How not to negotiate with the EU

Too many in the UK government have always wanted to do the EU’s bidding. The preferred style of negotiating in the EU has been to ask the Commission what it is seeking to get through, then to tell Ministers that is what they have to accept or ask for. Labour in office had a fear of disagreeing with the EU, so they railroaded through measure after measure whilst claiming it was of little significance or something they had wanted all along. They fortunately realised they could not do this with the Euro, so they used the opt out the Conservatives had negotiated. Labour went on to sign us up to the Treaties of Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon, with the sacrifice of many vetoes, whilst claiming it was all unimportant and still left us as a powerful independent country. That claim when you pressed revolved only around our right to vote to leave the whole thing, as we could no longer make many changes we wanted to our laws, our budgets and our borders on our own initiative.

The EU itself used the system of rotating Presidencies to push its own vast power grab. When a new member state took over the Presidency of the Council, officials would recommend items from the large EU programme of work that they thought that country or the particular Minister would like to see, and then use them to try to accelerate the passage of those particular items. The UK was always marked down as a member state which under either a Conservative or a Labour government wanted to pursue the single market agenda, so it was brought into play to help put through regulation after directive to control business, stitch up specifications and ways of doing things, and put more and more under the control of the EU and European Court of Justice.

It is therefore not surprising that the civil service defined the Brexit task in a similar way. They forgot or did not worry that they had tried this foolish way of negotiating when Mr Cameron set them the task of negotiating a better deal for the UK to enable the country to stay in. The civil service talked him into flying from capital to capital to ask them what they would be prepared to grant, to avoid the embarrassment as they saw it of asking for things they would not allow. As a result Mr Cameron ended up asking for very little. He then discovered the hard way that that did not mean he would be granted the very little he asked for. The EU saw it as a negotiation and were presumably pleased that the original ask was so modest. The civil service were then ready to tell him he needed to moderate his very modest demands in order to get an agreement! The final deal was an insult of a renegotiation, which led the UK voters to reject the whole thing.

When it came to Brexit Ministers and the civil service were sent full details of how a good Brexit looked by Eurosceptic thinkers and politicians. Ministers and officials accepted the advice that we needed to send a letter to get out in international law, and to enact the Withdrawal legislation to get out in UK law and to create legal continuity under UK control. They then set about watering down or delaying everything else. The Home Office failed to follow through with the recommended new migration policy.The Home Secretary promised an early Migration paper which never emerged. The Environment Department failed to set out an early new fishing and farming policy ready for March 2019. The Treasury not only refused to set out a post 2019 budget to spend the savings but went out of their way to avoid savings, by encouraging more and bigger payments to the EU after we technically leave. The Business Department worked with a few international companies that did not like Brexit, instead of preparing a policy designed to make the most of the new freedoms once we are out.

Too many civil servants defined their role as to ask anyone in business or elsewhere who disagreed with Brexit to give their best scares over what might happen if we left, and then confront Ministers with these as obstacles to a full or early Brexit. They seemed to suspend their critical faculties, as many of the scares were absurd. A whole series related to the UK not being able to import things after Brexit because we would clog our own borders! Why would we do that, and where was the policy to do it, which was certainly never defined nor announced. The task they were set was to identify those things that we could change and resolve for ourselves, and those things that would work more easily if there were agreements with the EU or individual member states. The task became a vast new Project Fear, with many bogus problems and few of the obvious answers.

Worst of all has been the negotiating strategy. Once again there were endless Ministerial visits to countries that disagree with us, to get Ministers to water down the ask. There were also lots of meetings with those parties and interests in the UK who disagree with Brexit, but precious few with all the forces for Leave to provide a balance or refutation of what was learnt from the subverters of leaving. The officials and Ministers swallowed the idea that the Irish border was an issue, that we do have at least a moral obligation to pay lots more money for much longer to the EU though there is no decent legal base for that, that there is something called smooth trade at borders which only EU membership can sustain. Why did they not understand we have very smooth access for Chinese imports for example under WTO rules from a country which was not a member of the EU when I last checked. The UK Ministers accepted advice that put the UK in the position of petitioner or offender, rather than rightly posing as the customer of the EU’s big exporting industries that wants a better deal. The irony was, however, on this occasion officials did not seem to limit the UK’s asks to things which they knew the EU would accept. The Prime Minister of course has to take responsibility for the Chequers plan as she welcomed and supported it , only to find the EU disliked it as much as UK Eurosceptics.

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325 Comments

  1. Henry Spark
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    Let me provide a one sentence summary of this whiny rant for people who are short of time – Brexit is going extremely badly but it is not John Redwood’s fault even though everything he predicted has proved false.

    • Richard1
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      Which of his predictions was false?

      • Toffeeboy
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        Maybe not his promise but I thought Boris told us
        German automakers and Italian Prosseco producers would be falling over themselves in a rush to demand their governments give us a deal?

        • Richard1
          Posted October 16, 2018 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

          yes that is a fair point. the ideological intransigence of the EU was under-estimated by Leave. this is why Mrs May’s pusillanimous approach has been such a failure.

          • Peter D Gardner
            Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

            it is not a fair point. German manufacturers want access to UK’s markets. Chequers gives them that. That is not the same thing as a god deal for UK.

        • Sir Joe Soap
          Posted October 16, 2018 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

          Only when our idiot negotiators don’t pre-empt that by falling over themselves. Our host ascribed some basic negotiating skill to his colleagues, which they don’t have.

        • GilesB
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 12:56 am | Permalink

          French are panicking that with a no deal Brexit the £20billion EDF/Areva contract at Hinkley Point will be cancelled with zero compensation. They are already in breach.

          As the NAO said “The Department has committed electricity consumers and taxpayers to a high cost and risky deal in a changing energy marketplace. Time will tell whether the deal represents value for money, but we cannot say the Department has maximised the chances that it will be.”

          Renegotiate from scratch, open to new bidders, and without the EU constraints. There will be some further delay, but a much lower cost.

        • libertarian
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

          Toffee boy

          Try reading the European papers mate, you might learn something

          German Car Makers fear Brexit

          https://www.rte.ie/news/business/2017/0131/849018-german-carmakers-fear-worst-on-post-brexit-tariffs/

      • Hope
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        JR, you must read Stewart Jackson’s article in conservative home. It has pin point accuracy why May must be ousted together with Hammond and Greg Clarke.

    • Lifelogic.
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      JR and the sound wing are, alas not running the show. Left wing, high taxing, disingenuous, interventionist, greencrap pushing, remainers with no understanding of business or negotiation are.

      It will likely end up just as it did when we had (the other disaster) John Major. With the Tories out of power for several terms at the least.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:41 am | Permalink

        Who is their target voter? I cannot see any demographic that they are actually appealing to.

        Labour may have gone full on Stalinist nutcase but at least they have a target audience they are pleasing

        The legal, decent, moral majority have nowhere to put their X on the ballot paper

        • Lifelogic.
          Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:58 am | Permalink

          Indeed a choice between lefty pro EU loons and lefty pro EU loons in spades. With many voters returning to split the Tory vote with UKIP.

          Total lunacy. How can you say Corbyn policies are mad if you are copying them like May?

        • Martin
          Posted October 16, 2018 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

          They could put that X against UKIP, whose manifesto is at least patriotic/conservative in policy terms, in contrast to Mrs May’s actual demonstrated policies (far left Europhile). Admittedly they’d have to weigh that against the fact that even four million of their votes might only get them one UKIP MP if they’re lucky under our voting system, as opposed to the EU’s. Can’t remember how many votes it takes to elect a Scots Nat MP, or is it a Scots Nut? Anyway something in the region of a few hundred I think it was.

          • Figel Narage
            Posted October 16, 2018 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

            UKIP don’t have to win any seats, they only have to eliminate small Tory majorities in many constituencies to have an impact.

        • Stephen Priest
          Posted October 16, 2018 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

          Who is their target voter?

          Seems to be lefties who don’t like Corbyn.

          Seems to be people who’s rather the police investigate a politcally incorrect tweet than arrest a burglar.

          They take the average Conservative voter for granted.

        • John Hatfield
          Posted October 16, 2018 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

          Their target voters are the 12% British/International corporations, the CBI etc.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 1:11 am | Permalink

        You need to write to your Conservative candidate and tell him that you will not be voting Tory at the next General Election if Mrs May or any other pro-EU Tory Wet is leading the Party.

        We did it in February 1974 and we did it in 1997 and we’ll do it again.

    • JOHN FINN
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      Brexit would have gone just fine if we had simply triggered Article 50 and made it clear that any further discussions would be restricted to a future trading relationship and possible co-operation of projects of mutual interest. May has tried to be far too friendly and accommodating while the opposition parties have been an utter disgrace by making it apparent that NO Deal was not acceptable. I assume Corbyn would have no objections if the UK government outlawed strike action.

      The fact that leaving the EU is proving so problematic ought to be ringing alarm bells among Remainers as well as Brexiteers. It’s becoming clear that the series of
      Treaties that were being nodded through parliament without the hint of scrutiny were not the harmless “tidying up exercises” that the idiot Blair claimed. I’m now more convinced than ever that we should leave now before it really is too late.

      By the way, which particular prediction has John Redwood made that has proved false.

      • Henry Spark
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 5:26 am | Permalink

        Try this load of old nonsense

        http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2016/07/17/getting-out-of-the-eu-can-be-quick-and-easy-the-uk-holds-most-of-the-cards-in-any-negotiation/

        You Brexiters have had your chance. Davis, Fox, Johnson, Gove, Raab, Leadsom – Brexiters at the heart of government who have had to face reality, and don’t have the luxury of sniping from the sidelines like Redwood and Mogg. Brexit is going badly, but it’s not the EU’s fault and it’s not the fault of our civil servants. It’s the fault of people like Redwood deceiving the British people into thinking it would all be easy, and we’d call the shots.

        Reply Good piece you refer to here and still true today. Just a pity the UK government wasted so much time on n on runner Chequers

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 10:21 am | Permalink

          I see that I disagreed with some points in that article, but if you want to dismiss it all as a “load of old nonsense” then maybe you should back that up with some proper, specific, criticisms.

          What strikes my eye in particular is this:

          “We should accept we will comply with all their rules and regulations when selling things to them … ”

          And that, written as long ago as July 2016, effectively encapsulates the simple solution to the largely invented problem of the Irish land border; namely, that we should offer to pass and strictly enforce a new UK law requiring that (with some de minimus exemptions) all goods exported across that border into the EU must comply with EU rules, and will therefore no more need inspection on the Irish side of the border than goods crossing it now while we are still in the EU and its Customs Union and Single Market.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      Yes, let’s stay in the EU and continue to let people outside the UK make our laws. We should’ve had that idea 80 years ago. I’m sure they’ll send over rations for you and some nice EU militia to look after your welfare when it all goes wrong.

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

        Sir Joe,

        get real and serious

        • Sir Joe Soap
          Posted October 16, 2018 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

          I’m quite serious about us electing people to make our laws and not importing them untested into our market from unelected officials.

          People here can see the issues – from “from foreign number plate cars” driving the wrong way down the M40, to their local doctor’s surgery being on a 2-3 week waiting list, to being told they have to pay money to accrue a trade deficit with EU countries, and support economic development for countries which then send their enterprising people here, nullifying that infrastructure built for them at home – and people here don’t like it or see sense in it.

        • NickC
          Posted October 16, 2018 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

          Hans,

          Get real and serious indeed. The EU currently makes most of our national laws for us in Brussels. That’s actually contrary to the UK constitution. The previous time that a foreign power tried to overturn our nations was 80 years ago, as Sir Joe said, but we (or rather my father and father-in-law and millions of others) fought back.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 11:07 am | Permalink

        There is no way you can stay, is that not clear? A matter of not being able to make credible commitments.

        • NickC
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

          Rien said: “A matter of not being able to make credible commitments.” That is twaddle and nasty with it. Of course the UK can make “credible commitments”, but they don’t have to be the same commitments as yours to be credible, or even sensible. We are not going to pay for your rotten EU empire.

        • libertarian
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

          Rien

          We dont want to stay !. Its our remain politicians and the establishment bubble that wants to stay

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      Let me point out that John Redwood is not the Prime Minister and does not control the course of the Brexit negotiations. If he had that control I very much doubt that he would have gratuitously accepted that the UK was responsible for ensuring that the EU did not put up barriers on its side of the Irish border.

      Theresa May, Mansion House speech, March 2 2018:

      https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-speech-on-our-future-economic-partnership-with-the-european-union

      “We have been clear all along that we don’t want to go back to a hard border in Ireland. We have ruled out any physical infrastructure at the border, or any related checks and controls.

      But it is not good enough to say, ‘We won’t introduce a hard border; if the EU forces Ireland to do it, that’s down to them’. We chose to leave; we have a responsibility to help find a solution.

      But we can’t do it on our own. It is for all of us to work together.

      And the Taoiseach and I agreed when we met recently that our teams and the Commission should now do just that.”

      Firstly, there is nothing in Article 50 TEU or elsewhere in the EU treaties saying that a member state which decides to withdraw is even partially responsible for sorting out any problems that decision may cause for the EU and the remaining member states. It was Theresa May who unnecessarily and treacherously decided to adopt one of the arguments being put forward by our opponents.

      Secondly, how can the UK possibly guarantee that the EU will never introduce a hard border? Even if there was an agreement that the UK would stay under the rules of both the EU customs union and the EU single market in perpetuity, the strategic objective of the Irish government, it would still be open to them to say later on that the agreement wasn’t working properly and so the UK must make more concessions or else the barriers would go up on their side.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

        Denis Cooper,

        You are absolutely right, the EU’s behaviour w.r.t. Irish border demonstrates that it is willingness to hold up a potential partner. The problem belongs to the Republic and the EU, not the UK. The UK is willing to not have a physical border, if the Republic cannot due to its membership of the EU the problem is not the UK’s. Mrs May needs to make this clear. There should obviously be no more negotiations.

      • Timaction
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

        Indeed. It has become blindingly obvious the Irish border is a contrived problem with technical solutions. Mrs Mays lies and conspires with the EU, Foreign leaders and Oilly and his cohorts. It makes her unfit for public office, let alone Prime Minister. The Tory Party should hang their collective heads in shame at what May has done and is continuing to do.
        How can anyone trust a word she says? She must go. Country before Party.

    • L Jones
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      Mr Spark – it must have been quite an effort to read something so long and informative for someone who is only used to Twitter and Facebook.

      Perhaps you should go through it again slowly and try to understand it, if you’ve got so much time on your hands.
      —–
      Thank you, Dr Redwood. Most interesting.

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        L.Jones

        Stop being so paternalistic

        • NickC
          Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

          Hans

          Stop being an EU shill.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      I agree it’s not John’s fault.

