German questions

Occasionally I am invited to appear on German television. I usually agree, as I find I learn more about current German attitudes from the bias or drift of the questions.

This week I was surprised that many of the questions still seemed to be rooted in the idea that the UK was somehow going to remain part of their EU plans. In preparation I was asked what it was I disliked about the EU. Realising this would lead to a line of questions that either led them to tell me I had interpreted the EU wrongly, or to propositions that if we stayed in these disagreeable features could be toned down or changed, I gave my answer. “Everything” I said. I wanted to move us on to the more productive issues of what relationship will an independent UK have with Germany and the EU.

Instead they pressed the issue. What in particular was annoying, they asked. I clarified by saying it was the EU’s ability to make our laws and tell us what to do that we rejected. There were various individual cases that the UK was particularly unhappy about, but it was the general power, the ability to force more bad laws and policies on us in the future that led to the decision to leave. They seemed to think if there was some fudge or fix on migration the UK would be happy. They still have not grasped the meaning or significance of the winning phrase of the campaign, we want to take back control.

It made me think how absurd this whole so called negotiation the EU wants us to have about leaving is. The Treaty gives us an absolute right to leave. It imposes no additional bill or other requirements. All we had to do was send a letter and give them two years notice, which we have done. That notice will cost us more than £20bn and we accept that. It is not an invitation to negotiate over which of their laws and financial demands we need to carry on with in the future.

IN the interview proper the German presenter had got it, and allowed me to make clear that as far as the UK is concerned we are leaving. The UK is very willing to talk about our future relationship, and has made a generous offer of continuing free trade without tariffs. It is up to the EU to decide whether they want that or wish instead to impose what barriers they can on their trade with us under WTO rules. Clearly this all comes as news to many in Germany, who still see us a fellow paymaster of the EU under its control.

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  1. Posted September 9, 2017 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    Good Morning,

    I do hope that your cabinet colleagues are having the same conversations, particularly in Germany (since we are clearly waiting for them to give further instruction to Mr. Barnier) and with the other EU nations’ political leaders. For the sake of keeping normal trade relations with our European neighbours this type of discussion must be had all over Europe, outside of the EU bureaucracy. Common sense and good judgement will hopefully prevail.

    • Posted September 9, 2017 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      No: they simply cannot prevail!
      The last part of any decaying organisation to go is always the bureaucracy. And the Commission will not let go until it has to. M. Barnier represents the Commission. He cannot give in on what they see as basic principles and he will not. Mr Davis is sensible, free to change and to negotiate. M. Barnier is not. Even the agenda is fixed.

      Worse: the 9/11 attack made people realise that security was of the essence. The EU joined in with a system that evolved into approving the origins of goods by inspecting the organisations that produced them. They could then be safely imported or moved without too many checks – so long as the computer said Yes.

      The problem is that M.Barnier is threatening us with being shut off the computer system. This will affect all sorts of things like chemicals, all livestock, all agricultural products and pretty much everything else too. The date? Midnight 29-30/3/2019.

      That is why he has us over a barrel.

      Reply Mr Barnier will be told not to shut all those EU products out of the UK market on 30 March 2019

      • Posted September 9, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

        Will you be off to join the eurofederalists in London today, Mike?

        • Posted September 9, 2017 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

          ad hominem!

          My position is this: I am as firmly in favour of leaving the EU as anyone else. I voted LEAVE. I can see (having read Bertelsmann-Spinelli) where the EU is heading under the guidance of Guy Verhofstadt and I do not like it at all.
          On the other hand, I do not want the computers shut off.

          That is why I want to join EFTA. We get freedom from the CAP, CFP, ECJ and the freedom to negotiate immigration (Hungary and Belgium do this anyway as does Poland). We also get a reduced pay out and , most important of all, no less than four permanent committees to discuss future arrangements with the EU.
          And our trade flows on uninterrupted.

          I reckon myself that this is a pretty sensible point of view, don’t you?

          • Posted September 10, 2017 at 9:01 am | Permalink

            Oh, at last you respond to a comment …

            So precisely what is this worrying potential problem for the UK which you think could be resolved simply by joining EFTA? If it’s to do with possible interruption of trade for technical reasons, are you aware that as far as the EU is concerned the EFTA countries are “third countries” and are outside of the EU Customs Union? You should be, because you have been told often enough now.

            And what is this new “freedom to negotiate immigration (Hungary and Belgium do this anyway as does Poland)” nonsense? Where on earth did you get that from?

          • Posted September 10, 2017 at 9:09 am | Permalink

            No. Leave means leave not partiallly leaving. We never voted for what you claim. Move on. These poor arguments of yours are well rehearsed over and over again. It will not change our minds.

            Blair back on trail claiming cutting immigration does not mean we should leave EU. Is he really that stupid to think anyone would believe a word he says? There was never public mood for immigration because he did not ask us when on search to give the rightbankickingband to help his Labour vote. Labour voters were against his actions more than Tories. I remember the public services warning they could not cope with his plans, but he did not care less.

      • Posted September 9, 2017 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

        Another one of JR’s absurd assertions of predictive fact shorn of any proper or any other evidential basis. We may as well read tea leaves as listen to his predictions of post Brexit UK.

        • Posted September 9, 2017 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

          All you do is throw insults and never actually return when an answer is given to your question for the umpteenth time. How are the project fear predictions coming along? A load of old tut!


          • Posted September 9, 2017 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

            In July 1914, everything seemed to be going swimmingly too – except of course in Ireland…

            (PS The pound has fallen some 15% since the referendum.)

          • Posted September 10, 2017 at 5:00 am | Permalink

            Didn’t the pound fall 20% against the USD after the previous referendum? You can see the trends on and it shows that movement was part of a longer term trend. This latest adjustment appears to be part of that trend.

