Brexit is an important political event but not an important economic event

The opponents of Brexit who are still out to stop or dilute it seem to see Brexit as some big economic event. It is difficult to see why.

They concentrate on trade. There is no evidence that joining the EEC or completing the single market did anything to boost UK growth so it is difficult to see how leaving it will do the opposite. Our trade with the rest of the world  handled with tariffs under WTO rules is continuing to expand more rapidly than our trade with the EU. The figures quoted for the proportion of our goods and food  trade that is with the EU fail to point out it is far more imports than exports.

I predict that you will not see the impact of Brexit on world growth or world trade figures after we have left. If there are tariffs we may import more food from non EU sources and less from the rest of the EU but not much else will change. We will certainly grow more of our own if the EU insists on tariff barriers.

It is also likely the EU will want tariff free when they think they have wrestled as much cash as possible from the UK government in search of a deal.  The big win economically for the UK will be saving the money we send them. The more we delay taking control of our own money, the more we delay getting the  benefit. The win is a double one, as it will lead to a sharp improvement in our balance of payments when we cancel the contributions, as well as giving us money to spend at home on our own priorities.

I assume the briefings that the UK government is offering E60bn of divorce settlement is disinformation. There is no way the public will accept that, and unlikely the UK government would have offered anything firm  just to hold talks that the EU is going to hold anyway.

I see we are  now going to train more nurses at home instead of expecting to bring in more EU nurses after we have left. All EU nurses currently here are of course welcome and can stay as valued members of our society, but it must be a good idea to train more of our own and work away at reducing unemployment further.

Those who say non tariff barriers and delays at borders are issues under WTO procedures are out of date. In February this  year the new Facilitation of Trade Agreement by the WTO came into force which will work well.


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  1. Posted November 6, 2017 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    Apparently the public are being prompted to apply for Brexit withdrawal monies and the website says all are entitled. How true is this ?

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      What is this all about? It would be helpful if you had quoted the link to the website concerned.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      May has an appalling record. Why do you assume the briefings are untrue? May allowed the EU to write/edither Florence speech which stated her first proposal! Who in their right mind would do that? Why is she agreeing to an extension where the EU retains control over the UK!

      We voted leave. What happened to the Brexit Means Brexit or enough is enough.

      Lords King and Lawson gave perfectly lucid views when they said we cannot have the mythical good deal otherwise the other EU countries would leave.

      No money, no ECJ control over any citizen, no freedom of movement under a sham registration scheme. Cooperation on security and defence- we do not want to be part of the EU defence and security policy. Coincidently BoE and others back to apocalyptic warnings. All done to dilute and water down leaving in its entirety. Come on She is at it.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      Why should anyone be entitled to anything, when a few days ago the UK was told our own money – billions – wouldn’t be returned for “decades”?

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      Please include the website…

  2. Posted November 6, 2017 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    You claim that there is no evidence that joining the EEC or completing the single market did anything to boost UK growth. In fact the evidence is large, fact-based, and detailed, and shows clearly that the two great boosts to the UK economy over the last 60 years came in the early 1970s after we joined the EEC and the early 1990s after Mrs Thatcher’s man Lord Cockfield opened up the single market. No serious person would make the absurd claim you make, and certainly no one who understands the economics of trade liberalisation would. Your deceptions become ever more shrill as your Brexit fantasies collapse.

    Reply In 1973-5 we had a big recession and in 1992-3 we had one on completion of the single market!

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      There is no intellectually respectable way to ague for or against EU membership in hindsight. The only more or less useful approach of investigating this is to find a suitable counterfactual (of course mr Redwood’s remarks about recessions etc are not to the point they do not refer to a useful null-hypothesis but actual changes in UK GDP where causality is missing).

      The only way to construct a meaningful null-hypothesis (this was done for to find EUR membership benefits for selected countries) is to look for comparable countries (a control group), and their data over the same period (and start a few years before membership) with appropriate weights (and taking into account currency movements, convertibility regimes, trade distortions, etc. I am pessimistic that this would result in a meaningful result (null-hypothesis) which then would have to be compared to actual UK figures over the same period. This process is likely to generate lots of noise and little signal.

      Arguments like these are merely political-rhetorical. Fake news either way..

      Reply Even the EU’s own study showed in their view a max gain of just 1% in total in GDP over all the years of our belonging to the single market, which is an overestimate from the actual numbers I have seen.

      NB: You might want to read: Saia,A. (2017) “Choosing the Open Sea: the cost to the UK of staying out of the euro.” Journal of International Economics, 108, 82-98. Saia uses the” synthetic control method” referred to above not to construct a null-hypothesis for a EUR member, but a “euro” hypothesis for the UK. Methodologically similar of course.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      Try my comment here for a start:

      referring to a recent article entitled:

      “Does Brexit mean a “cliff edge”? More a shallow pothole”

      Then try my other comments further down this thread, and on previous threads, again and again and again …

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

      Yes, but that argument does not prove anything John , tis had nothing to do with the Eu and you know it as well, but you do have problems understanding economics

  3. Posted November 6, 2017 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    I am really pleased we will grow more of our own food. Please, Mr Redwood, could you tell me where you are going to put our orange trees, banana plantations and olive groves? How about avocados and pomegranates?

    Reply We have lost 20% of the market for temperate food which we can produce for ourselves.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      I’m sure there will be a significant proportion of the population who would be distraught at not being able to purchase their regular supply of avocados, pomegranates and virgin olive oil, as we will of course be banned from importing them by a Brussels edict after Brexit – they talk of little else at our local Waitrose.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      The only bananas grown in the EU are from Tenerife, and are heavily subsidised. Outside the EU, we can import cheaper bananas and other tropical or out of season food. This will help African farmers to develop their business, and is much better than just shovelling conscience money at their Governments.

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

        Nigel..the straight bananas come largely from the south american countries like Ecuador..the bendy ones are smaller and come mainly from Caribbean countries like Costa Rica- I hope this helps

        • Posted November 6, 2017 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

          Then we could buy more of them cheaper. At the moment there is an EU import tariff on bananas to protect the Tenerife growers.
          There are plenty of other fuit and veg that could be supplied from Africa and other developing countries that we could import.

          • Posted November 6, 2017 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

            I seem to recall that when i visited Madeira some years ago, I was told that they had stopped growing bananas because of EU regulations.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      Don’t worry too much, food is actually grown outside of the EU too (although subject to the ridiculous CET) and they do not survive on insects and rain water. Trust me I’ve been there!!


      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        It is quite possible that Tesco et al will continue to import large quantities of EU grown food because that (after tariffs and handling) may still be cheaper and more reliable than food sourced elsewhere or even locally. It is the same with, for instance, BMWs. Singapore buys more BMWs and Mercs per capita than the UK yet they are several times more expensive there. What would a corporate executive buy (Jags are 50% imported or their components are sourced from EU and Japanese firms who may or may not decide to keep their manufacturing in the UK. The point is that the combination of a large GBP depreciation, some import duties and handling costs are more likely to result in higher prices than in scarcity. Mercs etc are sold under conditions of monopolistic competition.

        • Posted November 6, 2017 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

          The UK could unilaterally zero rate tariffs onfood and essentials and this is why the claims about 40% increased cost for poor families is a Project Fear II lie., for some reason not publicised by the civil service or ex Remain ministers in charge of Brexit.

        • Posted November 6, 2017 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

          Er… it is the EU which imposes tariffs (CET) on food/oods on entry to the EU (200% on garlic… I wonder why)…. That is why it is expensive. When we LEAVE (yay!) the EU we will of course not impose the silly CET and will be able to import all types of food and wine from around the WORLD far more CHEAPLY than now!


    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      Please have a look at this Leo.

      It’s slightly out of date probably. You may notice that the second pie chart which shows imports from mainly EU states details imports of products which can all be grown in the UK. Some of them are seasonal, but hey ho – I’m sure I can survive a couple of months a year without rabbit food. I can also survive the rest of my life without pomegranates. They’re hardly a staple.

      However, if – as I suspect – these items are crucial to your diet, how about producing solutions to the problems you have identified rather than asking rhetorical questions?

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      California and Israel for oranges and olives, India and the Caribbean for bananas.

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

        Absolutely spot on! Let’s get real and accept that there is a big world out there. I’m now making an effort to actually look at where the stuff I buy is coming from. I like to engage fellow shoppers with my own little straw poll and believe me > 70% would prefer UK produce and boycotting EU produce!

        • Posted November 6, 2017 at 4:35 pm | Permalink


          this is a conclusion you cannot draw on the current factual information, and you know it

        • Posted November 7, 2017 at 11:05 am | Permalink

          Every EU intransigence will have a further corresponding effect.

          Only if EU food is price competitive will it be purchased in the UK.

          I would add given the EU stance , i am likely to purchase product from more friendly non eu-countries.

          I just hate the thought of paying further import taxes to Brussels and in the short term hurting some of our fellow Europeans trapped and held captive in the EU.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      This is an EU problem, they insist on sacrificing Spanish and French farmers not to mention the German auto workers on the altar of the “four freedoms”.

      MEPs voted recently NOT to start negotiation over their post Brexit trading relationship with the UK. May be it’s time that those in the EU that export to the UK have a word with their politicians…before they are made redundant…

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      You may be surprised when I tell you that I have an olive tree in my greater London garden. My neighbour grows figs and sharon fruit too.

      I don’t have bananas, so I googled “banana producers” and came up with the following top five India, China, Philippines, Brazil and Ecuador (non of which are currently EU members).

      I can’t believe that George Osborne didn’t include the Olive shortage in his “project fear” campaign. It could have swung the vote!

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

        Our figs haven’t ripened as well this year as they usually do, I don’t know why but I’m taking the easy option of blaming climate change.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      No one is going to refuse to sell us oranges, bananas, olives, avocados and pomegranates loads of places in the world have them – but English red currents, black currents, gooseberries, damsons, loganberries, raspberries, apples, pears, plumbs and cherries are some of the very best in the world. Bring back some proper summer puddings with cream please.

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        You do however need proper bread to make them & not the type that goes horrible & slimy with all those nasty long life chemicals they put in.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      Do you think the European growers will refuse to sell to us?
      Do you think they will refuse a tariff free deal with us?

