Record UK manufacturing orders

The economic good news keeps flowing. The November CBI survey showed orders for manufacturing in the UK higher than any time since 1988 under Margaret Thatcher.  Retail sales continued to rise in real terms despite all the gloomy forecasts. Large sums have been invested in UK commercial property by overseas investors who believe in it more than UK valuers.

Yesterday we were told that the UK plans to maintain open access for EU businesses coming to the UK under current rules, whether we leave with or without a deal. It makes sense to stress we do not want to put up new barriers. Such a statement if one comes from official sources needs to complement a direct question to the EU negotiators. Given our wish to have no new barriers, will the EU agree to the same? Or if they do want barriers, will they get on  and specify what barriers they intend to place so business can progress  and adjust accordingly? Any such barriers will of course need to be compliant with World Trade rules and international commercial law.

If the EU does decide on barriers I trust the UK government will see that as good reason to spare us paying any so called divorce settlement. From here there should be upside for us, and downside for the Commission if they continue to be unhelpful.

Latest car sales figures in the UK continue the poor trend I forecast, which started in the spring with higher VED, a squeeze on car loans  and with the change of policy towards diesels. As a result diesel car sales are down 16% year to date compared to last year, whilst petrol car sales are only up 3%. However,  around 78% of cars made in the UK are exported and exports are doing well.  Engine production is up 4%.

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  1. Posted December 21, 2017 at 5:06 am | Permalink

    If the UK offers free access to EU business, it must offer the same to the rest of the world. That is WTO law, and if the UK ignores it, it will have complainants, most of all the US, breathing down its neck immediately. So this offer is in fact silly spin, not serious policy

    Reply It was a statement by the Governor on how he will regulate EU banks in London!

    • Iain Gill
      Posted December 21, 2017 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      The Governor should have been sacked by now, he should have went when Osborne went. Indeed he should never have been given a work visa to come here given the large number of Brits around qualified for his role, he just displaced someone from the workforce. And his mindless nonsense during the referendum trying to scare us was very unprofessional.

      He is not really a banker, he is just another low quality politician.

      • jerry
        Posted December 21, 2017 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        @Iain Gill; The logic of that comment will put the wind up any Brit employed working abroad….

        I guess, judging by the nasty comment he gets from free market capitalists here in the UK, the current Governor has been ruffling a few feathers – good, about 50 years to late though!

        • Iain Gill
          Posted December 22, 2017 at 2:27 am | Permalink

          No I work abroad a lot. For a lot of reasons he is different.

          • jerry
            Posted December 22, 2017 at 8:20 am | Permalink

            @Iain Gill; So basically you detest the man because he doesn’t hold the same views as you do on how the BoE should be run, fine, his nationality is thus not an issue so why raise it! Or were you just being somewhat hypocritical, you (and those you approve of) should be allowed to work abroad but not others….

          • Iain Gill
            Posted December 22, 2017 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

            Detest is a bit strong.

            I don’t like him because he is all presentational bs, obviously political, and seems short on substance. Like most of our liberal elite with their arts education.

            He got the job by cosying up to Osbourne, another man with no substance or real world experience.

          • jerry
            Posted December 22, 2017 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

            @Iain Gill; “Detest is a bit strong.”

            Anyone who wants someone sacked from their job simply because they do not agree with the other persons ideas does more than “not like”, even more so if they themselves do not have the qualifications to have applied for the jobs in question.

      • hefner
        Posted December 21, 2017 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

        What about 13 years as investment banker with Goldman Sachs? And BTW, Mark Carney holds Canadian, UK and Irish passports, so I would think he does not need a work permit.

        • Iain Gill
          Posted December 22, 2017 at 2:30 am | Permalink

          Well when he was hired it was reported the government fast tracked his visa, I assume he has been given a passport since then simply for working here. But I am all ears if you know otherwise.

          • jerry
            Posted December 22, 2017 at 8:24 am | Permalink

            @Iain Gill; I might be wrong but wasn’t he entitled to a UK passport on account of being married to a UK citizen and the father of duel nationality children?

          • hefner
            Posted December 22, 2017 at 9:08 am | Permalink

            As a Canadian, Mark Carney was a British subject, he became a British citizen after completing the residency requirement (interview with Jon Snow, November 2013). Before that, he had studied in Oxford and had held a position in London with GS.

