What is a Customs Union – a set of restrictions on trade

It is most important not to confuse a free trade policy with a Customs Union policy. The main point about a Customs Union is the wish to impose tariffs and barriers against the rest of the world that are legal under WTO rules, knowing that the WTO would prefer the members of the Customs Union to lower tariffs and barriers for all.

Much of the design of the EU Customs Union was to protect French and German industry from better value or smarter competition from elsewhere in the world, and to protect the exploitation of market niches that they had done well so far. One of the features I most dislike about the EU Customs Union is its aggressive stance towards emerging economies which rely heavily on agricultural production, as the EU Customs Union takes full advantage of the WTO permission to have strong restrictions on agriculture.

Germany, for example, has a profitable and large industry processing raw coffee. This is made possible by imposing tariffs on processed coffee from outside the EU whilst allowing import of raw coffee tariff free. It means the coffee producers find it more difficult to capture the extra added value and create the extra jobs that are needed to turn an agricultural product into coffee to drink in supermarket packaging.

Once out of the EU Customs Union the UK could unilaterally cut all tariffs on products we do not grow for ourselves, or could offer to do so in return for some free trade response from those who would benefit. Inside the EU Customs Union we cannot do this, as the others do not agree with such a strategy. Trade is often better than aid in promoting economic development and greater prosperity amongst emerging economies. The Uk will be able to have a better policy for this once we are free to negotiate our own trade system.

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  1. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    Yes, this is another argument for leaving that isn’t explored enough nor mentioned in the mainstream media. Like coffee, basic engineering products which could be imported by us from emerging markets too, to be made into more advanced products in the UK, are subject to high EU tariffs… it is no coincidence that German industry also makes these basic engineering products in a neat supply chain to German finished product manufacturers.
    The net result of course is that the Dysons of this world go to Malaysia to complete the finished item rather than fiddle around with high duties, job-destroying costly employment practices etc. We need to feed our UK creative manufacturing industries with the most competitive raw materials money can buy, not be restricted in this way.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      I agree Sir Joe, and the Remainers seem to overlook what a boon it would be to give poorer emerging nations the chance to develop their economies, effectively giving them a hand up, rather than a hand out.

      I have had this argument many times that EU policy is effectively perpetuating poverty, but Remainers either cannot see it, or it’s an inconvenient truth that sits ill with their belief that the EU is the cure-all for everything and the UK needs to dig itself deeper into it. Myopia, a lack of real understanding, and absolute blockheaded intransigence, are clearly applicable to the remain position.


      • Rien Huizer
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

        Maybe those people will bite the hand that feeds them?

        • David Price
          Posted February 8, 2018 at 5:19 am | Permalink

          They have certain of the continental Europeans as a model to follow perhaps.

      • Bob
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        @Tad/ Mr Redwood
        Why isn’t the scandal of the EU protectionism damaging third world economies made in Parliament and on the BBC. I would have thought that subject would be high on their agenda?

        Or is it just an inconvenient truth?

  2. Mark B
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Once again our kind host echo’s much of what I have been saying here and elsewhere for sometime.

    Yesterday he hit the nail on the head by mentioning governance and not concentrating on trade as the sole reason for leaving the EU. Alas we are back to trade. 🙁

    What I would like to know is, what laws and regulations do those in parliament wish to remove from the Statute. One such area is that of environment. EU environmental regulations and laws have caused much harm to the UK – literally ! Classing silt from the land as a waste product requiring special disposal has lead to rivers becoming blocked leading to large scale flooding and destruction. Removing this nonsense amongst others would free us from regulatory burden and costs, making the UK a good place to do business and invest.

    Worrying about tariffs and other trade matters is narrowing the field of debate. Clearly the government wishes to concentrate minds on this as it plans the next phase of our sell-out to the EU via a so called trade deal. An excuse to keep us in the EU in all but name.

    • NickC
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      It is impossible that we can have representatives in the House of Commons unless we the people are sovereign. Where else does a UK politician derive his legitimacy except by the democratic choice of the people? Politicians do not arrive ready-made with their own legitimacy, except in the undemocratic EU.

      Moreover our politicians had their chance to choose to Remain or Leave but couldn’t make up their own minds. So they themselves decided to pass the decision back to us, the people, as a straightforward “Remain” in the EU, or “Leave” it, single issue referendum.

      We chose. Not them. That means we cannot have some weird half-in/half-out mash-up that both Labour and Conservative parties arbitrarily imagine, nor Remain as the LibDems invent. Now they are merely delegates for this specific decision, by their own choosing and the logic of sovereignty.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

        These parliamentarians are comparable to councilors. They have powers and restrictions on those. Once outside the EU, parliament will be constrained also in certain policy areas. IMF, NATO, WTO and so on. No country is souvereign anymore.

        • jerry
          Posted February 8, 2018 at 7:14 am | Permalink

          @Rien Huizer; “No country is souvereign anymore.”

          Indeed there is always some international agreement or convention, BUT post Brexit the UK will sit and speak for her self on many more international bodies, for example our WTO seat that we have to leave empty because only eurocrats can negotiate on behalf of the EU28.

          In fact if there was no EU but simply a NAFTA style trade agreement between the EU28 Europe’s voice at the WTO might well be stronger, 28 votes instead of just the one from the EU…

          • libertarian
            Posted February 8, 2018 at 7:47 pm | Permalink


            Excellent point

      • John Barleycorn
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

        “Where else does a UK politician derive his legitimacy except by the democratic choice of the people?”

        In the House of Lords.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      Mark B

      You say “EU environmental regulations and laws have caused much harm to the UK – literally !”

      You’re not kidding! Because of an unwanted wind farm opposite us we now cannot sell our home. Lots of people have looked, liked the property but didn’t want to know once they saw the eyesore across the road. I wouldn’t mind so much if the wind farm was needed. It can only operate for 45% of its capacity as there are too many other turbines nearby and the power cannot be extracted!! Madness!

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

        What’s the EU have to do with that? Do they give planning permission?

        • Fedupsoutherner
          Posted February 7, 2018 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

          Paris agreement and EU climate change crap. We are to adhere to their climate policies for the next ten years.

          • Rien Huizer
            Posted February 8, 2018 at 8:12 am | Permalink

            Rubbish. You can make your own implementation.

          • NickC
            Posted February 8, 2018 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

            Rien, Our own “implementation” of your EU policies.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        It is all about subsidy farming, nothing to do with wind and certainly does nothing to reduce global warming.

        I see (in the Wall Street Journal) that sales of Tesla Cars have dropped of a cliff now they have ditched the absurd subsidies in Hong Kong. Electric cars are also more polling too (but at the power stations).


    • Rien Huizer
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      I cannot imagine that “silt from the land” is necessarily a waste product and that its removal necessarily leads to overflooding. The EU can make strange rules but (a) the member country has wide discretion to approve exceptions and more importantly, it influences the rules making process. There is a similar story about fishing for sole using electric pulses. A very superior form of fishing but opposed by competitors who cannot afford the investment and pressure their government into acting against the use of that technology. That is an issue that an activist member state would take up on behalf of its own industry. The UK does not have a reputation of being willing to protect its own. That happened when there was an opportunity to restrict EU labour mobility (the UK was the only large country that opened the doors, while Germany did so only very slowly and with good flanking policies (I am not referring to migrants from outside the EU or Schengen freedom to travel). So first find out what your own government did to prevent this apparently harmful outcome and only then blame others.

  3. duncan
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    ‘Referred to as the “nuclear option”, the punishment mechanism could lead to UK aircraft being grounded on runways by suspending take-off and landing aviation rights over the EU’s “single sky” airspace. Exports from Britain to the EU could be hit by tariffs, damaging the economy’

    This is from a national newspaper today. The EU and its leading member states are absolutely determined to crush the UK if they have too. It will be a punishment beating in all but name.

    It’s akin to blockade and totally illegal

    This is what happens when you put a pathetic, weak leader in charge of my party who then becomes PM of my country. She’s more obsessed with race, gender and virtue signalling to the shouty left than confronting the biggest threats we face today, the EU and the Labour-Momentum cancer

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      Indeed and she retains a Chancellor who clearly aspires to increase taxes, tax complexity and government waste endlessly. He still has not delivered the IHT £1M threshold each that was promised (by the equally bad Osborne) many years ago.

      Still do not worry we will have to console ourselves with:- gender pay gap reporting, misogyny will perhaps become a hate crime, we will have more divisive religious schools, the gig economy will be killed off, she will build on EU worker rights (to make more unemployed), productivity will not improve, the state sector will grow and grow as will taxes, the NHS will deteriorate by the day …..

      Then we will have to suffer Corbyn’s Labour.

      But we might be able to get to Birmingham ten minutes earlier – in about 2028 if we want to and if the subcontractor do not go bust.

