Labour’s customs contradictions

“Cherry picking on stilts said one critic of Labour’s idea for the UK negotiating stance. They want “full access to” EU markets maintaining the “benefits of the single market and customs union” . The UK should also be able to “negotiate agreement of new trade deals in our national interest”, and should not be a “passive recipient of rules decided elsewhere by others”. There’s a good series of contradictions for you in a few sentences.

You cannot be in a customs union with a Customs Union and negotiate your own free trade deals on the side. You have to impose their common external tariff on everyone else. Nor is it at all likely that you can stay in a customs union with the rest of the EU without having to accept their rules.

It is unlikely the EU would offer us membership of a customs union without requiring that we accept their rules, and without demanding payments and continued freedom of movement. In other words a customs union would look much like membership of the EU without a seat at the table to be outvoted in person.

Meanwhile it is Groundhog time again in the Commons on this issue. We have twice had important debates and votes on whether the UK should stay in the customs union or not. (Amendments to the Queens Speech and to the EU Withdrawal Bill) Twice the Commons has decisively rejected this idea. Now some MPs want to do it again as a amendment to the Trade Bill. I do not see the point of doing it all again, and would expect the government to win another vote on this, even if this time Labour is on a whip to support the customs union instead of whipping to abstain.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

224 Comments

  1. Mark B
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    As this charade continues, from both main parties, time is running out. Neither the government or the opposition know what to do. We the electorate, have ordered them to do that which they were employed and returned to parliament last year to do – Leave the EU.

    The difficulty of leaving was never lost on me and those that understood that you cannot have a Supranational government do most of your work and not have an effect on your ability to self govern.

    The opposition, and that is everyone, should understand that now is really not the time to play politics. All that they were required to do was hold the government to account and make sure that we left in as good order as possible. You are all over the place as you have a position that you are clearly at odds with, hence the need to concede evermore ground in order to achieve a Soft-Remain.

    Politics has descended to a new low.

    • oldtimer
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      The arrogance of those seeking to overturn or otherwise frustrate the Brexit referendum result is as breathtaking as it is obvious – whether through parliamentary skulduggery or taking cash from a foreign billionaire.

      Once upon a time the ruling order sought to uphold the divine right of kings. We know how that ended. Today, we are told, the ruling order want to uphold the rights of the EU even though the people have said it must end. It is time the May government got a grip and got on with it.

      • oldtimer
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:12 am | Permalink

        The arrogance of those seeking to overturn or otherwise frustrate the Brexit referendum result is as breathtaking as it is obvious – whether through parliamentary skulduggery or taking cash from a foreign billionaire.

        Once upon a time the ruling order sought to uphold the divine right of kings. We know how that ended. Today, we are told, the ruling order want to uphold the rights of the EU even though the people have said it must end. It is time the May government got a grip and got on with it.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

          ‘That skull had a tongue in it and could sing once. How the knave jowls it to the ground, as if it were Cain’s jawbone, that did the first murder! It might be the pate of a politician, which this ass now o’erreaches, one that would circumvent God, might it not?’ – Hamlet

          Shakespeare is scathing of politicians. Whether it be Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, Julius Caesar and so on.

          Being a politician can be a noble profession. Look at Sir Thomas More. But it can often be the opposite. And I’m afraid the skulduggery we’re seeing at the moment over Brexit is shameful to the history of our Parliament, and only sullies any nobility Brexit could have had.

          • Hope
            Posted February 28, 2018 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

            We read May’s has caved in on immigration to the EU and allow EU citizens to remain here during the extension. This was another red line and firm claim this would not happen when the U.K. Leaves the EU. JR, is this just a cave in or a blatant lie?

            Major makes a false claim about no govt making anyone poor. He did exactly that for his fanatical dream of being in the EU and jointing the ERM. Thousands lost their home and businesses because of him. He knows and he knows what he said today. He will say anything and nothing he says can be believed.

            Oust your leader or General election please. If parliament is not prepared to honour its vote and pledge to leave the EU on the public mandate those opposing should resign or be sacked. Letwin made clear it is more important to uphold the vote than issue before parliament, what does Steven Hammond, Ford, Wollaston, Soubry, Grieve, Clarke and the Labour Party not understand?
            If the ballot box is made null and void by remaining in the EU by another name i.e. Customs union and vassal state what should the public resort to?

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

          Sorry but i don’t want this generation of politicians screwing things up for the next generation of people and the next. Yes, let’s face the cons of Europe. But not throw away the pros. Let’s try and reform Europe. But not end up jolting our country in such a way that imperils it economically / politically / socially / culturally.
          And if people still want Hard Brexit, fine. But approach it sensibly. Once our country can afford it. We have the leadership and strategy. And enough people feel enthusiastically about it.

          Best wishes.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

          Lastly, the killing of His Majesty the King Charles 1 was a crime. He, like Parliament, received his authority to rule by Almighty God, Himself.

          That doesn’t mean the King was infallible. But to kill him was a crime, and just reaped further blood (not forgetting how Oliver Cromwell’s head ended up beheaded as well.

          The regicide of Charles I is a shameful part of our Parliamentary history (not forgetting how with the Roundheads, came dreaded puritanism). Bit like, but not as bad, as the shameful Jacobins of the French Revolution.

          Yes, Charles I needed to be taught a lesson, and the powers of Parliament increased. But not with the killing of His Majesty the King.

          • Hope
            Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

            JR, two days ago you blogged the U.K. Would decide who emigrates to the U.K. Today we read May has capitulated on this during the extension and that EU citizens entering can stay indefinitely. She has capitulated before even Friday! Utterly useless. It cannot be a transition or implementation because nothing changes. It is an extension as a vassal state. That is what May is achieving. You need to stop her, oust her now.

          • zorro
            Posted February 28, 2018 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

            No, he was tried, convicted and executed for high treason against his own people. He acted like an absolute monarch levying taxes without the consent of Parliament. After being defeated, he sought an alliance with Scotland to fight his own English subjects, after being shown leniency but refusing to act as a constitutional monarch. He started the war by effectively declaring war on Parliament by comitting a serious breach of parliamentary privilege and effectively invading the Commons.

            zorro

          • Peter
            Posted March 1, 2018 at 2:39 am | Permalink

            Hope,

            Yes another needless concession from May on immigration during the so-called transition. Actions speak louder than words.

            Don’t hold your breath waiting for Brexiteers to oust her though.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

          Lastly, Brexiters have undermined Parliamentary Democracy by using a Plebiscite to over-rule the authority of Parliament.

          • zorro
            Posted February 28, 2018 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

            Rubbish and you know it! Parliament legislated in order that they delegate this important decision to THE PEOPLE so that we could decide our destiny and not be led poorly by MPs as we have in recent times.

            zorro

          • ian wragg
            Posted February 28, 2018 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

            What a stupid comment even by your standards Ed. Cameron called the referendum as Prime Minister and using taxpayers money declared that they would accept the result.
            We voted out by 1.4 million in the largest turnout of any election.
            Get over yourself man.

          • Anonymous
            Posted February 28, 2018 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

            Who enabled the Referendum Act then ?

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted February 28, 2018 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

            @Zorro + Ian,

            I’ll let you have the last word, and thanks to Mr Redwood for my comments.

            Best wishes

          • NickC
            Posted February 28, 2018 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

            Ed, You clearly don’t understand our system of government. The people are sovereign, not Parliament. Parliament is above all a meeting of our representatives. MPs derive their legitimacy solely from being elected by us. Unelected candidates are just ordinary people with no power.

            Having been elected, our MPs decided to hand the decision about the EU back to us, the people in a Referendum under conditions set by those MPs. Parliament has carried out the wishes of the electorate in every one of the previous 12 major referendums in the last 45 years.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted February 28, 2018 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

            It is MPs who have for, forty odd years, undermined any real democracy by giving away powers to unelected EU bureaucrats without any authority from the voters. This despite endless promises at elections to do so.

            I see that, wrong on almost everything, John Major has been at it again. He is of course entitled to his facile & childish opinions and etc ed If the Tories follow him it will be buried again for at least 3+ terms.

            As it was after his entirely predictable ERM fiasco costing jobs, homes, lives and £ trillions (still, even now, no apology to everyone from this pathetic man).

            But how on earth did such a misguided man every become a Tory PM? Then again we now have May!

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 11:23 am | Permalink

        ‘Once upon a time the ruling order sought to uphold the divine right of kings. We know how that ended’

        – And the Roundheads turned out just as bad as the Cavaliers. The Roundheads were proto forerunners of the Jacobins in the French Revolution.

        Shakespeare is scathing of politicians in most of his major plays. Because power goes to politicians’ heads whichever hue they belong to.

        The most honest politician we ever head ended up murdered by Henry VIII (similar for Thomas Becket by Henry II).

        Our Parliament and country could be great. Can still be great. But only when it accepts the Lordship of Christ The King.

        • Hope
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

          Ed, It is not parliamentary democracy, parliament upheld the public vote to leave after giving the public the right to choose. What part did you not understand? Both parties made it absolutely clear to uphold leaving the EU. Now having lost the EU fanatics in parliament want to defy the will of electoral democracy having failed all other means to get us to change our minds.

          If the ballot box is redundant I want to hear from these triators who want foreign rule over our country what they expect to happen in the future?

        • zorro
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

          “The Roundheads were proto forerunners of the Jacobins in the French Revolution.”…. Ed, you are really making it up now aren’t you? The Jacobins were nothing like the Roundheads apart from the fact that they were a party which opposed the monarch in their country….

          zorro

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted February 28, 2018 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

            @Zorro

            I said proto forerunners of the Jacobins in the sense of their radical and violent opposition to the King and more.

