The Irish border

I look forward to the government pressing ahead with a solution to the issues over the Irish border that preserves an open border on the UK side. The government has set out in papers how this can be done. It would be good if the EU bought into the Uk solution, or provided an acceptable alternative.

Some people who claim there has to be a hard border once we leave the EU need to understand the nature of the current border. Whilst it is true there are no custom dues to levy on products within the EU crossing the border, it is still a currency, VAT, Income and Corporation tax border. It does require processing the right paperwork or electronic information to ensure the correct authorities levy the appropriate VAT, Income Tax, Corporation tax and the rest, and the right exchange rate is applied to transactions.

The Republic of Ireland has a standard rate of VAT of 23% compared to the UK 20%, but also has three lower rates and a zero levy depending on products. The Republic only charges Corporation Tax on trading Income at 12.5% compared to the UK 19%. All of these differences are handled without needing a physical barrier and checks at the border, so it would also be possible to levy customs duties in the same way without a customs post and delay for trucks. Registered importers and exporters can notify electronically and pay electronically. Small trade activities by locals crossing the border regularly could be exempt.

Both sides to the negotiations say they wish to keep the Common Travel area, so there is no need for new border barriers to deal with people. The UK and the Irish authorities already have in place methods for dealing with illegal migrants and criminals seeking entry.

How many more times do we have to go over this well trodden ground? The UK government should just press ahead with its plans for leaving in March 2019

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145 Comments

  1. Prigger
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    The EU tactic as with the Remoaners is Delay. They hope time will defeat us.

    • Bob
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      A PM who was sincerely committed to implementation of the referendum result would not have driven a wedge between the UK/US govts in the way Mrs May has done this week.

      A phone call through ambassadorial channels would have sufficed if she was genuinely worried about the Presidents re-tweets.

      The whole issue has been jumped on by the Remainers in Parliament and the media.

      As far as the Irish border is concerned the EU has a soft border with non EU Isle of Man and a hard border with Gibraltar which is part of the EU.

      • rose
        Posted December 2, 2017 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

        Gibraltar is not in the CU, but it works – when the Spaniards are in a good mood!

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

      Surely the EU does not want the UK to stay if it has completely different ideas of what it means to be a member. So it is not the EU that wants to keep you in against your will. It is the UK government because they are concerned that what you want is bad for you. Hence we will get something with a bit of free access to the EU, a bit less EU regulation and a lot more red tape. Happy? etc ed

      • a-tracy
        Posted December 3, 2017 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

        Well then that’s a great way to completely p… people off and will result in a complete breakdown of relations that’s in absolutely no-ones interest.

  2. stred
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    Is the word ‘givernment’ a Freudian slip when thinking about Mrs May’s negotiating stance?

    This border nonsense must be about a different agenda. The Irish can’t be so stupid as to refuse an offer of zero tariffs on cheddar, whisky and meat plus open border and free travel as before. Do they want Irish cheddar to be 40% dearer than Somerset? It must be about Verhofshat and Barmier stirring up the old arguments in order to split NI from the UK. etc ed

  3. Why wait?
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    I wonder how long Ireland would stay in the EU if we left without a deal..caused by Ireland.How long the Irish leaders would lead their parties and their country.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      The EU wrecked the Irish economy, and the austerity the Irish people experienced as a result was far more severe than the version we had in the UK, which was much diluted because we had not joined the euro and so unlike the Irish central bank the Bank of England had retained its ability to create new money and indirectly lend it to the government without needing authorisation from the ECB.

      Yet the Irish have taken that on the chin – of course it helped that they could escape to the UK, which some of them did – and if anything many of them are grateful to the EU for having apparently saved them from economic catastrophe even though in reality the EU was instrumental in creating the catastrophe.

      So I don’t think that a comparatively small loss of Irish GDP if the UK left the EU without any special trade deal would do very much to change the inclinations of the Irish people. This is from April 2015:

      https://openeurope.org.uk/today/blog/how-would-brexit-impact-ireland/

      “Open Europe’s recent Brexit report, based on detailed economic modelling, found that leaving the EU could either lead to a permanent gain of 1.6% to UK GDP by 2030, in a ‘best case’ scenario, or a 2.2% loss to GDP, in a ‘worst case’ scenario. The more realistic range of outcomes is likely to be between -1% and +1%. As one of the UK’s closest trading partners the impact on Ireland could also be substantial. In a worst case scenario Ireland could see a permanent loss of 3.1% to GDP in 2030. Even in the best case scenario the loss would still total 1.1% GDP.”

      Obviously it would be silly of the Irish government to unnecessarily precipitate that worst case scenario of a permanent 3% loss of GDP, or whatever it turned out to be, but even that would be small beer compared to what happened in 2008/9, see for example:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-2008_Irish_economic_downturn

      and I doubt that it would do very much to change Irish public opinion about EU membership.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      There is not going to be a “No Deal”. What you will get is already bad enough…

      • NickC
        Posted December 3, 2017 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        Rien, To pretend there is a “No deal” in the way you mean it, after all the discussion on JR’s blog, amounts to propaganda at best and, frankly, a manipulative lie at worst. The only deal on offer at the moment is the one we already use – the WTO deal. And we do a lot better under WTO rules than we do under yours.

    • acorn
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      Ireland has a huge trade surplus in goods about 18% of GDP. Only 13% of its exports come to the UK. It exports more to Belgium and twice as much to the USA. But, it does import 24% of it goods from the UK, £18 bn worth. So who do you think will be the biggest loser?

      Over 60% of Irish trade is with EU members. And; with its low corporation tax rate, the country floats on a thick carpet of US Dollars.

      • David Price
        Posted December 3, 2017 at 5:51 am | Permalink

        According to RTE research 17% of Irish exports are to the UK but if you exclude foreign owned firms then it is 44%. Remove Apple and Microsoft and other trade operating under an Irish flag of convenience and the situation looks much more dire for Ireland.