    • Chris
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      As one prospective Trump voter (ethnic minority) stated, the Democrats were more interested in body parts than the economy, jobs and prosperity. That is why they did not get her (and so many other people’s) vote. The priorities were all skewed.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      It turns out that the euromaniac Labour MP Stephen Kinnock was quite right when he warned that his friends in the EU would give us a punishment beating if we dared to vote to leave:


      But while he sees that as a good reason for staying in the EU I see it as another good reason for leaving. What lovely “partners” they turn out to be when the mask slips, and they can’t even read their own treaties …

    • Peter
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      Maybe you could try to convince Ann Soubry about the customs union. The poor woman is so concerned she is thinking of quitting the Tory party. You are mostly preaching to the converted here.

      All that happens is you wind up the Sir Herbert Gusset types.
      In fact I am sure that both Sir Herbert and Henry Root post on here under different usernames

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Do you think another leader would achieve more?

  4. Peter Wood
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    Mr.Barnier has his mandate from Mr Juncker, (who has his instructions from Herr Selmayr who has his from Frau Merkel) on the terms for the ‘implementation period’; they are unacceptable. The UK must NOW gear up for leaving the EU without a FTA, or other agreement, and be fully prepared for 30-03-19.

    • StanleyW
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Peter Wood…too late..cabinet is already in discussion with EU negotiators about a Customs partnership of some description, so you can forget about WTO rules and FTA..it seems the people that count, ie the government ministers have been thoroughly appraised of the facts and the reality of leaving without a deal is so serious for us tbat something has to be worked out..very probably will leave us half in and half out..paying without a say in anything and with free movement of eu people contininuing and also we’ll still have to go with ECJ rulings..the problem is that none of this was thought through properly before the referendum vote and now we are at a severe disadvantage because there are no real alternatives in international trade opening up for us..we’ll probably have to go with a Swiss style of association with them?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      Agreed. It has become obvious that they have no intention of negotiating in good faith and so we should cut the process as short as possible.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        So why are pople still talking? Because they do not like the consequences of the alternative.

        Incidentally, mr Cooper, I bought “the economics of Brexit” and went through it rather quickly. On the surface is is an evenhanded survey of competing “models” and some capita selecta for policy design. Good point that it laments the lack of policy response in most of the models proposed (and given that it is nearly a year old at that stage no one had a clue what policy responses there would be but I guess modelers then assumed that during the year those might become available, quod non, so far). All in all a useful work of reference, with one caveat: I have not really vetted the information of course.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 8, 2018 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

          Both sides have agreed to use the Article 50 procedure and that still has time to run. Maybe at some point the UK will say that it is pointless to continue talking.

          I’m glad you thought the book was not complete rubbish …

  5. Mick
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    The custom union is just a means of keeping us tied along with the single market to the dreaded eu, I along with 17.4 million voted to be out of the eu, and that means OUT with NO back door treaty’s to keep us in, if we struggle when we’re out so what we are British and am sure we will pull through

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      Indeed, we will not struggle if we get out cleanly we will if we still are tied up in the EU straight jacket. As the remainers all seem to want.

      There are off course many taxes and tariffs that we could and should cut now (or on 29th March if they cannot be cut earlier). We should announce what it going to happen now so that business can prepare and gear up for the change.

      Hammond has so many taxes that are far, far too high and hugely damaging. IHT, Stamp Duty, Income Tax, CGT (not even indexed), pension mugging taxes and landlord tenant taxes in particular.

      • Dave Andrews
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

        You can add employer’s NI to your list – a disincentive to employment and business development. Employing people is a good deed that will not go unpunished.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

        Do you need a brexit to scrap taxes?

    • nhsgp
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      It shows what the EU fears.

      1. Taxes. It wants to control tax cuts in the UK

      2. The city. It’s desperate to avoid the UK going tax haven, banking secrecy for EU nationals. Look at the French election. The smart money moved all their assets to Lux, on the mere whiff of Melanchon. Or Greece where its all offshored.

      3. External barriers. The EU nightmare again is the UK has a free trade deal with the EU. The UK then gets a free trade deals externally. The UK is then the tunnel that avoids EU barriers.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 11:10 am | Permalink

        Indeed plus all the other EU things that render the UK uncompetitive.

        EU employment laws and work time directives that May wants to build on.
        Selective & quality control of immigration
        Expensive green crap energy and the endless other daft and expensive regulations.
        The ability to deport criminals and undesirable people back to their own country.
        The ability to choose who educate and give health care too.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        That tunnel is precisely the reason why it is hard to make a deal once you forfeit the customs union approach. The EU is not “fearing” anything. It just should not allow such a situation to arise.

        • Andy
          Posted February 7, 2018 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

          The EU wouldn’t be behaving as it is unless it was frightened. EU hostility towards the UK is of such a pitch that we ought not to regard the 27 as ‘friends’ but as potential enemies and plan accordingly.

          • Rien Huizer
            Posted February 8, 2018 at 8:14 am | Permalink

            Like the UK should do, the EU acts in its own interest.

          • NickC
            Posted February 8, 2018 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

            Rien, The EU acting in its own interests is not acting in the interests of European nations though, is it?

  6. Andy
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Out of the Customs Union we can indeed cut tariffs on everything.

    Tell me, will you be going to Port Talbot to tell the steel workers that they are losing their jobs?

    Thought not.

    • Edward2
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      There are no tariffs on cheap EU steel coming into the UK at present.

      • WinstonS
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

        Try look at which countries are the main steel producers and then talk! Cheap steel is from China, not the EU.

        • Edward2
          Posted February 7, 2018 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

          Lately I might agree, but for decades the UK steel industry has had to put up with cheap EU steel imports.
          The EU has only recently acted to restrict very cheap steel from China.

    • jut
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      And can impose tariffs on EU cars.

      Tell me, will you be going to Germany, Italy and France to tell the car workers that they are losing their jobs?

      Easy this.

      • Peter Parsons
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        It’s UK car workers who need to worry. 75% of the cars produced by the Nissan Sunderland plant go to the EU27. Do you really think Renault-Nissan are going to retain production in a non-EU country with tariffs and non-tariff barriers not just on the finished cars, but on the components in the supply chain which often cross the Channel 2 or 3 times, when they could relocate that production to somewhere else in the EU27.

        • Andy
          Posted February 7, 2018 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

          And, of course, the Brexiteers are wrong to talk of ‘German cars’. BMW, Audi and the like May be German companies but their cars are packed full of components from across the single market – and beyond. Many of these components come from the UK and cross back and forth across the channel many times.

          Brexiteers think in black and white. The world is a shade of grey.

          • John
            Posted February 7, 2018 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

            Hey a reality check is needed here. Its the EU that wants to impose the tariffs not the UK.

            Take your argument to the EU, the UK is offering a tariff free trade deal to the 5th largest economy.

          • libertarian
            Posted February 7, 2018 at 9:00 pm | Permalink


            Lol your best post yet. A lot of German cars are built in Mexico , etc , These criss crossing channel hoping components you claim, whats your point. I think you’ll find its remainers who are isolated black and white thinkers

          • Edward2
            Posted February 7, 2018 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

            The German car industry is an industry anchored in Germany employing German people developing revenues for Germany and taxes for the German economy.
            That fact they buy some limited parts from elsewhere is a complete red herring.
            The majority of parts are produced inside Germany.

        • Rien Huizer
          Posted February 7, 2018 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

          That is not what people here want to hear because they know it and it does not suit their story.

          • Prigger
            Posted February 7, 2018 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

            Rein Huizer
            “That is not what people here want to hear..” Oh do stop generalising. You are simply presenting poor arguments. Anything but accept democracy. You are treating democracy and democratic individual opinions as though it is a complex piece of technology and you need to first discover if when you put in the magic plug into the wall ghosts do not come out.
            The only surprising thing about the EU from the perspective of international economists is that it survived Greece. But they gave it about ten to fifteen years life left despite that. The project is dead. can’t you understand that. The UK is leaving. Others will follow.

        • Caterpillar
          Posted February 7, 2018 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

          Peter Parsons,

          Are you highlighting the protectionism of the EU as a good thing?

          (As JR has noted on several occasions the fall in GBP has already offset the tariffs. Moreover frictionless movement of non-leaky supply chains can be achieved without a CU. Also supply chains can readjust to more local suppliers. The capital and human capital is already in place.)

          • Peter Parsons
            Posted February 7, 2018 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

            It’s no more or less protectionism than withdrawing from the Common Fisheries Policy is protectionism. It’s simply the reality of how the market and the supply chains work.

            One of the reasons Japanese car manufacturers have plants in the UK is because of the access it currently gives them to the wider European market and European supply chains. Once the UK puts itself on the outside and business becomes more difficult as a result, while it is not a quick thing to relocate manufacturing, it will happen as older models are retired and new models move to plants still inside the single market.