          • Posted September 10, 2017 at 9:06 am | Permalink

            PS, the pound started to fall against the dollar in the summer of 2014, two years before the referendum, and it started to fall against the euro in the summer of 2015, one year before the referendum. Charts on page 24 here:


            if you can be bothered to look at the facts rather than just parroting the fiction.

      • Posted September 9, 2017 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

        This is where you and your mentor would take us, Mike:

        “Keir Starmer eyes indefinite stay in EU customs union”

        “Labour’s spokesman goes beyond party rethink last month on trade ties”

        You’ve had repeated warnings about this but choose to ignore them.

      • Posted September 9, 2017 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

        Mike, this is science fiction. Who funds the EU? Who pays the taxes? Who makes money out of trade? I can tell you that it is not the EU which would have trouble running a whelk stall efficiently.

        Does the computer say no to all the Chinese goods entering the EU? Are they all held up at the borders? What about US, Canadian, Indian, South Korean and Hong Kong goods?

        Please look at objective reality rather than the rather bizarre unrealistic fantasies of a tortured soul….


        • Posted September 9, 2017 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

          I am not a tortured soul!
          I do not think we have ever met, have we?

          Third countries have a reciprocal set of arrangements with the EU which allow them to have Approved Economic Operators. These are, of course, inspected under EU Regulations.
          These Operators are allowed to export their goods to the EU and they are waved through on a mere computer check.
          For example, the billion pound chemical industry depends on a computer system called REACH.
          It takes years (literally) to be approved by the EU. Which is why we need time to get out of this dreadful organisation.

          • Posted September 10, 2017 at 5:16 am | Permalink

            AEO’s are not EU specific but are part of a network of mutually recognised certification processes and agencies under the auspices of the WCO. Are you suggesting that the EU can have us barred from all AEO certification, refuse to recognise our customs approval process or delete all our exporters from their database?

            If the EU database is the only mechanism and they are the sole arbiters then If we are denied access it would also damage their exporters.

          • Posted September 10, 2017 at 9:08 am | Permalink

            And the EFTA countries are treated as “third countries” …

        • Posted September 9, 2017 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

          I think Mike assumes the politicians will in extremis ban the sale of EU goods to the UK, and sale of UK goods within the EU. He hasn’t thought about the effect that would have on Ireland, which would be back to a mix of 1840 and 2008, nor on EU and Japanese automotive manufacturers who would be struggling in short order. Personally I’d go without a new EU vehicle, French wine or agricultural products for years rather than cave in on this. You’re not going to starve Mike, get a spine.

      • Posted September 9, 2017 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

        This is rather a silly view. How does the Rest of the World ever manage export anything to the EU? And do they pay a fee for doing so?
        This country has the Aces in this deal. We are their largest single customer and we are running a £70 Billions per year Trade DEFICIT with them. So on top of our net fees of £12B we hand over a further £70B in trade. Can they live without that?
        Therefore please explain, in what way are we held over what barrel?
        They have more to lose than we. £82 Billions for starters.
        In reality, the EU are very afraid of our leaving because they know WE WILL succeed and grow GDP, while they are left behind. That means we will have set a precedent that life beyond the EU is much more rewarding than that so ordered by the Oligarchy and no doubt, will encourage more to follow our way out and then the EU will implode. I can’t wait.

      • Posted September 9, 2017 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

        Mike, I hope you don’t believe that fear of how difficult and awkward the EU can be is a good reason for remaining. It’s not usually a good idea to give in to blackmail.

    • Posted September 9, 2017 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      While what our ministers are doing to explain Brexit to the people of Europe is unknown I can report that Nigel Farage has been explaining it to the democratic right of German politics only recently. He clearly pointed out where the financial interests of the German people lay.

      • Posted September 13, 2017 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        Agricola, it might have been more useful to say that Farage had been explaining Brexit to Alernative fuer Deutschland. The German Democratic Right actually also includes CDU/CSU and FDP. Or do you think otherwise?

  2. Posted September 9, 2017 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    They may have a point. Even if we do leave the EU, there may come a situation where our parliament and government once again sign us up to some sort of EU-Lite Treaty / Arrangement. What then ?

    Less, Ode to Joy and more, Welcome to the Hotel California.

    Be under no illusions, this game is far from over. Rumours have been abound for sometime of an, EU Associate Membership. They want to get rid of Trade Treaties like they have with Switzerland and the EEA and package them into that.

    The price of democracy is indeed vigilance and our Parliamentarians need careful watching post BREXIT.

    • Posted September 9, 2017 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      Most of our parliamentarians need replacing!

      At this time while the government is engaged in important negotiations on our future one might perhaps expect all politicians to have enough patriotic feeling to set aside their usual petty party political differences and work together for the good of the country. Some chance of that happening!

      On TV last night somebody mooted that perhaps the constant barrage of (largely unwarranted) criticism of the government and everything it says and does may be undermining its negotiating position with the EU. Well, of course it is, but at best these people just don’t care while at worst they hope that we will get such a terrible deal so that some time later they can persuade to us that we should rejoin the EU, or as you say slip back into some similar arrangement with a new name.

      Reply You have just chosen new MPs from a wide array of candidates!

      • Posted September 9, 2017 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, I know, and it still didn’t work out well … maybe it’s something to do with the restricted choice of candidates offered by the main parties?

  3. Posted September 9, 2017 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    Very good – Please let the BBC have a transcript of it all

  4. Posted September 9, 2017 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    Fantastic John. Just wish there were more like you. Straightforward and to the point. Not being rude at any point but just pointing out what the British people are sick of. It would surely be best for everyone concerned if we carried out this process politely and sensibly to reach an agreement acceptable to all sides. Why do they want to behave like schoolchildren punishing us for wanting to leave their club but still wanting to do business with them like other countries in the world do? It’s beyond me but then we have always had an uneasy relationship with the rest of Europe throughout history. Maybe they are the ones that are finding that hard to forget.