            Not forgetting that the Roundheads were made up of anarchist-like groups such as the Diggers, the Levellers and so on. Yes, many of the Roundheads were constitutional monarchists but others wanted to get rid of the monarchy altogether.

            This was quite different to the legitimate aims of the Barons to curtail the excesses of King John back in Magna Carta. In fact, Magna Carta was followed up by a civil war. But nothing like the Diggers, Levellers, and so on, of the English Civil War and all those who wanted to get rid of the monarchy altogether.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted February 28, 2018 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

            Elements of the Puritans at this time weren’t just anti the traditional Church of the time, they were also anti the monarchy as well, with religious and political nonconformism often closely related / over-lapping.

            You can thank that Reformation for that (but even in Catholic England, the Barons were challenging the excessive power of the King, but not in an anarchistic-like way like in the English Civil War. You can blame the Reformation for that.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted February 28, 2018 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

            @Zorro,

            For example, Gerrard Winstanley, an influential ‘True’ Leveller during the English Civil War, didn’t just want to get rid of the monarchy but called for the abolition of property as well as the aristocracy.

            There were all kinds of proto-anarchist happening during the English Civil War. And it is this what I really object to about the English Civil. And yes these men were proto forerunners of the Jacobins.

        • zorro
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

          And no, we don’t want your modern day EUtopia either! 🙂

          zorro

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted March 1, 2018 at 8:47 am | Permalink

            @Zorro,

            I’m (half) with you. I’m as much against a political union in Europe as I am pro an economic union (like the EEC). The EU needs radical reform. But not throw the baby out with the bathwater!

            The fact is, I know many, many Brexiters agree with me. It’s the political union they oppose. Not an economic one.

            And with enough Churchillian vision, energy and fighting spirit, we can reform the EU. Nothing is impossible. And it’s not too late to take that course.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted March 1, 2018 at 8:56 am | Permalink

            I’m also confident Mr Redwood and other Brexiters such as Jacob Rees Mogg are capable of reforming the EU – to purge it of the political union, but keep the economic union part (back to how it was with the EEC).

            Then they could have their Parliament, Courts and Borders back. But at the same time, the economic stability and growth of the UK and Europe – and our safety and security in a prosperous Europe – would be secured as well. Everyone in the UK, and most people in Europe, would be more than happy with this.

            Mr Redwood —> The Duke of Wokingham
            Jacob Rees Mogg —> The Duke of Somerset
            Boris Johnson —> In the stocks for a day

            Reply No, you cannot reform the EU in a way the UK would like. Understand the nature of the project.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted March 1, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

            Apologies for any of my arrogant / stupid comments.

            Thank you Mr Redwood for letting me comment. God Bless you and everyone here.

          • APL
            Posted March 1, 2018 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

            Ed Mahony: “And with enough Churchillian vision, energy and fighting spirit, we can reform the EU.”

            Firstly, no. The EU is un-reformable. It’s form and direction of travel are set in the founding treaties.

            It’s often whined about the difficulty of getting 27 other countries to agree the terms of our departure. Well it’s impossible for one country to reform the EU in the teeth of opposition from the others.

            We’re better off out. Assuming TM doesn’t cock it up.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted March 2, 2018 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

            ‘We’re better off out.’

            – The problem isn’t so much BEING OUT but GETTING OUT!

            This is the fundamental category error which Hard Brexiters ignore and fail to address.

            If Hard Brexit is a noble pursuit then don’t rush it. Take time. Even if it does take 20 or 30 years or so to get out. It’s the next 200 to 300 years that matter. Not the next 20 or 30 (but unless you can keep the people on your side the next 20 or 30 years, then Hard Brexit will collapse anyway) and Brexit will just have done far much bad than good.

      • jerry
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        @oldtimer; As is the arrogance of those seeking to overturn or otherwise frustrate the 2017 General Election result.

        The “ruling order” want to uphold the rights and choices of the people, it’s called living in a democracy I believe [1], get used to it – do remind us how many seats the Conservatives lost compared to how many extra seats Labour won compared to the 2015-17 parliament…

        [1] read what I said to Tad Davison yesterday as to why your bleats of protest are misplaced

        • Tad Davison
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

          Jerry,

          I like others to have their say, so I thought on this occasion I would leave a response open to others for them to make what is clearly a solid argument that contradicts your own, and they have fully justified the confidence I have in them. They have exposed the weaknesses in your assertions quite well. It’s a shame really that you still feel the impulsive need to rear up before you consider all the options.

          Tad

          • jerry
            Posted March 1, 2018 at 6:45 am | Permalink

            @Tad Davisin; “It’s a shame really that you still feel the impulsive need to rear up before you consider all the options.”

            You describe your typical contributions nicely Tad – thanks!

            Once again all you and those you cite have shown is that many do not have a first clue as to what parliamentary democracy is and is not. For you it is a case of democracy when it suits, the rest of the time you appear to think that govt. should be allowed to rule autocratically (just so long as does so in accordance with your ideology).

            I have previously explained why the current parliament is not bound by the referenda, nor is the current govt. bound by any previous govt, and can not be.

          • Tad Davison
            Posted March 1, 2018 at 9:18 am | Permalink

            Jerry,

            You keep putting up straw men. You imagine things that aren’t really there, then try to justify them by ascribing things to others that simply are not true. You’ll have to do much better if you want to be taken seriously.

            Tad

          • jerry
            Posted March 1, 2018 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

            Tad, I keep putting up the case for democracy, you keep trying to knock it down -why, unless you obviously so detest democracy unless it is giving you want you want.

      • NickC
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

        Oldtimer, You are completely correct. A single issue referendum, given to us by the elected Parliament, is a mandate from the people. None of the parties in the 2017 election received a clear mandate for their manifestos from the voters. But the 2016 Referendum result was decisive, and mandates Parliament to Leave the EU, not hang around in part of it. Parliament is not entitled to second guess the electorate.

    • Peter
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      Labour’s latest announcements will suit the EU handsomely. More discord, more potential delays. More potential for cross party sabotage.

      Labour hope for some political advantage even if they alienate their Leave supporters.

      So far they have not given a great account of their position or won many plaudits in the media.

    • nhsgp
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Time for the public to get the right of consent.

      That way the remainers, they can fund the EU if they want.

      For leavers, we just say we do not consent and keep our money.

      Same for Oxfam.

      Same for the disaster of the state pension.

      Same for all state debts. Any 18 year old should be given a statement with their share of the debts and have the right to say I do not consent. They then keep that money.

      Equally any debts off the books everyone has the right to say since you didn’t tell us about the debt we can opt out of paying.

      The creditors can then sue MPs for their money.

    • alan jutson
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      Mark B

      Agreed

      Politics for politics sake, Labour not so much flying the red flag, but the white flag of surrender.

      “will will take whatever you give us, and we will pay want ever you want us to pay, but please promise to give us a customs union, with your rules of course, in return”

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    Labour, in moving to Brexit in name only, are deserting the large majority of their voters. It is a very big political mistake for them and a huge bonus for the Tories (or should be).

    The Tories now desperately need some bold, strong, working compass leadership.

    A letter in the Telegraph today asks:-

    “Some are born bold and some have boldness thrust upon them. And Theresa May?”

    I think we can safely say she was not born bold and has not got a working compass (also clearly not bright enough not to publish a punishment manifesto). I do not think that she is even capable of having boldness thrust upon her. We shall see on Friday.

    Just thinking about it and her many dreary, PC, “let’s sit on the fence” previous speeches depresses me. Surely Friday must be her very last chance?

    Doubtless we will get the usual on the one hand and on the other hand fence sitting over Brexit (probably with a bit of gender pay gap drivel, building on EU workers rights, some expensive energy climate alarmism, sticking to the failed EU economic model and a bit of the “war on plastic” thrown in – as the usual pathetic PC distractions).

    • Peter Wood
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      I hope to God you are correct that Friday is her last chance to make good. If she capitulates, again, to her Remainer crowd, then we must have a swift change of PM.

      • jerry
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        @Peter Wood; “a swift change of PM”

        What difference will that make, the parliamentary arithmetic will be the same, no PM can push through policy that doesn’t have enough support on the floor of the House – unless willing to make every vote one of confidence – what is the DUP’s position on a (so called) hard border between north and south, has anyone checked?

        • Tad Davison
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

          Some politicians have the power of persuasion. They have the ability to lead and the ability to change the minds of others through what they are, what they say, and what they do. A steadfast, honest, and erudite leader can carry others with them. By contrast, a weakling who leans one way then the other, or secretly harbours an ulterior motive and uses duplicity to get their way, is soon found out.

          The most suitable person for the office of Prime Minister that I can think of is Jacob Rees-Mogg. He seems to tick all the boxes, but I’d be interested to hear who you feel might be a suitable alternative.

          Tad

          • Dennis Zoff
            Posted March 1, 2018 at 12:17 am | Permalink

            Tad Davison

            John Redwood springs to mind….over to you John.

          • jerry
            Posted March 1, 2018 at 6:56 am | Permalink

            Tad Davison; “Some politicians have the power of persuasion.”

            Indeed, but no change of PM is needed for that as even a backbencher [1] can influence debate just as much as any other, and no change of PM will make a jot of difference if such politicians can’t carry a majority in the House.

            [1] were many of the original Brexiteers were, and some still are, including the person MP you cited, when they forced Cameron’s hand regarding the EU referenda

            Once again all you have done Tad is demonstrate that you do not understand how a democratic parliament works.

    • majorfrustration
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      Don’t forget that she will want to “make it clear”

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 10:07 am | Permalink

        Major, yeah, clear as mud.