      PS All your examples are currently imported from many other non EU countries. countries

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        Edward2– they might refuse to sell some items to us so we should be better prepared, for instance France is in short supply of butter at the moment

        • Posted November 6, 2017 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

          There is no world shortage of butter.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      Oranges etc will all be cheaper when we don’t have EU tariffs slapped on them. Food from across the world was very cheap before we joined the Protection Racket.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      With climate change making it nice enough to grow tropical fruit but no land to grow them on because of mass immigration, the aim is for us to become a 3rd world nation. So far their plan is working well.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      There are plenty of orange trees, banana plantations and olive groves in Commonwealth countries!

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      JR, to be honest I don’t know why you are even prepared to publish silly rubbish like this comment submitted under a pseudonym let alone bother to reply to it.

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 1:01 pm | Permalink


        Maybe the comment was published in order to demonstrate how vacuous some of the Remainer arguments are.

        If only we could get Chuka Remoaner to join the thread.

        • Posted November 6, 2017 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

          Indeed Chuka sounded even worse than usual this weekend. Let us hope that the Tories, for all their desperate incompetence and socialist agenda, can, at least, stop Corbyn, Mc Donnall, Chucka, Thornbury, Abbott, Starmer, Sturgeon and the likes getting anywhere near power.

          Please at least do that.

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

        I think it serves a useful purpose in exposing just how ill informed some of these Remainers are. It does their side no favours, so perhaps JR is wise to keep posting their daft comments?

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      Leo, All of those foods you mention are available from outside the EU and can be bought by the UK under WTO rules. Some already are. The more the EU and its Remain fellow travelers threaten, the less likely we are to buy from the EU.

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

        How do you propose to ensure that all those food imports from the RoW are fit to eat? Close inspection of these product at the point of entry is time consuming and will make import of perishables a non starter.

        • Posted November 7, 2017 at 11:03 am | Permalink

          John O’Leary, You are joking, right? I have bought everything on Leo’s original list sourced from outside the EU already, apart from olives. It’s as though you think the rest of the world doesn’t exist.

        • Posted November 7, 2017 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

          A right little Europeaner aren’t you? Only the EU will do – everything else is verboten!


    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      South Africa would be absolutely delighted to supply the UK with every bit of fruit that can be consumed. Plus wheat, corn, beef, lamb, pork, chicken, wine, nuts and anything else you want. Next?

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      Leo, are you being blatantly obtuse?

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      The banana industry of the Windward islands was dealt a severe blow when we joined the EU because it was one of our main suppliers. As other commenters have said, the EU employed protective tariffs to protect its own, and completely altered our trading patterns making us much more reliant on EU countries, and also completely restructuring our own agriculture and its distribution. The emphasis was on viewing the EU as just one country and agricultural specialities would be focused in the best region (formerly country) for producing a particular commodity thus reducing the degree of self sufficiency that each country had.

      The EU completely distorted our agriculture and trade and we are now going to have to look outside to the bigger world, like we used to, and that will be no bad thing. In fact it will be the saving grace for our country. The EU and its customs union is an out of date concept for the 21st century, and it is suffering from hysteresis and high unemployment in the poorer countries. That is not a “success” by any stretch of the imagination.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      We have to be serious about the UK’s food strategy. We import 48% of the food consumed in the UK. Half of that 48% comes from the EU. Post Brexit, all those sources will still be available, for now.

      But; prices in the shops for the average voting household will change. Non-EU countries prices for foodstuffs, will be based on the prices they think the UK will have to pay, post Brexit, from the EU.

      I know that the vast majority of Brexiteers have, post referendum, demonstrated on sites like this one, to be also climate change deniers. The latter alas, is a worry. There is likely, in a decade or so, that buying food from other countries, EU or non-EU; will become difficult and expensive.

      As global populations increase and higher global temperatures promote crop and animal pathogens to move to higher latitudes and reduce yields; food crop exporters, may decide it would be smart to feed their own voting populations first.

      The UK needs to turbo charge domestic food production NOW. The UK has to become less dependant on getting its kicks from imports, be it food or BMWs.

  4. Posted November 6, 2017 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the assurance re the 60 billion. Presumably someone is flying a kite to see the reaction to guage what they can get away with. If any one of them reads thus blog, I agree with you, totally unacceptable. The problem is our confidence in our negotiators and PM is so low we believe anything.

    Yesterday Anna Soubry said about these 400 amendments she was supporting that it was to ensure that we got a good deal. What a shame her new found democratic zeal did not extend to the all the legislation that has been imposed on us by the EU over the years.

    I would like to propose that at the end our contributions we nominate someone for a new Pinocchio award and my first nomination is Anna Soubry.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      NIG 1

      If you have to PAY to get “Free Trade” its not FREE is it. !!!!

      Please would somebody relate this the the Remainer MP’s.

  5. Posted November 6, 2017 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    EU Nurses, doctors and consultants are leaving the NHS in droves, apparently because of derisory pay rates compounded by a 10% pay cut caused by the post referendum devaluation of sterling. The nurses need a pay rise. The NHS should be properly funded and not privatised by the back door, as is happening at the moment.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      I took my wife, yesterday, to a private hospital for a procedure.
      We are NHS patients.
      I went for a walk round the hospital. Every nurse I passed, in smart uniform, gave me a welcoming smile. The place was spotless. The rooms were either wards or consultation rooms. There were plenty of clean toilets.
      Above all, it was of human size.
      What was missing? Well, if you go (as I have to) to NHS hospitals, you see a lot of non nurses walking about. You see rows of corridors full of non medical procedures. You see very few nurses in uniforms. Lots of porters. Not a lot of welcoming smiles either. And the place is enormous. Smaller NHS hospitals, like the one where I live are being closed or cut back to ribbons.

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        With respect to your last sentence, this is from 2003:

        “Keeping the NHS Local – A New Direction of Travel”

        With one section headed:

        “Why services may need to change – European Working Time Directive”

        “The requirements of the EWTD for continuous rest periods, and the ruling of the European Court of Justice that time spent resident on call counts as working time, (the SiMAP judgement), mean that it will impact most strongly on services which require 24 hour cover. Currently much of this cover is provided by doctors in training. If working patterns stay the same, compliance with EWTD would imply a sharp rise in the number of doctors needed to run a 24 hour service. This would present real problems for many smaller hospitals with limited staff in individual specialties … This makes the EWTD a powerful force driving the NHS to look at how services are provided.”

        Yet there are still those defenders of the EU who persist in claiming “these problems with our NHS hospitals are nothing whatsoever to do with the EU” even when by the government’s own published documentation they self-evidently are.

        Now, Mike, I suppose it’s up to you to prove that out of the EU but still in the EEA we would no longer be bound by the EWTD.

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

        And your point is. I can make a direct comparison, the same procedure, same Consultant (unfortunately) in four years, one private, one NHS next door to each other, was the private worth the shed load of money, absolutely not, in fact apart from the private room, the NHS was better, certainly in terms of physio nor did I have to beg for the extra night I needed, the food was more than I wanted, but in any event I was going for treatment not fine dining and I do not believe your comment about dirt, I have never seen areas cleaned so often.

        Finally people not smiling at me and the size, so what? It is the treatment and recovery I want and so far good enough for me to write to Jeremy Hunt to praise all involved.

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 3:06 pm | Permalink


        I assume from your comment that it was the NHS who sent you to this location for treatment, as indeed do many other hospitals throughout the UK.

        The reason they do this is because it is sometimes cheaper to have some procedures completed by independent/private hospitals, that it is to have it done, in NHS house so to speak.

        Some call this privatisation, they are of course wrong, as its simple common-sense, providing the standards of care and the outcome are the same or better.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      Is it acceptable for us to have taken the doctors and nurses that were trained to work in fellow EU nations ?

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      Some EU workers have ‘got the hump” after seeing all the anti-Brexit hate crime increase smear as part of the media attack. The rules for evidence and publicity have produced the rise in reports and the trial of one ‘murder’ produced a manslaughter verdict after the true circumstances were found to have nothing to do with Brexit.

      We can expect the professional bodies for nursing to do everything they can to maintain unnecessary academic standards and play the numbers game. The government should start a new State Registered Nurse qualification with on the job practical training and free accommodation near the hospitals, just like the original training when nurses were willing to care rather than administer and gawp at computers. It would have to be run by a separate training authority.

      Is it possible to stop Treezer quietly slipping Barnier his blackmail money by insisting on approval in the HoC and getting MPs to put their name up for all to see.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      Whole swathes of the NHS are in the private sector – buildings are owned privately (due to Labour’s PPI initiative), drug development and manufacture is all done privately, many cleaning/support/maintenance services are contracted out, medical equipment is all made privately, GPs are self-employed and mix NHS with private work, hospital consultants mix NHS with private work.

      1) Which parts of the NHS are you worried about being privatised ?
      2) What do you dislike about privatisation ?
      3) Do you think when Comrade Corbyn sweeps to power he will nationalise all of the functions I listed above ? Drug development for example. If not, why not ?

      On the single point of “derisory” pay rates, UK GPs are amongst the highest paid in the entire EU. You should check your facts before making sweeping generalisations.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 10:41 am | Permalink


      The NHS is a national disgrace, its its little to do with lack of money

      We need to turn it into a state backed medical insurance scheme, get the state out of owning and operating providers or care, and give patients proper contractual entitlement to treatment and the money to take to any provide they choose

      The New Zealand, Belgian, Italian, and so on, health systems are all so much better in so many ways

      And nurse pay should not be set centrally, it should be set by local employers, but those employers should be in competition for workers like in any other walk of life

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      Sahara, You do not define “droves” nor cite evidence. We are a big enough country to supply our own doctors and nurses, without needing them from the EU, or anywhere else.

      I can assure you that pay rates for doctors and nurses are far from derisory. The main complaint I hear from them relates to perpetual bureaucracy, re-organisations, pointless “initiatives”, bad management, and the stress of a blame culture..

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

        Its common knowledge among those who work for the NHS. Generally, the staff are committed to a health service free at the point of need. Here’s a link to a piece of Independent journalism that will educate you, if you care to read it.

        Personally, I think Hunt is a disgrace to his party; he’s certainly done very little for the organisation that he heads up except upset the junior doctors

        • Posted November 7, 2017 at 11:23 am | Permalink

          Sakara, What exactly is “common knowledge”? How common? Again you are unspecific.

          I got my information directly from doctors, nurses, and other NHS staff I have talked to, including relatives.

          I would not trust the Independent’s journalism any more than the BBC. Certainly the NHS Providers institution that is quoted in your link looks like a common purpose setup pursuing a socialist, and anti-Brexit, political agenda.