  5. Posted September 9, 2017 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Anyone with continental contacts will have come across a similar inability to engage with the realities of Brexit. I suggest to mine that this lack of understanding – which is, to be fair, mutual – is as good a reason as any to end the relationship.

    • Posted September 9, 2017 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      Compared with the UK where democracy is embedded in our DNA, the majority of those nations within the 27 have a very short experience of it and therefore do not readily distinguish between a pretence at democracy and the real thing. I make exception of the Swiss whose democracy is more advanced than our own.

      • Posted September 9, 2017 at 11:39 am | Permalink

        We like to think so but it’s less than a hundred years since we first introduced universal adult suffrage.Oligarchic instincts/interests are still very powerful.

        • Posted September 9, 2017 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

          No, Mitchel, without romanticising the issue of Parliamentary democracy (with or without universal suffrage) the facts are that Gt Britain had rulers who knew that they had to negotiate with a selected, then later elected, Parliament. The notion of Divine Rule by a prince or king died with the Glorious Revolution in GB, but not in the rest of Europe until the later C19.

          (Forgive the over-simplification, but long posts are not recommended here!).

          • Posted September 11, 2017 at 9:10 am | Permalink

            What you say is correct but I’m talking about oligarchic ,not absolute,rule.Oligarchic rule is more injurious to the nation state than absolute rule in my opinion.

  6. Posted September 9, 2017 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    It’s not German-Franco-EU politicians we need to be keeping an eye on but British politicians and various state entities like the British Civil Service with EU sympathies who will invest considerable efforts to derail, dilute or even destroy Brexit

  7. Posted September 9, 2017 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    JR was it on ZDF or ARD so I can watch it on their catch up services? The German public broadcasters are just as bad in their left wing bias as the BBC and are “uniquely funded” in the same way too. Deutsche Welle, the overseas TV and radio broadcaster’s English language coverage is unbelievable. They did one documentary recently about Germans (creative arts types mainly) who are packing up their bags and leaving because of the “hostile atmosphere” post the referendum. In reality the two German doctors I know quite well report no such non sense, despite living in an uber leave area, and are staying put.

  8. Posted September 9, 2017 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Sounds like the German media elite are projecting their interpretation of the fears of the German populace (mass immigration) onto us .

    I always thought the Remain campaign’s attempt , both before and after the referendum , to depict immigration as being the main issue for Leavers was a deliberate misrepresentation .

    It sounds like the German perception is a sincere mistake .

  9. Posted September 9, 2017 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Here we go again, more Redwood lies. The government has NOT “made a generous offer of continuing free trade without tariffs”. This is your fantasy, the government has NEVER made any such offer. And it has never made this offer for the very good reason that if it did, then the WTO rules on non-discrimination demand that the same offer be made to the rest of the world as well. Your dishonesty shames you, Mr Redwood.

    reply Yes, the government has. If the EU agreed it would be registered as an FTA at the WTO allowing it go further in the free trade direction than WTO general tariffs and rules which would still apply to the rest of the world without an FTA. Remove you slur against me and apologise.

    • Posted September 9, 2017 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      Explain yourself Mr Spark. What is your background?

    • Posted September 9, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      Dear Mr Redwood,

      The fact that you allow negative comments like this on your own website and then engage with them makes you much more of a man in my eyes than whether you’re right or wrong about the EU.

      God bless you!

    • Posted September 9, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      We’ve been through this before, Henry:

      “Theresa May said in that speech:

      “I also want tariff-free trade with Europe””

      etc etc.

      However just because a false claim has been comprehensively rebutted that doesn’t prevent the likes of you making it again, and again, and again …

      • Posted September 9, 2017 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

        A speech is not an offer made by the UK to the EU, sir. Be serious

        • Posted September 9, 2017 at 4:14 pm | Permalink


          That was not a random speech by our Prime Minister, it was:

          “The government’s negotiating objectives for exiting the EU”:

          “Prime Minister Theresa May set out the Plan for Britain, including the 12 priorities that the UK government will use to negotiate Brexit.”

          It was there for anybody in the EU, and Henry Spark, and you, to hear or read if you could be bothered.

          As for a formal offer made during the course of the negotiations, if you recall your side refuses to even discuss trade, with or without tariffs, until we have agreed to pay their blackmail demand.

        • Posted September 9, 2017 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

          Exactly so Helen. As far as I can gather, no such formal negotiating offer has been made to the EU by the UK. In practical terms, until the numerous tariff rate quotas are exchanged with the EU, I can’t see how such an offer can be constructed.

          Our “Commonwealth” members are particularly concerned about their exports quotas into the UK/EU, and being abandoned by the new nationalist Brexitania.

          All the “most favoured nation” WTO members ( which means exactly the opposite of what most amateur politicians think it means), have the right to object; all 163 of them, the last time I counted; including the EU plus all EU states as individual WTO members. Alas, further number crunching on exit bills and quotas is pointless. The solution, I say, is now purely in the political arena.

          Just keep an eye on the Pound’s exchange rate against its major trading currencies. As a relatively big importer, it is in the interest of foreigners who sell us stuff, for the Pound to remain relatively strong. Foreign central banks can buy up Pounds to support its exchange value; and hence, keep their own exports affordable to UK buyers.

          I don’t know how such fits into the “taking back control” scenario.

          • Posted September 10, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

            “As far as I can gather, no such formal negotiating offer has been made to the EU by the UK.”

            And if the UK attempted to make any such formal negotiating offer your silly friends in Brussels would say:

            “We haven’t got on to that yet, you haven’t even made your offer on how much you are willing to pay to leave.”

