The relentless drive to political union

The EU rests on the four freedoms – the free movement of goods, people, capital and ideas. It central political driver is now the Euro. The UK has never been willing to join the Euro, with around 80% of the public opposed and both major political parties against in practice. Many UK voters also have reservations about freedom of movement, which has meant successive UK governments have kept us out of the Schengen common border arrangements and have sought derogations or opt outs on other features like access to  benefits.

The UK is therefore being a good European by withdrawing from the EU, because it is unable and unwilling to join two of the crucial founding policies of this Union.  Our position has become extremely difficult, seeking to hold up or dilute policies designed to promote greater union. We have also been consistently unwilling to pay more into the budget to help the development of the Euro area.

A single currency needs a sovereign state with its taxpayers to support it. It needs large transfer payments from the richer parts of the zone to the poorer parts. It usually needs a common benefits system, large transfers through such a system, and further large transfers through local and regional government financing from the centre.  The Eurozone has not yet been able to develop all of these mechanisms or to route sufficient cash through the mechanisms it does have to transfer money from rich to poor. The UK leaving will allow the Eurozone members to have a better debate over how far they need to go and have a wish to go to buttress their currency with proper arrangements to transfer cash and to even out minimum income  levels around the zone.

Currently the Eurozone manages to live with a huge surplus run up by Germany, and large deficits incurred by Greece, Italy, Spain and  Portugal through financings via the European central Bank. This Bank accepts an interest free deposit from Germany and lends it on to the countries and their banks  that need the extra money. It would be wise for the zone to consider longer term and more usual ways to handle the need for large transfers within a currency zone. Free of UK membership there can now  be a much closer identity between the EU and the single currency it sponsors.

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145 Comments

  1. oldtimer
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    Germany has been remarkably successful in maintaining its trade surplus in the EU, as well with the wider world. In part membership of the euro has helped because if it had not switched from the DM to the euro, it would have had to trade with a much stronger currency. There appears to be a significant reluctance in Germany to make the kind of transfer payments you describe. Indeed politically it may prove to be impossible. If so it raises questions about the long term viability of the whole project.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      Germany is not the only country relauctant to amke transfer payments. No one likes to throw away money, not even politicians who play with taxpayers’ money. So the strange ideas that monetary union will unavoidably lead to fiscal and political union are no more than a fantasy. The EU has been lucky that an insignificant country like Greece acted as the guinea pig for dealing with shocks. In the case of Greece the emergency package worked, although the speculators and some rich locals with offshore wealth made a killing initially. Since then there has been some strengthening and it is highly unlikely:
      – that new members will be admitted without very thorough vetting
      – there will be a (fiscal) transfer system without a veto by country (ie no credit card in the hands of the Commission) but expect some fudge that will allow local leaders to claim victory. That is of course separate from the (monetary) technical facilities underpinning the EUR payments system.

      • James Matthews
        Posted April 17, 2018 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        “So the strange ideas that monetary union will unavoidably lead to fiscal and political union are no more than a fantasy” No. The fantasy is that it, if the monetary union is to survive, it won’t,.

        Meanwhile I trust any Greek readers of this blog will take comfort in the knowledge that even though they are an insignificant country they have provided Germany with a useful laboratory for economic experiment.

      • NickC
        Posted April 17, 2018 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

        Rien, You think “ever closer union” is going to stop this side of the collapse of the EU? If so it’s you with the strange fantasies.

    • Andy
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      I agree that if the Germans had kept the DM it would have vastly reduced their trade surplus and the Euro has been a very convenient tool for them. You are right that they are unwilling to make transfer payments and certainly not on the scale needed, so they will sit on their hands. The UK out of the EU has handed them hegemony over all of Europe, which is what they have sought since 1871, but it will all crumble into dust because they will bring ruin to half of their new empire. Nought changes really.

      • GY
        Posted April 17, 2018 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

        Germans don’t even want to pay for their NATO commitments.

    • John
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      I have limited understanding of Germans but after some decades of occasional interaction I suspect they are a nation that does not see/understand the benefit of a mutually beneficial relationship. This is subject to maybe my limited German interaction.

      Mutually beneficial unions require compromise from all participants in order that all benefit if some only moderately. My experience is that they regard not taking advantage over others as being stupid and weak. I don’t see in the German psyche the notion that you walk away from a big gleaming prize in order to maintain a union/business relationship and just accept a smaller prize for the bigger picture.

  2. Peter Wood
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    Good Morning,

    Dr. Redwood, an interesting perspective on our vote to leave the EU; makes you wonder why the unelected bureaucrats are so upset. What could it be….

    • eeyore
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 7:01 am | Permalink

      Had JR been in charge of negotiations the EU would be paying us to go.

    • Lifelogic.
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      Bureaucrats get upset when they have fewer people to tax and boss around. When it look like their grand project/dream is going into reverse.

      • NickC
        Posted April 17, 2018 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

        LL, Our civil serpents negotiate the rules with their dear colleagues from the other EU countries. The Ministers are just a fig leaf, and told what to say. The civil serpents then get to implement the EU rules, by-passing our home grown MPs. Of course our bureaucrats don’t want to lose that power.

    • Nod
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      The American deep state control Germany and in return have promised them an Empire

      • Mitchel
        Posted April 18, 2018 at 9:15 am | Permalink

        I don’t believe that to be the case;there is a large pro-Russian constituency in Germany,both in politics and in business.The faultline between the Euro-Atlanticism and Eurasianism runs straight through Germany.

    • acorn
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      All 28 Commission bureaucrats are proposed by their home governments. The President of the Commission, currently Mr Juncker, is proposed by the European Council and elected by the European Parliament. Mr Barnier was proposed by the General Affairs Council; made up of elected ministers from all EU member states.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 17, 2018 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

        So no real & meaningful democracy then.

        • Peter Parsons
          Posted April 18, 2018 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

          A bit like the UK then with its FPTP Commons and unelected Lords.