        If the EU continues it’s vindictive behaviour then what is to prevent the UK adjusting it’s commercial environment to put the EU at a disadvantage. What then of Irish domiciled Apple and Microsoft’s “exports” to the UK. Asda beef is predominantly sourced from Ireland so easy enough for shoppers to take their custom away from an ungrateful Ireland.

        All we would be doing is merely duplicating the behaviour and attitude of the French and Germans, but it is Eire that would suffer the most.

      • GilesB
        Posted December 4, 2017 at 10:57 am | Permalink

        You have to be very careful when interpreting Irish GDP numbers. Eg.

        1) Over 50% by value are pharmaceuticals, which doesn’t employ many people compared to agriculture

        2) Much of the Added Value is just the application of licensing costs

        3) You won’t find many Irish goods in Belgian homes, offices or factories. They are all in transit to somewhere else

  4. Duncan
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    There is no ‘UK government’ but there is a PM namely Theresa May and the real power lies with the PM who decides what will and what will not happen. It is this politician who represents the barrier between satisfying the will of the people expressed in 2015 when following a plebiscite they decided by a majority to leave the EU, in its entirety

    Unfortunately the Conservative party had one of their ‘moments’ and decided to install a leader who is pro-EU, liberal left and a Keynesian. This idiotic decision as it can be seen today severely weakened our negotiating position with the EU, though I suspect that was intentional

    Regarding the CTA. This issue exposes the utter absurdity of EU membership. That a foreign political entity based in Brussels can exploit the border issue between Ireland and the UK for political advantage. It’s so bizarre that I can hardly believe it myself.

    The CTA should be an issue for two parties, namely the UK and Irish governments. Instead we have this posturing, interfering politicised body abusing its position to play off one government (UK) against another (IRE).

    Brexit people are growing tired of your leader’s nonsense John. We are growing tired of her thinly veiled prevarications, deceits and intentions. I believe this PM thinks we will become bored and shrug our shoulders and capitulate to a deal that includes a massive pay-off, continual ECJ authority over our courts and all the other facets of foreign dominance over our affairs

    We want your leader to adhere to the result of the EU referendum. We want our country back. If she can’t deliver or refuses to deliver we want you and your party to install a leader who will.

  5. Nig l
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    I do not know, you are closer to it than we are. It just appears to be another example of the EU playing hardball up against very weak UK leadership and negotiation. Grey career politicians seemingly out of their depth.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      It is a fight that the UK picked fully aware of what the options were. And a constructive separation will make both sides happy, as has been said many times by people with a little more information than Nig1 (a hazardous guess, but anyway)

      • Ken moore
        Posted December 3, 2017 at 4:26 am | Permalink

        If only may hadnt been persuaded to leave the european economic area this intractable problem would not exist. The uk has chosen instead 3rd country status …may totally out of her depth ,she is listening to people tbat dont do detail that dont understand the complexities.

      • David Price
        Posted December 3, 2017 at 6:03 am | Permalink

        The vindictive and spiteful attitude of the EU and certain countries have been made too plain for there to be a happy outcome now. You should have kept your politicians and civil servants muzzled, their arrogance tempered and bahviour more considerate.

        The smiles and handshakes of politicians will be for nothing.

      • Terry Mushroom
        Posted December 3, 2017 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

        I didn’t pick a fight with the EU when I voted Leave. I merely wanted the country to change its relationship with it.

        Project Fear made me hesitate in the polling booth. I worried for some time afterwards whether or not I’d done the right thing. But then the abuse, mockery and contempt of prominent Remainers and the behaviour of unelected and unaccountable to the electorate Juncker and Barnier has convinced me that I was right.

    • DragE
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      You said it..the UK is completely out of it’s depth mainly because the government is divided and doesn’t know which way to turn. We voted for something without thinking it through and now it looks like we’re not going to be able to get away from the ECJ..the Irish are holding us up about the border and will in the end necessitate free movement of goods which will keep us in or partly inside the customs union or some sory of a customs union and then on top of all that it”s going to cost us a fortune..thanks IDS..thanks Boris..thanks JR and thanks Farage but we shouldn’t have bothered

      • rose
        Posted December 2, 2017 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

        We thought it through alright. But the losers are trying to foul it up. This has never happened in our democracy before, just as it has never happened in the USA before.

      • Ken moore
        Posted December 3, 2017 at 4:28 am | Permalink

        Led up the garden path by nick timothy and the legatum institute. Brace for the inevitable car crash…

        • APL
          Posted December 4, 2017 at 9:03 am | Permalink

          Ken Moore: “Brace for the inevitable car crash… ”

          It’s not a bad idea to make provision for the worst case scenario.

          I’ve read that 75% of the British population lives one pay-check to the next without any financial cushion – AKA savings. @0.5% interest and 4% inflation, all other things being equal, it’s a reasonable strategy to adopt.

          They’ve also been encouraged to take on as much debt and mortgage debt as possible – by our politicians who have conveniently feather bedded their own remuneration package.

          So, yes, folk have a year to make provision for a rocky couple of months.

      • NickC
        Posted December 3, 2017 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

        DragE, No, “we” didn’t fail to think it through. After voting to remain in the “common market” in 1975, I gradually changed my mind as I saw how corrupt, mendacious, and greedy the EU became. I have certainly researched and opposed the EU (and predecessors) for 30+ years. And I am far from being the only one.

        Moreover I have clearly and consistently stated on here and elsewhere that when we leave if you think the EU will treat us fairly, you haven’t been paying attention for the last 45 years. I advocated giving 12 months diplomatic notice and leaving, without negotiations. That is, we should exercise our power as an independent nation under already agreed international law and treaties.

        • APL
          Posted December 4, 2017 at 9:06 am | Permalink

          NickC: “I saw how corrupt, mendacious, and greedy the EU became .. ”

          Problem is Nick, like Gresham’s law, bad practice has driven out good. The UK today is as corrupt, its Politicians just as mendacious and greedy.

