Union Jack and the Beanstalk – a modern fairy story

Union Jack was asking himself once again why he was called Union Jack.

He had just been reading a history book about a time when his country, the United Kingdom, was independent and free and used to display lots of so called Union jacks or flags.

Could his Mum have been wandering down memory lane? He asked her again.

She was quite severe with her reproof. “I have told you many times” she said “that I called you Union Jack after our glorious European Union, and don’t you forget it.

It’s seditious talk, you know, to suggest otherwise. If you bang on about the old union jack flag they might start questioning you for racism, and I haven’t got time for all that”.

In truth, all was not well in the UK part of the great European Union.

Jack and his mother could see the distant European castle that governed them. More importantly they had regular dealings with the EU Inspectors and tax collectors. They were told about all the latest laws by the local police.

Jack thought secretly that they were having to pay more and more tax.

Their income did not seem to go up. Indeed, it was going down. The fish from their local seas mainly went to the Union’s ships, so they were banned from fishing for them.

They had to accept big taxes on any food coming in from outside the Union. They lived under increasingly complicated and expensive rules which made it slower and more costly to grow and make things for yourself.

If Jack ever shared any of this with his mother she warned him off it. She told him the European Union was very good to them really, and it would be much worse if they were not in it.

For a couple of months, they had to just concentrate on changing all their emails and website to comply with some new directive, instead of earning their living.

Privately, Jack’s mother did understand that things were going from bad to worse.

She could not afford to keep going as they were, but was scared of saying so to her son in case he got into trouble for repeating it.

The European Union had been very clever, and made sure anyone in government, in the universities and in big business all thought the Union was great and defended it at every opportunity.

The system was too powerful to pick a fight with. They all thought the same. They all talked down to people like her.

They were good at making predictions of how much worse her life would be if the people did revolt against the European Union. They did have powers to make her life even more difficult.

One day though, the money had run out. She told her son things were a bit tight, and told him to take their cow to market to sell.
It was a dangerous measure. It meant they could pay the bills for a bit, but would no longer have any milk.

On the way to the cattle market Jack met a man who asked him where he was going. Jack told his sorry story.

The man was very sympathetic, and said he too thought the European Union was damaging their prosperity.

He got some beans out of his pocket, and said these were special freedom beans. If Jack took those for his cow, he could grow the precious plant of freedom which should transform his position.
Jack was much cleverer than people realised for someone who had not had a great education.

He did know a bit about freedom, and had been thinking for sometime how the Union was crushing him and his mother. So, he asked, “how could freedom help me?”.

“Well” said the man “if you were free you would not have to pay all those taxes to the EU, and not have to obey all those costly regulations.”

Jack was smitten, and willingly accepted the beans for his cow. It also cut down the journey and the difficulty of getting a half starved reluctant cow to market.

When he got home, Jack told his mother the great news that he had a way to improve their situation.

When she heard his mother was livid, and afraid. How could her little Jack stand against the might of the EU.

She scolded him and threw the seeds out of the window. Didn’t he know the great and good would rig it all against his precious freedom?

Next morning Jack and his mother arose and were shocked beyond belief. A massive beanstalk led away from their garden right up to the gates of the European Castle.

His mother was distraught, realising they could be found. Jack took courage and decided he was going to see how the other half lived.

When Jack crept through the castle gate unseen he was astounded by the wealth they had.

All those tributes from the Union meant they lived well in the governing castle, led by the five Presidents. They always seemed to have a fish course from all those fish they took from UK seas.

Jack soon found the Treasury and there to his delight was the money that the UK had agreed to send.

It was a signed promissory document, so Jack tore it up. He took the pieces away with him and showed his mother when he got home. “We are rich”, he said.

“Now our country can have all the teachers and nurses and doctors it needs, and we can pay less tax so we have more to spend. “

“You are naïve” said his mother. “Don’t you understand our local government will just send it back again to the EU because they want to keep us poor”.

“So,” said Jack, “we will have to see about that”. Off he went again to the castle before his mother could stop him.

The next time Jack came back with more torn up paper. He had found the binding document that required the UK to impose high tariffs on the rest of the world and blocked any special trade deals and lower tariffs with their friends in the USA or Australia or New Zealand.

“There” said Jack to his mother, “this is just like the golden goose in the old fairy story.

Now we can buy cheaper goods and trade better for ever, so we will be better off”. Once again, his mother, petrified by now of what the EU and all their powerful friends nearer to home might do, told him to stop.

Once again Jack dashed up the beanstalk. This time he seized the most precious item of all, the voices of the UK people who were singing by a large majority that they were going to be free and they would not obey the 5 Presidents any more.

Just as he was leaving the castle, the 5 Presidents were catching up with him and chasing him.

They didn’t shout at him that they could smell the blood of Englishman, because they didn’t want to be a caricature of badness. They did want to teach him a painful lesson.

He raced back down the beanstalk, whilst they were still trying to negotiate it.

They were slower than him as they had so many good meals at his expense over the years. Jack, as in the old fable, hacked the beanstalk down, and the 5 Presidents disappeared from view and from the UK for ever.

The chopped down beanstalk deposited them in France, still alive but knocked about a bit.

So, what happened to Union Jack?

All the sages in the UK government, the Central Bank, the universities and big international business predicted poverty, isolation and unhappiness.

They expected Union Jack to have a few bad years and then to beg to go back to the EU on worse terms than before. Instead, Union Jack and his mother flourished.

Spending all their money at home bought lots of improvements to public services, with tax cuts to give everyone’s income a boost.

Catching their own fish meant they could have fish every day if they wanted to, or sell it to others if they didn’t.

They had lots of friends in other countries who wanted to trade more with them.

Even the EU, after a hissy fit, agreed a free trade contract and accepted in the end the UK did not owe them any more money.

The people’s voices had been right, and all those experts wrong. Just as in the original tale, Jack and his mother lived happily ever after.

They had rediscovered freedom, thanks to the voices of all those UK voters.

And what happened to all those so called experts?

Well they did alright as well. They pretended they had not made such a big fuss and got it all so wrong.

They carried on paying themselves lots of money and giving themselves lots of grand titles and honours as if nothing had ever happened.

The people grew less angry with them, because everyone was better off.

The people did have one last hurrah against the establishment.

They voted out all the ones who had done most to stop them being free. They felt better for doing that.

Freedom is wonderful thing.


  1. Fedupsoutherner
    December 23, 2018

    Your last sentence has the most meaning to me. Enjoyable reading John. Let’s hope it’s one fairy tale that does come true. I want 2019 to be the year we start to believe in ourselves as a truly independent nation again. Let’s show the other European countries it can be done. The riots and unrest in Europe show we are not the only ones unhappy with the status quo. Thank you for this diary John. I continue to learn much from it.

    1. Gary C
      December 23, 2018


      1. Bobe
        December 23, 2018


        1. Hope
          December 24, 2018

          We want a government that we elect and has the sovereignty Major gave away under Maastricht followed by traitor Blaire who went further under Lisbon Treaty i.e. eU constitution. At the moment the governmental, judicial, territorial and mercantile sovereignty resides in Brussels, not London. Now May is humiliating is and our great nation to capitulate and beg for crumbs rather than grasp the opportunity of freedom that the EU wants to deny us. The EU does not want us to prosper. What message would that send to ther trapped countries? No it wants us to suffer, be punished for having the temerity to leave. May accepts that position while Hammond actively helps to scare the people of this nation for his political dream of servitude. Stupid selfish man.

          May and her government must be driven from office. She is a traitor of the people.

    2. L Jones
      December 23, 2018

      Seconded, Fedup. This diary is always thought-provoking – especially when it contains bizarre comments from Newmania, etc!

      I daresay Andy will come back to you, Dr R, to tell you that Brexit IS just a Grimm-like fairy story – but that just proves the old adage about pearls and swine.

    3. Steve
      December 23, 2018


      “The riots and unrest in Europe show we are not the only ones unhappy with the status quo.”