    • Stred
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      It is not JR’s fault that the PM, who he did not vote for, chose a civil servant who was president of a society which was to promote a federal EU. The whole civil service, remainer ministers, big business, most of the legal profession and foreign backed campaigners have been working to subvert Brexit since the referendum. The appalling negotiaton hss been deliberate and May has been deceiving the HoC all along. As the ex-deputy PM said, “We are the insurgents now”.

      • Mitchel
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:53 am | Permalink

        Let’s hope enough join the insurgency.As Ezra Pound wrote:”A slave is the one who waits for someone to come and free him.”

      • Martin
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        All very true.

    • percy openshaw
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      Summary? A “whining” travesty which ignores the pity of Dr Redwood’s excellent and – unlike yours – informed comment. That you initiate discussion with snotty insults shows the paucity of your case.etc ed

      • Figel Narage
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        The ‘summary’ was provided by the EU’s rapid response Troll unit. It exists.

    • Edwardm
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Brexit appears to be going badly only because remainer Mrs May is making it go badly, and the remainer majority in the HoC is not stopping her.

      People voted for sovereignty. Full sovereignty. All other matters are secondary. Trade negotiations with the EU are being used as a vehicle to thwart the will of our people to regain their sovereignty. We are being deceived by remoaners in the establishment. A clean Brexit can be delivered if they chose to.

      We can either have a Canada style deal if the EU wishes or go to WTO terms.
      We already have frictionless borders using electronic pre-clearance for goods traded with the rest of the world, we can do the same with the EU. We can still have sensible cross-border co-operation if the EU wishes. Everything else is administration.

      • Toffeeboy
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        I know you may not like listening to them but the EU’s telling you you can’t have frictionless trade with them. And why do you assume the WTO matters any more. Your mate Donald is doing his best to make it an irrelevance. Basically, with protectionism on the rise, the UK couldn’t have chosen a worse time to give up on its biggest export market!

        • libertarian
          Posted October 16, 2018 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

          Toffee boy

          The Frictionless trade trope seems to be the flavour of the month. Of course none of you have a clue what it means

          Last week I ordered some goods from the USA , they were delivered 5 days later, duty paid, carriage paid. Thats it , can’t get much more frictionless than that

          • Jagman84
            Posted October 16, 2018 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

            When they say that a little bit of knowledge can be dangerous, Toffeeboy pops up and validates it. Another useful idiot to add to the collection…

        • Edwardm
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 9:43 am | Permalink

          You may well be correct in what you say (that the EU doesn’t want frictionless trade), though the EU could have such if it desired it.
          If the EU wishes to make things difficult for us, then it adds to the argument for leaving and turning our dealings to the rest of the world.
          Control of our sovereignty becomes even more important.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        In economic terms a Canada style special trade deal with the EU would only be slightly better for the UK than defaulting to basic WTO trade terms*, and unlike the latter case where the WTO treaties have already been negotiated and agreed and are in force, for each of the EU member states including the UK as well as for the EU itself:

        https://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/countries_e/european_communities_e.htm

        the UK would have to ask the EU to agree to a new treaty for a special or preferential trade deal, and the EU could, and no doubt would, demand concessions as the price of its consent to that new trade treaty.

        It would have been far better to have said a year ago that for the present we do not seek any special trade deal, but we want to sort out the technical and practical details of defaulting to trade on WTO terms.

        * According to this new Open Europe report, endorsed by the Tory MP Greg Hands for what that may be worth:

        http://2ihmoy1d3v7630ar9h2rsglp-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/181015-No-Deal-Macroeconomic-paper.pdf

        “… the cumulative effects of a No Deal Brexit would see the UK’s real
        GDP growing overall but with the economy 2.2% smaller in real terms by 2030 than would have otherwise been the case. Unilateral liberalisation would see the UK recover up to 1.7% of that reduction in real GDP over the same period, with the net effect leaving UK real GDP 0.5% lower in
        2030 than would have otherwise been the case.”

      • Peter Parsons
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        Except it’s not frictionless. In their evidence to Parliament, the Port of Dover stated that it takes 2 minutes for them to process a lorry from inside the current customs union and 20 minutes for a lorry from the rest of the world:

        http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/public-accounts-committee/brexit-and-the-future-of-customs/written/71385.pdf#page=2

        • Jagman84
          Posted October 16, 2018 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

          Maybe it has something to do with our current EU membership and the EU’s love of tariffs on imported goods from non-EU nations? It’s a lucrative income stream for Juncker & Co.

        • Edward2
          Posted October 16, 2018 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

          Wow 20 minutes.
          Will that ruin your day Peter.
          It is all about space and organisation.
          At Felixstowe containers from non EU nations clear in a few minutes.

        • NickC
          Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

          Peter Parsons, It is important and necessary to find problems. But I was always told that if you find a problem then it is your job to find a solution. Why do you just moan rather than help by offering a solution?

          But wait . . . . if you had actually read your own link you would have seen that the Port of Dover does offer a solution. The Port suggests “Customs checks must therefore be conducted away from the Port. … Brexit does present a fixed deadline and so the Port would urge that, wherever customs checks are being conducted (away from the Port), adequate IT and manpower resource to get the new system right pre and post Brexit is essential“.

          Hopefully if we really Leave, rather than get Theresa May’s revolving-door Remain, we will be buying less from the EU.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 10:33 am | Permalink

          20 minutes added to how long a journey, before and after arrival at Dover? For Christ sake, you can easily find yourself stuck in a traffic jam for 20 minutes, here or abroad, is that a reason to accept the legal subjugation of your country? Pathetic, absolutely pathetic.

      • L Jones
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        It’s right. ”Trade negotiations are being used….” to make us take our eyes off the goal – which is freedom from every single one of the EU shackles.
        I hope the EU’s negotiators go on sneering and stamping and trying to be too clever for their own good – then hopefully the UK can walk away with its money in its pocket.

        What price Mitteleuropa, EU?

        • Figel Narage
          Posted October 16, 2018 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

          Germania more like.

    • a-tracy
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      For goodness sakes Henry, John Redwood must be very disappointed with the party he has supported all his working life, I know we are. They couldn’t organise a proverbial p***-up in a brewery.

      The Conservative cabinet ministers under the age of 50 could end up finishing their career by agreeing to a bad deal. The older Ministers put in place to see the civil servants wishes through don’t much care about repercussions because they’ll just be whisked into the Lords (until it gets abolished).

      John has proved himself right on many Treasury and EU related issues over the years from the stitch up of Maastricht to the Euro and I know whose judgement I trust more on these matters between Redwood and May (that didn’t follow through on all her promises as Home Secretary and made very nasty van posters and unnecessary delays on migration control).

    • Tony Sharp
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      I see – so in fact the Civil Service and Cameron had it right the first time – you can never get the EU to reform or ameliorate its policies so one may as well nnot try – other than Leave EU with No Deal atall.
      Fine by me and any rational person who has any idea about these issues – unlike yourself who as you say just has ‘wheney rants’ about Leave.

    • Helen Smith
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      Brexit is going as it is because John and other Brexiteers have been frozen out. His analysis of the workings of Wormtongue and other civil serpents is spot on.

    • John Hatfield
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      John Redwood has not taken part in the Brexit negotiations, so you are right, it is not his fault.
      If he had taken part in the Brexit negotiations I am certain that everything he predicted would have been correct.

      • John Hatfield
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        John Redwood has not taken part in the Brexit negotiations and I wish he had.

    • libertarian
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      Henry Sparkless

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha…. Join us on planet reality where Brexit is going so badly that unemployment fell again by nearly 50,000 down to 4% and youth unemployment is the lowest ever recorded oh and In the three months from June to August UK workers saw their pay rise by the biggest amount since the financial crash. Average pay rose by 3.1% in the three months to August, outstripping the 2.5% inflation rate

      You must keep posting though Henry , Remainers posts continue to reinforce why we need to leave

    • Peter D Gardner
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      Henry, it is not going well because it is being undermined and subverted by Mrs May herself with a great deal of support from other Remainers.

  2. Oggy
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    Absolutely spot on Dr Redwood – and not once did you mention the reason for all this – Mrs May.
    Reply Mrs May was not the reason for Mr Cameron’s failed renegotiation nor for Labours long series of surrenders to the EU

    • Hope
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      May made it clear yesterday that there was no end date to her punishment extension, the costs would increase for her extension to the extension, moreover the Withdrawal Agreement, Irish backstop and costs would be legally binding and enforceable the political declaration for trade would have no legally binding measure whatsoever. It is at best an aspiration in return for whopping capitulations including £100 billion, including U.K. Assets, for an aspirational trade deal that could be revoked or changed! Has May completely lost leave of her senses? Moreover why are all of you accepting this completely bad deal? There is nothing good about it. It has all the hallmarks of remaining and being punished for threatening to leave.

      Why would the EU give a future competitor a good deal? Why would the EU want Brexit to be a success if by the very nature of leaving it threatened the EU project where other countries might be tempted to leave? May repeating she will get a good deal is for the fairies. Numerous times she failed to answer when the backstop would end and whether it was UK choice only. This aspect will be legally binding and a trap to keep the U.K. in the EU. Why would the EU further negotiate when it had the UK as a vassal state paying it billions for the privilege, no trade deals with any other country and no voice or veto?

      What is shameful is that you all knew this from 8/12/2017 when May scuttled off at 4 am to meet Barnier to arrange this cunning remain plan. Your party deserve worldliness forever.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        Well said Hope. I think many of us feel the same way about May and her cabinet. Trouble is we can’t put it into words as JR couldn’t print it!

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        Personally I feel I have wasted more than a year since I first offered comments on here that the new Irish government was determined to obstruct Brexit and had managed to secure the support of the EU, and that the UK government should react by refusing to play along with this, which early warnings did not easily get published.

        • margaret howard
          Posted October 16, 2018 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

          Maybe your year wouldn’t have been wasted if you had spent it studying a bit of Irish history and England’s treatment of that country in centuries past.

          Especially Cromwell, the English Hitler.

          • Edward2
            Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

            Why do you lefties always bring up history from centuries ago.?
            It is 2018.
            Time to move forward.

          • Mark B
            Posted October 17, 2018 at 5:14 am | Permalink

            History is important but it should never be used to hold the future hostage.

          • a-tracy
            Posted October 17, 2018 at 8:05 am | Permalink

            Goodness Margaret how far do you want to go back the Italian invasion, the Vikings, the Normans? We all have ancestors that could have done things that do not fit with modern thinking but no-one holds them hostage.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted October 17, 2018 at 10:47 am | Permalink

            You have no way of knowing how much time I have spent studying Irish history from pre-Roman to modern times, including the Cromwellian period as well as later periods when elements in the Irish establishment colluded with terrorists, the same extreme Irish nationalists with which the present Irish government is now implicitly threatening us, a disgusting tactic to get their way and in my view itself a very good reason not to give them what they want.

          • libertarian
            Posted October 17, 2018 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

            margaret howard

            Dublin was founded by the Vikings

            You won’t believe what Turgesius, Eric Bloodaxe & Sweyn Forkbeard did to the Anglo Saxons

      • Timaction
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

        May has constructed a pantomime that she thinks we believe. Irish border is contrived for Chequers! Unlike her we don’t live in the bubble and have to support ourselves in the real world. May must go even if it means an election!!

    • Lifelogic.
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      No, but May has certainly made up for it since.

      Cameron was responsible for his failed negotiation he was never serious. Furthermore having been given the ‘thin gruel’ he should just have recommended we left the EU directly. He also failed to prepare for a leave vote outcome, lied about the punishment budget, failed to give notice the next day as promised and just abandoned ship.

      An army general might well have been executed for far more minor negligence.

      • Lifelogic.
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:16 am | Permalink

        May blatantly lied too, about having control of our borders while in the EU due to not being in Schengen.

    • oldtimer
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      This article by Stewart Jackson: Mendacity, duplicity, subterfuge and misjudgement. How I saw an establishment coup wreck a clean Brexit on ConservativeHome confirms all my suspicions about May..

  3. Bob Dixon
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    So after March 29 2019 We are faced with Civil Servants who are inexperienced in the new working environment . Where are we going to find their replacements?

    • Know-Dice
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      If the current Civil Servants can’t handle this, then THEY are clearly not fit for purpose.

      It really isn’t “rock science”, maybe if they spent less time covering their backsides and worrying about their gold plated pensions the public would get better service…

    • James
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      Don’t replace them

  4. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    They forgot or did not worry that they had tried this foolish way of negotiating when Mr Cameron set them the task of negotiating a better deal for the UK to enable the country to stay in.

    Because both sets of negotiations were carried out by people who believed the EU was a cause for good and did not want to to change it.

    We have been outmaneuvered by the EU and its supporters in this country time and time again to the detriment of this country. An 80 billion deficit and payments totaling 39 billion plus surrendering our share of assets should have been a reasonable negotiating position.

    Plus ca change

  5. Duncan
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    It’s all very much academic. We can talk, discuss, compose articles and stamp on feet until the proverbial cows come home but if May remains leader of the Tory party the UK will be tied to the EU, will come under its jurisdiction and will forever remain a EU vassal state

    Marxists have found a way of infecting and taking over Labour.

    We must find a way of taking back the Tory party from the forces of the Europhile liberal left. If that doesn’t happen then the Tory party as I certainly know it is dead.

    Only Tory MPs have the ability to depose May. We are all powerless to act

    If May isn’t stopped the Tories will become just another valueless, morally bankrupt political animal without regard for principle, values, liberal democracy and freedom of the market and the individual

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      Duncan

      If May isn’t stopped the Tories will become just another valueless, morally bankrupt political animal without regard for principle, values, liberal democracy and freedom of the market and the individual

      Got that about right in one

  6. Tory Western
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    There is smooth trade – which we have with China. There is frictionless border-free trade – which we have with the EU. Brexit is a step backwards, away from trade without tariffs and border controls to a world of tariffs and border controls. Smooth ones maybe, but ones that impose costs which our traders do not face now thanks to membership of the EU. Brexit is the first time in history that country has willing torn up Treaties that secure free trade and replaced them with something inferior

    • Duncan
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      It’s not about trade, it’s about democracy, sovereign control and strengthening the ability of the British electorate to hold directly to account those so called representatives who pass laws that impact our lives in an almost daily basis

      If you choose to live in a world in which an unelected cabal rule over us without our consent then maybe you should consider emigrating to Russia, China or maybe Venezuela

      • Tory Western
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        Duncan, I understand that for you it is about democracy and control, not trade. That is fine! What I object to is John Redwood (and David Davis and Rees-Mogg) claiming we can take back democracy and control, yet still enjoy the same benefits of trade we had as a member of the EU. We can’t. The price of taking back democracy and control is very serious damage to our economy, as a result of losing the frictionless and border free trade we have with the EU, as well as losing all the advantages we had as an EU member of the EU’s free trade and other deals with the rest of the world. The problem with John Redwood is that he has consistently claimed Brexit is cost free. It really is not, it is anti free trade and anti inward investment, as we see most recently as Astra Zeneca have halted investment in the UK because of Brexit

        Reply They will continue to trade with us if we just leave. China and the USA trade fine with us. Stop fibbing about economic damage.