    • Posted September 9, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      Henry, you are only showing yourself by not doing enough research. Firstly, look at the words explaining how the EU has already formed agreements which would allow us to novate over to them individually on exit. Secondly, read up on the actual basis of our membership of the WTO, and thirdly listen to what the WTO boss says about UK membership and what will happen on exit from the EU…..


    • Posted September 9, 2017 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      What are your real motives, Mr Spark?

    • Posted September 9, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      Where did the government make this offer, Mr Redwood?

      Reply In its statements on Brexit

      • Posted September 9, 2017 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

        One of which is fully referenced above.

      • Posted September 9, 2017 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

        No, that is an inadequate reply. Provide sources or hyperlinks, Mr Redwood. If you can. But you cannot. The UK has not offered a tariff-free deal to the EU (because it’s lawyers advise it cannot).

        Reply Read our White Paper, Lancaster House speech etc

        • Posted September 10, 2017 at 5:29 am | Permalink

          The White Paper and the Lancaster House speech are vague statements of intent, they are not an offer to the EU. The UK has not made an offer to the EU of tariff-free trade because, as you must know but are hiding, its lawyers have told it that the WTO prevents any such discrimination.

          Reply Untrue on both counts. The EU knows our trade offer but refuses to discuss it unless we pay them a huge sum of money!

        • Posted September 10, 2017 at 5:47 am | Permalink

          The offer of a “bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union” is in point 6 of the article 50 letter.

          That is an official letter from the Prime Minister, representing the UK government, to the EU initiating a formal procedure under the terms of a treaty.

          Have none of you even read that letter?

        • Posted September 10, 2017 at 9:16 am | Permalink
    • Posted September 13, 2017 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      An offer via a speech. What substantive basis does that have Mr Redwood? You do have an alarming habit of reducing complicated issues to give normative and simplistic appearances.

      Reply A PM speech, White Paper etc are all official statements of government policy!

  10. Posted September 9, 2017 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Germans love rules and regulations. This is particularly so with the EU as they make the rules.
    Their mentality doesn’t stretch to them seeing there may be a different point of view.
    Merkel makes unilateral decisions and everyone else is expected to agree.
    She invited millions of aliens into the EU and now wants to enforce a resettlement programme on the other EU states.
    She is a dangerous woman.

  11. Posted September 9, 2017 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    This only confirms what I have stated in past pieces. We should on a daily basis be conducting a programme of information via each of the 27 members media explaining exactly why we are leaving. The BBC, being a fifth column, cannot be relied upon to do this via it’s overseas broadcasting service. Apart from explaining our position it might enlighten them as to how the EU operates in their name. Assuming we still have ambassadors in all 27 nations this would be something they could get on with between the cocktail parties.

  12. Posted September 9, 2017 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Whatever some German journalists may think the UK government has listened to repeated very clear statements from various EU luminaries and understands with equal clarity that there cannot be and will not be any “fudge or fix on migration” which might make the UK happy. If there was any real scope for that then Cameron would have come back with it and put it the people in the referendum and maybe a majority would then have voted to stay in the EU on that new basis. It is very simple: the UK is reasonably content with three of the “four freedoms” espoused by the EU but does not want the fourth, it does not want trade and immigration policies to be closely linked in that way, while the EU insists as a matter of faith that all four are inseparable. That is why the UK government has long ago ruled out trying to stay in the EU Single Market, the honest and theoretically sound position for a country which wishes to trade with the EU countries but is not willing to guarantee a permanently and completely open door for the uncontrolled and unlimited immigration of their citizens.

  13. Posted September 9, 2017 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Thank you John.

    Please can you post a link to the interview online, if it is online.

  14. Posted September 9, 2017 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Well done, Mr. Redwood, for not falling into the German media’s trap.

    The EU population still do not believe or understand that we are leaving the EU and believe that the referendum result will be reversed or ignored as it has in other undemocratic EU countries.

    This view is understandable given that they will be relying on the BBC for their UK news.

    Since the EU are still believing the referendum result will be reversed or ignored, the more the UK’s EU supporters try to stop Brexit the worse will be the “deal” that the EU will offer. We already have seen this effect when Mr. Cameron attempted his re-negotiation prior to the referendum.

    We are heading for WTO trade and the government should start preparations now by negotiations on all other matters than trade terms. We are already in the transition period, as seen by the way that the EU are cutting us out of various meetings etc..

    Also, since we will be out of the EU/SM, will not the customs and import/export procedures etc. be the same apart from the tariff figure whether we have “free trade” or WTO terms ?

  15. Posted September 9, 2017 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Newnight seem to specialise is framing questions in absurdly biased “BBC think” ways before any discussion of the issue can take place.

    Thinks like.

    So how do we get more renewable energy is it A this way and B that way?

    (Never should we forget about expensive, intermittent, renewable energy and have a sensible energy policy).

    Or so why to we have so few female physicist, computer programmers and engineers is it A a lack of roll models or B active discrimination.

    Perhaps it is just they they prefer to study other subjects and take other jobs.

    Or is the gender pay gap caused by A. employers discriminating against women or is it caused by B companies discriminating against women.

    It is of course actually caused by women and men, on average, making different work life balance choices, taking different degrees, career gaps and doing rather different types of jobs in general.

