Trade, trade and more trade

All we ever seem to talk about is trade. The Remain Lords and MPs turn every debate on Brexit into another debate on trade, so they can peddle their tired soundbites again. The clever ones spread disinformation, and the badly informed ones peddle their misunderstandings as truths.

Today the media will again declare it trade day, as we learn that the Brexit Committee will discuss yet again what will replace our Customs Union membership.  Will they prefer a New Customs Partnership, known perhaps appropriately as NCP as if it were a parking lot, or will they prefer Max Fac, maximum facilitation of trade at the borders? I trust they will opt for the latter. NCP means recreating many of the limiting features of our customs union membership. They need to remember that belonging to a customs union has two big drawbacks. It means we pay more for food and other goods that have tariffs on them. It means we can’t do trade deals that help us with the rest of the world. The UK with a large service sector usually finds that is ignored by EU trade negotiators.

So what are the myths they peddle? The first is that if we leave the EU with no agreement there will be all sorts of non tariff barriers to our trade. They do not seem to have read the comprehensive and detailed Facilitation of Trade Agreement which the WTO brought into effect last March to deal with any such problem. Both the EU and the UK will be full members of the WTO after March 29 2019, and both will obey these requirements.

Some suggest that the EU would deliberately create queues at Dover for lorries bringing in much needed supplies.  Let me reassure them. We will run Dover, and will have every incentive to keep the lorries flowing easily. What if they broke WTO rules and held trucks up at Calais? That would be a perverse thing to do as the majority of the trucks are carrying EU exports to our markets, so why would they want to damage them? If they tried to detain just UK lorries carrying exports to the EU they would be breaking WTO rules against unfair discrimination and in some cases disrupting the supply chains of their businesses needing UK components. Those businesses have legal rights and could take action.

There is an unwillingness to accept that in the 21st century most goods trade is conducted by large businesses acting as or through Authorized Economic Operators. These businesses file an electronic manifest containing all the details about what is on the lorry, where it travelling, what taxes and duties it needs to pay and how the load conforms with rules of origin, health and safety requirements and any other relevant legislation. Busy border posts allow most to proceed unchecked, as they know the details, levy taxes off site and trust the operator. They can of course delay or impound if they have reason to suspect non compliance or criminal activity, as they do today whilst we are still in the customs union. Anti smuggling is mainly conducted by an intelligence led approach. There are already substantial smuggling issues for our border with the EU as there are differential VAT and Excise rates. Adding customs to it does not create any difference in kind to what we are doing already. The TIR system was developed years ago to speed trucks through borders.

It is true that rules of origin do  require higher UK proportions in a few cases , especially in some vehicles. This is why the UK government is working with the industry to increase the proportion of UK components in cars assembled here  to meet the rules, which is a win for domestic industry.

The underlying big picture truth is free trade provides better living standards. The sooner we liberalise our trade with the rest of the world the better, as the gains could be helpful. It is unlikely the EU will want to impose tariffs on themselves, though they may threaten this if they think there is any lack of negotiating resolve in the UK.

In the latest research using economic models Professor Minford puts the discounted long term gains to the UK of leaving without a deal at £651bn, assuming we went on to a free trade approach.

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153 Comments

  1. Henry Spark
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 5:07 am | Permalink

    What an embarassing post. Do you seriously believe the WTO trade facilitation agreement addresses non tariff barriers to trade? O dear. It is about procedures and formalities. It is not about rules and regulations.

    • Lifelogic.
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 5:41 am | Permalink

      Clearly if any other country (or group of countries) want to put deliberate obstacles and inconveniences in the way of trade or goods movement and breach WTO rules they can do, but this is not in their interests anyway and they risk legal claims. Anyway many ways round obstructive bureaucrats can be usually be found.

      Or we can switch to trade elsewhere or supply the home market instead. The main thing is to have full UK control, cut taxes and regulations, go for cheap energy and be nimble, competitive and have a leader with some Conservative Brexit vision.

      So what are the sound wing of the Tories (only perhaps 60 to 150 at best) going to do about this planned Hammond and May betrayal of BREXIT?

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted May 2, 2018 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        ‘Or we can switch to trade elsewhere or supply the home market instead’

        – Sorry, but it is customers who drive the market and businesses that respond to that demand. Not governments! Governments simply don’t have that expertise ..

        The best governments can do (and they can do good stuff) is creative, soft investment (for example, the Israeli gov setting up a government-owned hedge-fund to sew the seeds of Tel Aviv as a major high tech / digital hub, of investment in greater skills in Maths, engineering, high tech, digital and coding, things like that, of governments giving tax-breaks and other breaks to entrepreneurs, and so on) – all of which leads to higher productivity, more high quality brands to export anywhere in the world, higher tax receipts for inland revenue, and so on.

        We need to be pragmatic and business-like about Brexit. Not ideological and wishful-thinking.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted May 2, 2018 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

          I think Brexit is a much bigger, challenging enterprise than SOME / MANY Brexiters appear to appreciate.

          I, also, think Brexit is possible unlike MANY Remainers. However, to succeed, we need to face reality:

          1) Our country doesn’t have spare cash to pay for a blip in our economy
          2) A big enterprise like Brexit requires a strong economy – including high productivity / strong exports abroad to all over the world
          3) Millions of people, including Brexiters, aren’t that wedded to Brexit. They’re more wedded to money, that their families are doing well, and they have enough money for pleasure and entertainment, for their requirement and for health bills etc ..
          4) Democracy is on-going and a Brexit referendum could easily be reversed in a second referendum.
          5) You need a strong strategy and leader to implement something as big and controversial as Brexit and that will unite the country over it for the long-term future.

          It’s ultimately about the long-term future. That’s the real war. Not winning the referendum. That’s just one of many short-term battles in the long war of trying to leave the EU (and/or reforming the EU, getting rid of its political element) – successfully.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted May 2, 2018 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

            Just to be clear: people LOVE money more than Brexit. IF our economy beings to suffer, and people lose money, then they will put money before Brexit and demand a second referendum (since we live in an on-going democracy). This is the real threat to the long-term success of Brexit. Unless Brexiters begin to admit to that, address that and prepare for that with a proper strategy, then I think people are depending too much on wishful thinking. Brexit is possible, but we have to do the hard work of thinking about, and most important, preparing for it properly.

            (I don’t want historians in the future saying of our generation, ‘told you so,’ like the say again and again and again to generations of the past)

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted May 2, 2018 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

            ‘we need to face reality’

            – i didn’t mean that, i meant be more objective (and comprehensive and through in our thinking) – just like you’d be if you were thinking of starting up a business or rejigging your company in a big way. Seems that people are allowing themselves to get carried away (on both sides) – getting carried away won’t help Brexit or our country in the long-run.

          • Edward2
            Posted May 2, 2018 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

            What you are suggesting in your several posts is that to be possibly a bit better off at some point in the future we should give up our right to decide for ourselves how to manage our own country.
            I will never ever accept that logic.
            Like most English people I would die in order to defend my right to be a free citizen.

          • David Price
            Posted May 3, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink

            We clearly have enough spare cash to waste it on the EU so we can spend it on ourselves and in our interests instead.
            Brexit is not a big enterprise. Brexit is remove the EU and it’s entanglements as a hindrance to our economy and actions.
            You have no basis to claim of people who want Brexit why they voted as they did nor what they want.
            A second referendum would not be an exercise in democracy until after the requirements of the first referendum’s instruction have been met.

            If you truly believed in democracy you would not have made so many demands on this blog for the referendum to be ignored.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted May 3, 2018 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

            ‘What you are suggesting in your several posts is that to be possibly a bit better off’

            – No, I’m not. Sorry, but you’re not listening. You’re projecting.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted May 3, 2018 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

            ‘We clearly have enough spare cash to waste it on the EU so we can spend it on ourselves and in our interests instead’

            – Sorry, but you’re not thinking straight here. Whether we waste cash on the EU or not is a different argument to whether we have the cash to get out of Europe or not.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted May 3, 2018 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

            ‘If you truly believed in democracy you would not have made so many demands on this blog for the referendum to be ignored’

            – You’ve just attributed an argument (and more) to me that i never made. You’re basically arguing with yourself.

            Again, I’m PRO Brexit (1. if that’s what people want, 2.I’m strongly against the political side of the EU) but as long as we have a proper plan and are business-like about it instead of relying on emotion / wishful thinking.

        • Lifelogic.
          Posted May 2, 2018 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

          If Tax breaks help business then large tax cuts would help even more. Government does not give anything, they only have the money they take off people and businesses in the first place. They spend nearly 50 % of GDF and deliver mainly dross or worse damaging things. They cannot even deliver a sensible and sane quality only points based immigration policy or send out reminders for breast cancer screening for 9 years due to “a faulty algorithm” or rather total incompetence . Did no one even notice for nine years?

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted May 4, 2018 at 6:59 am | Permalink

            ‘Government does not give anything’

            – I never said they did!

            But government can do wise, soft investments based on the principles of capitalist-style investment (as opposed to socialist-style spending). And I’ve given you some examples how that works, in particular, how the Israeli gov invested wisely in help to turn Tel Aviv into an important high-tech world hub.

            I’m sorry, but your approach is just ideological (whilst ignoring my examples / case studies of where soft government investment clearly works). Whilst you then totally contradict yourself by saying, previously, ‘Or we can switch to trade elsewhere or supply the home market instead’ – sorry but Government doesn’t have that expertise or power. Business (and customers) do. Not governments.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted May 4, 2018 at 7:04 am | Permalink

            And although i have a lot of issues with the German government getting involved in the German car industry, the Germans still manage to create great cars, providing jobs of high productivity, high exports around the world, and high tax receipts for German inland revenue. The German car industry also plays an important role in German patriotism.