          • Iain Gill
            Posted December 22, 2017 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

            Being married to a Brit does not on it’s own entitle anyone to a British passport these days. Although I had not realised he was. His original visa to work here was fast tracked by the then government, and I see no reason why he should have jumped any queues. Rather like the way the ruling class get favourable treatment in the NHS there exists two separate sets of public sector provision, one for most of us, and another for a self selected elite.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 21, 2017 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      Banks in the UK are absurdly tied up in misguided red tape currently. The more competition there is the better. So that that cannot rip you off by paying 0.2% on unsecured deposits yet they want to rip you off for base plus 4%-30% on (secured) loans and overdrafts. This even when you are a far better credit risk than they are.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted December 21, 2017 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

        Dear Lifelogic–Your last sentence is a bit OTT–For a start “you” do not have the Bank of England standing behind you–As I have said before, making Credit decisions isn’t the complete doddle you think it is–For the type of loans you are talking about having to rely on security is not as wonderful as you think.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted December 21, 2017 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

          Clearly you do have to look at the risk of defaults, but the banks do not have the BoE behind them above the protection threshold and many are a far higher risk than many companies or individuals. The margins the banks are able to extract currently shows quite clearly a total lack of real competition in the market.

          Why are the government, the BoE, the competition authorities and the FCA doing nothing about this?

    • Ping
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 2:05 am | Permalink

      Not true if its part of a FTA. Yaw are talking crap.

  2. Peter Wood
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    Good Morning,

    Sadly, there is good reason, given by our government, for the EU to be difficult on the free trade deal. Listening to the PM give evidence yesterday, and from the UK/EU progress report under clause 49, the ‘worst case’ scenario, where the UK agrees to ‘maintain full alignment’ with the Internal Market, effectively means UK laws must confirm EU law for the whole of the UK (otherwise there will be a border in the Irish Sea). If, as seems to be their objective, to keep control of the UK in largely the current manner, why would the EU start to be cooperative?
    I do hope there is something to barter that Germany values more highly.

  3. Duncan
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    My Christmas wish list

    The EU implodes
    Theresa May vanishes into obscurity
    The Conservative party elects a conservative as its leader
    Kenneth Clarke decides to retire
    Dominic Grieve just goes away, somewhere, anywhere

    The UK once again becomes an independent, sovereign nation and we can stand tall once again as a proud and tolerant nation rather than a vassal, servile, rump State of the EU

    Thank you

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 21, 2017 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      Clarke said he was retiring but since May had her “Vote Tory and we will kick you all in the teeth” election he stayed on yet again!

      Given the essentially pro EU, green crap, socialist, remainer make up most Tory MPs the chances of them electing a real conservative is rather remote.

      May is unfortunately perhaps the best current short term option. But she surely cannot be allowed to lead them into the next election in “the over the cliff” John Major style.

      A shame her compass is so far out on nearly every issue. She is another wrong on every issue Libdim at best. Someone please get her a new “Real Conservative” compass (or a sensible person like JR to guide her). Destroy the green crap, big government, cave in to the EU, politically correct, ever higher taxes and more regulation compass that Cameron & Osborne must have left for her and Hammond.

      This is doing huge damage to the party and the economy. Hammond really should go now as his absurdly high taxes (IHT, SDLT, income tax, NI, VAT, the pension pot and landlord/tenant mugging, CGT without indexation …… plus the expensive energy policy) are doing huge damage to productivity, jobs, the economy, our ability to compete and general living standards.

    • Posted December 21, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      I’d add
      “Corbyn goes to live in Venezuela”

      • Mitchel
        Posted December 22, 2017 at 10:35 am | Permalink

        As Trotsky didn’t quite say:”You may not want Venezuela but Venezuela wants you”!

    • stred
      Posted December 21, 2017 at 12:35 pm | Permalink


      You heff been a very naughty boy trying to run away. Your mutti Treazer has told me and you vill only be getting a gift token to stay in Santa land for another fir yearen. For vich you must pay of course. She vill be deducting it from your pocket money. Mutti vil be keeping an eye on you und seeing all is vell. Guten nacht und sleep vell.

      GF. Santa Niklaus von Lapp. EU Nord.

      • longinus
        Posted December 21, 2017 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

        Watch out Stred, you can’t mock the Germans on this site without a leftie apologising on your behalf to an EU funded troll.

        • jerry
          Posted December 22, 2017 at 8:27 am | Permalink

          Such comments always say far more about the author(s) than they do about those they mock…

    • jerry
      Posted December 21, 2017 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      @Duncan; “The Conservative party elects a conservative as its leader”

      First will you not need to define what a “conservative” is? If you mean someone like Harold Macmillan or Sir Anthony Eden, with their one nation consensus politics, then I agree.

      • Mitchel
        Posted December 22, 2017 at 10:38 am | Permalink

        Those two gentlemen accepted the inevitablity of socialism,so hardly conservatives!

        • jerry
          Posted December 22, 2017 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

          @Mitchel; Oh dear, but thank you for making my point….