  16. Posted September 9, 2017 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, I am German, so allow me to explain why we do not understand you. You say you want to make your own laws. No country in the world makes its own laws. All countries are part of international blocs – WTO, UN, NATO, NAFTA, EU. We have to work together. You say you want to make your own laws, and we wonder if you think it is still 1840 and you have a British Empire. And we listen to Boris Johnson and we hear only arrogance and stupidity

    reply Then you do not understand democracy. The smallest country may make its own laws. Of course you take into account the reaction of your own citizens and where appropriate your friendly neighbouring countries, but that is different from taking dictation from a large bureaucratic bloc of countries

    • Posted September 9, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      Good Afternoon Bruno,
      The issue of law being handed down by the EU commission to all EU member states by ‘regulation’ and ‘directive’ can be researched, please do so and you will see that many of your laws also never receive proper scrutiny.
      But this is only a part of our problem with the EU. We in the UK have always been reassured that being a member of the EU was really just a ‘free trade’ arrangement between the European nations, and what’s wrong with that – nothing. However, it has become increasingly obvious that the EU is a mechanism to restructure all of Europe into a ‘United States of Europe’, with a political system intended to replace the one we have. We do not believe that replacing our system with one which is less competent is a good idea. In essence, we wish to have free and constructive trade with our European friends, but we don’t want to be governed, or pay for, an organisation that does not adequately represent us. As you know, Germany pays by far the largest part of the EU costs, is it worth it? Could you not have tariff free trade without the interference and cost of a second tier of bureaucracy? People trade, politicians frustrate trade, lets get rid of as many politicians as we can!

      • Posted September 9, 2017 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

        The reason why Germany pays for the EU is that it has a ready made market for its export goods, and a beneficial currency regime to do so, and as it clearly holds the purse strings, it clearly calls the EU’s tune!


    • Posted September 9, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      I don’t take at all kindly to a German making ridiculous references to the British Empire. If you recall, Bruno, it was the German ambition to have a competing empire which plunged the world into world war.

    • Posted September 9, 2017 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      That’s total nonsense Bruno.

      Being part of international bodies doesn’t mean you no longer make any of your own laws!

      And what does the empire have to do with the matter. Nothing, in fact.

      If you like being subject to Brussels diktats that is up to you. Have fun, and keep paying. You don’t have to insult others over their decisions.

    • Posted September 9, 2017 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      Never mind Bruno. The fact that you do not understand, that you think we are harking back to the British empire (because we don’t plan to stay in the German one, where your Chancellor decides on major European immigration issues and expects the rest of Europe to toe the line) and that you think our foreign secretary is arrogant and stupid, all reinforce the view that separation is the best thing for all concerned. Be as thankful that you are getting rid of us as we will be on finally leaving. Everyone wins.

    • Posted September 9, 2017 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      Bruno – A most interesting and illuminating comment. Time out of mind (a legal phrase meaning before 1189) the English have possessed two mighty liberties – to make their own laws and vote their own taxes. No English ruler has the power to make laws on his own, nor to make us pay taxes we do not agree to.

      This experience is not shared by continental countries, for whom rule by fiat is the historical experience.

      This profound difference in customary relations between citizens and state is probably enough on its own to make the EU an uncomfortable place for British people, and certainly contributes to the difficulties of understanding on both sides which perplex current negotiations.

    • Posted September 9, 2017 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      We’ll done Bruno. Your comment justifies 100% why we are correct to leave.
      We don’t want to be ruled by Germany and the silly Merkel woman.

    • Posted September 9, 2017 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      Hi Bruno

      To be fair I think most here would prefer Redwood, Hannan or Rees-Mogg to be Home Secretary !

      None of us hark back to Empire and there is some embarassment about it. If anything we want less interventionism abroad.

      ‘Little Englander’ is used in the pejorative when it shouldn’t be. If only Blair had been a Little Englander – the world would be a safer place.

    • Posted September 9, 2017 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      Let’s give Bruno some credit for confessing that he is German.

    • Posted September 9, 2017 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

      Bruno: Forgive me for saying so but we are very uncomfortable in a bloc dominated by of all people Germany – a nation incidentally which has seen fit to elect Frau Merkel as it’s leader several times. That is not for us. We are by temperament and history neither continental nor European in outlook. We never will be.

  17. Posted September 9, 2017 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Very interesting. It is a pity our TV and newspaper journalists are such Little Englanders that they never bother to find out what the attitudes to Brexit are in the other EU countries. On immigration reform to keep us in the EU (which is what Starmer and co want) it is too late for that – however if they had offered that in Cameron’s “re-negotiation” then it is very likely the referendum result would have been different – just shows the perils of being inflexible in negotiations.

  18. Posted September 9, 2017 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    “I clarified by saying it was the EU’s ability to make our laws and tell us what to do that we rejected.”

    Not just the EU’s ability to make our laws but now Mrs. Merkel’s ability to make atrocious unilateral decisions which adversely affect everyone in the EU, such as inviting millions of Middle Eastern and African people to come to Europe.

  19. Posted September 9, 2017 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    John , 2 things : a) the Germans do not want us to leave so they will continue to press as though their wishes will be answered . You have made it quite clear to them but they still don’t want to accept it . b) Apart from the iniquitous state of having to suffer from the EUs’ bureaucracy and edicts , the other main factor is control over all forms of immigration . I had this featured in my vote to leave ahead of all else .

    It’s encouraging that you are invited to express your views on German TV . Just imagine what Mdme. Soubry would be saying !.

  20. Posted September 9, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    I believe there is a complete misunderstanding about sovereignty and self determination. Most think that free trade, cooperation and globalisation requires those things to be abandoned. In my view they do not in fact they work better when different types of political, social, cultural systems and different levels of regulation and expertise compete with one another. If that concept had been accepted then the EU would never have been built in the way it has been and harbour the ambitions that it holds and the euro not introduced at all or if it had been quickly abandoned by those it did not benefit.

    The EU construct is a concept of misguided altruistic social justice, wealth creation and peace keeping thinking. Laws, regulations and institutions are not needed for those things in fact they are an obstacle which creates authoritarian, corrupt wasteful and inefficient government and institutions. Those things can more easily be attained by interaction and exchange; just the simple expedient of building all encompassing voluntary networks of free trade and cooperation without the interference of politicians and bureaucrats.