        • Posted November 7, 2017 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

          John, can you ask Jeremy Hunt to investigate Sakara Gold’s common knowledge of workers in the NHS. “EU Nurses, doctors and consultants are leaving the NHS in droves, apparently because of derisory pay rates compounded by a 10% pay cut caused by the post referendum devaluation of sterling.”

          Is this in every region in England. In the North West in particular what are the figures? Has this been a big correlation between numbers hired in the 1960s and leavers now are they in a pattern and is this monitored. Why aren’t we training enough? What are the numbers we have trained? Just how many Doctors are we training that don’t take up a UK based post and how does this compare to previous years. This is all very curious.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      Please supply some concrete and convincing evidence that “EU Nurses, doctors and consultants are leaving the NHS in droves”. And in your reply please not only provide reliable evidence to support any supposed facts that you cite but also put your claims into a proper context; for example, what percentage are leaving now, how that present percentage compares with the percentages leaving in the years before the referendum, how the numbers coming here have changed over the same periods, etc. Also supply some explanation of why EU citizens fluent in English living in the UK and exposed to the mass media in the UK have somehow failed to notice the repeated and in my view rather gooey reassurances given to them by the Prime Minister and other government ministers. Finally please supply some data on the changes in the sterling exchange rate of recent years, both before and after the EU referendum, and prove that any decline in the external value of sterling since the EU referendum has been significantly more than just a continuation of the pre-existing trend.

      The charts on page 24 of this recent report:

      should be some assistance to you on the last point.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      So EU staff are leaving in ‘Droves’ are they ?? The NHS own figures show that on the 30th June 2016 there were 58,698 EU staff employed and in 30th June 2017 there were 61,891 EU staff employed. As you say they have left in ‘Droves’.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      Sloppy commenting, SG, if the info given in the NHS own figures (posted by Andy) is anything to go by.

  6. Posted November 6, 2017 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    You assume the briefings of a fiscal transfer of £53 billion to the EU are “disinformation” as the public will not accept that…more to the point, why would this Govt. accept it? I hope this internecine sex scandal bru-ha is not opportunistic cover to slip out horrendous news. Be in no doubt a capitulation of this magnitude to the grasping and bullying EU would finish the Tories for a generation.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Even if this were true, would you vote for Corbyn instead?

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      Cobwatch, Excellent points. This is government by “Nudge Unit” salami slicing – a large figure is mentioned, rebutted, and a smaller figure is established; then a larger figure is leaked, so that we feel relieved that it is only the smaller amount. And so on.

      Why the government is emulating the useless 1972 negotiation appeasement of the EU I have no idea. Why the likes of JR go along with it is equally baffling.

      I can see that it is advantageous to the Remains in the establishment – they get to lock us into the EU. It is no wonder people are now thinking that there was never any intention by the establishment to honour our vote.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

      £60 Bn- “as the public will not accept that”. What could the public do but just accept it? Just vote them out? -when they may have excellent policies better than the opposition?

  7. Posted November 6, 2017 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Sadly John it is easier and takes less effort to destroy and be negative, than to build and be positive.

    Afraid we have rather too many negative thinkers in our House of Parliament for our own good.

    The real problem however is that those negative thinkers because they believe they know best, are always putting obstacles in the way to hold us back from moving forward.

    Be it tax rises, more regulation, unnecessary spending, weak law making etc, etc.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      Your point is very well made; I would suggest the government internal analysis that should be shared is that done on the EU regulations on manufacture and trade that we could REMOVE from the statute book, when we are free of EU chains. This may give comfort to the CBI and others who produce the wealth for our nation.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      I totally agree Alan, and not for the first time. The doom-mongers need to be educated as to the real position.


  8. Posted November 6, 2017 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Carney is at it again.

  9. Posted November 6, 2017 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    Brexit is an important political event but not an important economic event

    Exactly !

    Never let your opponent choose the ground on which you will be fighting. We should have told the EU that it is up to them to tell us how much it is and to give us a breakdown. If we receive nothing from them, then nothing is what they shall receive.

    The ever rising sums are designed to hide the true figure. As it gets higher and higher eventually a much lower sum will be agreed. This will be portrayed as a victory for the government. This will make any so called deal more acceptable. It was the same trick used by Harrold Wilson, John Major and CMD. It will work because most MP’s and the public still have not cottoned on to it.

    Leaving the EU will not be easy but, if done correctly, a bright future awaits us.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      We cannot rely on WTO rules to continue trading with the EU. No country in the world does that. And we simply cannot afford not to trade with the EU either. Rubbish? Here is the evidence: choose any country you like, look it up and see.

      Reply Yes and as we leave those agreement novate to us and to the rest of the EU

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 2:11 pm | Permalink


        This must be about the fifteenth time that we have explained that current trading conditions with third countries (on their recognisance) and the EU would novate to us on exit as an original signatory whilst in the EU to such arrangements. Why do you persist in the same manner to misinterpret what we have said about a ‘no deal’ arrangement on exit? Also with you computer says no on 31/03/2019 argument too!


        • Posted November 6, 2017 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

          He seems to have been blinded by a particular blog as he seems to just regurgitate it, without taking on board explanations/information that he is given from elsewhere. RN is no politician and the whole Brexit issue is of a political nature i.e. the creation of a superstate and the subjugation of the component nation states to an unaccountable political elite. That is what we must free ourselves from an the Flexcit “solution” does not provide that.

        • Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

          Wrong, zorro. We are not signatories to deals falling within the EU’s exclusive competence. We lose the benefit of all of them. Redwood’s stuff about novation is wrong because he does not understand the nature of EU exclusive competence

          Reply This is international law, not EU law and we will novate these agreements

          • Posted November 7, 2017 at 5:51 am | Permalink

            Right, Mr Redwood, it is time for you to put up or shut up. Find, and cite, one source in international law that justifies your claim that the EU’s agreements “novate” to the UK after Brexit. Just to help you out, don’t waste our time citing the Vienna Convention – its text is here, and the word “novate” is not even mentioned in it.

          • Posted November 7, 2017 at 11:56 am | Permalink

            Helena, You have been told repeatedly that we have already signed a joint letter with the EU, to the WTO, assuring third countries that their negotiated quotas will be honoured (on a pro rata basis) after Brexit, see:


          • Posted November 7, 2017 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

            Sorry Monsieur pierre and Helena,

            …but it looks that you will be disappointed. As we have mentioned before A8 TEU effectively obliges the EU to have constructive, friendly business relations with neighbours and i am sure that you will be keen to see the EU comply with that in our case. Wouldn’t you agree?

            Also, in line with that, the Facilitation of Trade agreement by WTO members (including the EU) is now operative….

            And lastly, so that your gnashing of teeth doesn’t go into overdrive, Liam Fox has confirmed that already 40 countries have confirmed that they are content at minimum to continue trading with us on current terms….. See, continuity rules for the time being. The Trade and Customs Bill have been prepared and the world will keep moving forwards. I hope that you are not too disappointed….


    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      from Mark B– sadly more delusional comment- correction: leaving the EU will be an unmitigated disaster for Britain on many fronts- there is no way to do it correctly, absolutely none- and there is no bright future out there either. If there were a bright future out there don’t you think we would have heard all about it by now from Fox? DD, J R-M, IDS and Boris. All gone very quiet now- even Farage seems to have gone to ground. This is what some call negative comment

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

        Jason, Except . . . . . most of the world gets by just fine without being in the EU. Only c10% of our GDP is earned by exporting to the EU, the other 90% will be better off without having to duplicate EU/rest-of-world standards. More importantly, I do not want to live in a region of an EU empire, thank you.

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

        Chin up Jason
        Don’t be so pessimistic.
        There are over 150 nations in the world who manage to carry on without being in the EU
        Many do quite well.

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

        If there is no way for a member state to leave the EU “correctly” and without it inevitably being an unmitigated disaster why did supporters of the EU not point this out when they were promoting the EU Constitution and then the Lisbon Treaty which first introduced an exit clause? Why did those involved in drafting that clause not say at the time that as proposed it was defective and unworkable and could only lead to catastrophe etc etc? Why were they all so quiet about than problem then? And why are you so desperate that we must remain part of an organisation which consistently runs its affairs in such an obviously stupid and potentially disastrous way?

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

        There is no bright future – agreed, because of:
        Rising pollution caused by a rising population,
        Demographic time-bomb of resources needed for the elderly,
        Colossal national debt waiting for the next recession to become unsustainable.

        Brexit is hardly worth a mention.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      If only Damian Green were as pugnacious in his country’s defence as he is in his own. We have seen an entirely new side to him.

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

        hahaha very true rose

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      @MarkB – “Never let your opponent choose the ground on which you will be fighting”

      I think this is one of the best quotations from Sun Tzu (Chinese military strategist from about 2500 years ago) who believed that all battles are won or lost before they are fought. He also had some helpful advice about understanding as much as possible about your opponent, while keeping your own strategy under wraps. This could be useful reading for Remainers who want to reveal our negotiating strategy to the EU.

  10. Posted November 6, 2017 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Very good first post of the week John.

    I assume the briefings that the UK government is offering E60bn of divorce settlement is disinformation.

    I do hope your right John because if not it brings the politicians and voters who so much want to be free of the EU and all it doesn’t do for us, brings us on a par with our troops a hundred years ago ” Lions led by donkeys”

    The weakness of our leadership knows no bounds, they lack belief and purpose and continually send out all the wrong signals to everybody.

    More and more as they show a real shortfall in the basic skills of leadership and negotiations Along with many others it is rapidly becoming obvious that we should just stand up at the next meeting and say “Thanks but no thanks we are out of here”

  11. Posted November 6, 2017 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    I would hope the economic jolt of Brexit will provide encouragement to accelerate import substitution and the adoption of technology to improve productivity. Both developments could benefit from budget changes if Mr Hammond has the wit to make them.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      ‘I would hope the economic jolt of Brexit will provide encouragement to accelerate import substitution’

      – Such an economic jolt needs to be underpinned by a comprehensive strategy. Above all by a leader to implement it. This is just a basic approach of any kind of strategy, whether business, politics, military and so on.

      If successful businessmen were going to mark Brexiter’s approach to strategy, as if it were a Business Plan, Brexit would get a big, fat fail. Not surprising, many of those in the Brexit political leadership appear not to have a clue about business / strategy, and so on (PR and journalism doesn’t count).

