Why do so many former senior civil servants want to stay in the EU?

The uniform voting of former senior civil servants in the Lords against Brexit mirrors the work of many  interest groups and Remain supporters  to seek to recreate our membership of the EU as we leave. The former  civil service sees every change or withdrawal from an EU body or system as a problem, and they seek as an answer keeping it by proxy or opting back into it. This is not what we voted for. Ministers supervising work on Brexit need to push back harder on any advice they are getting which reflects the Lords critique of Brexit. The civil service of course has a duty to tell Ministers of any pressing problems, but also a duty to help Ministers push through good answers to those issues that result in implementing the agreed policy of Brexit. Neither side in the referendum will be happy if we recreate an EU membership by proxy from outside.

I have spent many years wondering why so many officials have been so keen on this institution. I concluded that they like its unique combination for them of unaccountable power and dispersal of responsibility. Officials do much of the detailed work with their opposite numbers in 27 other countries on the agenda, laws and programmes of the EU. UK Ministers have to work hard to have any influence on the process, and many don’t bother, just accepting what the EU throws up as something they cannot control.  EU laws and policies can be used by officials to block things elected Ministers want to do.

Even better the EU system means no-one is to blame. If you dont like one of their laws its origins are lost amongst the government of 28 states and the Commission. Try pushing for amendment or repeal and see how undemocratic it us. The legislative process is formally  conducted around the Council of Ministers table without outside observers or press present, and the detailed and often effective  legislative process is undertaken by Commission officials often in conjunction with big business and powerful lobby groups also without proper transparency.

We voted to leave this system because people cannot sack those responsible for its actions as you can the Ministers of a national government. A leave deal which doesnt understand this is a bad deal and  should not be accepted.

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137 Comments

  1. Mick
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    You’ve hit the nail on the head with this comment Mr Redwood, I’ve also concluded that the civil services and a lot of your Westminster buddies want to stay in the dreaded Eu because it is easy to blame Brussels for all our troubles, but when were out they won’t have that confort blanket and they’ll have to put a days work in for a days pay and we can blame them when things go wrong, unlike the House of Lords were we don’t have a say but they seem to think they are better than the man on the street, but hopefully that’s a needless part of Westminster is going to disappear unless it’s totally reformed

    • Peter
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      The civil service is part of the Establishment and the Establishment mindset is in favour of Remain.

      I note there is now talk of remaining in the Customs Union. Ken Clarke was invited to promote this idea, at length, on Radio4 this morning. Once again, Remainers are taking the initiative in Brexit developments.

      I suspect it will be another red line that Mrs. May will cross. It will be dressed up in an ambiguous set of words and then heralded as a triumph in the mainstream media.

      Brexit in Name Only.

      • eeyore
        Posted April 23, 2018 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        Is there an established connection between Remain and being on the public payroll? Or between Leave and being self-reliant? Does anyone know?

      • APL
        Posted April 25, 2018 at 2:03 am | Permalink

        Peter: ” red line ”

        By now, we should realize, any time a politician mentions ‘red lines’, WE need. to ask: ‘Which side of the Red Line are you talking from?’

        There is the assumption that the general public have, that our politicians have the same perspective!

        That assumption is almost always wrong.

    • Posted April 23, 2018 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      Our host uses the words: ‘’need to’’, ‘’should’’, ‘’ought’’, etc, in respect of these people. They seem to be unaccountable, and appear to see themselves so. Perhaps they really believe that all we little people are ignorant and ill-informed, without a grasp on what they see as events in ‘the real world’, so that they have a right to attempt to get away with any kind of subversion. Someone certainly ‘’needs to’’ get a grip of them. But how?

    • Deplorable Brexiter
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

      I have said it before I’ll say it again..
      If we remain in the eu we have no need for the House 0f Commons or Lords..or their civil servants
      We have well paid local authorities to deal with local affairs!
      By all means keep us in the EU and then clear your desks & pack your bags

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    On BBC iplayer you can watch the series Inside No Ten, interviews with several ex-cabinet secretaries which show exactly how these types think. They really have zero understanding of how the private sector works nor of real economics. They are in the business of regulation and for them the more regulation, layers of bureaucracy and taxation the better. Doubtless they would also be in favour of special tax arrangements for UK bureaucrats as well for their gold plated pensions and salaries as they have in the EU.

    These people (just like May and Hammond) think everything would be just fine if government only had more and more (of other people’s) money to waste, more and more regulations to enforce and more and more undemocratic power over people.

    • NickC
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      Mick, Listening to my source deep within the belly of the beast, it is apparent that at least some of the top civil servants worldview is changing. A few years ago they believed eurosceptics were fruitcakes to be ignored. On 24the June 2016 the vote was “a disaster”.

      Now some civil servants are painfully coming round to the notion that the EU isn’t quite so perfect, so we should remain and “reform the EU from within”!!

      Quite how our civil service has become so detached from reality is a wonder to behold. At this rate it’ll take them another 46 years to catch up with Brexit.

      • Mitchel
        Posted April 24, 2018 at 9:17 am | Permalink

        Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” features an epigraph from the great Russian philosopher,Nikolai Berdyaev(also said to be an important influence on President Putin):-

        “Utopias seem to be much more achievable than we formerly believed them to be.Now we find ourselves presented with another alarming question:how do we prevent utopias from coming into existence?….Utopias are possible.Life tends towards the formation of utopias.Perhaps a new century will begin,a century in which intellectuals and the privileged will dream of ways to eliminate utopias and return to a non-utopic society less “perfect” and more free.”

  3. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    It’s not just former senior figures of the civil service, it’s the present civil servants who are mostly inclined to support the EU rather than the UK, and simply because that is how similarly inclined politicians have trained them up over the past six decades.

    When David Davis said there had been no shortage of high quality and enthusiastic civil service recruits for his new department I harboured doubts about that, not least because over the years I had seen how easily EU supporters had infiltrated anti-EU bodies.

    I now have no doubts that there are civil servants working to sabotage Brexit, just as there are politicians who can not and will not accept the result of the referendum, and both will do whatever they can to serve the EU by reversing or at least neutralising that result.

    • Andy
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      There are no civil servants trying to sabotage Brexit. There are just civil servants telling incompetent ministers that Brexit is an incoherent policy which does not stand up to even the most basic scrutiny. No matter how much you might wish it so, you can not polish a t*rd.

      • GY
        Posted April 23, 2018 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        Yes there are. Group think and opinion by consensus is very limiting in the Civil Service. I speak as a SCS1 grade.

      • Posted April 23, 2018 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        It’s very odd that Andy never tells us what enormous advantage it would be to remain in the execrable EU. Simply quoting sound bites from Project Fear or voicing complaints of how his own finances will be adversely affected by leaving the EU just doesn’t cut it.