  6. Tasman
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    If the UK leaves the EU, it is no longer a member of the EU club. That means – among other things – a hard border in Ireland. Your claims that Brexit would be quick, easy and cost-free are being exposed every day as fictions. How many more times do we have to go over this well trodden ground?

    • Edward2
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      Not only does the UK not want a hard border but there are no hard borders in the EU
      Nor are there any real hard borders around the outside of the EU ‘s external borders.
      So it would be a first if Ireland create one.

      • Hope
        Posted December 2, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink

        Well said. An expert gave advice to the European,parliament about his and examples inside and outside the EU. This is a deliberate attempt to stop Brexit or remain other than name. No.

      • Yossarion
        Posted December 2, 2017 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

        Neither the UK or EIRE are in Schengen, so there is already a hard border

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      No real hard borders around the EU ? What’s that massive barbed wire fence that has been constructed along the Greece/Turkey border ? What about all those armed border posts between Poland and Belarus ? And between Latvia and Russia ? There are many other examples. You think the EU wouldn’t build one in Ireland ? I think the Irish know they would.

      • Edward2
        Posted December 3, 2017 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        It’s up to Ireland
        The UK has said it doesn’t want to have a border
        .
        Your examples are recent temporary attempts to slow the huge influx of illegal migrants.
        However the EUs external land borders are generally open.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Borders have degrees of “hardness”. It depends on what UK and EU agree and the Republic will have greater say in this than the DUP, fortunately.

      • longinus
        Posted December 2, 2017 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

        Bullshit. The UK will implement what it wants & the EU will tell Ireland what to do re a hard border. Ireland is not in any position to dictate terms to us.

        • Rien Huizer
          Posted December 3, 2017 at 7:48 am | Permalink

          Ireland has a veto and will use it wisely.

          • NickC
            Posted December 3, 2017 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

            Rien, Eire has no veto over our independence.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted December 3, 2017 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

            That would be a first …

          • APL
            Posted December 4, 2017 at 9:08 am | Permalink

            Rien Huizer: “Ireland has a veto and will use it wisely”

            Ireland has a veto and will [ be instructed how to ] use it wisely.

            There, Rien. Fixed that for you.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      Allow me to correct that “club” to “cult”. That is the cult of the Four Freedoms, one and indivisible, for the greater glory of the Ever Closer Union, amen.

    • Tony L
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      The UK proposed a solution to the Irish border months ago: an electronic border. The media, remoaners, the EU negotiators, and the Irish say it won’t work. But, guess what; the President of Northern France was in London in June to discuss this, and he went away saying it was a great idea and he would work on a similar system for Calais! The news didn’t reach the BBC, Guardian etc – no surprise there then.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted December 2, 2017 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

        Who/what is the President of Northern France? Something like the Queen of NI?

        • hefner
          Posted December 4, 2017 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

          Xavier Bertrand, President of the region “Hauts-de-France”.

  7. oldtimer
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    The old adage is where there is a will there is a way. If one of the parties is motivated by a different agenda the there will not be a way until that party faces a more pressing need. For the Irish Republic that would be crippling tariffs on its agricultural exports to the UK. For the UK it would be no trade deal and a clean break.

  8. Victoire
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    The Socialists in the EU Parliament hours ago voted against the 2018 EU budget..but it was passed anyway. Mr Corbyn and his followers in Ireland can be asked what is wrong with it and why they still like the EU.
    Meanwhile minutes ago Senate GOP Tax Reform Bill was passed 51 to 49 and Vice-President Mike Pence announced it and the Amendment goes through to the next stage. It looks like it will pass.
    So things are looking great in world financials and any hope of a cliff edge on the Remoaner side is blowing into the wind. Even the inevitable lies of a moaning media cannot stop us now. People do not believe them and The People are right. Victory is a whisper away
    .

    • Norman
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      ‘..and The people are right’.
      ‘I was brought up in my father’s house to believe in democracy. “Trust the people” – that was his message”. Winston Churchill, in his maiden speech to Parliament, 18 Feb 1901. (Collected speeches in Peace and War, Atheneum, 1981, 781. [As cited in ‘God and Churchill’, Jonathan Sandys & Wallace Henley, SPCK, 2016]

  9. John Soper
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    You assured us the UK would not pay a penny to leave – the sum is now up to £50 billion, and that’s just for the EU to agree to hold talks. You assured us we would free of the European Court – Mrs May has now agreed that it will decide on citizens’ rights. And now this nonsense about Ireland, where we can all see the UK doing what the EU wants because all the other countries are supporting Ireland. Have you no shame, man? Every promise you and your cronies made about Brexit is untrue

    • sm
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      JS – there is a difference between ‘would’ and ‘could’, which I imagine you know but you deliberately conflate the two.

    • Edward2
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      None of the things you mention have actually happened.
      Just newspaper speculation.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      It is the Remainers – May, Hammond etc. – who are apparently keen to pay for trade talks – have you no shame that not a single one of you mentioned ANY divorce bill during the referendum campaign but now you are preparing to pay one ?

      • Edward2
        Posted December 3, 2017 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

        Neither did any EU officials nor any in the Remain camp during the referendum campaign.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      “You assured us the UK would not pay a penny to leave”

      When?

      Was that at the same time the government warned us about a stonking great divorce bill if we voted to leave the EU, ie never?

      Why was there no information about it in the government’s official “information leaflet” delivered to every household at a cost of £9.3 million?

    • Oggy
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      None of what you suggest would have happened if we had someone strong negotiating our EU exit. The fact that not any of the leavers here probably including Dr Redwood agree or support Mrs May’s Brexit ‘achievements’ so far seems to have eluded you.
      I can tell you that the Brexiters are as angry as YOU are with what is going on.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted December 3, 2017 at 7:53 am | Permalink

        There is no way to know ALL brexiters are angry. I guess (cannot do more than that) that some brexiters were angry all along and that some still are…The People (a term very popular in a certain country during WWII incidentally) do not vote. Parts of the People vote this way and other parts other ways. The sum of that diverse opinion, plus some respect for minorities that accept the rules of the status quo is calle “democracy”..