      Indeed so. You will find the media in this country and especially the EU loving left wing BBC do not give news coverage of this. After all, they couldn’t have us rising up in anger as well, what with the likely outcome of us taking back our sovereignty by force.

      Added to this is gobs like Amber Rudd who seems hell bent on having another referendum (thus trashing democracy) just so she can make herself a parade, so desperate is the woman for popularity, and Tony Blair who has something to fear from this country not being under the ECJ – now I wonder what that could be, what’s he scared of ?

      1. L Jones
        December 23, 2018

        Good points, Steve. The empty vessels are making noise still, and those self-seeking MPs like Rudd et al.
        You may be right about the ECJ and TB. Interesting. I thought his stance might be all about money, but perhaps not…..

  2. Maybot
    December 23, 2018

    We were lied to that the Maastricht Treaty was a ‘tidying up’ exercise.

    Is there a government in the world that can over-rule our own government on British issues ? Yes.

    Is there a court in the world that can over-rule our own Supreme Court ? Yes. The European Court of Justice.

    Do we have the right through our own elected government to decree who can enter our borders who may stay and whom we may tell to leave ? No, Brussels does.

    Finally. Can we clinch any trade treaty with anyone we choose ? Not without Brussels permission.

    I think the biggest problem that this country has is the notion that we can have two governments. There would be a lot less friction if we just got it over with and had one. This is at the root of all the confusion.

    Happy Christmas

    1. Javelin
      December 23, 2018

      The UN law on political self determination can overide EU law.

    2. Steve
      December 23, 2018


      “We were lied to that the Maastricht Treaty was a ‘tidying up’ exercise.”

      And of Maastricht; John Major must, and will, be held to account.

      1. jerry
        December 23, 2018

        @Steve; Oh do stop trying to agitate…

        “And of Maastricht; John Major must, and will, be held to account.

        For what, standing up to what was published in the 1987 Conservative manifesto?! The fact that some on the right (including MT) subsequently changed their opinion of the EC (in the wake of Delors 1988 speech to the TUC) is neither here nor there. Nothing John Major did was illegal, if it was then those politicians and advisor’s in the UK who were instrumental to signing the previous Single European Act must also be held to account.

        1. Original Richard
          December 23, 2018

          Yes, because although a Parliament is sovereign between elections, it does not have the power to give away the nation’s sovereignty without the people’s express consent.

          There should have been a referendum before the signing of each new treaty.

          1. jerry
            December 24, 2018

            @OR; “There should have been a referendum before the signing of each new treaty.”

            Perhaps, but then why not do as the Swiss do, hold a referendum on important domestic policies too. As It is, had such a referendum been held on either the The Single European Act or Maastricht the electorate would have passed them, the turning point (against the EU) for the UK was the EU Constitution/Lisbon Treaty.

          2. Lifelogic
            December 24, 2018

            Indeed and certainly we should have had one before the appalling Ted Heath took us in on his blatant “ just a common market – no loss of soverenity hear lie.

        2. Steve
          December 23, 2018


          Being a useful idiot in charge of this country should be illegal.

          Remember also your beloved idol accused critics of Maastricht of being, quote; “bastards” A well documented fact.

          What does that tell you? Obviously anyone opposed to the country being sold out to an expansionist foreign power must be a ‘bastard’ according to John Major.

          We are in this mess now because of things like Maastricht, anyone who endorsed it, and anyone who signed away our sovereignty.

          These people will be held to account if brexit is anything less than a no deal. Try understanding that we will not tolerate any capitulations to the EU, before attempting to pass the fact off as mere agitation.

          Or are you saying that every MP who opposes the WA on the grounds that it gives away our sovereignty, must also be an ‘agitator’ ?

          Given how the country is divided and the degree of anger there could very well be a reckoning on the way.

          Now, rather sarcastically, if you will excuse me I’m done with being shot as a messenger and need to polish my Doc Martens & take my hair back to grade 0.

          1. jerry
            December 24, 2018

            @Steve; “Being a useful idiot in charge of this country should be illegal.”

            As it should be on social media. Otherwise you would be able to give chapter and verse on what UK/UN laws (constitutional or otherwise) John Major broke by signing the Maastricht Treaty, rather than just ill-defined rabble rousing sound-bite rants.

            We are in this mess now because of things like Maastricht

            Yes and treaties such as SEA, which if I remember correctly our host and Mrs T backed, are you seriously suggesting that our host “must, and will, be held to account” too?!

            The Single European Act was just as important to the EC in their goal of creating a United States of Europe as Maastricht was, without it I doubt that .Maastricht would have even been possible.

            “are you saying that every MP who opposes the WA [..//..] must also be an ‘agitator’ ?”

            No, such MPs and Peers are not agitators (nor are those who line Abingdon St SW1A with their placards and megaphones), as the WA is still going through the democratic process, agitators are those who can/did not get what they want via the democratic process so act beyond it.

            I would not be at all surprised if some -on both sides of the WA debate- are using ‘colourful language’ similar to that used by Mr Major. Not quite sure what your point was there, just another dig at Mayor most likely.

            I hold no candle for any politician, but I do for both democracy and the rules of law, because without both we have nothing but baying mobs in politicised shirts -First they came for the…

            Reply. I was policy adviser to Margaret Thatcher when the SEA was signed.I advised against it.

    3. Lifelogic
      December 23, 2018

      Had “one government”, indeed and democratic government. One that voters had the power to elect, instruct and remove. One that delivered lower taxes and smaller government instead of merely lying that they would before elections but then kicking voters in the teeth directly after they wasting money hand over fist.

  3. Cheshire Girl
    December 23, 2018

    What a wonderful story! A vision of hope for the future.

    1. Lifelogic
      December 23, 2018

      There is much cause for hope. The country is crying out for a real Brexit and sensible smaller government. All that is needed is to get the lefty high taxing and regulating fake Tory, lefty, no Brexit dopes like May, Hammond, Rudd and Greg Clark types out of the way and avoid Corbyn.

      1. Ed Mahony
        December 23, 2018

        ‘The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul’ – Bach.

        Just imagine if our country focused on the Christian God. How many more of the following we would have:

        – Bach, Mozart, Handel (all devout believers)
        – Beautiful buildings like in Oxford and Cambridge (built by Medieval Christians). And note connection between Christianity and learning
        – More great scientists such as Sir Isaac Newton (devout Christian)
        – Beautiful Cathedrals and Medieval Churches
        – Shakespeare (devout Catholic)
        – Leonardo da Vinci
        – The Quakers (highly successful people in business)
        – Towns like Florence, Venice, Salzburg
        – Strong Family Life (with a Mum + Dad)
        – Clear sense of Man and Woman, the masculine and feminine
        – Healthy sense of patriotism (not forgetting how Catholic Church gave us the virtue of patriotism to follow)
        – And how (traditional) Christianity gave us our Parliament, Judiciary, Monarchy and so on.

      2. fedupsoutherner
        December 23, 2018

        L/L All that is needed is to get the lefty high taxing and regulating fake Tory, lefty, no Brexit dopes like May, Hammond, Rudd and Greg Clark types out of the way and avoid Corbyn

        Agree totally with your comments. We could be such a successful country if all these wimps would just get out of the way. We need people who have drive and commitment to their country and some faith in its people.

        1. Bobe
          December 23, 2018


        2. JoolsB
          December 23, 2018

          Agree. We need a real Conservative Government that believes in low taxes and small government and a true Brexit that believes in our country unlike the fakes we have now posing as Conservatives.

          1. L Jones
            December 23, 2018

            Because there are enough people waiting to support them. Those of us who are still of working age are ready and willing to give all we can to make sure of our country’s, our children’s and our seniors’ well-being. (Though perhaps not the Andys, of course.)

  4. Mark B
    December 23, 2018

    Good morning.

    Very good and thank you.

    It was better that, Jack sold the cow to the stranger for some beans as I’d doubt that EU would have given him much in subsidy. 🙂

    Let us hope that after the 29th March 2019 Leaving the EU does not become yet another fairy story.