        Perhaps he’d like to find the words to extol the virtues of the EU in a couple of succinct sentences.

        Probably he won’t need more than a couple of sentences.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 23, 2018 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

        Would that be the sort of civil servants who thought that the ERM and EURO were great ideas?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 23, 2018 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

        There speaks somebody from his own position of ignorance.

      • NickC
        Posted April 23, 2018 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

        Andy, I know a fairly senior civil servant, and what you imagine is false. One is not an adequate sample but none like you have is a lot worse. By talking judiciously with him it is possible to winkle out the institutional view: it is quite definitely biased to anti-Brexit.

      • David Price
        Posted April 24, 2018 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

        Take a break … take a kitkat

  4. Posted April 23, 2018 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    [Apologies, forgot to insert the correct link the first time.]
    Dr Redwood you have published many cracking pieces recently. This one on the Civil Service and the one before it on the Customs Union are fine examples.

    One of the problems with a subject like the Customs Union is that it doesn’t naturally lend itself to great interest from the ordinary voter, yet it is of vital importance. You have explained the issues very clearly.

    At the weekend we started a series of open letters aimed at those who voted Remain. Not arch-Remainers, as we have found their minds to be closed, but the majority of Remain voters who are not and never will be ‘Remoaners’. We have always believed that if a greater number of people can be shown the truth about Brexit topics in a simple, effective way, a significant number will put their support behind Brexit.

    Perhaps your readers might also find our series useful, when discussing Brexit with Remain-voting friends and colleagues? If so they can go to our news page where there are two new letters and a link to the start of the series.

    Best regards, the Brexit Facts4EU.Org team

    • David L
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      I find discussing Brexit with friends is a good way to become friendless!

  5. Sakara Gold
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    It’s because they liked the food in Paris, the Germanic order in Berlin, jollies to Warsaw and Budapest etc. Our civil servants love the unnacountability of the EU; witness the recent comments from the Home Office explaining why the Windush landing cards were disposed of – “data safeguarding/protection” A less charitable view would be that doubtless, someone was covering up a big cock-up!

    They are also concerned that once we finally leave – if we actually do – their past, unacountable, decisions will come under scrutiny. Of course, if their past actions are put under the microscope of hindsight, it will not affect their enjoyment of excellent non-contributory index-linked final salary pensions paid for by today’s taxpayers

    • Dan H.
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      Every month, the entire EU parliament moves from Brussels to Strasbourg for a week, then moves back again. Every. Single. Month.

      This tells you how much the assembled politicians and civil servants of the EU care about wasting the money of their taxpayers (none at all), and how much fear they have of being caught out in this blatant waste of money.

      The EU is thus the ideal environment for the civil servant; lots of pay, lots of power, and no actual responsibility or chance of being found out. No wonder they want to stay!

      • sm
        Posted April 23, 2018 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        Strange, isn’t it, that the wondrous EU has still not resolved the centuries’ old disputes about the ultimate overlordship of Flanders, Alsace and Lorraine, and hence the monthly move to and fro between Brussels and Strasbourg.

  6. Lifelogic
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    I read that the Cambridge Mathematics department have had (been forced I assume) to relax admissions criteria for women. Or to put it another way actively discriminate against men for places. I am all in favour of more women doing STEM subjects but surely it must be on merit rather than mere token women?

    If, on average, women tend to choose other subjects – languages, education, English, law performing arts, fine art, history of art, midwifery, medicine ….. so be it, that is their choice after all.

    Perhaps I shall redirect my monthly donations and save a few thousand pounds. Will they extend this blatant anti-male discrimination to engineering, physics, chemistry, computer science and economics too?

    Interestingly women in so called “more gender equal” countries are even less likely to choose stem subjects. Many just do not seem to like maths very much. Indeed many seem to be rather proud of the fact that they were useless at maths.

    https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/women-gender-equal-countries-less-likely-gain-stem-degrees

    • 37/6
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      They’ve done the same for certain trades too – hence “shortages” despite lots of recruitment.

  7. eeyore
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    Is it helpful to ascribe motives to others? Senior civil servants might well respond that they feel as they do simply because they believe Brexit’s a bad thing and the EU a good one.

    In any case, unhelpful attitudes may easily be changed by application of carrot in the form of honours and bonuses for a job well done. A bonus pool of £40m at the PM’s discretion should do the trick.

    If not, stick is available in the form of banishment to DVLA or relocation of the offender’s entire department to Scunthorpe.

    • Ghost of JB
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      Civil servants’ personal opinions are valuable to ministers when formulating policy. Once that policy is set, their role is to implement policy as well as possible, and their opinions are no more relevant than those of any other member of the electorate.

      If any employee of any public or private body feels that they cannot do what is reasonably and legally asked of them, then they need to seek alternate employment, as difficult as that might be.

    • Andy
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      Trouble is most of them don’t seem to understand they are ‘Servants’ and are there to do as they are told. They are very bolshy servants, not ‘civil’ at all.

      But John is right: the EU gives them huge amounts of power so they can in effect rule the world. They can get a EuroStar to Brussels, agree some policy with their fellow servants, have a decent lunch and bottle of claret, and come back in the afternoon. The policy usually gets nodded through at a Council Meeting and once that has happened there is not a damn thing the House of Commons & Lords can do about it. It is a very effective form of dictatorship dressed up as streamlined administration. Wont do I’m afraid.

    • Lifelogic.
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      “Senior civil servants might well respond that they feel as they do simply because they believe Brexit’s a bad thing and the EU a good one”. Indeed they probably would. They nearly all suffer from state sector group think as ideed does May. They probably thought the ERM and EURO were just wonderful too. They perhaps even believe you can use atmospheric CO2 concentrations to control and predict the world’s average temperature in one hundred year time when countless other things many unknown affect it too. In short they are, like the BBC and the Libdims totally unscientific, irrational, incapable of rational though and deluded.
      Maybe even that May’s gender pay drivel and central control of wages is just dandy too.

      Or perhaps they just hate democracy and think a new anti democratic EUSSR is really thing to go for perhaps for their personal interests.

  8. oldtimer
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    A very clear analysis of the self serving interests that are behind the Great Betrayal of the Brexit referendum now under construction in Westminster, Whitehall and Brussels, aided and abetted by big business.

    It is time for Mrs May to be held to account.

    • NickC
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      Oldtimer, Yes – vote Leave, get BINO. The continuity Remain campaign to undermine, frustrate and reverse Leave amounts to rotten corruption. I think “strong and stable” referred to the stench, and where it was located.