        • NickC
          Posted December 3, 2017 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

          Rien, Ahh, yes . . . democracy . . . as unknown in the EU, where there is no demos, no opposition, no chance of changing the “government” and where the elected parliamentarians have effectively no power. That democracy?

          • Rien Huizer
            Posted December 3, 2017 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

            I just gave you my opinion on what the term “democracy” may mean. It is a controversial term (among academics) but respect for minorities is important. Even respect fro minorities such as UKIP.
            Anyway, you state that democracy is unknown in the EU. The EU is a grouping of countries containing some of the oldest parliamentary democracies and no less important, republics. Maybe you mean that the EU system of voring, or the distribution of powers etc, is undemocratic. However, in the final analysis it is the member states (all democratic) that call the shots and there is a role for the Commission (with authority delegated by the States, plus the European Parliament. All in all a lot of elected people.

            Maybe you should consult political science literature about the merits of the UK system, that was considered insufficiently democratic by the Australians and New Zealanders.

    • Stephen Berry
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      I think it is a huge tactical mistake by Remainers to argue in this way. I heard first heard it from a BBC interviewer regarding the amount of money the British government might hand over to the EU in return for a deal.

      Of course, John did not know at the time of the referendum what monies the EU would demand, what interference in UK affairs it would still think right and what other absurd objections it would come up with in order to make it as difficult as possible for the UK to leave with a deal. How can you know what a bureaucratic monstrosity like the EU will come up with next?

      Indeed, I doubt if John even thought a deal was necessary. And that’s the good news. No deal is necessary. If we are looking purely at our economic relationship with the EU then it would be best to end all cooperation with Brussels – including sending them money. There would be no negotiations over trade. Free trade should simply be allowed by the UK, even if the EU were foolish enough to restrict it on their side. The second best option would be a regime of low tariffs between the EU and the UK and that can be largely achieved through the World Trade Organisation rules. It’s that simple.

    • NickC
      Posted December 3, 2017 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      John Soper, It is the Remains who want to pay the EU for access to the single market; and who want to remain subject to the ECJ.

    • Original Richard
      Posted December 3, 2017 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

      Mr.Soper,

      A remainer (EU supporter) is in charge of the Brexit negotiations and even the cabinet is biased towards EU supporters!

      We wouldn’t be in the current position if the PM was a true Brexiteer.

  10. TedC
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Surely by now the government has an idea as to how it wants to proceed in the future, after all if the government doesn’t yet know how can the rest of us possibly know or make plans for the future.

    If we want a deal with them then we are going to have to put it in writing as required to the EU about how we propose to deal with the border so that any change is not intrusive in the daily lives of the people. On the other hand the only way that a hard border can come about is if we collapse the talks and walk away in March 2019 as suggested by JR- it is our decision-

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      You should be directing your questions to the EU. So far their suggestion that UK stays in the single market and customs union is about as stupid as if UK were to say Ireland should leave the EU.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      You say

      “so that any change is not intrusive in the daily lives of the people”,

      which may seem a perfectly reasonable criterion to you and me but which is not the position of the Irish government.

      When you have an Irish minister saying that they will not tolerate

      “anything that would imply a border on the island of Ireland”,

      3 minutes in here:

      https://news.sky.com/video/is-the-norway-sweden-border-a-solution-for-ireland-11141058

      when it’s perfectly obvious to all that there already is, and for the foreseeable future there will continue to be, a border on the island of Ireland then there is really no point in any further discussions.

      As I said yesterday:

      http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2017/12/01/uk-housebuilding-and-property-is-doing-fine/#comment-904450

      the Irish government is perfectly happy to have CCTV cameras on the streets in Dublin, or indeed anywhere else in the Republic, or indeed anywhere else on the island of Ireland, except anywhere near the North-South border which they would prefer to pretend does not exist when it clearly does exist.

      There is no point even trying to negotiate with such silly people.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      Do you believe there is a majority for economic suicide?

      • David Price
        Posted December 3, 2017 at 6:06 am | Permalink

        The EU seems to think so … Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy …

      • James Matthews
        Posted December 3, 2017 at 10:27 am | Permalink

        Leaving without a deal would be economic salvation, not economic suicide, but why does it matter to you anyway? Clearly it is not your country (for which we must all be truly thankful).

  11. formula57
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    The Irish border may be only a short term issue. Ireland’s economic model is being undermined and doubtless in due time will be destroyed by the Evil Empire at which point self-preservation may induce the Irish to exit the EU.

    • old salt
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      Heard on BBC Radio 4 Friday and repeated Saturday 2 Dec. phone in reply to Any Questions the question of the very membership of the EU might come into question as they would soon be paying members. I would add presumably to make up for our departure if and when it happens with so many determined to effectively stop our exit. Yes we are leaving but is it in name only with so many concessions already made with payments years into the future with no MEP taxation representation after May 2019. Is the EU to blame insisting they voted a second time to get the right answer?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 3, 2017 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

        I think it was going to happen anyway because Ireland has become richer while poorer countries have joined and need subsidies from the Irish.

  12. SecretPeople
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    In ToL this morning there is an interview with farmers in Arlene Foster’s home town in which one of them explains that there already is regulatory divergence of sorts that works out fine despite no hard border and that they are used to it: apparently, there are two different veterinary regimes and it takes two weeks to import cows from the South.

  13. Mark B
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Good morning

     The UK givernment . . .

    Clearly a spelling mistake but accurate nonetheless. No doubt he will correct.

    🙂

    The border is similar to that between Sweden and Norway, Poland and Belarus, and all those bordering Switzerland. Nothing is insurmountable but you can bet that the EU will make things as difficult as possible in order to extract more concessions. And HMG will willingly roll over and oblige.