        • Anonymous
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

          BBC’s report on Major’s second referendum. Well he didn’t give us one on Maastricht (nor a free vote) and he cast out the Tories for three terms and was a disasterous and untrustworthy PM (and husband.) No mention of that but worse…. the BBC gave him two sit down interviews (about five minutes) then Soubry a good say and in response IDS got a single sentence.

          The licence fee has to go.

          • Fedupsoutherner
            Posted February 28, 2018 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

            Anonymous. The licence fee is going up.

      • bigneil
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 10:58 am | Permalink

        Don’t forget – – – Enough is Enough.
        Another classic porky that will go down in history along with DC’s “immigration down to tens of thousands” – shame he didn’t make it clear it was going to be per month and not annually.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

          Six+ years as Home Secretary, pretending to voters that she was aiming for that target.

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        majorfrustration

        …and “enough is enough”……whatever that implies in T. May’s mind?

        Politicians love meaningless, overstated platitudes! It results from career politicians never having had a real accountable job!

    • agricola
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      We need absolute clarity from Mrs May on Friday. The take it or leave it ball needs to be firmly in the EU court and the nation states fully aware of what is on offer.

  3. Newmania
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Cherry picking, having your cake and eating it, dishonesty on a grand scale, are these criticisms then I thought this was the way we did politics now ?
    Is it so different to the claim, from Redwood and co. that we could have mutual recognition in some sectors ( where it is suits us) and diverge on others ( where it suits us), which is as much as to say have the benefits of the single market without paying either politically or financially.
    Now Labour are throwing out not dissimilar lies and it’s an outrage .

    What are we to expect next reference to authoritative sources that say Corbyns Palaeozoic socialism will be bad for the economy ? Oh dear me no, that’s just all “enemies of the people” we don`t have experts any more we don`t have evidence and we certainly don`t have to say the same thing form one day to another
    Let’s all just make it up as we go along shall we, and if anyone can distinguish between one lot of gibberish and another they should tell the rest of us.

    I increasingly come to the view that there is no soft Brexit. Either , the country shuts its border deregulates and goes for the full Atlantic tiger or we stay in . Either way another referudum about the real oprtions has to be held

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:12 am | Permalink

      Be fair, Newmania. Remainers have put every obstacle in the way of Brexit. Nobody expected to have cake and eat it – some staffer wrote than and exposed it on a briefing note.

      • Adam
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 9:45 am | Permalink

        Farmers can grow corn to have it & eat it. Their ability fails if they fail to produce.

        • Dennis Zoff
          Posted March 1, 2018 at 12:13 am | Permalink

          Adam

          This is tacit….or is there another point you are trying make?

          • Adam
            Posted March 1, 2018 at 10:33 am | Permalink

            Remainers claim that those who favour Brexit ‘want to have their cake & eat it’, as if eating it destroys its ability to exist.

            Cake eaters cause cake production. Consumer choice dictates whether cake is made, stored, eaten more, or ceases to exist.

            Brexiters are customers free to choose.

    • Richard1
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      This could be right. If ‘brexit’ is diluted to mean in the customs union and single market but nominally out of the eu there will be a strong case for a new vote where the alternative is the fully monty – wto terms on departure, no transition and of course no money for the eu. The eu needs to think about that as they heap derision on Mrs Mays Govt & U.K. proposals, as there has to be a good chance that in such circs the nation would go for clean Brexit. The eu are about to repeat Merkels error with Cameron. Had Merkel agreed to sensible compromises, offered under the justification of the U.K. not being in the euro, Boris, Gove and maybe JR would have been on the other side and the referendum would have gone the other way.

      • Peter
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        Maybe. We will be out anyway. Brexit cannot be overturned – Article 50 seems to that.

        If we don’t want a clean break (and there is no better deal) we will just pay the EU handsomely for the privilege of clinging on to the wreckage with fewer rights.

        This would suit the EU as it would be an example pour encourager les autres.

        Whether this scenario would be enough to make genuine Brexiteers go for the Samson option and remove May and possibly pave the way for Corbyn I don’t know.

      • zorro
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

        It is in the EU’s DNA, a stupid, pompous, overbearing arrogance with no whiff of compromise. Splendid and just as we thought- leave it is on WTO terms, no money for them and turn the tap off on 31/03/2019 ✌️👍😀

        zorro

        • alan jutson
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

          Zorro

          Agreed.

          If only our Politicians would see it !

        • Jools B
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

          Hear hear. Totally agree.

    • formula57
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      @ Newmania – “I increasingly come to the view that there is no soft Brexit”

      Congratulations! That option was not on the ballot, just Remain or Leave. As is said, “Brexit means Brexit” and that should be no surprise.

      • Newmania
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 11:11 am | Permalink

        There is currently no majority to leave at all, most leave voters believed it would make the country richer and the country would , overall be much happier to park us in the EEA.
        I think from there we might have chance of evolving a new institution but a cross Party agreement for a new referendum on the real world alternatives in five years would be electorally popular and realisable

        The reason we are heading for a WTO catastrophe is the 70,000 nonagenarian members of the Conservative Party , a sort of wrinkled momentum , whose hobbies ought to be bowls grumbling and taking a nap , not deciding my future .

        • jerry
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

          @Newmania; There is no catastrophe in trading on WTO rules, after all a majority of the world already trade under such rules, as does the EU27/8 were there is no other trade agreement!

        • NickC
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

          Newmania, You obviously missed it (out of the country, perhaps?) but we did have a Referendum in 2016 to decide whether to Remain in the EU or Leave. There was no half-in/half-out option on the ballot paper. Remains had their chance and fluffed it with ridiculous tales of doom.

          • jerry
            Posted March 1, 2018 at 7:07 am | Permalink

            @NickC; But nor was there any options, so just what were people voting for, no one knows, anything from the half-in half-out house of the EFTA membership Brexit (indeed some Brexit manifestos were suggesting just that, the Norway option I think it was called), to a WTO rules Brexit – stop trying to claim a mandate you do not have nor anyone else has.

          • APL
            Posted March 1, 2018 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

            Somebody can’t remember what the 2016 Referendum was about. Here is the question:

            “Should the United Kingdom;
            (a) Remain a member of the European Union?
            or
            (b) Leave the European Union?

            That seems like pretty clear alternative to me. A majority of those who could be bothered to turn out and vote voted for option (b).

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_European_Union_membership_referendum,_2016

          • jerry
            Posted March 2, 2018 at 9:05 am | Permalink

            Indeed @APL, somebody can’t remember what the 2016 Referendum was about, might I suggest you actually bother to read the URL’s your cite!…. The question asked IF but not How nor When. The referenda was advisory, that said the UK is leaving the EU non the less, but perhaps just not how some think we should leave – be they europhobe or europhile.

            Reply No, it was mandatory – we were told we would decide

          • jerry
            Posted March 2, 2018 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

            @JR reply; Angels dancing on the head of a pin, because it still doesn’t change the fact that the How & When of leaving is at the discretion of govt and parliament because no such binding referenda has been held on those two issues, any mandate on those two points came via the most recent (or future [1]) GE result – thus the mandate on the ‘How and When’ comes from the 2017 GE result, NOT the referenda result.

            [1] indeed even the If mandate could be superseded by a future GE, should a manifesto pledge by the majority party state that they would cancel Brexit or rejoin the EU

        • Richard1
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

          Many of us are much younger than that.

          • Anonymous
            Posted March 1, 2018 at 6:41 am | Permalink

            I’m younger than Newmania ! And well conditioned by gym and hill running.

        • Chris
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

          As a 46 year old, educated (just to head you off on the pass on that old tired bunch of rubbish), having started and run three companies, dealing with the vast majority of ‘western europe’, I have come to the conclusion that you don’t know (much about the real world ed)

          etc ed

      • jerry
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

        @formula57; “Brexit means Brexit”

        There is no such thing as just ‘Brexit’, there are far to many variable, from (ultra soft, so to speak) becoming a Vassal state of the EU via the EFTA or similar to (ultra hard, so to speak) not even subscribing to the rules as laid down by the WTO.

        • NickC
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

          Jerry, There are no variables to British (UK) exit from the EU (Brexit). We, the people, voted either Leave or Remain. We took the decision to Leave in 2016, whether you (or I) like it or don’t. Parliament no longer has the option to trade our independence for a mess of pottage. The only things to discuss are possible trade deals with the Commonwealth, USA, EU, China, etc, without forfeiting our new found independence.

          • jerry
            Posted March 1, 2018 at 7:23 am | Permalink

            @NickC; There were 29 different Brexit options placed before the electorate, indeed some of them were even debated on this very website, so even within the Brexit camp there were divisions as to how the UK should conclude Brexit. The electorate decided to leave, that is all, we did not decide how nor when, in fact the electorate were never asked to in the referenda, the closet the electorate has got to making such a choice on those issues was during the 2017 GE.

        • formula57
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

          @ jerry – Well some 170 other countries in the world seem to cope with the existence of the EU without having to ponder the many variables of what it means to co-exist on the same planet so why can’t the UK?

          • jerry
            Posted March 1, 2018 at 7:28 am | Permalink

            @formula57; I never said they don’t, in fact I implied they do manage, and do so very well. That is why I hold no fears in leaving on WTO rules!

        • Tad Davison
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

          ………………………….so what is your preferred model Jerry?

          Let’s have a debate so the politicians know how the people actually feel.

          Tad

    • Adam
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      Where need exists, those most in need accept what is accessible, irrespective of what earlier claims or behaviour seem to exclude.

      As Opposition, Labour are meant to oppose, but their ways seem needlessly convoluted & aimed at no useful purpose that would benefit the UK.

      Those who dislike ‘Cherry Picking’ seem content to accept only what suits majorities. That ethos is sensible for determining Govts. It is obtuse when applied to all other things. Should folk consume what they personally prefer, or exactly what most other folk happen to accept?