            What the German governments did in supporting the German car industry was subtly but importantly different to just handing over wads of cash and seen in swallowed up – they endured that any government support went into producing really high tech, high quality, high-value brand cars.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted May 4, 2018 at 7:11 am | Permalink

            ‘They spend nearly 50 % of GDF and deliver mainly dross or worse damaging things’

            – Lastly, that’s a completely different argument to the one i was making of sensible, soft, capitalist-style investment in the high-tech industry. It’s about sewing the seeds for future, and much greater, private investment.

            You’re just trying to follow an ideological, as opposed to a pragmatic approach to capitalism, and ignoring what i say, and bringing up red-headings, in order to try and justify your argument!

            I think what you’re trying to do is adopt an American-style approach to our economy. Firstly, I’d say we’re Europeans in cultural mindset, not Americans. And that’s important for many subtle reasons. Also, America is NOT what it once was. The mindset of Ford, and the early American pioneers in industry doesn’t work nearly so well now in the US as it did 50 or a 100 years ago. America has got big problems with its economy. And big problems with its society.

        • David Price
          Posted May 3, 2018 at 9:42 am | Permalink

          I have switched my personal trade for food, goods and services away from EU countries wherever possible. I am planning a new car purchase this year and it will not be with an EU manufacturer. I invest in a range of companies and focus outside the EU, they will get as little of my money and patronage as I can manage.

          I expect the UK government to do the same.

          Customers do drive consumer markets however governments can and do form a large market in their own right and also facilitate industries and commerce via R&D investment, eg – the internet, communications, computing. Some governments are also very involved in their industries, eg France and China. There is no reason why our government should not do things expressely to our advantage.

          I do and expect the government to do these things from an expressly ideological perspective, that we must put ourselves and our people first, certainly ahead of the interests of the EU.

          • David Price
            Posted May 4, 2018 at 6:10 am | Permalink

            @Mahoney
            “You’ve just attributed an argument (and more) to me that i never made.”

            Review your past comments, you claim to be pro-Brexit but do not act pro-Brexit.

            You keep demanding we do not have enough money to leave the EU, our economy is not strong enough to leave the EU, we should work to change the EU from the inside.

            You act like a pro-EU supporter trying to “nudge” people to a soft Brexit which is to the EU’s advantage, not ours.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted May 4, 2018 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

            @David,

            ‘Review your past comments, you claim to be pro-Brexit but do not act pro-Brexit’

            – It’s not binary. Binary is the sphere of ideology. I’m a pragmatist that wants the best for this country and NOT UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES because people haven’t worked things out properly.

            ‘You act like a pro-EU supporter trying to “nudge” people to a soft Brexit which is to the EU’s advantage, not ours’

            – No. You’re just projecting what you think so as to pigeon-hole me into a group so that you don’t have to think about the points I’m making ..

            Again, I think the political side of the EU is really bad. I think we should first try and reform the EU. And if we leave, then we should leave properly – OUT – completely.

            – OUT. COMPLETELY. OUT. OUT. OUT. OUT.

            BUT – we first have to prepare for that properly. And it’s just logical and sensible to prepare for that first by first paying off all your debts and building up your economy first. If not, then what are you going to say to millions of people, including Brexiters who will want out of Brexit when they find that it is affecting their basic standard of living?

            What are you going to say? What’s your strategy? Have you got one. It just seems that you’re just getting angry with me because I’m pointing out a truth in the Brexit strategy that needs addressing. And if you were confident in your position then you would instead of getting annoyed.

            Regards.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted May 4, 2018 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

            @David,

            ‘If not, then what are you going to say to millions of people, including Brexiters who will want out of Brexit when they find that it is affecting their basic standard of living?’

            – Of course, I might be wrong. But the best evidence we have suggests our economy is going to take a hit (this is a DIFFERENT argument to whether we could exist outside the EU, theoretically – i strongly believe we could). And the point is is our economy strong enough to keep millions of working class and poorer middle class Brexiters on board once our economy takes the initial hit from Brexit. Since experts suggest we are going to take a decent hit, and since experts also suggest many Brexiters aren’t that wedded to Brexit, so the logical question then is, how do Brexiters now think they’re going to overcome this hurdle of the economic hit that could last a good many years.

            It’s not good enough to win a referendum. You need a short to medium term plan to deal with the hit after leaving the EU. It’s like the Americans won the Iraq War easy enough, but failed miserably with what came next, because they didn’t plan for it properly.

            Reply There will be no hit and we do have a plan

      • Mitchel
        Posted May 2, 2018 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

        Talking of “switch to trade elsewhere”,I’ve just noticed by chance that the issue of the UK’s non-attendance at the impending St Petersburg International Economic Forum came up in the Lords a few days ago(I think it might have been the same last year too).I,myself,looked through the programme a couple of weeks ago-this a very major international event these days particularly with Russia at the start of two huge regional development programmes-the Arctic and the Russian Far East(Manchuria),the latter will have a massive boost from resolution of the situation on the Korean peninsular.

        I could see that the guests of honour are President Macron and PM Abe of Japan;I could see “Russia dialogue” sessions with Africa,India,Italy,USA,Finland,France,Japan,Sweden,Germany,etc;I could see mentions that the Saudis and Qataris are sending record numbers of delegates;I could see a long list of partner organisations and press releases regarding the attendance of the Israelis and Canadians,etc.But I could see nothing about Great Britain,Global Britain (or even Little Britain).

        Presumably the government is happy that all the major contracts involved in these developments go to the Chinese,Germans,S Koreans,Japanese ,French and Italians- as seems to have been the case todate.

        • Alison
          Posted May 2, 2018 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

          I don’t think the Brits are flavour of the month with Mr Putin at the moment, following what we’ve said about the Skripal poisoinings, and the suspicious deaths of Russian exiles over here.

          • Mitchel
            Posted May 3, 2018 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

            Not the point-we are not going to get anything in the short term but these projects are multi-decade.The French and US are showing their faces.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted May 4, 2018 at 7:19 am | Permalink

        ‘Or we can switch to trade elsewhere or supply the home market instead’

        – Let’s be absolutely clear: this is (unintentionally) hard left-wing, ideological thinking.

        Government simply doesn’t have the power and/or expertise to do this. Again, it is customers who drive the market, and businesses who have the expertise and capabilities to respond to this demand.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted May 4, 2018 at 7:28 am | Permalink

          It just makes total logical, good-business sense that if we want to do something that is chiefly political – leave the single market / customs union – then we first have to pay off our debts and build up our economy – then any blips in the economy won’t matter so much. But because we live in an on-going democracy, and because money is more important to most people than Brexit (yes, it is! this is where basic human psychology comes in which many Brexiters seem to ignore), therefore Brexit simply won’t survive without this underlying strength of a strong economy.

          I don’t think what i’m saying is rocket science or controversial. Lots and lots and lots of leaders in business would agree with me (not because it supports or doesn’t support their business interests, but simply because my argument is business-like and logical, i think).

          If we’re serious about Brexit (and i think there’s very good reasons for leaving the EU), then we first have to build up our economy. And stop insulting people! No-one in business or the army ever won a campaign by insulting people from within the company or army. You’ve got to get people on board.

          The Referendum was merely one battle amongst many, many yet to come before Brexit can be considered a long-term success.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted May 4, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

        Lastly, just want to be very, very clear: there are very good reasons for leaving the EU including the single market and customers union (and we have to leave the EU – but there are numerous ways of leaving the EU, and the Referendum was absolutely NOT clear about that!).

        And just to be clear: I have no doubt we could do just fine outside the EU. But the real problem is the short to medium term. You need momentum to reach the promised land. It’s like trying to get the big ship out to water. Once it’s on the water, no problem (i think). The problem is trying to get it onto the water.

        Lots of Brexiters are simply failing to strategically distinguish between the short to medium term problems of Brexit and the long-term prospects of Brexit. Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and others, might not get this because they’ve probably never drawn up a business plan in his lives, let alone worked in business, set up their own company, or been a director of a large company. But others have and should get this.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted May 4, 2018 at 7:39 am | Permalink

        Lastly, the government is very wise i think to be investing in / developing the Oxford to Cambridge corridor or whatever it’s called. This part of the UK has huge potential to grow as a major high tech hub being so closely connected to our two great universities: Oxford and Cambridge.

        And Chancellor Hammond is very much behind this. I challenge anyone here to say why this investment is unwise, and why Hammond shouldn’t be given a pat on the back for this (because this investment / development should have been started years ago).

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 6:56 am | Permalink

      Silly old WTO for wasting everybody’s time on a Trade Facilitation Agreement which will do nothing useful to facilitate trade … I wonder if you had even heard of it before it was mentioned on this blog, perhaps as a trade expert you had done.

    • Hope
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      Spot on JR. A general election is the way forward with a new leader in your party. She is soiled goods who does not keep her word, red lines, manifesto pledges, main points in key note speeches, lied over her line by line examination of divorce bill, false strap lines to garner support while acted in stark contrast- typical Blaire trick being mimicked by others like Osborne and Cameron, the people are not fooled- prepared to give away N.Ireland until caught out. May has encouraged the remain subterfuge by allowing them to speak and coordinate activity with the opposition negotiator, allow fake reports from civil servants and ministers i.e. Hammond, leaks by civil service and the. The terrible KitKat policy to keep the true cost and submission of the U.K. to the EU away from the public! She has not taken any action against the civil service , shocking. She has also participated in the super version, she started that she would not walk away or resort to WTO terms, a signal and no surprise the Lords vote this week which has already led the Tory traitors to say they would support the Lords amendment! Do not be fooled she I still not part of this betrayal, she is front and centre.