    Chairman May will be gone before the next election and her successor, quite possibly Alexander Johnson MP will be left to try to salvage the party from disaster.

    If the UK gets a bad deal, and the Tories have a history of negotiating bad deals with Europe, then they are toast! Not that I think it will bother some.

    • Doug Powell
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      Yes, their idea of success is a deal giving the illusion of “Peace in Our Time.”
      History repeating itself?

    • Man of Kent
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      Our last hope is for Ireland to say NO !

    • Tad Davison
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      Mark,

      ‘………..the Tories have a history of negotiating bad deals with Europe.’

      There wasn’t a UKIP candidate on the ballot paper at the last election in this constituency, so I voted for what I then believed to have been the least worst of the other three ‘major’ parties in the hope they could cut the UK an advantageous deal on things like the Irish border. I am absolutely livid at what I now see, and the way Tusk and Co. are trying to railroad us without our side really standing up to them. Just imagine if Halifax had been made Prime Minister in 1940 instead of Churchill, we’d all be speaking German by now!

      I feel totally disenfranchised and I’m wondering if Squidgy the Hedgehog wouldn’t have been a better bet!

      Where did all the true Tories go, and when did the takeover occur? Or was it a long-term creeping strategy by central office to slowly fill the party with crawling gutless placemen (and placewomen)?

      Tad

    • rose
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      If it could be Boris then, it could be Boris now. It isn’t, because the leadership election entails getting the MPs to put two names on a paper for the membership to select the final one. It isn’t the membership which decides those two names.

  14. Turboterrier.
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    The UK government should just press ahead with its plans for leaving in March 2019

    The way they seem to be mucking about just fast forward the whole process and stop wasting time and more importantly money.

    • Man of Kent
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      This could be helped by the resignation of both Green and Davis .

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      I increasingly think so, and having just watched a TV programme about control of shipping in the Channel I begin to wonder about the legal basis for that essential control and whether it is covered by an international agreement which will fall when the UK leaves the EU, just like all those other international agreements we constantly hear about which will automatically fall when the UK leaves the EU – unless of course there are agreements to amend the existing agreements so that they continue as now – and so what scope we have for seriously mucking them about in retaliation for their childish irresponsibility.

      We have developed systems which sort of work to permit easy well-organised trade between the UK and the other countries, even if some systems do need upgrading, and these idiots in Brussels are prepared to disrupt that trade and damage the lives of millions of innocent people simply because the British people have decided that we do not share their eurofederalist ambitions.

      • Pierre
        Posted December 2, 2017 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

        You are right about the disaster Denis, but wrong about the cause. It is the UK that is tearing up 40 Years of cooperation, not the EU

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted December 3, 2017 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

          The UK is happy to co-operate, but not to be controlled; it is the EU’s insistence on ever-expanding control which has led to a majority of British voters deciding that we have had enough of it.

          I have no doubt that David Cameron could have won the referendum if the EU had been prepared to compromise on certain issues, and in particular had been willing to separate its four freedoms into three plus one with the fourth no longer applying to the UK.

          As it happens while looking for something else today I noticed this from October 2014:

          https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/23/juncker-tells-cameron-cant-destroy-eu-migration-rules

          “Juncker tells Cameron: you can’t destroy EU migration rules”

          “Speaking at a press conference at the European parliament, Juncker said: “As far as the freedom of movement is concerned … I do think this is a basic principle of the EU since the very beginning and I am not prepared to change this because if we are destroying the freedom of movement other freedoms will fall in a later cause. So I am not ready to compromise in an irresponsible way.””

          At that time one opinion poll found that voters split 56%:36% in favour of staying in the EU; the definitive shift in public opinion towards withdrawal came about after Juncker and others stuck to that intransigent position and sent David Cameron back home with next to nothing to show for his efforts.

      • Mark B
        Posted December 3, 2017 at 6:52 am | Permalink

        Denis

        Yes of course they are. The EU is not about trade. It about power and who gets to use it. The UK leaving the EU is seen as a real threat to the project and the well pampered lives of those to whom it benefits. That is why we must suffer. That is why people like me supported the EAA option, because it would have side skirted all this until we were ready to assume full independence. No one argued that the EEA was perfect, far from it but, it was certainly better than what is being reported.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted December 3, 2017 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

          Even one of the foremost advocates of continued EEA membership has admitted that it could easily become our permanent end state rather than just a transitional state. Yes, while we were still in the EEA there would be some things we could do to prepare for a further step to full independence which we could not have done if we had stayed in the EU, but even so it would still be seen “a big leap into the dark”. No doubt it would still arouse the same kind of objections as are being voiced to the present plan to go straight to where we want to end up, and there would be a good chance that no future government would ever be prepared to take the next step.

          • APL
            Posted December 4, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

            Denis Cooper: “foremost advocates of continued EEA membership has admitted that it could easily become our permanent end state ”

            Yes. But the crucial word there is ‘could’.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      The UK is going to get the best deal available..

      • longinus
        Posted December 2, 2017 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

        How do you know?

        • Rien Huizer
          Posted December 3, 2017 at 7:55 am | Permalink

          Democratic government on both sides gets you as clos as possible to an optimum, as long as there is a result.

  15. Peter
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    As Rees Mogg said, they can build a physical border on the Irish side if they think it necessary.

    Though the same people would probably complain about Hungary building a stout border to repel illegal aliens.

  16. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    “How many more times do we have to go over this well trodden ground?” You ask as though the blame for this isn’t with the government whose composition is itself courtesy of you and other Conservative MPs!!!!

    As many times as your party, which governs the country, refuses to lay a plan down as fair and final. Why doesn’t Mrs May give a speech in Dublin laying down her position AND STICK TO IT? Then this “discussion” would end

    • Doug Powell
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      JR, On reflection I feel my first entry on this subject will fail to meet your standards for publication. I was carried away with enthusiasm for what I believed to be a witty and pertinent comment. I offer an amended comment for your consideration. If successful this note can be deleted at your discretion. My sincere apologies, DP.
      _________________________________________________________
      The PM’s shifting political positions can be explained when you realise
      what place of ecclesiastical renown is in her constituency – Bray!