      Difference is the essence of all existence. Unless we are free to choose what we prefer, we would all eat, drink, dress & behave as clones. EU ‘equality’ lacks the important quality of distinction.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      “Is it so different to the claim … that we could have mutual recognition in some sectors … and diverge on others … which is as much as to say have the benefits of the single market without paying either politically or financially.”

      I’m not quite sure what you mean by this, but I would point out that Norway does not have unrestricted access to all sectors of the EU Single Market and nor is the customs union between the EU and Turkey complete in its scope.

      So obviously it is possible both in principle and in practice for two sides to make a trade agreement which covers some but not all economic sectors in a certain way, perhaps being comprehensive for some but only partial for others.

      • StanleyW
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        Yes Denis but Norway and Turkey do no have all the red lines in place like we have..as things stand we can only have a Canada style agreement with them unless we can negotiate something completely different but while we are still stuck talking about our departure exit terms that is highly unlikely now and the clock is ticking. So we had better instead look to those new trade deals by WTO rules that we have been promised by Mr Fox, IDS and M Gove. Am afraid Mrs Mays speech on Friday will be of no use at all now as all of the details are already known, so then fast forward another couple of weeks and it will be crunch time for us at the EU council meeting- reality will kick in- we’ll be out March 2019 just as so many want and should be very happy- don’t see it any other way.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted March 1, 2018 at 7:57 am | Permalink

          Norway has red lines, and Turkey wishes that it also had red lines.

          But I agree that the time has come to give up on the idea of a deep and special trade deal, the EU is not sufficiently interested in that.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      So you want a referendum on either the deal on offer or WTO terms ? Not a bad idea. Because of course rejoining the EU on current terms is impossible so not an option.

  4. Roy Grainger
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    I wonder why Barnier & Tusk didn’t immediately announce that they reject Corbyn’s proposals and that they are fantasy ? They would have done so if David Davis had proposed them. Well – we know why don’t we.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      Perhaps it was because the lazy media didn’t bother to go and ask them.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        They usually don’t need to be asked?

    • Richard1
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      Probably because Corbyn – thank God – isn’t in Govt.

    • Timaction
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      Of course we do. It is trying to keep us in at all costs as they need our money. With the Italian elections coming and growing populism due to the mass migration crisis, created by Ms Merkel and supported by the EU leadership (One of the same) the EU may be coming to a juncture. Lets hope it reaches critical mass and implodes!

      • nhsgp
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        With Macron dictating to the majority of the French who want out, its likely to go that way

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

          I wonder why the leader of the opposition for Exiting the EU, Mr Starmer, is in Brussels today, the same week as Mr Corban announces his policy and the EU publishes it’s draft treaties? In past times arrests would have been made on suspicion of Treason. Labour removed that law. Now we know why!

    • Adam
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      Labour is muddled, but as daft as Barnier & Tusk might be regarded, it would be odd for them to comment on what numerous other parties & people opine.

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

        Adam

        Barnier & Tusk simply keeping their powder dry!

    • StanleyW
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      Yes Roy, the Tory government has blown it at the EU because of wasting tine, wanting our cake and eating it which includes cherry picking..I believe they have had enough..and only want UK oyt at this stage

  5. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    I thought it was Conservative MPs which were tabling this amendment? Again?
    Of course staying in a CU with Europe is a non-starter. We’ve covered this already. Let’s move on unlike some of your colleagues.

  6. John Soper
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    The government currently wants to leave the customs union yet keep an open border with Ireland – which is completely impossible. Who cares what Labour thinks, they are not in charge – Mrs May is in charge, and she continues to make a mess of things. Brexit is turning out to be anything but the walk in the park that you promised, Mr Redwood

    • Woody
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      Please explain why a physically open border in Ireland is impossible. There is currently a currency border there, no problems. The trade border will be electronically smart, no problem when you realise modern technology is currently well able to manage inter country transactions. The people border will continue to be at the sea ports, as it is now but maybe slightly beefed up.
      It’s sad to see the europhiles use the irish border as a weapon, it does highlight how little else they really have in their armament.

      • nhsgp
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 11:46 am | Permalink

        UK has offered the EU free trade with no tariffs or barriers.

        Ireland isn’t being allowed to accept.

        That’s the EU using the border as a weapon .

      • rick hamilton
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

        I would also like an explanation as to how we managed to have an open border with the Irish Republic since 1923, except for periods of terrorism or world war. If it was possible before we joined the EU it must be possible after we leave. Since no normal person wants a frontier to be constructed could it possibly be the EU itself that is the problem?

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

          It wasn’t possible until the EU Single Market was implemented. Not the EEC Customs Union, but the EU Single Market.

          From the government’s position paper from last August:

          https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/638135/6.3703_DEXEU_Northern_Ireland_and_Ireland_INTERACTIVE.pdf

          In paragraph 36:

          “… Customs controls were first introduced at the land border in 1923, shortly after the establishment of the Irish Free State. These controls, and the associated system of ‘approved roads’, were maintained to varying degrees until the European Single Market was formally established in December 1992.”

          In other words, the UK and Ireland were both in the EEC, or EC, and so in its Customs Union, for two decades before the advent of the EU Single Market finally made it possible to dispense with border controls; the Customs Union alone had not been sufficient for that purpose, and it is questionable whether it was even necessary once the Single Market had been set up.

          All we need is a new UK law guaranteeing to the EU that after we have left carriers will still not be permitted to take goods which the EU would regard as illicit from Northern Ireland across the border into the Irish Republic, any more than they are allowed to do that now under the UK’s Single Market legislation.

    • matthu
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      Not impossible at all.

      For example, Ireland could either instate a hard border or itself choose to leave the EU customs union … I wonder whether that is a referendum worth having?

      • Helena
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 11:39 am | Permalink

        So the UK, by choosing Brexit and third country status, creates the problem. But Ireland is supposed to find a solution. No wonder the UK, with an attitude that arrogant, is losing friends

        • Roy Grainger
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

          Ireland has to find a solution because it is the EU who are threatening to impose a hard border on their side, UK are not.

          • KeithL
            Posted March 1, 2018 at 8:51 am | Permalink

            Roy.. Ireland will not build a new border control mechanism, it will have to be the EU with the UK and will happen if UK crashes out, which seems highly likely at this stage

        • zorro
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

          Nonsense, it is the EU’s intransigence which is causing this as has been the tactic all along – ever wondered why they chose the Irish border, citizens and money in the first place? The EU has no wish to negotiate anything, just to present rheir demands – bad mistake!

          zorro

        • ian wragg
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

          We are exercising our democratic right to leave a corrupt institution. The EU is the one that wants a border so it’s up to them to provide one.

        • acorn
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

          Helena, brexiters have had an injection of reality today with the publishing of the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

          I have been trying to tell them for eighteen months now, that the EU is holding all the winning cards. But these pompous; arrogant; ignorant brexiters, just don’t have the wherewithal to understand the reality.

          Barnier has put Mrs May “behind the eight ball”; it was inevitable to those of us who study these things to three decimal places. Barnier may allow her a bit of wiggle room on a couple of clauses, but not much else. (Northern Ireland is mentioned 42 times in the document.)

          She will end up taking a Barnier offer or going for the Rees-Mogglodyte’s “cliff edge” exit. It’s as simple as that. A General Election would be good now; but, the Conservative Party have locked themselves in till 2022 (at least). “Taking back control” only applies to the Westminster Elite and the 1% they work for.

      • Robert Betteridge
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

        I suspect Mrs. May is waiting for the penny to drop, no Irish jokes please.

        At some stage Eire will be confronted by the EU having a 1/5 drop in income (our £24 billion net annual transfer) and they will be expected to cough up something like a minimum of €4.5 Billion a year; The EU will also be demanding the Import Tax on £3.5 Billion worth of dry goods from the North.

        Republican population, say 5 million. Our £24 billion is spread over 65 million. Do the sums. And then think about the 20 who are also net recipients.

        The EU was a happy little enclave, as long as we were paying the bill and the USA providing protection.

        Just keep kicking that can Mrs. May.

        • Turboterrier.
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

          Robert Betteridge

          The EU was a happy little enclave, as long as we were paying the bill and the USA providing protection.

          Second that and some

    • agricola
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      No it is not. It does not matter what paperwork information needs to be exchanged to cover free trade or trade on WTO terms, such information can travel electronically just like my message to you. No need to stop lorries except at their final destination.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      John Soper

      In negotiations, it is important to continually focus on the core issues, not be distracted by irrelevancies…..in this case, the irrelevancies are being driven by journalistic sophistry….this just helps them sell more papers, which in turn pumps up the advertising revenues!

      John has so many times pointed out “focus and address the core Brexit issues and the political delusive opaqueness will eventually disappear.” March 2019 is the actual nutcracker, the rest is simply irrelevant political chicanery!

  7. acorn
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Yes but, will it be a “meaningful” vote. I understand that there will only be one of those this year.

  8. Tabulazero
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    “Cherry picking on stilts”

    The same could be said of your three-basket approach to the negotiation.

    • John PM Culligan
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      All FTAs are the result of cherry picking, what’s in, what’s out, and if the EU is serious that there will be no cherry picking, then there will be no agreement and our EU membership will just fade away like a hangover or a bad dream…

  9. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    And so it goes on. Mrs May could have her Churchill moment on Friday if she is brave enough to stand up and do what the country asked of her. I feel sick to the pit of my stomach thinking we may have to stay as slaves to the EU obeying their every whim ( we may as well have lost the war) and at the same time have to endure a Labour government which will ruin the country economically. We will see levels of immigration we won’t be able to handle and we will never recover and neither will we ever get a chance to leave the EU again. Those in the Tory party who vote against their own party will be held responsible. Do they really understand the full consequences of their actions? In time, something enormous will come back to bite the backsides of all the main 3 parties and when, not if, it does it will not be pleasant. The electorate are fed up with being taken as uneducated fools. We know what’s going on and it stinks!