      • Hope
        Posted May 2, 2018 at 7:14 am | Permalink

        JR, tou need to make it clear to Wollaston and others that the country is not a authoritarian dictatorship where MPs know better than the thick public, it is a democratic country who elects MPs in office through vote of the ballot box. It is astonishing that someone with her education is so dull and misinformed.

        There was a vote to leave by the majority in this country, the last election was not that long ago where she and others stood in the Tory manifesto to leave the EU. It was clear that mean leaving the single market and customs union. Did she not read the manifesto, leaflet sent by Cameron or present in parliament when Cameron made this clear? Time for people like her to resign, deselected or ousted at the next election. She is behaving like a patronising little dictator.

    • Edward2
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      What are these non tariff barriers your project fear mindset now darkly talks about?
      If you mean technical or quality assurance requirements we already meet all of those for every country we export to.
      Are you suggesting the EU will play us up?
      Surely not?

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      We know John’s biog and his reputation and his previous roles Henry, can you tell us what your experience and qualifications are to substantiate your opinion.

    • libertarian
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      Henry Sparked

      You are so funny. I guess you’ve never traded anything anywhere . Ignorance on a stick

      Its a shame you are completely unaware of the current non tariff barriers put in place by Germany towards other members of the so called “single market”

    • Stred
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      As UK manufacturers already comply with EU regulations and rules, what is difficult about certification that this will still be the case after 30.3.2019.

      JR. Could the EU Research Group do some research and find out whether HMRC will be have the right software to operate under WTO rules in Calais, Dunkirk, Dover, Folkestone and other ports and airports at this date. There are different stories around.

      • acorn
        Posted May 2, 2018 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

        MPs on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) expressed concerns in January 2018 that HMRC was dangerously overstretched through a combination of 15 major transformation programmes and the uncertainty around requirements to update systems for the UK leaving the EU.

        Customs Declaration System (CDS) is intended to replace the current Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (Chief) system for handling freight from outside the European Union (EU).

        After Brexit, HMRC is expecting to see an increase in customs declarations from the current 60 million a year to 255 million, which Chief cannot handle. (Computer Weekly)

    • John Finn
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      What an embarassing post.

      Strangely, the evidence from a number of leading customs officials and representatives in the UK, Ireland and the rest of the EU seems to suggest they hold the same embarrassing opinion as John Redwood.

      Clearly, what we really need is a human rights lawyer like Keir Starmer to tell use how things really are.

    • Adam
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      Rules, regulations, procedures & formalities might differ only semantically, according to different users’ choices.

    • Original Richard
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      We’ve always suffered non-tariff barriers to trade with the EU, which explains why we have an £80bn/year trading deficit with the EU.

      Leaving the EU/SM/CU will make no difference to the non-tariff barriers that the EU currently impose upon our exporters.

    • mancunius
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      Wrong. Read it again, (e.g. Article 11) in conjunction with the WTO’s guide to the agreements on restricting non-tariff barriers.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      Henry Spark

      There are a number of ways of looking at the World Trade Organization. It is an organization for trade opening. It is a forum for governments to negotiate trade agreements. It is a place for them to settle trade disputes. It operates a system of “trade rules”. Essentially, the WTO is a place where member governments try to sort out the trade problems they face with each other.

      At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations. These documents provide the legal ground rules for international commerce. They are essentially contracts, binding governments to keep their trade policies within agreed limits. Although negotiated and signed by governments, the goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business while allowing governments to meet social and environmental objectives.

      As for addressing non-tariff barriers to trade link below:

      https://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/whatis_e/tif_e/agrm9_e.htm

    • Dennis
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      Why does JR not reply to criticisms of his understandings giving the impression that the criticism is correct and he is too embarrassed to admit it or to justify his position?

      Reply I have stated my position very clearly in my blog pieces so people can see what nonsense the criticisms are. I don’t have all day to answer the same handful of critics who say they dislike this site but want to dominate it.

    • Helen Smith
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      How is it that around 160 non EU countries manage to trade with the EU more successfully under WTO rules than we do as members?

      • Billy Elliot
        Posted May 2, 2018 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        Dear Helen,
        Please give me one example of these 160 nations so we can ponder over.
        After all we are not really trading so bad. We are the ones having World’s Financial Capital.
        Our economy is just more based on services. EU is not responsible of how we have developed our society. Just leaving EU doesn’t suddenly make us a manufacturing economy. Unfortunately leaving single market will effect our service based economy.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 3, 2018 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

          Most services are non EU

    • NickC
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      Henry Spark, The 2017 WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement is a set of rules to – rather obviously – facilitate trade by removing “bureaucratic delays and red tape” (WTO website). That is, to minimise non-tariff barriers (NTBs), by installing an agreed system.

      As the WTO explains (website): “A country should not discriminate between its trading partners and it should not discriminate between its own and foreign products, services or nationals.” That is – members should remove NTBs.

      More, the WTO encourages its members in “lowering trade barriers” (ie not just tariffs); and “Foreign companies, investors and governments should be confident that trade barriers should not be raised arbitrarily” (ie not just tariffs).

  2. Peter Wood
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    Dr. Redwood, you appear to be as angry as some of your more agitated contributors; perhaps some sort of medicament…..
    Stop complaining and take action. The solution is in your (and fellow 1922 members) hands; tell the PM what she must do. Her modus operandi is to follow with the line of least resistance. Clearly an intervention is required from you.

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      @ Peter Wood

      Well said Peter. All the time we have the PM, cabinet and the existing House of Lords structure we have more chance of walking on water than getting what was asked and voted upon.

      Push has got to go to shove and after all this time and energy wasted in playing roundabouts and swings it is time has come to JFDI. If it needs a night of the long knives to make it happen so be it.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted May 2, 2018 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

        Dear Turbo–My understanding of the Night of the Long Knives is that the then PM stayed in place, which doesn’t do it today–The present totally uninspiring apology has to go first

    • a-tracy
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      Peter, what exactly is angry about this post? Do you think you’re The Speaker with your rude ‘medicament’ comment? I get the feeling JR is a straightforward, loyal and intelligent party member who is doing what he can within allowed parameters to make his point. We read him and follow his blog for his calm and measured posts, whilst allowing people to vent at him from all sides. I’m sure when it is necessary to intervene he will.

      • Peter Wood
        Posted May 2, 2018 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        a-Tracy,
        there was no disrespect to our host; my feeling was, this is our host getting as close as he dare to criticism of the PM. I’m sure he is as frustrated as many Brexiteers, ” ..why not just get on with it…” We contributors can go further, and many do.
        Medicament – please, keep a sense of humour.

    • Stred
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      The MPs on JR’S side know that there are more EU loyalists in the party and if there were to be a leadership election, they would be up to the same dirty tricks as last time and they would elect an even worse stooge than May. They have plenty to choose from.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Why not!

  3. Leinster
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 5:15 am | Permalink

    Mr Rees Mogg made a fool of himself the other day when he suggested the UK should impose heavy tariffs on Irish beef. He should know that would violate the rules of the WTO because it is discriminatory. Now it turns out that you too don’t even understand the rules of the WTO, even though you keep claiming we should trade on their basis. Contrary to your misinformed post, it would not break WTO rules to hold up trucks at Calais. In fact it would break WTO rules NOT to hold up trucks at Calais. Once the UK leaves the EU and becomes a third country, the EU is required by the WTO to check exports from the UK in the same way it checks exports from Peru or South Africa. So your plan for Brexit means massive obstructions to trade. Brexit is the biggest step back from free trade in human history

    Reply Tariffs would go onto Irish beef if the EU opts for their tariff schedule to apply to us when we leave, as we would put the same schedule on them. The EU does charge high tariffs on lots of food products. There are no attempts to hold up non EU lorries at EU borders at the moment.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      “Once the UK leaves the EU and becomes a third country, the EU is required by the WTO to check exports from the UK in the same way it checks exports from Peru or South Africa.”

      No it isn’t, the exact opposite in fact.

      Under Article 7.4 of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement the EU is required to carry out risk assessments; it could reasonably assess that the risks associated with exports from the UK were still much lower than those from certain other countries and continue to operate different inspection regimes.

      https://www.wto.org/english/docs_e/legal_e/tfa-nov14_e.htm#art7

      “4 Risk Management

      4.1 Each Member shall, to the extent possible, adopt or maintain a risk management system for customs control.

      4.2 Each Member shall design and apply risk management in a manner as to avoid arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination, or a disguised restriction on international trade.

      4.3 Each Member shall concentrate customs control and, to the extent possible other relevant border controls, on high-risk consignments and expedite the release of low-risk consignments. A Member also may select, on a random basis, consignments for such controls as part of its risk management.

      4.4 Each Member shall base risk management on an assessment of risk through appropriate selectivity criteria. Such selectivity criteria may include, inter alia, the Harmonized System code, nature and description of the goods, country of origin, country from which the goods were shipped, value of the goods, compliance record of traders, and type of means of transport.”

      I’ve posted this several times now, but the same brazen lies keep coming up.

    • Andy
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      The EU imposes a ad valorem tariff of 12.8% plus a fixed amount of 1414 to 3041 Euros per tonne depending on the cut. That increases the cost of the import by 50% or more. If the UK applied such a tariff to EU imports, as we should, that we ruin the Irish beef industry. The EU seems perfectly happy to do this. So Jacob Rees Mogg was right in what he said.

    • stred
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      Brexit would allow the UK to ban long distance trucking of cattle for slaughter on the continent. Irish cattle trucks passed us near Barcelona last year in temperatures of 35 C.

    • NickC
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      Leinster, The EU is not about free trade. The EU is a protectionist customs union. The EU has also adopted a centralised, bureaucratic approach to the single market, rather than the mutual recognition model. The consequence is that the cost of entry is high, even within the EU, thereby reducing competition, restricting free trade, and increasing costs.

    • getahead
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      Leinster, trading with the EU is far from free. It costs the British taxpayer a lot of money.