      “The Vicar’s Daughter of Bray!”

      linkto VoB;
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Vicar_of_Bray

      • gregory martin
        Posted December 2, 2017 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

        “Doug Powell
        Posted December 2, 2017 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        _________________________________________________________
        The PM’s shifting political positions can be explained when you realise
        what place of ecclesiastical renown is in her constituency – Bray!

        “The Vicar’s Daughter of Bray!”

        linkto VoB;
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Vicar_of_Bray

        But as a daughter of Sussex she should surely reflect upon her origins and adopt the philosophy of those heroes of The Sussex Yeomanry who while slogging away in Europe 100 years ago, had cause to remain true to their creed
        ” We wunt be druv” ,
        alluding to the willingness to respond well under leadership but a reluctance to being pushed forward blindly.

      • stred
        Posted December 3, 2017 at 7:44 am | Permalink

        We learned this song at school in the 50s. I thought he was called Bray as a satire, likening him to a braying donkey. We are certainly led by them at the moment. I wonder whether Mrs May worships there.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted December 3, 2017 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

          Well, the last time I delivered a UKIP leaflet to her house it was at the
          other end of the constituency …

        • APL
          Posted December 4, 2017 at 7:55 am | Permalink

          stred: “We are certainly led by them at the moment. ”

          Since the 1066 conquest, Anglo Saxons have been ‘led’ by Norman aristocracy.

          • rose
            Posted December 4, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

            No Anglo-Norman aristocrats in government or civil service now. I can only see one aristocrat, Lord Howe, and he isn’t a Norman. Disraeli’s work is done.

          • hefner
            Posted December 4, 2017 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

            So nothing happened in 1688.

  17. Alan
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    I think there is a need to inspect imported animals, food, and other goods to ensure that they meet our standards. As I understand it this is necessary since WTO rules require us to use the same standard for inspections for all countries unless we have a specific trade agreement with that country. If we don’t inspect imports from the EU we will not be allowed to inspect imports from any other WTO member and must accept imports of any standard.

    We can of course come to an agreement with the EU not to make these inspections, but we would probably want the EU to agree in exchange not to inspect our exports, and they seem unlikely to do that.

    If we do inspect imports that implies a controlled border, which I gather conflicts with the Good Friday Agreement. (Although, having read quickly through the Good Friday Agreement I must admit I can’t spot the bit that says there are to be no controls at the border. It wasn’t of course something of any relevance when we were in the EU and the Common Travel Area.)

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      “If we don’t inspect imports from the EU we will not be allowed to inspect imports from any other WTO member and must accept imports of any standard.”

      I’m sure there’ll be a way round that one, but it is not to try to join EFTA and stay in the EEA as some suggest … whatever a Sky reporter/campaigner may think about current deficiencies in the Norway-Sweden custom arrangements, see some other comments I have made here, they are customs arrangements and that is because Sweden is in the EU Customs Union while Norway is not.

      • Soft Brexit
        Posted December 3, 2017 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I’m sure there just ‘a way round’ the basic WTO non-discrimination principle without a preferential trade agreement.

        The blind faith there is beyond embarrassing. This far into leaving the EU and that’s all you have to offer.

        And at the same time you denigrate the only real solution to leaving the EU whilst protecting the economy, the EEA. How very useful of you.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted December 3, 2017 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

          So what you’re saying is that if we continue to accept beef from Ireland without any checks – as we (usually) do now, while we are both in the EU, because we are (usually) happy about their standards of production – then under WTO rules we will have to accept beef from any other country in the world without any checks, and even if we have real concerns about the standards they apply. To which I say, show me the rules which would require us to do something that stupid.

          • Soft Brexit
            Posted December 4, 2017 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

            Google WTO non+discrimination, you will potentially learn a great deal.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted December 4, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

            You google it, and post your relevant findings as a reply to my comment further down the thread.

        • NickC
          Posted December 3, 2017 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

          Soft Brexit, There is nothing to stop importers of food inspecting what they buy from abroad. And no doubt they will inspect some imports more rigorously than others. Just as they do now, under WTO rules.

          Re-joining the EFTA once we have left the EU, then signing up to the EEA agreement after (assuming both the EFTA and the EU agree to this), results in us still being ruled by the EU over trade – that is, back in the EU in all but name. We voted to leave.

          • Soft Brexit
            Posted December 4, 2017 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

            You are trying to compare the current situation to a situation under which we have no agreement with the EU, the point at which the WTO non-discrimination principle comes into play, because we no longer have a preferential trade agreement with the EU allowing discrimination.

            So basically, your comparison is laughably flawed.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted December 4, 2017 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

            The non-discrimination principle does not mean that if you’re happy to let in Irish beef without checks at the border then you must also let in potentially low quality disease-ridden beef from some other country without any inspections. That is clear from the GATT passage I have quoted below. You really must start using a bit of independent thought and common sense rather than just accepting whatever sententious rubbish somebody posts on their highly partisan blog.

  18. Chris S
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Damian Green

    It is extremely concerning that retired police officers in possession of confidential information acquired in dubious circumstances should be free to disclose that information to the media some ten years after the event.

    It should be up to serving police officers to review the relevant files and only they should be in a position to reveal the contents in confidence to any official enquiry. Should the enquiry then choose to call the retired officers before it that should happen.