      The only possible glimmer of hope is that with BINO it will all go horribly wrong for the Remains, and that will become obvious over time. Maybe in a decade, a more resolute and principled government will finally take us out.

  9. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    Every post I read now regarding the dreaded EU makes me recoil in horror. All of your observations today John have been realised by many of us for years now. We have a house of lords which is out if touch with the rest of society but happy to collect payment for just showing their overfed faces at the door and three main parties who are incapable of doing anything responsible or sensible for the UK without completely ballsing it all up. At a time when we desperately need a strong government to bring forward the most important legislation for decades we have been lumbered with the biggest collection of imbeciles ever. What did this great nation do to deserve such a smack in the face? We are going to end up with such a mess regarding Brexit we may as well not bother leaving. I just hope the electorate realise how we have been sold out by this government by all the idiots currently in Parliament and drastically change the voting pattern of this country. I am disgusted by what this Parliament calls democracy.

    • NickC
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      Fedupsoutherner, Every Leave voter I’ve talked to knows exactly what they were voting for; and it certainly wasn’t to remain partly in the EU. Yet we keep being told by Remains that they know better than us what we really wanted. It shows how far we have been gulled by the Remain establishment that we hardly even mention such Remain arrogance and propaganda anymore.

      • Andy
        Posted April 23, 2018 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

        This is clearly untrue – as you all voted for different things. On this very site Mr Redwood outlined how he voted Leave so we could be a Global Britain.

        One of my friends (ex-friend should I say) voted Leave – and ran the local Leave coordinating campaign – but he is appalled at the idea of quitting the single market. That, for him, is not what Leave meant.

        My mother voted Leave because the area she lives in has – and I quote – ‘been overrun with Indians’.

        One of my sisters voted Leave because she was angry with David Cameron
        – and, now, has decided that she’d really rather remain.

        These people all voted Leave – they all want different, mutually incompatible, things. Who should be disappointed?

        Reply We voted leave to take back control

        • Richard1
          Posted April 23, 2018 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

          no doubt no two people on either side voted for exactly the same reasons. But it was quite clear in all the referendum debates that the rationale for Leave was some combination of saving the net £10-12bn a year sent to the EU, being able to control immigration also from EU countries, not having laws imposed without Parliament voting them through, and being able to run an independent trade policy. There are justifiable criticisms of the claims and arguments of both campaigns, but I don’t think anyone who followed it could have got to the day of the vote and been in much doubt as to what the issues were.

        • GY
          Posted April 23, 2018 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

          Pleural of anecdote isn’t data. The aggregate vote is all that matters & the Government brochure explicitly stated what we were voting on. Do you want an EU army, centralised taxation and Turkey to join the EU?

        • Posted April 23, 2018 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

          Thank you for your measured reply to that rather foolish post, Dr Redwood.
          My blood was just coming up to the boil, but I think I’m all right now.

        • Andy
          Posted April 23, 2018 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

          And that would be your problem. ‘Take back control’ is a good – but meaningless – slogan.

          Brexiteers have had 18 months to get beyond actual slogans and come up with actual plans. At every juncture you have failed.

          Remainers might be reassured if you could actually explain how things will work – but none of you can.

          I saw a hideous interview with Bill Cash this morning. Seriously – he couldn’t answer the questions. Embarrassing.

          If you want to save Brexit you need to ditch the slogans and start coming up with some sensible ideas – and fast.

          Brexiteers had 30+ years to figure all this stuff out and the fact that none of you have bothered to does not bode well.

          • NickC
            Posted April 24, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink

            Andy, Most countries in the world are not in the EU, but trade with it. What’s so magically different about us? Have we not got the influence and size of Greenland (left the EU in 1985)?

        • fedupsoutherner
          Posted April 23, 2018 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

          Reply to reply. Exactly John. I was clearly written in the leaflets sent around by the government at the time what would happen and we voted accordingly. I am fed up with people like Andy telling me I didn’t know what I was voting for. Taking back control of so many things and no single thing.

        • NickC
          Posted April 23, 2018 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

          Andy, I am not sure I believe a word you say. Every Leave voter I know voted to (fully) leave the EU; and I suspect I know a lot more Leave voters than you do. Your “friend” who is “appalled” at quitting the single market clearly didn’t listen to the designated Leave campaign.

          Of course everyone’s emphasis was probably slightly different, but as JR states and the VoteLeave campaign majored on, the fundamental was to take back control – to become an independent country.

          After we are independent of the EU, the direction the UK heads in will be up to subsequent election results. Leave was not, is not, and cannot be, a rigid communist-like 50 year plan. So in that sense Leave voters will want different outcomes. That is a good thing; and it doesn’t undermine Leave one jot.

          But of course all you’re interested in is a slogan – Andy the propagandist.

        • Edward2
          Posted April 23, 2018 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

          I think you have made that whole post up Andy.
          None of it rings true.
          Too many convienient stories and quotes from imaginary “friends”
          All cliche characters.
          My advice?
          Don’t try to write a novel.

  10. Woody
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Bureaucrats like bureaucracies. Its easier for them.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      To a man with a hammer everything starts to look like a nail. To a bureaucrat everything looks like it needs more tax payers money, more bureaucrats employed, more nice new offices and expenses and more rules, enforcement powers & regulations.

      The only protection for the tax payer from this is good ministers, but they alas are usually in on the conspiracy against the tax paying public or just too weak & pathetic to do anything much about it. We have the highest most complex taxes for 40 years yet still have dire and declining public services almost everywhere.

  11. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    I read here today:

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/04/22/britain-will-leave-customs-union-brexit-number-10-insists/

    “Civil servants on Britain’s negotiating team are said to favour keeping Britain in a customs’ union to avoid having to construct a post-Brexit hard border between northern and southern Ireland.”

    Surely they must know that the EU’s preferred key legal ingredient for “frictionless” trade across border is the EU Single Market, not the EU Customs Union? So are they following in the footsteps of those politicians who are talking about the/a customs union now, but if they got their way on that they would come clean and say that it will not do the job and really we must also stay in the/a single market?

    I say that the Single Market is the EU’s preferred key legal ingredient for “frictionless” trade because in my view that is not the only possible key ingredient, it would be good enough if countries agreed to respect each others’ stated preferences and each enacted and enforced export control laws for that purpose.

    If the EU really is petrified at the thought of Northern Ireland potentially being used as an unguarded back door into its precious Single Market, allowing in undesirable products as “chlorinated chicken” and “hormone-injected beef” as it says here:

    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/britain-urged-to-come-up-with-a-fresh-brexit-border-plan-1.3451985

    then why don’t we offer to continue to guard that back door for them? If they don’t want “chlorinated chicken” then let us help them on that by having and enforcing a new law to prevent “chlorinated chicken” being driven across the border into the Republic.