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 10:57 am | Permalink

        Sorry, to be a pain in the ass but EVERYTHING has to be challenged and tested to make sure we have the right strategy.

        If Hard Brexiters’ are confident of their position, they should welcome challenge. If they’re not confident, they should ask themselves why not, and then re-think again their position / strategy, so that they’re more confident things will work out for this country in the future.

        As the evidence stands to me NOW, Hard Brexit is not feasible (and the defensive comments i often get demonstrates to me that Hard Brexiters are relying more on hope and bluster than real strategy and real confidence in their arguments).

        I (and many others) might be wrong, and happy and open to persuasion!

        • Posted November 6, 2017 at 11:04 am | Permalink

          ‘Hard Brexit is not feasible’

          But something along the lines of EFTA along with controlled borders does seem a lot more feasible (although we’d have to pay for this).

          I strongly believe that most people (Brexiters and Remainers) would EASILY vote for EFTA with controlled borders over Hard Brexit.

          That’s the reality. Most people aren’t wealthy enough to suffer 20 years of economic decline for a ‘political’ event. And as soon as the economy really began to bite (with Hard Brexit), people would demand some kind of 2nd referendum to rebalance the economy. Do Hard Brexiters not see this? Do they not see how they can’t get what they want, and in trying to get what they want they will just cause a certain amount of political and economic instability in this country for many years to come?

          ‘It’s about the economy, stupid,’ someone once said to Bill Clinton.

          • Posted November 6, 2017 at 11:13 am | Permalink

            Lastly, NOT saying Hard Brexiters are terrible people. They have a lot of good arguments that I respect. But disagree overall. Plus Hard Brexiter, Sir Edward Leigh is my favourite MP in Parl but not because of Brexit.

            I just think we need to take a more balanced, realistic and pragmatic approach to Brexit. If we go for EFTA with controlled borders that will appeal to most people in this country. And then we can unite as a country more easily and get on with the rest of national business, not forgetting the good work Brexiters have done in general in challenging the EU (and it does need to be challenged). But a case of not throwing the baby out with the bathwater.


          • Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

            Soft Brexit =staying in the EU

            Hard Brexit = actually leaving the EU

          • Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

            “But something along the lines of EFTA along with controlled borders does seem a lot more feasible (although we’d have to pay for this).”

            We’ve been through this before, again and again, Ed, and if you like you can watch Stephen Kinnock lying through his teeth about it in the Commons later today.

            There’s even somebody else claiming today that the EU could be reformed to give us control over immigration, even though David Cameron tried that in 2015 and got told very firmly that as a matter of quasi-religious doctrine the EU’s “four freedoms” are inseparable.

          • Posted November 6, 2017 at 1:42 pm | Permalink


            ‘Soft Brexit =staying in the EU – Hard Brexit = actually leaving the EU’ – word play.

            Sorry to be pain in ass but just trying to point out the LOGIC of situation.

            Let’s look at things as logically as possible.

            1. Country voted to leave EU. So we must leave.
            2. Why did people vote to leave? Immigration, mainly.
            3. How committed are people to Brexit. Many, perhaps most, 4. Brexiters more committed to the economy than Brexit (fact).
            5. Hard Brexit will lead to economic decline for at least 15 to 20 years (95% of Brexiters don’t deny this).
            Therefore, Hard Brexit doesn’t have enough support to take place.

            What happens with no deal?
            With our economy sinking (we haven’t even left the single market yet), impoverished Brexiters and businesses (not just 48% of Remainers) demand a deal with the EU. Either through voting Tories out and/or through a second referendum. Could even lead us to returning to the EU with even worse conditions that before.
            And if the government, over next 20 years, can’t deliver on low immigration overall, then Brexiters who voted because of immigration, will demand deal or return to EU even more.

            This isn’t just Hard Brexit allowing Corbyn into power. Or about Hard Brexit leading to the possible demise of the Conservative Party as the young to middle aged feel totally out of touch with the Party. But also of political instability and economic decline for years to come (not forgetting we’re still lumbered by big debt and all the other national problems we’ve failed to address because of Brexit).
            And we could end up having to return to the EU with even worse conditions. Whether this happened or not, or country would be screwed for a good, long while and Hard Brexit would go down in history as a disaster from one degree or another.

            Reply Leaving under WTO rules will be fine. There is no economic price from just leaving. There would be more of an economic price if the government gave in to demands for a large payment

          • Posted November 6, 2017 at 1:47 pm | Permalink


            I agree, we must leave the EU.
            But you’re kidding yourself if you think Hard Brexit can work. It hasn’t got the political support to last 20 years of economic decline. Don’t you get that?
            (And, I’m willing to be persuaded otherwise, but there just seems to be a lack of good, logical arguments how Hard Brexit could work. It’s not based enough on the reality of politics and economics, lacking in strategy and leadership, based too much on wishful thinking and ideology). This can only lead to a sorry state of affairs / disaster (but I certainly don’t think EFTA with controlled borders has to be negative at all although we will have to pay for it).

          • Posted November 6, 2017 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

            I’m not expecting 20 years of economic decline. Why on earth should I expect that, and what rational grounds do you have to even suggest it? I’m expecting a few years with some economic dislocation – obviously I would prefer as little as possible but it increasingly seems that we are dealing with fanatics and cretins in the EU who would actually relish maximum economic damage, even if they were included in it as they would inevitably be – followed by a recovery and a return to a general trend of economic growth averaging about 2.5% a year on GDP.

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

        Ed, Most of the world is not in the EU and gets by just fine. You provide no reasons why that should not apply to the UK. Stop treating the EU as though it were some sort of minor god that we are not allowed to escape from.

        • Posted November 6, 2017 at 1:53 pm | Permalink


          This is an incredibly vague argument over something as big and complicated as Brexit.

          Don’t you see, it’s the transition period from being in the EU to exiting the EU, Hard-Brexit-style, that is the problem?
          Don’t you see that Hard Brexit has to survive about 20 years of economic decline in this country (and political instability) to work. Already, Hard Brexit is struggling, and we haven’t even left the single market yet. Hard Brexit doesn’t have the political support around the country to last 20 years.

          ‘Stop treating the EU as though it were some sort of minor god that we are not allowed to escape from’. This is a complete strawman argument. I never said we shouldn’t leave the EU (I’m supporting some kind of EFTA arrangement with controlled borders) nor that i think the EU is amazing. This is a strawman argument on your part because you’re not able to rationalise, step by step, with the points I’m making, because your argument, overall, is based on wishful thinking and ideology.

          Sorry, to be a pain in the ass, but I value by country’s future more.

          • Posted November 6, 2017 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

            “20 years of decline”….Project Fear pessimism Mark two

          • Posted November 7, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

            Ed, There is nothing vague about the fact that most of the world is not in the EU and gets by just fine.

            The EFTA is a separate organisation from the EU. Presumably you mean signing up to the EEA agreement, after joining the EFTA? Have you thought that either or both the EFTA and the EU may not agree? Even if we were admitted, we would be back under the control of the EU, with open borders, contrary to your claims.

            You seem to randomly splatter terms like “hard” and “soft” Brexit without defining them, together with wishful thinking about “controlled borders” that are not on offer unless we actually, fully, Leave.

            As for your opinions which you regale us with at great length they are so woolly, incoherent, and fact free that I mostly don’t read them (after the first few pages).

  12. Posted November 6, 2017 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Last week the issue of reduced new registration and exodus of EU qualified nurses was presented as a response to the Brexit vote. This might be partly true if those nurses had intended to live the rest of their lives here but now think they can’t so are reappraising their options. But that doesn’t seem likely – if I go to work in the US I don’t turn down the job unless I get a guarantee of being able to live there forever. It might reflect a feeling of being unwelcome but that is only going to apply to a few as I very much doubt that European NHS staff are encountering any more abuse than their British colleagues. What is much more likely is that: the large number of registrations in previous years used up the pool of nurses available; employment opportunities for nurses back home in other EU countries have improved and drawn them back; those working here have realised that they can’t have a reasonable home on a nurse’s salary and that the bureaucracy and complaint culture in the NHS makes the job increasingly unattractive.
    It would have been instructiveif the media had juxtaposed the EU nurse data with data on retention of home trained nurses (some of whom have incidentally been nationals of other EU countries who took advantage of the bursary system). But it’s much easier to leap to Brexit as the issue

  13. Posted November 6, 2017 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Good. More need to speak out to counterbalance negative spin.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      I am a Brexiteer.
      We need to leave the EU as promised, and the Single Market too (EU/EEA).
      We must stay in the Common Market (now called the EEA) after March 2019.
      There is only one possible way to do this: join EFTA.

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        Such complete nonsense does not even merit a lengthy reply, especially one which on all precedents will be totally ignored.

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        Mike, When we leave the EU we automatically leave the EEA with it. We cannot “stay in … the EEA”, we could only re-join it by first joining the EFTA, then signing the EEA agreement subsequently; and all only if both the EFTA and the EU agree (they may not). Pedantic, but true.

        It would be entirely pointless in leaving the EU, only to sign back up to EU control via the EU’s EEA agreement. Especially in light of Mrs May offering a new treaty with the EU where the EU controls policy for our armed services, aid, diplomacy, security, justice and diplomacy.

        • Posted November 6, 2017 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

          Sorry – two mentions of “diplomacy”.

        • Posted November 7, 2017 at 1:06 am | Permalink

          Try telling Stephen Kinnock that. The penny has finally dropped with him that we are leaving the EU via A50 so he’s trying to keep us in the EU in all but name by somehow maintaining EEA membership. His argument being we voted to leave the EU not the EEA — yes I know that is ridiculous.

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

        I voted remain—just (I was going to vote Brext mainly because of immigration). I think something like EFTA with controlled borders is the only real solution. Hard Brexit is only to lead to chaos from one degree to another (whilst Brexiters were quite right to challenge everything wrong with the EU).
        More importantly what i or you think, i think most of the country (including many Brexiters) would favour something like EFTA with controlled borders over Hard Brexit.
        Whatever level of chaos Hard Brexit brings, it doesn’t have the legs to last 20 years of economic decline in this country with the political instability and dissatisfaction that goes with it.

        • Posted November 6, 2017 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

          If you were right you would see all countries outside the EU declining. The reverse is the case. The EU is the one out of step and declining. it just requires a bit of effort to make the change. Is gain supposed to be effort free or not worth bothering about?