  5. HardyB
    December 23, 2018

    Yes, we need a complete overhaul of our system, declare a republic, have a written constitution and finish with all of this class differences and patronage weighing us down- reorganise how we do government- maybe introduce proportional representation.
    Let’s open the windows and blow the dust away, we need to breathe fresh air again, everything has become too stuffy, self seeking, we are stuck too much in the past.

    1. Dave Andrews
      December 23, 2018

      I much prefer the current electoral system where any man or woman can put themselves up for election with no party affiliation. People should vote for the person, not the party.

      1. libertarian
        December 23, 2018

        Dave Andrews

        Have you ever tried doing it? I have and I can tell you that our system is totally biased in favour of the main parties.

        WE need a radical overhaul of our undemocracy

        1. Bob
          December 23, 2018

          “our system is totally biased in favour of the main parties.”

          Especially when the main parties collude and cheat to prevent ukip from winning seats in the HoC.

          A £70k fine for the Tories is just another election expense, easily covered by their wealthy backers.

    2. Timaction
      December 23, 2018

      Agreed. ………they voted out all those who would stop them being free………Soubrey, Grieve, Wolaston, May, Morgan, Clarke, Hammond, Rudd etc. What legacy party should we vote for? It’s time for some one else and a more representative system and no more fptp!

      1. libertarian
        December 23, 2018


        Theres nothing wrong with fptp if you are given the right system of choice. It only doesn’t work here because we have to back a candidate we may not like or agree with in order to hope that enough other people do the same in order to get the government we want

        If we could directly vote for who we want as PM the fptp is the best way to do it

        1. Steve
          December 23, 2018


          “If we could directly vote for who we want as PM the fptp is the best way to do it”

          Fine I suppose, but the public should also have the means to sack them if they’re no good.

          1. libertarian
            December 24, 2018


            We do its another election .

            Parliament can of course also bring down a PM

            Another benefit of my system is that it stops people like Gordon Brown and Theresa May becoming PM by appointment

    3. sm
      December 23, 2018

      1. Declare a republic – except that constitutional monarchies seem to have, overall, more stability.

      2. Have a written constitution – so that well-paid lawyers and political advisers can endlessly argue, at great cost, the exact meaning of Clause 6, Part 14, Sub-Section B?

      3. Finish with class differences – wake up, that happens (in one guise or another) in every society.

      4. Patronage – see item 3.

      5. Proportional representation – see Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Norway etc for how long it can take to form a Government.

      6. Stuck in the past – such as Remaining a member of a multi-national organisation designed 70 years ago to stop France and Germany fighting each other over and over again?

  6. David in Kent
    December 23, 2018

    Let’s hope this is not just a fable.
    Maintain your focus on a WTO Brexit everyone, don’t fall for May’s lousy deal.
    Happy Christmas all.

    1. Bryan Harris
      December 23, 2018

      Yes – we cannot afford to let up in the new year – we have to keep proving those scare stories are nothing but deceit….

  7. Javelin
    December 23, 2018

    Your colleague Nick Boles in the Telegraph has threatened to resign if the No Deal
    goes through.

    He gets over 1300 comments … every single one of them wanting him to carry out his threat.

    1. A.Sedgwick
      December 23, 2018

      Another political nonentity.

    2. Denis Cooper
      December 23, 2018

      Only resign from the Conservative party, not from the well-paid seat in Parliament which he obtained with the electoral support of the Conservative party but which in reality he is too stupid to merit. Somebody who loudly proclaims that we should be like Norway when Norway is not in any customs union with the EU and the Irish government has categorically rejected even a ‘light touch’ customs border like that between Norway and Sweden, and when he has been put right on that eventually goes on to suppose that the solution is to append the word “plus”, meaning that it would still be Norway, but now in a customs union with the EU, when that would be a legal impossibility, is far too stupid to be in Parliament.

    3. jerry
      December 23, 2018

      @Javelin;There are two way to resign, one is as an MP, forcing a by-election, the other is to resign the whip and sit as an independent, the latter reducing the govts majority, it will not take many such resignations for TM to loose her majority even with the continued support of the DUP.

      Surprised that the usually intelligent readership of the Telegraph do not understand this, but then you do refer to the on-line edition and thus the usual comment-trolls the MSM attracts, the reality might be some place else…

      1. Helen Smith
        December 23, 2018

        If he resigns the whip he won’t be able to stand as a Tory at the next GE and he won’t have their monetary or logistical support, so an empty threat.

        1. jerry
          December 24, 2018

          @Helen Smith; Not a empty threat at all when the Conservatives have no natural majority and only a slim one based on a Money and Supply agreement with the DUP that allows them to form and stay in govt. – 14 such Tory resignations and the govt have lost their majority, even less if the DUP sit on their hands…

          1. Helen Smith
            December 24, 2018

            Yes, except that for the reasons I outlined he would lose his seat at a GE caused by his and others resigning the whip, Leave won handsomely in his constituency.

          2. jerry
            December 24, 2018

            @Helen Smith; He might, or he might not, depending on if he stands as an independent, it would not be the first time a MP has been returned in such circumstances. He might have already decided to leave politics at the next GE and thus be totally unconcerned, who knows…

            Stop trying to second guess the future, it’s the here and now that matters!

    4. Lifelogic
      December 23, 2018

      Nick Bowles, yet again PPE, (Magdalen College Oxford). Is it the course they makes them daft or are dire career politician drawn to Oxford PPE like moths to a candle? Also without the same consequences. It seems to turn out essentially dishonest, secondhand car sales people types like Cast Iron, low tax at heart, let’s abandon ship Cameron and the appalling Chancellor Hammond. Then again May did geography and she is even worse than Cameron and an appalling sales person too.

      1. Lifelogic
        December 23, 2018

        “Alas” without the same consequences I meant.

      2. Turboterrier.
        December 23, 2018

        @ Lifelogic

        Is it the course they makes them daft or are dire career politician drawn to Oxford PPE like moths to a candle?

        In reality LL it does not matter a fig what qualification they have got if the party completely overhauled its selection process and drew more on people like our host who are experienced in the world, business and life.

        But is the party big and strong enough to really change it? I think not.

        1. Lifelogic
          December 24, 2018

          The sorts of people drawn to PEE, law, feminist studies, languages media studies ….. are quite different from each other and very different indeed from Mathematicians, Physicists, Medics, Engineers and the likes. Clearly this is on average but certainly true.

    5. Bob
      December 23, 2018

      I wonder if the Tory faithful will continue to vote for any Tom, Dick or Harriet wearing a blue rosette in future.

      1. Original Richard
        December 23, 2018

        Let us hope that whatever happens on Brexit, the electorate will examine more closely the candidates in the next GE and in the case of Conservative leave voters in the constituencies of May, Rudd, Hammond, Boles, Clark, Wollaston, Soubry, Grieve, Morgan, Sandbach etc.they refuse to vote for them.

        Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.

  8. Lifelogic
    December 23, 2018

    Freedom is indeed a wonderful thing, as indeed is the freedom to choose how you spend your own money. Rather than having it stolen off you and spent on what the government wants – like dire state monopolies in education, the NHS, rail subsidies, pointless damaging wars, HS2 and the likes. About 3 times more efficient for the people to keep thei money spend it themselves. Governments are hopeless at it.

    “Jack was much cleverer than people realised for someone who had not had a great education” – well an education never really makes anyone “brighter” though brighter people might well choose to have more education. Also so many people especially on the BBC and in politics have supposedly a “good” education but understand almost nothing about science, engineering, people, energy and economics. Especially their climate alarmist departments, the magic money tree economist “experts”, their red tape encouraging factories and the likes. Usually they have degrees in PPE, English, social sciences, languages, or wrong headed lefty economics and similar. Rarely in Maths, Physics, Engineering, Medicine, Construction or similar … cutting the soft loans for degrees outside certain subject or practical skills would be an excellent move. Give tax cuts with all the money saved.

    1. Andy
      December 23, 2018

      Spoken like a retired gent who pays next to no tax.