    • Tad Davison
      Posted December 21, 2017 at 5:22 pm | Permalink


      The boss didn’t like what I said about one of the rebels you omitted from your list! I’m sure you know the one, but I didn’t think my comment was that bad. Believe me, I could have made it much worse!

      She could hardly say bad things of people like Nigel Farage that are hardly worthy of a proper parliamentarian, then cry foul when others are less than respectful to her.


    • MKB
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Your comments are typical of the introspective ‘little Englanders ‘ who voted to leave the EU.

      We are an Independent, Sovereign nation within the EU. We are now a far LESS tolerant nation and it is clear that many Leavers are xenophobic.

      • Hope
        Posted December 22, 2017 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        Utter rubbish on both points.

        • jerry
          Posted December 22, 2017 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

          @Hope; Remind me how many MPs, or indeed votes, UKIP got on June 7 2017, whilst Labour’s vote (with their more consolatory vote views towards the EU and the EU27) saw a massive increase – thus only people talking “utter rubbish” here are the UKIP fan club.

        • MKB
          Posted December 22, 2017 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

          For you to say that proves my point!!

  4. Peter
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Well reasoned. However, the impression the government gives is that it is desperate for a deal at any cost and the EU holds the trump cards.

    • Tom
      Posted December 21, 2017 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Indeed not the best way to negotiate anything.

      The big mistake was T May throwing the last election with her absurd manifesto. Before that, it was Gove knifing Boris and thus lumbering us with socialist, ditherer & ex? remainer May.

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    Plus the many other prophets of doom the FT, BBC, CBI, IoD, almost all BBC economic “experts”, all but one of the BBC presenters, the treasury, most of academia, about 80% of the Lords, 70% of MPs ……. of course. All wrong!

  6. sm
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Within the space of 24 hours, I read that the UK is having a manufacturing boom, the best in 30 years, and the other good news in your post, John, yet Mme Lagarde at the IMF is once again forecasting economic doom.

    Is it any wonder the man in the street is getting confused?

    Reply NO need to be – the IMF is wrong again!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 21, 2017 at 9:07 am | Permalink


      Are the IMF actually trying to be accurate, politically impartial or objective – of course they are not!

    • dennisambler
      Posted December 21, 2017 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      Lagarde is the former French Finance Minister, now head of the IMF, which is a UN offshoot, despite claiming independence. She was a member of Ban Ki Moon’s 2009 High Level Panel on Climate Finance, the forerunner of the Green Climate Fund. The globalists do not want the UK to leave the EU and her intervention is another part of the massive propaganda aimed at telling us we voted wrongly.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 21, 2017 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

        Exactly and the climate alarmist drivel is all part of the evil agenda.

    • Nig l
      Posted December 21, 2017 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      Yes, she also wants us to raise some taxes, get ready for HMG to spend more money if there is an economic downturn and that because of the slowing down of our economy, we will not financially benefit from Brexit.

      I remember her on Newsnight with George Osborne, before she got this job asserting that of course the Greeks would comply with the terms of the then bailout. How many more have we had since?

      She got the job because she is French and therefore wedded to their, and the EU, financial and political agendas, so hardly independent.

    • zorro
      Posted December 21, 2017 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      Well it wouldn’t be the first time that the IMF has appeared rather ‘negligent’ in its considerations with regards to the economic forecast. But then with Mme Lagarde in charge, are we surprised?


      • hans chr iversen
        Posted December 21, 2017 at 4:38 pm | Permalink


        Actually this time she is unfortunately more right then wrong and you can experience every tie you go shopping or travel abroad. Merry Christmas

    • hans chr iversen
      Posted December 21, 2017 at 4:39 pm | Permalink


      Have you ever thought you might be wrong as manufacturing is only 15% of UK GDP?

  7. Mark B
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    Nice figures but I seem to remember Mr.Boom and Bust doing that self same grandstanding. Economies rise and fall and I sincerely hope we are working to fox the roof this time before we hit another storm.

     Large sums have been invested in UK property by overseas investors who believe in it more than UK valuers.

    And that money can be taken OUT as well. And anyway that is something that I would not be proud to shout about giving the fact that constituents of our kind host are struggling to get on the property ladder. 🙁

    Reply I was talking about commercial property!

    • Ken Moore
      Posted December 21, 2017 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      Large sums have been invested in UK commercial property by overseas investors who believe in it more than UK valuers

      Ahh those blessed ‘overseas investors’ again. Or as I prefer to call them ‘speculators’. A cynic would remark that ‘commercial property’ in the right location is now ripe for demolition as government attempts to build sufficient houses for all the newcomers.
      Why go to the trouble of making or selling things when it’s easy to get rich speculating on the property markets ?

  8. Mark B
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Fix not fox. It auto corrected me twice !

  9. jerry
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    For comparison, how does 1988 compare to 1958?