        • Posted November 7, 2017 at 12:55 am | Permalink

          For Christ sake give it a rest about EFTA. I and most others here do NOT agree with you or it, and you are wrong to assume we do.

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

        I think even RN would say that this is muddled, MS.

  14. Posted November 6, 2017 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Indeed if the EU do choose (against their own interests) to disrupt trade with the UK so be it. We can get round it in various ways. It is not a large proportion of overall economic activity. We can switch production to the home market or other overseas markets. Markets that are growing far better than the EU.

    They export more to us than we do to them and it is that which counts. Not as the Nick Clegg types kept saying in the referendum the % of their trade and the % of ours which was clearly a totally bogus argument.

    The problem is, are we actually going to get Brexit with remainer’s May and Hammond in power? Also when are we going to finally get the lower simpler taxes, cheap energy, the smaller state and the bonfire of red tape the economy so desperately needs to grow properly? It seems we will not get this from May and Hammond and may even have to suffer Corbyn for a while. If the Tory can hold on despite May he will be mid seventies by the next election, let us hope by then more voters and especially the youth, will have realised what a magic money tree, economic disaster Labour would be. As indeed they nearly always are.

  15. Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Mr Carney says the economy would be booming if it wasn’t for Brexit. He may be right that there are businesses which are delaying investment decisions until they know how the Brexit deal will work out – it’s a subjective point which can’t be proved one way or the other. Since Mr Carney is now clearly a political figure in a way in which previous BoE governors have not been, perhaps he could also give us his views as to whether the threat of a far left government is now casting a dark cloud over the economy? I would have thought the threat of Corbyn-McDonnells Venezuela type socialism is a much bigger deal than Brexit.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      I think Mr Carney should be a bit more careful to stay within his official remit as defined by Parliament through its Acts.

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

        I believe he has been given free reign to do so, and that of course is most worrying. Any PM worth his/her salt would have dealt with Carney’s stance and pronouncements long ago.

        • Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:52 pm | Permalink


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

      I too think the threat of Corbyn-McDonnells Venezuela type socialism is a much bigger deal than Brexit. As is the half way house socialist agenda of T May and /tax till the pips’ squeak Hammond.

  16. Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Most of what you say has been said in this diary many times past. I do hope you are correct on the Eu.60 billion being disinformation. As I see it the EU is entitled to our full membership fee until 29th March 2019. After this date we are no longer members and we have a free trade agreement or we revert to WTO rules. Only remainers require a two year implementation period. Most major companies are selling free trade to the EU and WTO rules to the rest of the World. What is it that they need two years to learn. One year of implementation is sufficient and must be at a goodwill contribution rate way below the annual membership rate. I accept that where we are running joint operations after leaving then we need to pay our share. While I agree that in a crucial negotiation one needs to keep the cards close to the chest, it does however open the door to black propaganda and all those who would wish to benefit from it.

  17. Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Why would Brussels want tariff free trade when they derive a large portion of their income from the CET.
    That’s why they don’t sign FTAs.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:43 pm | Permalink


      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

        Common External Tariff

        Free Trade Agreement

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

        Common External Tariff.
        Free Trade Agreements.

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

        I assume Common External Tariff and Free Trade Areas. I do wish all could get into the habit of writing the description in full with the acronym in brackets after it. You only need to do it once and then just use the acronym.. For example , Instrument landing System (ILS).

  18. Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Indeed, as we have pointed out ad infinitum, there is precious little evidence for any effect on UK long term GDP growth trends of membership of the EU/Single Market, but plenty of evidence of increased cost in implementation and compliance with countless EU regulations!


  19. Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    About the only correct statement in the article is that Brexit is an important political event. Almost every other paragraph contains assertions that are easy to refute, but there seems little point in doing so. The Brexit believer’s world is different to the real world and the same logic does not apply.

    The political consequences of Brexit are almost all bad. We are leaving the institution which is trying to make Europe a peaceful, prosperous, and influential continent. By doing so we lessen their chances of success and we decrease our own influence on world affairs. We abandon the aim of trying to ensure that the future Europe is one that matches our ideas and give freedom to other countries to construct it according to their models. It is a retreat from our international responsibilities. Not only that but some Brexiters hope that our defection will bring about the breakup of the EU. If that happens it will be a real tragedy.

    We are being let down by our politicians. We should be working towards building a better EU, not fleeing to an imaginary future that exists only in the minds of those who believe everything will be all right on the night. We won’t escape our problems but we will add to them.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      What you mean is that there’s no point offering you facts, however well-referenced, because if you don’t like them you’ll just ignore them.

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

        Nice one Alan. I am still waiting for the day when a Brexiteer comes up with a peer reviewable fact with numbers in it. There was one, 350 million on a red bus. I haven’t seen a “leave’ number since, that was sufficiently credible to be worth number crunching! Remainer “project fear” numbers are much easier to knock down, if necessary, because they can be checked against current and historic databases.

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

        No, what I mean is that I am tired of pointing out the fallacies in the Brexit case.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Alan, It is true that Remains like yourself want to overturn our Leave vote, and you may succeed. But you cannot undo the fact that it happened. If we don’t leave properly, the compact of democratic assent between rulers and ruled will break down.

      The political consequences of Brexit are almost all good. We are leaving the institution which is corrupt, dysfunctional and undemocractic. Every major EU policy is a failure: from fisheries to regional policy; from the Euro to unemployment; from open borders for criminals to the EAW.

      By leaving we restore our sovereignty and our place in the world, increasing our influence instead of being swamped by EU countries inimical to our sense of justice and fair-play. We have never managed to ensure that the future Europe is one that matches our ideas and we have no business imposing the consensus EU model onto other countries. Without the constraint of the EU we can address our international responsibilities from our own standpoint.

      Not only that but some Remainers are so blind to their own Stockholm syndrome that they even think our leaving is a “defection”. Unbelievable. Hopefully Brexit will bring about the breakup of the EU. If that happens it will be a real joy, as we free Europe once again from a pernicious tyranny.

      • Posted November 7, 2017 at 1:17 am | Permalink

        NickC – ‘some Remainers are so blind to their own Stockholm syndrome that they even think our leaving is a “defection”. Unbelievable. Hopefully Brexit will bring about the breakup of the EU. If that happens it will be a real joy, as we free Europe once again from a pernicious tyranny.’

        I Absolutely agree, well said.

  20. Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    I trust any MP’s found to have off-shore investments will be held to account.

    Reply I suspect there are offshore funds held in the Parliamentary Pension Fund as there are in many pension funds and insurance company portfolios. Individual UK holders of offshore funds have to pay Income tax on the dividends and CGT on the gains. A Pension fund is tax exempt of course.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      David L – No one is obliged to pay more tax than the law demands. Individuals or organisations may properly and honourably take any step not barred by law to lessen their tax bill. Taxation by public censure or moral pressure is arbitrary taxation, which our ancestors fought a civil war to eliminate forever from our governance.

      Attempts to bully and browbeat others into paying more than the law demands are odious. We are a free people. Better the public services fail altogether than that private property should be at the mercy of those who shout the loudest.

      I suggest that those who feel legal taxation is not enough should begin by paying more themselves. Let them publicise their splendid sacrifice by forming a club of like-minded individuals, so we can admire them en masse. My guess is that it would be a very small club indeed.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      I have offshore (to me) investments – mainly in the UK. What on earth is wrong with offshore investments? Indeed legally avoiding paying tax is surely a highly moral thing to do given how the government “invest” and waste the money so appallingly, it is the only way to control government waste. Most people & businesses invest it far much more efficiently. That is why lower simpler taxes benefit nearly everyone.

      The UK needs to become a low tax area, attracting most investment if the government had any sense. This rather than pushing all the money and talent away as seems to be the May/Hammond agenda.

  21. Posted November 6, 2017 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    I am incensed at the thoughts of coughing up £58m to secure a trade deal . We don’t need them , they need us !. It will bring the Government down if this goes ahead – and rightly so . There are so many priorities at home that such a sum could be used for and ignoring these to line the pockets of Brussels would be a monumental mistake .

    Theresa May has problems of one sort or another all around her and she has not got the solid support she needs in her Cabinet or Party to make such a blunder ; the backlash will be swift in coming so she better pack her bags now . I’ve had enough of her weak leadership and want a proper leader in place . The public want her changed quickly .

  22. Posted November 6, 2017 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Exactly, Political concerns were foremost in the British minds at the time of the referendum, UKIP politics trumped economics, and as we see today political concerns from a EU perspective now far outweigh economic ones- so we shouldn’t be at all surprised if the talks are conducted in same fashion.

    As someone else said- if we are serious about all of this we should be investing now big time in refrigerated containers and shipping to import all of this food. We will need to develop more container ports particularly to the North and North West of the country- if we are serious- and we should be doing it now- otherwise it is all talk- I am afraid that behind it all politicians know full well that nothing much is going to change. As another commentator said we’ll end up paying to be in but with no say at all as to how things are done- the worst of all worlds – great!

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      “UKIP politics trumped economics”

      You mean economics such as the UK having gained possibly an extra 1% of GDP through the creation of that vitally important EU Single Market, which we must therefore stay in even though we can then have no effective control over either the volume or the type of immigration from the other member states.

      • Posted November 7, 2017 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

        Denis, the extra 1% we should look on as a bonus of single market / customs union membership (the two are basically one institution) . Without that membership, the UK GDP is estimated, by my fellow EU number crunchers, to have been circa 6 – 9% below what it is today.

        Basically because there would have been little productive manufacturing investment outside of London. The expansion of London based global financial services, was the Thatcherite future for the UK economy.

        • Posted November 8, 2017 at 9:02 am | Permalink

          It may be what some of your EU mates think but it is not what the EU Commission says, and publishes, or indeed what the UK government itself quietly accepts in official reports. You could ask Michel Barnier about the economic benefits of the Single Market, previously as an EU Commissioner he put his name on a report estimating them as about 2% of GDP averaged across the EU. Not the 5% which been expected beforehand, but 2%, and according to another report only 1% for the UK.

  23. Posted November 6, 2017 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Is there any substance to media reports over the weekend that May is now agreed to pay Brussels a ransom payment of €50-55bn ?

    With Michael Gove now in the Brexit steering group that appears unlikely.

  24. Posted November 6, 2017 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    It would be interesting to hear your views on how the Government is going to work through the 400 proposed amendments to the Withdrawal Bill in a timely fashion without diluting Brexit, and how realistic Frank Field’s ‘simple’ 4 point alternative proposal is – and whether you support it.