      Almost HALF of my taxes go on pensions, social care and the NHS – most of which is spent on old people. I could be saving for my own retirement if I was not funding yours. Merry Christmas.

      1. mickc
        December 23, 2018

        Yes indeed! Taxes should be low, simple and compulsory. Then most could afford to save for their later years. Regrettably the Welfare State was established on the Ponzi system. Rather than trying to create wealth it concentrated on re-distribution, a hopeless task.

      2. MB
        December 23, 2018

        Do you plan to claim the UK state pension if you reach retirement age ? A pension that is almost the lowest of the developed countries despite the UK allegedly being the 5th largest economy ?
        Why don’t you move to the USA, where they don’t seem to do social care and state healthcare ?

      3. libertarian
        December 23, 2018


        Hold on you told us you’re a multimillionaire businessman are you seriously claiming you dont have a pension fund? Really ?

        I’m assuming you and your family never use the NHS or schools then

        Your insane hatred of old people looks really really stupid , what do you intend to do in 20 years time? Or do you have a booking with dignitas ?

        1. hefner
          December 23, 2018

          Even a booking with Dignitas will cost anyone around £10k, so not that easy to finance out of a full state pension. A nothing fancy burial service is around £4k+. Retirement homes even without medical care can cost over £3k+ a month if the local authority is not contributing, i.e. if it considers one is asset-rich, i.e. one owns a house.
          So 1/ not surprising that only a small fraction of UK people are worried with future IHT problems (LL, you are not part of the majority on this question) and 2/ better to start planning for end-of-life expenses early on, or be rich+ (like 2-Merc-Libby), or dirt-poor.

          1. libertarian
            December 23, 2018


            Do pay attention. Andy claims to be a multimillionaire

            At least try to follow the thread in your haste to yah boo anything I post. I’m reminding your friend Andy that in 20 years time he will be one of the pensioners he hates and detests

            A large percentage of people in the South East will have IHT issues based on their property values

        2. hans christian ivers
          December 23, 2018


          And your continued haunting of Andy comes across as rather insane as well

          1. Jagman84
            December 23, 2018

            Like you or I, he is under no compulsion to post on this site. His displayed anger is all a big show, designed to pee off his detractors as he knows that he has lost the argument like most of the other losers for remain. Since it’s inception, the current working taxpayers have funded the state pensions of the existing retired folk and his will be covered in a similar way. If the ratio of workers to pensioners reduces, due to increased lifespan, we will need to improve the nation’s wealth to meet the pension liabilities. I believe that exiting the EU will give us the best chance of doing this. If ‘Andy’ cannot comprehend this, how on earth manages to run a £multi-million business is beyond me.

          2. libertarian
            December 24, 2018


            Nope I just respond to the vile things Andy posts

            I think you supporting him and his comments means your credibility has hit rock bottom. You should be ashamed of yourself

        3. hans christian ivers
          December 24, 2018


          What a load of nonsense from you

      4. fedupsoutherner
        December 23, 2018

        Andy. Lets’ hope they change the taxation rules then so that the younger generation don’t pay for pensions for people of your age then. What do you think we were all doing when we were working? Don’t you think we have paid our fair share of taxes and those of us who paid into a pension are still paying tax at the same rate as all those working. Get a life.

        1. Andy
          December 23, 2018

          No – you have not paid your fair share. That is the point. You paid into a system which designed on that basis that you would live 5 to ten years beyond retirement. Many, if not most, of you live 15 to 20 years beyond retirement – frequently more. And those are expensive years when you are more likely to have complex health and social care needs. And you have not paid for them.

          Now, it is not entirely your fault. I never argue it is. What, however, is your fault is the failure to understand that the biggest drain on the state is not foreigners or asylum seekers or children or the homeless – it so actually pensioners, just like most you.

          All you need to do is thank us for our generosity.

          1. fedupsoutherner
            December 23, 2018

            Andy. I think you might have a long wait for an apology. As I said, we are still paying taxes. What a strange view on life you have.

          2. libertarian
            December 23, 2018


            You are deluded , do you not know that the retirement age has been raised and now people of that generation pay more, for longer for the same minimal amount in return

            If the government had invested the amount paid in by the boomer generation the country would be incredibly rich, sadly they wasted it on people like you

            A large number of BB’s are funding/assisting their older children and parents at the same time, removing them from the state paying, so in fact not for the first time Andy old boy you are talking cobblers

            Just 13% of BB’s were able to go to university which meant that 87% started work earlier than generation X . Paying in 4-5 years more in taxed earnings .

            Mortgage interest rates were very high, reaching 17% which means that 10% of people currently in their 70’s are still paying an interest only mortgage

            1.5 million people over 65 work as unpaid volunteers

            575,000 over 65’s provide unpaid care

            Age UK estimates that the over 65s contribute £17 billion in volunteering, caring and charitable support to society

            You have issues Andy

          3. Edward2
            December 24, 2018

            Pension actuaries have factored in the gradually increased age expectancy.
            It isn’t a sudden shock that suddenly everyone has just noticed.
            This is why NI contributions (and other taxes) have risen considerably over the years and retirement pensionable starting ages have risen.
            We have paid for it.
            Many others have private pensions which they have paid into as well.

          4. sm
            December 24, 2018

            Andy – why on earth should we thank you? Your generation isn’t being generous, any more than mine was – we all have to pay the taxes that are demanded of us by the State by statute (unless we are multi-millionaires who can employ costly accountants….).

            Many of us have said for years that the basis for the State Pension scheme is ruinous, and that a Welfare System that was designed to be just a safety net has become a horrendously-costly and possibly initiative-sapping monstrosity. Trouble is, when we try to point this out, we’re labelled as Nasty Tories!

      5. Everhopeful
        December 23, 2018

        We never stop paying tax! ( Unless income is below about £11,000).
        If Lifelogic is indeed a retired gentleman then he has paid a full whack for all of his life..into NHS and for every other unjustifiable demand. Are his chances of seeing a doctor any better than yours?
        Blame successive governments.
        You are not a socialist I take it?

        1. Lifelogic
          December 23, 2018

          Where i live you pay a small fee to see the gp if you can afford to. About the same as a hair cut and can always see a GP the same day, not rushed through in 3 mins either nor told you can only bring one issue to the consultation.

          The Nhs should try it. It works well.

      6. Lifelogic
        December 23, 2018

        I am not retired and my businesses and myself pay well over £300k Pa in tax (for virtually nothing in return from the state though they do inconvenience us to the tune of another £300k at the very least least).

      7. Original Richard
        December 23, 2018


        That’s just how I, as a Leaver, feel about the spending of our country’s money on the 17 or so net recipient EU countries! Just think of what we could do with the £10bn/year net (£15bn loss of control) to the EU.

        And if we remain in the EU our contribution will increase still further as the EU expands to absorb another 7 eastern European countries plus, if Mr. Cameron has his way, all the “stan” countries as far as the Urals (Kazakhstan speech July 2013).

        This is without taking into account all the disadvantages of massive immigration from these new entrants putting further pressure on our housing, schools, hospitals, welfare, police, prisons, infrastructure and environment, tax base, etc..

  9. Bryan Harris
    December 23, 2018

    What a romantic you are at heart JR… But there again, we are all looking for a nice fairy tale ending to Brexit ….

    Here’s to Union Jack, and a better future outside the European castle… for us all.

  10. George Brooks
    December 23, 2018

    That lousy WA has to be kick out or we are lost.

    The PM and her rotten team have to be watched as they have been using and will continue to use any and every trick in the book in an attempt to get parliament to pass it. There is no date for the vote and the remaining time for the debate is not completely clear. Be on your guard.

    Great story, thank you so much and a very happy Christmas.

    1. James
      December 23, 2018

      I like the line:-
      “They voted out all the ones who had done most to stop them being free. They felt better for doing that.”
      We do really need without fail to target at the next election those who tried to obstruct or frustrate Brexit and who clearly have a fundamental ignorance of basic economic principals.

  11. Glenn Vaughan
    December 23, 2018

    A marvellous story John and explained in simple language so that even Andy, Newmaniac et. al. should understand it.

