An unhappy Euro area and a squeezed car industry

The news that hundreds or even 2000 people have now been injured in the French protests is worrying. There have been at least 10 deaths, according to press reports. There is also a controversy raging in France over the use of police weapons.

It seems to be true that the police themselves have suffered in these protests and have experienced injuries. They are allowed to use  guns that fire large rubber bullets, and to release grenade type crowd control devices that contain explosives and scatter more rubber bullets on detonation. There have been cases of people losing part of their hand from these explosions, and reports of blinded and injured eyes from the bullets.

The gilet jaune protests began against high and rising fuel taxes. The symbol and uniform of the protesters is the gilet jaune that all car drivers have to carry in their vehicle to wear in case of emergency. It is an irony that a protest which is part a protest about the attacks on motorists should use as its symbol an item of clothing demanded by a  regulatory requirement . It makes it impossible for the authorities to ban carrying such items or using  them by displaying them prominently in a car as a symbol of support for the movement.

Meanwhile Italy is in recession and Germany had a fall in output in the third quarter, with a weak fourth quarter as well. Economies are crying out for some stimulus. The motor industry has been particularly hard hit by restrictive credit policies and by tax attacks on the purchase , owning and use of vehicles. EU emission rules changes disrupted production and sales, and Chinese demand for German cars fell away quickly.

Even the UK industry has suffered from all this, which isn’t anything to do with Brexit and has happened before we have been allowed to leave the EU. In the UK high VED increases, a squeeze on car loans and threats of more bans and taxes on diesel vehicles has as predicted here cut output and sales and slashed investment. The UK government should put together a better tax and regulatory package to stabilise and improve sales and output before more damage is done.

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98 Comments

  1. Alan Jutson
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Yes the French protest still going on, although you will not see it on the BBC or many other news channels, because the EU is supposed to be perfect in their eyes, and they must not show the UK viewers that all is not well abroad.

    This sort of protest has not reached this sort of stage with extensive protests/disruption for months in the UK for decades, but politicians should beware that their actions and subsequent votes to frustrate a proper Brexit, may, just may light the fire here.

  2. hans christian ivers
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Sir JR,

    Continuing to say that falling production and investments in the car-industry has nothing to do with Brexit after the Association of British Car Manufacturers have said exactly the opposite, is rather ironic.

    • Posted February 1, 2019 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      Using some well-known words: Well, they WOULD say that, wouldn’t they?

    • Mockbeggar
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      I should like to know by how much investment has fallen in the German/French/Japanese etc. car industries by comparison.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted February 1, 2019 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

        @Mockbeggar

        Investment has not fallen, in fact it is probably up because of the swithch to electric and hybrid and away from diesel (likely diesel will come back though, otherwise no one will meet the emission targets). and even more in clean diesel. However, output is down because of retooling. Output in China is really down but that is not a big import market. VW makes more cars in China than in Germany, for instance.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      Must be affecting France, Germany, Italy etc. Those pesky Brits wanting to restore sovereignty and creating worldwide depression

    • Jagman84
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      Association of British Car Manufacturers? Do you mean the SMMT? They are but a mouthpiece for the membership, who are overwhelmingly remain-minded, as requested by HM Government. Little different from the statements by Airbus, prompted by similar encouragement. “Be sure to emphasise the negatives of a no deal Brexit”, or something similar… From my personal experience in the industry, the public utterances of a CEO and the in-house reality, rarely concur.

  3. ChrisS
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    I have finally taken the plunge and replaced my nine year old Audi. I looked at all of the UK manufactured vehicles but there was nothing that was as suitable or as well built as another Audi.

    Such is the desperate state of car sales that I was able to secure a “new” 2019 model at a discount of 41.5% of the new price as quoted on Audi’s configurator. The car had been pre-registered by Audi themselves in June 2018 but had just 31 miles on the clock. They had taken the hit on the first year’s VED.

    The car is a Diesel because I’m sure that the government will again turn against petrol because CO2 emissions are already soaring following petrol engines becoming more popular. My new car meets the very latest emission regulations so should be safe from restrictions for years to come.

    Why did I not buy an electric model, you may ask ?

    My new car has a range of 475 miles and takes just 3 minutes to “recharge”
    Find me an electric car that will come anywhere close to that and I’ll buy one !

    • Dennisa
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      The diesel scam is being challenged:

      “BERLIN — Germany’s diesel civil war has turned into a fake news fight.

      The driver is a claim by 107 German lung specialists that fears about the health impact of vehicle exhaust pollution are overblown. Dieter Köhler, the doctor who led the initiative, told German television network ARD that current EU air quality limits make no sense and should be reformed.”

      https://www.politico.eu/article/dueling-doctors-poison-germanys-diesel-car-debate/

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted February 2, 2019 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      @ ChrisS

      Well done!