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      Fedupsoutherner

      The electorate are fed up with being taken as uneducated fools. We know what’s going on and it stinks!

      To high heaven

  10. Lifelogic.
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    I see that Sir Martin Donnelly studied PPE at Oxford, international economics at the College of Europe in Bruges, and at the École nationale d’administration in Paris. It perhaps explains his contempt for the British Electorate (perhaps only matched by the dreadfully misguided Anna Soubry and Justin Whelby).

    What might be called a full house for a remainiac indoctrination/education. Perhaps it is time to ban such people from working for the state sector. Replace with numerate engineers, mathematicians and sound scientists (not the fake climate alarmist ones though) please.

    • Henry Spark
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      Ban peope who are well educated and know what they are talking about, and instead invest in hope and fairytales. The Brexit case in summary – thank you Lifelogic.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

        Still waiting for those 500,000 job losses in the year immediately following the vote

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

        Henry Spark

        It does not matter if individuals are well-educated or not. However, if they subvert a democratic government and ignore the democratic will of the people, then they are against the people and therefore treacherous and should be dealt with appropriately.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

        More like a training in how to be a career politician, to climb the greasy pole, deceive the voters or become a parasitic establishment figure living off the backs of the productive while inconveniencing, patronising them and over taxing them. Making them pay a fortune for greencrap energy too so many cannot even keep warm as temperatures plummet (due to CO2 pollution, one assumes they will tell us).

        Not what I would regard as “a good education”.

        • Fedupsoutherner
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

          L\L. Yes back to climate change and a normal winter!

    • Richard1
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      Sir Martin is entitled to his views. What is odd is that someone with such pronounced views as to the adverse effects of Brexit could be offered, or could have accepted, a senior post at the department for international trade, which can only exist because of Brexit (& specifically only if Brexit means out of the customs union). It’s rather like an atheist accepting a bishopric.

    • zorro
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, I am sure that he knows lots about three course sumptuous feasts – particularly the Brussels provided ones! I hope that he had some gravy on his sprouts! No doubt of that…..

      zorro

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic

      Hear hear!

  11. BCL
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Why can’t we say to the EU “We won’t put up border controls on the Irish border. You can if you want to.” and “We won’t impose tariffs on trade with you. You can if you want to but if you do we may rethink our policy” and “We’ll set our own regulations for manufacturing etc and you can allow the import of our goods or not as you wish and we’ll do the same with yours”. The latter arrangement works perfectly well with the USA where we don’t take their chlorinated chicken but do take their timber, for example

    • Tutor
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      You don’t seen to understand any of this, Sir. Let me help. We can say to the EU “We won’t put up border controls on the Irish border”, but that would contradict Mr Redwood’s promise to take back control of our borders. We can say to the EU “We won’t impose tariffs on trade with you”, but we must then also stop imposing tariffs on trade with every other country in the world (which means the death of British farming and manufacturing industry) – these are the rules of the WTO that Mr Redwood is so fond of. And as for the USA, well our trade with the USA deepnds on EU rules anyway.

      • NickC
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

        Tutor, Your feeble attempt merely shows that you are the one who doesn’t understand. There is already a border between Eire and Northern Ireland complete with different tax regimes and agencies on each side. Customs simply adds one more.

        In Select Committees the HMRC chief has stated that: “We do not believe, and this has been our consistent advice to ministers, we do not believe we require any infrastructure at the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland under any circumstances”.

        And, actually, our trade with the EU depends on WTO rules.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

        You better ask Emily Thornberry about that.

        http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2018/01/15/economic-assessments-of-leaving-the-eu/#comment-912898

        Part of her justification for vilifying the President of the United States even if that risked making him less inclined to agree a favourable trade deal:

        “Thirdly, we have been trading perfectly successfully with the United States for a very long time, they are our biggest trading partner outside the EU without a trading deal anyway.”

    • Richard
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      Bcl..we won’t be able to do that stuff either because we’ll be subject to WTO rules which are very strict and just as cumbersome as the EU rules? Wr are boxed in every way..am afraid

  12. Original Richard
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Of course the EU will not allow us to have a veto on their trade deals if we remain in the CU and Mr. Corbyn’s “meaningful say” means nothing. I expect trade deals to be approved by QMV shortly anyway.

    So we’re heading either for capitulation which means we have to accept poor trade deals and damaging/unfair asymmetric tariffs or for being outside the EU’s CU.

    For every other country’s legislature in the world this choice would be an easy one to make but then they don’t have the EU weaponising the Ireland/NI border over this issue.

    So when is the government going to make the point that there exists already a “hard” border as far as excise duties, VAT, currency and taxation are concerned and there is no reason why tariffs cannot be added to this list without the need for customs posts and guards at the border crossings stopping every vehicle ?

  13. formula57
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    “….without a seat at the table to be outvoted in person” – indeed so 🙂

    I for one can cope quite easily with my country in future not having to be present to witness directly the Evil Empire taking yet more artless steps towards its own doom.

  14. Ian wragg
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    We can’t have Ireland dictating UK policy. If the EU wants to erect a hard border let them go ahead .I’m very confused that according to Barnier the UK has requested an open ended transition period. Anything to say about it John.

    • Richard
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      Ian..don’t see why not..we’ve had UK dictating policy for Ireland for a long time, for centuries in fact..we got used to it..so you’ll just have to get used to it..how would you like if the EU drew a border across Devon and Cornwall..well that’ is what the Irish border feels like..not a very nice feeling is it?

      • formula57
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        It is to deny the Evil Empire the chance to dictate to us that we are leaving. In Ireland, where we have even seen the people obliging re-cast their votes to provide compliance, I fully understand things are very different.

      • ian wragg
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

        Well if you want to dictate policy, you can pay our contribution. As we are your main trading partner, I would have thought you would show a little more sense.
        There may well be a boycott of Irish goods as there is evidence of one against France and Germany.
        I for one will be considering my spending very carefully.

        • stred
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

          Lots of Brexitoia today. Let’s go and be a N.Atlantic N.Korea- let’s close the borders and-how would you like it if Ireland made a border between Devon and Cornwall?

          We are not proposing to become a communist dictatorship(yet), we won’t be closing borders, just controlling them and choosing who and how many people come here, and there already is a border between Devon and Cornwall, with different local taxation. There is also a border between Irish counties and between N.Irish counties and S.Irish counties, with different local and national taxation. S.Ireland will need cameras or customs officers to collect tariff duties and give them to the EU. We can charge them or not and keep them for the UK to spend. Or the EU can agree zero tariffs on cheese, meat and whisky. Then we won’t need to collect them.

          Does the Teashok(? -the Irish Mandleson) want to keep selling us stuff or not? If he does, it might be a good idea to keep away from |EU plots and shut it.

      • mancunius
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

        Dear me, what a vindictive approach to cross-border cooperation.
        The border between North and South is a national border – and will remain so. The point is for it to remain as frictionless as it was when the Free Travel Area was created in 1923.
        Creating deliberate friction is not in the interests of the Republic.
        Yesterday Varadkar demanded that the six Sinn Fein MPs in Northern Ireland should take their seats in Westminster, in order to vote down the elected UK government in the House of Commons and prevent the UK from leaving the EU customs union i.e. from leaving the EU at all ‘to help Ireland’ as he hypocritically put it.
        We take that kind of interference in UK affairs very much amiss.

      • NickC
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

        Richard, You did not “get used to it”. And good for you. So there is no reason why we should get used to it either. Unless you are hypocrite. The Eire/N.Ireland border arose as a result of Eire fighting to secede from the UK: not because the UK at the time wanted it. And N.Ireland exists because the people there decided it should – get used to it. Moreover the border existed for decades before the EU started throwing its weight around in Ireland. I surprised you’ve got used to that.

  15. agricola
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    We are well aware of what Corbyn is up to. He has entered the current vacuum with illogical proposals to try and seduce the Soubrey woman’s support, along with a few other EU fantasists in your party, to topple the current government. His motives only deserve contempt.

  16. Bert Young
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Corbyn and his Labour friends are finding it difficult to tiptoe through the snowflakes ; having a ” deal “with the EU simply means to them that they want a General Election . Even if there has been a shift in public opinion following the Government’s turmoil of trying to reach an agreed way forward , Labour would fail . Corbyn has shown that he cannot be trusted . His attempts to rejuvenate (left wing doctrine ed) fails to recognise how those previous aligned regimes have rejected this way of governing and social existence .

    Meanwhile the EU has now made it clear that a clean break is inevitable . The proposal to have the whole of Ireland remain in the single market simply adds fire to the rhetoric from Sturgeon ; she will do her utmost to obtain an independent Scotland via any door .

  17. Lifelogic
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Customer satisfaction with GPs and the NHS at an all time low. So what are T May and J Hunt going to do about it – nothing I assume.

    The solution is very simple – start to charge anyone who can pay a fee, encourage more private GPs, give tax relief for private medical insurance & abolish Hammonds outrage of 12% insurance tax on top of it. Make anyone coming in to the country have insurance and charge them in full for everything. Get the incentives for doctors right – currently they delay, deter and avoiding patients as best they can or very many do.

    No one has trouble finding a vet to see their animals as you pay them (perhaps people should go and see a vet instead – but doubtless they are legally constrained from treating homosapiens).

    Also kill NHS litigation dead by making people agree to standard compensation or take their own insurance. I know of one medical surgeon who actually retrained as a lawyer and now sues others – are these really the financial incentives we want to have in UK employment?