    Of course it’s possible that I’m being wildly optimistic regarding the intellectual capacity of some of your readership.

  12. A.Sedgwick
    December 23, 2018

    Mother Theresa will not be amused. Jack needs to rip up her withdrawal agreement too.

    Happy Christmas and thank you.

  13. Everhopeful
    December 23, 2018


  14. DUNCAN
    December 23, 2018

    Euroscepticism is the purest expression democracy. It is a rejection of elitist politics as practised by the EU and an acceptance that power comes from a nation’s people not from a political class

    British democracy must be saved from the Europhile liberal elite who appear to believe they have the right to impose their will upon us without the people having recourse to respond

    I have always believed that May is a danger to our nation and our freedoms. Like Blair before her she’s embraced clever politics to circumvent democracy. She’s not a Tory, she’s a pure bred political animal of the Europhile liberal elite. She despises democracy in the way Blair did.

    These people believe they know best and that the people should remain silent and allow this elite to govern without accountability. That points to a dangerous future

    Therefore, May must be deposed and a Eurosceptic elected to offer the British people an alternative to the anti-democratic, statist vision of of the EU. That leader must also be able to counter the threat from Marxist Labour which shouldn’t be too difficult if that leader embraces the right vision that puts the UK, our freedoms, the market and the individual at its centre

    1. John Hatfield
      December 23, 2018

      I believe that May simply works well under supervision. I do not believe that she has any strong political convictions. She does as she is told.

  15. Alan Jutson
    December 23, 2018

    Many thanks for keeping us all informed with your daily blog John, and for all of those who contribute and comment upon it, even those with who’s views I disagree.
    Your site is one of the very few that gives factual parlimentary information, from an MP with a wide range of experience, and who is willing to communicate with us outside of the Westminster Bubble, so thank you.

    I wish you, your family, and all others who read this site, the very best for Christmas.

    Let us hope Santa will bring us a WTO present for use next year.

  16. Denis Cooper
    December 23, 2018

    And the Christian name of his eurofederalist mother was … Theresa.

    I have had my last letter for 2018 published in our local paper, which is her local paper, and it reads as follows:

    “Explicit goal of EU is an ever closer union”

    “A reader proposes that we should have a second EU referendum, in which the choice would be to either leave the EU with no deal or revoke the Article 50 notice and stay in.
    (Viewpoint, December 13, “Ask voters if they want no deal or no Brexit”)

    In that event I hope the Government leaflet would explain to voters that we only have the right to revoke the notice because the judges on the EU’s supreme court considered that interpretation of Article 50 would most effectively promote the EU’s process of ‘ever closer union’.

    Paragraphs 61 and 67 of their decision both have explicit statements that the purpose of the EU treaties is the creation of an ‘ever closer union’ which, by the 1950 Schuman Declaration, should eventually lead to the legal subordination of our country in a
    pan-European federation.

    Therefore, anybody who is part of the great majority of UK citizens who do not want that to happen would be best advised to vote against continued EU membership.

    The leading reason that the EU judges gave for allowing the UK to unilaterally revoke the Article 50 notice is also the leading reason why we should not do so.”

    Just in case anybody has forgotten what all this is really about.

    1. NickC
      December 23, 2018

      Denis Cooper, So it is indeed ironic that the “Remain” on the ballot paper was actually a vote for David Cameron’s renegotiation in which we were (supposedly) excused from the obligation of “ever closer union”. Just in case the Remains on here have forgotten what they were really voting for.

  17. William Long
    December 23, 2018

    That is very well up to the standard we have come to expect and I sincercely hope that like many words spoken somewhat in jest, it turns out to be true! I also hope you enclosed a copy in your Christmas cards to Mrs May and Mr Mammond.
    With many thanks for what must be considerable work on this blog and best wishes for Christmas and 2019!

  18. Adam
    December 23, 2018

    The UK has the power of choice to be an ‘I’m all right, Jack’ entity, full of beans.

    Former giants in the EU become feeble shrunken has-beens when we ignore their diktats & stop feeding them at vast expense.

    Within 96 days they are set for the chop when the blade hits the green stuff on 29 Mar. We’ll be free in the clear, & it is they who will become browned off.

  19. Andy
    December 23, 2018

    A beautifully written and entertaining Brexit fairytale Mr Redwood.

    But, like all fairytales, it is a work of complete fiction. Little basis in fact, lots of reliance on myth, and more than a little imagination.

    I am far freer being able to choose to live, love, work, retire, study bureaucracy free in 31 countries than I am having a choice of just little England.

    A little England you can only make work by slashing my rights as a worker, as a consumer and in refusing to continue with the Human Rights Act – because, to some Tories, the right to vote, to free assembly, to privacy and to worship whoever you choose are bad things.

    A far better festive tale would have been A (totally predictable) Brexit Nightmare Before Christmas – where fantasy and reality collide quite visciously.

    1. Jiminyjim
      December 23, 2018

      As I read our host’s interesting post, I thought to myself ‘I bet Andy says something negative about this’. True to form, here you are. The difference between you and most of those who react to these pages, Andy, is that every contribution from you is pessimistic and negative. I genuinely feel sorry for you – maybe a suitable New Year’s resolution would be to become more optimistic and positive about life? Have a good Christmas, if you can break away from moaning about other people for just one single day?

      1. Zorro
        December 23, 2018

        Andy is the Grinch! His heart has been made two sizes too small through his obsessive opposition to the Leave vote….


      2. Andy
        December 23, 2018

        I was positive about it. I said it was a nicely written fairytale.

        But it is a fairytale.

        And all fairytales are based on myth and have a dark under current.

    2. libertarian
      December 23, 2018


      Oh dear your woeful ignorance of the institution that you love is palpable

      You can choose to live and work in most countries of the world Andy . I’ve done that from time to time in 5 countries .

      The UK can’t be trusted on protecting its workers. We NEED the #EU!’

      Women’s rights: Equal Pay Act, Abortion Act and Divorce Reform Act were all passed before UK joined EU.

      Sex Discrimination Act, Domestic Violence Act, Employment Protection Act – no EU involvement

      There are STILL 6 EU countries that DO NOT have a minimum wage ,of those that do have NMW in 10 of them its LESS than 2Euros per hour

      Our domestic legislation exceeds EU-required levels of employment protections in a number of ways, including:

      5.6 weeks of annual leave in the UK as compared to the EU requirement of 4 weeks;

      The right to request flexible working for all employees, as against the EU requirement for the right to request flexible working for parents on return from parental leave;

      52 weeks of maternity leave, of which 39 weeks are paid – as compared to the 14 weeks of paid maternity leave required by the Pregnant Workers’ Directive. The same rules apply to those who adopt;

      Paternity leave and pay for new dads or a mother’s partner where there are currently no protections from the EU;

      18 weeks of parental leave per parent per child up to a child’s 18th birthday, compared to the EU’s requirement to the age of 8.

      The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 is not reliant on our membership of the EU. It places a comprehensive set of duties on employers to protect employees and those who might be affected by work activities from risks in the workplace.

      The right to vote, to free assembly, to privacy and to worship whoever you choose are ALL established in UK law

      I was at a meeting of my cross border trade group last week. 3 more French businesses have just moved here because of how awful trying to run a business is in France.

      ps I see Yellow Vest protests have now spread to Dublin . Not looking good for you Andy.

      ps You will of course ignore all the facts presented here and carry on with your inane ramblings and fake news

    3. NickC
      December 23, 2018

      Andy, Your EU “right” to go and live anywhere in the EU has been bought at the cost of depriving your target state’s citizens the right to decide who, and how many, come to live in their country. The EU has no rights that it has not stolen from its subject states first.

      1. Andy
        December 23, 2018

        Yeah. Non bigots everywhere do not care.

        1. Edward2
          December 24, 2018

          There is nothing remotely bigotted in preferring a properly managed immigration policy instead of the current open borders EU policy.
          Repeated polls in the UK and EU show a majority are opposed to the EU policy.