    It is UK law implementing EU law which makes it illegal to do that at the moment, and if we can be trusted on that now why not also in the future with a new law?

  12. Dave Andrews
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    I get the feeling that discipline in the civil service is handled by the civil service, and they are unaccountable to the government.
    They are the ones really responsible for the Windrush scandal, not any Home Secretary. MPs may think it bad form to blame the civil service, but I don’t feel so constrained. It is they who have acted with no consideration for the lives of those caught up in uncertainty.
    Post Brexit, reform of the civil service should be high up on the agenda.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      Indeed a total lack of judgement from civil servants (as they are very misleadingly called) but Ministers & MPs should have noticed and intervened.

    • Andy
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      Exactly. What happened there was they went to the relevant Minister (probably not even the Home Secretary) and said ‘We have all these landing cards in storage which cost x per year and they are of no use whatsoever, save very, very, very rarely so they could quite easily be destroyed. And actually under bum-de-bum EU Directive of whatever we shouldn’t retain them. You agree, Minister, to their destruction ?? That was under the last Labour Government, so the order goes out and down the chain and by late 2010 they are busy destroying them. I bet no Minister in the 2010 Government knew a damn thing about it.

      • Anonymous
        Posted April 23, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        Rest assured most Leavers are angered at this.

    • stred
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      Don’t forget that the Home Office regularly tried to deport other people from the USA and Australia who had come to the UK years ago and then gone back to look after their parents for a while. When they returned here to join their wives, children and even grandchildren they were refused and attempts made to deport them on technicalities. The same happened to some EU citizens that had UK husbands and children born here. There should be an inquiry and the functionaries named and removed. Being in central London, I suspect that the Home Office is full of employees who are recent immigrants themselves but with the latest documents, and that they enjoy kicking out anyone with long term connections but had been unaware of legal pitfalls. The ministry needs a clear out.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted April 23, 2018 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

        When I had dealings with the border agency to secure my wife’s long term status in this country I was amazed at the apparent proportion of “recent-UK resident” staff to “long term-UK resident” staff (aurally, visually and culturally). If we had lived closer to Croydon I would have suggested to my wife that she applied for a job.

        There is much to consider in your post @stred

  13. Roy Grainger
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    Your are right – it shifts blame. For example there is a current EU Commission proposal to ban certain types of light bulbs used by theatres for stage lighting (to reduce energy) which would means costs of millions for them to switch to (unsatisfactory) alternatives. Many smaller theatre would go bankrupt. However, as this is coming “from the EU” the UK government and civil service can just sigh and say it’s not their fault. It is also very difficult for theatres to influence this – they have to organise some sort of Europe-wide protest and influence the Commission – not any local politicians. As the theatre world was totally opposed to Brexit there is some element of schadenfreude is watching them handle this problem of course.

  14. Henry Spark
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Under this little Englander logic we also have to leave the UN, NATO, WTO, FIFA – everything that the UK does not control. Does the world frighten you, Mr Redwood?

    Reply No, these other bodies do not impose laws on us against our will and remove our veto.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      We are happy to co-operate but not be ruled by, can you really not understand the difference?

      • Anonymous
        Posted April 23, 2018 at 11:55 am | Permalink

        Intensely annoying, aren’t they ?

    • Richard1
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      those other bodies are much more like an FTA than either EU or customs union membership.

    • DaveM
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      None of those organisations have a Commission which assumes sovereignty over member states/associations. That analogy doesn’t work I’m afraid.

  15. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Just a brief reminder that at present we collect the EU’s custom duties on goods entering the UK and send 80% of the money to Brussels, but it was a mystery to me why any civil servant ever thought that we should continue to collect duties on behalf of the EU after we had left the EU and an even greater mystery why anyone thought such a scheme could be the secret to avoiding impediments to free movement of goods on the Irish border. I can only think that the idea was spawned by disloyal civil servants to demonstrate the great difficulty of solving that problem and so move public opinion in favour of staying in the EU.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      Nice little BBC public service video here about The Customs Union – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-43864228/brexit-five-steps-to-understanding-the-eu-customs-union
      It conveniently forgets to mention the 80% of external tariffs that would come to the UK after Brexit and how a protectionist policy like this disadvantages third world countries and therefore the potential to reduce the UK’s International Development costs in the future…

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 24, 2018 at 9:29 am | Permalink

        For some reason I can’t get it to play.

  16. Lifelogic
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    There is also a huge remain bias in the senior clergy, academia, the legal profession (for rather obvious reasons), some in large business like the CBI and the majority of politicians. The bias at the BBC was massively pro remain and still is. Something like 4 remainers to every one leave person on panel discussion programmes (like Question Time and Any Questions).

    Unbelievably on radio 4’s Feedback this week, some were even claiming that the BBC was hugely biased pro Brexit and should do more to “educate” its thick listeners to remain! The rest of the programme was basically calling E Powell a racist (without defining racism of course or having any evidence) and a bit more climate alarmist propaganda thrown in for good measure. The BBC like the Libdims are consistently wrong on almost every issue the touch.

  17. Richard1
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    I don’t think we should impute malign motives to them. Most likely it’s simply that for the whole of their careers it’s been axiomatic that EU membership is a Good Thing and now they’re being asked to agree that all that was wrong and that we’d be better off without many of the EU-initiated or inspired policies which they have helped implement. It must be difficult to take.

    As ever the focus needs to be on the actual arguments. The current one over the customs union needs constant repetition of the question as to why it is we need to restrict U.K. freedom over trade policy in order to get tariff free and frictionless trade with the EU, when it’s clear the EU would want that under a free trade agreement in any event.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      What I have never been able to fathom is why someone like Mr Cameron or Mr Hague should make such a show of their anti EU credentials in opposition and then go native when in power.

      It surely can’t be just briefings from the civil service ice. There must me something else which turns them.

      • Richard1
        Posted April 23, 2018 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

        A referendum is a binary thing. You could be a eurosceptic and want all sorts of reforms to the EU yet have got to the referendum and thought the risks too great. If Cameron had succeeded in getting a renegotiation along the lines of his Bloomberg speech in 2013 Remain would surely have won.

      • GY
        Posted April 23, 2018 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        They probably see their confidential MI5/6 files and are blackmailed.

  18. Mark B
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    Our kind host asks a very pertinent question, then goes on to answer it himself.

    The EU is a god send for both Civil Servants and politicians as our kind host quite rightly observed, they have power without accountability.

    What selfrightous Civil Servant or preening politician would not put their career before country ?

    • Man of Kent
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      Absolutely !

      There is also the chumminess of belonging to their elite club with excellent lunches and dinners and support for each other vide. the Lords vote .