      • L Jones
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, Duncan, for speaking for most of us who believe in our country and its future success without the dead weight of the execrable EU.

        Perhaps Tory Western would like to tell us about the great, golden, glorious EU and how it rules with velvet gloves and a light touch, and why we should be happy to be in thrall to his EU masters. Perhaps he/she would like to try to win some hearts and minds here instead of chucking in the occasional Facebook quote.

        • hans christian ivers
          Posted October 16, 2018 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

          L. JOnes,
          Not very helpful nor very useful or informative

          • libertarian
            Posted October 17, 2018 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

            hans

            Thanks mate for your perfect description of the EU

        • NickC
          Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

          L Jones, An extremely helpful, useful and informative accolade for Duncan’s perceptive comment. Thank you.

      • Turboterrier.
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

        Duncan

        It’s not about trade, it’s about democracy, sovereign control

        Totally correct

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      If inferior then only marginally inferior, as explained in this comment submitted yesterday:

      http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2018/10/15/an-mps-surgery/#comment-966631

      which for some reason has not yet passed moderation.

      I assumed a reference to a respectable report exploding the government myth that it would be an economic disaster to leave the EU without a special trade deal would easily pass moderation, especially now when it is one of Theresa May’s leading false arguments that “no deal” would be catastrophic, but apparently not.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      Why do we have free trade with Luxembourg but not with China ? Or USA ? Or India ? It is because the EU is a protectionist block surrounded by tariffs – the exact opposite of free trade.

    • Bob
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      @Tory Western
      It’s not free trade when you have to pay for it and give up the right to self determination in the process.

    • David Norman
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      This is very one sided. You seem to have forgotten that as a bloc the EU is protectionist.

      • L Jones
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        Protectionist, yes. And expansionist, and hegemonistic, and probably eventually imperialist.

    • a-tracy
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Tory Western, I thought I read that there were internal taxes when trading within the EU, i.e. VAT and excise duty rates applying in each EU country that an 80% portion of which goes to the EU or is that just incoming goods from the rest of the World that has this EU tax applied to it?

      What is the EU’s Binding Tariff Information (BTI) system? “The BTI is valid throughout the EU, regardless of which EU country issued it.”

      If there is a frictionless border-free trade with the EU – what is this “The Commission has also become more pro-active in taking legal action where Member States’ national tax rules or practices do not comply with the Treaty.”

      What treaties and tax harmonisation within sales to the EU has Britain said it will rip up?

      • a-tracy
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:05 am | Permalink

        My last sentence, what I mean by that is couldnt the BTI system remain the same for internal trade within the EU and we just have our own rules for trade outside the EU importing and exporting with the rest of the world?

    • mickc
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      Customs unions have failed before…as have single currencies, especially without fiscal union.

    • Anonymous
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      Tory Western

      The problem is we also had frictionless outsourcing of jobs, frictionless insourcing of criminality, frictionless importation of competitors for housing and services – frictionless abuse of our welfare and NHS.

      You have to disenfranchise the indigenes before you try this sort of thing on.

      When you do it it’s no good telling us it was the EU’s fault (as judges and ministers do) and then expect us to vote for the EU.

      The introducer of the Human Rights Act’s wife makes literally millions out of telling us we can’t eject terrorists. Even now we have a situation where a convicted terrorist supporter can have the choice of seven houses and a £5k bung from the council.

    • libertarian
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      Tory Western

      Please stop posting about things of which you are ignorant.

      86% of our economic activity is in services , there is NO SINGLE MARKET in services.

      You think that there aren’t tariffs within the EU? Really? Have you ever run a business? Go look up VAT MOSS , where small UK businesses who dont meet the UK VAT threshold still have to register and pay VAT in every country that a customer buys their service from.

      Its NOT free trade, its a customs union and we also have to pay to be in it.

      Dear oh dear , you remainers really know nothing of the thing you wish to be part of

    • John Hatfield
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      “Tory Western,
      “Brexit is the first time in history that country has willing torn up Treaties that secure free trade and replaced them with something inferior.”

      Trade is a secondary consideration to the EU. The EU is a political entity which is intent upon forming, regardless of cultural, wealth and language differences, the United States of Europe. Trade with the EU is far from free. EU membership costs around £100 billion a year. EU membership is a scam British taxpayers can do without.

  7. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    Unifying the UK against a perceived common enemy will likely soon be tried under a now likely no-deal Brexit.
    Dirty rats in USSR style prisons from which the UK has to escape.
    Still, how could the EU ever allow that lots of cheap Chinese goods in a future UK-China deal are dumped over the one land border the EU will have with the UK. There is already a claim for 2bn euros for Chinese goods fraudulently dumped into the EU by British ports. How will the UK square, under WTO rules, to have borders with other WTO countries but not with the EU in Ireland?

    • EUtalkstripe
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      Belfast is not Rotterdam, the infrastructure simply isn’t there to “dump” lots of Chinese goods and so for this ‘fog’ you insist on a hard border!

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 11:33 am | Permalink

        @EUtalkstripe: Maybe you misunderstood. In no-deal post Brexit all sorts of goods may legally come to Belfast under new UK regulations (from China or elsewhere) which a re not at all legal in the EU (environment, safety, underpriced, etc.). One could make a nice business model out of taking these over the EU border into Ireland.

        • NickC
          Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

          PvL, That is so much utter tosh that it is difficult to accept that you could actually believe it yourself. You have no idea what standards the UK will enforce after we Leave (if that ever happens): maybe our standards will be higher than yours. However UK and EU standards will start off as identical.

          Any goods put on sale anywhere must comply with local rules, otherwise they are illegal by definition. And whether those local rules are the UK’s or the EU’s. So, except for illegal smuggling, substandard goods will not be imported into Eire (or into the UK) even if our standards differ.

        • Edward2
          Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

          Yes because customers in Europe must not be allowed to buy cheaper goods of theyvwant to.
          Come on admit it Peter, the EU is morphing into a closed prtoectionist bloc.

          • hefner
            Posted October 17, 2018 at 7:38 am | Permalink

            Have you ever done your weekly shopping in France, Germany or Italy? If you had done such a thing, you might have realised that for most products the price in euros is similar to the UK price in £ and that for fruits and vegetables it is 10 to 20% cheaper. And why would continental Europeans want to get their food from Australia, NZ or the USA? Please explain.

          • Edward2
            Posted October 17, 2018 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

            Your attempt to statistically compare prices in Europe with the UK and elsewhere isn’t very good hefner.
            Prices are affected by exchange rates, prices vary greatly within Europe, prices need to be looked at in comparison to average earnings.
            My answer to your question is:- allow consumers to decide if they want to buy goods from other nations.
            Currently the EU restricts that choice by high tariffs on imports as well as subsidising home producers via CAP which is a big part of the total EU budget.
            Free fair trade not protectionism.

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted October 17, 2018 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2: I see little or no movement in that directions. With every FTA we sign imported goods are likely to become cheaper.
            I could well imagine tariffs for African processed goods lowered soon, as just one instrument in stemming migration.
            I agree with mr. Heffner that I find the UK often more expensive than, in my case, the Netherlands.

          • libertarian
            Posted October 17, 2018 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

            hefner

            Yeh actually I have.

            You might want to try to understand that the EU ensures that non EU products cost more

            It why Germans pay 200 Euros more for an iPhone

          • hefner
            Posted October 17, 2018 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

            iPhone X 64Gb
            Germany 1149€ i.e. 1353$
            France 1159€. 1365$
            UK. 999£. 1317$
            USA. 999$. 999$
            And this for a US brand. Where are your €200, I see only the equivalent of £36, i.e. about €32. I hope that in your business ventures you do better in your comparisons between currencies.

          • hefner
            Posted October 17, 2018 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

            Libertarian, looking at the Apple site and comparing the prices for the iPhone X 64 Gb, USA 999$, UK 999£=1317$, Germany 1149€=1353$, France 1159€=1365$, so 36$ difference between UK and Germany, about 32€. I just hope you are better at converting between currencies in your international business ventures.

          • libertarian
            Posted October 19, 2018 at 10:46 am | Permalink

            hefner

            It was actually a typo it should have been 20 euros but I’m glad you have confirmed the principal of what I said that external products cost more in the EU

    • Know-Dice
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      And Rotterdam doesn’t have a problem with imported Chinese goods?

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 11:26 am | Permalink

        @Know-Dice: If/when the Netherlands gets a fine it usually pays up.

        • Know-Dice
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 7:41 am | Permalink

          So pretty much the same as the UK 🙂

          “Usually”, if and when justified.

          Don’t forget Brussels got 80% of the incoming tariff in any case…

    • Richard1
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      It would be an offence under UK law to supply goods which are illegal in the EU, so if this happens it will be dealt with like any other crime.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 11:20 am | Permalink

        @Richard1: 28-9-2018: U warns UK again to recoup €2.7 billion China fraud bill. The UK has two months to act or the case could be referred to the EU’s Court of Justice. The UK hoping to ignore this until after 29-3-2019?

        • NickC
          Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

          PvL, Non sequitur. The fraud case is about a – false – EU estimate of customs payments, not about the standards of the goods.

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted October 17, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

            @NickC: I didn’t say that this claim was about product standards, price dumping or insufficient tax collection are other ways to distort the market. I do not expect higher standards from post-brexit UK, but lower ones, that would be much more in line with the UK’s reputation, in spite of what you seem to expect.

          • Edward2
            Posted October 17, 2018 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

            An unfair slur Peter.
            The UK has a world respected reputation for upholding the law and maintaining high standards for product safety.

          • NickC
            Posted October 17, 2018 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

            PvL, We are still in the EU!! So our standards must be the same. So where is the UK’s “reputation” for “lower standards” come from except your nasty imagination? Especially as we tend to gold plate your laws.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      I wasn’t that pleased to be told my German car emissions figures were cheat figures, but what recourse did I have? Put your border up in Ireland if it worries you so much. we can promise to only send you approved goods, like German car industry promised us, but if you don’t trust us, BUILD A WALL, like Mr Trump!

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        Sir Joe

        this is all superficial false new all the car manufacturers around the world have follow the same illegal procedure , so your argument does not stand up t more detailed scrutiny

        • Sir Joe Soap
          Posted October 16, 2018 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

          Similar for importing Chinese goods then. Yet the EU Meister above stands on his high horse and says “British companies fraudulently importing Chinese goods to the EU over the land border in Ireland”. Tarred with your own brush I think.

        • Edward2
          Posted October 18, 2018 at 8:31 am | Permalink

          Same procedure for testing but some manufacturers made special engine management software for their vehicles to give flattering results.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      Which WTO rules, which other WTO countries, and why is this anything to do with an interfering Dutchman? Have you nothing to require your attention at home?

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 11:18 am | Permalink

        @Denis Cooper: You will have read about WTO “non-discrimination” rules and the likelyhood that cases will be brought against the UK if it allows goods from Ireland on a different base than e.g. goods from the USA.
        The EU might also face such cases if it allows goods from N. Ireland on a different base from goods from other non-EU (WTO) countries.

        It is true that a large Chinese mission + priminister is on a 2-day visit in the Netherlands, but all these €bn-contracts are boring compared to the daily entertainment that UK politics are providing. Why not try and becoe boring like us? 🙂

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 11:12 am | Permalink

          As you insist on interfering in a debate which does not really concern you as a Dutch citizen, you might try answering the questions.

          Which WTO rules? Chapter and verse on the WTO rules which would force the UK to intercept and inspect goods as they cross the Irish land border when the UK has not been doing that for a quarter of a century and the goods coming in after we leave the EU will still meet the same EU standards as before we leave.

          Which other WTO countries? Will it perhaps be Bolivia complaining to the WTO that we are treating them unfairly by not allowing goods to flow in just as freely across their land border with the UK?

          The WTO exists to promote and facilitate trade, not to be used as a bogie man by deceitful eurofederalists who apparently have never even heard of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, let alone read its Article 7.4 which expressly states that importing countries can, and where appropriate should, vary the customs controls applied to goods according to the countries of origin and the countries from which they are shipped:

          http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2018/09/24/the-contradiction-of-the-moaners-about-brexit/#comment-963077

          “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.”

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted October 17, 2018 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper
            I’m sure you can find teh non-discrimination articles by yourself, I believe it is art. 1 in the GATT about goods.
            I’ll cite the example I read yesterday:

            Suppose the UK and EU trade on WTO terms after Brexit. Suppose American apples arriving in the UK at an English port have to go through controls, but Irish apples crossing the border into Northern Ireland (also the UK) do not. Then the US could complain that its apples were discriminated against. They weren’t given equal treatment with Irish apples when they entered the UK. The US might seek a legal ruling in WTO dispute settlement. It’s possible that an in-depth legal ruling might disagree with the US’s claim in that example. After all, the difference is at the ports and not with the products themselves, although the US could counter that having to ship through Ireland in order to avoid checks adds to its costs. Until there is a real case we cannot say for certain. But legal opinion seems to take the view that the UK would be violating non-discrimination.

          • NickC
            Posted October 17, 2018 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

            PvL, Why is that a concern of yours anyway? And no one is claiming that the “Irish” apples won’t go “through controls”, just not at the border. Bulk selling between traders is not the same as a man crossing the Eire/N.I. border with a bag of apples for his Grandma, and won’t be treated the same. Get out of this one-rule-fits-all EU straitjacket.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted October 19, 2018 at 7:15 am | Permalink

            For God’s sake, it’s clear enough:

            “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.”

            If we let in EU apples freely now then we can continue to let in EU apples freely after we have left the EU – we are leaving the EU, but our EU apple suppliers are not leaving the EU and will still be bound by EU law – if we have the same degree of confidence in American apples then we can let them in equally freely as well, why not, but if we do not have the same degree of confidence in apples from the US then we may insist on additional controls, an extra level of inspections.

            And just in case you really haven’t noticed no other country has a land border with the UK to complain about.

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

        Denis Cooper

        We live in an open and diversified democracy and everybody should be able to articulate their vies, your small minded comments are just really unhelpful

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted October 16, 2018 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

          We live in a national democracy, of which you may or may not be a part, and if not you should ask yourself why you are interfering.

    • Kenneth
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      The UK government has never said there will be no border between ROI and NI

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 11:39 am | Permalink

        @Kenneth: Very true! But the UK ignores that under no-deal it may well face WTO “non-discrimination” cases brought by countries, not in the priviliged Irish position of just taking goods over the no-physical-border into N. Ireland.
        Do you plan to have no-physical-borders in e.g. Southhamton?

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

          Ignorant rubbish.

          See above:

          “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.”