    • Posted September 9, 2017 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely. Good to find someone who understands realism and globalized internationalism!

      Unfortunately the EU now views itself as a state and therefore is fighting for survival and self -interest. A fight it is destined to lose because most Europeans still see their national governments as sovereign states. The EU has no nation, therefore it cannot survive as a state.

      As Thucydides would have said, “it is men that make [nations], not walls”.

  21. Posted September 9, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Indeed John. And does not Mrs. Merkel think that we are just errant cousins who conveniently have a large pot of money to spend on her (naturally correct!) ideas?

  22. Posted September 9, 2017 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    We can see it all here in the last paragraph, JR still thinks its all about Germany and how we can bamboozle them into agreeing some kind of bespoke deal before the exit talks are even agreed. First of all there are another 26 countries that have to be consulted and satisfied about exit before talks go any further- cutting corners and trying to do things by the back door as per DD has already failed miserably- the EU under Verhofstadt, Tusk, Junker and Barnier are holding fast on all of this as we will see next month when they bring in an unfavourable verdict. So then why concentrate on Germany when we should be out there in the world supporting Liam Fox and the new deals he’s lining up? Be reminded- about what did Barnier said recently?- ‘it will not happen’. A50 is activated and we are leaving- the point is on what terms – do we slam the door as we go out? or do we go out but leave the door a little ajar?

    Reply Germany has disproportionate influence over the EU, particularly because she is the largest financial contributor. I do talk to other countries as well when invited. Last week I also did an interview for Irish radio and Swiss tv. I have made supportive interventions with Switzerland. Australia, New Zealand and the USA over future trade deals.

    • Posted September 9, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Or I suppose we could shut the door firmly but quietly … ?

      • Posted September 9, 2017 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        Than bolt it.

  23. Posted September 9, 2017 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Just present it easily.

    Any deal now has to be win-win.

    Then point out as more countries leave, Germany will be outvoted, and Germans will have to pay.

    It’s after all democracy.

  24. Posted September 9, 2017 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    They want TOTAL control of the UK.
    They want to invite millions into Europe – and shove them ALL here for us to keep.

    They want us destroyed.

    That is it in a nutshell.

  25. Posted September 9, 2017 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    And I thought the Germans were smart people. It turns out that they are little more than bain-washed plebs that wear big blinkers.

    • Posted September 9, 2017 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      “The experience of history shows that Hitlers come and go but the German people and state remain the same” – J Stalin,Pravda,23/2/42.

  26. Posted September 9, 2017 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    An excellent article and it should, in my view, be compulsory reading for the Cabinet and even the PM. I fear a significant number of them are much in need of an injection of clarity and focus in their thinking and actions.

  27. Posted September 9, 2017 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    You sound surprised by the line of questioning you were subjected to but isn’t it obvious from the start that Germany would prioritize the survival of the EU itself to its economic interests in the U.K. ?

    I can understand the disappointment as to things not exactly going according to Brexiters’ plan when it comes to the European countries reacting to Brexit but why the surprise ?

    I continue to believe that Theresa May’s inability to engage in public diplomacy on Brexit will come back and bite you in the end. Is she genuinely the best person to run Brexit in light of her performance ?

    Do conservatives voters on this blog think she is indeed the best choice ?

    • Posted September 9, 2017 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      What’s it got to do with you?

    • Posted September 9, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      She wouldn’t be the best choice if she was the only member of the Tory party! At any other time she would have been gone months ago….or not even in that position in the first place.

      But the majority of the people behind her are a hundred times better than the likes of Abbott, etc.

  28. Posted September 9, 2017 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    The attitudes within the EU elite, which permeate throughout much of the EU, are reminiscent of Mrs May and her closest cohorts prior to the last election – they believe their own publicity.

  29. Posted September 9, 2017 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    I am reminded of a World War Two documentary I saw some years ago, where a German woman was looking all around at the ruins of a German city after the allied bombing. She said, ‘If only you had surrendered in 1940, all of this need not have happened.’ I guess there is something drastically if not dangerously wrong with a mentality that cannot accept that the German way of doing things is not always acceptable to other people.

    Tad Davison


    • Posted September 9, 2017 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      She sounds like everyone’s wife.

  30. Posted September 9, 2017 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    It’s good that some time is given to English brexiteer opinions in Germany. As shown in the election debate, Germany has more important political priorities to discuss than, at this stage, the brexit process.

    Reply Germany clearly takes a different view which is why they have invited me onto their tv on several occasions.

    • Posted September 9, 2017 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply – which I think is a much better way than loud-mouth campaigning in foreign countries like Nigel Farage repeated feels compelled to do.

      • Posted September 9, 2017 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        Nigel Farage is a true patriot and a very nice man. He fields the UK position with clarity and humour. Two things lacking in mainland European politics.
        A few years ago he was laughed at and scorned by the Brussels elite, who’s laughing now.
        …….who do you think you’re kidding Mr……………

      • Posted September 9, 2017 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

        I fully agree. I do not agree with John Redwood but he is a decent man. Farage shames Britain every time he opens his mouth

      • Posted September 9, 2017 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        …….”loud mouth campaigning in foreign Countries”. You don’t seem to see the the delicious irony of this comment Mr Dutchman on a British political blog!!

        • Posted September 9, 2017 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

          @Timaction: Always glad to be allowed adding my shy voice to your choir. 🙂 And please verify in all past blogs: I have taken care to stay away during any campaign periods in your country.

    • Posted September 9, 2017 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      If we were not in the EU, Germany would be free to sort out their own rather pressing domestic matters, and we could sort out our own.

      Attempting to make a single entity out of 28 countries has come at a price.

      • Posted September 9, 2017 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

        @Alexis: What I meant with “at this stage” is that the UK doesn’t yet seem totally united on its Brexit strategy, so better to let that become clear first in the coming months.