    • Posted February 28, 2018 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      Why ?

      The monopoly issuer of the £ can but any good and service that is sold in £’s and can never run out of £’s.

      As per usual you are stuck in a gold standard, fixed exchange rate world when taxes did pay for government spending. Since we have left both taxes pay for nothing.

      I keep telling you to look at the actual accounting betweeen HM Treasurt and the BOE but you won’t.

      Where do you get your £’S from lifelogic. That then allows you to pay your taxes ?

      Clue – it is written on the front of every note.

      Try asking the BOE to do a reserve drain ( taxes) without doing a reserve add first ( government spending) and see how you get on.

      You clearly have no idea how a modern monetary system with fiat operates in reality.

  18. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    If the EU seriouly wanted a free trade arrangement with the UK after we leave the EU then you would have thought their energies would have been put into achieving just that, particularly since the EU has a trade surplus of £80bn with UK. Instead they spend their time proposing unacceptable arrangements in the event that such a free trade agreement is not reached. Shouldn’t we call time on this charade now, leave on WTO terms and save a lot of time and money.

    • Samuel Minor
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      I read that we should just trade on WTO terms a lot on this site. But no one ever says what this means. What does it mean?

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

        It means we trade with the EU on the same basis as we trade currently with every country the EU doesn’t have a trade agreement with (lots). We seem to import plenty of things from China without lorries queuing up at our ports.

        • Samuel Minor
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

          I see. Thank you. But goods from China don’t come from lorries, they come from ships. And there are enormous and lengthy formalities to be completed at our ports for goods that come from outside the EU. (I work at Southampton – some can be done electronically in advance, but a lot can’t). So trading on WTO terms just means everything that comes from Europe will be a lot slower and more costly, does it? That doesn’t seem to be a very good deal to me.

          • stred
            Posted March 1, 2018 at 5:48 am | Permalink

            What kind of stuff can’t be done electronically in advance?

      • NickC
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        Samuel, The WTO was formed post WW2 to implement and oversee the GATT and Uruguay rounds of world wide international trade agreements. The WTO rules cover 98% of global trade, that is, 98% of all exports and imports, not internal domestic trade. The original WTO agreements are comprehensive and global, covering goods, services and intellectual property.

        A remit of the WTO is to lower tariffs and reduce non-tariff barriers. To that end it encourages Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs) and Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) which are conducted under WTO rules, comply with WTO rules, and are registered at the WTO. The WTO website is easily accessible via a search engine, and is itself interesting and easy to use.

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      Brian Tomkinson

      Shouldn’t we call time on this charade now, leave on WTO terms and save a lot of time and money.

      YES YES YES

  19. jerry
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    “Nor is it at all likely that you can stay in a customs union with the rest of the EU without having to accept their rules.”

    Anyone for some fudge?…

    This is all a play on words simply to slag off the official opposition, fine that’s in your job description, just don’t dress it up as anything other. Replace “customs union” with Bespoke Deal, which is what the Labour party mean (hence why Corbyn said ‘a customs union’, not the customs union), and we are not so very far from were the Govt. is, if they do not want to leave on WTO rules.

    • Ghost of JB
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      Except that customs union means no freedom to negotiate our own trade and bespoke deal does not.

      Of all the components of the EU trade policy, the customs union is the least appealing. An argument could be made for the single market, as is shown by the EEA countries, who are either members of the SM or have “bespoke” deals that replicate much of their functionality. None of the EEA countries have chosen to be in the CU, which should be telling.

  20. Epikouros
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Politicians are not consistent animals and tend toward contradiction and hypocrisy especially those on the left. However Corbyn’s Labour has taken it to new heights probably because another trait the left has that of being confused, chaotic and incompetent they have also taken that to another level.

    The incongruity of their stance and their ignorant comprehension of what remaining in the EU customs union means is bewildering for the reasons that you point out. I suspect they would have difficulty in tying their own shoe laces. Over the years listening to likes of Diane Abbott pontificating on many subjects and immediately realising that she has not a clue about that what she is discussing. I have thought that although lefty politicians are not renown for their intelligence or logic she must be the worst but no lo and behold along comes Corbyn and McDonnell.

    Progressives have worked assiduously to dumb everything down to it’s lowest common denominator in the name of equality and diversity. Well not only have they done so in our schools and universities they have succeeded in reducing our public institutions and especially our parliament to places stuffed with baffoons and clowns.

  21. a-tracy
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Labour is playing games with people’s well being and mental health with these proposals they know don’t stand up, they’ve been told in no uncertain terms by the EU go into a customs agreement with them and you can’t free trade agreement with anyone else. Enough! with Corbyn’s false promises, like those he made to current students about sorting out their debts so they didn’t end up being the only group with a high graduate tax – Enough!

  22. Peter Martin
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    We can all appreciate the difficulties of wanting to leave the EU/Single Market/customs union yet keep an open border with Ireland. This is clearly impossible. Labour’s policy is still one of cherry picking the bits they like and the EU is never going to allow that. Mrs May is in charge, and she continues to flounder.

    So our current predicament is all the fault of Leavers for wanting to leave? Not really. For years those on the Remain side have played down the influence of the EU in our national affairs. Of course they don’t interfere with our laws they’ve argued. We are still a sovereign country. We’ve been a member of the EU only through choice.

    But now it comes to leaving the argument from remainers is that we don’t have much of a choice after all. We are far too entangled with the EU to be able to leave. Even the peace process in Northern Ireland depends on it.

    Very likely we will need, at some stage, to have a new round of peace talks in Northern Ireland to establish just what is going to be possible after Brexit. We’ve really no quarrel with the people of the Irish Republic. But, the Republican side in Ireland has to respect the decision of the UK to not be a part of the EU. Just as we respected, eventually, their decision not to be a part of the UK in the 20s and 30s.

  23. Mick
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Brexit means Brexit and that means leaving the dreaded Eu, was watching the bbc news yesterday and all they kept harping on about was a packet of crisps that some nobody said to undermine the government then to top it all they had the Tory ….. heseltine on (etc ed), why does the bbc give so much coverage to these remoaners we are leaving get use to it, then today we have sky making a big thing about a memo Mr Johnson made about the Irish border to Mrs May, are these journalists thick or what in my eyes all the media are doing is still running a project fear campaign back by a mole in number 10 because sky won’t disclose the source of there info so Mrs May should find the leak and remove it because there is a lot at stake

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      Mick

      are these journalists thick or what

      Got it right in one

  24. Eh?
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    There is another option.
    We can plough on with negotiations. Ireland will then have a choice if its overlords and masters in the EU are difficult, they can or otherwise hold an emergency referendum on the EU, and vote Leave and unlike Mrs May trigger Article 50 immediately. In fact they should pencil in a Referendum vote date now which would serve their own nation’s interest very well. Even the threat of it to the EU would help Ireland and the UK. It is up to Ireland, to be or not to be a nation once again

  25. Rien Huizer
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, you said:

    ” It is unlikely the EU would offer us membership of a customs union without requiring that we accept their rules, and without demanding payments and continued freedom of movement. In other words a customs union would look much like membership of the EU without a seat at the table to be outvoted in person. ”

    Certainly, as illusory as any proposal coming out of the main parties (in that respect the UKIP ideologues are a bit clearer. They cannot wait and want the UK to sail away from toxic Europes as soon as possible.

    When will professional politicians come up with something that avoids a sudden exit in 2019 without any prospects for a cooperative future relationship (I mean economically; security is a non-issue)?

    • NickC
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      Rien, It takes two to tango. When will the EU apparatchiks start being reasonable – or are they always on manouevres? Independence and WTO rules, like the rest of the world has, suits me. And after we’ve left you will find may want to join us. But don’t come wailing to us this time about yet another of your ideological attempts to re-create the Roman Empire.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

      Rien Huizer

      Is the reason for your concern below?

      Don’t worry the UK will still wish to continue the partnership with our good friends from the Netherlands, if it is allowed by Brussels…your choice?

      Pink book 2016 (Pink book 2017 available June 2018)

      UK Goods to the Netherlands £18,651Billion
      UK Services to the Netherlands £12,371 Billion
      Total £31,022 Billion

      Netherlands Goods to the UK £36,194 Billion
      Netherlands Services to the UK £6,164 Billion
      Total £42,358 Billion

      The Netherlands does very well from the British…The Netherland Politicians should be kinder to the British in future!

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

        Rien Huizer

        Should read Millions not Billions…..if only!

  26. Bob
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Perhaps the Irish Nationalists will be less concerned about border controls once the public services start to feel the pressure. A UK survey carried out by the BSA found that GP satisfaction levels are the lowest for 30 years, but of course there’s no mention of the number of patients increasing by 300,000 a year; how could that possible affect the quality of service?

    • Bob
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      @Mr Redwood
      After you edited this comment it doesn’t make sense because you deleted the reason why Irish public services might come under pressure.

      Is there some reason that you don’t want it mentioned?

  27. Michael O'Sullivan
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    The chickens have come home to roost- Andy said it a couple of days ago in another post- there is absolutely no doubt but the talks would be well underway by now if only Labour were in power- the big problem here is the Tory Right Wing MEPs, the british rag press and remnants of UKIP- who between them all have been dishing out abuse and personal insults at EU politicians and the institutions itself for decades now. The Brussels EU in the form of Junker, Verhofstadt and Tusk are determined now to hold the line on anything that a Tory led government has to put forward and therin lies the problem- it’s payback time.