    • libertarian
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      Leinster

      Dear chap, before lambasting people you really ought to check how goods move around the world in the 21st century , it will stop you making yourself look stupid and ignorant . You might also want to look up the difference between free trade and a protected market. You’re welcome

  4. Lifelogic.
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    Prof. Minford is surely about right with his £651bn, he usually is and has nearly always been proved right in the past.

    Of course we could have massive other long term gains too if we had a low simple taxes, far fewer regulation, cheap on demand energy, a sensible points based quality immigration system, competent public services, scrapped HS2, green crap subsidies, Hinckley C, workplace pensions, the apprentice Tax, IHT, the attacks on non Dom’s and the self employed, the attacks on UBER and the GIG economy. Plus abandoned the failed European Economic Model.

    Or indeed if we had a sound PM and chancellor with a proper small government real Brexit vision. We have had enough of this dithering wet Corbyn warm up act and electoral liability.

  5. duncan
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    The people did their bit by voting to leave this morally and democratically bankrupt political entity that is the EU. Following this resounding victory for democratic accountability and sovereignty the baton was passed onto Tory MPs who instead of voting for a Eurosceptic and a believer in Brexit that would have guaranteed our exit from the EU they, for some inexplicable reason, elected a pro-EU liberal left interventionist namely Theresa May to lead our party

    This leader’s like a ghost at the feast. The British people excited at our impending freedom and then Tory MPs intervene with an unbelievable act of utter stupidity

    I am convinced that my party has been nobbled for there is no discernible reason as to why they would have behaved in such a destructive and contrary manner

    And trade. Well, it’s not about trade. Yes, the Remain camp will stoke fear and peddle myths but that’s the left for you. Rhetoric passed off as fact and myth passed off as reality. It is the nature of contemporary politics. The issue of trade is nothing more than a rhetorical device to incite concern

    Slander, fear and demonisation are the hallmarks of the pro-EU liberal left. Their cause is of course ably abetted by our own MPs

    It’s very simple. Get rid of this appalling PM. We don’t want her. You know Tory voters don’t want her. No one wants her. We want a leader who believes

  6. Mick
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    I don’t want any connection with the dreaded Eu in any sort of form, it would be a back door re-entre into the dreaded Eu at some later date, we voted OUT and that means OUT what part of OUT doesn’t Westminster understand ,
    https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/953851/brexit-news-theresa-may-general-election-tories-remain-eu-uk
    So maybe a GE very soon and I have a gut feeling that Mrs May and the tories will do very well, and hopefully the Eu loving remoaner mps will be chucked out of office and replaced with true believers in Great Britain and then get rid of the unelected HOL

  7. Richard1
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    The EU has already ruled out NCP, which sounds absurdly complicated, so we can forget that. Mrs May and Mr Davis seem to have got themselves into the ridiculous position of having agreed regulatory alignment as a fall-back solution to the (non-)issue of the Irish border, in the event the U.K. Govt can’t find a technical solution. Regulatory alignment presumably means membership do the customs union and probably the single market (the customs union on its own won’t be enough). So – quelle surprise- the EU are sitting there arms folded rejecting all the technical solutions and waiting for the U.K. to cave in and agree in effect to continued EU membership but with no votes. If that’s where the Govt end up it would be better just to cancel article 50 and stay in.

    If Mrs May wants an agreement with the EU which is remotely sensible she will have to get serious and credible about leaving on WTO terms -presumably now in Jan 21.

    • HollyH
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      We can’t just cancel A50 to do so would first need agreement of the EU 27 remaining countries at EU Council level..Tusk has already said it would be impossible given the short time remaining to March 2019

  8. Mark B
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    All we ever seem to talk about is trade. 

    Pardon me Mr.Redwood MP sir but you are beginning to sound like me. 😉

    As I have said on these pages, leaving the EU is not about trade, it is about governance. Business has no business with regards to BREXIT. Allowing business a say destorts and damages our negotiating position. Not that was the main problem being those in government itself.

    We now find ourselves in a position that we are effectively asking for a worse deal than the so called Norway Option. How embarrassing for those here that poo-pooed those like Mike and myself for tryi g to point out the dangers of a bespoke deal.

    If we went for the Norway Option there would have been little to discuss. Out sooner and less likely to be ripped off.

    Oh well.

    • Mark B
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 6:00 am | Permalink

      Sorry. Good morning. 🙂

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      “If we went for the Norway Option there would have been little to discuss.”

      Of course there would have been a lot to discuss, not least how to placate the EU and its Irish puppet government over the land border with Northern Ireland.

      How many times have I pointed out that Norway is not in any customs union with the EU, and how many times have I repeated what the Irish government said about the so-called “light touch” customs border between Norway and Sweden?

      For God’s sake, does nobody ever read or understand anything?

      • sm
        Posted May 2, 2018 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        Denis, I skip some comments on this blog but rarely yours!

        I also do not think one can compare what suits a small country (Norway) with a population half the size of London’s to a nation of 68million that is the world’s 5th or 6th biggest economy.

      • Andy
        Posted May 2, 2018 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

        We all read and understand. The Irish Border issue is total rubbish. The EU under its own treaties is required to respect the territorial integrity of Sovereign States. I would like to know why that is not applicable to the United Kingdom ??? WE will police our border with the Republic of Ireland as we see fit. The EU, in the shape of the Republic of Ireland, should look to their own border. It is in reality their problem not ours.

      • Mark B
        Posted May 2, 2018 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

        Denis

        I know that Norway is not in the CU. And I know it shares a land border with Sweden. The point is having an EEA type agreement as a real transitory phase would side step the Irish border question as we can point to it as a workable example.

        People just want out. But the reality is that we are going to have to do it in one or two stages. Trouble is, going for a bespoke deal is more complicated than something off the shelf.

        • David Price
          Posted May 4, 2018 at 6:26 am | Permalink

          You are a much more reasonable advocate for Frexcit than North, however while I supported that endeavour earlier on I came to the view it would not work. I believed the stumbling block was the foundation on a position neither in nor out that the pro-EU crowd would exploit to keep us fully entangled with the EU.

          The behaviour and actions of the euphilics, media, government and civil service have convinced me I was right. We should leave with no trade agreement and as few other agreements as possible.

  9. oldtimer
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    Yesterday, on the BBC WatO, Sarah Wollaston MP proclaimed that leaving the customs union would cost the country 8% of GDP! I do not recall the original Project Fear going this far.

    Another contributor from the House of Lords proclaimed that the Lord’s vote to demand the right to force the government to reach a deal, any deal, and to preclude no deal was a case of “taking back control”. She conveniently overlooked the utterly explicit basis on which the referendum was fought and won for Brexit. Such an attitude betrays the arrogance of privilege within a body that contains far too many political placemen and women, and too many who have bought their place (through party political contributions – the Blair government was notorious for this). She denied that this would produce a constitutional crisis. She should think again.

    • Helen Smith
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      Sarah Wollaston is saying that all trade with the EU will stop then,etc ed. She has also said if we are not in the EU we will run out of medicines, how low can she go, scaring the sick and in pain, really this woman is beneath contempt.

  10. Roy Grainger
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    We seem to be in a peculiar position where Mrs May wants to find some compromise and balance between those who lost (Remainers) and those who won (Brexiters). In that case why doesn’t she invite Corbyn to join the Cabinet because he lost the last election but is currently unrepresented ?

  11. Blue and Gold
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Oh dear, here we go again. Mr Redwood, a member of the Elite, Establishment peddling his tired soundbites, papering over the huge cracks in the Brexit argument, dismissing any problem that will be occurring at the ports without having any explanation of how this will be avoided.

    Just as the situation with the Republic of Ireland, the Elite, Establishment Brexiteers have not come up with any viable alternative than being in the Customs Union.

    To say our living standards will be improved after leaving the EU is ‘pie in the sky’…..a fantasy. What has made the UK relatively wealthy as a nation is being within the world’s biggest trading bloc.

    The Leavers are losing the argument and are now clearly ‘frit’ and angry.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      The viable alternative to being in the/a customs union with the EU is not to be in the/a customs union with the EU. At least, that is what 160-0dd countries in the world have found to be the case, ones who set their own trade policies.

    • Jagman84
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      There is no argument to lose. It has simply become a constant wave of undemocratic remoaners trying to do down their own nations prospects by selling out to their beloved EU. We are leaving their naiscent federation wether you like it or not. Get used to it!

    • Edward2
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      Do you see any problems at UK ports when goods arrive from all over the world at the moment ?
      Go and see how millions of containers arrive and leave the port of Felixstowe every year for example.
      Your knowledge of world trade logistics is not very good B and G

      • Blue and Gold
        Posted May 2, 2018 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

        Your comment speaks loudly of total lack of understanding, as is the case with most Brexiteers.

        There are no problems at present because we are in the EU!!!

        Don’t lecture me about Felixstowe as I know more about the working of that port than you can imagine.

        You clearly have not even a basic understanding of trade and logistics.

        • Edward2
          Posted May 3, 2018 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

          Trading outside the EU causes little difficulty.
          I have traded and exported over decades.
          Doing so with nations like America and Australia I have found easier than trying to export into the EU
          Most containers traversing Felixstowe are non EU
          There are no queues.

          Your cheap abuse is not appreciated.

    • graham1946
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      ‘What has made the UK wealthy’

      Yes, of course, by less than 1 percent of GDP over 40 years, not allowing for the hundreds of billions paid in to achieve this great result. If it had been spent at home our NHS, Schools and Roads would not be falling apart. We have paid for the motorways in Spain et al whilst we fiddle as Rome burns and must go on our knees to Brussels in thanks for sending a small amount back to be spent as they say with big notices saying it was the EU that did it.

  12. House of Lairds
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Give the electorate a referendum on the abolition of the House of Lords
    Parliament will debate this petition on 18th JUNE 2018.