    • Posted September 9, 2017 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      Peter, Every home nation state should have greater priorities than all other nation states. I really don’t care whether Germany builds more BMW’s or Mercs than it can sell to the UK. If you have a surplus then why don’t you try selling them to North Korea? UK trade deficit with the EU is circa 30billion (whatever). Why don’t you lobby your gov to impose trade tariff’s on the UK for German exports and then see what happens as Great Britain approaches March 2019?

      Let’s see whether Merkel will prove to be your Euro Project Joan of Arc come Sept elections

      • Posted September 9, 2017 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

        @nigel seymour: Since my wife closed her small savings account in the UK early 1977, the pound sterling lost more than 40% of its value against the Dutch currency, so maybe you deal with your diminishing pound and leave any euro concerns to us.

        • Posted September 10, 2017 at 8:28 am | Permalink

          This from a man who never stopd adviseing us as to what Britain should or should not do.

  31. Posted September 9, 2017 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    As someone who has lived in Germany and worked for a German company I can definitely barely say that Germans are guilty of ‘wishful thinking’. They will also try to persuade you that was in their interests is also in yours even when what is in their interest is not in the general interest. Furthermore Britons have to be more assertive when saying no to Germans than they would with another Briton. British understatement definately will not work with Germans. It is pretty clear to me that Germans want The Uk to either stay in the EU or stay in the single market. This is why they started the mantra about not being able to say in the single market unless the UK accepted freedom of movement. They saw the Article 50 negotiations as simply the continuation of the Cameron negotiation in 2016. That is also why Merkel did not accept the pre-Article 50 offer from the Uk to quickly reach a deal on EU citizens living in the UK. They did not believe that the Uk would really be leaving the single market and therefore wanted the old rules to apply which they would not if EU accepted May’s early offer. The pfennig still has not dropped that German exporters will be paying the brexit bill annually in customs duties if the UK trades on WTO terms. I think the UK would be best advised to leave on WTO terms and for this reality to sink in among German industry. After a few yers of that they will be asking for an FTA which is currently beyond their world outlook.

    • Posted September 9, 2017 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think the EU (Germany) want a free trade deal. I read that 13.6% of the Brussels income is from the common external tariff and the lions share from the UK. This will be another loss of income if they have an FTA.
      Whilst in contract negotiations with a large German firm, we asked for certain specified items and standards, we were told that they “did it this way and it was better”.
      Anyway after they refused too agree, we got up and walked out of the meeting indicating that another tenderer was willing to comply.
      Within 48hrs they were contacted by the Embassy and told to do as was asked.
      The ambassador was Schreoders brother. This was in the Middle East.

  32. Posted September 9, 2017 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Like JR, I dislike the EU, but the thing I dislike even more is the fact that it was imposed upon the British people by stealth. We thought we were joining an economic community that would encourage trade and therefore prosperity and peace. At no time were we invited to vote on the gradual surrender of our independence to supra-national body that continually expanded its anti-democratic powers to the detriment of the nation state.

    We also need to challenge the notion that the EU is the guarantor of peace. Nato is the only guarantor of that. But an equally good way to nurture peace is through strong, democratic nation states. There is not one example, since the emergence of the modern nation state, of two democracies going to war. Not one. Tyrannies fight each other; democracies fight tyrannies; but disputes between democracies are solved by negotiation and compromise.

    We need to encourage participation in democracy, holding our leaders to account in a strong nation state, instead of the forced and spurious ‘unity’ of the EU, in which nation states of very different democratic structures and traditions are subjected to the diktats of a supra-national, imperial High Command, more interested in the perpetuation of its own powers than the millions of people it controls.

    It is said that an empire decays from the fringes inwards. The state on the western boundary of the EU has voted to secede; the eastern fringes are in revolt at the imperious interference in its internal decisions; southern Italy is cracking under the stress of mass immigration, and deeply resentful of its mis-management by the EU. Arrogance and incompetence at the centre is to blame.

  33. Posted September 9, 2017 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    I’ve now read through the latest report about the EU withdrawal Bill from the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution:

    There are number of questionable points in this, but the one which really stands out to me is an extraordinary claim that the government could appoint more than “exit day”.

    The Bill is here:

    and it starts with Clause 1:

    “The European Communities Act 1972 is repealed on exit day.”

    There are then 127 more references to that “exit day” in the remaining text; but there is one reference, in paragraph 13 of Schedule 7, which leads the committee to conclude that the government would be free to appoint more than one “exit day”.

    On page 7 in their report:

    “Indeed, the Bill leaves open the possibility that Ministers may provide through regulations that “exit day” is to be taken to mean one thing for one purpose and something else for another purpose. For instance, it may be possible for Ministers to provide that for the purpose of clause 1 (repeal of the ECA) “exit day” is to be taken to be 29 March 2019,
    but that for the purpose of the clause 7 amendment powers (which lapse,through a sunset clause, two years after “exit day”) “exit day” is to be taken to be some later date.”

    As far as I’m concerned this is obvious nonsense; but I am not a lawyer while at least some of the committee members are lawyers and one of them, Lord Pannick, was lead counsel in the main attempt to block the activation of Article 50 TEU.

    So I would strongly advise the government to be sure that the passage of this Bill will not precipitate more legal challenges designed to obstruct our withdrawal from the EU.

    The last lot of legal challenges would have got nowhere if the government had only picked up the oft-repeated point that the referendum Act was silent on what should ensue from a vote to leave the EU, and we do not want another blunder like that.