          1. hans christian ivers
            December 24, 2018

            Edward 2

            there are not open borders for non Eu citizens and for the rest tehre is actually quite big support for an open labour market

          2. Edward2
            December 24, 2018

            I agree hans.
            Due to the EU the UK has a very unfair and discriminatory immigration policy where EU citizens are able to come into the UK but non EU citizens have to work much harder.

            All applicants wishing to come to the UK should be treated equally.

        2. libertarian
          December 24, 2018


          You’ve no answer to the dozen or so facts once again proving you totally and utterly wrong. You’ll be back here next week posting the same drivel over and over.

  20. Lifelogic
    December 23, 2018

    Am I the only one who thinks is is wrong of the police force to go round arresting people or couples and releasing their details to journalists, this just to show the Police or authorities are “doing something” about a situation? So often nowadays this seems to be their general approach. Let’s show we are doing something about this or that and get a press release out. So what if we have no evidence or even any reasonable suspicions, it will distract from our general impotence seems to be the thinking.

    1. bigneil
      December 23, 2018

      LL – watch the Beebs “Caught Red Handed” – where all the criminals appear to be called Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep and all have very blurred faces. Apparently we are not allowed to see or know who we should be wary of – clearly criminals have rights to privacy.

    2. eeyore
      December 23, 2018

      This is a matter of high and legitimate public interest. The rule is that journalists may report whatever they can discover until a charge is imminent. Then reporting restrictions kick in so a fair trial is not prejudiced.

      In practice, the police sometimes release information to gain media goodwill, and the media likewise sometimes restrict their reporting to assist the police.

    3. Alan Jutson
      December 23, 2018


      Now released without Charge.!

      Hope they were still looking for the real person/people whilst these were being held and questioned.

      1. Lifelogic
        December 23, 2018

        What reasonable suspucions did the police have, none i suspect. One paper today has them down as virtually being guilty! That never looked remotely likely to me even from a distance. But the policecwanted to be seen to be doing something I suspect.

      2. Martyn G
        December 23, 2018

        Yes, and now these innocent people, arrested without a shred of evidence, so far as can be seen, acquire commonality with the criminal fraternity whose fingerprints and DNA are in police records for evermore. Governments see not to care about that and the police steadfastly claim that, innocent or guilty, once in their DNA and print database, always and forever to remain so. Justice? I think not.

    4. Zorro
      December 23, 2018

      Indeed – very curious. I hope that they are well represented, because this looks like a right dog’s breakfast by the Police with seemingly basic incompetence and zero investigative ability being displayed!


  21. acorn
    December 23, 2018

    Jack got conned by a magic bean salesman from the Leave means Beans campaign. Jack was not alone; 17,410,742 other Jacks got conned by the same bunch of 18th-century carpetbaggers.

    Jack ends up a thief and a murderer. He steals the giant’s harp, his gold coins, and his hen that lays the golden eggs. He chops down the stalk causing the giant to plummet to his death.

    Jack and family happily live off the proceeds of crime; tax laundering golden eggs through his Beanstalk hedge fund in Spiv City.

    1. NickC
      December 23, 2018

      Acorn, And yet it is the Remain voters who have been conned into believing that a mere trade deal is worth giving up our independence for.

  22. JackH
    December 23, 2018

    Yeah, we had dreamers here in Ireland too, some mad poets who went out into the streets and started a revolution just to be free. Several of them paid with their lives but for the rest of us it brought in a new political and economic period of stagnation emigration and poverty when we were cut off from the biggest economic bloc in the world at the time- and all of that happened around one hundred years ago. It took us decades to recover, in fact many agree that it was only by joining the EU a bigger economic bloc that saved us, it put a tiger in the tank. Anyway Merry christmas to all over there..and hope whatever happens, hope it all works out.

    Reply UK trade has been very important to the Republic both out and in the EU, and we are happy for it to continue after Brexit, so cheer up.

  23. Ian Pennell
    December 23, 2018

    Dear Mr Redwood

    Thanks to the arithmetic of Parliament and the plotting of the Remainers, our Land of Hope and Glory…with Britannia ruling the Waves may still NEVER actually happen!

    You have the delightful Nick Boles, Sarah Wollaston and Anna Soubry (and doubtless others) willing to vote with Labour to bring down the government to stop even a Managed WTO “No Deal” Brexit.

    Remainer Tory MPs are siding with the likes of Labour’s Yvette Cooper (the usual suspects like Nicky Morgan, Oliver Letwin and Nick Boles, etc) to table Amendments that would bind the Government’s hands and prevent a “No Deal” Brexit from actually happening. And given the number of Remainer Tory MPs who sided with Labour to push through Dominic Grieve’s Amendment- demanding the government let Parliament dictate the next steps should Theresa May’s appalling “Backstop Deal” get voted down- what is to say that they wont succeed with their nasty grubby anti- Brexit Amendments (the first one scheduled for as soon as you return to Parliament after Christmas).

    You also have John Bercow, an avowed Remainer Speaker- who can (and will) direct the business going before Parliament in such a way as to frustrate Brexit to maximum effect!

    Given how weak Theresa May is, how she is likely to look at the lie of the land and just wave the white flag (by going for a Norway-type deal) how are YOU Sir- with the help of your ERG colleagues- going to stop the Remainer Majority in Parliament forcing Theresa May to screw up Brexit like this? You clearly won’t have time to organise yourselves when you get back because the first Amendment (to the Finance Bill) is due to be voted on 8th January.

    I would suggest this plan of action over Christmas and the New Year: Contact the Right. Hon Jacob Rees Mogg (head of the ERG) and other ERG MPs and get them to e-mail/ write to every Remainer Tory MP over the Christmas break with a message like this:

    “Dear Right Hon….,MP for…

    “I understand you plan to table Amendments with the aim of preventing a No Deal Brexit, thereby weakening Theresa May’s negotiating strength in Brussels- effectively preventing a Brexit that actually means Brexit (which is what the majority who voted Leave in 2016 voted for).

    “Unless you pull your Brexit- frustrating Amendments ASAP and get behind ensuring Brexit actually happens we will take action to safeguard Brexit by voting down the Government in a No Confidence vote. Theresa May will be ousted and you (along with your determined Remainer Tory colleagues) will be de- selected.

    “We will collectively ensure (through a show of hands in the Parliamentary Conservative Party) that a Brexiteer takes over to fight the resulting General Election on a pro- growth, tough on crime and a WTO “No Deal” Brexit platform. The Conservatives will almost certainly win a General Election fought on such a platform against Jeremy Corbyn.

    “We are aware that this course of action could lead to a Labour Minority Government….but we would (at least) stop Brexit being totally messed up on the watch of a Conservative Government and we will therefore come back stronger in (say 2023) in the (unlikely) event Labour win.

    “You can choose to be de-selected or you can get behind the Government to deliver on the will of the people as expressed in the 2016 Referendum. It’s your call!

    European Research Group

    “Signatories below.”

    Another letter needs to be sent to the Speaker, John Bercow- to his private home because he won’t be in his office over Christmas and the New Year- reminding him of his need to be impartial in how business is conducted in the House of Commons, and telling him what you will do to safeguard Brexit.

    As one who voted “Leave” in the 2016 Referendum I would like you and your Conservative colleagues to grasp the risk to which a proper Brexit is, the risk to Britain ever becoming a proud independent nation trading on the high seas once more – and to take some decisive action to stop these malcontents from wrecking Brexit.

  24. Simon
    December 23, 2018

    It is called the Union Flag Mr Redwood. But you being a pleb do not know that.

    Reply That’s right. As I used to say at Referendum business events, I realise the elite think as a Leave voter I am badly educated, and they should know as they provided my education.

    1. fedupsoutherner
      December 23, 2018

      @Simon. What an uneducated comment. As my mother used to say “Its’ not a crime to be ignorant but it is a crime to show it”.

    2. Zorro
      December 23, 2018

      Hahaha…. Simon you are such a sweetie 😂


    3. eeyore
      December 23, 2018

      Churchill always called it the Union Jack and he was certainly no pleb. Anyway, Flag and the Beanstalk is silly.