            If you get a chance, listen to tonight’s Ian King Live on Sky News. There was an interview in which the subject of German car makers came up. The reply was that they consider the rest of the single market a more important market than the UK and protecting its integrity is important to them. They won’t be knocking on Angela Merkel’s door, that is considered a UK fantasy.

            They also sell perfectly successfully into the American market with US import tariffs, and the average buyer of a BMW X5, Mercedes S-class or Porsche 911 may not be that price sensitive to the impact of tariffs anyway.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 7, 2018 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

          On that reasoning they’d have to get everything relocated behind the EU tariff wall, every element in the supply chains. Bit like the Soviets moving all munitions production beyond the Urals where it would be safe from the German invaders … however you may have forgotten that continental car manufacturers would be facing tariffs when they tried to continue their sales in the UK, sales which in value are three times the sales of the UK manufacturers elsewhere in the EU:


          “It’s easy to say, for example, that 8 out of 10 cars made in the UK are exported, without bothering to say where they go – mostly not to the rest of the EU – and gloss over the fact that imports of cars from the rest of the EU are much greater than our exports to them – by about threefold in value, on the last figures I saw – and forget how much of our home market is taken up by imports which could eventually be substituted by domestic production – 1.72 million cars made in the UK in 2016, of which 1.35 million were exported, according to the numbers given here … “

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 7, 2018 at 5:54 pm | Permalink


          “Nissan, which exports 55 per cent of its UK production to Europe”

          Which seems to be an exceptionally high percentage.

          “Colin Lawther, the carmaker’s European manufacturing director, told MPs on a select committee in February that the Sunderland plant “will not succeed in the future, with or without Brexit, unless the government does something to help us in the supply chain”.

        • libertarian
          Posted February 7, 2018 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

          Peter Parsons

          “Do you really think Renault-Nissan are going to retain production in a non-EU country with tariffs and non-tariff barriers not just on the finished cars, but on the components in the supply chain which often cross the Channel 2 or 3 times, when they could relocate that production to somewhere else in the EU27.”

          Oh dear the answer to your question is an emphatic yes they are. Thats why they have just built a brand new production line, with 2000 new jobs producing the Nissan Leaf for the European market….


          Today, the supply chain includes a whole raft of North East companies, some of whom are based on site, many more which clustered around the facility when it was constructed, and even more in surrounding areas whose businesses are rapidly expanding to meet Nissan contracts. There are circa 13000 people employed across the north east region in the Nissan supply chain.

          dear oh dear you remainers haven’t got a clue about the real world .

    • Woody
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      Disappointing negative response clearly from a remain supporter. In fact leaving the eu will allow trading practices that maximise internal and external investment and development inside our shores whereas eu competition regulations currently demand preferable arrangements to get contracts go to other eu manufacturers. “Competition puts businesses under constant pressure to offer the best possible range of goods at the best possible prices, because if they don’t, consumers have the choice to buy elsewhere. In a free market, business should be a competitive game with consumers as the beneficiaries.” But note, only within the so called free market not with the world outside. That free market by the way is the one that costs us 19 billion a year.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      Why would the workers at Port Talbot lose their jobs
      Trump put hefty tariffs on Chinese steel but the EU didn’t and being in the Customs Union means we can’t. It’s time you woke up.
      The latest threats from Ireland and Brussels are unacceptable and we must walk away now.
      No Vassal state.

      • acorn
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 11:31 am | Permalink

        The Commission’s investigations confirmed that these Chinese products had been sold at artificially low prices. Therefore, imports of corrosion resistant steel from China will now be taxed with anti-dumping duties of up to 28.5%. This will reduce the pressure on European industry and help to ensure a level playing field for EU steel. (Actions against imports into the EU | Brussels, 11th August 2017)

        • Ian wragg
          Posted February 7, 2018 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

          28.5% is nowhere near enough to make a difference. I believe Trump over 100% to prote the domestic market.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

        @ Ian Wragg
        You should ask: why would they keep them, with the UK in or out. Once out, the German shareholders will ask a very high price from the UK gvt to keep the thing going and that may jeopardise trade negotiations with “the rest of the world”

        • Dennis Zoff
          Posted February 10, 2018 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

          Rien Huizer

          Complete generalising nonsense, again!

    • John
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      Their jobs were lost because the EU didn’t impose punitive tarrifs on China when it started dumping cheap steel on the world. Blame the EU Commission for that one.

      • Narrow shoulders
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        I am no EU apologist but I recall it the UK played a significant part in preventing the EU raising tariffs on Chinese Steel. Can’t remember his name but the bald DCMS minister who thinks he is going to solve the housing crisis was implicated when he was at Business (Sajid Javed)

        • John
          Posted February 7, 2018 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

          Really? He’s not even an MEP, I very much doubt he had that much sway over the Council and the Commission. Its an EU commissioner, her first name is Ceclina who is in charge of that area over tariffs. The EU Parliament voted the tariffs through only last summer I believe. I think they need to do more work even then. I don’t think Sajid Javed was involved there somehow.

          • Narrow Shoulders
            Posted February 8, 2018 at 8:51 am | Permalink

            J avid sat in front of a House of Commons committee and said he blocked high tariffs on Chinese steel to avoid unforeseen consequences.

            It is misrepresentations of the extent of our influence like this that gives those in the pro EU camp ammunition to argue we did have influence. Choose your facts wisely.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      Hopefully we will cut the price of energy by cutting the mad, green crap, market distortions we have in energy. That will help a many manufacturing industries compete.

    • zorro
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Open your ears – not everything but where it is in our national interest!!


    • Epikouros
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      I believe German steel makers are one of the biggest threats to UK steel workers.

      It is only socially that their jobs matter and in the wider scheme of things where every day jobs are lost in great abundance only to be gained in other areas of production it is unfortunate but just one of those things. It is a fact of life that it is not producers and their employees who must be protected but consumers. Your comment suggests that you have little understanding of social and economic reality. I know that you are only voicing a generally accepted belief but unfortunately like many generally accepted beliefs that jobs and other things like trade should be protected it is self defeating and leads to even worse consequences.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      So no jobs were outsourced to Poland whilst in the EU ?

      I know of a certain razor company that did just that.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

        Lots of IT Jobs have been outsourced to Poland, Bulgaria and Romania to name but three.

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted February 8, 2018 at 8:53 am | Permalink

          And sales and purchase ledger clerical roles

      • Alison
        Posted February 8, 2018 at 10:47 am | Permalink

        Examples of jobs moved to Poland, and also NL, for iconic British products: One relevant to our host’s recent post re importance of HoP building – Heinz bought HP Foods in 2005, moved production of HP Sauce to NL; Cadbury’s US acquirer, Mondelez (ie Kraft Foods), 2017, moved Dairy Milk, from Bournville to Wroclav; despite promise otherwise, Kraft closed Fry’s chocolate Keynsham manufacturing and moved production to Poland – quote from Mirror, 2011 (URL below):
        “Kraft had promised to keep the operation there, but backtracked and said it would shut the plant, at Keynsham near Bristol, with the loss of 400 jobs. The factory had made Fry’s Chocolate Creams since 1919. Nearly all the chocolate made in Poland will be transported 1,200 miles to Britain to be eaten here.”

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      Dearest Andy–Being able to cut tariffs if we choose (I emphasize those last three little words) is a far cry from what you are rather daftly trying to imply. ‘Can’ and ‘right to’ (forgive the split infinitive) are worlds apart–Henry VIII could, indeed very much did, chop a lot of heads off but that didn’t mean he was right to do so. I am no expert on steel imports but I can imagine that, all things considered, tariffs would be a tough call; however soon it will be our choice as of course it should be. A pox on what foreigners with names I can neither spell nor pronounce have to say.

    • libertarian
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 7:06 pm | Permalink


      Is there any subject you actually have some knowledge of?

      Tata Steel invest £30 million in Port Talbot steelworks to safeguard jobs… Nov 2017

      The Indian firm said it would install a 500-tonne steelmaking vessel at the plant and make other upgrades to prepare it for the future.
      The equipment will help it produce advanced forms of steel used in electric and hybrid cars as well as the building industry, Tata said.

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted February 10, 2018 at 12:41 pm | Permalink


        What a wasted comment “Is there any subject you actually have some knowledge of?”

        ….of course they don’t, they are Remainers (the so-called UK’s future “youth” and intelligent ones).

        Remainers don’t do research….frankly they don’t read period, and why should they? It is simpler to disparage Brexiteers at any given opportunity with delusive nonsense and lies….this is their gameplan, plain and simple; you of all people should know this, respectfully.