  25. Posted November 6, 2017 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Let us take John’s facts as face value and evaluate them one by one and I will make you draw your own conclusions

    1) Trade with the rest of the rest of the World is expanding more rapidly than with the rest of the EU

    Exports to the Eu grew faster during 2016 to the EU than to the rest of the World in 2016. During August 2017 exports to the EU grew by 4% and dropped to the rest of the World according to UK statistics.

    2) No impact of Brexit on World Trade

    I would agree with John on that as we are simply not big enough to be important in the WTO statistics.

    3) Sharp improvement in balance of payments, when we stop EU contributions

    2015 balance of payments deficit £ 96.2 billion, 2016: £ 135.6 billion deficit.
    UK net contributions to EU, £ 11 billion. Will this lead to a sharp improvement?

    4) WTO facilitation of Trade Agreement will lead to easy trade.

    Is this why the Dept. of Trade is planning to hire another 5000 customer officers?

    I think the facts and figure speak for themselves. I need not say anymore.

    What would you like to say, John?

    Reply Non EU share of trade continues to rise. You need to adjust for the Rotterdam effect as well. We will need extra customs officers if we are going to collect tariffs on EU goods in the event of No Deal. We can then give this money back as tax cuts.

  26. Posted November 6, 2017 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Above all, Brexit is a colossal media event which gives scope to many “experts” to speak/write their views and, presumably, get well paid for them.
    I suspect the reality is that the impact will be the same as the much discussed Y2K proposed “disaster” which greatly enriched many IT “experts”.

  27. Posted November 6, 2017 at 9:46 am | Permalink
    This is still a lot less then the labour/ snp/libdims/greens/Welsh/ would give , left up to them it would be a arm and leg as well

  28. Posted November 6, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    I am a fervent supporter of free trade and will argue against anyone who decries importing goods and services that are of good quality and price that benefits UK consumers. Even if that means shunning domestic producers because their quality and/or price is inferior. It is not the UK’s consumers job to protect UK producers it is up to them to become more efficient so that they do attract more domestic purchasers.

    However when it comes to the EU that is an import export environment that is not designed to give UK consumers the best deal. It is a one way protectionist market. It’s rules are designed to advantage Germany and France at the expense of all other member states especially the UK. It heavily restricts UK citizens access to markets outside the EU so are unable to source goods and services that that may be better and cheaper than those on offer from the EU. The EU single market is a trade prison and so we are forced to purchase our imports from inside it. Brexit will free us from that and we the consumers if we follow our natural free trade instincts can benefit by exporting and importing to and from anyone in the all the world not just where the EU tells us.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      I quote the words of Winston Churchill on free trade. It may make some think again that perhaps protectionism is not such a good idea at all after all.

      “We Free Traders are often told that we should consider the producer more, and not think so much about the consumer. The great manufacturers are the largest producers in the country, but they are also by far the largest consumers. The more they produce, the more they have to consume. The bigger the mill, the more it costs to run. The manufacturer, therefore, wants one thing dear – the thing he sells – and a hundred things cheap which he uses.”

    • Posted November 7, 2017 at 5:14 am | Permalink


      We will always be forced to buy from Europe as we are not leaving.

  29. Posted November 6, 2017 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Car registrations in Britain slipped by 12.2 per cent last month, the latest sign of weakness in the sector, brought on by “declining business and consumer confidence”.

    Brexit looks more and more like some kind of demented death cult.

    Reply Car sales started to fall after the 2017 budget which hit them with taxes and took away some car loans!

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      The campaign against diesel vehicles and threats to ban them from major cities is having a negative effect on current vehicle sales as purchasers hold back until politicians come forward with their new laws and taxes.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      yes but the explanation is not as simple as you make it out to be and you are not sufficiently , factual

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

        What you really mean hans is that you want to blame everything on Brexit

    • Posted November 7, 2017 at 5:12 am | Permalink


      The uncertainty over diesel v electric is damaging the car sector and JR is correct when he mentions taxes. Personally I don’t feel any worse off since the Brexit vote but I think government intervention is trying to overturn the will of the people.

    • Posted November 7, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      Long term – Technology and economics will tend to reduce direct ownership of vehicles.

      They probably will be fleets of automated vehicles available for hire via mobile technology.

      Why own if you can rent without hassle, the costs would likely be less.

      Also congestion, via excessive immigration and lack of capacity makes driving a un-enjoyable..

  30. Posted November 6, 2017 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Smoke and mirrors comes to mind. I believe the Government is deliberately obfuscating the whole Brexit procedure and leaking these obscene numbers so that we will accept the eventual spin that they have done wonderfully well for the UK.

    The electorate are not going to accept payment of any money not owed, or any other capitulation such as not regaining full control of our territorial waters or putting our armed forces under the control of the EU (or enemy, as Mr Hammond called them).

    The right way of doing this is to lay out the UK plan for leaving in full. The EU will know where it stands and so will we. It is the only way to end this undermining of confidence that is called ‘negotiation’.

  31. Posted November 6, 2017 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Always a net contributor, it is hard to see why anyone would think we have an exit bill to settle.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      Apart from in 1975, the year of the previous referendum.

  32. Posted November 6, 2017 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Its not just nurses, if we were not printing as many work visas (and allowing EU citizens in regardless) for allsorts of role then
    1) students would be encouraged to study corresponding subjects, and would not just avoid them because they can see workers from overseas are being allowing in to undercut or displace them from the workforce
    2) employers would have the incentive to train locals returned

    Would also be a good idea to tax foreign workers at least as much as locals, so tax allowance should only be pro-rata for the amount of the tax year they are in this country, so no so called “expenses” tax free if locals could not claim exactly the same thing for working away from home within this country, no first year in the country free of national insurance, and so on

    But then all of this is obvious to the ordinary people, its only the political class that dont seem to get it

  33. Posted November 6, 2017 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    As you say Mr. Redwood this [Brexit] is fundamentally about politics and the rub is, who presides over and only the Parliamentary legislature with say so of ‘we the people’ can fashion and draft, make the laws of this land. We need to put an end to the EU modus operandi, the way of it, that it is judges these days believing, thinking that they are the ultimate arbiters.

    The very last thing the remain side want, is for Britain to leave the writ and its mendacity of the ECJ, all else is just fear and doom mongering. Undoubtedly, Britain will be and by far better off – out of the vindictive diktat of the EU-ECJ, and the remain side clearly understand it, yet continue to make the feeble case for economics its lies, deflection strategy and feint.

    Imho, what fills the remain side with a morbid dread for they perceive that out of the protection racket and bosom of the EU, their statist dependent empires will be spiked and permanently so. Thus, it’s all about who controls and who decides and in saying that, only the people, electorate of the United Kingdom can only be the ultimate arbiters – yes Judges and final decisions makers, the kratos of the demos -good grief that very idea fills all remainers with an immense sense of foreboding.

    It needs to be emphasized that, under the yolk of the EU and the aegis of the ECJ we can never, ever be masters of our own destiny.

    The remain side play for all their worth the fear factor of Britain being outside of the EU – but we Leavers have never said that we do not wish to trade with our nearest neighbours and frankly the EU would not suit to halt trade with us. Yes let’s have an agreement but with beneficial terms which are fair, flexible and not delivered by one way diktat. That means OUT of the ECJ and its conjoined sister, the ECHR.

    Trade? Bien sur! mais sans obstacles! Equals, OUT, Out, of the jurisdiction of the ECJ, ECHR.

    Only then, can we consider ourselves to be shut of the pervasive duplicity of the EU influence.

  34. Posted November 6, 2017 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,

    Brexit is NOT a political event. Only in the Westminster bubble amongst some Tory MPs is it a political event.

    Most people voted for Brexit because of IMMIGRATION not politics. Those who voted purely for political reasons are a minority amongst Brexiters and and even smaller minority in the country overall.

    And Brexit IS an economic event in the sense that our economy will sink for the next 20 years as we rejig our economy. And since many/most people who voted for Brexit aren’t that wedded to Brexit, then Hard Brexit will lose even more support. It hasn’t the legs to run 20 years of decline in the economy (we haven’t even left the EU yet and already Hard Brexit is struggling).

    You might find this boring or annoying. But I don’t want to see my country sink politically and economically over the next 20 years. It might be longer because we will have put so many other important non-Brexit issues on hold, including paying off our national debt. At end of day, it’s not just that most people don’t want Hard Brexit, but that Hard Brexit can’t work. It can only cause this country unnecessary pain and stress for the next 20 years with Hard Brexiters failing to get what they want after all that. And EVERYONE loses: Hard Brexiters, Soft Brexiters, Soft Remainers, Hard Remainers, and so on.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      Of course it’s a bloody political event, don’t be so stupid. The question is whether there will be significant economic effects and the answer to that question could be guessed by looking at the very marginal economic effects of membership. But I will say that this is for the medium to long term and in the short term we do have to ensure an orderly withdrawal to minimise economic losses. That is why I have no problem with us agreeing to a closely defined and limited transitional period after we have left, provided of course that it is a transition to a new situation and not just an extension of the existing situation as some would like.

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        What you say is true in theory, but in practic,e surely the most important thing is to get out asap. The longer this is postponed the easier it is for the referendum result to be reversed, the more billions we lose, and the more uncontrolled immigration we are subjected to. For business people, the anxiety of not knowing how it is all going to end must be great. Obviously big business, based elsewhere, would like us to stay in limbo for as long as possible in order to milk the mass immigration and rig the EU rules against competition from smaller fry, and ultimately to reverse the referendum.

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

        Politics according to Easton: Means the distribution and re-distribution of wealth and resources in society, so yes, it is both a political and an economic event.

        And do not be so primitive is using unnecessary language, it is totally unnecessary.

        The problem here, is really that John Redwood does not really understand economics .

        • Posted November 6, 2017 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

          I do not agree. Mr Redwood understands economics when he wants to..

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      Of course immigration is political. The redistribution of wealth within the EU, via migration of individuals from poorer “regions” (former countries of the EU) to richer is a tool used by our political masters for wealth redistribution, and evening out of disparities between regions of the EU (concept of uniformity, which the EU seeks to employ). Not only do those individuals/migrants (who are paid better wages in the host country and receive benefits, housing, schooling and healthcare there) benefit but also their families back home e.g. Romania and Bulgaria, where wealth sent back has enabled some families to build expensive properties, undreamt of in the past (well documented in the Press).