      • Tory Western
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

        False. This is what the UK government has already agreed, last December and again last March

    • Mockbeggar
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      If the EU wishes to avoid having ‘lots of Chinese goods in a future UK-China deal’ being dumped over the one land border, it will have to have border checks or some other mechanism to avoid that. For the UK’s part, I see no reason to impose any border controls on imports from the EU over the same border. With over 200 border crossings, everyone knows that small time smuggling has been going on ever since partition. The quantity is very small and if it increases suddenly, I’m sure that HMRC will investigate wherever in the UK they find most appropriate as any law enforcement agency would.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        @Mockbeggar: As I demonstrated with the current 2bn fine, the UK doesn’t have such an impeccable track record when it concerns it ports and customs.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

          And as refuted by NickC.

    • a-tracy
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      Sorry PVL but this is all very confusing. If we have borderless, friction-free exports and imports with the EU, how have we got a claim for 2bn euros for Chinese goods? Which UK tax paying companies are responsible for this? Why isn’t the claim against just the Companies responsible?

      Do you know how the BTI rules work and should these controls stop this and how this has all been worked around? How do we know that European companies have been taking advantage of this dumping into the UK to our detriment?

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        @a-tracy: I’m surprised that this story has been ignored in the UK, since it broke early March.
        On 24-9-2018 it returned in the news:
        EU warns UK again to recoup €2.7 billion China fraud bill. The UK has two months to act or the case could be referred to the EU’s Court of Justice.
        Of course the UK could delay things until after 29-3-2019 and then not turn up, but that won’t make future relations any better.

        Obviously, when continental ports are involved they/there governments get fined as well.

        • a-tracy
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 8:10 am | Permalink

          I’m surprised to, but perhaps its because the British government know this would no go down well in the UK. The Government doesnt have any money to get fined, it is always the people who have to then pay more taxes that get fined for other’s misdemeanors.

          I would like to know what evidence there is for this? Who is importing goods from China into the UK for onward shipment without paying duty and taxes. I have imported several items from China and can’t get the goods delivered without paying the import taxes on it first. As a UK resident I EXPECT this government to get the details and pass on the charges to the fraudsters and not expect the innocents to pay the EU fines as they did by paying up to the EU for prostitution and drug using taxes that the Country doesn’t collect but the EU wanted their 50 pieces of silver from.

          What does this cost UK taxpayers about a £1bn per year, so when we leave we will not have to pay that duty either.

        • NickC
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

          PvL, The story of the latest Danegeld demand from the EU has not been ignored. It simply has to be added to all the other EU begging bowl whines. It’s just that we have wearied of the EU’s perpetual cadging.

    • Steve
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      PVL

      “Unifying the UK against a perceived common enemy”

      Firstly a number of the EU member states are enemies of this country. They are bitter that we did not capitulate to Hitler. One of the member states in particular has always despised us since 1415 and done everything possible to stab us in the back ever since.

      Secondly, ‘unifying’ the UK as you put it is not possible in the context you imply. The reason for this is the fact that the SNP will jump in bed with any foreign power who’s agenda is to degrade England. Indeed, Scotland has done so on many occasions throughout history. Yet for some bizarre reason we appear soft enough to pander to that ungrateful nation, which doesn’t even have it’s own currency and depends on the English tax payer by a ratio of approximately 9:1.

      The same can be said of the EU, i.e why have political and financial treaties with countries that ‘don’t like us’ and have a record of stabbing us in the back.

      It’s no coincidence that we get shyster tricks coming from countries we have been to war against and won.

      The EU has a problem with accepting the fact that were it not for Gt Britain, most if not all of them wouldn’t have existed past the 1940’s.

      German or Russian would have been the European language.

      Even if brexit is thwarted, which I’m sure it will be, the catalytic process is well and truly triggered, and we will cease to be shackled to the franco german empire in any way.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 10:24 am | Permalink

        @Steve
        “They are bitter that we did not capitulate to Hitler”
        I’ve never come across this on the continent and find it quite an outrageous assumption. Your thinking seems rather based on battles won or lost, I don’t think most people think like that. The inflated WWII role of the 1940 British empire you give it in your mind might disguise your pain of having lost this empire.
        Unifying a country like the UK might have worked if you had gone for a cross-party “grand coalition” after the 2017 elections, but such coalitions don’t fit in the English model. Even now, with currently a “remain” majority in your polls, the country remains roughly equally divided and very disunited in my view.

  8. Caterpillar
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    But the negotiations continue. The PM should draw a line under these and ensure all departments are 100% focussed on preparation to leave, including publishing the UK tariff schedule. Continuing the misapplication of resources will cost UK dearly.

  9. Lifelogic.
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    Exactly.

    But what else can one expect from a left wing remainer PM, clearly completely out of her depth, a remainer chancellor who gives us the highest (and absurdly complex) taxes for nearly fifty years and the UK’s top civil servants (nearly all based in London & who are (probably without exception) pro remain. Rather the same as the BBC ‘group think’ policies in fact (big government, high taxes, climate alarmism, government knows best, absurdly PC, selection by identity group and pro EU).

    • Lifelogic.
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 6:07 am | Permalink

      These types mainly have a similar, wrong headed and anti-scientific ‘group think’ on climate alarmist and the damaging ‘renewable’ subsidies as we see exemplified by Claire Perry (another Oxford Geography Graduate like T May). Perry (a strong remainer) argued after the vote that some members of her party were “like jihadis” in their support for a “hard Brexit” and said the tone of the debate on leaving the European Union “borders on the hysterical”.

      One of only seven Conservative MPs to vote for an amendment arguing that Parliament should have the final say on any deal to leave the EU. The others who defied the whip on this were: Ken Clarke, Bob Neill, Andrew Tyrie, Claire Perry, Anna Soubry, Antoinette Sandbach and Heidi Allen.

      No we just want to be a free self governing country again (as per the referendum vote), just like very many other countries. Cooperation and trade Yes, rule by No. Is that really so difficult for these types to understand?

      • Stred
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

        Claire Perry, a leading light in Mays feminist Brains Trust has been repeating, when not accusing men of mansplaining, that the UK is doing well with going green because we now have 30% of electricity from renewables. Leaving aside the fact that electricity is currently a fraction of energy, the renewable contribution last year was : wind 13.6%, solar 3.8%, biomass (which actually doesn’t reduce CO2 much) 5.1% – 22.5%. Nuclear including French was 28.8% and gas 40.6%+ coal 6.2%. Re My grid.

        Perhaps she should womsplain her numbers.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      @Lifelogic

      You use the term “left” (alone or in combinations) very often and usually the context indicates that that person, idea or action is something you disagree with. Question: where in the political spectrum is the end of “left”? On UKIP’s doorstep? or perhaps inside UKIP. I am asking this since you consider the Conservative PM of the UK “left wing”. But the Conservative Party as a whole is not so (it certainly does not self-identity as such). I find this very difficult to understand. She seems to belong to the centre-right mainstream of the UK but maybe I am wrong.

      • Mitchel
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 11:05 am | Permalink

        There is no end to left or right-the spectrum is not a straight line,it’s a circle and the further you move in both directions from (the easily movable) centre the more it is likely that “les extremes se touchent.”

        What is the difference between National Socialism and Socialism-in-One-Country?Not a lot!And neither is really socialist either.Something Vassily Grossman in Life & Fate(rightly described as WWII’s War & Peace)pointed out(resulting in the book being banned until after both his death and the end of the USSR).

        • Rien Huizer
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 11:21 am | Permalink

          @ Mitchel, Lifelogic

          So the term is meaningless? Thank you

      • Lifelogic.
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 11:05 am | Permalink

        It is indeed a term that means rather different things to different people.

        I tend to use it for bigger state, higher taxes, heath and education as virtual monopolies, state controlled energy, state housing, state run railways, over regulation of everything, attacks on private property, anti freedom and the likes. The state knows best approach, when it is patently incompetent at running almost anything at all very well.

  10. Andy
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    I would like to see another Brexiteer negotiate with the EU. It’s funny.

    The trouble with your tough talk is that it quickly collides with reality.

    Like David Davis who arrived in Brussels all macho – but waved a white flag in seconds.

    The sheer comic incompetence is brilliant to watch.

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      Read Yanis Varoufakis.

    • L Jones
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      It is nothing less than marvellous how these remainers really do find joy in the very thought of the UK suffering.

      Take Andy’s post – the word ”gleeful” always springs to mind (when he’s not being spiteful and insulting about the elderly) as he seeks a way of expressing his delight in the idea of Brexit being made difficult by his much favoured EU.

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        L.Jones,

        I agree Andy goes too far but your generalisation of so-called remainers is not helpful

      • Andy
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

        I find no joy in the UK suffering. Which is why I voted against Brexit. (But as you all repeat ad naseum, you ‘won’.)

        What I do like find joy in is the fact that you all voted for Brexit and that you all hate Brexit. It’s soooo funny.

        Particularly as you all now blame someone else for you hating the Brexit you voted for.

        Honestly – you are like all like a real life version of Dad’s Army. Thank you.

        • Anonymous
          Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

          Any time, Andy.

        • NickC
          Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

          Andy, We voted Leave, and we don’t like Remain. The test is: do the Conservative government/Labour/LibDem/SNP proposals result in us remaining under the control of the EU? If so it’s Remain. So far there is no Leave – you know, where we are as independent as little New Zealand. Your claim that the current Remain plans are Leave is just bad faith. Or lying.

        • Edward2
          Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

          We hate the way leaving is going because peoplewho hold views like you are involved in the negotiations and are sabotaging the process.

      • Steve
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

        L.Jones

        “Take Andy’s post – the word ”gleeful” always springs to mind (when he’s not being spiteful and insulting about the elderly)”

        I no longer bother with his posts. I think he’s born in the wrong time to be honest. If he had to be off the landing craft and up the Normandy beaches to liberate his beloved France, or on a merchantman across the Atlantic he’d have a different opinion.

        “It is nothing less than marvellous how these remainers really do find joy in the very thought of the UK suffering.”

        That’s because truth be known, like Andy they’ve all got a chip on their shoulder. In my estimation brought about by a dishonourable fear of having to roll their sleeves up and just get on with it when England expects.

        They’d all be better off living somewhere in Europe since they clearly hate this country so much.

        When we do become free of the EU, everyone will have to do their bit for the common good, and there will be much to build. It’ll be us true brits and hard working Poles who rebuild this nation’s pride and reverse all the damage done over the decades. The men will be sorted from the boys and quite frankly I don’t see any place or need for those sharing Andy’s sentiment.

        Footnote: yes I do include Polish people. Where I work the majority are Polish, and I can truthfully say they are fine people always willing to lend a hand, damn good workers.
        Probably the one good thing ever to come out of Europe. And no, we ain’t giving them back.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      The Brexiteer I’d like to see negotiate with them is Corbyn who wants to stay in the CU and have all the benefits of the SM but with a special dispensation to give as much state aid as he likes to industry and stop free movement. That would be truly comical.

    • a-tracy
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      Thing is Andy most Brexiteers appear on TV to be saying there is no negotiation to be had with the EU so forget it and we’ll have to go a ‘no deal’ then see what comes out in the wash.

      • LucasH
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        a-tracy..what’ll come out in the wash with a no deal is just that..no deal

        It’s very probably that that is what the EU is planning right now.

        some europeans think that the only way to resolve this mess is for UK to spend a period of time outside with no deal until the hard brexiteers see the error of their ways and start to squeal..otherwise thinking is that there will never be any peace in the Tory ranks and quite frankly we are all a bit fed up with it now and are not prepared to endure for much longer..so go with A50 depart and give us all a rest

        • NickC
          Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

          LucasH, Why should the UK being as independent as New Zealand be a “mess” or an “error”? Why can NZ do it but not us? Do you Remains ever actually think through what you’re claiming?

          What is a mess is this government trying to pretend that a revolving-door Remain is Leave. We don’t believe them. I don’t think the Remains at the heart of the government even believe themselves – watch Mrs May squirming as she says “we’re leaving!”

          • Rien Huizer
            Posted October 17, 2018 at 11:24 am | Permalink

            @ Nick C

            “Why can NZ do it but not us? ” Now that is a good question. Just do a little research and the answer will present itself.

          • NickC
            Posted October 17, 2018 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

            Rien, That’s a question for you to answer, because as Leave voters we obviously think we can. So far I have not seen a single Remain make a good case for the UK being merely a province of your rotten EU empire. Including you.

        • a-tracy
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 8:20 am | Permalink

          Lucas “frankly we are all a bit fed up with it”

          Who are you speaking for Lucas? Are you in the EU parliament “some europeans think” because it’s interesting you don’t speak just for yourself.

          “never be any peace in the Tory ranks”, this isn’t just a Tory problem Lucas, the only English totally pro-EU parties are the Lib Dems and Greens and the Lib Dems, in particular, Nick Clegg was advocating for a referendum and pushed the matter and became the biggest spokesperson for Remain, he lost his seat at the election.

      • Steve
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        A-Tracy

        You’d be correct.

        We did not vote for deals and negotiations with the EU, we voted to leave.

        If they want to trade with us, no problem. If they don’t…..no problem.

        You may also be correct about the EU way of thinking to leave the UK outside for a while.

        The mistake the EU would be making with that one is firstly two of theirs tried to destroy this country and break the people’s will. They failed. Reason; we’re British, and unlike them we are an Island race. Barnier & Tusk will make the same mistake.

        Secondly; the EU will collapse in any case when we’re out. Other countries are watching us closely and will surely follow suit then it’s game over for the EU. Likely followers are potentially Greece, Italy, Hungary, and believe it or not Germany, since Merkel is actually hanging on by a thread and the country is experiencing an exponential nationalist uprising. They’re also fed up with being a cash cow to the EU.

        History teaches us that no empire lasts forever, and the EU knows that without Gt Britain theirs will collapse like a stack of cards.

        • margaret howard
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

          Steve

          “and believe it or not Germany, since Merkel is actually hanging on by a thread and the country is experiencing an exponential nationalist uprising”
          ==

          You obviously know little about the country. They’ve just had an election in ultra conservative Bavaria and the nationalist far right AfD came THIRD after the GREENS!

          Nationalist uprising? Our right wing press ignored the results of course.

          • Know-Dice
            Posted October 18, 2018 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

            And remind us, where did Frau Merkel’s alliance come?

            CSU down 10.5% 101 seats down to 85
            SPD down 10.9% 42 seats down to 22 seats

            Not really anything to shout about…

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      Another sick comment from you Andy revelling in anything detrimental to your own country. Not concerned about your children’s future as much as you profess to be then?

      • margaret howard
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

        Attack his argument, not his person.What a cheap shot bringing a person’s children in.

        • NickC
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

          Margaret Howard, Andy brought his own children into the argument. Do keep up.

  11. Mark B
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    The Treaties of Nice, Amsterdam and Lisbon would never have existed had it not been for the Conservatives signing the Treaty of Rome. This has been said many times before. And remember, we were never offered a referendum to join the then EEC. Only sometime after were we offered one, and that was only on the question of ‘Remaining’ and Leaving the Common Market. Remain won and we accepted the vote.