    Any citizen should have the right to ongoing confidentiality particularly as cases such as this when, even if Mr Green had viewed the images in question, he had, by the officer’s own admission, committed no offence.

    etc ed

    • Nig l
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      Damian Green

      Reply I am not going to continue postings on this issue as it is the subject of an Inquiry

  19. Ian Groves
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    The ROI / EU are pressing this issue because they realise, as things stand, that it will be Brussels ordering the ROI to build a physical border on its side of the line after Brexit, and that won’t look good for the claims that EU member states are “sovereign” and have the freedom to act independently within their own jurisdictions. The UK side has said clearly that we have no intention of building any kind of physical border on our side.

    Walk away, and let the world see how the EU “owns” Ireland after March 2019.

    • am
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      like cos true.

      Also the irish people at not daft. they can see their gov is being played by the eu. the uk should just offer them simple customs union as is yet not th eu customs union regs. if they refuse then it is clear they are putting up the hard border. the irish people will then eject their gov.

  20. Iain Moore
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Indeed how long? I and others have been saying for sometime that these ‘negotiations’ are just an exercise to humiliate us, as the EU makes demands and we capitulate. Unfortunately we have an establishment who find it very uncomfortable fighting our corner. It is easier accepting the position of the other side that we owe them money, that we can’t be trusted to treat migrants fairly, and it would be terrible if we gave our economy a competitive advantage. Just once you wish that our Government would find its backbone, tell the EU that we have had enough of this, and if they don’t have any contributions to make then its good bye. But if they do have a change of mind then they can come to London and we will talk about it.

    • James Matthews
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      Amen to that.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      Sometimes humiliation is profitable, as every politician and businessman knows. Pride is always an expensive luxury

      • James Matthews
        Posted December 3, 2017 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

        Sometimes expensive, but always a necessity.

      • NickC
        Posted December 3, 2017 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

        Rien, Pride is something the EU knows a lot about.

  21. Kenneth
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    This was sorted out weeks ago. We stated that we would not build a physical border.

    My understanding is that Ireland also want a non-physical border so surely there is no problem.

    • rose
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      There is a problem: there are elements in Southern Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the EU, which want to punish GB. The EU will not find it such an easy ride when it tries to foul things up for Gibraltar.

  22. Dave Andrews
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Dear John,

    Assuming the EU refuses to negotiate a trade deal with the UK, we shall fall back on WTO rules.
    Some say no exception can be made to trade between Eire and NI, and all goods must be subject to the same WTO rules as will apply to all other WTO members.
    Do you have any indication that WTO rules can make a small exception, allowing local trade to continue without tariffs and checking?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      I find it hard to believe that the WTO rules would require us to accept sub-standard goods from country B simply because we allow the same type of goods in from country A without inspection. Why should we automatically check goods from a particular country if we have established that its internal systems are so good that we can trust it as a source of supply for those goods, whether or not those systems derive from the EU, and why should we then be compelled to stop checking goods from other more dubious sources? None of this makes sense and I suspect that most of it is no more than deliberate misinterpretation of the WTO rules by Remoaners.

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

        From the WTO web-site:
        Food safety and animal and plant health standards “… should not arbitrarily or unjustifiably discriminate between countries where identical or similar conditions prevail.” https://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/whatis_e/tif_e/agrm4_e.htm I assume this includes inspections, so if there are no inspections at the NI/Eire border, then no inspections for other countries with similar standards.

        WTO rules would prevent small businesses in NI / Eire being offered different trade terms unless either there is a trade agreement in place, or those terms are offered to all WTO members under the Most Favoured Nation rule https://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/whatis_e/tif_e/fact2_e.htm

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted December 3, 2017 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

          From your first link:

          “Article 20 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) allows governments to act on trade in order to protect human, animal or plant life or health, provided they do not discriminate or use this as disguised protectionism.”

          In other words the WTO would NOT require us to behave in a stupid fashion by abandoning all checks on beef imported from all countries around the world because we continued to (usually) have no checks on Irish beef, and when Alan above wrote:

          “If we don’t inspect imports from the EU we will not be allowed to inspect imports from any other WTO member and must accept imports of any standard.”

          he was wrong, and when Soft Brexit above tried to defend Alan he was also wrong.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted December 3, 2017 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

          I don’t understand the part of your comment which is supposedly supported by your second WTO link. The UK government has no intention of offering “trade terms” of any kind to businesses within Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK and so part of the UK internal or single market. What the government of another country – it could be the Irish Republic – wants to do is up to them, surely; if they wanted to offer small businesses in Northern Ireland special terms for trade then it would be up to them to square that with the WTO.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      The EU will negotiate a trade deal (if the UK wants one) but what kind is still open. However, the UK is making the right noises and there are now technical solutions for most of the issues, as well as the political will (on both sides) to stare down the fanatics (on both sides). Not bad..

    • Soft Brexit
      Posted December 3, 2017 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      Mr Redwood won’t answer that one, because it doesn’t fit his narrative that everything will be fine on the night.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 3, 2017 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        As I say above, show me the WTO rules which would require us to behave with such crass stupidity. Don’t just take the word of somebody and his friend who have their own special case to plead and are content to distort facts for that purpose – I think we both know who I mean – look up the WTO rules, find the ones which would apply, and publish them here with proper links.

        I shall come back over the next few days to see what you have to offer.

  23. Bert Young
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    The Irish border problem ought not to be governed by conditions of the past ; things have moved on considerably since the times of “hard border”controls . Electronic surveillance and consumer compliance can be effectively monitored nowadays so I don’t see why both sides don’t get together and agree to something. Jacob Rees Mogg has intervened in his down to earth recommendation and in doing so has illustrated why straightforward thinking can overcome the myriad approach of the EU’s bureaucracy .

  24. Mr Rob Drummond
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    The so-called ‘hard border issue’ is simply a manufactured problem.

    Even former respected Irish Politicians say there is no need for a hard Border and there should not be one.

    More game playing by the EU – who are ‘pretending’ to ”fight for Ireland’ but I suspect behind the scenes will ”shut Ireland up” when the Giant EU economies come under jobs pressure with a no-deal scenario.