    I will go further to say that this is probably the reason why there is no government functioning in Germany right now- and all very convenient for the EU- Mrs May has no one to appeal to over the heads of the Brussels commission. We can be sure that if it were a Labour government in UK things would have been well on the way to being sorted by now as they and Jeremy Corbyn is held in high regard throughout the continent- all just as Andy says

    • Timaction
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      One word for your view. Capitulation! That’s what Labour would do!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      So well done Andy for spotting that the EU knows very well who are its best British friends. All they need to do now is to do what they’ve done in other countries, get the present government out and their quisling friends into office.

    • Andy
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      Thank you. Personally, I think Jeremy Corbyn will be a disaster as PM. I think he is a decent, honest man with strongly held views – but I think his policies will be awful for our country. I am also not a Labour supporter. And yet, I will absolutely be voting for him next time out. Because while he’s a disaster he is out catastophed by the incompetent and increasingly dangerous fact-deniers on the hard right. There is a Conservative wipeout coming at the ballot box. It is a demographic inevitability – and they are too blind to see it. Shocking.

      • Edward2
        Posted March 1, 2018 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        So you think Corbyn will be a disaster yet you will be voting for him.
        Very odd.

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      Michael O’Sullivan

      We can be sure that if it were a Labour government in UK things would have been well on the way to being sorted by now as they and Jeremy Corbyn is held in high regard throughout the continent- all just as Andy says

      Michael I do not know what you are drinking but please,please market it as soon as possible, because in dictatorship Scotland we will need stuff like that to get us over the shock of the 50p per unit price on booze.

  28. Michael O'Sullivan
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Corrn.. as they and Jeremy Corbyn are held in high regard

  29. mancunius
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    There’s another aspect to this EU ‘plan’ that doesn’t seem to have attracted attention so far:
    If NI is part of what Barnier calls ‘the EU’s customs territory after Brexit’ with checks required on goods coming in from the rest of the UK, that would mean the EU would be legally able to set up their own hard border between NI and the rest of the UK. British passport-holders and their luggage arriving in Belfast would be checked, questioned and searched by EU customs and security agents – as invasively and unhelpfully as they may choose to behave.

    This EU proposal of keeping NI in the EU customs union is clearly designed to prevent the UK from leaving without an agreement. Whatever tech solutions we reasonably propose, they will all be immediately rejected in Dublin as ‘too restrictive a hard border’ or in Brussels as ‘not adequate for EU purposes’. It is the government’s fault for leaving that hostage to fortune in the December Joint Report. The Westminster role of the DUP, and Sinn Fein absenting itself from its duties in Belfast co-government, are a really unfortunate conjunction at this point.

    • Henry Spark
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      O dear you are confused! This is not an EU plan. This is exactly what the UK signed up to in December – no hard border in Ireland, which can be acheived only by Northern Ireland following all the EU’s rules so as to ensure no need for checks of noncomplying goods (eg chlorinated chicken).

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      “Whatever tech solutions we reasonably propose, they will all be immediately rejected in Dublin”.

      Yes, because as pointed out months ago:

      http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2017/11/24/new-garden-towns-and-the-oxford-to-cambridge-corridor/#comment-902811

      the Irish government has adopted an absurd, extreme and intransigent position, rejecting “anything that would imply a border on the island of Ireland”.

      But equally absurd, extreme and intransigent is the underlying assumption that the whole of Northern Ireland and its economy must come under EU regulation just because a small volume of goods find their way from Northern Ireland across the land border into the Irish Republic.

      Those goods, worth about £2.4 billion a year or say £10 million each working day, equivalent to about 0.1% of UK GDP and still only equal to about 7% of Northern Ireland GVA, could have been produced within Northern Ireland, or they could have been imported into Northern Ireland from other countries either inside or outside the EU; but whatever their origins existing UK laws, namely the EU Single Market primary and secondary legislation, are held to make it unnecessary for the Irish authorities to inspect them as they cross the border.

      It really only necessary for the UK authorities to ensure that these goods will no more require inspection at the border by the Irish authorities after we have left the EU than they do now while we are in the EU, and logically that could be achieved just by the UK authorities passing and effectively enforcing new laws to prevent exporters taking across illicit goods.

    • Andy
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      Actually it’s quite amusing. This is all the fault of Brexiteers and the complete and utter incoherence of your arguments.

      I will never stop delighting in telling you all. Carry on as you were. You are proving us more right every day.

      • Chris
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

        Andy, nothing to do with the Brexiteers, but all to do with an incompetent, Remainer PM, in my view.

        • Andy
          Posted February 28, 2018 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

          Nothing to see here – move along. Says the old bloke who has crashed the car.

          It’s always everyone else’s fault isn’t it – and never the complete and utter incoherence of your Brexit.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 1, 2018 at 6:48 am | Permalink

        Andy

        All you’re doing is making Brexit readers more determined not to have it your way.

        Calling me ‘far right’ means that I can dismiss your silly views as absurd.

        Nor do you believe in the voting system unless it turns up your result, it seems.

  30. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    And here is a question, in addition to the three questions I posed yesterday which so far have not attracted any answers:

    http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2018/02/27/the-uk-will-rejoin-the-high-table-of-global-influence/#comment-921629

    If it came about that the Irish Republic and EU authorities decided that because the UK had left the EU there was now no alternative to the reintroduction of checks on goods as they crossed the border from Northern Ireland into the Republic and therefore the EU, precisely what would they be checking for?

    What kind of discoveries might prove to them that with the UK now outside the EU, and outside any customs union with the EU and the EU Single Market, it had indeed become necessary to carry out physical checks on the mere £10 million of goods imported each day across a “hard” border?

  31. Prigger
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    “Tesco shareholders give blessing to Booker takeover” The share price has risen by 2.66% today. This just shows, in my own individual personal view, the credence we should give to “expert” opinion and in this case of company executives and fund managers’ action.

  32. Tweeter_L
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    In my opinion the EU have never intended to offer a free trade agreement with the UK and
    their whole attitude to, and use of, the Irish border issue proves it— i.e. it wouldn’t be an issue in the event of a free trade agreement. As has been pointed out here may times, for the EU top dogs this is about politics, not trade and the UK must be made an example of. However, I’ve read plenty of proposals on this site and elsewhere as to how a “hard” border can be avoided if a free trade deal is not agreed. I wish our negotiators could stop behaving like supplicants and put forward some firm proposals as per some of the excellent comments on here.

    • StanleyW
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      Tweeter_L.. think you’re right..I think they have decided the UK needs to spend some time out in the cold to cool down and reflect.. it’s the Liam Fox factor you see, an attidude pervailing that is holding things up..all of this talk about Free Trade wirh countries far away..all under WTO rules..veiled threats that we can do our own thing with or wthout the the EU as we wish that is causi g a problem for the EU side..of course like JR, Fox would like to have this piece of trade with them but not the other piece…IDS too..heard he is over in Bavaria talking with the car workers..but he left it a bit late..he was overheard talking on the phone to M Gove who is down in wine growing area of France trying to stoke up the wine growers to make noises with Macron but alas nothing is happening.. consequently very soon we are for the high road..and of course taking back control

    • Andy
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      We have a free trade agreement with the EU. The single market is the best free trade agreement in the world. And, if you voted Leave, you voted against it.

      Having rejected the Rolls Royce of trade agreements I’m betting that you’ll be unhappy with the Robin Reliant you get in its place.

      • Anonymous
        Posted March 1, 2018 at 6:49 am | Permalink

        It’s far from being a *free* trade agreement. It comes with horrendous strings attached to it.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

      Actually a conventional free trade agreement by itself would not necessarily solve the Irish border problem, any more than a customs union would solve it.

      I want to know what the Irish authorities would be looking for if they did feel it was necessary to resume checks on goods crossing the border into the Republic.

      If the Irish authorities said:

      “We would have check consignments for X”

      then the two governments could start to think about how to work together to make sure that if the Irish did start to do that kind of check at the border then they would so rarely find anything untoward that it would be more or less pointless.

      There seems to be an unspoken assumption that once the UK was released from the constraints of EU law the government would become indifferent to people exporting defective or illicit goods to our EU neighbours, but we could offer them an alternative legal guarantee that this would not be tolerated.

  33. Mark Watson
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Re: John Major speech today.

    “I know of no precedent for any Government enacting a policy that will make both our country and our people poorer,” he will say.
    “Once that is apparent, the Government must change course.”
    He took us into and kept us in the ERM which caused recession and misery for millions.Hypocrite

    • zorro
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      LOL, Sir John clearly has no perverse sense of irony!

      zorro

      • Tad Davison
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

        I listened to Major’s speech Zorro, and I’m still spitting feathers! I was friends with some of the ‘bastards’ and I find Major’s words a gut-wrenching insult! He’s depending upon us not having a long memory. That’s not the first time he’s got the electorate wrong!

        Tad

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

        No sense of any kind it seems. The ERM disaster was entirely predicable and predicted by the sound independently minded economists. Only the group think (largely innumerate) establishment (all now doubtless remainiacs) thougth the ERM followed by the EURO was a jolly good plan.

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

        zorro

        Any name with Sir in front of it is suspect!

    • ian wragg
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      John Major is a …………. of the first order and has nothing worthwhile to say.
      As you so rightly say, he took us into the ERM, bankrupting many businesses and causing thousands of house repossessions but not an ounce of contrition.

      • gordon winton
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

        i just thought his speech was little more than a one sided diatribe, they have all lost sight of just where the eu is headed and how unsuitable it is for us to stay, if we were not members today we would never consider joining and should have no further hesitation in leaving. i can well see a future where the majority of the present eu members might well side with britain to construct a free trading block that will enable us all to have our cake and eat it. roll on and heres hoping we hear a very different mrs may on friday.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

        I and many others lost our homes when John Major was in power. The man ( did badly ed) Why does he get any airtime? If the vote had gone the other way then Brexiteers wouldn’t have got any airtime at all and the whole thing would have been brushed under the carpet. I wish remainiacs would all take a run and jump – anywhere!!