  19. BOF
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Very well summed up Dr Redwood.

    Well done on your excellent interview on Radio 4 this morning which was ever so slightly reassuring to sceptics, such as I.

    • Graham Wood
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      Seconded. Excellent riposte to BBC’s Justin Webb on R4 today.
      I am amazed that they even asked you for comment!

  20. Peter Miller
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    The economic cost of the near impossibility of being able to fire bureaucrats for incompetence has been a huge economic cost for the UK and many other countries.

    Most of us, at some times in our lives, have had to deal with the tyranny of petty bureaucrats, against whom there is absoloutely no recourse. Inexplicable decisions on planning is so many peoples’ pet peeve.

    Delay and obfuscation, obsession with precedence over common sense, has become the norm with the the UK’s top bureaucrats. When, as in a cess pit, the big lumps eventually float to the top and are rewarded with positions in the House of Lords, we have to ask ourselves: Why these people, who mostly would be unemployable in the private sector, are being so well rewarded?

    No wonder a House of Lords, with an inherited peerage, is considered by so many to be a better option than today’s Lib Dem/remoaner heavy motley crew.

  21. agricola
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    I see our civil service as a power structure all on it’s own. With a weak minister it is even more so. The EU gave many of them a bigger playing field with less ministerial control, and no democratic control. For a few the chance of a Pullman carriage on the gravy train.

    The Council of Ministers is a Soviet pattern of government. It is top down, so as a civil servant there is no penalty for getting it wrong.

    As a civil servant, not thinking EU is a bad career move, like not being PC as a senior policeman. I imagine that the careers of civil servants are controlled from within the civil service, making it incestuous. I doubt if UK ministers have much say on who runs their department, and no power to dismiss those who only pay lip service to government policy. You only have to look at the Home Office fiasco to realise that many are malevolent or well past their sell by date.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      I reckon that after six decades of natural selection in favour of Europeanism in the civil service we must need a clear out of the most committed europhiles, and it would help to bring back something like the Test Acts.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Test_Act

      This time not directed against those who follow a particular religious faith, however, not unless loyalty to the EU can be seen as a kind of religious faith.

      The Oath of Abjuration served that kind of purpose:

      https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Oath_of_Abjuration

      “An oath asserting the right of the present royal family to the crown of England, and expressly abjuring allegiance to the descendants of Charles Edward Stuart, the Jacobite Pretender.”

      Every civil servant should be required to expressly abjure any allegiance to the EU; those who objected should be removed.

  22. Blue and Gold
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    We have to keep fighting against Establishment figures such as Farage and Redwood, the latter talking his usual nonsense on the Today programme this morning, and keep our great country within the World’s biggest Free Trade area.

    The majority of people did not understand what leaving the Customs Union or Single Market actually meant as it was never discussed in detail.

    As more and more polls are now showing, the majority of citizens are turning against leaving the EU without a form of Customs Union.

    • NickC
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      Blue and Gold, Remain voters did not know what they were voting for.

      • Posted April 23, 2018 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

        That is far more likely to be the case, NickC. The negativity of remainders, and the complete absence of argument as to why we should actually wish to remain – especially now, having seen what the EU is becoming – is very telling. We all had the same information. Those remainders who clicked ”like” on InYourFaceBook seemed to think they were well-informed.

        It always struck me that remainders tended to be of the social media dependent ilk (and those with vested interests), and the leavers tended to be of a more contemplative disposition with their country’s good at heart.

    • sm
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      B and G – I can’t quite follow your logic; if the majority of people did not understand the details of the Customs Union or Single Market a couple of years ago, why trust them if they are allegedly now turning against leaving the EU without a form of Customs Union?

      Secondly, a great many of us (including our host) have made it our business since Maastricht – and before – to learn about and understand the EU. I certainly didn’t vote Leave on a passing whim in 2016.

    • Ghost of JB
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      You’re on the wrong site but at least preaching to the right audience.

      Good luck persuading others, as you clearly have yourself, despite all evidence to the contrary:

      https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-04-19/brexit-sentiments-remain-stronger-than-ever

    • agricola
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      hang on to that bit of driftwood and keep treading water. Rescue will arrive on 29th March 2019.

    • ian wragg
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      Get back in your Brussels lock up where you belong.

    • Edward2
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      The EU is not a “free trade area”
      It is a protectionist bloc.

  23. Ian wragg
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Politicians and Civil Servants love the undemocratic , unaccountable and corrupt EU because they believe in Socialist big state conformity.
    It is no coincidence that there is no EU gig companies as they are impossible to control.
    I’m sorry you binned my article on the Turkish customs union which demonstrated how one sided in the EU,s favour which the clown May wants to join.

    • WA Laugh
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      « It is no coincidence that there is no EU gig companies … »: It is always interesting to read comments on what seems to be rather flimsy knowledge on a topics. Although it is true that Britain is in Europe at the forefront of the so-called gig economy with a large number of people working in food services and drinking places, ambulatory health care services, speciality construction trade contracting, social assistance… as « independent workers », it is also a fact that in Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, similar independent status is enjoyed by much higher calibre type of « workers » in flexible consulting/freelancing in industrial consulting, banking, legal and accounting related type of business. It might also be a problem of definition as, for example in France, if CDD (contrat a duree determinee) covers, as in Britain, a lot of rather low-level jobs, it also covers technical consulting jobs in automobile, energy, legal and accounting industries.
      So I would think a bit of proper research could help one avoid making general but rather meaningless statement.

  24. MIke Stallard
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Nobody in their senses wants to stay in the EU. This article nicely sums up exactly why.

    My question: Why is Mrs May so anxious to leave the EEA?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 7:54 am | Permalink

      You have had answers to that question, you just ignore them.

    • NickC
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      Mike Stallard, Oddly, I had not noticed this anxiety in Mrs May. In fact she has never even confirmed that she would vote Leave now. I think her supposed anxiety is all in your own mind.

      The EEA agreement is a set of EU rules, controlled by the EU. The EEA is EU-lite and means we would be still partly remaining in the EU. We voted to Leave. We haven’t left if we’re still partly in. It really isn’t that difficult to understand.

    • Andy
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      Because the EEA is basically the ‘EU waiting room’. There is no point to membership of it without also being a member of the EU, which the people decided against.