      Reply I am well aware of the argument over a jack flag and calling our flag the Union flag. So I think was this contributor. I took it a wry jibe about elites.

    4. libertarian
      December 23, 2018


      We are to take it you’re not a “pleb” then .

      I guess you’re crying over the fact that your maid on less than minimum wage will go back to Slovakia and you’ll have to iron your own pants

      1. hans christian ivers
        December 23, 2018

        Totally unnecessary an pathetic remarks

        1. Jagman84
          December 23, 2018

          Much like most of your offerings this year. He is illustrating that many remoaners look at Brexit from a purely selfish point of view. I want all in the UK to be better off and is why I support our exit. Don’t dish it out if you cannot take it.

        2. Edward2
          December 24, 2018

          It was a pathetic sarcastic and pedantic post by Simon.
          But you didn’t bother to comment on that hans

        3. libertarian
          December 24, 2018


          Stop stalking me , contribute to the debate or toddle off and pretend to be a consultant somewhere else

          1. hans christian ivers
            December 24, 2018


            You really need to grow up with your childish remarks and unsubstantiated accusations

          2. Edward2
            December 24, 2018

            It is quite plain to me how you only ever target certain posters for criticism hans.

    5. Penny
      December 24, 2018

      Tut tut! Do read the second paragraph again: “He had just been reading a history book about a time when his country, the United Kingdom, was independent and free and used to display lots of so called Union jacks or flags.” You’ll see that Dr R does use “flag” – and a person being called “Union Flag” would be a bit daft, wouldn’t it?

      ‘Tis the season of goodwill – do try it some time!

  25. Den
    December 23, 2018

    A nice, easy to read summary (Hopefully not a fairy tale) that should be made into a paper back and distributed to all Primary schools, before the children are indoctrinated with EU propaganda.

  26. Deborah
    December 23, 2018

    Many thanks John for the political allegory.
    I am still learning after all these years…………..

    I always though Theresa May was playing a long game for the golden reward of leaving the EU on WTO terms. It can happen…

    One more thing I hope for: I remember well the decrepitude of the UK in the seventies when everyone, including newspaper print workers went on strike for ridiculous requests for high wage increases.
    I do not want UK to go back to those dark dark days. So let’s make sure Jeremy Corbin does not manager to enter 10 Downing Street……….. It can happen.
    Merry Christmas to you John and all the readers of this informative daily blog.

  27. Anna K.
    December 23, 2018

    Andy: the problem with freedom of movement within the EU is that it is not balanced.

    How could an adventurous youngster from the UK hope to ‘live and work’ in Spain, with its vast problem of youth unemployment – shared by Italy, Greece, Portugal and to a lesser degree, France?

    Could an ambitious Brit emigrate to Germany, say, and get lucrative employment? Not if the advertisement says, as it often does, ‘native German speaker’ required.

    And how about our university lecturer who fancies a job in Italy under blue Italian skies? Good luck with that! Italian academia is rife with nepotism, as not-very-well-connected Italians will tell you.

    How about trying your luck in Romania? If no job turns up, can you sell the Romanian Big Issue and get housing and social benefits far in excess of anything you could claim at home? Sorree! That’s only for Romanians who come to the UK.

    Face it: numerous economies in the Eurozone have been trashed by the political project that was the Euro; others are fledgling economies, only recently escaped from Soviet domination. Many of the workless have come to Britain which has mitigated the effects of unemployment in their native countries while their remittances home have helped these countries weather the economic storms. It is we, the ‘uncommunitaire’, who resisted joining the Euro, who have baled out these struggling countries, at the cost of stagnant wages for native Brits.

    Free movement in reality means that there are more EU citizens in the UK than there are UK citizens in ALL the other EU countries put together – and we bear the costs of educating their children, providing health care, child benefit and unemployment benefits should they lose their job.

    So you will see that your ‘freedom to live, love, work etc’ isn’t free at all.

    1. fedupsoutherner
      December 23, 2018

      Anna, your comment is brilliant. Well done.

    2. Lifelogic
      December 23, 2018

      Exactly right.

    3. Penny
      December 24, 2018

      Yes, brilliant post, Anna!

    4. sm
      December 24, 2018

      Anna – you said it far better than I could, thank you!

  28. hans christian ivers
    December 23, 2018


    Rather naïve , when you keep saying that Brexit has nothing to do with our ever falling growth rate and it is the government and the BoE monetary policy

    1. Den
      December 23, 2018

      “Ever falling Growth”? Maybe you should check out the Charts in the ONS link right below, where you will see that our GDP has been growing overall since 1955 but there have been the falls. If you check the quarter on Quarter growth you will see that UK GDP growth has slowed ever since we joined the EU. Now why is that I wonder?

    2. NickC
      December 23, 2018

      Hans, We haven’t left yet!

    3. jerry
      December 23, 2018

      @HCI; You’re rather naïve yourself. As if there are no other factors besides Brexit affecting UK business & consumer confidence or the currency and stock markets.

      1. hans christian ivers
        December 24, 2018


        It is actually effecting the purchasing power of the man in the street and ahs done so for the past few years , but you probably do not care?

        1. Edward2
          December 24, 2018

          Real wage growth and purchasing power is up.

        2. jerry
          December 24, 2018

          @HCI; Whilst, for example, ever increasing personal debt is not, along with likely rises in interest rates, that will make such debt even more expensive to service.

          No one is saying that Brexit has not affected confidence, just that Brexit is not the only cause, nor is it as bad as those pushing “Project Fear” try to have us believe.

    4. Zorro
      December 23, 2018

      Maybe the EU has just a tad to do with it after 40 years membership. Could it be, could it be?


  29. R.T.G.
    December 23, 2018

    Many thanks for all your hard work, JR, and to your many commenters, for freely doing so much to “educate, inform and entertain”.

    Hopefully, in 2019 and beyond, Democracy will really mean Democracy, and will continue to demonstrate that, as long as Truth also means Truth, it will prove the best model for promoting freedoms and responsibilities for all, such that all other models of governance will, in this internet age, display themselves as being inferior.

    A Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPad

    1. Zorro
      December 23, 2018

      Well done JR, another Swiftian political allegory, but did I not hear that you might have come across some more memos from Dame Lucy on her Brexit tactics?

      Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your loved ones – keep up the good fight!


      Reply Good point. I will talk to usual source in the civil service to see what Dame Lucy is up to. I hear she is getting worried about Brexit

      1. hans christian ivers
        December 23, 2018


        As we all are because your WTO solution is not really as solution but a real mistake

        1. Jagman84
          December 23, 2018

          Some mistake that gives us a trading surplus with the nations that are not in the stagnating EU?

          1. hans christian ivers
            December 24, 2018

            Half of the non Eu imports and exports are still under Eu agreed trade deal but you probably missed that as well

          2. Edward2
            December 24, 2018

            But we cannot have any independent trade deals until we leave.
            Surely you know that basic fact hans?

  30. Anna K.
    December 23, 2018

    Simon & Dr R,

    The Union Jack is a perfectly correct term, whether the flag is flying from the jackstaff or not. An Admiralty Circular of 1902 confirmed this:


  31. Kenneth
    December 23, 2018

    Another great thing that happened after the beanstalk was chopped down was that the UK became the innovation centre of Europe.

    The EU built up a massive bureaucracy to try to keep up with setting product standards and, as usual, got big businesses to help write the standards.

    Whereas British innovators could quickly get their products to market, on the continent they were held back by the rules which could never keep up with technical advances.

    So, not only did the British forge ahead with new products and ideas, it also hosted many European innovators who came to the UK to work with Union Jack and his countrymen and women to bring new ideas to fruition.

    The poor old eu was stuck in the past, clinging on to its big, slow and protectionist corporations, increasingly looking like the old Soviet Union.

    Meanwhile while the UK, with its new international friends, forged ahead, freer, richer and happier ever after.

    1. margaret howard
      December 23, 2018


      “Another great thing that happened after the beanstalk was chopped down was that the UK became the innovation centre of Europe.”