      • Dennis
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

        And J. Major has still not understood what was written on the side of that battle bus

      • Jools B
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        And he got a knighthood for it. Yet another reason to scrap the rotten honours system which seems to benefit no one except useless politicians.

      • a-tracy
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

        John Major didn’t ask the people before he sneaked off to sign Maastricht, he was disloyal to his wife, he was disloyal to the public signing us up to something without explaining to us what he was agreeing to, he has always been a ……representative more interested in the EU than the U.K. He caused more problems for us getting into bed with the Europeans, interest rates nearly cost us our home and business causing us to take on extra jobs. I disliked him them and he is back to aggravate today.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 28, 2018 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

        Indeed no apology at all from the man (for all the people who lost their homes, committed suicide, lost their jobs, marriages, pensions, businesses….. nor for his taking the Tory party over the cliff for 3 terms, even then we only got Cameron and Clegg!

    • Caterpillar
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      Mark Watson,

      Moreover the economic forecasts are +/- 0.5% GDP per capita by 2030 depending on remain, the type of or no agreement. This is less than noise. The only knowingly poorer would be not giving future generations flexibility to respond to future uncertainties, why some want to lock the youth of today into an inflexible future for such a small potential upside is bewildering. Why ‘statesmen’ represent the situation the way they do is mind boggling.

    • mancunius
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      He also signed us up to Maastricht – a Treaty of whose future implications he was fully aware, yet deliberately concealed from the British people and hustled through Parliament, telling everyone his opponents were crazed.

  34. Iain Gill
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    Re “Theresa May has conceded that new EU migrants who come to Britain during the Brexit transition will have the right to settle permanently in the UK, in a major climbdown over future residency rights” in the Guardian… Are you supporting this?

    They may as well put posters up in every Bulgarian and Romanian town telling them to catch the next Coach to Victoria coach station.

    The political class seem to be hell bent on ignoring the will of the people.

  35. margaret
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Paradoxes sometimes work , but not in this case . It seems to be the same pattern as when we were all trying to get jobs in the late 90’s. First we were all too qualified , then overseas staff who were on the same wage as UK nurses were cheaper, then they introduce new certificates for the inexperienced and we were not qualified.

  36. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Off-topic, an important development here:

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/02/27/snps-alternative-brexit-bill-declared-unlawful-holyrood-presiding/

    “SNP’s alternative Brexit Bill declared unlawful by Holyrood presiding officer”

    The Scottish Government tabled their own EU Withdrawal Bill, but the presiding officer Ken Macintosh ruled that the new European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill was beyond the Scottish Parliament’s powers.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      Apparently it is the first time this has happened.

  37. Christopher Hillidge
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    It is of course true that an obvious solution to the so-called ‘Irish Border Problem’ would be
    for the Irish Republic to leave the EU – and this would be in their interest financially, being
    net contributors to the EU, yet trading to a far greater extent with the UK and the USA. It is possible that Unionists would support the concept of a united Ireland, if it was outside the
    EU and inside the Commonwealth. This would certainly be a far more palatable option for them than for there to be an extension of the EU customs union across Northern Ireland following Brexit – which would inevitably lead to a united Ireland inside the EU.

    • Andy
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      As Bertie Ahern said the Irish would not be so stupid.

  38. nigel seymour
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Could Sir John Major perhaps once again be our next (euro) PM?

  39. Turboterrier.
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Having just watched the yesterday man Sir John Major being given a slot on prime time BBC 6pm News could you please John arrange for the following regarding the comment on the number of voters that were on the losing side in the referendum to be delivered through the house to Sir John and all the other past it yesterday politicians who keep butting their oar in..

    Would the remain voters have given us the time and the space to turn around the vote if they had won? Hell would freeze over first.

    Totally pathetic in structure and no wonder he has the track record he has. What an embarrassment to this country. No wonder the EU think they can walk all over us

    • Terence Flynn
      Posted March 1, 2018 at 5:13 am | Permalink

      Remain voters would have allowed dissent had remain claims been exposed as false the way leave lies have been!

  40. Mick
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    Now we have major along with heseltine calling for another referendum, what planet are these muppet remoaners on not this one, we are not going to have another referendum because we the 17.4 million wouldn’t trust it to be run honestly, we do not TRUST you, get that into your heads if you can’t handle that then pack your bags and go live in one of the other 27 counties of the Eu , oh no you’ll not do that because you know what side of your bread is buttered , but honestly do feel free to go bye bye you will not be missed

    • Andy
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      Your comments prove him right.

  41. Caterpillar
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    On a related topic – the Irish border. I think Gudgin’s post on BriefingsForBrexit this evening says all that the PM and Foreign Secretary need to say – the EU needs to read it’s own report Smart Border 2.0

  42. Gladysred theUnready
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    You know the legend of King Arthur?..He will return when the Country most needs him in a time of great peril. A bit like John Major returning… except in this case it is because a bakery was burning its cakes… Alfred the Great…wrong movie!

  43. Lifelogic
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    No sense of any kind it seems. The ERM disaster was entirely predicable and predicted by the sound independently minded economists. Only the group think (largely innumerate) establishment (all now doubtless remainiacs) thougth the ERM followed by the EURO was a jolly good plan.

  44. Chris
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    The Spectator reports this tonight in its newsletter:
    • The Home Office announced a major U-turn on the rights of EU nationals who arrive during the Brexit transition period: they will now gain the right to remain indefinitely in the UK”

    Can you explain why there is yet another concession/U turn by May, Mr Redwood?

    • Andy
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

      Because Britain has no cards to play. Because Brexit is a sham. Because the Brexiteers lied to you and will give you NOTHING that you voted for.

      They have capitulated on everything. It is time to start blaming Boris and co for this mess they have inflicted on the country.

    • Terence Flynn
      Posted March 1, 2018 at 5:11 am | Permalink

      Simple. Almost half the UK’s export trade goes to the EU 27. About 6 per cent of the EU 27’s export trade goes to the UK. So the UK is in a much worse bargaining position than the EU27. We are in a jam. So remember when Mr Redwood promised you the EU needs us more than we need it, and so they’d give us a great deal? Sad misinformed fantasy

      Reply I said No Deal would be fine, and then they would be asking for tariff free

  45. proper car driver
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    It is not five years ago I used drive through all the worst conditions on the Armageddon Weather Blast from Siberia. No it is not the worst for the “last 30 years”. I drove in a variety of cars, posh and definitely not. Without false modesty, I am not a good driver but I found the only problem was other drivers, not the snow or ice or rain.
    I never used wheel chains but a much younger colleague used them regularly and told me they were fine and he never had any problems at all in snow and ice.
    I truly have no idea why the “chaos”. It is must be a type of hysteria. There is no logical foundation for our cars with OUR tyres ( admittedly not the best for snow ) not being able to drive in a few inches of snow or even a foot. The thing is it is not a foot high after it has been driven on once. Just a centimetre. The rest is thrown to one side or has been compressed and thus temporarily heated into water under the ongoing drive of the tyre.
    I would say to car drivers from Scotland to the South coast of England….”If you have personal problems driving in this weather unassociated with other drivers ,never ever get into a car again. Yu are incompetent or I am suddenly a Finnish winter rally driver.

    • proper car driver
      Posted February 28, 2018 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

      A tip
      You will find in many cars, driving in reverse gear is much easier on snow and ice than any forward gear. Work out the technical reason why later, just believe me. Brief forward and backward movements, no innuendo, will get you out of most jams in snow, just don’t panic on the accelerator and accept a few inches at a time. It may take a while to get to sounder ground but it works. My incentive? I had to get to destinations to earn my bonus, a good one!!! Money makes your wheels go round.

  46. KeithL
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t IDS just look very composed and confident on TV today. Pity he had no other information to give us about the German car workers- “do you seriously think etc”

    Do you also remember?

    “It will all work out OK provided we take the right decisions”- Michael Gove..or

    Brexit means Brexit and we’re going to make a success of it??

    …It’ll be a red white and blue brexit

    and today No!.. as in NO NO NO.. or Never Never Never

    but what’ll Friday bring?

    Now for J R-M and the abyss

  47. Original Richard
    Posted February 28, 2018 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    The reason the EU, supported by the EU’s UK collaborators, are weaponising the Ireland/NI border is because they are the ones who are desperate to have a “hard” border.

    This is because the EU wants to stop the potential of cheaper imported goods entering the EU as a result of GB/NI being outside the EU’s high protective tariff barrier but they don’t want to be seen as the entity which is implementing/advocating a “hard” border.

    They want the UK to make the decision and take all the blame.

  48. Dennis Zoff
    Posted March 1, 2018 at 12:41 am | Permalink

    John, I enjoyed your speech and it seems many others did also. Thank you.

    Quick question from your speech:

    “The UK Treasury would collect about £16bn in tariff revenue on EU exports to us, giving plenty of scope to compensate. Meanwhile the rest of the EU would collect just £6bn on our exports to them. All of that money of course would go to the EU, not to member states governments.”

    This £16bn collected by the UK Treasury that you speak of, surely this increased tariff would ultimately be paid by the UK consumers, good for the Treasury, bad for consumers. How does this help the UK citizens exactly?

    Reply I said we have the money paid by consumers which we can give back as tax cuts

    • Henry Spark
      Posted March 1, 2018 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      So Brexit will be great for the rich who are high taxpayers.
      For those on the breadline, on benefits, sick, Brexit means higher prices.
      Get that on the side of a bus

      • Edward2
        Posted March 1, 2018 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

        The rich elite establishment love the EU

  49. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 1, 2018 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    I suppose this is still in moderation because it criticises Boris Johnson.

  • About John Redwood


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

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page