      • Edward2
        Posted April 18, 2018 at 3:12 am | Permalink

        Hundreds of millions of tax payers in Europe and yet just a handful give patronage to an elite few who hold huge power over us all.
        The opposite of democracy.

      • a-tracy
        Posted April 18, 2018 at 9:46 am | Permalink

        You’d have thought the leader of the largest group of MEPs elected in each Country would automatically be the commission bureaucrat wouldn’t you? The European elections are separate from the UK government elections, it’s like the Council Leaders from the local council election choosing who heads up the Government.

    • Bob
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      @Peter Wood

      “makes you wonder why the unelected bureaucrats are so upset. What could it be….”

      Maybe the enormous direct financial contributions and indirect benefits like easy access to the UK jobs market, fishing grounds, a plethora of welfare benefits, free healthcare and a lucrative export market for the other EU members?

    • getahead
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      Even more interesting is why so many of our own elected members of parliament are so upset and would be happy to overturn the referendum result.

      • NickC
        Posted April 17, 2018 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

        Getahead, They like their nice comfy offices, and nice comfy secretaries, and nice comfy expenses, without much responsibility.

      • Peter Wood
        Posted April 17, 2018 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

        G,
        YES! That’s a conspiracy that really should be investigated. Not only the elected members, but also the civil service. I am no fan of the progress and negotiating style of the May government, however she appears terribly hobbled by the ‘vested interests'(?) of forces aligned against her.

  3. duncan
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    Readers may want to look at the role of the Bundesbank and the credit facilities they provide to various EU member states to support their bankrupt banking systems. Italy for one owes the German central bank around 650 bn Euros.

    Readers may also care to look at the role of and function of the Eurozone’s Target-2 payments transfer system which at its basic affords capital transfers across EU member states borders.

    In effect the entire system revolves around the fundamental capacity of the German economy and its taxpayer to provide trade, economic and financial ‘support’ to all other Eurozone members.

    Support coming in many forms –

    Trading – access to German markets and in return Germany is allowed to export to other member states. The German trade surplus is huge suggesting the importance of the German economy for many EU countries and the economic and political importance for the EU of maintaining its stability and growth

    Financial and capital importance. I believe the Bundesbank is of greater importance than that of the ECB. In fact these two bodies are almost in competition with each other for political influence

    Should Germany ever falter then the entire EU pack of cards will collapse. This may explain the massive flows of cheap labour into Germany since the Syrian civil war erupted.

    Obama visited Merkel before he left the White House. I would say that was a telling visit

  4. Mark B
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Indeed, the Eurozone can move to full political and monetary union as was the case all along. Infact, I believe I was one of the first people to mention this here.

    I saw in an interview one Edward Heath. From his very own mouth he stated, quite categorically, that if it had not been for the Yom Kippur War and the Oil Crisis, the UK and France would have had full monetary union by the early nineteen eighties. I could provide a link to said documentary but, our kind host does not like them.

    The UK political class and establishment have always been very pro-EU. They more than most benefit from the Four Freedoms – Goods, Services, Capital and people.

    It is just such a shame that upon leaving in name only, we shall be joined at the hip thanks to all those concessions we have made.

    • A different Simon
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      The British Establishment were behind Hitler and did everything they could to block Churchill for years .

      They pleaded for leniency for Kim Philby ; that he should be given a slap on the wrists because really he was one of them who had just succumbed to a moment of madness .

      The actual number of members of the Cambridge spy ring had to be kept quiet to spare the upper class embarrassment .

      What is it that makes them so unpatriotic , generations of inbreeding ?

      • eeyore
        Posted April 17, 2018 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        Yes, the same inbred unpatriotic upper class whose sons died disproportionately on the battlefields of both world wars, who gave up their homes to the war effort and returned to find them trashed, and who then paid tax at 98% to pull the country round again. Bastards!

      • NickC
        Posted April 17, 2018 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

        The UK rich and powerful have more in common with the rich and powerful in other countries than with their own plebs.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      I remember Ted Heath talking about China and saying you cannot have a democracy when you X millions of people to rule. I assumed he did not want any democracy in the EU either for the same reason. Certainly the EU did not want any, other than an overpaid, over pensioned, gross expenses refund (even when not incurred), special tax benefits and a talking shop of sheep – with no real power that is.

  5. hans chr iversen
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    John

    An interesting analysis and perspective but with some major gaps.

    A significant amount of counties in Europe have a surplus not just Germany. (DK,S,Holl, Austria, Lux.Spain)and some of them are percent wise even bigger than Germany.

    There is no single opinion on one Europe with one budget and Union, the majority of northern and eastern European countries do not wish such a Union, so no I do not share your conclusions, they are far too simplified.

    • Richard1
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 7:06 am | Permalink

      Yes but the point is the single currency isn’t sustainable unless there are such transfers. Without them it will be austerity in perpetuity in the deficit countries, which is presumably not politically sustainable. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. I think most likely is a restructuring with an inner core, who are in the EZ, and an outer core with a looser, trade-based, relationship. Who knows, perhaps the UK’s post Brexit relationship with the EU will become the template, and the U.K. will end up re-joining, but to a different structure.

      What no pro-EU figure in the U.K. has ever coherently argued is how you have a single currency without the sort of political integration JR outlines, and how, with the euro being the core policy of the EU, you avoid getting ever more sucked in under the present arrangements.

    • A different Simon
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      Hans ,

      You say that the “majority of northern and eastern European countries do not wish such a Union” .

      The case here in the UK is that our political class want it but the masses do not .

      Is that not also the case within most mainland Northern European countries ?

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted April 17, 2018 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

        I am not sure what the answer is to that question , in Sweden and Denmark it is not the case

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      So it should be easier to propose transfers between all those and the deficit countries than if it were just Germany? But the surplus countries prefer to leave the deficit countries with super-high unemployment? That seems very un-European to me. Perhaps the UK could offer to mediate in this matter 😀?