    The Civil Service has most enjoyed the EU. It has allowed it unprecedented power without any responsibility. It is, in my view, the enemy within. So for ministers to ask the Civil Service for its views on something, especially regarding the EU, is akin to a sheep asking a pack of wolves what to have for dinner.

    The PM is negotiating for and on behalf of big business NOT the referendum result and the people she should be serving. She wants to guarantee for this small but powerful clic continued access to the European Markets. The EU know this and are in a very powerful position as a result.

    Leaving the EU is a political decision and not a economic one. That is why I always got quite cross with our kind host when he went on about, “They sell more to us then we sell to them !” The EU, the political construct, does not care about trade, only power. No matter who or what the electorate vote for, as we have seen in Greece and elsewhere, the people have no power.

    The only solution, and it pains me to say it as I do not favour this option as those here well know, is to suspend ALL discussions with the EU with immediate effect. Tell them there will be no money and that everything previously agreed in principle is no longer on the table. Whatever happens, let it happen, we have been through far worse than this.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      From August:

      https://www.ukchamberofshipping.com/latest/brussels-bigger-threat-orderly-brexit-london/

      “For the last two years, British industry’s focus has largely been on the UK government. The private sector, including the shipping industry, has taken to the airwaves to feed the media’s thirst for new Brexit opinion, and crammed into Whitehall meeting rooms to highlight threats – real or perceived – to their respective sectors.

      The Chequers deal is proof that the government has listened – it is as close to what we asked for as we were ever likely to get – and the Prime Minister has shown considerable fortitude in squaring the circles needed to deliver it. The rest of the government and all of Parliament now need to get behind it.”

    • NickC
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

      Mark B, I agree with you. And I agreed with you back in 2003. I wrote a letter to the ST back then, part of which said: “It is a fundamental of negotiation that if, say, Tony Blair wants something from the other party (Brussels) then he will have to compromise. The only way out is to want nothing – that is to walk away from the EU by unilaterally annulling the treaties. Mr. Booker is wrong: the only options, as always, are to accept a federal EU superstate or get out of the EU into the world. There is no third way.”

  12. Roy Grainger
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    One indication that Barnier is a very good negotiator is to note that up to this point he hasn’t had to make a single concession, he is just holding his opening position and waiting for UK to move towards it. The Remainer press have recently been telling us what a genius Olly Robbins is but this single piece of evidence shows he is a dunce when it comes to negotiation. I’ve seen a couple of very good negotiators in my time, both private sector multinational high-level people, it is a rare and specialist skill.

    If Barnier follows normal negotiating practice eventually, after having achieved all his aims, and after running the clock down, he will make a very small concession, one of the (several) he prepared and built in to his position right at the start and then May/Robbins will trumpet this as a triumph and a validation of their own negotiation ability. It is laughable really.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      Roy

      A perfect summery of what good negotiations are all about.

      You get exactly what you want, but leave the other side just enough crumbs at the end, not to feel that they lost !

      The EU have won, and we have lost already, let alone before making even more concessions.

      The final act of winning/losing is to sign it all up, so it cannot be changed for decades

    • Lifelogic.
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      You are surely right in your last paragraph anyway.

    • Erik
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      It’s not laughable ! It is abject surrender and humiliation of 60 million people, the majority of whom voted to leave.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      Roy, Agreed.

      May/Robbins will trumpet this as a triumph

      Just like Cameron did before the Referendum… 🙁

      “Emperors new clothes” syndrome….

    • Oxiana321
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      Perhaps the mistake here is to assume that those who are at the forefront of our negotiations are not up to the job, or are ‘dunces’ as you put it. I don’t believe for a moment that people capable of attaining high office of state or the upper echelons of the Civil Service (CS) are ‘dunces’.
      There is another school of thought which is that this whole process has been expertly choreographed. The 11th hour histrionics over the Irish Border question are merely part of a bigger plan. The platform for this plan is Chequers. Quite possibly, if matters carry on as they are, at 1 minute to midnight and to great fanfare there will an agreement, with the EU making some small concession or other, most likely on the Irish Border question, and the UK will then formalise Chequers.
      Of course, this could be a load of old poppycock.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      Could this be because Michel Barnier, Olly Robbins and Theresa May are at least in spirit all on the same side, forming a kind of pro-EU troika?

    • Bob
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      @RG
      Exactly, it’s a panto, and Mrs May is the principle boy.

  13. sm
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    John, I’ve reached the stage where reading the endless roundabout of ‘you did, you didn’t’ comments from politicians, journalists, experts and the public, has become a torture that I will no longer subject myself to.

    HOWEVER – I do keep reading your blog (and most, though not all, of the comments), because it is a rare island of sanity. Your post today clearly sums up the impression many of us have gained over the years of the way our relationship with the EU and our exit from it has been handled.

    The many UK friends I remain in contact with – regardless of their views on Brexit – are utterly baffled and horrified by the Government’s almost criminal incompetence in dealing with the issue.

    • Harold Sharples
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      Hear! Hear!
      Moi aussi!

  14. Richard1
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Unless this latest breakdown in talks is a charade to con the public into thinking there has been a tough negotiation – before a last minute compromise is brokered – it looks like Mrs May, Mr Hammond and the civil service are finding out the hard way what you have to do to have any chance of a successful negotiation : have a credible walk away strategy. The EU has never believed Mrs May would walk away and go to WTO terms, whatever she said, and that’s why we are where we are.

    The best thing now would be for Mrs May to say I’ve done my best there isn’t going to be a deal and focus all efforts on preparations for WTO. A deal may then yet pop up – but the UK should not ask for it, and if the EU do, the negotiations should be held in London. She should also replace the civil servants who have been advising to date and have landed us in this mess and in-source advice and expertise from the private sector.

    • NickC
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      Richard1, I agree.

  15. Nig l
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    Presumably Leave means Leave has been ditched. Chequers showed that to be a lie. We are still being spun the bollocks that we are leaving the Customs Union and taking back control etc. Your post shoots that down.

    Now we are told that something can be time limited (the backstop) without an end date, how stupid do they think we are, we got a clue with the Project Fear tosh and how stupid/feeble/indecisive do the Goves, Mcveys, Leadsoms, Mordaunts etc look trying to protect their careers defending the indefensible.

    If they think they have and are demonstrating kesdership potential they need a large injection of reality. No wonder we are in the ordure.

  16. Martyn G
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    John, thanks for your summary of how the EU works and how poorly we have been led and badly let down since the day we joined. Anyone who still believes that the EU is a democratic organisation has only to look at the electro-fishing saga. Electro-pulse fishing is a beam-trawling method involving trailing live electrodes along the seabed to ‘stimulate’ flatfish from the sand, a method which many believe leaves the seabed like a desert. It has been criticised for breaking the backs of cod writhing in the electric field, burning fish touched by the electrodes, eradicating gastropods and leaving the seabed devoid of life. It is banned in many countries worldwide, including the USA, Brazil, Japan, Korea and China for being ‘too efficient’.
    In January this year the EU Parliament voted for its outright ban. Notwithstanding that, the EU is proposing for it to continue until at least 2020 – a move that seems to be influenced by the electro-pulse using Dutch fishing lobby, who have ratcheted up their promotion of electro-pulse to fever-pitch since the January vote in the EU Parliament. Yet again the EU masters ignore the elected EU Parliament decision and will of the people. We need to regain control of our own fishing waters post-Brexit and not, as seems likely, continue surrendering them to other nations.

  17. oldtimer
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    A fascinating and chilling insight. It is clear that those same civil servants are hand in glove with the EU on the draft agreement they were content to put the PM but she was forced by the DUP and the ERG to reject. Looking ahead I expect them to want to play for time, avoid a FTA at all costs (that would mean actually leaving the EU), kick the can down the road by extending the Article 50 date beyond 29 March 2019 supported by even more Project Fear. That will most likely be the EU tactic too – do anything to put off or prevent the UK actually leaving the EU. May, I believe, is fully complicit in this approach. She will do all she can, using her position as PM, to deliver it. That was implicit in the answers I heard her give to your question and others yesterday. While she remains PM I doubt you will get a FTA. That means leave without an agreement next March or consignment to permanent, never ending negotiations.

  18. Richard1
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Off topic if I may: yesterday it was announced that fracking would get going “which has caused earthquakes measuring 2 on the Richter scale” announced the BBC. Goodness how frightening I thought, so I looked up 2 on the Richter scale. It’s the equivalent of ‘a small quarry blast, the smallest quake a human would notice …and about the equivalent of a lorry passing by’. That explanation of course wasn’t given and nor was anyone on to present the positive aspects of fracking, like cheap and abundant energy, nd even lower CO2 emissions.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Richard1. Fracking? Bring it on. It’s about time we had some common sense over the economy and the way we power our country for the future.

    • Anonymous
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      Well seeing as we’re going off topic. The loneliness epidemic. State funded dance classes.

      I recall my gramps being in a private club several times a day. They’d play dominoes, crosswords, keep warm by a communal fire, laugh and joke and imbibe an iron fortified drink.

      The place was called a pub but the government literally taxed the life out of it.

      “Drink’s bad for your health.” “Smoking’s bad for your health.”

      Only to be replaced it with a pension busting long life of abject loneliness, dependency and dementia.

  19. Peter Wood
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Good Morning,

    This is the issue; Mrs. May on ‘no deal’ and returning to parliament for reaction:

    “If it were the case that at the end of the negotiation process actually it was a no deal… then actually that would come back to this House and then we would see what position this House would take in the circumstances.”

    Dr. Redwood, lets say around end of this session there is no agreement with the EU, and the PM declared that to the House, is it possible to enact legislation in time to defer or reverse Article 50 before 29th March 2019? How?

    Reply Article 50 reversal requires consent of 27 other member states as well as repeal of domestic legislation. The Acts of Parliament meaning we leave on 29 March 2019 could only be repealed if the government introduced legislation to do so, and if there was a Parliamentary majority for that – in other words a grand coalition of anti Brexit Conservatives, Labour and the SNP.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      To reply. Well let us hope that T May can be prevented from doing exactly that. Or better still removed from office.

      What will actually happen is she will win a trivial concession or two from the EU bring back this thin gruel (as Cameron did) and pretend it is a great victory for the UK and try to push it through the House.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Aye, there’s the rub — is there a Parliamentary majority for remaining? Listening to yesterday’s statement and questions, it seemed that there was a majority for anything BUT a ‘no deal’ .

    • Anonymous
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      We have to accept Brexit (for whatever reasons) is turning out to be the worst of all worlds.

      We must not let egos get in the way now. It is clear that we do not have the personnel to extricate us from the EU.

      There are only a few people the Brexit voting public will listen to and you are one of them. Reese Mogg, Farage, Boris too. If you tell us Brexit is impossible we will believe you.

      We do not trust anyone else.

      Not the Prime Minister, not Remain and certainly not the BBC.

      Perhaps the BBC could be disbanded as a sop.

      • Figel Narage
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

        Mogg and Johnson are controlled opposition. They won’t do anything.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      Even if the UK political system would realize that exiting the EU cheaply is very difficult and approve a reversal of Art 50, it is extremely unlikely the other 27 would agree to that (unanimity) without some concessions, more or less similar to what would be required for a new membership. Also: the current UK government has demonstrated to lack credibility in the process so far, so why would a future one not restart this brexit charade a few years down the road if another internal quarral among politicians requires it. I still fail to see how another outcome than “No Deal” (a drastic no deal that is without agreements on related matters and linked arrangements either) can pass through the political processes of the UK and the remaning 27 plus the EU as an entity. But who knows what goes on behind closed doors. However a lot of ambiguity would immediately taint the result as awkward and vulnerable within UK politics.

  20. Man in a Shed
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Given your experience and strong domain knowledge I have little doubt your points are correct.

    But there is more than just the civil service in play here. The idea that those who want to restore sovereignty to our country with others in their party who want a call state must now equally be at an end

    There was a honourable argument between working from the inside and forming a new party ( UKIP ), which the referendum would at first sight appear to have provided valuation for both sides. But now it must be clear you have to send representatives to parliament that believe in Brexit standing for a party who see key purpose is Brexit

  21. Alan Jutson
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Quite why May followed the same advice, from the same people, who advised on Cameron’s failed strategy is quite honestly beyond belief, the fact that she has continued to follow that advice after making concession after concession, is just simply madness.

    All we ever hear from our side is “negotiations mean concessions have to be made, you cannot get it all “.

    All you hear from the EU side is “we will never make concessions to our beliefs and systems”

    Thus we are where we are, with an absolute pigs ear made of capitulation from our side, which quite honestly means we are now in the absolute worst position of all.
    We are still members of the EU in all but name, having to accept rules and regulations on which we have no say, and on which they can rule.
    We are still paying huge sums over decades into the EU coffers, thus not making the financial gains we should have made.
    It would seem we now cannot negotiate our own trade terms with the rest of the World to our advantage.
    Business now has ever more uncertainty because now there is no end date in sight, given we seem to have agreed to extend so called transition under EU rules when we have no end rules agreed.

    This would make an excellent John Cleese training video (remember those) on how to not negotiate anything.
    Quite honestly if you were to lay this out in advance, it would be difficult to believe anyone could be so stupid as to even try to emulate what has gone on so far.

    Mrs May is the person in charge and she has proved she is simply unfit for this task, many of her Ministers are likewise culpable.

    The great vision of what could have happened with Brexit has almost been crushed, just a few more weeks to go unless drastic action is taken.

    • Anonymous
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      They will leech away our remaining businesses and we will become the EU’s dumping ground.

      We’ve had it.

    • NickC
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

      Alan Jutson, I am afraid you have summed up the whole sorry government mess succinctly. The civil service put its collective fingers in its ears and would not listen to expert outside advice. They have been corrupted by the EU. And they have passed that corruption on to a willing Theresa May, a woman at once manipulable and stubborn. And who is so resolutely Remain she sees nothing wrong in appeasing the big corporates and the EU itself whilst ignoring the Leave voters.

  22. Student
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    It really is all a depressing disaster.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      Indeed May and Hammond are indeed a depressing disaster and one that is likely to lead to the even worse Corbyn/Mc Donnall/SNP government.

    • Anonymous
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      +1

    • Duncan
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      It’s called democracy.

      Vote Marxist Labour and you really will see disaster on a truly existential scale ala Venezuela

      • Anonymous
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        Brexit and Tory austerity will be blamed.

  23. BOF
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    It has been a long sorry story. And it continues with the PM being allowed to continue with what amounts to total betrayal.

    What kind of spineless, craven and self serving people occupy the Cabinet? It now seems an eternity that I forecast this kind of outcome and it depresses me that it has all happened in the way I and many others predicted.

    We are fast becoming the laughing stock of the world.

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      BOF

      What do you mean “fast becoming” We already are.