      So why did we beg to be allowed to join the EU if we were doing so well? Cutting off all our old trading partners like New Zealand and Australia overnight?

      “EU built up a massive bureaucracy to try to keep up with setting product standards and, as usual, got big businesses to help write the standards”

      And that’s why it has become the huge success it is today – customers know they can rely on efficiency and high standards.

      1. LK
        December 23, 2018

        Like horse lasagne, chicken contaminated with bacteria and flooding.

      2. libertarian
        December 23, 2018

        Margaret Howard

        The EU is anti innovation, its a protectionist customs union. Of the 200 most advanced tech firms in the world just 8 are in EU and one of those has moved to New York

        The EU has tried every thing in its power to hold back tech innovation, from hoovers, to fin tech, to digital services , biotech and more

        Some examples

        Article 11
        Article 13

        The EU’s hostility to ‘biotech’ has had a hugely damaging effect on the EU Bioscience Economy over the last five years. Just as the genomic revolution has been starting to offer untold opportunities across medicine and agriculture, the EU has been developing an increasingly hostile regulatory framework which has undermined Europe as a hub of biotechnology.

        EU’s hostility to GM led German-based BASF to announce their withdrawal from Europe in Agricultural Research and Development and withdrawal of $10 billion of investment

        “We cannot keep forfeiting more and more technologies to other regions. Not only is the U.S. far ahead of Europe, but Asia is catching up. Taking the chemical industry as an example, since the turn of the millennium, China has increased its global share of scientific publications in chemistry from 7 to 28 percent and its share of world trade with research-intensive goods from 3 to about 10 percent. The picture is similar in other industries. If we don’t act now, Europe will lose even more ground.”

        This is due to the risk averse low quality of EU regulation

        Marijn Dekkers president of the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI) and CEO of Bayer.

        In the new Digital Single Market Strategy EU excludes open source from new tech standards !!!! Really.

        Many more examples to be found

        The EU is a 20th century luddite organisation in a 21st century world

  32. Baz Lloyd
    December 23, 2018

    ‘Union Jack’ was his nickname. His real name was ‘Union Flag’.

    Neither was his ‘country’ the United Kingdom either. He’s more likely to be either English, Welsh, Scottish or Irish

    M0re likely still however his ‘country’ is one of the counties or localities which comprises the disparate parts of these four so called ‘Nations’ before they came into existence by force, or at various intervals were occupied by a Norman/French tyrant and his successors following 1066.

    The United Kingdom is a ‘state’, (just as the European Union aspires to be), not a ‘country’.

    It’s quite likely however, that Jack resented the European Union more than the state closer to home. He and people with a similar cultural outlook and material interests as him, have some control over the home state whereas they have none over the the EU state.

    The fact that Jack hadn’t had a great education was irrelevant. He was still entitled to make choices for himself and paric[ate in collective decision making

    It’s called ‘Democracy’. We are not governed by the person in the country who has the highest IQ. And if the choices turned out to be the wrong ones, so be it.

    People much more educated than Jack had been making wrong choices on his behalf for generations. Indeed these ‘learned’ Smart Alecs had nearly dragged Jack into the Euro.

    Eventually though when Jack noticed this pile of borrowed money that the politicians has been sending to the EU, and the even bigger pile they were going to send to ‘Leave’ it, he, not, being a moron and knowing that the money had been borrowed in his name, didn’t want to just hand it over to John Redwood to spend on all things John Redwood likes spending taxpayer’s money on.

    He wanted to pay it back to the people it had been borrowed from, so saving himself a packet in interest in the future and making sure his own children and grandchildren had lives to look forward to

    Sadly no leading politician since Margaret Thatcher has offered him that option. Certainly not John Redwood.

    Reply My post Brexit plan includes tax cuts!

  33. The Prangwizard
    December 23, 2018

    Excellent. Worth waiting for.

    However there needs to be a much harsher payback.

  34. Newmania
    December 23, 2018

    I think we have all had enough of fairy tales. Latest U- Gov polling asks how you would vote in another referendum. The result was “Remain 47%, Leave 37%, Don’t know 17%”. The most likely Parliamentary outcome, however, is a No Deal disaster, for which there is no mandate whatsoever.
    A measure of how badly needed a second vote is, is how different the campaigns would be. No fake £350m, no fictitious Syrian flood, no punishment budget or “easiest negotiation ever” .We all know a lot more now
    “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” (Heraclitus born 544 BC). We cannot go back but a new vote is now the only way forward.

    1. libertarian
      December 23, 2018


      This weekend

      Yellow vest demos in


      More than 300,000 sign a petition demanding “No Deal” now

      In another referendum Leave would win by a bigger margin , you’re on the wrong side of history. You’re a luddite I’m afraid

      1. Newmania
        December 23, 2018

        300,000 ….coo; what a big number, not as big as £10 billion which , you claimed as the size of the fishing industry
        The total catch is under £1 billion. What do we do, divide by ten?
        If I thought you had ever read a book I would suspect your playful allusion to Trotskys “Go where you belong from now on – into the dustbin of history!” was intentionally ironic. As it is …..

        1. libertarian
          December 24, 2018


          300k Is a far far larger number than the polls you keep referring to for 2nd referendum

          Stats provided by Seafish.org Right in the middle of their home page
          where it says and I quote

          “Seafish is a Non-Departmental Public Body set up to support the £10 billion UK seafood industry.”

          Your last paragraph is not anything I’ve said, has no meaning to the thread and is made up because you couldn’t think of anything factual to say.

          Maybe its you who should try reading ?

      2. hans christian ivers
        December 24, 2018


        1) You d not know a new outcome
        2) The Jaune vests in Sweden was a few
        3) You make conclusions on people with no knowledge about then
        4) All rather sad for you

        1. Edward2
          December 24, 2018

          This needs translating.

    2. Penny
      December 24, 2018

      I think the biggest fairy tale is how wonderful the EU is …

      As for another referendum with all sorts of figures bandied about – will the Remain campaign get an extra £9m before the campaign properly starts for that “once in a generation” vote (and make sure we vote the correct way this time)?

  35. PaulDirac
    December 23, 2018

    Happoy Xmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family

  36. Ed Mahony
    December 23, 2018

    Dear Mr Redwood,

    Apologies for banging on. I’ve got Asperger’s + ADHD, and often go on a rant.

    Best wishes.

  37. georgeP
    December 23, 2018

    There you see..when all else fails..you’ll still have a future in writing..maybe not in the FT but writing all the same..so what do you think 2019 is going to bring? Maybe the impeachment of Trump..I hope..that would be a start..am not going to say anything about the other thing..am just looking at the pound going down and the value of my portfolio sinking..it’s too dangerous now to sell and I cannot afford to buy..I feel I am locked in. Strange times- happy christmas

  38. David Price
    December 24, 2018

    Thanks for the stimulating forum, Happy Christmas and New Year

  39. Melvin Cornwell
    December 24, 2018


    Thank You, JR. The voice of sanity.

    Have a peaceful, enjoyable festive season, Sir!

  40. Lindsay McDougall
    December 25, 2018

    I’m not so sure about the people becoming less angry with the establishment. I think that there needs to be a complete cleansing of the Augean stables, getting rid of pro-EU people in all positions of power and influence – in the Conservative Party, in parliament, in the judiciary, in academia and in international organisations. We need to reduce government to two levels – national and local (unitary authorities). And we should cut the devolved administrations down to size by removing their tax raising powers. When are people going to recognise that most government is bad for them and that the greatest wasted costs are at the top?

  41. gyges
    December 25, 2018

    ” If you bang on about the old union jack flag they might start questioning you for racism,”

    Is an interesting point to make.

    When it comes to symbols of control, racism is extremely powerful. It was used in the Brexit debate; it was used against Corbyn when he criticised the State of Israel; it was used in Rotherham, and latterly I’ve heard it being used to distract from criticisms of George Soros.

    All very interesting from a semiotics point of view and how populations are manipulated by the likes of Bell-Pottinger.

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