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted April 17, 2018 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        there is high youth unemployment in southern Europe but overall unemployment ahs fallen to much more reasonable levels like 7,4% in Portugal and most young people who are not in employment , live off the back economy

        • libertarian
          Posted April 18, 2018 at 9:34 am | Permalink

          hans

          Youth unemployment in Portugal is 21.4% , you think they are all living off the black economy. Sorry you get more ridiculous by the day.

          The treatment of the youth of southern and eastern europe is a disgrace, virtue signalling remainers she be ashamed

        • margaret howard
          Posted April 18, 2018 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

          And don’t forget Hans, that unlike Britain European countries don’t as a rule register students as being in full employment. This completely distorts government figures.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      Typical EU response. Firstly deny it. Secondly state it is only an aspiration and suddenly it’s too late to do anything as France and Germany have ratified it.

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted April 18, 2018 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        Ian,

        Sometimes you really do not know, what you are writing about

    • sm
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Hans, I accept that many EU States may not wish to have a Federal States of Europe, but you cannot deny this has been a principal aim of the EU since the very beginning of the European Community, and was repeated in a recent Five Presidents Report.

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted April 17, 2018 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

        I do not think anybody is denying the overall aspirations by certain politicians

    • libertarian
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      Hans, Newmania, Tasman, Andy etc

      UK
      Unemployment rate falls to 4.2%, lowest since 1975
      Employment rate highest since records began in 1971
      Public sector pay up 2.5%
      Private sector pay up 2.3%

      I expect you are all wildly celebrating more great news despite Brexit.

      Shame what you and the EU have done to employment in most of Southern & Eastern Europe

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted April 17, 2018 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

        Libertarian,

        What have we got to do with the unemployment in southern Europe and in eastern Europe which is falling fast?

        As you wrote to somebody else the other day, if, you wish ahve a serious debate than have it. Otherwise leave your childish remarks to yourself.

        thank you

        • libertarian
          Posted April 18, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

          hans

          Not only aren’t my remarks “childish” as Ive pointed out to you repeatedly , the EU Eurozone is responsible for this. You idiotically voted for something you dont understand. I suggest you grow up and actually take a look at what you repeatedly tell us you want , and its effects on the people you want to impose it on.

          • hans chr iversen
            Posted April 19, 2018 at 6:34 am | Permalink

            I debate, I am not sure what you do?

        • NickC
          Posted April 18, 2018 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

          Hans, The facts about the UK which Libertarian posted are true. In comparison here are the latest EU unemployment figures from Eurostat: France 8.9%; Italy 10.9%; Spain 16.1%; Greece 20.8%. Not very good, are they?

          As you wrote to Libertarian yesterday, if you wish have a serious debate than have it. Otherwise leave your childish remarks to yourself. Thank you.

          • hans chr iversen
            Posted April 19, 2018 at 6:33 am | Permalink

            NickC

            You might want to look at Germany ,DK, Austria, Lux and Netherlands as well

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 17, 2018 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

        Average value of a pension “pot” in the private sector about one tenth of those in the state sector. The state sector are on average remunerated at about 50% more than the private sector and pulling away again. This while delivering generally appalling public services (as we see with the Home Office & the Windrush Generation, the NHS, most of the education systems, the roads. the police who have largely given up, rubbish collection, long term care, the rip off trains, the lack of public loos, the closure of libraries, the inability to get a gp appointment or find dentist ….. )

        • a-tracy
          Posted April 18, 2018 at 9:58 am | Permalink

          I was thinking this the other day, we pay entire government departments to protect taxpayers from fraudulent benefit claims and pension claims. They do this by using people’s records and ensuring people have the requisite 30 years (why was this reduced from 39?) National Insurance payments to obtain state pensions, so why do the Windrush generation have no records? It just doesn’t add up. They must be on Council Tax registers, PAYE/NI registers, GP registers with payments from the government to the requisite GP practices (whether they have now closed down or not) for the 50 years they’ve been here, then there are any registers for them as parents for the entire time their children were in school, the people shouldn’t have to prove this there are many systems in the UK can that show this residence status, or don’t these people pay Council Tax, NI, PAYE, register as self-employed, register with doctors, show up in hospital records, then there are examination boards where they took their school and college exams, but like everyone else I know, every year I receive a letter asking me to confirm the residents in my home over the age of 18 haven’t these people had to do this? This isn’t Rudd and May’s problem alone, I want to know why the government departments are failing, there are millions of people paid from the public purse with final salary defined benefits that are accountable too.

    • Edward2
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Calculating in percentages is of no use when it is cash that matters.
      The surplus of Germany and the size of its economy versus the deficits of other weaker member nations is the main feature.

      On your last point, the only thing that alters due to some nations reluctance, is the speed the EU will move to being the United States of Europe.
      Those who are part of the unelected elite in Europe have a plan and they are working with determination.

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted April 17, 2018 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        Edward2

        This is an interesting statement and vision.

        For which you have no proof or actual figures or facts.

        • NickC
          Posted April 18, 2018 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

          Hans, Don’t be ridiculous. We have watched the EU grow bigger and more powerful every year for the last 45 years. The Brussels power-elite always cry “More Europe”, the treaties specify “Ever closer union”, and EU bureaucrats talk of the EU having the form of empire and agitating for an EU military force to by-pass the USA and NATO.

          • hans chr iversen
            Posted April 18, 2018 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

            NickC,

            Look at the policies and political goals of teh individual countries, instead of just looking at what comes out of Brussels

          • NickC
            Posted April 19, 2018 at 8:52 am | Permalink

            Hans, No. Portugal hasn’t grown bigger and more powerful, the EU has. The EU’s laws have primacy over UK law, not Denmark’s. As an independent country we will have to take account of what other countries policies are, but we will not be ruled by them.

        • Edward2
          Posted April 18, 2018 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

          Plan….read the five presidents report.

      • margaret howard
        Posted April 18, 2018 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

        Edward – unelected elite? I don’t think there is another EU country that has an unelected head of state whose children inherit the job, unelected house of lords receiving £300 a day just for turning up with unprecedented perks in the shape of subsidised food, drink and entertainment, unelected civil service that calls the tune with ministers as their stooges. To top it all failed politicians are then kicked upstairs to wile away their old age in the comfort of the red benches while the rest of us ‘enjoy’ among the lowest pensions in Europe.