  24. Peter D Gardner
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    “… Ministers and officials accepted the advice that we needed to send a letter to get out in international law, … ”

    What a revealing statement! No advice needed. I would expect a Minister to read the Vienna Convention and the Lisbon Treaty I know many boasted they did not bother to read the Lisbon Treaty before supporting it but really the task is not great. To establish the legal requirement only two Articles need be read, one in the Treaty, one in the Convention.
    Why is this presumed to require advice from the civil service? Because the EU is not a signatory of the Convention? Easily answered because if you read them you quickly find that because there is an exit clause in the Treaty there is no need to rely on the Convention. Nice but not necessary to know also that the EU follows it in principle and even copies chunks of it into its own agreements, and all the member states except France are signatories.
    On the other hand, one has only to listen to some of the debates to start wondering whether some MPs do actually read anything relevant before speaking – especially those who bang on about JIT and supply chains with no experience of industry simply to oppose Brexit.

  25. Woody
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    The most irritatingly patronizing argument used by remainers to suggest the leave process is complicated (apart from their portrayal of the irish border as some sort of unsolvable obstacle) is this promotion of frictionless trade and its apparent essential nature on just in time manufacturing. Just in time requires a knowledge of how long it takes components to get through import processes, no matter where the parts come from (many from outside the EU please note), and if it takes a day longer then it is just ordered a day earlier .. its called planning.

  26. Rien Huizer
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    One cannot negotiate without any bargaining power. The EU isan unmovable obstacle. It was built to be that way and no amount of British behaviour will change that. Even if the damage would be considerable in countries like Ireland and Denmark, if “No deal” is the alternative to EU border integrity, “no deal” it will be. You will be free too enjoy the consequences. For some in Britain, no deal will be a good deal, of course whether that will apply to the majority is the question you might want to consider. It is basically: Norway or nothing. now. And keep in mind that under WTO terms, the GFA is dead as well, with its own consequences. You and your friends must be closet DUP members.

    • Edward2
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

      Total nonsense.
      The EU is signed up to WTO international trade rules.
      How long will member nations sit by and watch the unelected commission ruin trade for the 27 with the UK.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 11:30 am | Permalink

        Thank you for your informed comment here. The UK wil have to maintain borders everywhere or nowhere. Under WTO rules no border in Ireland (until the border poll changes the situation of course so maybe in ’22-23 the problem will disappear) means no border controls around the Channel tunnel. Enjoy.

        • NickC
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

          Rien, The borders can be whatever we like. It is trade that must be treated on an MFN basis. Trade across the Eire/N.I. border (yes it does exist) will be checked in a similar way and to a similar – intelligence led – extent as any other border (sea or air port). Which means not necessarily at the point of ingress.

        • Edward2
          Posted October 18, 2018 at 8:38 am | Permalink

          Wrong again Rien
          WTO rules talk about having such borders as may be required having done risk assessments.
          Nations are able to decide what borders and how strict they are.

  27. isp001
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    If Mrs May is unable to control the civil service, why haven’t you pushed for her to be replaced? Removing Mrs May would allow her view of the Irish border issue to be replaced by something more sensible, thereby giving a path to a planned no-deal scenario.

    You (conservative MPs) had one job. To get rid of her once her poor judgement became clear. We are still waiting.

  28. Peter D Gardner
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Dr Redwood, I have said before, it really is time to consider Mrs May’s motives. you need to be able to explain why a strong, intelligent, woman as PM cannot stand up to civil servants, cannot replace those who give inadequate advice; is so totally dependent on civil servants – she is clearly not much dependent on ministers as she undermines or ignores them or acts contrary to their advice frequently. Sorry but it does not wash. It is now beyond question that Mrs May makes concessions because she sees little wrong with them. She clings to chequers because she wants UK to be under EU vassalage. There are plenty of options to solve the Irish border issues but she will not adopt them. Why not? Weakness? In thrall to civil servants? Hardly. She needs the border to be a problem because she needs a big stick with which to beat the Brexiteers.
    Sorry, Dr Redwood but it is inescapable. Mrs May is pushing BRINO/vassalage because it is what she intends. It is time to face the greatest probability is that Mrs May is not striving for UK to be independent but to be subject to supra-national governance by the EU.
    You need to ask, if that is correct, then is it because a) she believes supra-national technocratic government to be superior to sovereign national democracy, and b) because she is trying to position UK to slip neatly into the new EU which, having completed economic and monetary union including treaty changes by about 2025, will be planning the founding of the Federal State of Europe. These treaty changes will be prepared in the later stages of Mrs May’s transition period and reports are that she is already considering extending it.
    I cannot believe she and her Remainer colleagues are unaware of the improved alignment of UK’s delayed exit and the EU’s final two steps to its Federal State of Europe.

  29. meAgain
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    The biggest mistake the hard line brexiteers /ERG and UKIP crowd have made in all of this is they calculated we could leave and then cherry pick our way back to a super deal with them in some kind of equal partnership.

    Truth is we can never have an equal partnership with them..either we’re in or we’re out..they have the other problems like Italy and others about to throw the toys out of the pram..so the EU side is not going to risk the whole Project by giving a special deal to UK.. if that was allowed everyone would want one and then that would be the end of the EU as they see it.

    the added difficulty to the present situation is that Verhofstadt of the EU Parliament has said yesterday that if the NI problem is not sorted as per the PMs already agreed stance in December and March then the Withdrawal Agreement will not be passed by the EU parliament either- this is all a big mess and no point in blaming the little people.

    • Anonymous
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      “The biggest mistake the hard line brexiteers /ERG and UKIP crowd have made in all of this is they calculated we could leave and then cherry pick our way back to a super deal with them in some kind of equal partnership.”

      It wasn’t tried so we’ll never know. No deal is better than a bad deal has never seemed truer than it does now and I don’t say that triumphantly.

    • NickC
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

      MeAgain, It depends what you mean by “special deal”. Canada got a “special deal”, as did S.Korea and Japan. No one with any experience thought they could “cherry pick” – that’s just Remain propaganda. However I clearly and often said to other Leave advocates: if you think the EU will be reasonable then you haven’t been paying attention for the last 40 years. It was very frustrating to be ignored. And actually I was not the only one either.

  30. Original Richard
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood, you are describing how Parliament’s largely remainer MPs have from the very beginning decided to frustrate, delay and traduce Brexit wherever possible in the hope of eventually frightening leave voters to change their minds.

    It started with the governing party selecting a committed remainer, rather than a leaver, to be PM, which is like asking the opposition to implement its manifesto policies.

    We are seeing clearly a betrayal of both the main party’s GE manifestos and the referendum result where the leave : remain result was 52:48 for votes cast and 64:36 for all MPs constituencies (70:30 in the case of the governing party).

    Parliament voted to give the decision to remain or leave to the people and because they didn’t like the result we are now seeing nothing less than an attempt by them to seize power illegitimately from those they represent to unlawfully give away our freedom and sovereignty.

    If this situation continues until the next GE then I would hope that all 17m+ leave voters and any remain voters who believe in democracy will vote to remove from Parliament all those MPs who are trying to subvert democracy.

  31. MickN
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    When Mr Tusk says that a no deal outcome is becoming ever more likely, does he realise how many of us are cheering at that prospect?

  32. A.Sedgwick
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Quite so but you, with others, are still supporting May as PM, at least in public. 25 years is a long time but it contrasts with your heroic opposition to Major, who regrettably continues to utter tripe on UKexit.

  33. Michael
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Most MP’s are enthralled with the EU. They want the UK to be part of it at any price.

    Why is so little said about the £39 billion payment and the nature of our obligation to pay ? MP’s need to understand that we do not have to pay and it would not be sensible to pay anything unless the UK receives equivalent value in return. It is not money already spent. The EU is not legally entitled to it.

    MP’s must be made to understand this is a lot of money and there has to be a compelling reason for it to be paid.

    The opportunity cost of payment is hardly mentioned.

  34. Nig l
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Off topic but look at the disaster that is Universal Credit. How many years delayed, how much money wasted, how many recipients lives affected?

    Yet no heads rolling, no apologies with the Minister blithely announcing yesterday a measured project type approach to make sure it all works and no one suffers as if nothing has happened.

    Civil servants must have been involved again with poor leadership. For this read Brexit.

    Is there a book in the business library. Managing by Incompetence? If not, your lot should write one.

    • Andy
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      Universal Credit is a disaster. Extreme incompetence.

      Notice, please, it was the idea of a Brexiteer – Iain Duncan Smith.

      It is being overseen by another Brexiteer – Esther McVey.

      Trains are also a disaster.

      Transport is being overseen by a Brexiteer – Chris Grayling.

      The last Brexit Secretary David Davis – a Brexiteer – was incompetent.

      The last Brexit minister Steve Baker – a Brexiteer – was worse than incompetent.

      The last foreign secretay Boris Johnson – a Brexiteer – was incompetent.

      There is a pattern. Notice it?

      • Anonymous
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        You could apply that to every politician.

      • Edward2
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

        All the main political parties were in favour of replacing the many complex benefits with one benefit system.
        You hear of examples of poor results and hardship but you did under the old system.
        These need sorting and with changes and better funding they can be.
        Would you go back to the old system?

        • NickC
          Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

          Edward2, Andy doesn’t believe problems are there to be solved, just whinged about like a helpless spoilt child.

      • libertarian
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

        Andy

        The Home Office, failed deportations and wind rush – May a remainer

        Chancellor – dementia tax Hammond remainer

        Business rates fiasco – Osbourne remainer

        Claire Perry, Nicky Morgan , Anna Soubry, Matt Hancock – Ministers all incompetent – Remainers

        Yup they’re all politicians and like you they couldn’t run a whelk stall

  35. hefner
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    A rather reasonably sounding document today from John Redwood, except for the fourth paragraph: how does he explain that Home Office, Environment, Treasury, Business departments all failed to put forward policies he agrees with? Can anybody really think that it’s only the public servants’ fault. You know, John, even for you, there are limits on how ridiculous one can go.

    Reply NO, I mentioned the Ministers who are primarily responsible

  36. MPC
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    The civil service which is in essence a culture where obedience is rewarded so I don’t think it’s fair to blame it for the current woes. Civil servants take their direction from their political masters so the Tory party and MPs are to blame for allowing a Remain PM to be appointed and therefore allow senior civil servants to continue down the road of submission to the EU in the negotiations.

    Unfortunately many in your party were taken in by Mrs May. I recall immediately after her first party conference as leader when Tory party members I became friends with during the referendum campaign were saying how impressed they were with her performance and apparent approach.

    You’ve mentioned that the ERG plans for solving the Irish Border issue have been published but they’ve never been publicised to any degree, which has enabled the Remain media and PM to ignore them.

    Yesterday’s PM statement said nothing new. It’ll be no surprise if it’s been part of a choreography agreed with the EC where a ‘deal’ is soon pulled out of the hat and described as something like ‘the best that can be achieved for the UK which observes the referendum result’.

  37. Walt
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    I read that the French department of Guyane, part of France and so part of the EU, marks its border with Brazil only by a roadsign. The text was accompanied by a photograph, showing no barriers, customs posts, etc., to impede passage. If so, why is the EU making a problem of a post-Brexit border between the UK and Ireland, when they accept an existing uncontrolled border between France and Brazil?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      I suppose that under some circumstances the EU might decide that the position of the Irish government was now threatening an unacceptably high level of economic damage for other member states, and the EU itself, and start to put pressure on Leo Varadkar to be more sensible. But that would require the UK government to react with new backbone rather than ingrained subservience, while Theresa May keeps deliberately propagating the myth that it would be a disaster to leave without any special trade deal the Irish are in a stronger position than we are.

      Another reminder of that absurd, extreme and intransigent official Irish position as expressed last year by their Europe Minister Helen McEntee:

      http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2018/10/08/interest-rates-savers-and-borrowers/#comment-965454

      “We have been very very clear from day one, there cannot be a physical border and that means ruling out cameras, that means ruling out technology, that means ruling out anything that would imply a border on the island of Ireland, it is not an option for us”.

      It’s difficult to get more absurd than “ruling out anything that would imply a border on the island of Ireland” when as a matter of objective fact there is, and there will continue to be, a border on the island of Ireland.

  38. WeToldYou_No_EU
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    May has completely sold her Country down the river.

    She is an absolute Omnishambles of a Prime Minister.

    Can’t think of one good, and admirable, political quality that she has. But, I can think of many negative qualities.

    For Heavens Sake woman…go now…and let us get on with damage limitation…your mess needs clearing up…and urgently.

    Mr Redwood, please tell your colleagues to stop the Pizza parties and just get on with that ‘Vote of No Confidence’.

  39. George Brooks
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    This whole political mess has been brought about because being a member of parliament has become an occupation and we have too many members with absolutely no business or commercial experience. Yes, many of them are quite bright academically but due to their lack of practical experience they lack foresight.

    Similar votes to Brexit in other EU states have all been overturned and reversed and that is exactly what the EU has been endeavouring to do right from the outset and is still trying to do right now with the aid of the ardent remainers.

    Ever since the Lancaster House speech the PM has slid further and further down the greasy pole using civil service speak to disguise and hide her concessions to the EU and continually weaken our negotiating position. So that we can ascertain how much she has already conceded in the last few stormy days I would strongly suggest that the Hansard record of her two hours at the Despatch Box yesterday be examined very closely indeed. She was almost ‘tongue tied’ on several occasions which gave the clear impression that she was either covering up both the actual position and also her aim in the next round of discussions.

    The border problem has been brought in by the EU as the ‘deal breaker’ and has hogged the media spot light. The volume of trade is tiny and both sides know it can be checked easily. Therefore it is imperative we do not lose sight of the main reasons for Brexit namely getting out of the clutches of the ECJ, making our own laws and trading with the rest of the world

    The Irish government should realise that when this is all over and we have left they will be dumped by the EU and forgotten as that little country on their western fringe.

    When Mrs May became PM she was haled that she could be’ a very difficult woman’ and we all saw that as an advantage for the pending negotiations. Similarly we believed her when she set out her aims and intentions for Brexit. Now we have someone leading the negotiations like a dictator taking her tendency of being difficult to the point of stupidity, and who cannot be trusted to keep her promises.

    • NickC
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

      George Brooks, A wonderful assessment of a dire Remain government.

  40. rick hamilton
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    The EU has always been an elite club for politicians and bureaucrats, set up specifically to ensure that the voice of the people is ignored. Brexit is the first instance of a referendum being implemented without Brussels bribing taxpayers with their own money to change their minds. On this occasion they must have thought that 17.4 million were too many to bribe.

    The British are therefore pioneers in showing other members how to get out, survive and – we believe – succeed without the nanny state EU on our backs. What a disaster that the useless Conservatives chose a Remainer to lead negotiations, with the civil servants doing the leg work suffering from Stockholm syndrome having known nothing other than rule from Brussels all their lives. They behave like a caged bird that is shown an open door and dare not fly out.

    I suspect that a tough leader like Thatcher would have refused to negotiate in person with the civil servant Barnier and would only have dealt with other elected leaders in the Council of Ministers. Instead we have a leader who is herself a bureaucrat devoid of any imagination and quite unable to see the wood for the trees.