        Remainers have no real argument and it is quite easy to cut the conversation short……just ask them a simple question: “What benefits do the UK derive from EU membership vs the costs”….they simply, immediately, melt away into their deluded EU mist! Quite amusing.

  7. Prigger
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    “Equal pay for work of equal value” and, surprisingly it is law “you can compare different jobs.” Oh dear. It is unfair government has shot itself merely in one foot, it ought to shoot itself in both feet. Warehouse work and store/shop work “loading” are not the same. The “value” of their work however is clearly equal to that of MPs.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      “you can compare different jobs.” Yes and that is what the market does, if you cannot get enough people to do them you have to pay more! Employer do not really care if it is a man, a woman or a robot so long as the job is done efficiently and cost effectively.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      I wonder if the ladies involved will be paying back their working tax credits if they get compensatory back pay.

      The shop workers do friendlier hours and part-time to suit child care – optimised to get tax credits. The warehouse men do night shifts – but those jobs are open to women too and they are paid equally when in them.

      • Prigger
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

        I’ve worked in warehouses many years ago with women. They did the same hours, same work. None of this “can you lift this for me?”as many men got said to them in offices even by supervisors who were women. No they did equal work in all respects. No-one ever thought paying women less money.No trades unions and one boss was a right mean so-and-so. But I don’t think it could have ever crossed his mind to pay women less simply because they were women. The women simply wouldn’t have done it anyway. I can’t repeat what they would have told the boss to do if he tried that. 🙂

  8. Tasman
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Hurrah! Complex supply chains cut, exports subject to tariffs and non tariff barriers, inward investment collapses, EU trade deals with the rest of the world lost, but our coffee will be a bit less dear!

    • NickC
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      Tasman, Either support trade barriers such as the EU’s customs union, or support something not available within the EU, free, or freer, trade. You cannot have it both ways.

  9. Excalibur
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Pertinent as usual, JR. There is so much goodwill, even today, throughout the world in general, and the Commonwealth in particular, for striking good trade deals. We will have no difficulty in reaching amicable agreements with many countries.

    My only concern is that the myopic Remoaners will torpedo the whole exercise.

  10. Richard1
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    It seems the EU is increasingly to rely on The Rep of Ireland to force the U.K. to remain in full alignment with EU regs, and in the customs union, with this rather incredible threat that terrorism in norther Ireland will suddenly flair up if we don’t. It is a very contrived argument.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      Well, here are some relevant facts which I could if necessary back up:

      Firstly, goods exports from Northern Ireland to the Republic are worth just 0.1% of UK GDP; in other words in the wider UK economic context those exports are worth next to nothing and we could easily manage without them.

      Secondly, the new Irish government is perfectly happy to have CCTV cameras everywhere all over Ireland but has said that it will not tolerate cameras or any other unobtrusive customs technology at the border; in fact “ruling out anything that would imply a border on the island of Ireland”, almost as if at present there was no border.

      But instead of openly ridiculing this barmy stance of the Irish government as it deserves, and perhaps out of fear of renewed terrorism, apparently Theresa May has agreed that the whole of the UK, and every person and business in the UK, shall continue to be subject to every EU law after we have left the EU.

      • acorn
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

        It’s simple Denis. If there is not to be an EU frontier inside the Island of Ireland, then a united Ireland stays in the EU; or, a united Ireland stays in the UK.

        As far as I can gather, sur le continent, that is currently the only Barnier option available. Bearing in mind that Northern Ireland voted 55 to 44 to “remain”, perhaps they should replace their respective religious dogmas, with either Pounds or Euros in their Bank accounts.

        It doesn’t matter from which angle you look at Brexit, the EU is holding all the winning cards. The European Research Group (ERG) so-called as some anodyne group of researchers; is actually a bunch of Conservative fanatical, extremist ideologues, who have attracted social media commenters who, in earlier times, would be shouted down and ridiculed in public house bars.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 8, 2018 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

          I suggest that you read my comment here:


          “My suggestion was that the UK Parliament should pass a new law to guarantee that even after we have left the EU all goods exported from the UK to the Irish Republic will continue to meet all EU requirements, so there will be no need for the Republic to subject them to any additional checks on entry … “

          • rose
            Posted February 8, 2018 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

            Ian Paisley says there are already cameras at the border.

            The two previous Taiseochs say there is no problem with the border.

      • Mark B
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

        Theresa May has agreed that the whole of the UK, and every person and business in the UK, shall continue to be subject to every EU law after we have left the EU.

        How jolly convenient 😉

  11. Caterpillar
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    At least equal to BBC presenters and journalists.

  12. Lifelogic
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    As you say:- “Trade is often better than aid in promoting economic development and greater prosperity amongst emerging economies.”

    I would say, almost invariably, is it better as it trains people to help themselves and is likely to help for rather longer too.

    At least our lefty, tax and regulate, enforced gender pay gap reporting PM has not instructed us to use the term “Peoplekind” instead of “Mankind” as the dreadful president Trudeau did.

    At least not yet anyway.

  13. agricola
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Surgically accurate and explains why the EU has difficulty in arriving at trade agreements with countries like the USA. We are leaving a protectionist racket.

  14. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 8:05 am | Permalink


    Can cashiers also be warehouse operatives? Can warehouse operative act as cashiers.

    I have seen the next generation expect swift pay rises and promotion as a result of this same lack of awareness of what other people contribute. It is very self centred.

    A job’s value must surely take account of skill, physicality, output and experience. Otherwise surely all jobs are of equal value.

    This is what happens when lawyers and pressure groups are given too much say.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      Sorry in reply to Printer @6.56

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      Also harsher shifts in the warehouse. Women are paid the same in the warehouse so no discrimination.

      Will they be paying back working tax credits to the government if they win compensatory back pay ?

      Their hours have been optimised to maximise tax credits.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted February 8, 2018 at 9:14 am | Permalink

        The tax credit issue is an interesting one. I do hope HM Treasury takes as much interest in this as my child benefit, paltry interest returns and health insurance.

        With the taper rate for tax credits as much as 35% of the suggested £4 billion could be returned to the taxpayer.

      • a-tracy
        Posted February 10, 2018 at 9:09 am | Permalink

        Very good point, I’ve known people to ask for shorter weeks because they’re better off not working and getting tax credits, the government must ensure that any extra payments are deducted from taxpayer funded tax credits.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Indeed the litigation culture in the UK (nearly as bad now as the US) is a huge drag on productivity. Many of the claims are fraudulent too. Lawyer arguing over other people’s money make us all poorer and less efficient. It is also killing the NHS and deters employment.

  15. Caterpillar
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    As I have said before the CU was one of my reasons for voting to leave; it is obviously something I thought we were voting to leave. The situation now seems that there is a needless push to stay in this relationship, to allow UK waters to be occupied territories, and to not escape EU regulations. Meanwhile the EU continues to show its colours by threatening an ally with worse than it is prepared to do with countries that invade territory.

    Why are there MPs who do not want UK sovereignty, who want to be occupied and support the EU treatment of the weak. It is a mindset that I truly struggle to understand.

    • Helen Smith
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      It was part of the vote to leave, Remainers know this, they just lie that it wasn’t and say we didn’t know what we were voting for, obviously they didn’t, or they wouldn’t have voted Remain, but I did, and so did you.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

        Nicely put.

  16. alan jutson
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    “Trade is better than Aid”

    Absolutely, and if we really believe that, then we can cut our Foreign Aid Budget accordingly, and spend a good chunk of it here on some very deserving areas and causes.

  17. Pragmatist
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    I used to work food producing environment. The strict rule for exported stuff had to be within three grammes of the stated weight. Hard. Harder still as the food was cooked. We had to destroy tons of food. It may not have been an EU directive though some of the food was destined for the EU. All technical means were used to measure everything including advanced computers.
    Imagine most of the world genuinely trying to comply with thousands of EU product EU regulations. They are a barrier to free trade in themselves. And the EU knows it. It is a very protectionist organisation indeed. Barnier better get wise to our product compliances lest we cut technological costs and produce goods without using state of the art measurement devices or we’ll beat them hands down selling to most to the world where three grammes here or there is a matter of arrogant pettiness.

  18. Bert Young
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Freedom and independence is the cry from my house . The sooner it is established the happier we will be . My other wish is for the Conservatives to come properly together again under a forceful leader with long term plans . Each day when someone achieves a headline it’s normally at the expense of someone else ; enough is enough .

  19. duncan
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 9:06 am | Permalink


    We are tired of this PM and her Chancellor. We are tired of her deceit, her collaboration with senior civil servants to circumvent Brexit. We are sick with impatience at her lies

    Leave won the EU referendum. We demand she adhere to democracy

    We are tired of her virtue signalling on race, gender and sexuality. I feel myself that I am living in a social experiment and its being driven by your leader

    We are sick of being bombarded with liberal left social programming from the BBC, TV adverts, public sector policy and her tedious attempts to distance herself from Trump

    She’s a pathetic liberal left socialist who doesn’t belong anywhere near my party

    • Chris
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Again I agree wholeheartedly with you, Duncan.