    You’ll be able to watch online at parliamentlive.tv

    https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/209433

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      I have signed that, rather than deciding not to support it because it would not be my preferred option.

      I think what we really needed to do as an interim measure was to draw the teeth of the House of Lords by cutting the maximum period for which they could delay a Bill sent to them by the Commons from about a year to just one month, as is in fact already the case for Money Bills.

      That way they could do much less damage while we were still arguing about how to change the composition of the House or whether to abolish it altogether, and they could even carry on doing some good with their various committees.

      However Theresa May has left it far too late to start the Bill to do that, she should have set it in motion in early 2017 as suggested even before then:

      http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2016/08/03/uniting-the-kingdom/#comment-827017

      and then it could have been forced through by now.

      So I suppose she may have to ask the Queen to create a whole load of new peers to give her government a majority.

      That is if she survives as Prime Minister …

      • Andy
        Posted May 2, 2018 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

        Another option is just to abandon the Withdrawal Bill. The whole point of these amendments is to wreck Brexit, but if Mrs May withdraws the Bill and allows Article 50 to conclude in less than a year we leave. The 1972 Act would become useless because there are no treaties in its schedules because they have all been abrogated by use of the Prerogative.

        Mrs May should also refuse point blank to allow any Bill to receive Royal Assent that does contain commitments to the EU Customs Union. It is unheard of and I am sure many will say very undemocratic but LESS undemocratic that seeking to set aside the Referendum result.

      • graham1946
        Posted May 2, 2018 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

        The way to cut down the HoL is not to pass more legislation about the time they take on Bills but to abolish their allowance and subsidised eating and drinking holes. Most are multi millionaires anyway, grown fat on the State so let them pay a bit back by donating their time. I’ve signed the petition and would like it closed down tomorrow.

      • mancunius
        Posted May 2, 2018 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

        Does TM even want to give her government a majority? The impression so far is that she is happy to roll over and lose every single battle – whether in Brussels or in both Houses of Westminster.

      • APL
        Posted May 6, 2018 at 8:50 am | Permalink

        “That way they could do much less damage while we were still arguing about how to change the composition of the House or whether to abolish it altogether, ”

        I think there is a need for an oversight / leglislatory revision chamber. The Lords as it’s currently stacked isn’t it.

        There are ninety hereditary peers in the Lords. I propose we throw out all the life peers, and political appointees, the Bishops et al.

        No the method of selection to the second house would be a hybrid of universal franchise of the ninety seats from the hereditary aristocracy. Elected for one period of fifteen years. We get democratic accountability, and constitutional continuity.

  13. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Your post addresses practicalities following exit. Until such time as many in your party and others accept that we are leaving and must make the best of it we have no strong negotiating hand with which to negotiate those practicalities.

    Your government should lay out their (very) clears aims for the negotiations along with very clear red lines. This is what the EU has given Michel Barnier which puts him in a strong position. The quid pro quo for Parliament and other worthies wishing to retain EU lite membership will be a yes/ no vote on that deal. No means leaving with no deal on WTO terms with the aim of negotiating an FTA over time.

    The EU can then choose to compromise on some issues or end up with no deal. We need to introduce jeopardy for the EU into the negotiations which does not exist while the majority of Parliament is agitating to stay in.

  14. Epíkouros
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    You are stating facts that should be obvious or at least obvious to anyone with a modicum of intelligence and common sense. True some of those facts you must have acquired with research. Research undoubtedly relatively easily available which remainers have either not bothered to do or in their usual manner when confronted with unpalatable truths that destroys their case ignored them. Once again the dismal character of the remainers is being exposed. They are as you say are either ill informed or spreading disinformation or as I suspect not too bright being guilty of all three sometimes.

    Trade belongs in a category that can only best be described as a quirk as we spend so much time, energy and rhetoric expounding on the how trade should be conducted. Like a management meeting spends so much unproductive time on how the companies paper clips should be sourced. They are both a non issue and do not need any control for both to to be carried out effectively. Trade needs nothing more than to be allowed to be conducted without restraint or obstacle. Certainly not by treaty, trading block, tariffs and such like. Certainly it needs those who will aid it to flow freely and arrive at its destination quickly because it will need to pass through obstacles that are in place to stop people and other types of smuggling. Paper clips too need someone to buy the right quantity at the right price but it does not need a raft of regulations and an army of upper managers to do so.

  15. Posted May 2, 2018 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    “The clever ones spread disinformation, and the badly informed ones peddle their misunderstandings as truths” – This is all too true of remoaners generally – just look on FB – not just the damned socialists in the Lords.

    It really is time for a burst of sanity within the UK, so that people could open their minds and really see, and understand, what is going on with all of this – BUT how to provoke such a spiritual moment?

  16. hefner
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    From a look at the report in the FT comparing the results from different projections, one can wonder whether Prof Minford’s 651bn forecast is not to be put in the same category as some of the global warming forecasts.

    • mancunius
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      If you compare any remoaning ‘prediction’ in the FT masquerading as an ‘objective report’ – you’d be better off with a forecast from Nostradamus or Gypsy Rose Lee.
      This is after all the newspaper that hailed Cameron’s ignominious return from Brussels with the headline ‘Success!’

      • Mitchel
        Posted May 3, 2018 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think Gypsy Rose Lee was in the business of revealing the future-she was a famous burlesque artiste)!!!

      • hefner
        Posted May 5, 2018 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

        Mancucunius,
        there were four curves in this FT article all produced independently from the FT, which was just providing the comment. My point was about the curve produced by Prof Minford’s rational expectations model, the last version of which is still mainly based on modelling interactions between economic actors, not based on the homo oeconomicus (always taking rational decisions) but on populations which on average take rational decisions but individually have behaviours going all over the place and represented by standard deviations between economic phenomena linked together following endogenous relationships via “sophisticated” covariances. The problem resides in these endogenous bits. His and similar models cannot account for any “black swan” events, like the 2007-2008 economic crisis, or the election of Trump, or the threat of war between the Koreas, nor their new “friendship”.
        In that respect, his model is as good or as poor as climate models which would not be able to include things like glacier or sea ice melting, or carbon fixing as carbonates in the oceans.
        Minford himself as an aging but still active academic economist has never addressed this flaw in his and his colleagues’modelling. The only reason he keeps being quoted by Leavers is for his standing opinions (which have not changed since Mrs Thatcher’s time), not really for the quality of his (past) research.

  17. Peter
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    Brexit is shaped more by the use of power and tactics rather than convincing arguments. A debating society approach is ineffective.

    So far the various Remain factions are making a better job of getting their way than Leavers.

  18. Ian wragg
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    We are reaching a point where we will have an almighty constitutional crisis. If Mps are seen to put party before country bad things will happen.
    We have seen the unelected, undemocratic and unwanted Quislings in the Lords reject the biggest vote in our nations history.
    If May agrees to any Associate agreement with the EU which keeps us in the Customs Union and single market she must go. As Churchill said. Action this day. You have been warned. You will be out of government for generations.
    The choice seems to be
    BETRAYAL BY MAY OR BANKRUPTCY BY CORBYN.
    Not a very satisfactory choice.

  19. The PrangWizard
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Here we go again indeed, but I mean the talk of confrontation with the Prime Minister over trade and customs arrangements with the EU. Is this the fourth or maybe the fifth time that MPs true to the referendum result and the democratic will of the people have had to drag our dithering, appeasing and Europhile PM back from keeping us in the EU but under some different title and arrangement.

    She has been and continues to be a disaster for the party and the country in all manner of ways, why don’t you just get rid of her, just do it. Even if we get out she will always lean to appeasing and accommodating the EU afterwards, we will never be free, we will never be allowed to look outward.

    Remove her.

  20. alan jutson
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    The recent petition:

    “Give the Electorate a Referendum on the abolition of the House of Lords”

    It has now passed the 100,000 mark and the topic/petition is set to be debated in the House of Commons on 18th June.

    Would be nice if this was a proper debate, rather than just the usual farce, and it had some real support from some of our Elected MP’s behind it.

    The electorate are getting restless and frustrated John, democracy is not working for them at all at the moment.

    We are asked for our opinion, we are given the facts in a government leaflet, we vote accordingly, then we are being ignored !

    The so called system is being abused by many who have been in the system bubble for far, far too long.

  21. alan jutson
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Cannot see what is wrong with going to WTO terms if both the EU and UK are going to be members after we leave.

    The system is already in place, hundreds of Countries currently use it, it is a proven system that works, little negotiation required.

    Politicians looking for the complicated, unworkable solution are as usual the problem, not the solution.

    • alan jutson
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      Heard you on Radio Berkshire this morning.

      Listened to you talking common sense yet again, and also thanks for adding your name to “The Letter” sent to Mrs May.

    • Stred
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      BBC NEWS this lunchtime had the factual bit in which their expert journalists explain everything. They forgot to mention the last alternative that JR preferred or WTO. Pravda strikes again.

  22. JoolsB
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    John,

    Let’s face it, all this talk of staying in a customs union is just another way of staying chained to the EU. All those unelected Lords and Ladies and remain MPs care nought for democracy or the will of the people and so peddle the lie that we didn’t necessarily vote to leave the customs unions or single market.

    The time has come for you and all your fellow Brexiteers to threaten May that if she capitulates on more thing, then you will bring the Government down. Better that than the country be betrayed by all those treacherous MPs. Hopefully the majority of the country will then be behind whichever party then promises to implement Brexit in full.

    And next time, choose a pro Brexit for PM please.

    • graham1946
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      ‘the party that promises to implement Brexit in full’

      Unfortunately, there isn’t one.

  23. hans christian ivers
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    John

    At this stage it is too early to say what the government will come up with , so let them consider what is best for Britain and for British business and then let us have the debate.