  41. Chris
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    the big question is, What are you going to do about it?

    • NickC
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

      Chris, Indeed, what is JR going to do about it? I greatly admire JR – his intelligence, hard work, integrity – but I fear he was too loyal too long. I suspect that it is now too late – months if not years have gone into manoeuvring us towards Chequers. That investment will not be lightly set aside by the establishment.

      We will get Chequers, or a variation. The only thing to make sure of now is that the Chequers Remain deal is completely owned by Remain.

  42. Kenneth
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Very good post Mr Redwood.

    It illustrates how the “alliance of the unelected”, including much of the civil service, the eu, the BBC, large corporations, large charities, quangoes etc have influenced the government, who have been played like a violin.

  43. WeToldYou_No_EU
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    While the Country is gripped in a Brexit Crisis…the spotlight falls on the Cabinet…amid speculation of a “vote of no confidence” if the Cabinet does not reject Chequers.

    Meanwhile

    Dominic Raab, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Penny Mordaunt, Chris Grayling, Liz Truss and Geoffrey Cox, met for a pizza in the office of Andrea Leadsom last night.

    The Meeting was informal, but an insider said conversations were mainly based around;

    “What’s your favourite pizza topping?”…
    “Pizza Express…or Pizza?”.
    “Just how bad will the Pizza shortage be…with a No Deal”.

  44. M.W.Browne
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    We certainly need another political party to vote for here in UK. The choice is currently beyween extreme left Labour and incompetent insipid ccentre left Conservatives. Where is our AfD, and where is the voting system to bring about more fairness in elections. The electorate had the chance of a type of proportional representation, but stupidly rejected it.
    Meanwhile, the majority of people it seems, are only interested in so called ‘royals’.

    • a-tracy
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      No, all the people I know aren’t only interested in the ‘royals’ its all our stupid newspapers are dishing up day after day and frankly people are getting very bored with it and are ending subscriptions left, right and centre because gossip rag news you can get online for free.

  45. walter
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    “Negotiate” and ” EU” don’t even belong in the same sentence.

  46. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    “The officials and Ministers swallowed the idea that the Irish border was an issue”

    It was and it is an issue, but only one among many issues rather than the central issue over which all negotiations could founder. I repeat, yet again, that it was nearly a year ago that the UK government should have made a unilateral declaration:

    “We thought we could negotiate sensible border arrangements to our mutual satisfaction and with full respect to the Good Friday Agreement, and that appeared to be the case with the previous Irish government under Enda Kenny. But the new Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has adopted an absurd, extreme and intransigent position and therefore we have reached this conclusion:

    1. We intend to make no changes whatsoever on our side of the border. If it becomes necessary to collect customs duties or perform other new functions we will arrange to carry them out away from the border.

    2. It is up to the EU and the Irish government to decide what changes if any they wish to make on their side of the border.

    However in a spirit of helpfulness we offer to pass and rigorously enforce a new UK law to prohibit the carriage across the border into the Irish Republic of any goods which the EU informs us would be regarded as illicit under EU law, so rendering it unnecessary for there to be any new checks on their side either.

    3. We would welcome continued and enhanced co-operation with the Irish authorities on this and all other matters. It is not our intention to be a bad neighbour to the Republic and we assume that the Republic will continue to be a good neighbour for us, in accordance with Article 8 of the Lisbon Treaty to which it will still be subject.”

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      Donald Tusk has set Theresa May some homework; before tomorrow’s EU meeting, he wants her to come up with new proposals to break the impasse:

      https://euobserver.com/tickers/143123

      Well, there is a ready-for-use proposal summarised above.

      I would point out that this is essentially the same proposal I have been putting forward for nearly a year now, including in a letter copied to Theresa May as my local MP and Prime Minister, and the same kind of proposal as the FT said was being examined by government back in May:

      http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2018/10/14/mrs-may-damages-the-union-she-wants-to-defend/#comment-966450

      “Britain is exploring its system of “parallel marketability”, a legal fix agreed by the EU in 1995 that allowed Liechtenstein to straddle two distinct economic spaces with conflicting standards on goods.

      One senior Whitehall official described it as “a very interesting idea”, with relevance to the effort to avoid a hard Northern Ireland border. “It is a good answer in theory,” said the official. “We need to look at how it would work in practice.””

      SO WHY HAVE WE HEARD NOTHING MORE ABOUT IT?

      • NickC
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

        Denis Cooper, I share your frustration and amazement at the monomaniacal incompetence of this government.

  47. Simon
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    You are funny Mr Redwood. Absolutely hilarious. “Ten minute deal” LMAO.

  48. ex libris
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Keep up the good work Mr Redwood

  49. agricola
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    The conclusion from your submission is that post Brexit we are encumbered with a rump segment of the senior civil service who, having done all they can to prevent it, are now in place to advise on our recovery from it. They are soiled goods and can in no way be trusted for advice or action. What do you advise doing with them. I would suggest that they have no place where they are, and there should be no bonanza of “Ks”. Better they be encouraged to retire or be promoted sideways with no power to do us further harm. Not so long ago they would have lost their heads.

    • agricola
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      I might add that the BBC long ago nailed their colours to the mast and have flown them in defiance of logic and the democratic will of the people. They should be dismasted, boarded, and put under entirely new management and corporate direction. Their dispensation of news and current affairs is so loaded in one direction as to be embarrassing.

    • NickC
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

      Agricola, Wholesale sacking would be better. They could be handed a Kit-Kat on the way out.

  50. David L
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    I do hope we’re not going to be reading “It wouldn’t have been like this if only we had competent negotiators” a year or so from now. In all the Brexit propaganda the ease with which we could simply walk away and forge a prosperous new place in the world was pushed for all it’s worth…it almost took me in!
    Can I suggest a Brexit Contingency Fund set up by all the wealthy Brexiteers to support any industries and communities who may find themselves in trouble after next March? If the money were invested surely the buoyant Stock Market would ensure growth, and the absence
    of any downturn would mean it could be returned to it’s contributors with a handsome profit in a few years. Of course, should the economy hit problems there would be many grateful people across the UK….

    • NickC
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

      DavidL, Good idea, as long as you Remains promise to give each Leave voter £53,000 to compensate for us paying for your rotten EU for the last 45 years.

  51. Andrew S
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    All of your article today points to why you and the other Leave conservative MPs need to ditch May now. Leave voters will do that for you at the next election otherwise, and retirement will surely follow for many. But that will also result in Corbyn PM and conservatives out of office for a generation. How ironic that the failure May following her foolish advisers managed to lose a majority – had she increased it then by now brexit would be all over, it would be customs union, single market, huge divorce bill, etc. Her failure to convince the electorate brought the DUP into play and has given some purchase power to the ERG. But you need to use it now, not just flirt with it. There will be no prizes for ‘I told you so’. Only for ‘I took action’.

    • miami.mode
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      AS. It’s been said many times by people at the front end i.e. the Eurosceptic Tory MPs, that they simply do not have the numbers to remove Mrs May. If the requisite number of letters went in then Mrs May would just win outright on the first vote.

      They are surely biding their time until the conditions are right.

      History may well judge Mrs May ‘well’ for calling her election in 2017 as it gave the DUP a leading role in the talks. Without them the Tory and Labour Remainers would possibly have had the field to themselves.

  52. Edwardm
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    The lack of spine, or gross connivance, of our representatives and negotiators over decades is dismal.
    How come we are so saddled with such unambitious, unimaginative, unadventurous followers, lackeys and capitulators in our government and civil service, who deal in circumlocution and ambiguity.

    John Redwood’s interview with the BBC 3pm yesterday, was a very clear and succinct summary of the current position and what’s wrong, and the proper approach that should instead be taken. Easy enough for everyone to understand.

  53. John Leak
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Varoufakis warned them that you can’t negotiate with the EU. The Anglo-Saxon approach to negotiation is that both sides go into it prepared to think on their feet and to make concessions. The aim is for a win-win result.

    That is not how the EU does it, and the French in particular. They intellectualise the whole thing. Then, because they are convinced that they are right, they don’t give an inch. They have to win and the other side has to be seen to lose. Which, presumably, is why they put a Frenchman in charge. He won’t budge until Merkel tells him to.

    Macmillan, who was smarter than any current politician, came out of negotiations with de Gaulle and said, “Why does that man keep repeating the same thing time after time?”

  54. iain
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    I am not surprised at the mess we are now in. It needed a hard headed tried and tested senior businessman/woman well skilled in negotiating deals to head up our ” leaving team “. Instead we have had politicians and civil servants with little or no business/ negotiating skills who have been well and truly outplayed by the EU side. It appears that the EU by standing firm has won the day. Let us acknowledge this and announce in Parliament that all levels of Government have been instructed that we are leaving with no deal. We shall not be paying £39 billion and Departments should work up proposals as to priorities for using these funds.

    • Chris S
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      Iain, it’s even worse than you suggest.

      Not only are our so-called negotiating team incompetent, but with the exception of the two men who have held the post of Brexit Secretary, nobody on the team, or their ultimate boss, the PM, believes in Brexit, they are Remainers to the core, especially Robbins.

  55. WeToldYou_No_EU
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood

    Can you please confirm what happens if Mrs May cannot get a Deal with the EU, that Parliament will accept.

    Mrs May said yesterday “it would go back to Parliament for consideration”.

    Does that mean May can call a Parliamentary Vote, on whether or not to go ahead with a No Deal?

    Or could May even call a HOC vote for a 2nd EU Referendum?

    Reply Mrs May has ruled out a second referendum which would require primary legislation. Were Parliament to pass a motion against leaving with No Deal we would still leave, as Parliament has passed two laws to require us to leave.

  56. Mrs Alison Houston
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    John, I’d really like you to write a book about all this. People think those of us who believe in ‘the deep state’ are paranoid conspiracy theorists, but what you are describing is a deep state committed to fundamentally overturning democracy. As someone who has banged into this brick wall your entire political life and seen it slowly destroying everything our country once was and once held dear,you are in a good position to expose it. Most of us long term leavers don’t believe Brexit will happen. When it dawns on the demos the extent of the betrayal by politicians and bureaucrats there will be a huge appetite for a truthful explanation as to why, along side a desire to ‘drain the swamp’. You are in a good position to provide that explanation.

    • Bob
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      @Mrs Alison Houston
      Agreed, and I would like to know why MPs and MSM never mention Common Purpose, as if it only exists in our imagination, despite state employees being sent there for education at taxpayers expense.

      • Mitchel
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

        “Common Purpose” is the modern equivalent of the Soviet “Lenin School” to which national communist parties affiliated with the Comintern(Communist International) sent their potential leaders for “training”.The “Rules-based International System” which Mrs May witters on about is the modern equivalent of the Comintern -in Trotsky’s conception the basis for future world government.

        Doing some research into the Lenin School(which has attracted very little scholarly attention but has been described so-“rarely can there have been so systemic-or effective-an attempt to shape a generation of national leaders from a single centre”*),I see that the core curriculum subjects were:-Politics,Philosophy and Economics together with trade union,party and military organization.

        The Lenin School was closed in 1938 but it looks like it’s alumni replicated it’s mission back in their native countries.

        *from “Stalin’s sausage machine-British students at the International Lenin School” by G Cohen(Univ of Salford) & K Morgan(Univ of Manchester).

        • stred
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 8:56 am | Permalink

          If their aim is to ‘lead beyond authority’, how do they lead when they become the authority? Perhaps the reason for the authority of parliament and government doing nothing to stop them leading beyond authority is because by now they are the government. If our PM is anything to go by, she agrees with CP and Club de Madrid policy, if not yet a member.

    • Len Pratt
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Alison, here is the truth. The Brexiters lied to you. The Brexit of exact same benefits as we have now, of easy and quick deals with the EU and the rest of the world and cash for the NHS was always a lie. Don’t blame our decent civil servants for failing to deliver the impossible. Blame the people who promised you the impossible.
      Reply If we just leave all those things will be true

      • NickC
        Posted October 16, 2018 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

        Len Pratt, Why do you suppose that the UK cannot be as independent as New Zealand? We’re not big enough? Too indolent? Too thick? Too incompetent? Well you may be right with the last one. But the idea that we are not capable of running our own nation is just one more Remain absurdity.

        • Rien Huizer
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 11:42 am | Permalink

          Australia and New Zealand have a customs union, plus the four freedoms. Different currencies though and residual quarantaine requirements (as there are between Western Australia and the Eastern States).

          • NickC
            Posted October 17, 2018 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

            Rien, As ever you get it wrong. Australia and New Zealand started with NAFTA and expanded with CER. The customs union is to come. But it is a completely different single market to the EU’s. It follows Margaret Thatcher’s view of a common market where goods that can be legally sold in one country can also be legally sold in the other. That is unlike the EU with its unaccountable, centralised, anti-democratic rule making body. Neither rules over the other.

          • Edward2
            Posted October 18, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

            Wrong yet again Rien
            There is no freedom of movement for people between Australia and New Zealand.

  57. fedupsoutherner
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Quite simply, May has to go right now.

  58. am
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    And Dr Redwood what do you intend to do about it.

  59. Iain Gill
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    we could equally well say how not to run a country…

  60. English Pensioner
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    “Negotiations with the EU”.
    The EU doesn’t negotiate, it just issues orders and countries are expected to obey.
    As far as I can see, the EU hasn’t changed its stance one iota since the start of the so-called negotiations. Their approach is simple, to simply wear down any opposition and get their friends to issue dire warnings about what will happen. Our ‘negotiators’ seem to have fallen for this, and appear to believe that real negotiations are taking place.

    We should simply say “Goodbye” and leave, doing what we think is necessary at our borders, including the Irish border. If the EU does anything in retaliation, we should do the same and make it clear that we are just following their lead.

  61. Chris
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Clearly the negotiators do not like being criticised:
    “Sniping’ Tories are told by acting Cabinet Secretary to stop attacking Olly Robbins”
    Source Brexit Central news email.

  62. Atlas
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    New leader now please!

  63. Chris
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Now May has apparently given her strongest hint yet that MPs may be able to vote against a no deal (key question plant by Heidi Allen?):

    …although she also hints that MPs could block a no-deal Brexit
    Theresa May has given her strongest indication to date that MPs could be given the chance to block the UK leaving the European Union without a deal. Up until now, the Prime Minister has repeatedly warned that a failure to back her Brexit strategy would result in a disorderly withdrawal from the bloc. But in a major shift in stance, Mrs May indicated that MPs would be able to vote on a no deal scenario, which would almost certainly be opposed by the vast majority of members in the Commons.