  20. Epikouros
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Indeed customs unions and trading blocs are more about protectionism. What ever free trade there is it is only tariff and regulation free if the political elites producer friends (cronies) do not believe themselves threatened by it. Regulations being a substitute for tariffs when because the single market does not include tariffs it still ensure protection for cronies. True free trade does not need tariffs customs unions, blocs, treaties or regulations just trade that is unencumbered. As free markets do not need governments tinkering with the way they work as we know that way demand, price and quality suffers so that consumers are considerably inconvenienced and impoverished.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      “Indeed customs unions and trading blocs are more about protectionism”

      Not according to some; in fact the Evening Osborne has an editorial:


      claiming the opposite is true for the excellent EU Customs Union. So that is a compelling reason why we must stay in it, because otherwise “Britain will have consciously engaged in the biggest act of protectionism in our history.”

      Or, if we do not stay in the EU Customs Union itself, we could at least form a new customs union with the EU Customs Union, like Turkey. So then the EU could continue to control our trade policy, like it controls Turkey’s trade policy.

      Anything really, other than having our national Parliament controlling our national trade policy, that is the horrifying prospect which the editor of that newspaper is so desperate to avert.

      More utter tripe from he who brought you the utter tripe of Project Fear.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

        Dear Denis–From him, please

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 8, 2018 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

          That is contentious.

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted February 8, 2018 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

            Not a bit–Look at Bible for example, which I believe has, again for example, “Let him who is without sin…”. I am BTW not casting stones–Your English is usually exemplary so I am just plain surprised. There is no chance if you are going to get this wrong.

  21. Atlantic Span
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    It’s not quite as simple as you suggest Mr Redwood.Many developing world countries are ‘forced’ to undertake structural adjustment i.e. grow cash crops such as coffee by the World Bank and IMF in exchange for support loans. That’s all well and good,when the prices are high,but when there is a glut, they get next to nothing for their produce. This in turn forces them to cut their health,social care and educations programmes to pay these loans,leaving them worse off than before. There is always a price to pay.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      Atlantic Span, yes inelastic demand, they up quantity and price goes down more, so they need to move downstream which is where the tariffs are.

  22. John
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    I am looking forward to the UK once again leading the way on this and removing a lot of the value tariffs that get added to processed goods from the 3rd world.

    Some of the raw materials Africa has are:

    Platinum for our catalytic converters that it can’t make.
    Cobolt and other metals that are used in and to power our iphones, androids and laptops.
    Diamonds, rubies and gold.

    Africa would not need aid if it weren’t for these value add tariffs that the EU ad US impose. Lets get our processed coffee from Kenya and Columbia and maybe there would be less drugs and poverty there.

    • Atlantic Span
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      We will not lead the way on this. Have you been to Africa? I have,and I can tell you the Chinese have been there for years. It’s likely we would have to buy those raw materials from them!

      • John
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

        I’m a bit more positive. Yes I have been there and yes the Chinese and Indians are buying up Africa. If they could trade processed raw materials less of that would be happening.

        Are you saying you would prefer to retain value tariffs on Africa? I suspect we would very much upset the applecart.

  23. nhsgp
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    WTO rules.

    You can’t impose increase in barriers to trade or tariffs against another member without their agreement.

    May is an idiot if she signs up for any deal that does that.

    Instead we should take Cyprus to the WTO if the EU decides to impose them. Cyprus then says its a fair cop guv, and the EU has to pay damages.

  24. am
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    The share of world growth outside the eu is far more than in the eu. The eu has been unintentionally transferring economic power from itself to the row but it is a consequence of its hostility to products produced in the row.
    The UK should focus on these growing markets not the declining market of the eu.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      And what will the UK offer to these growing markets that Japan, Germany, the US and a handful of other countries cannot offer, especially given that the UK’s larger manufacturing and financial services firms tend to be foreign owned and alrady catering for those markets from establishments elsewhere.

      • libertarian
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 7:12 pm | Permalink


        Please find out the first thing about some of the world class UK businesses before typing the tripe you post.

        You could start with world leading medical devices, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, vehicles, electronics, scotch whisky not to mention our world leading, film, TV, music industries , yeh we’ve got nothing to sell , nothing at all…… Doh ! You remailers who on the whole are pretty clueless about trade and business are going to be so shocked once we’ve left and you actually start finding out what we do….

        • Rien Huizer
          Posted February 8, 2018 at 9:28 am | Permalink

          And how many of those are NOT owned/controlled by non-UK firms? Not a fair question and I understand your response. What you say is true, the UK is a leader (and has been so historically) in many industries, some of which with a very bright future. But that does not mean shareholders and managers will find it advantageous to produce in the UK for export. Industries where location does not matter or where the UK -regardless of its status under trade political arrangements- has competitive advantage (still a Michael Porter fan) could do very well and maybe better if the UK enters an era of labour abundance and low wages, or advantageous taxes. Of course. But no one is showing the evidence while industry groups and especially foreign investors are sounding concerned.

          • NickC
            Posted February 8, 2018 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

            Rien, That’s what you say, but not what the EU does. The EU is trying to tie us up in its red tape even after we (supposedly) leave. So either the EU is purely spiteful, or it is concerned about what it terms is “unfair” competition. Or a combination.

  25. A.Sedgwick
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    The EU leadership are behaving as many of us feared in making our exit as fraught and acrimonious as possible for their own misguided beliefs. Their federal edifice is crumbling and we need a strong leader to resist their disturbing and continuing move away from democracy with threats worthy of a different era. It is revealing that even Clegg has recently said that nations want to control their destiny, people are tribal and wish to wrap in their own flag. Free trade is obviously seen as the thin end of the wedge to end the EU dream.

  26. FrankW
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    There are many other things to be considered as well, for instance, quality of product, safety of product to eat perhaps free of chemical spraying? Then there is the upholding of european workers pay and conditions of work, retirement age and pensions etc..it can not just be all about opening up the borders and allowing importers to bring in anything they like without restriction or regulation so that they can undermine home growers and home production standards..so how can you square that with what you are suggesting which is a free for all..bring on the chlorine washed chicken? Beef from God knows where? It’s not what I want for my family!

    Reply You only need buy the things you like!

    • Alison
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      FrankW, I have heard from reliable sources that suppliers in perhaps the main EU exporter of green veg to the UK ignore the rule that veg is not sprayed with pesticide/chemicals in the week before harvesting (which is prohibited). Apart from some core principles (buy local, buy British, don’t buy food which has travelled hundreds of unnecessary food miles), I don’t buy that country’s veg because I do not know what nasty chemicals I am feeding my family.

      Segue onto the EU’s inconsistency in applying fines, sanctions for a country not abiding by EU or eurozone regulations .. for instance, not bringing your eurozone country’s budget deficit below 3%, having too big an economic surplus – but no sanctions applied. We read that the EU seeks ‘Single market sanction power’ (Beeb web site) over the UK during the ‘transition’ period. The EU Commission will not hesitate with that sanction.

      • John Barleycorn
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

        See the link to UK Government pesticide monitoring in the food chain. The EU has a similar website http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/topics/topic/pesticides . About 3% of food across the EU, and across the UK, exceeds Maximum [pesticide] residue levels. Smile at the number of organic samples that contain pesticide.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      And I don’t want to eat meat from animals that have been ill-treated by being transported around different countries but I have no choice in this because the EU allows it and the UK government can do nothing about it. I’d also like to buy chicken free from salmonella, if you don’t want that then it’s up to you I suppose.

    • David Price
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      Why should even I care about upholding European workers pay and conditions.

      Little of the fruit I buy in the supermarket comes from the EU, similarly much of the veg. Given a choice I buy British meat and fish, I am actively avoiding Irish beef and Dutch pork for example. I buy new world wines. Best to avoid the risk of infected eggs and fake-beef.

    • Pragmatist
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      “Beef from God knows where?” France banned our beef. China is re-accepting our beef in six months time thanks to Mrs May. Did you feed British beef to your family .Tut!tut!!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      “bring on the chlorine washed chicken?”

      Well, I have an open mind; but perhaps you could tell us, with good reasons based on evidence and not just anti-American prejudice spread by leftwing media outlets, why we should not allow a final disinfection stage before poultry is put on sale.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

        Dear Denis–This was of course thrashed to death months ago–Correct dilution is everything–Swimming pools are still chlorinated I’ll bet. The New York Times et al would be squawking from the skyscraper tops if one single American had suffered from the tiny amount of chlorine used to wash chicken.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

      Talk about a drama queen!!