    The potential NCP does not stop Britain from making trade agreements around the World, that is the whole purpose as oppose to joining the customs union.

    £651 billion gain , a very interesting figure, why not £ 649 billion gain?

  24. crazyTimes
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Don’t like what I’m reading today..we were told at the time of the vote that everything would work out ‘swimingly’..today I can see only a nightmare scenario emerging, a government and government party in disarray tearing itself apart..when I read on i just wonder who are all of these bad media people telling us lies and spreading disinformation? someone should point them out because I cannot see it.

    When we leave March 2019 without agreement for transition or anything else, because that’s the way it is heading, it is not the EU hierarchy in Brussels the transport sector is going to have to contend with but the pissed off officials on the ground in the ports who are likely to go on strike or go slow and that is what awaits all but for nicety sake will be according to WTO rules.. it will take years to work out..

    So after two years negotiating with ourselves what have we got now? NCP vs Max Fac- because of course neither will be acceptable to Barnier, Junker or Verhofstadt or the Irish Govt ..looks like there is no acceptable solution so far to the Irish border situation, ie. a No CU option vs Good Friday with Good Friday being an international agreement already in place. makes it nigh on impossible.. therefore we will leave without transition to anything else, means the cliff edge, and we should start planning from there. So onward and upward to these new Liam Fox international trade deals, not forgetting about the services sector and London City financials..it’s all a madhouse

  25. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Yet again, we have Mrs Weak and Wobbly guiding the most important diplomatic process. Can you ever imagine either Thatcher or Blair getting into this diabolical position?
    Give Major some credit – he pushed a particular line, and even sometimes had the odd bright idea of his own e.g. cones hotline!

    The picture out here is that this PM has enormous problems making a decision, and when it’s made it’s soon seen to be a daft solution and is back-tracked on. I think the EU has the same impression, so like us, they just sit back and look on in disbelief.

  26. ChrisS
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Customs Partnership with the EU.

    Anyone wishing to see a fully independent United Kingdom with proper separation from the EU has to regard any proposal supported by Hammond and other Remainers and opposed by JRM and his group of Eurosceptics with the deepest suspicion.

    The Customs Partnership looks to be a complete dog’s dinner designed with the sole purpose of keeping us so closely aligned with Brussels that a future government could rejoin the EU with little difficulty.

    When we finally do leave, the battle will not be over. Remainers will relentlessly continue to plot and scheme until they get an administration in place that will bring us back to full alignment with the eventual goal of rejoining.

    They will never give up.

  27. Peter
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Rees-Mogg was just on radio4 ‘Today’ programme. He said he would not put a gun to the Prime Ministers head over the Customs Union.

    So – if she chooses to – she can plough on regardless.

    Rees-Mogg gets to play the gentleman in public, while May gets her way.

    • eeyore
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      Last week No 10 flew a kite for a customs union. It crashed. Now JRM and 60 others are gently reminding Mrs May she needs their votes. Excitable commentators may interpret this as a threat, but under the circs threats are hardly needed.

      She could, of course, defy them and seek Labour support. Whether Labour would prop her up is anyone’s guess; they seem hardly to know from hour to hour what their own policy is. But it’s not likely, is it?

      Last year she tried to increase her majority so she could push through a Brexit to her liking. I guess we know now what that would have been. Having failed, she is in office but not in power. It will take a more masterly politician than she is to get her own way now.

  28. Peter Miller
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    There is a growing sense in the UK that M. Barnier is outsmarting us at every move, made worse by the pranks of the unelected peers seeking to undermine what little negotiating spine we may have left.

    At this point in time, we should be firmly dictating to the EU what would be acceptable to us, not vice versa.

    I fear the worst of all possible worlds, a Tory Remainer rebellion forces a general election, where an electorate perceiving a weak Tory leadership votes in Corbyn in time to complete negotiations with the EU in a way that allows him to put in place his policies of high taxation, economic decline and labour discord.

    • Helen Smith
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      Maybe, but we will have the opportunity to deselect those Tories who brought down the government and are set on thwarting Brexit, so tipping the balance more to honouring Leave in the HOC, and Labour would have to negotiate all the bear pits it has voted in to trip up a Tory Government, and switch power to the opposition, two can play at that game!

    • Billy Elliot
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      “At this point in time, we should be firmly dictating to the EU what would be acceptable to us, not vice versa.”

      Unfortunately it is the other we around. We don’t have power to dictate anything.
      Why do you think T.M said “please don’t use BREXIT to destroy UK”.

      That is exactly how much “they” can dictate.

  29. Andy
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    But wait.

    Leavers promised that your Brexit would slash red tape. But – hey ho – now you are advocating a solution to a problem your Brexit creates which entails MORE red tape. That is not what people voted for. You are going against the will of the people. Your solutions need to cut bureaucracy not add to it.

    Tory hard-right pensioner Brexiteers are forgetting one more key thing.

    You have no democratic mandate for the extreme amputation from the EU which you demand.

    In the referendum Brexit was not defined. Different Leavers claimed Leave meant different things. Indeed you still don’t agree with each other.

    Mrs May, in her wisdom, tried to define Brexit at last year’s general election. Leave the single market she said. Leave the customs union she said. NO – said the electorate. No, no, no.

    A bigger majority voted against Tory hard-right extreme Brexit in 2017 than voted for Brexit. Why are you refusing to accept the will of the people? Are you undemocratic mutineer traitors?

    • Edward2
      Posted May 3, 2018 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

      Red tape cannot be reduced until after we leave.

      82% of people voted for parties that had leave manifestos.
      Greens and Lib Dems failed to have any gains.

      The Leaflet and repeated speeches by the PM made it clear before the referendum vote what leaving meant.

  30. A.Sedgwick
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Quite so, yet again.

    There is clearly something rotten at the heart of Parliament to deny the will of the people.

  31. Alison
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Thank you, Dr Redwood. And I was so glad to read about the ERG’s report to Mrs May. The Express also had this quote, from an ERG member: “If they don’t have confidence in Brexit we don’t have confidence in them.” Quite.
    However, the tone of the report doesn’t sound steely enough. Even so, I see the Guardian is saying the ERG is holding Mrs May hostage, while the bit of a Times article I saw seemed to say to Mrs May, just ignore them, a lot of hot air. The Guardian also says that Mrs May will have the casting vote. Surely that goes to Mr Robbins?
    I think Mrs May will ignore the ERG report. I think she will provide more fudge, no decisive information. And she will phrase the rebuttal in such a way that it doesn’t quite look like a rebuttal.

  32. agricola
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    If the house of Lords is merely a revising chamber, with advice that is not obligatory upon the House of Commons, why do we get so excited when they exceed their remit. I admit it may take time , but the H o C can discard anything the H o L may put in it’s way.

    Having established that the H o L is only advisory there is no need for a body that actually votes or is elected. The Commons can accept the advice or not. With this established the H o L can be re-invented. One hundred people from the top of their professions , recently retired, across the spectrum of industry, public service, military, religions etc, but with no appointed politicians, could serve the purpose of advising the Commons much better than the current 798 who I believe are eligible at present. Politicians are the current death of the Lords.

    You may ask how do we arrive at the chosen one hundred. I would suggest a perfect job for the Knights and Lady Companions of the Garter. Once they had chosen the first one hundred, replacements due to death or retirement could be chosen by the one hundred. The apparent lack of democracy in such an arrangement does not matter all that much because they are only there to advise, not to vote or demand. In such a way we avoid the pretence of Lords power and speed up the whole process of government. Please debate.

  33. acorn
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    The WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) is an extension of the EU “Everything But Arms” (EBA) initiative. All imports to the EU from the Least Developed Countries (LDC) are duty-free and quota-free, with the exception of armaments. It also funds the move to paperless customs processes in LDC, so they can play with the big boys.

    BTW. These are the non-EU, third countries, that post Brexit, we are going to get all that cheap food from, Doh!

    JR, I take it you are declaring in your post today that ERG62, are adopting the Patrick Minford “Britain Alone” scenario for Brexit? Google: The ‘Britain Alone’ scenario: how Economists for Brexit defy the laws of gravity.

    • John Soper
      Posted May 4, 2018 at 6:17 am | Permalink

      I asked an economist friend of mine how Minford is rated. He just laughed – Minford is not viewed seriously at all. To see Mr Redwood quote him is telling

      Reply Minford has been more right than the Treasury over Brexit so far I judge this on the numbers, not on what spin doctors say

  34. Adam
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Consumer demand has greater pull
    than any Remaining fool
    could resist with sham & stall
    As a doom monger erects a false barrier
    Brexit wrecks it.

  35. Ron Olden
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    70% of our output is sold here,15% (and falling) goes to the EU and 15% (and rising) elsewhere.

    We have a £60 Billion Trade Deficit with the EU, and no deficit at all with the rest of the World.

    So why do we need be members of a ‘Protectionist Customs Partnership’ with the EU, but not with the rest of the World?

    This scheme is outrageous. It amounts us staying in the EU Customs Union whilst losing such minimal benefits as there, are of being in the EU itself.

    It requires every item imported into the UK from a Non EU Country, suffer whatever tariff the EU sets, the money paid over to the EU, and the only way the importer can claim it back, is if he can prove that the product has been used in this country, or exported again to outside the EU.

    THAT IS NOT FREE TRADE. Who in the world, is going to sign a Free Trade Agreement with us when we have a system like that operating? If everyone in the world tried to operate their trade like that, the world would; descend into bureaucratic chaos.

    This scheme involves us collecting import taxes for a foreign Protectionist Customs Union of which we are not even members!!

    For a start it couldn’t cope at all, with materials and things which are imported here, processed, and have value added to them, e.g. food, things that are turned into other things, (like steel turned into cars), and then exported to the EU. (i.e anything that contributes to the UK economy).