    • libertarian
      Posted December 21, 2017 at 3:06 pm | Permalink


      Why 1958? why not 1758 or 58bc ?

      • jerry
        Posted December 21, 2017 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

        @libertarian; “Why1958?”

        Considering that it is 30 years (give or take a few days) since 1988 and it is thus 60 years since 1958. Our host appears to be suggesting that we have ‘never had it so good’ since, but was 1988 anything special, so why not ask for the data from the year leading up to the original “never had it so good” comment for comparison?

        Libertarian, you always seem to get terse if anyone dares to ask for economic data from before the early 1970s (and the worldwide economic down-turn, caused by the international oil crises, that blighted the next 10 years or so). Why is that I wonder…

      • hefner
        Posted December 21, 2017 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        Don’t you read the Telegraph?

      • Marcu Oriel
        Posted December 21, 2017 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

        It was around 58bc that Julius Caesar first invited us to join the EU but a Anglo Saxon called Fareagecea drove him back into the sea mounted on a chariot with knives on the wheels at Broadstairs in Kent.

  10. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    And yet all we heard in the BBC news last night was Christine Legard going on about the UK’s shrinking economy since Brexit.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted December 21, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      The much-dreaded self-fulfilling prophesy.

      Talk the economy down for long enough and it will likely happen because pessimism is contagious. Thankfully, so is optimism but the positive counter narrative needs to be given its equal chance.

      Despite some domestic problems that can be put right with far-sighted people in the right offices of government, the UK is still a great country. It could be greater still – and that is realism!

      I don’t buy into this pessimistic vision of the UK, and as Life Logic rightly said recently, business people have to be optimistic otherwise nobody would invest in anything. There’s nowt like doom mongers driving investment away in order to make themselves look credible.

      What a shame a national public service broadcaster can’t at least be realistic and give equal weight to each side of the equation, rather than highlighting the forecasts of a discredited organisation that one commentator quoted as being correct just 3% of the time.

      Tad Davison


    • Mancunius
      Posted December 21, 2017 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      I’ve noticed that Lagarde always times her anti-Brexit barbs dressed up as economic forecasting to coincide with ‘warnings’ issued the same day by Juncker and/or Barnier.
      If the IMF really were such a clever organization, surely then it wouldn’t have allowed the EU to persuade it to lend money to Greece that they all knew in advance they’d never get back, having set aside the usual precautionary conditions of devaluation etc.

      • Tintin
        Posted December 21, 2017 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

        We’re getting so poor we’ll be reduced to eating snails and frogs soon and horsemeat

        • Nig l
          Posted December 21, 2017 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

          Yes please. Love all three

  11. Ian Wragg
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Yesterday I was reading the EU’s paper on the so called transition period.
    We continue with full member of the EU until December 2020 with no representation and agree to implement all new EU laws.
    We may have a representative present when they discuss fishing quotas.
    What fishing quotas. I thought we were taking back control.
    After 29th March 2019 we should be issuing fishing quotas and licences or has it been agreed that UK waters will remain an EU competence for ever.

    • bigneil
      Posted December 21, 2017 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      On the fishing. The tv program The Channel a few days ago showed English fishermen struggling to earn enough to keep going and having to fish further and further away. Then it showed a French boat, 6 miles off Ramsgate, laughing their heads off as they (sarcastically I think ) – ate roast beef for their dinners on board.

      • jerry
        Posted December 21, 2017 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

        @bigneil; As if the camera, nor TV, ever lies….

  12. Nig l
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    And eurostar is expecting its busiest Christmas as mainland shoppers flock to the U.K. to do their Christmas shopping to take advantage of our exchange rate. Brussels must be gnashing it’s teeth and strange the Remainers who said that a falling pound was a problem, have not commented.

    • Alan
      Posted December 21, 2017 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      Nearly all of us import much more than we export, if we export anything at all. The low value of the pound is costing us all money. It is fallacious to imagine that a low value of the pound makes us better off.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted December 21, 2017 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

        Alan–You are begging the questions whether the pound is indeed “low” and even if it were, that that would be bad–I am not clever enough to know what the level ideally “should” be but you chose to mention the difference between Exports and Imports which I should have thought hardly supports what you seem to be trying to say.

    • acorn
      Posted December 21, 2017 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      The massed Gaulish tribes, it is suggested, are coming over La Manche, for “les rosbifs” closing down sale.

      The falling Pound won’t start being a problem till Q2 2018, when inventories have to be replenished with large quantities of imported components. As long as foreigners are prepared to keep faith by taking Sterling in payment, no problem.

      Fascinating read at ONS on UK Manufacturing. The UK has cornered the EU market for Golf Clubs!