  27. margaret
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Yes, exploiting other countries to such an extent is not acceptable these days.

  28. Mark
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    This is a new one..a tory politician concerned about the development of third world economies that we can throw our borders open.. with the cabinet now shifting between whether we’re going for a streamlined customs deal or some other customs arrangement and with a decision imminent..probably due by Friday..just wondering why JR is still going on about Free trade and the WTO option

  29. Original Richard
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    It’s a double whammy.

    We subsidise inefficient EU farmers AND in return pay more for our imported food than we could be buying from the rest of the world on WTO terms outside the EU’s protectionist CU.

    Talking of EU subsidies being used against our interests, our contributions to the EU budget have been used by the EU to subsidise corporations to move their factories out of the UK into other parts of the EU.

  30. formula57
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Why oh why does this government not loudly proclaim your message today (and many like messages)?

    Instead reporting is dominated by quisling/remoaner lies and Evil Empire pronouncements and it is those that are left to shape people’s thinking.

  31. forthurst
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    My recollection of our joining the EEC in the first place was that it was posited as a Customs Union and little else; we could either stay out and experience 20% tariffs across the board, or we could lose our Commonwealth preference trade and enter into tariff-free trade with what was essentially a French/German zone . Even further back I recall H. Macmillan getting the brush off from De Gaulle. However, the Tories were still desperate to join because they believed that having lost an Empire we needed something to replace it or some such nonsense.

    It is not at all certain that the Brussels regime did not have the same reservations as De Gaulle, namely that we would never make ‘good Europeans’ because we were too independently minded and we would always be backsliding when it came to advances in integration, but quite cynically decided to let us in on the basis that they would take us for all they could.

    We have had our fishing industry all but destroyed by the CFP, out agricultural industry severely constrained, our manufacturing base largely obliterated or taken over by them, all for which we have been paying them handsomely. Anyone who thinks we were ever going to get a square deal out of the EU clearly has not been watching closely. It is time now to pull the plug on this disastrous experiment and leave totally and completely, preferably without a free trade deal which is designed to buttress French farmers and German manufacturers and will prevent us from fully developing our agricultural and other industries.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted February 8, 2018 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      Why was the UK fishing industry “destroyed” while the Dutch flourished? Maybe the Dutch fishermen (fishing in the same waters and by the same rules and often with higher wages/profit shares) were more competitive at not only fishing but also processing and marketing. They have bigger ships than most EU competitors but that is not the result of subsidy, tax breaks etc. The demise of the UK fishing industry is also connected to the fact that fish tastes vary across countries. Maybe UK fishermen did not respond to the opportunities that EU markets offered like the Danes and Dutch. Anyway, I wonder how many active fishermen are among the coastal residents who complain about this.

      • NickC
        Posted February 8, 2018 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        Rien, Quotas. We are a large island surrounded by the sea. Our once large fishing industry has not been eliminated merely decimated in line with the EU quotas by the EU.

      • Prigger
        Posted February 14, 2018 at 1:37 am | Permalink

        Yeah, we island people were lousy at fishing, fish-processing and fish-marketing No experience!

  32. robert lewy
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    So without membership of “the” or “a” CU where are negotiations heading?

    Perhaps we can gain some insight in looking into the newly completed EU Japan TA.

    extract pertaining to motor vehicles

    “Motor vehicles – the agreement ensures that both Japan and the EU will fully align themselves to the same international standards on product safety and the protection of the environment, meaning that European cars will be subject to the same requirements in the EU and Japan, and will not need to be tested and certified again when exported to Japan. With Japan now committing itself to international car standards, EU exports of cars to Japan will be significantly simplified. This also paves the way for even stronger cooperation between the EU and Japan in international standard setting fora.”

    “Technical barriers to trade – the agreement puts the focus on Japan and the EU’s mutual commitment to ensure that their standards and technical regulations are based on international standards to the greatest possible extent. Combined with the provisions on non-tariff measures, this is good news for European exporters of electronics, pharmaceuticals, textiles and chemicals. For instance, reliance on international standards will be helpful for easier and less costly compliance of food products with Japanese labelling rules.”

    Yes, I can see International Standards being a working solution to the conundrum of Regulatory Alignment. It provides a means to achieve a level playing field without requiring formal subjugation of collocuter.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 8, 2018 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      And we do not have to pay to be in it.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted February 8, 2018 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      You realise that Japan and EU harmonising standards means one important thing for the UK: in the case of WTO or Minford, Japan will use a few extra shifts in Japan or Thailand (where they build cars for the ANZ markets and SE Asian right hand drive markets) to supply the UK market (still following EU standards probably then) and move their left hand drive production to the Continent. Jaguar Rover could (not immediately, but a country where Mercedes sources critical parts could reach very high quality) move home to India..Just look at Honda’s production and model strategy and see the UK car industry future. In a Minford model, (no duties etc) BMW would not be building Minis in England and so on.

      • NickC
        Posted February 8, 2018 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        Rien, You make extraordinary predictions seemingly based on no more than your own chutzpah. Such predictive powers are worthy of our own Treasury. And I assume you are a billionaire based on them.

        • Rien Huizer
          Posted February 8, 2018 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

          Not yet!

  33. robert lewy
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Addendum to my last post:-

    “It provides a means to achieve a level playing field without requiring formal subjugation of collocuter………”


  34. RupertP
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    The point about EU tariffs is well made and I’m sure the EU understands it too. This at least partly explains why the EU is so terrified that the UK will make a success of Brexit and hence why they are doing everything they can to prevent the UK from making these gains.

    The EU are using the exit agreement and transition to put legal barriers in place to ensure the UK is unable to achieve these benefits. I refer you to the fudge documented in paragraph 49 of the EU / UK joint statement on Brexit from December, which says:

    “The United Kingdom remains committed to protecting North-South cooperation and to its guarantee of avoiding a hard border. Any future arrangements must be compatible with these overarching requirements. The United Kingdom’s intention is to achieve these objectives through the overall EU-UK relationship. Should this not be possible, the United Kingdom will propose specific solutions to address the unique circumstances of the island of Ireland. In the absence of agreed solutions, the United Kingdom will maintain full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union which, now or in the future, support North-South cooperation, the all island economy and the protection of the 1998 Agreement.”

    Particular attention needs to be given to the final sentence, as this is what applies if we can’t come to an agreement with the EU. The working assumption should be that this is what will apply, as this default position suits Ireland and the EU and means that the EU has no incentive to make any concessions in this area. It seems to me that we have already been out-negotiated by the EU.

    Assuming the EU continues to assert that Northern Ireland must effectively stay in the single market / customs union, either the whole UK has to stay in the customs union or there is some sort of border in the Irish sea, which is not acceptable to the DUP. Since Mrs May relies on the DUP for her majority in parliament, it is evident that the only solution available to her that keeps them on board is to remain in the customs union, even though that is not in the long term best interests of the UK as a whole.

    JR – If you think differently about how the Irish border problem is resolved to Ireland’s and the EU’s satisfaction, please enlighten us with your thoughts. You can talk about the benefits of leaving the customs union all day long, but it seems to me that the Ireland border issue will ultimately prevent the UK from making the most of Brexit by leaving the customs union.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

      In the absence of agreed solutions, the United Kingdom will maintain full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union . . .

      Rather puts paid to the LIE that we are leaving the CU and SM.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted February 8, 2018 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      I am sure that “the EU are using the exit agreement..” is happening in good consultation with UK officials. The EU does not want a mess and neither does the government.

  35. MikeP
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    It is a constant source of disappointment, frustration and derision that so much attention is put onto Free Trade Agreements when they were rarely mentioned before an EU Referendum was mooted years ago. As far as I know, we don’t have FTAs with China, the US, Canada, Australia, India, Japan and goodness knows however many other leading economic powers yet trade flows in both directions perfectly well.
    The standard riposte to this observation is that while what I’ve said is true, we *do* have an FTA with the EU27. Well sort of, it’s a trading agreement that prevents us from negotiating with countries where we have a natural affinity and many commercial opportunities and has cost us billions in every year bar one since we joined the EEC, whereas trading without FTAs to the countries above seemingly does not. Perhaps the *absence* of FTAs with these important countries – and our trade *surplus* with them in many cases – should be stressed a lot more by leading Brexiteers ?

  36. MPC
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Mrs May has boxed herself politically into a corner with her unfortunate aspiration for a ‘deep and special partnership’. Many Remain supporters suggest this therefore must include staying in a customs union. She surely has the political skills to row back from this aim, but there’s no evidence to suggest any conviction to do so. One can perhaps respect her sense of duty in carrying on, but she seems to see Brexit as a task to be completed, rather than deliver the clean Brexit that surely the referendum result demands.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      I can understand her emollience when she had just became Prime Minister and felt she had to offer reassurance that whatever her predecessor had said we were not about to start World War Three:


      “‘Brexit’ could trigger World War Three, warns David Cameron”

      But she should have hardened her attitude pretty quickly.