        • Edward2
          Posted April 18, 2018 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

          Neither the Lords nor the Royal Family have any real power compared with the EU commission and council.

    • Andy
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      But no matter what you may say or think the inevitable logic of Monetary Union is a Transfer Union – that is inescapable. It means that countries like Germany, the Netherlands, Austria etc will have to transfer huge amounts to countries like Greece. And these transfers are not just for a few years, but will be an enduring part of Monetary Union.

      • Anonymous
        Posted April 17, 2018 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

        The pressures of those transfers on the supporting states.

        An area like England’s SE becomes a pressure cooker of crowding and activity and a home for economic refugees of the southern eurozone states in order create the money to send southwards – either in the form of redistributive taxation or by the transfer of personal money by the migrants themselves.

        It would not be fair.

        Southern England gets concreted over to make the EU wealthy. That’s not on and it’s not wealth for us.

    • Peter Martin
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      You only need to Google the term “Target2 imbalances” to get some idea of the scale of the eurozone’s problem. Germany has hundreds of billions of euro assets with the ECB which it can’t use. Italy and Spain have hundreds of billions of euro liabilities which they will never repay. Can never repay.

      If the euro were truly one currency and the EU were truly one country then none of this would matter. That’s the way it has to go.

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted April 17, 2018 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

        Peter Martin,

        Interesting and very important vision and explanation.

        But I am afraid we are going to have to ask for more than that , to be persuaded on the argument presented

        • Peter Martin
          Posted April 18, 2018 at 8:07 am | Permalink

          It’s difficult to fully explain fully in just one comment but I’d challenge the notion that the euro is single currency in the same way as is the pound or the dollar. Anyone with any sense isn’t keeping large sums of money in Greek, Italian or Spanish bank accounts. It’s not necessarily because the banks are insolvent. German banks aren’t in a good state either.

          The reason is to get an account in German euros rather than any of the other euros. If everything collapses the German government will have to safeguard the German euro. This capital flight from the peripheral regions is a big headache for the ECB and that’s mainly (IMO) what’s causing the Target2 imbalances although the ECB’s QE program is a factor too.

          None of this would matter in the USA. If anyone moves their dollars from Florida to California so what? But it does matter to the EU and in particularly Germany. Germany will be responsible for hundreds of billions of euros which really should be the responsibility of other EU countries if everything falls apart.

        • libertarian
          Posted April 18, 2018 at 9:41 am | Permalink
        • NickC
          Posted April 18, 2018 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

          Hans, Your EU; your problem.

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      If we were to remain in the EU we would need to achieve consensus with other countries in order to construct our laws.

    • getahead
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      “the majority of northern and eastern European countries do not wish such a Union”

      Is that important? Surely what matters is what ideologically motivated Brussels imposes upon them.

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted April 17, 2018 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        getahead

        look at the number of significant countries who are also paying for the party , who do not wish a Union and than let us ahve another conversation, thank you

      • miami.mode
        Posted April 17, 2018 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        Exactly right, the same as we await with trepidation what our government will do with Brexit.

  6. Caterpillar
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Though one does read that the unelected House of Lords aims to push the PM back towards the customs union, whilst the Trekkie push for a (cheaply branded second) people’s vote gathers publicity. There still seem to be many fighting for CU or EU and against democracy in this country at the moment.

    • NickC
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

      Caterpillar, A second referendum to choose between the existing WTO deal and the putative EU deal would give the people a final say. Of course we cannot have a repeat leave/remain vote because it would undermine all future democratic votes, including the “second” referendum itself.

    • Adam
      Posted April 18, 2018 at 4:09 am | Permalink

      Those MPs who try to reverse the democratic decision of the Leave vote should be consistent, & give up their seat to an opposing candidate who gained least votes in their constituency at the last General Election.

  7. matthu
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    It seems that the UK will remain wedded to making large transfers to the EU regardless of whether we have joined Euro or remain members of the EU. Hard to explain.

    • matthu
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      (My 07:00 comment appears to be stuck in moderation …)

      It seems that the UK will remain wedded to making large transfers to the EU regardless of whether we have joined Euro or remain members of the EU. Hard to explain.

  8. DaveF
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    We are leaving so I don’t know why you continually go on about the European Union? it’s like you have a fixation of some sort – but probably more like an affliction?

    Reply We are still in it, and need to understand it!

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      Doesn’t stop the Remainers in both parties moaning continually about Trump despite the fact we’re not in the USA.

  9. Grant
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Today we hear that Tim Martin of Wetherspoon fame is withdrawing from the social media space..very sensible of him..and just in time before the wrath of the public comes down on top of his head

    • NickC
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

      Grant, Which “public” is that?

  10. Lifelogic.
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Indeed but Major, Blair and most of the remainer dopes idiotically wanted the UK to join the EURO, some even after the ERM disaster. The EU will still surely continue to make a complete fist of the EURO never the less.

    I had not thought that the May government could go any lower in my estimation but the gesture bombing of Syria without authority (probably illegal in my opinion) and the desperate incompetence of May and Rudd’s Home Office over the Windrush children has certainly done that. Breathtaking incompetence in the home office, even by UK state sector standards! Were they deliberately trying to create this scandal? Why were the bureaucrats and Rudd so slow to start to correct matters even after it came to light.

    If May remains in office then many people will vote for the Corbyn the appalling, magic money tree socialist but who is largely anti-war, Thus rather than May’s new nasty party, socialist, highest taxes for 40 years and the gesture bomber.

    May and Hammon seem to be 180 degrees away from the best policy, on nearly every single issue.