  13. alan jutson
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    I do not understand why Mrs may seems to have an obsession about wanting to be friends with the EU, especially when it is at a huge financial cost to us.

    Many politicians on both sides will not be around in a couple of years time, let alone 5-10 years, so why be friends, however the rules for the deals struck now will probably last for decades.

    Business will always find a way to continue if it is profitable to do so, good business friendships are built on mutual trust and are of mutual benefit.

    Once you start paying or receiving to do business, you are corrupting the system and forming a master and servant relationship.

    • Andy
      Posted December 21, 2017 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      The EU will long outlive you. I suggest you go and have a wander around some of the war graves in northern France or Belgium. Your generation missed on that fate because we decided being friends with Europe was a better option.

      • alan jutson
        Posted December 21, 2017 at 4:37 pm | Permalink


        Have visited the War Graves many times in France and elsewhere.

        My Father served in the Royal Artillery in the second World War, my Grandfather in the first.

        Interesting that the French have now discovered it can be also be very good business for them to promote visits to the sites as well.

        Have no problem being friends with anyone, but funnily enough I have never had to pay anyone to be a friend, and would not dream of doing so.

        True friends usually have mutual interests, think and help each other without needing to be asked.

        Yes you are correct I have not served in the Armed Services, but I put something back into society through Voluntary Charitable work (like many thousands of others) for the last 27 years.

      • DaveM
        Posted December 21, 2017 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        I’d bet 100-1 that in 10 years’ time the EU will exist of France, Germany, Benelux, possibly Spain, Portugal and Italy. And in comparison to other major land-based states it will be on a par with a very weak Russia.

        • DaveM
          Posted December 21, 2017 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

          Also, if you knew anything about European history (as I REALLY do), you’d know that it wasn’t us being unfriendly to European states that filled those thousands of graves, it was their aggression towards each other and us. Would you have voted for joining Hitler?

          Please stop making such ridiculous comments on this site. You really are undermining the remainerish assertion that you lot are so clever and well-educated. Come back in 20 years when you know something.

      • ian wragg
        Posted December 21, 2017 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        What a rubbish comment. The EU is not our friend and never has been. The EU certainly hasn’t been a force for peace.
        The behaviour of Brussels is most likely to ignite conflict rather than prevent it with their ever closer union fetish.
        Without a proper demos, there will be internal strife as sure as anything etc ed

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted December 21, 2017 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

        Andy–That was one of the silliest and most inappropriate posts I have ever seen

      • Ken Moore
        Posted December 21, 2017 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        Not true…Germany realised it was easier to dominate Europe via the Eu state than using bombs and bullets. The Eu even has it’s own secret police service called political correctness. The genius of their plan is that it has persuaded member states to destroy themselves without a single bullet being fired. May /Major et al are willing accomplices along with all the rest of the left that despise their own country.

      • libertarian
        Posted December 21, 2017 at 7:44 pm | Permalink


        There have been 35 wars, revolutions, coups , insurrections and separatist terrors in Europe since the EU was formed, so I’m afraid thats another thing that they take credit for that they actually failed at. You are so stupid that you dont even know that the generation you malign were in fact the ones who voted to join the EEC, your generation has done precisely zero so far. Most of them couldn’t even be bothered to vote.

    • Posted December 21, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      From my limited experience, I believe most of our politicians and senior civil servants want to be liked and remain friends with their opponents, particularly abroad. I attended (some 40 years ago) a couple of meetings of Eurocontrol (European Air Traffic organisation) as one of the engineering advisers, and it seemed quite clear to me that those doing the negotiating were quite prepared to ‘give away’ the whole British position in order to reach an agreement. Other engineer colleagues felt much the same.
      It’s this desire to be liked by everyone (of which our opponents are fully aware) that leads to May’s obsession about being friends with the EU. and gets us such poor agreements.

    • zorro
      Posted December 21, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, all her talk of a “deep and special relationship” with the EU seems very one way and at a large cost in terms of money, and military/intelligence commitments with nothing substantial in return. She really does need to get off her knees and realise that she has a solemn duty as PM to stand up and fight hard for the UK and grin/smile and kowtow at every opportunity as she has been doing……


    • DaveM
      Posted December 21, 2017 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      It is indeed strange that she continues to suck up to Germany France and the EU, none of which have shown us any real friendship despite everything we’ve done as members of the EU. And yet she seems determined to alienate our friends in the US, Eastern Europe (whose countries have huge numbers of citizens living in this country) and the Commonwealth. Please can we have a new PM for Christmas? A proper one this time.

      • stred
        Posted December 21, 2017 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

        The thought of May going to Poland to agree a defence pact, when they are being threatened by the EU over controlling their own law and refusing to take Merkel’s invitees, May having agreed to support the High Representative Mogherini’s army, while having signed away the ability of the UK to control the movement of any migrant given EU citizenship for 5 years+! The Poles must be finding it difficult to keep a straight face. Let’s hope she doesn’t try to mediate over the EU threats.