  25. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Completely off-topic, Theresa May has been our local MP for two decades and while I do not agree with her over many things it is beyond belief that somebody should now accuse her of being “racist”. And as far as the disgraceful maltreatment of certain Caribbean immigrants is concerned I do not put the blame of any Home Secretary but on the senior civil servants in the Home Office. How is a minister to know that junior civil servants are committing major injustices in their day to day implementation of a government policy if their supervisors fail to notice that this is happening, and/or if warnings are not passed up the chain of command to inform the minister that a policy is going badly wrong on the ground? Is the minister supposed to wait until the media has belatedly picked it up and started publicising hard cases? I have a strong suspicion that some civil servants may have actually engineered this debacle in order to discredit both government policy which they do not support as well as the present Tory incumbents in government, just as they are doing over Brexit. But as we know from what happened with Steve Baker if anybody criticises civil servants then the Prime Minister herself will slap him down.

    • NickC
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      Denis Cooper, That is a valid point. I have too come to the conclusion that very many civil servants in positions of power actively seek to frustrated government policy, not because that policy is actually bad or unworkable, but because it doesn’t fit the civil service institutional worldview.

    • a-tracy
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      If I were May and Rudd, I’d take this (Caribbean immigrant) bull by the horns and put a private investigation team on the twenty people already identified by the Guardian’s reporter as being mistreated and investigate why their legality and what happened to them by the Border departments thoroughly. This Windrush boarding card shredding is just a red herring, all those ships will have passenger names and records you don’t need the physical card. All of our records are on the NHS spine, the PAYE/NI system, the Council tax registers why weren’t system checks done. Get the investigators to do the checks that have already been started by the investigative journalist and give the public the information following this thorough check, otherwise they should both step down and leave their roles to more competent people who don’t let Conservative voters and supporters get sullied by the actions of a few people who are doing our Country poor service, a lack of fair handling of their jobs and the people involved a great injustice.

    • Peter
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      May is an opportunist above all else. Her ‘illegals go home’ wagons were an idea to ingratiate herself. She thought it chimed with the public mood.

      Ministers failing to accept responsibility is a modern trend. Any hint of a sexual or financial scandal, or major blunder in earlier times would result in the minister resigning immediately. Nowadays that never happens. Politicians look for others to carry the can rather than accept that ‘the buck stops here’.

      That said, the Home Office has been incompetent for a very long time. They have no control. This is made worse by governments outsourcing huge chunks of government work to private enterprise. This generates profits for the firms involved but does nothing to address departmental weaknesses. Computerisation of the National Health Service records is symptomatic of what goes wrong.

      Life imitating art can be seen in the ‘Massive irretrievable data loss’ clip from ‘The Thick of It’ on YouTube. Who can we blame for missing Windrush landing cards? What do we say to ‘The Guardian’.

      This may well result in an unofficial amnesty for current illegals with government terrified of racism accusations.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      All the blame for this issue seems to have been placed with the Home Office/Government, no mention of the personal responsibilities of those that came into this country and failed to keep any documentation…

    • rose
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      We know civil servants do this – remember what happened to the National Curriculum? Mrs Thatcher wanted the 5 Rs taught. So the Ted Wragglets in the system sabotaged it and produced something designed to infuriate both parents and teachers. They are still going on about it.

  26. Epikouros
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    The EU is a dictatorship controlled and run by bureaucrats aided and abetted by commissioners who are chosen for their zealous and fanatical approval of that form of governance. Civil servants the world over if they do not already have that exalted position will do anything to achieve the same. Most people crave to be in a positions that they can dictate to others and impose their views and beliefs believing they do so with the best intentions and in others best interests. Civil servants are one of the groups foremost in this ambition especially as like political parties they wield great power and have considerable influence. Civil servants also have one advantage over other groups they are permanent and effectively answer to no one.

    So it is no surprise that UK civil servants are acting in the appalling way they are and trying to fashion a Brexit that suits their agenda. What can be done about it? Generally a prime minister and his/her ministers would act firmly and decisively to stamp out this behaviour by invoking the impartiality rules on their emlpoyees who supposedly are employed to serve the state and the people. However that relies on strong leadership, commitment and character somewhat sadly missing in many of our current bunch. If more were like Andrea Leadsom we would have sailed through Brexit by now. Pity she let Theresa May walk unopposed into the leadership of the Conservative party.

  27. Iain Moore
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    You would not say of people, who become Civil Servants, that they are entrepreneurial, or out there to change the world, more likely they abhor risks, and much prefer to play it safe. As such if the Civil Service is a place where they can hide from the world, the EU is an even bigger and better place to do that.

  28. formula57
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Clearly, civil servants should not be enobled in future.

    • Spratt
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      I was a Whitehall civil servant for part of my career . I had various colleagues who had a very enjoyable time travelling back and forth to Brussels. One subsequently worked for the commission for several years. Not only did the EU provide career opportunities and life on expenses, but, more importantly, they embraced a cosmopolitan identity. It is this identity – seeing yourself as a Bon viveur, a connoisseur of french wine and cheese, a lover of Italian and French cinema, an opera buff – that is so very seductive to the graduate class that inhabits Westminster and Whitehall (as well as the professions).

  29. A.Sedgwick
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    The senior civil service aka mandarins have been a major part of the Establishment which has prevented this country progressing as it could have. The TV series “Yes Minister/Prime Minister” has been long regarded as fact rather fiction. Mrs Thatcher is said to have had the same opinion. With the arcane HoL and its political imbalance it is beyond naivety that ex civil servants should be given such licence to cause mischief on the basis they will not defend their old boy network. The reasons for abolishing that place grow.

    If Corbyn committed to leave the EU totally, abolish the Lords, repeal the climate change and foreign aid acts he would win the next election with a landslide. Fortunately he is not that bright.

    • Andy
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      ‘Yes Minister’ and ‘Yes, Prime Minister’ were rather too near the truth. I remember an old friend of mine (alas no longer with us) sitting next to the Cabinet Secretary at a dinner and he remarked that half a dozen wives of Permanent Secreatires had rung him up and complained, demanded he sue or do something, because it was their husband who was being portrayed as Sir Humphrey !!!!!

  30. Bob Dixon
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Turkeys have never voted for Christmas.

  31. Original Richard
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    The Civil Service has been politicised and has its own agenda which it relentlessly pursues even if it is against the wish of Government or Parliament or how the country has voted.

    It also appears that its members are unsackable no matter how poorly they perform their tasks.

    The corporations that run the EU give the Civil Service powers they would not otherwise enjoy and lucrative lobbying jobs for their members when they leave the Service.

    It needs reform and this can only be achieved by leaving the EU.

  32. alan jutson
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Your post today JR sums up my thoughts exactly of our Government, Civil service in particular and local government..

    No accountability, no responsibility, a well paid job for life no matter how you perform.

    The new Data Protection act which is to come into force on May 25th is a good example of political and civil service thought.
    It causes huge amounts of work at huge cost to almost every sort of organisation, because its an opt in procedure, not a simple opt out.

    I am sure there are some good personal employed in government and the civil service, but not enough at the top to challenge or change the system.