  11. isp001
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Can I have the freedom to hire whom I want when I come to sell my house? If the conservative party sells its self on competence what on earth are you doing faffing around introducing compulsory licensing for estate agents? Same idiots higher prices is my forecast.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      Indeed even worse idiotic laws for landlords on energy performance and the likes. Even preventing them even serving notice to tenants in some cases. About the only sensible things Cameron did was to scrap the idiotic hip pack lunacy and make squatting illegal and now we get this idiot & damaging drivel.

      • stred
        Posted April 18, 2018 at 6:04 am | Permalink

        Landlords are about to be licenced too. May Conservatives are the party of state control.

    • stred
      Posted April 18, 2018 at 5:26 am | Permalink

      The usual favours to big business. It will keep the little firms from even starting, as expense will be proportionately much higher. In my experience, most of the dodgy practices happen with the big agents.

  12. Posted April 17, 2018 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    The rush has always been there to get EU countries into a fiscal straight-jacket, to make all of them the same, financially, and socially – but IMVHO, the thing driving all of this is about control.
    The EU elite are now so arrogant and do not like member states disagreeing with them… With financial convergence comes more control… but the EU elite will only have to put up with disobedience until the EU has full power over raising taxes – THEN they will no longer need national governments, and they will do exactly as they please with no consideration of popularism, fairness, or individual freedom – not to mention democracy.
    The structure of the regions already means that the EU can rule – they just need taxation in their pockets.

  13. agricola
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    The fact that we did not subscribe to Shengen made not one iota of difference to the number of Europeans coming to the UK. Welcome though the vast majority were ,we were incapable of keeping out the criminals and vagrants who came to milk the system. The Home Office do not have a clue as to how many illegals reside in the UK. In their blundering ineptitude they cannot even be relied upon to deal with those who have been here legally for decades.

    Whatever plans Macron and the EU may have for Europe you can be sure of one thing, the Europeans will not be allowed to debate it, or ultimately decide whether they want it or not. Democracy does not go below the leadership in the nation states. If the leadership dismisses the EU plan then those countries are in receipt of sanction and threat from the EU. Witness eastern Europe. If leaderships offer referendums and the people dismiss EU plans then the people are ignored. Witness Ireland, Holland, and France. Do not expect anyone to ask the people for an opinion. Our centuries old embedded democracy must scare the EU to death. Two things I will predict, if the EU fail to move without the approval of the people it will fail, and if they retain their protectionist trading stance they will fail economically.

  14. Andy
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    There is no such thing as free movement of people within the EU. It is free movement of workers. I know Leavers like to misrepresent this but despite Brexiteer efforts to the contrary facts do actually matter. This means Spain is – and always has been – quite within its right to send back all those retired Britons who are a drain on its state.

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      Pensioner hatred again.

      • Anonymous
        Posted April 17, 2018 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        Even hatred of pensioners who love the EU enough to live there.

    • Edward2
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      I see your project fear getting more ridiculous by the day Andy.

    • James Matthews
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      Retired Brits in Spain Brits aren’t a drain, they are a source of revenue. That is why they won’t be sent back.

    • GY
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      retired expat Brits are net contributors

    • anon
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

      They would enhance UK GDP, most will have UK funded pensions and more than likely health costs are being recharged to the UK.

      They are also British ( citizens) so the money question is largely irrelevant to the British.

      They are also i predict many countries who would welcome retiree’s from the UK who wish a pleasant climate and amenities etc.

      I highly doubt any individual region of the EU will want to do to anything but re-assure expats. However the EU may impose some dictatorial rules members regions , our elders will probably understand more than most about that kind of the threat from Europe.

  15. David D
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    One thing is for sure, the British people cannot rely on the government or parliament to stand up for our interests against Brussels. Given the desperate attempts of May and her clown to divert attention from their abject failure I think the political class is well aware that the people are starting to see through the lies.

  16. A.Sedgwick
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Remainers have never given three cogent reasons for remaining, project fear and the opinion of vested interests and has beens summed their argument and continues to do so.

    Any backtracking into the EU would require the UK joining the EURO and Schengen and even more funding from our unnecessarily debt ridden economy.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      They have not even been able to answer my question to them sometime ago.

  17. alan jutson
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    When eventually we do leave, it will be interesting to see how our politicians handle or want to handle the management of our own Country, when they will then be completely responsible for the path they take.

    Interesting times ahead me thinks for both the EU and the UK.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      Google, Shared Society and, World Leadership Alliance / Club de Madrid.

      https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/the-shared-society-prime-ministers-speech-at-the-charity-commission-annual-meeting

      This is what they have planned. Out of the frying pan and into the fire.

      • stred
        Posted April 18, 2018 at 6:34 am | Permalink

        How interesting to skip read this sanctimonious load of waffle. Mother Theresa regrets the lawyers being able to have a go at ‘our brave troops’. This will be an easy one for her to put right. She can phone Frank Spencer and tell him to stop the MoD paying lawyers to do just that over and over again if they don’t get them on the first, second and third attempt to make them pay for being brave.

  18. Rien Huizer
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    You are right that apparently widely held views on the desirability of some political as well as economic integration are an excellent reason for the UK to leave the integration process at this point. Of course that does not mean that the UK could not join or arrange an alternative structure that would not leave the UK exposed to unprotected trade, to put it as carefully as possible.

    The Euro is a work in progress and the very aspect of the technical mechanism underlying the EUR payments system (TARGET 2 balances, in some respects an overdraft facility between all members) is actually what makes it unthinkable that, for instance, Italy or Germany could leave. TARGET 2 balances are harmless (and unavoidable) as long as the EUR exists with its current core membership(essentially Greater Germany plus France) intact. It is analogous to the “too big to fail” featrure of modern banking systems. The balances’ reports are available to the public and only anti-EUR diehards like Prof. Sinn (an economist popular among older Germans) write about this. His concern is that liquidating the TARGET balances would be extremely costly for Germany (it is never mentioned that Holland’s balances are proportionally much larger than Germany’s) . To the tune of some 900 billion on a quite day in fact. Of course, should Italy threaten to leave the EUR, TARGET balances would explode due to capital flight, similar to the Greek example a few years ago. In that case the “weaker” EUR members might owe a couple of trillions. That exposure alone ensures the survival of the EUR (apart from the benefits most people appreciate given consistent pro-EU surveys in member countries and only a few fringe politicians arguing for return to the old currencies) and as you can see, even with a large interest differential between the USD and the EUR, the EUR has appreciated some 15 percent over the past 14 months. Not exactly a market signal of weakness.