      This may be considered to be a good thing, but it is certainly a political issue using EU freedom of movement/immigration as a tool of societal engineering and wealth redistribution.

  35. Posted November 6, 2017 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Could we remove national insurance completely?
    We could use that to rebuild our fishing industry etc?
    How many houses can be built for £60 billion?
    How many nurse can you train for £60 billion.?
    How many roads bridges cab be built?
    How much “renewable energy could be produced” with this investment in UK waters using UK goods and services.

    Could we please have a legal challenge prepared to thwart any “deal” being agreed which is manifestly against the UK interests.

    Then can we ensure those that intend to vote for such against UK interest are subject to recall votes.

  36. Posted November 6, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    I have never commented before on this (nor any other blog) but I feel that this concentration on our trade is completely at odds with reality. I admit I do not know the actual figures but believe that only about 12% of our GDP is from exports and trade with the EU is only about half of that. As such it seems we are negotiating on behalf of the 6% and ignoring the 94% who have no direct involvement with EU trade. I imagine also that many of that 6% are multinationals or maybe even EU businesses.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      That is one reason why the immediate economic impact of leaving the EU cannot be as large as some like to pretend, as any consequent loss or gain is much diluted as a part of the overall UK economy.

      When you have a (German) study concluding that the creation of the EU Single Market had increased per capita GDP in the UK by just 1.0%, and that spread over a period of many years, then you might think that those “benefits of the EU Single Market” have been and are being grossly exaggerated:

      “20 years of the European single market: growth effects of EU integration”

      In the table on the first page, it was estimated that German per capita GDP had been boosted by somewhat more than the EU average, 2.3%, but for the UK the increase was below average at only 1.0%.

      Compare that to the trend rate for the natural growth of the UK economy since the late 1940’s, which has been 2.5% a year, and that means the EU Single Market has been worth about five months’ extra growth; or even with Mark Carney’s new lower “speed limit” of about 1.7% a year its benefit would still be equivalent to natural growth of the UK economy over just seven average months.

  37. Posted November 6, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Much is being made of the lower number of EU nurses coming to the UK compared to a year back.
    Could this perhaps be due to them being unable to pass the new language requirements?

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      Probably more to do with uncertainty surrounding the status of EU nationals and the fall in Sterling.

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        “Probably more to do with uncertainty surrounding the status of EU nationals and the fall in Sterling.”

        The NHS needing to search for doctors and nurses from overseas is firstly because the UK government has cut back on its own training of doctors and nurses to save money in the short-term and secondly because of our very high levels of inward migration.

        Unfortunately for the NHS they are discovering that many doctors, as well as nurses are failing the (finally) mandatory English language tests :

        Furthermore, it is immoral for the UK to steal doctors and nurses from poorer countries who need these people even more than we do.

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

        Tabulazero, There is no uncertainty except that generated by Remains in the establishment (government, civil service, opposition). Parliament gave us a choice, and the rules governing that choice, and we chose. We leave, and citizens of other countries resident or visiting here, obey UK law. What is wrong with you?

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps if they’re that flaky and totally economically motivated, we might prefer them to go home. I thought nursing was a vocation?

  38. Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    “Our trade with the rest of the world handled with tariffs under WTO rules… ”

    I believe this is factually incorrect. The EU has trade agreements with much of the world, and the UK trades with the rest of the world via these EU trade agreements.

    When we leave the EU we also leave these other agreements. We would have to renegotiate these or go to WTO rules.

    Reportedly, only ONE country on the planet trades entirely under WTO rules, and that is Mauritius.

    Reply Not true, and we will inherit the other EU trade agreements.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      KZB, you are of course correct. Mr Redwood’s idea that the UK “inherits” agreements made between the EU and third countries is a poor joke. Leave means Leave, and that means the UK will be in a very bad trading position

      Reply Just untrue

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        Helena, This has been repeatedly explained to you. WTO rules include both the original rules with which the WTO was set up, plus a few Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs) registered with the WTO (and therefore now part of the current WTO rules).

        Even if we traded without those RTAs, the original WTO remit is so far-reaching and important that we would lose very little. However we have already signed a joint letter with the EU, to the WTO in Geneva, promising to honour quotas with third countries on a pro-rata basis. The WTO itself requires signatories to trade fairly with all countries, so we can expect reciprocity.

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 4:28 pm | Permalink


        the reply is not untrue you are factually wrongly informed again hoe really embarrassing for you

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      That depends entirely on what the parties to the treaty want to do. It is their treaty, nobody else’s, and if they all agree to carry on for the time being effectively as though the UK was still in the EU then they can do that and put that agreed intention into letters or into a protocol. If one or more object to continuing with some particular provisions once the UK has left the EU then they can agree to exclude them, just for the objectors or for all parties. If one or more want a strict time limit for the continued application of the unmodified treaty then they can agree that too. These decisions will not be made by you, KZB, whoever you may be behind your pseudonym, or by you, Helena, which may or may not be your real name; they will be made by the governments whose countries are parties to the treaties and who have an interest in how those treaties are maintained or adapted or possibly in some cases abandoned.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      Correction, the one WTO country is Mauritania not Mauritius, apologies for confusion.

      Anyhow, apart from that, you are ASSUMING we will simply inherit the other EU trade agreements with (most of) the rest of the world ?

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 4:30 pm | Permalink


      we will not automatically inherit the Eu agreements unless agreed through negotiations , why don’t you stop writing untrues

      Reply Name a single country to such an agreement that intends to stop us!

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

        You contradict yourself, Mr Redwood. If we inherit automatically no country can stop us. But the truth is we do NOT inherit anything

    • Posted November 7, 2017 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      If countries allow trade with us they will. If they don’t allow it alternatives will be found.

      Individuals will always find a way of trading!

      For heavens sake they can’t even enforce border controls on illegal aliens.

  39. Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    “I assume the briefings that the UK government is offering E60bn of divorce settlement is disinformation.”

    Such an enormous figure shows us either the real cost of remaining in the EU or is simply the EU blackmailing us in order to continue with and to complete our negotiations to leave by March 2019.

    If it is the latter then this is completely illegal according to Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

  40. Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    “I assume the briefings that the UK government is offering E60bn of divorce settlement is disinformation.”

    The EU and the UK’s EU supporters believe that economic blackmail, and refusing to negotiate so that we end up with a form of “no deal”, or a “punishment deal”, which is illegal according to Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, will give a reason for our Parliament to ignore the result of the referendum and cancel the triggering of Article 50.

    The UK’s EU supporters intend to argue that because “we have taken back control” and that “Parliament is sovereign” then Parliament can use this power to vote to remain or re-join the EU.

    But although Parliament is sovereign it does not give it the right to give away the sovereignty of the UK especially after a referendum was held to settle the issue.

  41. Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    “The opponents of Brexit who are still out to stop or dilute it seem to see Brexit as some big economic event”.

    Not just a “big economic event” but a disastrous economic event.

    It needs to be stated again that the country voted to leave the EU despite being told very clearly by everyone (Mr. Cameron, Mr. Osborne, Mr. Carney, the IMF, the OECD, the POTUS, the CBI, the EU, the hedge fund managers, the financiers, the banks, the corporates and the world’s wealthy elites who do not even live in the EU etc. etc.) that Brexit would bring economic ruin to the country.

    But despite this dire prediction over 17m people believed freedom is worth more than a few pieces of silver and took the only chance they had in over 40 years to tell their governing elites in Parliament that they did not agree with their giving away of the UK’s sovereignty.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      Point well made methinks.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      Excellent post
      I agree with every word you have said.

  42. Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Don’t think Mrs May had much to say of importance at the CBI this morning, so I suppose we’ll have to wait until the EU meeting in a few weeks time between DD and Barnier to get a better picture of how things are shaping up- not good I expect as JR is correct- the whole thing has a political look about it rather than an economic one. But again we ourselves voted ‘out’ for all kinds of reasons except economic ones.

  43. Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    ‘Those who say non tariff barriers and delays at borders are issues under WTO procedures are out of date. In February this year the new Facilitation of Trade Agreement by the WTO came into force which will work well.’

    The Trade Facilitation Agreement will take years to produce tangible effects because it doesn’t have direct effect, instead relying on implementation by member states. So the idea it is going to save us from the very real non-tariff barriers problems we will experience at the border is a fantasy.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      And although the EU and all its other member states are signatories to that treaty they will of course do nothing at all to facilitate the continuation of existing trade with the UK after we have left the EU … is that what you are saying?

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

        Denis, what SoftBrexit is pointing out is that when we leave the EU, there will be border controls, and any dispute at all will take a long time to resolve. Not like the current border-free market we have. You don’t understand this because you don’t understand just what the EU has done for our trade over the last 45 years

        • Posted November 6, 2017 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

          Stifled it, Helena, as the EU is an old fashioned customs union, ill equipped to deal with trading in the 21st century. We want to be outward looking and free to make our own trade deals which actually favour the UK, and not be tied up in knots trying to appease 27 other countries which have vastly different needs and wants. The EU still does not function as a single country. For that to happen there has to be full political integration.

          One of the most damaging things that the EU does to poorer countries in the world is to exclude them from favourable trading by means of tariffs designed to protect EU members e.g. the unobtainable premier status for beef imports to the EU from Latin American countries of Disease Free Status without Vaccination, or the protective tariffs for bananas, which did such severe damage to the banana industry of the Caribbean, and the livelihoods of poorer people there. Similarly with the favouring of beet sugar of the EU producers, instead of the West Indian cane sugar.

          Furthermore, the EU “enshackles” poorer countries by not enabling them (because of prohibitive tariffs, I understand) to export finished/processed products but instead having to export raw products e.g. coffee. This restriction to exporting the non value added product deprives the exporting country of reaping the wealth from exporting the much more valuable processed product.

          So, all those do gooders in the EU who are supposedly helping the poorer countries: no, you are not because you are depriving them of valuable trade. Yes, you may be plying them with aid, but this makes countries more dependent, whereas paying countries fairly for their products (and permitting them to export much more valuable processed products, rather than just the raw materials which are then processed at great gain within the EU) would help them become more prosperous and develop more sustainable economies (also helping to prevent mass immigration due to poverty etc from these countries).

        • Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

          The very use of the phrase “Soft Brexit” betrays an ignorance of the EU and its constitution.