  14. Rien Huizer
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    The proper question is does the UE want barriers that include the UK or not. Of course the EU needs barriers, just like NAFTA does and every other trade bloc.

    • Mancunius
      Posted December 21, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      All extremely sensible. I wish that JR was doing our negotiating.

      • Mancunius
        Posted December 21, 2017 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

        There I was referring to JR’s comments, of course. My reply to RH is below.

    • Mancunius
      Posted December 21, 2017 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      The EU is a protectionist trader, completely unaware of what free trade really is.
      To quote from the relevant article on wiki:
      “Most nations are today members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) multilateral trade agreements. However, most governments [e.g. the EU] still impose some protectionist policies that are intended to support local employment, such as applying tariffs to imports or subsidies to exports. Governments may also restrict free trade to limit exports of natural resources. Other barriers that may hinder trade include import quotas, taxes, and non-tariff barriers, such as regulatory legislation [all of which further protectionist barriers are rife in the sclerotic EU].

      There is a broad consensus among economists that protectionism has a negative effect on economic growth and economic welfare”

    • libertarian
      Posted December 21, 2017 at 3:08 pm | Permalink


      Theres no of course about it. History shows that protectionism never works. Free trade always has been and always will be the best solution. Why do we need trade blocks at all? What purpose do they serve? Its the 21st century , we can trade globally at the push of a button.

      • acorn
        Posted December 21, 2017 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        Libby, if we follow your thinking, the UK should go for the Singapore option; virtually no import tariffs or tariff quotas. (Plus, no labour protection laws for circa one million imported workers either.)

        It works for Singapore because they have little or no domestic production of agriculture, fisheries or food. Hence, they don’t need import tariffs, because they have little domestic production to protect from cheaper foreign goods, that would otherwise unbalance the Singapore economic model.

        I will take all the imported, tariff free, New Zeeland Lamb Chops I can get. Who cares if the less productive, more expensive English and Welsh Sheep farmers get put out of business and go on the Dole? You obviously don’t Libby.

        PS. Brexiteers really should educate themselves on not only HOW the WTO system works, but WHY it was needed in the first instance.

      • jerry
        Posted December 21, 2017 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

        @libertarian; You are shouting in to a vacuum I fear, even the USA now talks the language of either trading-blocks or protectionism (although the White House calls it ‘putting the USA first’).

      • hefner
        Posted December 21, 2017 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

        For the UK, you are certainly right. But “H”istory shows that for the USA, Japan, South Korea, China at different times in the 19th and 20th centuries, some protectionism was very valuable to their development. May be you are a bit starry-eyed in your defence/support for free Trade?

        • jerry
          Posted December 21, 2017 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

          @hefner; The UK benefited from protectionism a great deal and it built our prosperity, I of course refer to the Empire – we made it, they bought it (at a price we decided), they grew it, we bought it (at a price we decided)…

  15. Arthur Wellesley
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Indeed, it’s good to read (from multiple sources) that a manufacturing renaissance is underway in the UK; this will help reduce the trade deficit and provide employment opportunities for our economic migrants.

    Could the government do even more to support the manufacturing sector with some decent tax breaks? Or how about taking £5b a year from the overseas aid budget and spending it on effective British built kit for the UK military? This could support our high tech industries, help repair the six brand new T45 destroyers laid up at Portsmouth, pay for spares for the last two Astute class subs that have been cannibalized to fix the other five, upgrade the Army’s Warrior armoured vehicles…and placify those in the Party who are exercised by the forthcoming brutal defence cuts to our fighting capability.

  16. DaveM
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Off topic if I may – plucky Poland is having the guts to stand up to the bullying of unelected Brussels officials. I do hope the PM (whilst signing a defence pact) assures the Poles that the UK is at least neutral in this argument. Our PM is not a messenger for the EU and most certainly does not speak for me or the British people as a whole when/if interfering in a sovereign state’s domestic issues.

    • BretW
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 2:48 am | Permalink

      The government of Poland is trying to turn the clock back to an earlier time but they won’t succeed..too much opposition at home and the EU is going to pile the pressure on. I do hope our PM is not thinking of using Poland in some way to get leverage on Barnier in the forthcoming talks..that would be a mistake..the EU crowd have very clearly put out a warning that soliciting by the back door will not be entertained and in the end will only weaken our position

  17. Iain Gill
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Hope you get a senior job in the reshuffle John.

    If you need a SPAD give me a ring 🙂

  18. Prigger
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    A cursory peer at the German stock market this morning. I was looking for opportunities but apart from their own in-house analysts, no-one else in the world appears to think any of their banks is at best anything more than “overweighted” and none a “buy” or even a “soft buy” ( where did remoners get this “soft…..” term from?)