      Now eurocrats know they can kick the UK around without any retaliation.

  37. Atlas
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    …Agree with what you say John…

    By the way, I wonder who leaked the proposed ‘punishment regime’ of the EU for the UK. And why did they do so?

  38. WinstonS
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Just asking: For a little survey (and quenching my own curiosity): how many contributors on this blog have ever lived (not including holidays) and worked for more than a few weeks abroad, outside GB?
    How many on this blog have a knowledge of a language other than English at a working level (again not ordering sangria, ouzo, or the equivalent local foreign drink)?
    How many books (or newspapers, magazines) have you read in a language other than English in the three months?
    Just curious.

    Reply I have worked in several overseas countries in business in the past and read French and Spanish

    • Iain Gill
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      I have worked abroad Belgium, Italy, USA (several places), Australia, New Zealand, Holland and others. I did acquire rudimentary survival Italian which I have subsequently lost, and poor schoolboy French, other than that been lucky to be an English speaker in a world full of English speakers, but then I escaped sink schools where kids were expected to go down the mines or join the army and no attempt was made to teach languages until I was about 14 for a few weeks when it was already too late.

      Not really read books much in foreign languages, but certainly used a lot of computer systems with a foreign language interface and no English, which teaches you more than you would think.

      Rather than get snotty about languages and compare people like me to the Nick Cleggs of this world who had privileged upbringings and were exposed to multiple languages from a young age, I suggest you encourage the school system to do rather better and especially start teaching languages far earlier from infant age.

    • Tintin
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      I have.The experiences were ghastly.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

        Tintin. Me too. I lived in Spain for 5 years and learnt the language. Ghastly experience too.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      I worked and lived overseas for over 20 years and have a working knowledge of Arabic and Hindi.
      We built 4 power stations and every contract meeting was in English. But I fail to see your point

      • rose
        Posted February 8, 2018 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

        I think he is trying to make out we are xenophobes. Or insular. Or both.

        I have lived in Turkey and Senegal. It was difficult to learn Turkish as besides being an unusually rich language, the Turks we knew spoke French in company, so that is what we did. It was French in West Africa too.

        My husband also speaks German and Portuguese, and I can read Spanish.

    • sm
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      In response to your question, I lived and worked in Israel for 6 months many years ago and learned the language.

      I speak French and understand German, partly because my family background on both sides (father and both sets of grandparents) were from France and Central Europe, and only yesterday read a complete literary article in French.

      I currently live in South Africa, and am retired.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      None and none. But I do not need to as my work is here in the UK. I work with many talented people from all over the work who speak perfectly good English, so no need to learn a foreign language.

      Quite happy to explore the world and live somewhere else if need be, (seriously thought of living in Switzerland and learning Swiss German) but family commitments prevented that.

      Nothing against foreign countries or people, just do not see the need to be governed by a foreign unaccountable power when I have one that has worked fairly well in one form or another for hundreds of years.

      HTH 🙂

    • Alison
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      I do. I speak fluent Fre, Ger (I mean, fluent, unrecognizably not Fr, Ger, Swiss), work in ital, Span, some Luxembourgish, good passive Swedish, Danish, Portuguese, some Arabic, and others. Have deep cultural knowledge of French & German-speaking countries. Worked for a continental European bank, based across the Channel. Worked in Luxembourg, lived in France, studied in Austria etc etc Closest friends across the Channel. Family members in/from Spain, Denmark, NL, France, Greece. Used to cover European economics & equities.
      I regularly read (e.g.) FAZ, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Die Welt, Die Presse (Austrian), NZZ, Le Figaro, Le Point … (not in English).
      Do you want me to continue?

      • Alison
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

        ps am also regularly on other side of the Channel. But I don’t need to be, I work remotely. Though being across there – Fr, Ger, Belg, Lux most recently – does give insights not readily available otherwise.

      • Tintin
        Posted February 8, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

        Yes but do you have worldly experience Alison ? 🙂 Usually such questions are posed rhetorically. The questioner though perhaps not in this case, wishes to draw a connection between Right-wing thought-racism ignorance, un-intelligence -prejudice against foreigners through ignorance and illogical hatred of them. Anything, but admit the EU is a dictatorship and we must leave it. Anything but accept people have differing opinions and a right-winger ( as seen ) can be more tolerant than any other being you may imagine ).

    • Andy
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

      I have lived in Greece and the USA.
      I speak Greek and read the Greek press nearly everyday.

    • a-tracy
      Posted February 8, 2018 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      French, but too busy working and creating work for others in the UK to work abroad but I’d love to.
      Do you count translations of foreign articles by bloggers and newspapers in another tongue? If so regularly.

  39. WinstonS
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    in the last three months (Sorry!)

    • Tintin
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      ( Sorry! ) Not in the last three months except numerous almost daily on the spot internet translations of articles in Chinese, French, Italian, German, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Swedish, Hungarian, and possibly Malay,. Oh and American English( hourly ) without translation which precious few British people understand except literally including both the Labour Shadow and Tory Cabinet Ministers. I think the SNP understand it but they pretend not to.

  40. rose
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    It is astonishing how many of my friends who are concerned about Africa, support the Protection Racket. There needs to be much more information given out on this – but with a three quarters remain government and House of Commons, and a wholly remain civil service, I don’t suppose that is going to happen.

  41. adams
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    But some sort of agreement with the EU on customs arrangements has to take place does it not ? Please enlighten me John .

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      There are agreements on customs co-operation and mutual assistance, eg:


      “What is in the Agreements on customs co-operation and mutual assistance in customs matters?”

      “The agreements are part of the European Community’s strategy vis-à-vis third countries as regards customs co-operation … ”

      “The agreements specify also that both sides shall strive for simplification and harmonisation of customs procedures, taking into account the work done by international organisations like for example the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) …”

      If the EU wishes to ensure that the current easy two way trade between the UK and the other EU member states will continue unimpeded when the UK has left the EU and has become a “third country” in its eyes then of course it will be necessary to adopt/adapt similar agreements.

      Of course it is possible that the EU will behave in a sufficiently stupid and spiteful way that it will decide to deliberately disrupt that trade, even though of course the balance of trade is hugely to its advantage.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      Dear Adams–Have you ever wondered how the ROTW manages? That’s all I want–to rejoin the ROTW and I won’t be losing sleep over agreements with them–unlike with the EU which I agree it is likely to be hard to agree much with

      • Mark B
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 8:44 pm | Permalink


  42. Helen Smith
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Is there anything, anything at all to be said in favour of the EU. Today the Guardian is cheering on the EUs latest proposals for punishing the UK if we dare to deviate at all from their rules in the transition period.

    Future generations will look back in bewilderment at the blinkered attitudes of Remainers.

    On the Daily Politics Dan Hannan set out calmly and clearly why the EUs CU is not for us. He then detailed just why the Treasury ‘s latest predictions are not to be trusted. Within minutes Labour’s Luciana Berger was saying how we must trust the experts and stay in the CU.

    I despair, are these MPs actually deliberately damaging our economy to hide their stupidity at keeping us in the EU all these years, or are they just stupid?

    • DougM
      Posted February 8, 2018 at 12:39 am | Permalink

      Helen Smith.. there is a school of thought that maintains we were taken over by a wave of anti EU populism and that with a campaign of disinformation o er decades coming from unscrupulous politicians and a rag gutter press that has led us to this place..there are a lot of UK watchers in europe who firmly believe this- the poor deluded british public were deluded and deceived.

      So this is what’s going to happen..we’ll have a Customs arrangement with them that will carry over for say twenty or thirty years u til a lot of the older generation are not around anymore and then steps will be taken for the rei tegration of the UK back into the EU fold..historians will lookk back and describe it in books as tbe time of the lost brexit years..a glit h in the overall development of things to come because by then tbe EU will have morphed into an economic body that will include Russia, China and Japan, otherwise called the Northern hemisphere economy..the UK will have some catching up to do

  43. fedupsoutherner
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Well at least we may get shot of Soubrey. That’s got to be a price worth paying! Seriously, with the threats currently coming from the EU over trade and tariffs isn’t it time Mrs May told the EU exactly where to go? Lets’ get on with the job of developing trade with other nations and in particular third world countries and then we may be able to stop giving out so much foreign aid. Another win for the tax payer.

  44. mancunius
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Since we want a FTA with the EU, and the government is agreed that we shall not subject ourselves to any single market or CU, why are we putting the cart before the horse and asking for a transition period at all? The conditions Brussels has outlined for a trade agreement are comploetely unacceptable, and there can be no compromise on this: we should reply ‘thanks but no thanks’, and plan for WTO rules to begin on 30 March 2019.