    And what if someone sells the goods on to a trader here?

    Does he get his rebate? If so he’s obtained a tariff free import which the buyer can sell tariff free into the EU, whereas if he is refused the rebate the item has suffered an EU tariff regardless of where it finally ends up.

    And what about things that are imported into other EU countries from outside the EU, then come here via them? Will anyone be able to reclaim those tariffs back?

    Are we to be unpaid tax collectors for the EU, whilst they get to keep the import tax that they collect on the same basis?

    I bet Hammond is also expecting these tariffs to apply to business inputs imported from outside the EU, but not to inputs imported from within it. In which case British businesses will carry on being ripped off by the EU.

  36. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Am I right in that I thought I heard on the news this morning that several Tory ministers are telling Mrs May that her stance over the customs union is not to their liking? Bring it on. Its about time more noise was heard over the ridiculous and feeble negotiations going on at the moment.

  37. Rien Huizer
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    I agree that “trade” -international trade- is different from what it was say fifty years ago. But the vast bulk of UK trade is (a) within a “domestic” market called the EU and (b) within supply chains of manufacturers and retailers. Thoes supply chains also try to stay within domestic markets or at least regulated channels like FTA’s. The business with China tends to be the universal exception and that is essentially a one way street: one buys from China and China buys highly selectively or -again- within supply chains (like most China-Japan trade is within Japanese multinationals)

    The point is not whether trade barriers can be avoided or overcome, but whether it is cheaper to relocate than to put ud with friction. And that question has not been researched, probably. It is hard to do (Japanese firms would have to share information about costs and internal processes for instance) and the result may confirm the intuitive: if the came for an EU membership location, they will not stay after that has ended.

    It is a different matter for true UK firms, but even those may well be dependent on a TNC that decides to downsize its UK operations.

    It is a very risky strategy to go after new merkets because the existing one is not nice to you. Selling more to an existing customer is good business and usually most economical. Selling existing product to new customers a l;ittle harder and selling new products to nes customers the most difficult by far. Britain risks losing existing product (Japanese cars – they are not going to produce for word markets from the UK of course unless the UK becomes truly cheap) and existing markets (EU) . Who is gpoing to replace the Japanese? And they are not the only cohesive business contingent facing a difficult decision.

  38. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    I’ve long ago run out of patience with this kind of stupid, ill-informed, or deliberately misleading, rubbish:

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/05/01/soft-brexit-still-leaves-room-trade-deals-icelands-foreign-minister/

    “Iceland’s ability to sign free trade deals has not been hampered by signing up to the EU’s single market and legal framework, the country’s foreign minister has said, as the UK comes under pressure to adjust its red lines in the Brexit talks.

    Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson said Iceland’s relationship with the EU had been misrepresented in the Brexit debate and allowed more independence than many people realised.

    It comes as the British government faces mounting pressure to shift its red lines in the tense negotiations, such as leaving the customs union and single market, in order to avoid a hard border with Northern Ireland.”

    But as an EFTA member of the EEA Iceland is itself not in any customs union with the EU, and that is precisely why Iceland is free to make its own trade deals rather having them controlled by the EU:

    http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/press/index.cfm?id=493

    “The European Union created a Common Commercial Policy to govern its trade relations with non-EU countries. The creation of a common commercial policy followed as a logical consequence of the formation of a customs union among its Member States … ”

    Similarly Norway is not in any customs union with the EU, and the Irish government has already rejected out of hand the idea of a so-called “light-touch” customs border like that between Norway and Sweden.

    But both Iceland and Norway are signed up to the uncontrolled and unlimited freedom of movement of persons, among both the EFTA states and the EU states within the EEA; while Lichtenstein managed to secure and maintain a very special dispensation on that issue which would certainly not be offered to the UK if it decided to apply to transfer from the EU to EFTA in order to remain in the EEA.

    • Adam
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      Denis:

      Some of those who claim to mislead, try to mislead others themselves, by sticking toupees on their heads with GhostBond. MPs of most parties try. Those of us who see the join still wish to join them if we agree with their other policies.

      Some call for the House of Lords to be abolished, yet removing those of lower quality standards would be more effective. Sensible ones can stick where they are, even with a double syrup.

    • Peter D Gardner
      Posted May 3, 2018 at 12:26 am | Permalink

      Indeed. What I have trouble understanding is why the Government is still discussing untenable options. There are not that many different types of EU relationships around and the EFTA examples amount to only three. Any decent MBA student cold analyse them in a day at most.Anyone experience in international trade could do this and do the WTO rounds (everything is published, nothing hidden) and produce sensible options in a week or two. What is the Government doing. It is not that difficult to reach a policy position, even if thrashing out details in a negotiation takes longer.
      It seems to me the central problem is tha Mrs May really has no idea what sort of relationship UK needs and that is for two reasons. First she has vey limited understanding of business and second she does not understand the concept of an independent self-governing sovereign nation. She is a technocrat. She sees government as a supra-national technocratic business of deciding things with her colleagues in a bureaucratic manner. Real world implications of her bureaucratic output are lost on her. So Brexit is just a matter of working gradually through the issues and ticking the boxes marked ‘Done’. She probably has a score card somewhere with a graph showing a steadily climbing line of ‘Dones’. That each Done is a concession to the EU is irrelevant. Agreement with her technocratic colleagues is what is important.

  39. Original Richard
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    “The UK with a large service sector usually finds that is ignored by EU trade negotiators.”

    Correct.

    But being in a/the CU with the EU and with the EU solely in charge of negotiations could be even worse as the EU could trade beneficial access to another market for its German cars and French food in return for FoM/Visa free access into the CU trade area, a requirement that at least one very large country has demanded of any trade deal.

    As a result, the UK would again become the most likely destination for the new migrants as it is the only European country that requires no ID cards and offers “free-at the point-of use”/non-contributory healthcare, as well as being English speaking.

  40. Original Richard
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    “All we ever seem to talk about is trade.”

    A majority did not decide to vote to leave the EU based solely upon trade reasons.but so we could elect and remove those who make our laws and decide upon our taxation, spending and immigration policies as well as our trade policy and return to being an independent and free country.

    The remainers just haven’t got any other argument to use other than trade issues as even they (most of them) acknowledge that the EU is undemocratic and corrupt and needs reform.

  41. Iain Gill
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Well when Mrs May in PMQ’s said “no borders in the Irish sea” that made my decision not to vote tomorrow crystal clear. It is a totally incoherent immigration approach to allow anyone Dublin allows to fly in to cross the land border and then the ferry to England without being checked. Its just another wide open route of illegal immigration.

    On the one hand hassling legal long term residents with indefinite leave to remain visas in their passports, demanding large sums for another ID card, and preventing them working, getting a house, or accessing healthcare while on the other allowing ongoing obvious illegal immigration to go on for all to see. How on earth do the political class get away with such obvious nonsense.

    • alan jutson
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      Iain

      Agree, our immigration policy would only be as good/strong as Ireland’s sea border with the rest of the World.

      Thus travel from the EU to Ireland for any immigrant is a free ride (free movement), and another free ride into N Ireland (No border police) ,and onwards to England/Wales.

      Perhaps there is a control policy in mind which has yet to be released !!!!

  42. Blake
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Better to just leave now in March 2019 and wait to see what happens..a lot of people will never be convinced either way until it is completely demonstrated to them the recklessness of our ways and the consequences or otherwise how very sensible we are until they see it up close for tjemselves

  43. Peter
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    “Dead Woman Walking” is the headline in The Sun.

    Paper talk I suspect. My bet is that she will prevaricate and try to kick a decision further down the road.

    This has always worked for her in the past.

    • ChrisS
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      That’s the Merkel way – she seems to have an endless supply of cans to kick down the nearest Bundestrasse but I think Mrs May knows that she can’t dither on this issue. There simply isn’t time and the pressure is on to come up with a proposal and stick to it.

      Regrettably, from Brussels and at least 27 other capital cities we must be looking to be in a complete mess over Brexit. It’s bad enough the opposition taking contrary views but to see the governing party split into more than two different factions is unforgivable.

      If we do escape the clutches of Brussels and regain our proper independent status it will be a miracle.

      Nobody can possible know what will happen but one thing is certain : By there not being a single agreed position in the Cabinet supported by the party at large, Barnier and that inexperienced ( man ed)in charge in Dublin have been emboldened enough to think they can play hardball over the Irish Border issue.

      Sadly, they might turn out to be right.

  44. Dennis Zoff
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    John

    ….of course, they only wish to discuss trade because it simply deflects citizens attention away from the important discussion on the core issue – sovereignty, democracy and the will of the majority of the electorate to execute Brexit to its fullest extent and make the UK an independent nation of free thinkers again (and Export independent)…all that the HoL, Civil Service and Remoaners detest most.

    It has become patently clear to the population, remainer T. May and her “hiding in the shadows remoaners” are determined to stop Brexit and ignore the democratic will of the people….we must all remain vigilant and angry until the job is completed – Brexit means leaving all the insidious EU apparatus.

    Awakening minds. Through this despicable and callous anti-democratic debacle, we are no longer dealing with a simple matter of leaving an entity that is not fit for purpose, but the realisation by the populace (on both sides of the debate), this country is fighting for its existential democratic rights! The so-called elites have opened Pandora’s box….this is not going to go away lightly if Brexit is nefariously negated by self-seeking Politicians/Civil servants, Banking/Corp Institutions, Celebs, et al! Figuratively speaking, it will be a call to arms!

  45. Loch
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Extremely, very, sad , depressing, dishonourable, seeing an SNP MP asking a question today
    in a Parliamentary Committee “Exiting the European Union ” which amounted to asking for a way for the SNP preventing by technical means that people including Scots of the whole of the UK via the referendum on 23rd June 2016 be scuppered in leaving the EU.
    A severe insult to Scotland and Scots.