    Asked by Tory MP Heidi Allen what options other than a second referendum would be available if no deal is voted down in the chamber, Mrs May replied: “If it were the case that at the end of the negotiation process actually it was a no deal, then actually that would come back to this House and then we would see what position this House would take in the circumstances.” – i News

  64. Tony Sharp
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Dear John,
    Ignoring any larger ‘deal’ put to the HoC, surely the easiest thing to do is concentrate on one issue which would collapse everything and mean few MPs would want to be seen supporting
    Cannot ERG etc (eg Labour Brexit MPs too) table a motion which refuses any payments whatsoever for any ‘deal’ at any time at all without express consent of HoC? The £39Bn or indeed One Penny is as far as I am aware illegal to pay the EU as for a Trade deal under WTO. I also believe that any Minister could be challenged in the Courts for ultra-vires actions in sanctioning such payments. however, I doubt if Gina Miller would be crowd-funding such an action! .

  65. Chris S
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Mrs May has to accept full responsibility for this chaos.

    She appointed Robbins and, in an act of unprecedented duplicity, encouraged him to develop an alternative Brexit strategy behind the back of the Brexit Secretary and Cabinet.

    The fact that the plan he designed was rejected by Brussels should have been proof enough that he is utterly incompetent. Yet May allowed him to continue in the role of “Negotiator”.

    The Cabinet should have insisted he went and if they had any guts they would have shown May the door as well.

    It is now a near certainty that no satisfactory deal can be achieved ?

    Why not ?

    Because the EU is not prepared to treat the UK as an independent country and won’t stop dictating or start to negotiate in good faith.

    As many of us have said here repeatedly : there never was Much chance of any kind of deal acceptable to the UK. We now know that for certain so we need to leave on 29th March and pay them nothing.

    As our host has often said, we should table a full free trade deal and leave it on the table for them to pick up if they wish. That requires no money to change hands.

  66. Rogm
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Out we go..out on our ear..all of these talks are just about the legacy..for historians to pick up on

  67. fedupsoutherner
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Off topic. I see that hate crime towards religious groups is on the rise. Is this due to the fact that the police and Home Office seem to be more involved in this type of crime rather than looking into real crime like burglaries and violent crime? I also see the Home Office is going to include ageism as a crime. Andy beware!!

  68. mancunius
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Well said, John.
    We were taken into the EEC by Heath.
    Since then our European policies have been ‘designed’ by Heath Robinson.

    Now the next betrayal to watch for is an ostensibly ambiguous phrase Mrs May employed in her answers yesterday, claiming she is not in favour of a second referendum, but [paraphrasing here] in the case of no deal matters will return to Parliament, for MPs to decide…
    A duplicitous hint to the remainers (Grieve/Soubry etc), that to avoid a no deal scenario she has deliberately stymied and is now incapable of organizing, she will enable and even tacitly support a second referendum vote in the House, while pretending to oppose it.
    You think not? Let’s wait and see, shall we.
    So far, she has made every U-turn in the book. She has even internalized the EU’s travestied and frankly illegal distortion of Article 50: “I do not believe the UK and the EU are far apart. We both agree that Article 50 cannot provide the legal basis for a permanent relationship.”
    But it never did – the wording of Art. 50 makes clear the future permanent relationship must be decided as the basis of agreement on the withdrawal arrangements. There is no way any international court would accept that the EU could pretend that meant a Withdrawal Agreement must precede any discussion of the future relationship. The EU invented the ‘Oh but we can’t discuss that while you’re still a member’ stuff. It should have been sternly repudiated by any intelligent negotiator, and disagreement should have been met with a stony-faced UK halting all discussions.

    • mancunius
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      Apols – bold type was meant to be restricted to the first word ‘must’.

  69. David Lister
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    John,

    Thank you for your post. It reads as a lengthy rant about why everyone else is to blame for the upcoming disaster, except the very Brexiteers who have made ridiculous promises from the outset and misled the populace.

    The most pressing constraint at this time is the Good Friday Agreement and our relationship with Ireland. Yet you make not a single reference to this even although it is enshrined in Law – we can’t simply walk away from this.

    Your simplistic understanding of international trade flows is astonishing. I assume that you are still advocating that we operate under WTO rules and schedules but how on earth do you think this will operate without border controls and enforcement. It’s ridiculous to think that we could collect tariffs under WTO without a border.

    After 2 years the most critical failing of the Brexiteers is the complete failure to articulate a clear day-to-day benefit to any UK citizens. The supposed new Trade Deals will do nothing but replicate those bilateral agreements and FTA’s that we already benefit from through our EU membership. There is nothing else.

    The process of Parliament will see to it that a no-deal Brexit will not happen. It is not the default option as you opine as the Prime Minister has to come back to Parliament to describe the future steps should the Government’s negotiated agreement be rejected by Parliament. Sanity will prevail and as many MP’s stated yesterday a People’s Vote may be the only rational way forward.

  70. miami.mode
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    An excellent piece which accurately sums up where we are at present.

    If I heard it correctly after Mrs May’s statement to the HoC, somebody asked about a Canada type deal and the response was that it was not on offer for the whole of the UK. In other words she will only accept what the EU offers and will not put our offers forward.

    • Chris
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

      What is on offer apparently (at least hinted at by May) is putting a vote to Parliament about whether they would accept a No deal. As usual dishonesty seems routine, and many people seem unaware that it wouldn’t be a no deal but a deal based on WTO terms. May et al are not doing anything to dispel the confusion.

  71. WeToldYou_No_EU
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    “Negotiations are formal discussions between people who have different aims or intentions, especially in business or politics, during which they try to reach an agreement”.
    …………………………………

    The EU and the EU’s Prime Minister of the UK…both have the same aims and intentions…so there never have been any negotiations…just May following orders, and giving many things away.

  72. Nigel Seymour
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    The Great War and WW2 were fought firstly to keep this Great Britain free from Nazi Germany’s total rule. We defeated them with the help of the US. Since the EU referendum it is, arguably, Germany who have the biggest axe to grind. The guns, trenches, tanks and death tolls have now been replaced with a un-precedented economic and politically motivated attack on this Great Britain. Since the Nazi threat was crushed, Europe has come together and stability has no doubt been achieved in great measure. This Great Britain now faces a possible catastrophic defeat regarding it’s sovereignty, democracy and it’s freedoms.

    It is now time that our PM and our Government stand together as one. EU dark clouds are now starting to gather over this Great Britain and we only have one single opportunity to disperse them once and for all…

    IAM NOT EUROPEAN – I AM AN ENGLISHMAN AND BRITISH!

  73. John Hatfield
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    If the Prime Minister signs a treaty which effectively ties Britain to the EU for eternity, would it be possible for a subsequent government to extract us from that agreement without starting a war?

  74. Chris
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Excellent article by Stewart Jackson on Cons Home today about May and the Brexit betrayal. It is a frank and devastating account of May’s duplicity, and gives indications of what is likely to result.
    https://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2018/10/stewart-jackson-mendacity-duplicity-subterfuge-and-misjudgement-how-i-saw-an-establishment-coup-wreck-a-clean-brexit.html

    Stewart Jackson: Mendacity, duplicity, subterfuge and misjudgement. How I saw an establishment coup wreck a clean Brexit.

    Stewart Jackson was Chief of Staff to David Davis when he served as Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. He was also MP for Peterborough from 2005 to 2017.

  75. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Oh look:

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/oct/16/irish-ambassador-accuses-theresa-may-of-backsliding-on-border-backstop

    “Ireland accuses UK of ‘backsliding’ on border backstop”

    Look at this utter contempt for Parliament, enough in itself to force her resignation:

    “The time limit was inserted under pressure from hard Brexiters who threatened to resign if there was an open-ended backstop, but back-channel communications from Downing Street to EU officials suggested this was not something May was committed to.”

    She has to go, JR, nobody can trust anything she says or does.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

      Thank goodness for Gina Miller then!

      It is this nature of being The Supplicant which is actually most grinding about May.

    • Chris
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

      Seconded, DC.

  76. Freeborn John
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    The biggest immediate danger is that May is now asking that Great Britain stay in a customs union with the EU. This is getting little coverage in comparison to the NI discussions. There is a clear danger that some agreement satisfactory to the DUP will be agreed, I.e. that both NI and GB stay in the customs union and May & Hammond and the BBC will proclaim this as a great triumph despite it being contrary to the referendum result and the manifestoes of both Labour and Tory parties at the last election.

    The UK must never stay in a customs union as it will stop us negotiating FTAs with countries around the world that constitute the majority of our trade and the fastest growing markets.

    • Martin
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

      Stop the UK negotiating FTAs? That’s the whole idea isn’t it? How else are we going to get BINO’d?

  77. Steve
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    I can tell you ‘how’ to negotiate with the EU:

    Political contagion is their prime fear and their achilles heel.

    Say nothing to the EU, leave, then negotiate treaties with other countries that would also like to leave.

    Bring the bloody thing down, that’s how you ‘negotiate’ with a pariah.

    • NickC
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

      Steve, Absolutely right.

  78. ian
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    I see that Major wants the book thrown at you for miss leading the public.

    • Duncan
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

      What type of political party replaces one of the UK’s greatest ever PM’s for a halfwit like Major?

      What the EU, Clarke, Major and all the other pro-EU Tory turncoats did to Thatcher was nothing short of a coup d’etat

      Democrats look to John Redwood and his like minded colleagues to protect our democracy and the UK’s sovereignty from the forces of EU autocracy

      It’s surely time to take back the Tory party from the pernicious forces of the liberal left and the EU acolytes

    • Caterpillar
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

      Ian,

      It does seem that Sir John is continuing to peddle project fear and refuses to recognise democracy. This is utterly shocking. The reasons things are going/ will go badly are due to the institutions including the Lords working against the people’s vote that happened over two years ago. One wonders whether he is trying to deny his own guilt. It would be absurd for him to be anti-democracy and to support an EU which wishes other countries to suffer. Many of these ‘statesmen’ need to take a long hard look at themselves.

  79. Billy Elliot
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Dear John you forgot to mention EU-China Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
    Maybe that is one of the reasons our trade with China goes so smoothly…

    • Edward2
      Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      You really think China will refuse to sell goods to us the same as they do now?

      • Billy Elliot
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

        No. They don’t refuse to do that. But China is much bigger than us so terms might be less smooth.

        For the reference: China and Switzerland have quite recently made a trade agreement. First 15 years China can export without any tariff to Switzerland and after 15 years Switzerland can do the same with it’s exports to China.

        • Edward2
          Posted October 18, 2018 at 8:47 am | Permalink

          I’m very happy for both countries.
          I have not noticed any shortages of Chinese goods in Switzerland nor elsewhere during the years whilst these trade talks went on and on.
          Trade goes on.
          Average tariffs are under 10%
          Companies can manage thatceasily just like they do with currency fluctuations which can be more.

  80. Original Richard
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    The EU is not going to budge or offer any concessions, not that Mrs. May being a committed remainer, wants them to.

    So Mrs. May has spent the time since the referendum promoting project fear via the BBC, the CBI, the IMF, the corporates etc. in order to convince us that “no deal” (viz trading with the EU on WTO terms) is so terrible that it simply cannot even be contemplated.

    This is how Mrs. May expects to justify her decision for the UK to capitulate.

    • Original Richard
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 6:33 am | Permalink

      The purpose of the Irish border “backstop” is to keep the UK in the EU/SM/CU/ECJ until the next GE when the Conservatives believe they can win sufficient seats for a majority against Mr. Corbyn and then be able to sign a treaty with the EU making SM/CU/ECJ permanent.

  81. Peter D Gardner
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    Dr Redwood, if you have not already read Stewart Jackson’s article on Conservative Home, I urge you to read it right now. He confirms what I have been saying for the last 18 months. Brexit is being undermined, deliberately, by Mrs May herself. So, as I have already commented to you, it is time to consider her motivation.
    https://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2018/10/stewart-jackson-mendacity-duplicity-subterfuge-and-misjudgement-how-i-saw-an-establishment-coup-wreck-a-clean-brexit.html

  82. Chris
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    Now Philip Hammond is apparently saying that another 36 billion will be due if we do not agree to a trade deal, according to D Tel online tonight. I think this is the most appalling behaviour my Hammond, totally unworthy of a Chancellor of the UK who is supposed to be effecting Brexit (not his version of it).

  83. Chris
    Posted October 16, 2018 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    Excoriating criticism of May and her MPs on her Brexit betrayal by Trevor Kavanagh, in the Sun editorial. Well deserved and Tories should take note. It really is an utter disaster for this country and yet they all stand by. I am sorry, Mr Redwood, I know you have been vocal, but that simply is not good enough for Tory MPs. This is a complete betrayal of us, and May and all her MPs will not be forgiven. How weak, dishonest and unprincipled Tory MPs are, and as for those “Leavers” in Cabinet still supporting and promoting this deal….words fail me.

  84. Freeborn John
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    We cannot go into a 2nd phase of negotiations with the EU, I.e. on the long-term relationship, with a backstop in place. The correct way to look at the EU backstop is as changing the walk-away position for the UK in phase 2 from a scenario (WTO trading) in which the UK will benefit by collecting a lot of customs duties from the EU27 into an entirely different position in which we would have guaranteed that if we walk away NI is annexed to them. The backstop is actually a barrel over which the EU will have the UK in Phase 2 and use as leverage to get the UK to make massive annual payments to remain in the EU customs union and single market and make additional concessions on food and fishing.

    Theresa May has been incredibly niave to seperate talks like this agreeing to pay a massive exit payment for nothing but a £39bn barrel over which the UK would be placed so that further concessions would be extracted for any subsequent trade deal. The payment for the barrel must be voted down by the Commons.

  85. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 1:04 am | Permalink

    What is so bad about the common rule book envisaged in the Chequers White Paper is that 25 years of dirigiste crap foisted on the UK by EU laws and directives (backed up by the ECJ) would be left untouched. Mrs May, being a Socialist at heart, thinks that this OK. In contrast, Brexiteers would take a red pencil to many of these rules.

    Mrs May has all of the wrong instincts on policy:
    – Extra spending on welfare, to be financed by taxation
    – Extra spending on an unreformed NHS, with no demand management
    – Solving the housing crisis by building more council houses
    – Building the wrong capital projects: HS2, Heathrow
    – Seeking to control technical innovation: the industrial strategy
    – Failing to scrap failed regulatory bodies such as OFGEN
    – Failing to get rid of the Race Relations Committee
    – Failing to reduce and target foreign aid
    – Failing to control immigration (both at the Home Office and in No 10)
    – Failing to cut back on donations to the EU, IMF and OECD
    – Telling businesses how they should pay people

    Get rid of this Jonaha!!!

  86. Den
    Posted October 18, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    A concise,detailed explanation of why we are, where we are. We may wonder who really runs this country. John has made it clear who they are.
    The EU and our own Civil Servants are as peas in a pod. Both parties seek to dominate the people and nether party has been elected to their Senior positions. We have not had a Prime Minister since Mrs Thatcher who has been strong enough to over rule the dictates of their ‘Advisers’ (And the EU).
    The muddling state of OUR country right now is down to the lack of proper leadership as has been the case for the past five Prime Ministers.
    We not only want our country back, we crave for a true Blue Leader to run it.

  • About John Redwood


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

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