  34. Posted September 9, 2017 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Mrs merkel is very much on the side of the EU strategy for the brexit talks..if fact she was a big contributor to the formation of it and to the stance that the commission is taking re brexit. So she is not going to change her position post the election..its something about the germans..they are not schemers and flip floppers like some of our theres little use in you going on german tv at this time unless you hope that by your appearance you might somehow influence the election outcome..which i doubt very much..anyway the October meeting with the EU Council heads is just around the corner and will be the big show of this year- the clock is ticking and senior tory ministers think it necrssary to go on german tv talk show? ..great..amazing

  35. Posted September 9, 2017 at 2:08 pm | Permalink



  36. Posted September 9, 2017 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    JR – A delicious reply indeed “Everything”

    Somewhat off-topic but pertinent to Freedom of Movement.

    I heard a story about the experience of someone who has worked on a production line
    in a meat-packing factory in Yorkshire. Over that 20 year period his wages in real terms have actually fallen as Eastern Europeans have moved in working for lower wages.

    So far that is hardly news.

    During the transitional period as migrants were being taken on in increasing numbers he was offered a supervisory position, However, he found his position
    increasingly stressful until he gave up the supervisory role , with significant requirements in relation to H&S, and returned to the shop floor for the reason that he was unable to communicate in a common language with the staff under him.

    The position he vacated was promptly filled by an East European.

    This demonstrates both how pernicious Freedom of Movement is and how important it is that English language ability is mandated.

  37. Posted September 9, 2017 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    This evening I have a difficult choice to make: whether to watch my recording of “Emma”, which is actually my favourite among Miss Austen’s works, and so could be described as “comfort viewing”, or instead watch the Last Night of the Proms with the risk that I shall end up swearing at the stupid, vile, traitorous types shown in the picture here:

    Who probably don’t know that their beloved EU anthem was originally commissioned not by the EU or by the Germans but by the Philharmonic Society in London:

    “Plaque to mark Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony”

  38. Posted September 9, 2017 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    The Daily Express recently commissioned a poll of opinions in a selection of European countries about Brexit. Aside from France, most of them wanted the UK to remain, and would be happy if it did so. The YouGov results are here:

    Far from the EU and its members having accepted Brexit and moved on to concentrate on other things as Remainers like to pretend, the evidence is they still refuse to believe it and have done nothing about preparing themselves for the consequences. I include those at the very highest levels in that – Merkel, Juncker, Barnier.

  39. Posted September 9, 2017 at 5:45 pm | Permalink


    I find it very difficult to take you seriously as long as you simplify the Eu issues as much as you do.

    You have obviously been outside the real business world for too long to understand the seriousness of no deal for business with the Eu.

    However, I will send you my latest book published on Bloomsbury to improve your level of information.

    Reply Why lie about me lie this? You must be very worried Im right

  40. Posted September 9, 2017 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Somewhat off-topic, this could put the cat among the pigeons:

    “Robin Hodgson: We need a long-term strategic approach to population growth”

    Which of course would certainly not be possible if we followed the eurofederalists’ plan of staying in the EU Single Market with its indivisible “four freedoms”.

    • Posted September 10, 2017 at 6:56 am | Permalink

      During the singing of Jerusalem, they had arranged for large EU flags to be waved in the area in front of the orchestra and few union jacks. The British flags were on the wall behind, while in the audience the usual many different small national flags were waved. The large EU flags in the middle must have been arranged as part of the show.

  41. Posted September 9, 2017 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    1. I am uneasy with intemperate language. I would rather see courtesy and respect shown towards those of a different national perspective, even where we profoundly disagree. Otherwise, we have already ‘lost thee plot’.
    2. The world political scene is like the weather of late, turbulent and unpredictable. Many people dislike such conditions, and feel out of their comfort zone – hence the emotive reaction against Brexit in many quarters. We have to understand this, but calmly refute it. This is what you are doing, JR.
    3. Extremist elements are coming out into the open under such conditions. I just saw a wadge of ‘Morning Star’ newspapers on sale in Sainsbury’s – placed on top of the Financial Times. I took them to the help desk, and queried what they were doing there! The recent GE shows just how dangerous the current waters are.

  42. Posted September 9, 2017 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    Correction – ‘the’ plot – no parody intended!

  43. Posted September 9, 2017 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    We have paid substantial amounts of money towards the creation and operation of a European Federal SuperState that we don’t even want to exist, let alone prosper. Our leaving was more or less inevitable since German re-unification, publication of the Maastricht Treaty and moves towards a common currency. By time we have left the EU, the exit process will have taken nigh on 30 years. We have a lot to curse John Major for.

  44. Posted September 9, 2017 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    Have just verified that the Morning Star is, in fact, legitimately on sale in Sainsbury’s in this rather ‘conservative’ provincial town (i.e. it was not a ‘plant’) – they were now put back in the space where the Telegraph is normally placed. I could not even see any sign of The Guardian… an ominous sign? Antifa in America, and now similar elements arising in the UK? Watch this space – ‘interesting’ times ahead!

    • Posted September 9, 2017 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

      Auberon Waugh’s death stopped me reading the Telegraph. In truth I only bought it for his column and also try and meet the person in my town who bought the other copy. We never met. It’s lonely being so intelligent.

  45. Posted September 10, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Well said John. Explaining the majority UK view to German TV viewers is a positive contribution to the debate at this important time.

  46. Posted September 11, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    I really hope that the UK government is seriously preparing plan B, because it’s becoming very apparent that the EU will not be able to negotiate anything before 2019. By Plan B, I don’t mean some transition deal that keeps us paying into their bureaucracy, but a plan for how we make WTO rules work with the EU and what measures we’ll take when (I say when because we’ve all seen what these people are really like now) they try to make it difficult for our exporters.

    Everything we see from the EU tells us that the EU will undoubtedly break WTO rules to try and hurt (educate /sarc) the UK, so we must be one step ahead of the game with a comprehensive plan of response. Doing something about the biased BBC should also form part of that plan.

  • 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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