  33. BOF
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    I had the misfortune to hear the interview on Radio 4 with Ken Clarke after 8am. Here is a man who has had great influence in Cabinet on Civil Servants, and I am sure, they on him.

    IMO Facetious, flippant and (misleading ed). How anyone is taken in by this old …………… defies the imagination.

  34. Ghost of JB
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Firstly, as others have pointed out, civil servants love the EU because its power structure empower officials at the expense of elected politicians. Secondly, I think, is that the culture of consensus and compromise absolves them of any responsibility for the failure of any initiative. Civil servants need to understand that to compromise when you are right is to weaken the solution, not improve it.

    Finally, my experience leads me to the conclusion that civil servants fear making a bad decision will fatally impact their career and subsequently their pension, and so would rather accept a safe, mediocre and non-contentious half-answer than seek a complete one that might invoke dispute.

    The one area of public service where this is not true is in our military, where I have found integrity to be highly valued and mistakes (provided they are used as learning points) to be accepted as part of the education and training for future success.

  35. ChrisS
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    A perfect analysis of the way the system currently works.

    It promotes laziness at the top of the Civil Service and the lack of anyone to blame for policy blunders must be very attractive to those looking to safeguard their K on retirement. Of course it must also extend far wider than matters directly decided in Brussels – I’m sure that Mandarins consistently quote Brussels restrictions, both current and planned, to thwart Minister’s policy proposals. It’s Yes Minister wrote large.

    After 13 years of Labour, we saw that when Cameron came into Government nothing much changed and the same sort of mistakes continued to be made. I’m certain that this was down to the Civil Service.

    When it comes to a change of administration, I’ve thought for years that we should adopt the US system : it should be automatic that an incoming Government replaces the heads of all Civil Service departments with their own people, preferably those with experience in business.

  36. William Long
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    I agree with all you say, but the Remain Peers are not going to go quietly. It is time for Mrs May to have enough Peers created to give the ‘Leave’ side a majority in the House of Lords to get her legislation through. Does she really believe in it herself though?

    • WA Laugh
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      So creating at least 124 more new peers? Really?

      • Timaction
        Posted April 23, 2018 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

        No. How about removing 500 of the remoaners as we are leaving the EU? We simply don’t need over 500 Lords on the gravy chain!

        • WA Laugh
          Posted April 24, 2018 at 7:02 am | Permalink

          On 11 June 2012, there were 775 Lords, now about 800. How are you going to choose whom to eject?

          • Timaction
            Posted April 24, 2018 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

            That’s easy. Brexiteer or remoaner?

          • Edward2
            Posted April 24, 2018 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

            Start with all the Lib Dems and all Blair’s and Brown’s appointees.

  37. forthurst
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Perhaps Civil Servants have a poor opinion of British politicians as a consequence of having to work with them and an even poorer opinion of us voters on account of politicians saying that our opinions should be taken into account.

    This whole debacle of implementing the decision of the majority has demonstrated that there are two indefensible aspects of the way Westminster functions: the House of Lords and the FPTP voting system.

  38. rose
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    The one I am most surprised and disappointed in is Lord Armstrong.

  39. Andy
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Here’s a thought.

    Perhaps all these senior civil servants believe that it is in our interests to remain in the EU?

    Not in their interests – but in the best collective interests of the country. Maybe they are just voting with their conscience?

    Brexit is obviously a lousy idea – a fact which becomes increasingly obvious every day.

    But the absolute worst thing about Brexit is the behaviour of Brexiteers.

    This ludicrous belief that everyone who does not believe 100% in your project is a traitor.
    That everyone else is out to thwart you. That the fault is always elsewhere and never with you.

    The fact is that you won a vote on one day – based on a series of spurious promises, most of which have already been proven false.

    As your ‘plans’ (such as they are) have been probed it is clear that they do not stand up to even the most basic scrutiny.

    And because Brexiteers cannot win on the facts you resort to dark and dangerous tactics – accusing those who ask questions of you of betrayal.

    As an EU supporting patriot I find the behaviour of Brexiteers little more than reprehensible. YOU are destroying our country. We will fight you and beat you.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      So because General Elections are held on one day, does that mean you try to deny that the MPs elected should take their seats in the House of Commons?

      You have quite a crazy mentality. Basically you either have to try to overturn our democratic system, and put in place “Dictator Andy”, supported by your loyal army of all those oddballs who don’t support democracy, or you need to accept that a democratic election is the proper way, in which manifestos and leaflets sent to households represent what voters vote for.

      Perhaps better to put our efforts into ensuring that the policies voted for get implemented than always p-ssing against the wind?

      • WA Laugh
        Posted April 24, 2018 at 7:07 am | Permalink

        Is it so complicated to understand? Whatever the result of a GE, you know that within5 years you might be able to get rid of a useless MP. Referenda are held every ten blue moons and effects might be felt for atleast one generation.
        So your comment does not hold any scrutiny.

        • Edward2
          Posted April 24, 2018 at 11:21 am | Permalink

          Yet in the most recent election which came after the referendum there was no swing to the Lib Dems or Greens who are firmly pro remain.
          The two main parties who had manifestos stating they would leave the EU gained the vast majority of our votes.
          The leaflet spelt out that leaving entails leaving the single market and the customs union.
          As did our PM and Chancellor during the campaign.
          They said the result of the referendum would be respected and implemented.

        • NickC
          Posted April 24, 2018 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

          W A Laugh, Not true. We can’t bob in and out of the EU every 4 or 5 years, it’s just not practical.

          The issue is not whether you and Andy agree with Brexit. It is that to be a democrat you must accept the result – then wait a practical amount of time (40 years?) before having another referendum.

          • WA Laugh
            Posted April 24, 2018 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

            Funny comment, NickC: is it so complicated to understand that practically you and I are saying the same thing in different words?
            And who are you to say I don’t agree with Brexit: I’m all for Brexit as I think the rest of the EU have been fed up with the Brits for a long time, will be pleased to do their own little things without interference from the UK, and the UK will at last be able to show, without EU impediment, their actual salt and how much they can do, not in colonial conditions, but in 21stC conditions.

    • Eh?
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      There is no ducking stool that would distill you too deep.

    • NickC
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

      Andy, We had a vote. The choice was Leave or Remain. Though you may not like the result, it was to Leave. Remaining in part of the EU was not an option on the ballot paper. It is an outrage that Remain politicians are attempting to overturn the result. We the people are sovereign, not them.

      You may be an EU “patriot” – if that is possible for a foreign artificial political construct. But you cannot be a British patriot – you place the EU above the UK metaphorically and literally. Your problem is that the Remain promised by the Remain campaigners was a lie on the 23rd June 2016, and is a lie today, not least because it is no longer available.