  25. Michael
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Our Government is prepared to compromise left, right and centre. The EU sticks to its line and gets its way. This is not a negotiation. We can expect the EU to plough on in the expectation they will again get their way. Our Government is not able to turn the tide.

  26. Epikouros
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Do not allow facts to spoil the narrative which we know the left rely very heavily. Obfuscation, deceit and manipulation(spin as adherents to this type of behaviour prefer to name it as being less innocuous) is their modus operandi . So naturally any cause, institution, vested interest or individual who has a weak case for their demands or objective fall back on this tried and tested and quite successful technique(sometimes know as snake oil salesmen). So it is no surprise that you so frequently have to put the record straight and point out the abused misleading information coming from the remaniacs, the EU and other shady double dealers as they have by necessity also adopted this nefarious means of acquiring what they desire as what they are peddling is worthless.

  27. Oggy
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    It is blindingly obvious that the reason for the difficulty over the Irish border is to delay/prevent Brexit. Nobody from the EU, Irish Government, Sinn Fein or Remainers are saying why a frictionless border can be achieved just why it CANNOT be achieved.
    Even yesterday the Brexit select committee (according to JRM on daily politics) came to two very different conclusions depending on their stance on Brexit. The Leavers including JRM said a frictionless border can be achieved. BUT the remainers including Hilary Benn said it cannot and the only way to avoid a hard border was to stay in the Single market and customs union.
    There you have it, the remainers want us to stay in the SM and CU and just leave the EU in name only – their idea of leaving the EU which actually isn’t.

  28. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    For God’s sake just grow some and leave. Quite frankly, everyone is getting fed up to the back teeth of this slow feeble negotiating. I suppose they want us to change our minds and stay in. Think again, in your dreams.

    • BretW
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

      Fedupsoutherner..looking at it from this side of the channel..belgium..you’re very possibly going to stay in the EU in one form or another. Consider this.. that there would not be so much negotiations going on if it was just a question of walking away.

      Your government has adopted a stance now that they want to get the best deal possible for UK..but you already have the best deal possible right now.. so to explain this logic of what the British actually want is very difficult for continentals.

      • anon
        Posted December 3, 2017 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

        No deal is acceptable. We dont trust our own government let alone Brussels.

      • Original Richard
        Posted December 3, 2017 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

        “..but you already have the best deal possible right now.. ”

        We currently have a terrible deal :

        – £10bn/year net in SM fees (and the rest if the EU Brexit bill is not false)
        – £100bn/year trade deficit.
        – Uncontrolled and ……… immigration and continuing as the EU expands to include Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldovia, Montenegro, Serbia, Ukraine and (etc ed) putting intolerable pressure on housing, schools, health care, prisons, infrastructure and social cohesion.
        – Loss of our assets (fishing grounds)
        – Loss of sovereignty and our military.
        etc.

      • NickC
        Posted December 3, 2017 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

        BretW, In our opinion, your deal is not the best deal. That much is evident because it is the deal we have rejected. That can’t be so difficult to explain, can it? We are more successful with the WTO deal than with the EU’s anyway. Is that too difficult?

        And clearly you haven’t bothered to consider our opinions for the last 45 years. Why start now? We don’t want, or need, political control to trade freely. Even Mrs Thatcher told you that in her Bruges speech nearly 30 years ago. The real reason is not that we haven’t told you, it’s that you don’t want to listen.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

      They do not want you to stay in, of course you’ve made it abundantly clear that you want to leave (even with a capitalL) But they do not want you to harm yourself too much. Not to the point that it harms them. Rational, right?

  29. Potwalloper
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Dear John – the time is rapidly approaching when you and your fellow eurosceptic MPs have to repeat what happened with Maastricht and refuse to acquiesce in what is shaping up to be the most disgraceful sell-out. The EU is attempting to bully and cajole us into a position of total subservience and the government and civil service are caving in on all fronts.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

      It all depends on your point of view. Maybe it will not be so bad and you will be able to get used to it.

      • anon
        Posted December 3, 2017 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        When votes become meaningless, very bad things follow.
        Your comments are proof positive that Big problems are ahead as voting in the EU is pointless.

  30. Iain Gill
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    The current arrangements do not work, and the public expect immigration to be reduced as your manifesto promised.
    Plus lots of people who will be legal in southern Ireland will no longer be entitled to free access to England otherwise what is the point of brexit.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

      Is that the problem, the Irish (citizens of Ireland) flooding the North? Millions, no doubt. Fleeing abject poverty..

      • James Matthews
        Posted December 3, 2017 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        Not everyone in or with unrestricted access to Ireland is an Irish citizen, as I am sure you well know. In present economic circumstances poverty would not drive migration from Ireland to Britain. nevertheless there are pushing a million Irish citizens here at the moment and many more have arrived over the last century, driven by relative poverty. No guarantee that present economic circumstances will last forever, especially when the benevolent EU starts to harmonise corporation and other taxes.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 3, 2017 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        Nope, he doesn’t mean the Irish, he means people like you.

  31. Caterpillar
    Posted December 2, 2017 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Please address the question in your final paragraph to the PM.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted December 2, 2017 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      Assuming the government is taking back control and not simply paying the EU to control the UK. Some ethical and competent leadership appears to be urgently needed.

  32. hans chr iversen
    Posted December 3, 2017 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    John,

    Why, do you think the EU and the government will act to your letter signed with among others Own Paterson?

    Is it realistic to think the EU will agree to no freedom of labour movement during the transition period?

    Who, will pay the highest price if we go for the WTO deal us or the EU as you have proposed in the letter?

    Why, should the EU take your dead-lien seriously of walking away by the end of December, as you have suggested the government should do?

    Is it really realistic to think that the Eu will take this seriously?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 3, 2017 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      It’s not addressed to the EU.

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted December 4, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink

        no but they are ultimately sitting on the other side of the negotiation table?

        • David Price
          Posted December 4, 2017 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

          The EU are not negotiating.

  • About John Redwood


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

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