  4. Rien Huizer
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    The idea that Germany needs stimulus is nonsense. Signs of an economy operating close to capacity abound (low unemployment , rising house prices, growing waiting lsists for critical supplies etc) The same applies to The Netherlands, a de facto extension of the Western part of the German economy. What is happening at the same time is that the motor industry is facing abrupt changes in consumer preference, amplified by buying behaviour of car leasing companies. But idle (with pay) car workers cannot be redeployed to building and infrastructure works where labour shortages are acute. Hopefully Brexit will drive foreign construction workers from England to other parts of the EU very soon.

    But it would be foolish to stimulate (fiscal or monetary) the NW European economies at this time. Better to slowly peel workers off those areas that resist market reforms and investment from “outside”. The Euro area has a great opportunity to adopt market reforms and ultimately boost productivity while capacity utilization remains high in areas where the market reforms have taken place. Labor reforms first, lower taxes following and then subsidies to alleviate final bottlenecks financed by judicious privatisation in certain countries.

    Basically a Thatcher program, but in a political stting where there is no need to destroy the trade union movement as long as trade unions are constructive.

    • ChrisS
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      It is primarily politicians who are causing the slow down in car sales by their failure to tell consumers what type of cars they wish us to buy.

      Of course, the VW emissions scandal has also had an effect but that again is primarily the fault of politicians who failed to demand rigorous real-world testing on the road network.

      Merkel is holding back the German economy by failing to invest in infrastructure.
      Anyone who has driven across the country in recent years knows only too well the terrible state of the Autobahn network, and much else.

      There are whole Autobahns that are beset with semi-permanent lane width restrictions and ultra-low speed limits because of widespread concrete cancer in the frequent bridges. The A45 is a perfect example.

      Then there is Deutsche Bahn which has become much less reliable of late, owing to failing infrastructure and aging and increasingly unreliable motive power and rolling stock.

      Mutty has no excuse as, unlike the UK and France, she is running both an enormous trade and current account surplus. She simply won’t spend the money.

      We are frequently told that investing in road and rail is essential to maintain economic growth. Imagine what the German economy would be like if she would run it properly ?

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted February 1, 2019 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

        ChrisS

        My point was not that things are perfect in Germany. I suffer on the same roads as you when I drive in Germany. The point is that the capacity to do the work simply is not there. Germany does not have enough construction workers to expand/maintain the infrastructure in the Western part and Ossies prefer to stay at home, are too old or have the wrong training. Poles are still in Germany, because the Brits have not kicked them out yet. If you want a pumber in Holland you have to make an appointment many months ahead. Many signs of an economy at the limits of productive capacity, and then I am referring to some of the most reformed labour markets in Europe.

        So the idea of giving stimulus to an economy at full capacity is not good. The car problem is temporary and of course there are lopts of people in the East witout enough employment but if they had any value in the labour market there would be work for them.

        Ideally Germany would be able to import lots of people from the southern states of Europe but those people prefer to say where they are, although professionals are migrating much more and artisans too. But not enough.

    • Davies
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      You have just alluded to one of the many problems of the ez.

      It may be true that the northern part of the eu empire does not need stimulus, they are largely affected by what Goss on elsewhere.

      It is the southern countries which need the help and unfortunately the ecb has almost spent all the amunitionnig it has.

      This is not going to end well unless something drastic like fiscal union is done soon.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted February 2, 2019 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        @ Davies,

        Once the other southerners (and some easterners as well) start to reform properly, there would be less resistance to a fiscal union. At this stage, stimulus would only benefit the rent seekers in some countries. Spain and Portugal are doing their best to get there despite some local elites (socialist ones as well) trying to peddle anachronistic chauvinism. Unfortunately, countries like Greece and Italy have a much harder time.

  5. Ian wragg
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    I’m surprised you’re reporting on the French riots. Haven’t the French government slapped a D notice on them.
    This is a taste of what’s to come in Britain if you renege on the referendum.
    What’s with half the cabinet saying article 50 will have to be extended to pass legislation. Why can’t it be passed after we’ve left.
    Just another delaying ploy.
    .

    • margaret howard
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      Ian

      “What’s with half the cabinet saying article 50 will have to be extended to pass legislation.”

      Similar to the devide between Brexit and Remain – 17m against 16m.

    • Mitchel
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      A few weks ago,RT,whose French correspondents have been in the thick of it,getting tear-gassed and hit by rubber bullets,joyfully showed a clip of a column of gilets jaunes marching past the offices of one of the French state broadcasters chanting “Merci RT,merci RT,etc”!

    • hefner
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      The D-notice is specifically British. If you want news of the gilets jaunes you can get that from the France Info website.

  6. Posted February 1, 2019 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    According to today’s DT, Germany’s IfO is pleading Brussels to settle. I am sure the ECB, which faces the prospect of reopening its asset purchase programme, will be urging Brussels to settle as well.