    May is unduly impressed by the CBI’s threat that global multinational businesses will leave the UK unless they have such a transition. Multinationals may equally use such a period of grace to leave the UK anyway. But does it really matter if they do leave? It will create a gap for more agile and entrepreneurial businesses who are less in hock to the Brussels lobbying system to come and do business here. And meanwhile, our finance sector is very vulnerable to EU attacks during such a transition/implementation period.
    The CBI love the customs union stitch-up, and are keen to keep us tied to the EU for another two years (in the vain hope we’ll never leave) but they are not prepared to compensate us for higher debt, higher taxes, higher prices and political and social dangers – in short, paying the Danegeld *and* having to put up with the Danes.
    If the EU customs union teaches us anything, it is that the EU has no goodwill at all. Let’s accept that now and act on it resolutely.

    • Helena
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      I want to tell you what “WTO rules” means.
      It means tariffs and non-tariff barriers with the EU – that’s 45% of our export trade made harder and costlier. (David Davis once said we’d get the “exact same benefits” after Brexit – have you heard him say that lately?).
      It means loss of all the benefits of EU’s deals with the rest of the world on free trade, on customs cooperation and on mutual recognition – that’s 55% of our export trade made harder and costlier. (Liam Fox once said he’d whip up some brand new trade deals in an afternoon – have you heard him say that, or anything else, lately?).
      “WTO rules” means the biggest backward step in trading privileges that any country has willingly undertaken in history

      • alan jutson
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 7:56 pm | Permalink


        Unless I am mistaken talks on trade have yet to start !

        Lets see what the situation is in one years time, you may be right, you may be wrong.

        The important thing is that we should be able to govern ourselves.

        The EU will not remain as it is, it will change in the next decade, I suggest it will change to something most people in the UK would not countenance when it does, hence remain was never an option..

      • Edward2
        Posted February 7, 2018 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

        More dodgy statistics from you
        Over 85% of UK GDP us developed internally.
        The remaining balance is our exports.
        Of which circa 40% goes via Rotterdam
        Of which approx 60% goes to Europe
        Simple question. ..if we have a trade deficit with the EU of approx 70 billion per year who loses the most if WTO rules apply?

      • mancunius
        Posted February 8, 2018 at 2:11 am | Permalink

        You are looking at it from the wrong end of the telescope: we are offering the EU a tariff-free trade deal in all our mutual interests. If EU countries erect import tariffs for our exports to them, their own citizens and consumers will be the losers. That is their problem, not ours.
        Brussels cannot force us to put up a tariff wall ourselves. And all economic analysis has shown that low or zero import tariffs (which should be our own aim) will be economically beneficial to the UK. As economist Roger Bootle says: we should have no fears about trading with the EU under WTO rules, which will give us an advantage of control and transparency. (Bootle underlined this in his recent article in the Telegraph’s business section.)
        As to Mutual Recognition Agreements – they are the basis of any trade, and nobody pays for them. We already have regulatory equivalence with the EU, so MRAs should be a no-brainer.
        The EU should logically help itself by offering free trade without restrictions (which is the point of the word ‘Free’). But alas, the EU has no institutional grasp at all of a FTA. They’re like a child who demands you let their family (and several other families) come and live in your house for ever, just because you swap some comics with them.

    • Helen Smith
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      Didn’t the CBI declare everyone would pack up and go home if we didn’t join the Euro, why the hell does anyone pay them the least heed?

  45. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    When it was first mooted that after we had left the EU there would be an “implementation period” that idea made perfect sense to me. It’s commonplace for international treaties to include transitional provisions, and I couldn’t see any great problem with the description that Theresa May gave in her Lancaster House speech:


    But somehow what started off then as a sensible “phased process of implementation”, and with an express understanding that “For each issue, the time we need to phase-in the new arrangements may differ. Some might be introduced very quickly, some might take longer … ” has now been transformed into a ridiculous, oxymoronic “status quo” or “standstill” transition during which nothing at all will change.

    And what would happen at the end of that “standstill” period, assuming that it did ever have an end? Would there then be an additional “implementation period” during which the changes really were finally phased in? Or would all the changes be made at once in a cataclysmic “big bang”, or as we fall off a precipitous “cliff edge?”

    I suppose the real lesson is that we cannot trust our government much more than we can trust the EU. Any concession such as “I can see the sense of making some of the necessary changes gradually rather than all at once” is stretched beyond recognition to “Nothing at all will change for two, or maybe three or more, years after we have left the EU”, and then of course the next stage could be “or maybe an unlimited number of years”.

  46. Jane
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 4:55 pm | Permalink


    This is an excellent site and article posted by Iain Dale today. It gives all the information and well worth a read.

  47. duncan
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    I watched PMQ’s today. She should have slaughtered this grubby Marxist and nailed him to the mast and yet she dithered and squirmed

    Tory voters want a leader who is bold, confident in their beliefs, an attack dog unafraid of anyone and everything, a leader who confronts all-comers with unashamed glee. we are tired of Theresa May and her verbal flatulence

    Corbyn is a DANGER. We want a leader who stands up, points the finger at the opposition and tells the British public – ‘Labour is a danger to the UK. Corbyn is a danger to the UK’

    There is a silent majority ‘out there’ in the UK looking for direction and leadership. Someone to explain the dangers of Corbyn, McDonnell, Marxist politics, fascist left strategies, union aggression etc etc –

    we need another Thatcher not another Major we have today

    • Mark B
      Posted February 7, 2018 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

      Then vote for one ! And if one is not in the offing, vote for someone else ! That’ll get their (Tory) attention.

      • graham1946
        Posted February 8, 2018 at 10:58 am | Permalink

        How, exactly?

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted February 8, 2018 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      You need a Leader. Know the German word for that? Do you have any idea how well she is doing while a substantial part of her party is paving the way for exactly what you do not want (and my personal reason for commenting here): a failed Marxian experiment?

  48. nigel seymour
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    This could well be the start of the anti-brexit folk referring their ‘cases’ to the EJC in a hope to reverse brexit. Gina Miller has yet to surface again since the SC ruling but will undoubtedly do so sometime this year. Blair will be taking note and perhaps join Miller and Adonis in court actions. IDS made a statement regarding the miller ruling stating that parliament and democracy may well be over ruled by UK courts. Bill Cash raised this same concern recently. We shall no doubt see…

    The European Court of Justice (ECJ) is to be questioned on whether British people have rights to EU citizenship after Brexit.
    A Dutch judge has agreed to take the issue to the court following a landmark case brought by five British nationals.
    Netherlands-based Stephen Huyton is among the group that has been campaigning for ECJ intervention.
    If the ECJ does make a ruling, it might guarantee post-Brexit rights, such as freedom of movement.
    Mr Huyton, a director of a US firm who has lived in The Netherlands for the past 24 years, co-launched the action in Amsterdam.
    He said he was delighted with the Dutch judge’s decision, but added that this was only the “first step to clarity about what Brexit means for our EU citizenship”.
    He and his family maintain that they hold independent rights as EU citizens, above those of any specific member state.
    However, many Brexit supporters argue that the ECJ should not have power to overrule British court decisions.
    More than a million British nationals live in EU countries and about 42,500 live in the Netherlands.
    “You cannot play with the lives of 1.2 million people as if they are pieces on a chess board,” said Mr Huyton, who was not eligible to vote in the UK’s EU referendum in 2016 as he had been living outside the UK for more than 15 years.

  49. Iain Gill
    Posted February 7, 2018 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    I must say if tonight’s headlines are correct that government trying to save money by massaging the numbers of kids entitled to free school meals lower is a scummy way to run the country. FFS take the money off the aid budget, or parliamentary select committee travel, or any of the countless ways it could be saved easily. Taking it off kids, who exactly do the conservatives expect to vote for them? It’s not a good look and shows a very bad political radar.

    • graham1946
      Posted February 8, 2018 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      It’s in their DNA. Remember ‘Milk snatcher Thatcher?

      Far easier than getting rich chums to cough up.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted February 8, 2018 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

        Hopefully John will express his displeasure to the whips

      • rose
        Posted February 8, 2018 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

        Much of the milk was being poured down the sink. What is free often gets discarded. The previous Labour government had already cut it in secondary schools. She was being asked to make £9 million of savings and wanted also to spend more on education. In those days it was not considered unreasonable for mothers to provide their children with milk, and the row the Labour Party and Media co-ordinated was bogus. I know we have gone backwards in that regard now.

  50. Peter D Gardner
    Posted February 8, 2018 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    It is beyond sane comprehension that the UK’s government is wasting time debating a Customs Union with the EU when, if it had any backbone, it could have a true free trade deal. Is that even being discussed?

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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