        • Posted November 7, 2017 at 9:57 am | Permalink

          I think I probably understand it better than you do …

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

        I’m saying the EU will apply the same law to us as they apply to other third countries. As they are required to do by the WTO non-discrimination principle. It’s not rocket science.

        And in that event, should we leave with the no agreement, we will suffer a great deal from that law being applied. And the TFA will not help us, for the reasons already explained.

        What you think will happen here? If we walk away with no deal, telling the EU that we are aren’t interested in paying any money and cutting off our ties with them, do you seriously expect that to just be fine? Do you have any evidence to support that view? Or this going to be the classic ‘planes will fly’ assertions, sans any evidence.

  44. Posted November 6, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    The con party try to throw the last election to get out of making decisions on Brexit, now they have come up with sexual harassment, to force by-election around the country to try to lose some seats. Con party now want the labour leader to take over, so if it goes wrong they can try to put the blame on him. I can’t see why he would want to take the blame for paying billions of pounds to the EU, their timing seems a little bit out.
    Looks like another big win for corporate UK, which is now over 60 percent foreign-owned with most of the other companies in the UK having the majority their shares, foreign-owned.
    This looks like another big win for the corporation who are already getting tax cuts, tax break and subsides with more taxes and regs against small businesses and the self-employed. Now they want the taxpayer to pay billions to the EU so they can sit back and do absolutely nothing afterwards, but more begging to the gov for more taxpayers money, for no gain to the people, just more money going offshore to avoid taxes here.

  45. Posted November 6, 2017 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Donald Trump’s commerce secretary Wilbur Ross says agreement (UK-US free trade deal) should be reached within 10 years. Only a decade after Brexit and all will be well.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      Meanwhile trade continues between America and the UK as it has done for centuries.

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      I know, let’s have a second referendum, and get a first class offer of “stay in the EU” as we can’t do without it, and live happily ever after. Knowing we will never have another opportunity to escape from the EU without massive economic damage. Imprisoned for the rest of all time. Bliss!

    • Posted November 6, 2017 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      Given that our current trade with the US is rising faster than that with the EU, I can’t see that’s a problem – but thank you for your concern about our country.

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

      When will Holland form a government?

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

        @ian wragg: Now you’re behind, wev’e got one!

      • Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

        Yes, P v L would be better disposed to focusing on solutions for his own country’s problems. But, perhaps he is not from Holland at all?

    • Posted November 7, 2017 at 5:00 am | Permalink

      PVL He also says the EU is holding the UK back and if it weren’t for the EU we could have had a virtually free trade deal years ago.

  46. Posted November 6, 2017 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    According to Open Europe this morning who quote The Sunday Times:

    ‘EU27 begin preparing trade talks as the UK signals willingness to pay €62bn bill’

    I would say that was an economic event – a significant economic event! And one we need to do something about. It’s on a par with Chamberlain and Halifax signing away someone else’s territory in order to appease a tyrannical regime – and that turned out well didn’t it!

    The fact is, the more you feed sharks, the more they want.

    Tad Davison


    • Posted November 7, 2017 at 1:32 am | Permalink

      If that is true Tad the Tories will be finished – however, I thought any money given to the EU would need Parliamentary approval.

  47. Posted November 6, 2017 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to people liberties than standing armies. If the people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the land of their fathers won. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.
    Charging people tax on their sweat for going to work is one of the worst ideas ever conceived. Turning free persons into slaves.

  48. Posted November 6, 2017 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    When we take over functions currently carried out by or with the EU, like having agencies for this and that, customs etc, there will be an additional cost of employing more civil servants. Have you any idea how much that is likely to be, relative to the £350M per week, say?

    And my understanding is that we trade with the rest of the world largely via agreements made by the EU, and not purely on WTO terms. Are you sure ‘we trade with the rest of the world on WTO terms’ is inaccurate?

  49. Posted November 6, 2017 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Why do some people love money so much ?
    No souls.

  50. Posted November 6, 2017 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    I thank you for your comments regarding reports of 60 billion euros being offered by the UK government to ‘ease’ trade negotiations.

    The House of Lords EU finance subcommittee report and the Article 50 treaty make it clear that all financial obligations end in March 2018. There may be a case to help our European partners over to the end of the 7 year financial period. Personally, I am not convinced because as you have pointed out we were on the hook when we entered the EEC originally.

    This has been dressed up as an interim arrangement. It might be possible to achieve this politically as the total is about 20 billion. I do think this will be a hard sell to the British public, particularity in an austerity environment. 60 billion euros on the other hand is completely over the horizon and would virtually guarantee electoral annihilation.

    This latter point is most important because the PM is not able to offer billions to the EU without the authorisation of the House of Commons. I believe the PM has effectively acknowledged this in an answer to a question put by Mr Rees-Mogg.

    Indeed, the EU must know this as they have asked the UK if the UK overseas aid budget can be used to plug the EU’s aid budget.

    Lastly, I run a business trading with two countries in the EU. I do not see any greater problems for me as a result of Brexit than my business operations in China. In the latter case, visas and associate paperwork has actually been streamlined a lot in the last 2 years. I think this is more the case of people ‘looking for problems’ rather than those actually existing. My experience is that the door to trade outside the EU is very much open and where it isn’t you don’t have to push very hard at all.

    The future is bright – and we don’t have to pay billions for it either !

  51. Posted November 6, 2017 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Yes Brexit realpolitik has been the news we would all be keen to know.

    However, life is not like that. I had not heard talk that the figure had now moved to 60billion. I hope it is just speculation.

    The truth is I have now idea what is going on these days. Various scandals involving politicians from different parties only serve to queer the pitch even further.

    I will be glad when it is all resolved. Hopefully there will be a clean Brexit, but I have no confidence that will be the outcome.

  52. Posted November 6, 2017 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    Just tell the EU that they will receive a zero divorce payment unless they open talks on our future trade relationship now. Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed!

  53. Posted November 6, 2017 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    I suspect the big win is not the money we get back and spent on us. That will be seen as the small bit.

    Its not having that money spent on Continental firms to undecut UK firms.

    Its not being part of a Regulatory framework that takes 10 years to adjust to the World markets

    Its waiting for punitive tariffs to be applied by the EU Commission for Chinese dumping of cheap steel and porcelain when they are 3 to 5 years too late.

    Its seeing the Communications industry that we were leaders in boom, but since the EU it’s been Apple, LG, Samsung, Microsoft, HP etc, all non EU.

    There is to be a Robot boom, we need to leave the EU in time to be one of the leaders rather than one of the missed out like the EU will be!

  54. Posted November 6, 2017 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    What incentive will the EU have to conclude a free trade agreement with us if we are locked into ‘standstill’ transition deal where we are paying them £10bn a year and accepting their law and freedom of movement?

  55. Posted November 6, 2017 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    I would like to point out that the cheapest Brie on sale in Australian Woolworth’s and Coles supermarkets is French. But it is also more expensive than brie in UK.
    French Président Brie is £9.50/kg in Waitrose today. It is A$25/kg (approx £14.70/kg) in Woolworths Australia. Isle de France brie is A$56/kg (£33). Australia’s own brie is A$40-65 depending on brand. UK’s brie is priced closer to its French imports.
    Australian import duty on cheese is 9.c¢/kg up to its quota of 11,500 tonnes per year, A$1.22/kg thereafter.
    Clearly the price of brie (and most cheeses) is determined by many factors of which, I would suggest import duty is minor.
    I haven’t time to do the same comparison for wine but I might get round to it, later. there are so may first class Australian, American, New Zealand, Chilean and Argentinian wines – even Israeli wine – that not many people bother with French and German wine although it has a certain snob value to justify its high prices. Yes Australia does do snobbery whatever Aussies might tell you.
    The point is John Redwood is right. Would UK please just get on with Brexit, not pay the ‘divorce bill’ and just leave with no deal on future trade.

  56. Posted November 7, 2017 at 6:33 am | Permalink


    BBC News is a mine of misinformation.

    This News Report says that the UK ‘cannot negotiate or sign Trade Deals with rest of the World until it’s left the EU.’

    The statement is factually and legally wrong.

    The UK can NEGOTIATE with whoever it likes, about whatever it likes, and might, for all we know already be doing so, in secret.

    It’s also near certain that we can, legally, SIGN any deal we like, provided that it doesn’t come into effect until we have left in March 2019.

    Even of we can’t we can still agree it verbally to come into effect the minute we Leave and SIGN it at that moment.

    It’s perfectly normal in Commercial Transactions including House purchases. For both parties SIGN documents and their solicitors hold them back ‘to Order’. The Order to exchange in given and the parties give each other the signed contract.

    I don’t in any event find it impossible that Mrs May might be willing to stay up till Midnight, and the moment we Leave, sign a document, and fax it to whoever it’s intended for.

    There also nothing to stop us asking Canada etc, if they will apply their existing Trade Deals with the EU, to the newly independent UK, on the same terms, immediately we Leave, and we can sort out something better later on.

    In which case there will be nothing to negotiate until well into the future. They’ll jump at the chance.

    Two Free Trade announcements we might also like to make here and now, are:-

    (1) We want the existing Trade arrangements with the EU to continue. But if there is no Deal to that effect. and they impose Tariffs upon our exports to them, then we will impose the maximum available WTO Tariffs on all their exports to us.

    The EU can then consider whether it wants Tariffs between it and a country, with which it has a £60 Billion Trade Surplus, and whether or not it wants a ‘divorce settlement’.

    No Free Trade Deal Treaty… No Money from us.

    (2) regardless of what we agree with the EU, all Tariffs will, from the moment we Leave be abolished in respect of all Non EU countries save for ‘anti dumping’ Tariffs for Chinese Steel etc.

    If in due course other countries don’t reciprocate, we will, if it’s in our interests to do so, revert to WTO arrangements.

    If of course the EU would like to offer is something in exchange for not declaring ‘Unilateral Free Trade’, with rest of the World, we are all ears.

  57. Posted November 7, 2017 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    Yes, it’s an important political event…and that’s why it’s an important economic event. You are an economist who merely dabbles in politics. What interest have you shown in the political chaos this year: the cabinet in-fighting, May’s bungled election, amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill, Henry VIII powers, Corbyn? Practically none as far as I can see. Prolonged political chaos will affect the economy, and already is because of the great uncertainty surrounding the government’s approach to Brexit. And as for your sacred WTO rules, can you name a single major organisation representing business that is in favour of a no deal scenario?

  • 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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