  46. Mike Wilson
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Tick tock, tick tock. No deal looms. Why not save energy and plan for the inevitable.

  47. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    https://euobserver.com/uk-referendum/141726

    “Some form of customs deal is central to the final Brexit agreement, not least because it must prevent the creation of a hard border in Ireland – a red line for Irish and EU negotiators.”

    If Irish and EU negotiators are determined to avoid a so-called “hard border” then they should start by saying “Whatever happens for our part we will not do anything to create a hard border”. But they refuse to say that, instead they say in effect “The UK must do what we want, or we will create a hard border”.

    “The ERG has called for a “streamlined customs arrangement” in which the UK reintroduced border checkpoints, but used high-tech gadgets to minimise disruption for people going back and forth.”

    Look, as I have pointed out again and again, ad nauseam, for example here:

    http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2017/12/02/the-irish-border/#comment-904608

    the Irish government has said that it will not tolerate

    “anything that would imply a border on the island of Ireland”,

    no matter how unobtrusive it might be and however little disruption it might cause, so what is the point of continuing to pursue that kind of line?

    • Andy
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

      What are the Irish going to do ? Declare War ?? They have no right to question the territorial intergrity of the United Kingdom, so I hope there is a hard border. I also hope the ‘Common Travel Area’ is abolished and other perks Irish Citizens enjoy in the UK.

      Mrs May is probably the most hopeless Prime Minister in the history of the office and as far as I’m concerned ‘Has sat there too long for any good she has been doing’. Let us have done with her.

  48. Dennis Zoff
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    John, if I may….this may be of interest to others on your forum.

    Shortcut to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) new experimental interactive tool, “official” raw trade data. Thanks to the folks at Fact4EU:

    http://facts4eu.org/news.shtml

  49. Roy Grainger
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Have the EU told us how much they’ll charge us to remain in the CU ? It will be a lot.

    • Billy Elliot
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      Yes Roy it will be. Norway and Switzerland pay roughly speaking as much per capita as we do – and they are not even members of EU….

  50. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Well, still in moderation, then … meanwhile I’ve just seen Chuka Umunna being given five minutes on Sky News to tell a pack of lies, one lie after another, and will anybody in the government get off their backside and call him out for his lies? No, of course not, JR; as I say at the start of this unpublished comment “I come back to the absence of any effective rebuttals of the unspeakable nonsense constantly being thrown around in the media”, and there must be a reason why the government has been allowing the Remoaners to have free rein to tell their brazen lies and steadily undermine public support for what is ostensibly its official policy. As for myself, well, I increasingly wonder what is the point.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted May 2, 2018 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      That then unpublished, now vaporised, comment …

  51. Ed Mahony
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    North Sea Oil – Our Economy – And Brexit.

    I’m no export on North Sea Oil, but to what degree, or not, has our economy developed enough post the North-Sea-Revenue economy to survive Brexit?

    It seems that the North Sea Oil was mother’s milk to an important degree, in the 1980’s, and beyond, to our economy, and that we’re not completely weaned off it enough, even though the milk’s run dry.

    That we’re not standing up on our own two feet enough – in terms of productivity and high exports abroad. To what degree is our recent dependence on The North Sea Oil due to this?

    That the first task of government it to firstly pay off our national debt, and then build up our economy. But we can’t rely on pure market forces to do that. We need some creative, soft investment for that to happen. In particular, in the high tech / digital sector which show to have high levels of productivity, great exports abroad, as well as high tax receipts to the inland revenue.

    Building up our economy properly seems to be the thing we should be focusing on first. This in itself is a massive enterprise. But how can we do that and deal with the other massive enterprise of Brexit? (And no, Brexit simply isn’t the economic answer to the concerning structural problems in our post North-Sea-Oil economy.

  52. LucasH
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    I see too many shoulds and coulds..a little like maybe and if

    Well the truth is starting to show..we are in a terrible mess of our own making and nothing short of complete severance now from all things EU is going to convince anyone on whether we are on the road to ruin or the road to some grand future?

    Our brexiteer visionaries see new international trade deals out there waiting a la Liam Fox .. the remainers say ‘where’?

    Today I am reminded of IDS once saying “do you seriously think the german car workers are going to stand by and allow mrs merkel to ignore etc etc? Well i have to ask just where are the german car workers? Just where are the French farmers and 5he wine growers? ..so for my part I am not at all convinced of this gteat new world we were promised..all gone up in smoke like the 350 on the side of a bus

  53. Martin
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    How is the free trade deal with South America coming on?

    Are the Tory farmers and landowners happy at lots of cheap beef flooding the country?

    Down with the Corn Laws! Is this what Professor Minford has calculated his fugures on?

  54. Professor X
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    I am the only person on the planet who is surprised when a computer software update does not work.
    I have just today invented a unique phrase which is taking the world by storm “‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”

  55. Monty
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    I noted that Sky News contrived to crash your interview today. I seem to recall this happening before. Strangely enough, every other technological miracle today requiring audio transmission from one UK indoor location to another, has been completed smoothly.

  56. Anonymous
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    Well. Instead of making us vote and vote and vote until we accept a deal why don’t they just defy the referendum result openly ?

    It’s not like we Brexiters are going to start a civil war or anything.

    No. What they want is to make out remaining in the EU (in all but name) was a democratic choice.

    A second best to Brexit is to prove that our government and establishment is absolutely pointless.

  57. Denis Cooper
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    We had to spend years fighting the government to get a referendum.

    Then we had to fight the government again, to win the referendum.

    Now we have to fight the government yet again, to get the decision taken in the referendum properly implemented as the government promised beforehand.

    Could there perhaps be something wrong with our political system?

  58. Ron Olden
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    EU BUDGET GONE BUST

    This in interesting.

    The EU has published its’ budget plans for following the UK Leaving and no longer being there to shell out cash to them any more.

    1. A 5% cut to the Common Agricultural Policy, and a 7% cut to so-called ‘cohesion funding’.

    2. A new mechanism to hold back some budget funds from member states the EU wants to blackmail, whilst carrying on taking their contributions, – a measure that is likely to face resistance from Hungary and Poland,

    On top of the cuts however the member states have to pay €22bn per year extra in, in the form of:-

    3. 20% of the revenues from the existing Emissions Trading Scheme, which aims to curb global warming and currently goes to member states

    4. A national contribution based on the amount of non-recycled plastic packaging waste in each member state at a rate of €0.80 per kilo

    Perhaps the UK will opt for the plastic tax as well. But the difference will be, that having left, we’ll keep the money.

    France’s Agriculture Minister Stephane Travert said “a drastic, massive and blind cut (like this) is simply unthinkable”.

    Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the plan was “not acceptable” for his country.

    Mr Rutte says:-

    “A smaller EU means a smaller budget. That calls for bigger spending cuts and ambitious modernisation. What’s more, the burden of funding the budget is not shared fairly.”

    Germany’s finance and foreign ministers also called for a fair burden-sharing between the states (i.e. Germany paying less and poorer countries paying more), whilst Poland’s Deputy Foreign Minister Konrad Szymanski said:

    “The way to the full compromise over the EU budget is still very long”

    And this is WITH our £37 Billion ‘Divorce Settlement’ and assuming they keep their £60 Billion Trade Surplus with us.

    So contrary to what the Remainiacs say, they’re hardly in a position to risk upsetting us.

    This is the way things will be in the future, with the UK no longer there shelling out the cash like mugs, and carrying the political can when we stand up for things that other’s secretly agree with.

    They’ll have to fight their own ‘civil war of words’ now, and pay their own way.

    Let’s see how all that goes.

  59. GilesB
    Posted May 2, 2018 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    Belonging to a customs union has FOUR big drawbacks. It means:
    – we pay more for food and other goods that have tariffs on them
    – we can’t do trade deals that help us with the rest of the world
    – developing countries can’t develop by exporting value added goods to the UK
    – environment is damaged by using non-renewable energy to heat greenhouses instead of using sunshine in developing countries

  60. Peter D Gardner
    Posted May 3, 2018 at 12:12 am | Permalink

    The most risible thing about the Brexit debate at present – and especially the Lords amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill – is the belief that a Parliament stuffed with people most of whom have never had a proper job and of those, even fewer were in a manufacturing or trading business, can decide the detail on inter-government trade relationships better than the Government, which can at least call for advice from real traders.
    Another risible argument is that the Government and Parliament jointly negotiated EEC membership so that is a precedent which should be followed for Brexit. Since that was an exercise in hoodwinking the electorate I understand the logic of the Remoaners’ case.
    The underlying problem is the rise of technocracy, greatly accelerated by membership of the EU in which technocracy is the central philosophy of its government. We now have a majority in Westminster who believe government is too complex for ordinary people and should be left to them – a self-selecting elite who not only believe themselves uniquely qualified but as having a right to over-rule the popular vote. Hence the need to demonise any politician who pursues the interests of ordinary people as ‘populist’.
    This, rather than the traditional Left vs Right, has been the true divide in British politics for a decade or more. Technocracy appeals the Patrician Right (Ken Clarke, Cameron) as much as the dictatorial socialists of the left. It also appeals greatly to any activist group campaigning for some human or other right, since they need persuade only this elite group rather than a majority of the population at large. Easy to do as there is usually something in it for members of this elite and any downsides would fall on the general populace rather than any of them. This is how the EU operates so no wonder the rights activists want UK to stay under EU rule.

  61. Georgy Llewor
    Posted May 3, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    A bit O/T but worth reading on http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees
    the Fisheries Sector Report
    for getting a proper feel for the importance of the fishing, processing and aquaculture industries, the number of people employed in these activities, the contributions to the GDP and other economic quantities. It is only 19 pages long and really interesting in view of the past discussions on this blog.

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    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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