    But the UK is different enough and that has and is being respected. Also that the UK does not want to adapt, like the others.

    • GY
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

      Incoherent EU propaganda, please can you make your nonsense more succinct in future.

    • anon
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

      The target 2 balances wont be repaid ever.

      The debtors may leave or not that is their democratic choice, which they may exercise one way or another.

      The creditor will be left be left holding the “paper promise”, useful for wallpaper. If they the creditor can carry it at a pretend value ,it will work, until it doesn’t.

    • NickC
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

      Rien, You use some corking language to cover up your EU propaganda and strange assumptions. Let’s just take two from your latest pile.

      an alternative structure that would not leave the UK exposed to unprotected trade
      Presumably in Rien-speak “an alternative structure” is one where someone else controls how we trade. And it appears by “protected trade” you are admitting the EU is protectionist. Hardly in the spirit of the WTO. Anyway, currently being swamped by German goods is hardly “protected” trade (for us). It will not be less protected after we leave. The EU provides no “protection” against trade from the USA (or Germany) that we could not provide for ourselves after we leave.

      the UK does not want to adapt
      It seems in Rien-speak “adapt” is short for “be subjugated”. Actually the UK will adapt the most. The rEU will fail to adapt by just clamouring for “more Europe”, the tired fall-back. Good luck with that.

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted April 18, 2018 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

        NickC

        We are back looking at Brussels, instead of looking at teh policies and objectives of individual countries and what they wish to get out of the EU,

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted April 18, 2018 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      Rien, you you mean adapt and be told exactly what you can and cannot do even if its bad for your country?

  19. Diverse Union Huh?
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    The EU has no freedom of movement in real terms. A labourer from a poor EU country has the freedom to come here and does. He will find work and some form of home.He will eat and live reasonably well. His lack of knowledge of our language,values, religion and customs is not a barrier. BUT a British labourer has the theoretical freedom to live and work in a poor EU country. He may find its climate more his taste, but he will have trouble finding a labouring job, more trouble in finding and paying for accommodation and food, a resistance to his religion whether it be anglican or muslim and discrimination against him for being British.( Yes they love you as a well-paying tourist and are hospitable and smiley smiley, try working there as a labourer! See what you think of EU Union then and the possibility of it.

  20. formula57
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Whilst likely true in practice that “A single currency needs a sovereign state with its taxpayers to support it” economic purists would say that a shared currency can work although under conditions, including no mutual bail-outs for participating sovereigns’ debt.

    Of course, Euro participants’ publics were not told they have been signed up to eventual political union.

  21. Adam
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Cohesion of 27 different nations into one, needs substance more attractive than EU dogma, with its 4-part ‘freedoms’.

    The UK’s bond as a self-governing nation frees us from the sticky restrictions inside theirs.

  22. Epikouros
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    “The EU rests on the four freedoms – the free movement of goods, people, capital and ideas”

    Those are conditions that we should have no objections to except when it is managed by a body such as the EU. Those best qualified to pursue those objectives are sovereign nations as they bring practical problems unique to each nation. Problems that a one fits all solution that the EU applies regardless of circumstances cannot properly address as they need to be tailor made by individual countries involved. Brexit will allow the UK to do just that those who remain members will have to do as they are told as they have to on things like Merkel’ unilateral declared immigration policy and what trading practices that Brussels allow members with those inside the single market and with those outside the EU. A single currency and political union bring some minor benefits but throw up a multitude of problems as once again it is a one fits all system that cannot cope with all the disparate aspirations, values, needs, social mores and traditional economic, legal and political systems, policies and practices.

  23. BOF
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Many EU members are happy to be recipients of large sums transferred from richer members but sooner or later this will change, as will soon be the case in Ireland, when some doubts are bound to emerge.

    Germany is happy to be the largest donor country because it benefits from from the Euro being less strong against the old Deutschmark but to the detriment of other states. For how much longer will they accept German economic dominance?

  24. Lifelogic
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    A political union that cannot in any real way ever be democratic. There is simply no EU demos, no common language nor sufficient common interests. Given many of the people no say other than by possible violent demonstrations or worse. As we have seen already in several countries.

  25. DaveM
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    I don’t particularly care about being a “good European”. In fact, being a good European imo would be protecting European nations against their destruction by the EU.

    Your final sentence summarises it really – millennia of history and culture distilled down to nothing but a currency and a bureaucracy. Next step – replace the people with robots.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      In my opinion too being a good European would be protecting European nations against their destruction by the EU.

      If you really love Europe you should indeed be vehemently against the EU. I have an Italian wife, dual nationality children and with property Italy and a second home in France. We both love Europe and hate the EU. As do most of the French and Italians we know.

  26. Andy
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    History is a useful guide. History shows that the break up of a union or of a country or a realignment of a region rarely ends well. Think the United States in 1861, USSR in the early 1990s and Yugoslavia a few years later. India, Ireland, Israel – all unfortunate in their own ways. Brexit might not end in conflict – though many of the angry Brexit backing pensioners like to threaten civil war online – but it will still evidentially not end well for anyone.

    Conversely close unions make us stronger. Look to the example of two previously warring countries which united economically – sharing a currency, language and values while retaining their own laws and cultures. It became the most powerful place on Earth – the United Kingdom. 300 years of economic and partial political union have not made Scotland less Scottish – in fact, on the contrary.

    At a time when most of the world is moving closer together the Little Englanders are moving apart. History demonstrates their experiment will fail.

    Reply In recent years we have seen the peaceful break up of the USSR with several new countries doing well outside it.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      What a lot of absolute tosh from Andy.