    • Edward2
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

      Andy
      Who calls all the gpeople who voted remain traitors?
      No one I know.
      It was your decision.
      I respect that.
      Yet you show no respect for those who voted to leave.

  40. Posted April 23, 2018 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Once I retired, I lost all interest in what my erstwhile employer was doing as I no longer had any influence on decisions and was no longer responsible if something went wrong.
    So why do retired civil servants still want to get involved? All I can think is that if we come out of the EU, the are afraid that some of their past sins might be revealed!

    • Andy
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      Personally I do not believe that former Civil Servants should be ennobled and I also quite firmly believe that if you have been a Civil Servant (no matter what grade) you should be banned from seeking election for at least 5 years after you have left your civil service employment.

  41. margaret
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    You must have written this with tongue in cheek.

  42. MPC
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Your recent posts on Brexit Mr Redwood read as laments for the Brexit that never will be. One of the indirect ways some of us tried to persuade waverers and Remainers of the merits of the Leave cause during the referendum campaign, was on the basis of fairness. Give the full restoration of our democracy a chance, see how it goes after just 5-10 years (a lot less than the 40 years of EU membership) and then decide whether you wish to support any political party which still campaigns for us to rejoin the EU. This on reflection was naïve. It’s clear that we are going to be tied to the EU in the future such that a gradual restoration of EU power over us is being facilitated. This unfairness is the saddest aspect of what is being conceded by our government.

  43. lojolondon
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    You are totally correct John, but you have missed an important point. You have no chance of getting anywhere in the civil service if you are a Brexiter – the entire club is united on the subject of the EU. If anyone in the Civil Service has a Conservative outlook or votes Tory, supports Brexit or believes ‘Climate Change’ is a farce had better keep their views very close to their chest, because there is no space, and certainly will never be a promotion for him.The whole culture is based on favouritism and bullying and also promoting and giving opportunities to those who “share the message”.

    • Timaction
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      This is on the money. Under Blair he changed the selection processes in ALL public services to promote the PC, lefty BBC /Guardianista types who have now reached the top of all their organisations. What surprises me is why a so called Conservative Government hasn’t addressed this! Then I realise they are all the same as most laws are made in EU, implemented here and a big pretence at Punch and Judy in the house for us plebs, no doubt laughed about in the House Bar later

    • Mitchel
      Posted April 24, 2018 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      In effect he party state with a little democratic window dressing to fool the plebs.

  44. Ron Olden
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    The determination exhibited by these ex senior civil servant voting in the House Lords, tells us a lot about what was going on when they had un-elected and unaccountable political influence behind the scenes.

    The were plainly NOT impartial.

    But I think John Redwood’s sentence:-

    ”Even better, the EU system means no-one is to blame”

    is at the heart, not just of this, but to many things that go wrong in public life.

    If you can occupy a senior executive job whilst dissipating your responsibilities to anyone and everyone, you are on to a winner, and are getting paid well over the odds for doing nothing.

    We see this a lot in the Scottish and Welsh Parliaments. They demand the powers, but when they are asked to take responsibility for something, they blame everyone else.

    We are also always told that we must have more ‘democracy’ in things where ‘democracy’ is beside the point. What those in charge really mean, is that it’s a nice wheeze to pass responsibility all over the place, so that ot resides nowhere.

    This is a particular favoured ploy that socialists go in for.

    They tell us that we must have ‘democratic’ control over the NHS, Social Housing etc. then, when a block a of flats burns down, or the hospital fails no one specific can be identified to whom blame can be allocated.

    We are all told that it was the fault of us all, or of the ‘system. The EU is an example of this defect writ large.

  45. mancunius
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    It reminds me of Dickens’s description in Chapter 10 of Little Dorrit of the ‘most important Department under government: the Circumlocution Office…Whatever was required to be done, the Circumlocution Office was beforehand with all the public departments in the art of perceiving — HOW NOT TO DO IT.’
    That was written in 1855.

  46. Norman
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    There are many good people beavering away in the lower ranks, but when a certain mind-set prevails above them, with all its manipulative p/c culture percolating downwards (as directed by Cabinet office), its very hard for them to do other than pay lip-service.
    A proper Brexit would be a step onto firmer ground. But the very intensity of the opposition to this is a revelation in itself, and a indictment of the sad spiritual condition of our nation. Trace back to the sixteenth century and onward to understand what’s happening right now. Something big has to happen, to change this sad state of affairs.

  47. Denis Cooper
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Two pro-EU MPs, the Tory Bob Neill and Labour’s Thangam Debbonnaire, were on TV ignorantly agreeing with each other that we should stay in the/a customs union with the EU to avoid problems with the Irish border.

    Another Tory MP who was there did not point out that their proposal was mistaken, that as a matter of fact what they are proposing would simply not work, see for example what the Swedish trade minister said about it last year:

    http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2018/04/22/globalists-versus-little-europeans/#comment-931612

    And nor did the presenter or another commentator point out their error.

    It seems that the government is taking a fairly relaxed line about the debate which is coming up on Thursday, on the basis that the motion would not be binding.

    That is very foolish, completely missing the point that these misconceptions need to be crushed BEFORE the following debates on binding amendments to a Bill.

    • Kanar
      Posted April 23, 2018 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      But Denis, Mrs May agreed we will stay in the customs union AND the single market last December! As your Swedish source says, it is the only way to solve the Irish problem

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted April 24, 2018 at 9:22 am | Permalink

        Have you no respect at all for the truth, or are you genuinely ignorant?

  48. Dennis Zoff
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    John

    Curious, no mention on your blog that it is St Georges Day, today?

    ….are you not a great supporter of England and everything English?

    As we are proud Englishmen, should we not be celebrating our own day?

  49. Posted April 23, 2018 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    ” …unique combination for them of unaccountable power and dispersal of responsibility”
    This seems to fit the bill, why the faceless would worship the EU… but isn’t it also true that civil servants, en masse, form a significant part of the establishment that we most despise?

    It’s about group think…of being a part of the main flow of ideas, regardless of which part is in government…
    The EU is of course a gravy train for many, and that appeal seems to over-ride any moral instincts….

  50. nigel seymour
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    16:12:42
    Witness(es): Ms Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General, CBI Ms Frances O’Grady, General Secretary, TUC Ms Catherine McGuinness, Deputy, City of London Corporation

    These are the vested interests that want to stop brexit and give all the rhetoric to this lords eu committee that they wish to hear…lets see what the brexit camps response is.

  51. Juiliet
    Posted April 24, 2018 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    Senor civil Servants are little crap at their jobs and Brexit is now showing up their flaws

  • 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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