnished with mixed-up nuts.

  38. Kenneth
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    I think the media and Remain activists have placed too much emphasis on the musings of the eu commission and forgot that we will be negotiating with eu member states.

    The member states need to stay in the real world as they have real People to consider whereas the commission floats on a cloud (the same one the BBC sits on) not grounded by troublesome voters.

    • Helen
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      We are not negotiating with the member states. We are negotiating with the commission. That is the whole point of article 50

      • Kenneth
        Posted May 23, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink

        I am sure you are right. Sloppy wording.

        I should have written:

        “.. we will need to agree a deal with eu member states.” [not the commission]

        My point is that the negotiator (presumably the commission as you say) doesn’t hold the power to agree a deal as this resides with members states, represented by the Council. Ultimately therefore and in practice the negotiation is with the member states imho

  39. The PrangWizard
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    I want out of the EU, not in part but in full.

    I want a free market Conservative party and one which will give England a true parliament and protect our economic and political sovereignty.

    I want strong leadership along those lines.

    I am angry and critical that we not getting much of either.

    However, we must vote for the Conservative party – we may be able to change them after the election, indeed they may wish to change.

    What we must not risk is allowing our anger to get the better of us and through that let Corbyn and Labour maximize their seats and give them an opportunity of an alliance of the Left.

    etc ed

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted May 22, 2017 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      By censoring my last comment Mr Redwood you have cheated me. I take it all back. You have made an enemy of me with your weakness and political correctness. Are you fit any more to be where you are?

      I want to help stop Corbyn, but Mr Redwood allows his timidity to rule over comment on the severe danger before us.

  40. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    A bit more “on message” with reality than yesterday’s post.

  41. james Neill
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    This snap election is not looking like such a good idea now- one wonders what will be the final outcome. If Mrs May doesn’t get the majority that she is looking for then it won’t be good either for the upcoming brexit negotiations. Either way I don’t see the magic team of Hammond Davis and Boris surviving this- Mrs May is bound to be mad as hell!

  42. PaulDirac
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood, I’m astounded by your optimism, so I’m prepared to wager a Latte (a tea or coffee house of your choice, to the winner) if we exit with anything other than WTO.

  43. norman
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    The way things are going, the British people – who generally seem to think someone else must pay for everything , not them – will get the government they deserve. That will be the end of this country. Don’t think it can’t happen – it can, and if we are not careful, it will. Remember the many who gave their lives for our freedom. Now, there are enemies within and enemies without. Mrs May is doing her valiant best. Let’s keep our eye on the ball – BREXIT!

  44. Terry
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    I am optimistic that this country will succeed in the greater world but I have no faith in the Brussels Commissars, who currently pull all of the strings of the 27 EU puppets nations to grow the EU in the far bigger world out there..
    The Lisbon Treaty has given them unrivaled power to order the rest to do their bidding and short of exits from all over the EU what can these member States do?

    Only a total collapse of the EU will see Europe back to prosperity in the world. It is failing as an International economic powerhouse and has been doing so for the past 40 years so it is time it closed down. While it can, gracefully.

  45. Original Richard
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    “We know we can get on fine under WTO terms, if they really do want to be difficult.”

    Fortunately this is true as we have no idea how the negotiations will end.

    The EU is very upset by our leaving and consequently no logic can be applied to determine the eventual outcome, even though it may seem obvious when it is considered that we import £100bn/year more from the EU than we export to them.

    The current view from the EU is still that we must be punished, that we have made a terrible mistake, and that “a price must be paid”.

    Our past support counts for nothing and the EU is very angry to be losing our future financial donations, the size of which can be judged by the fact that they have presented us with a £100bn exit bill.

    But our future trading terms, WTO or otherwise, are not important.

    We should not lose sight of the fact that we are leaving to regain our freedom to be able to elect and remove our own leaders, represent ourselves at world institutions, make our own laws, control our immigration and reclaim our assets such as our 200 mile fishing waters.

  • About John Redwood


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

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