  19. Bert Young
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Its good news for manufacturers and for the rest of us ; this is not however the view of Lagarde . Whether her French background influences the statements she makes I’ve no idea , what I do know is , like Carney , she inevitably gets it wrong . Yesterday , immediately after the announcement of tax reduction in the USA , the BBC highlighted the question of how it would now be able to afford the construction of the wall with Mexico since it would now have less tax revenue to pay for it . It failed to recognise that the tax change would more likely result in INCREASED revenue following the incentive . I wish Hammond would adopt the same approach .

    Incentives always result in a better bottom line ; like the proverbial carrot it is human nature to respond to opportunity .

  20. Epikouros
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    It is a common misconception that manufacturing in this country has been declining. If measured by the numbers employed in that sector then it is yes. However the truth is whilst employment has been declining output has seen continuous growth with the odd exception during recessions. Recent news suggests that that growth is increasing at a faster rate which should be no surprise as the fall in the value of the pound does tend to have that effect. Despite the dire warnings of naysayer remainers.

    It is heartening to hear that the government wants to maintain free access to the EU and not put up new barriers. That is very much the correct approach to the problems that the EU are putting forward on trade and other things. In fact if the EU persists in their intransigence then the answer is for the UK to declare that if the EU decide to install barriers and tariffs then the UK will not. Except for tightening control of individuals at our borders all else should be allowed to flow freely. There is nothing to fear from unilateral free trade. In fact the opposite is true as we have done it before and have benefited considerably economically. If it was not for our welfare provisions we would have nothing to fear from the free movement of people either as the past has also proved.

  21. Paul Cohen
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Why do the BBC persist when negative industrial or financial news is reported include the blame line “Because the UK will crash out the EU” ?

    The BBC is now a politically driven organisation working to influence opinion of its governing body.

    The Director General is now ( I think) a Sir David Clementi – how about we start a move to have him sacked because of encouraging blatant bias?

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 12:03 am | Permalink

      The Director General is now ( I think) a Sir David Clementi – how about we start a move to have him sacked because of encouraging blatant bias?

      Try telling Jerry the BBC are biased!!

      • jerry
        Posted December 22, 2017 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        @fedupsoutherner; If you have proof that the BBC is politically biased then make a complaint to Ofcom, but you need evidence (with time, date, station/channel or URL), not just party political wish-listing or hearsay.

        The main issue I have with the anti BBC rants on this site is that they rarely complain about the same sort of content/reporting found on other broadcasters news and current affair’s programmes. By all means complain about the TVL fee, just don’t wrap it up as bogus claims of bias.

        BTW, Sir David Clementi is Chairman of the new BBC board, Tony Hall is still DG.

  22. The Prangwizard
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Commercial property for example is sold to foreign interests, rents and surplus profit goes out of the country.

    A shed is rented by a foreign retailer, it then imports their products and sells them. Guess what then happens. Profit goes overseas. If they go broke they could leave people here short. And they crowd out internal competition. If as much effort and encouragement went to home owned businesses and home produced goods we might just be better off in the longer term. Maybe we could then stop selling them off to clear our deficits.

  23. graham1946
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Regarding car sales, a fall was not hard to predict. We saw it with mobile phones when everyone wanted one and changed every few months as technology improved. Then came the time when the market was saturated and technology slowed down. Same with cars – those people who clamoured for new ones won’t want another for probably 3 years, the market has been satisfied for the time being. It will pick up again later on.

    We want free trade with the EU and if they grant it there is no need of a transition. They want this to plug a hole in the budget, no more no less. As we are committed to pay up now, why don’t we just print a few billion,bung it to them like we did with the banks and get on our way in 2019?

    • jerry
      Posted December 22, 2017 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      @graham1946; New car sales are usually a rolling replacement, not a fashon statement like mobile phones have become, not replacing a car can actually cost the owner (sometimes serious) money in serving and repairs but still less than the cost of renewal.

      Car sales are a barometer for the wider economy. The rise in VED duty will have had little over all effect on sales, if anything these days such a hike should have driven the sale of cars with lower VED rates. Interesting news from the ONS today (22nd Dec), shines some light on why car sales and much else are down…

  24. Prigger
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Catalonian elections today. Polls close 8pm. Independence is against Spain’s Constitution. But even if they granted it, the EU and everyone else would not give recognition. What effect would this have in the EU and UK economy as Mrs May appears to have an blank cheque ready and waiting for Capt Juncker and Co?

  25. Prigger
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    I’m not putting for the vacant Cabinet post. I’m old , I know. It’s not a question of once you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all. But once you’ve seen eight or nine you certainly have.