      He should try asking the Slovenians whether they are hankering after the good old days of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

      Go on, Andy, here’s the email address for their embassy in London:

      sloembassy.london@gov.si

      so why not just send them a polite inquiry about whether they now regret the passing of that close Yugoslav union which made them stronger.

    • Edward2
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      Former Easter bloc countries and former Yugoslavia countries are doing very well since freedom and independence from being controlled by centralised undemocratic supra national bodies.
      Yes Andy, history does give us a very “useful guide”

    • James Matthews
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      For 290 of the 300 years it was full, not partial political Union between England and Scotland.. After that it has been steadily drifting towards separation, the driving force being little Scotlanders. Its utility is coming to an end.

    • Richard1
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

      I’d have thought the break up of the USSR has proceeded very well and is the greatest and happiest global political event of my lifetime. The result is far from perfect, but there are now free(er) independent democracies replacing the tyrannical totalitarian empire.

    • NickC
      Posted April 18, 2018 at 12:08 am | Permalink

      Andy, Civil wars aren’t good for the participants. But the converse of a civil war is not enduring an unloved union, but the peaceful parting of the ways. Your “conversely close unions make us stronger” is not just a non-sequitur, but begs the question as to who is “us”. It is also plainly not true in every situation.

      By the way the union of England and Scotland occurred in 1603, not 1707. And “Little Englanders” were people who opposed the British Empire. So you are a Little Englander. Try as you might to excuse yourself there is no merit in selling your own country out to a foreign power.

    • a-tracy
      Posted April 18, 2018 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      What about Ireland Andy? They wanted their independence and gained it and seem to like it. Whilst also retaining many of the old benefits of being in the United Kingdom, such as the common travel area since before joining the EU. It’s not the UK that wants a hard border now it is the EU. The UK pays in the correct percentage of GDP contribution to Nato but Ireland doesn’t.

  27. acorn
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Brexit is a given OK. What I want to know “Is no deal still better than a bad deal?” (“Yes” said Mrs May in the post Florence Q&A.) So how does that fit with the following, a fact which I have highlighted before on this site but Brexiteers never answer.

    China’s envoy to the EU warned that planned trade talks between London and Beijing face “great uncertainties” if Britain fails to reach a trade deal with the EU beforehand.

    Zhang Ming told POLITICO that EU-U.K. talks must be finalized prior to any detailed negotiations with China.

    “If there is not a Brexit deal, there won’t be things to talk about after that,” he said, adding, “If the EU and the U.K. fail to reach agreement in the first place, the U.K.’s agreements with other parties may have to face great uncertainties.”

    Reply China has no trade deal with the EU!

    • Richard1
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

      We are all becoming experts in international trade as a result of the Brexit debate. One thing that’s come out clearly is all existing trade deals with China are so unbalanced as to be worthless. It will be interesting to see whether President Trump’s approach changes the way China acts.

    • Len Grinds
      Posted April 18, 2018 at 6:20 am | Permalink

      Utterly false Mr Redwood, the EU has several agreements on trade with China

      http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/countries-and-regions/countries/china/index_en.htm

      Reply Your quoted source shows the EU is trying to negotiate an Investment Agreement but has not done so! I stand by my case that there is no Free Trade Agreement EU/China

  28. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    This chap is thinking along rather similar lines:

    https://www.conservativehome.com/thecolumnists/2018/04/james-frayne-remain-voting-ministers-dont-understand-voters-views-on-immigration-and-so-wildly-overcompensate.html

    “James Frayne: Remain-voting ministers don’t understand voters’ views on immigration, and so wildly overcompensate”

  29. AndersK
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    How wise and knowledgeable you are JR about all things european..
    anyone would think you were a cheerleader of sorts..so then starting to miss the cosy comforts of the EU arrangements already? the ease of travel with no customs, cheap holidays in Spain and Greece..CAP payments for the farmers Ryanair and no bendy bananas and that nice crispy burgandy coloured EU passport that allows us travel worldwide with such aplomb! European to the backbone-that’s what I say! to want to give up the EU we must be nuts

    • DaveM
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      No one’s stopping you moving that country…the EU I mean.

    • James Matthews
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      “We” ?

  30. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Oh look, the mighty Irish government has spoken, yet again, and its ultimatum is that unless Theresa May solemnly pledges by June that every business in Belfast will continue to operate under exactly the same EU rules as every business in Dublin in perpetuity – and that extends to EU Single Market rules, not just EU Customs Union rules – they will make sure that if the UK does leave the EU then that will be without any Article 50 withdrawal agreement, and moreover without any oxymoronic transition period during which nothing would change so saving (just) the UK from a dreaded cliff edge:

    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/state-warns-explicitly-of-need-for-brexit-talks-progress-on-border-1.3463905

    “State warns explicitly of need for Brexit talks progress on Border”

    Only a small minority of businesses in Belfast have any involvement with exports of goods across that border into the Republic, given that only 5% of turnover in Northern Ireland is exported to the Republic, and not all of the goods move over the land border:

    http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2018/02/21/the-eu-letter/#comment-920274

    but nevertheless every business, indeed every organisation and every person, in Belfast and of course in the rest of Northern Ireland will have to continue to conform with all EU Single Market laws forever more, amen.

    And then the next thing will be, so will everybody else in the rest of the UK.

    • Prigger
      Posted April 18, 2018 at 12:04 am | Permalink

      personS

    • henryS
      Posted April 18, 2018 at 5:53 am | Permalink

      Denis Cooper..Just like the other parts, Scotland and Wales, the Irish are also looking out for their own interests. One hundred years ago the British drew the border, it was a time of Empire I know but nevertheless the government today bears big responsibility to not make things any more difficult for the people who live in the border regions. For twenty years or more now since the Good Friday Agreement things have been working very well so we don’t want to go back to the old days of customs posts backed by police and then in turn backed by army with lookout towers.