  26. Prigger
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    You know when your country has gone to pot when it is fraud selling fake fur because it is actually real.
    Long live the EU and all Eco-Warriors, not.

  27. Chris
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Think how much better we can be if we adopt tax policies similar to Trump. The woeful policies apparently suggested by Nick Timothy in the Cons manifesto last election, and those suggested in a recent newspaper article are leftist policies and should be nothing to do with Conservative policies.
    Below is a clip from one of the large companies who are celebrating the tax cuts proposed in the Bill just passed. This action by Trump is going to have huge and very positive implications for the US economy.

  28. stred
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Our continental relations came over for 4 days last week, installed themselves in a central London hotel, at my wife’s expense. They started shopping Saturday, turned up late for Sunday lunch having shopped all morning, enjoyed all UK and non-EU produce from Old Speckled Hen, Aus wine, Norwegian salmon, NZ lamb and English veg then started shopping again Monday, briefly turning up in an Uber to say thanks. The plane must have needed to increase its take off speed.

  29. stred
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    More poisonous fakery from LBC’s lefty leprechaun this morning on my way home from Christmas shopping. He spent an hour asking why Boris and David had not been sacked for lying about the ‘impact assessments’ in David’s case and Boris’s personal misdemeanours, when Damien Green had been sacked for not mentioning the police’s behaviour in full over some ancient raid on his computer. David has explained over and over that he only used the words ‘impact’ and ‘assessment’ briefly and then had to use another word for a half -finished impact assessment because it means something definite in civil service jargon. Now he has to use another. Who bloody cares anyway?

    He, of course never mentioned the fact that Labour had a Leave manifesto and now have a Stay policy. Even Leavers were phoning in about the dishonesty of all politicians and Remainers all piled in about the lying Leavers. Yet David seems to be unable to defend this unending spray up. It is intended to make any alternative to the Remainers in Cabinet unacceptable to the public.
    This will be heard be millions of fans and they were all ringing in to agree.

  30. Peter Richmond
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood
    Thank you for your daily commentaries which are always succinct and written in a way which is always objective without the emotion so often found on other social media. Let us hope our government also continues to keep a cool head in the coming year as it negotiates Brexit. We cannot soon enough be free of the strictures imposed by the inward looking European Union and become a global nation cooperating with rising economies in Asia and elsewhere in the world.
    And now, as Tiny Tim said, “A Merry Christmas to us all; God bless us, every one!”

  31. rick hamilton
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Trump knows that being tough earns respect. So did Thatcher and so does Putin. You are not going to get a good settlement by being weak. This is a business negotiation, not a goodwill mission.

    Why doesn’t Mrs May put some UK demands on the table with some of our own boxes for M. Barnier to tick ? It seems to be a one way street at present.

    • Doug Powell
      Posted December 21, 2017 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      Couldn’t agree more, Rick. May is the cause of all Brexit problems, not the solution – and never will be the solution! Time for a change, JR.

  32. MikeP
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    Several of your followers have commented on Christine Lagarde’s comments yesterday. Asked by Kamal Ahmed of the BBC if she thought the IMF was being too gloomy about our economic outlook, she replied that their latest figures proved that their forecast last year were correct. This was wrong on so many counts. Their quarterly forecasts for 2017 UK GDP growth were:
    Apr 2016 2.2%
    Jul16 1.3% after EURef
    Oct16 1.1%
    Jan17 1.5%
    Apr17 2.0%
    Jul17 1.7%
    Oct17 1.6%
    So their post-Referendum efforts of 1.3% and 1.1% were undeniably pessimistic and the news coverage given to the 0.1% drop since July yesterday was beyond ridiculous and carried no mention of how inaccurate and – yes – gloomy the IMF has been.

  33. Prigger
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    So the UK has joined Russia in voting against the USA. But it’s beatifully cooked!

  34. am
    Posted December 21, 2017 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    gov borrowing was slightly down also.

    UK has a bright horizon if it could only free itself from eu protectionism whilst protecting uk industry in the early years after brexit. Yep, I’m for domestic protectionism in the short term, say, 10 years. the Singapore model is not suitable for the uk. If Singapore was a large country with a large population it would not use its model which is more suited for the small place it is with a small population.

  35. DragE
    Posted December 22, 2017 at 1:28 am | Permalink

    The divorce settlement has been agreed..and is nothing to do with trade deals into the future..if we continue on with negative comments like if we don’t get our way we won’t pay then i can see problems witj meeting of minds into the future..for instance if we cannot fulfill our promises of the past and for promises made in the past how could tje EU or anyone elsr accept our bone first tjing is lets get real and root out thid crooked stinking thinkinh.

  • 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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