      Thing is that none of the Leaver side thought brexit through properly before and now we have a problem- can’t really blame the Irish for looking out for themselves

      • stred
        Posted April 19, 2018 at 8:33 am | Permalink

        It’s the EU Empire that says it wants customs posts. Our customs officials say they don’t need them. It’s political conniving with the EU Empire to keep us in while claiming that we have left. If they push too far, they will finish up with a hard border built by the EU bureaucrats at Irish expense and 40% tariffs on agricultural produce. I just cancelled my holiday in Ireland.

  31. Mr Cousins
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    John, vital reading for any MP considering the ‘War Powers Act’ today…

    https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-chemical-attack-gas-douma-robert-fisk-ghouta-damascus-a8307726.html

    Does not support Mays narrative.

  32. ChrisS
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    When the Euro was first floated, its architects knew only too well that in the long term a full transfer union and centrally-set budget would be essential. They also knew that there was no possibility whatsoever that any of those countries signing up for the single currency would agree to implement either.

    Those in power in Brussels hoped that they would be able to persuade member states to go along with it later – they were idealistic and believed the Euro would draw countries together. Critics then, and everyone other than rabid Euro-fanatics today, believe that the currency has done precisely the opposite. William Hague was laughed at when he said the Euro would cause fighting in the streets yet that is exactly what happened in Greece.

    Those in Brussels are now betting on there being such a severe financial crisis over the Euro that the countries will then have no choice but to go along with full integration.

    As ever, they are determined not to consult the public but I suspect that politicians, let alone voters won’t agree to it.

  33. margaret
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    The salient point here is we were and are unwilling to be in the spoken of EU federation as it becomes closer. The EU should be grateful that we will not provide any opposition to their grand project as no doubt it becomes more centralised.

  34. Peter
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    The UK certainly swerved a bullet by not switching currency to the Euro.

    Poor old Nicholas Ridley (with the benefit of hindsight) was not far wrong when he described the European status quo as a “German racket”. He was forced to resign though.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      Indeed he was exactly right. But in politics unlike business (or placing bets) being right does not seem to help you get on!

    • Richard1
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      It was a very silly remark by Nicholas Ridley and quite beneath his intelligence. It was right he had to resign for so insulting a close and important ally. It is also of course, quite untrue – if anything Germans are keen to bury their national identity in the EU.

    • margaret howard
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

      Peter
      Yes, it’s been a bumpy ride on the old euro-train.

      In 2000, the euro was only worth an average of 61p. Now its worth around 87p, a 30% appreciation against the £.

      It is a similar outstanding success now being the largest reserve currency after the US$ with 90% of world total (the £ accounts for just 3.0%)

      Some racket!

      • Edward2
        Posted April 18, 2018 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

        Yes Margaret Germany is doing well.

    • Andy
      Posted April 18, 2018 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      As I recall Nick Ridley called Monetary Union a ‘German Racket to take over Europe’. Quite so. As subsequent history has shown.

  35. Peter Martin
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    “A single currency needs a sovereign state with its taxpayers to support it. It needs large transfer payments from the richer parts of the zone to the poorer parts…..”

    I’ve been saying exactly this for the last four or five years! It’s often been dismissed as a socialist argument. I suppose because of the “from the richer to the poorer”aspect to it.

    Good to be in total agreement for once!

    • Mark B
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      The problem is, Germany. They do not want to be the ones to pay the bills. It is in fact, a sort of Mexican Standoff. Between those that want FULL UNION and those that do not. We are, I hope, leaving the field. This will cause major tensions as certain countries used the UK to slow down the pace of integration to their own advantage. We will no longer be Germany’s fall guy.

  36. Roy Grainger
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    I see the populist leader Macron has been moaning about populist leaders in other countries.

  37. Ron Olden
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    The EU has NEVER allowed free movement of goods or services.

    We know about services, but even to get free movement of goods you have to comply with the regulatory requirements of the EU before you can move and sell them within your own country, let alone across borders.

    That is NOT ‘Free Trade’. The loss of choice and value to the consumer is more costly than WTO tariffs would be. And when we leave the EU we are not obliged to put any tariffs on anything anyway.

    Incidentally Greece doesn’t have noticeable budget deficit. In 2016 it had a budget surplus of 0.7% of GDP, That would be the same as the UK having surplus of about £13 Billion.

    The current Greek budget is more or less balanced. It’s problem is, its accumulated National Debt which it has to keep refinancing. and the fact that it’s stuck in the EURO which for Greece, is a massively overvalued currency.

    The debt ‘bail outs’ Greece gets from Germany etc are not for Greece’s benefit. They are for the benefit of the creditors themselves.

    If Greece left the Euro it would be able to default on its’ debt just like any other person or business does when it’s made mistakes in the past, or when fate has turned impossibly against them, and have the chance to start again with an Exchange Rate appropriate to their economic conditions.

    The Greek economy would recover and boom overnight

  38. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    Never mind. Everybody’s friend, Mrs May is now trying for political union with the commonwealth, informing them that there should be no regulatory divergence between us. Presumably she will now insist on this as a necessary criterion to future free trade agreements?

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted April 17, 2018 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      The area of competence being discussed was of course same sex marriage.

  39. Prigger
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    A tax on plastic bottles. Hmmmm The Inland Revenue is as cunning as a fox.

  40. mancunius
    Posted April 17, 2018 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    JR has very accurately described the end-plan – envisaged by Juncker, the Commission, the ECB and Macron. It’s not of course happened as yet; but Brussels will eagerly use the next (fairly inevitable) bank crisis in Italy or elsewhere in order to draw the net tighter around the eurozone, as it did during the Greek crisis. Lagarde was (unbelievably) re-appointed in 2016 for another five-year term, so more IMF ‘loans’ to eurozone countries will be guaranteed until at least 2021.
    Whether the northern EU countries’ taxpayers want it or not (and few did) Draghi is already engaged in large-scale bond-buying, fiscal redistribution and de facto debt-pooling, on an enormous scale that cannot ever be unwound. All he needs is more time, a disunited German government (tick) the complicity of business and industry (tick) and Lagarde at the IMF until 2021 (tick) to make the process irreversible.

  • About John Redwood


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

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