    The EU is in a mess and has far more to loose in its game of chicken than the UK. My money is on a quick volte face.

    • hans christian ivers
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      Alastair

      You really need to read up on economics if you believe in what you have just written

  7. Peter
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    If you fire a rubber bullet directly at a persons head or body it can cause serious damage. There is a recommended way to use such weapons to minimise bodily harm.

    However, there is no guarantee that police or soldiers will use them in this manner. Northern Ireland had many cases of misuse of rubber bullets.

  8. Craig Smith
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    At last a sensible and honest piece on the state of the European car industry. It’s global forces at work not the thought of BREXIT

  9. oldtimer
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    I see that the SMMT blamed Brexit for the recent fall in investment in the car industry. Nothing was said about the impact of the actual sales declines, the belt tightening that follows or the fact that a big chunk of JLRs investment has been made in a brand new factory in Slovakia.

    However Mr Gove, who supercharged the diesel decline with his I’ll judged remarks, seems content enough with his new ministerial Range Rover. Presumably this is a politically correct hybrid model. I can’t see him resigning any time soon.

  10. Andy
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    The yellow vests are the same professional malcontents that we see here backing Brexit supporting UKIP, the Tory hard right and the Labour hard left.

    They do not actually believe in anything. They just have a long list of grievances – mostly petty – and have no solutions.

    In a world of grown ups they are they toddlers – demanding a blue cup when they are given a red one.

    Stamping your feet does not work. You need answers. And none of you have them.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Wrong. We are well behaved by contrast.

    • Posted February 1, 2019 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      Not very well-read, are you, Andy? You really should not reply on Facebook to give you what you take to be answers.
      I think your description of Brexiteers would bring a wry smile to the faces of my friends (nearly) all who voted ‘Leave’. (Contrary to what rabid Remainers say, we are ALL still friends). They are generally high-achieving, high-ranking, professional medical/military/business people. I have suggested they take a look at this excellent blog, if they haven’t already seen it.
      You are becoming the class clown.

      • margaret howard
        Posted February 2, 2019 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        LJones

        ” They are generally high-achieving, high-ranking, professional medical/military/business people”

        Exceptions that prove the rule?

        “Analysis of the vote carried out by the social research institute NatCen, showed the following : middle class liberals, 92 per cent of whom voted to stay

        Younger, working class Labour voters 61 per cent voting Remain and 39 per cent Leave

        Your friends must all belong to the 8%!

    • Jagman84
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      “In a world of grown ups they are they toddlers – demanding a blue cup when they are given a red one. Stamping your feet does not work. You need answers. And none of you have them”.

      Another classic from ‘Angry Andy’! You do not see the irony in that statement. That pretty much epitomises your rants on this blog. You wanted remain and you got leave. Cue, a stream of hissy fits, with an undertone of extreme hatred, for those older and wiser (not too difficult) than you. Still laughing at you, BTW…

    • John Hatfield
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      So how does the EU benefit you Andy?

    • roger
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

      Toddle off Andy, there’s a good boy

      A Pensioner

  11. Bryan Harris
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Amazing that our media fails to report on the French riots – Another example of how the BBC is biased against the truth and a true friend to the EU. After Brexit, we must get the BBC sorted out.
    As for the violence against protestors – despicable – This might be what we expect from places like China or Iran, however the EU is supposed to be civilised – Here we have a clear demonstration that the EU cares nothing for the average person, careing only about being in command.
    We have been suffering the effects of badly thought out EU regulations for decades, so none of this about the car industry should come as a shock. You are right though, the chancellor has, still, the power to help our industries, and should do so, instead of playing the EU game.

    • hans christian ivers
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      Bryan Harris

      the past weekend there were 32.000 demonstrating across all of France these are no longer riots nor are they longer really news to report. The violence was initially carried out by the rioters themselves, and it has little to do with the Eu, but it might have something to do with the French state. Are you sure we watch the same news as you ?

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted February 2, 2019 at 9:08 am | Permalink

        The French reaction to the strikes is a typical EU one…

        There is a total lack of honest reporting on things like the French riots, but what is clear is that most of the violence is coming from the police pulled in from other regions to avoid conflict of interest. Early reports had the police siding and supporting protesters.. but they soon put a stop to that

    • margaret howard
      Posted February 2, 2019 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      Bryan Harris

      “As for the violence against protestors – despicable – This might be what we expect from places like China or Iran, however the EU is supposed to be civilised”

      The 2011 England riots, more widely known as the London Riots were a series of riots between the 6th of August and 11 August 2011, when thousands of people rioted in cities and towns across England, saw looting, arson, and mass deployment of police, and resulted in the deaths of five people.

      Pot/kettle?

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 9:21 am | Permalink

        Nothing to do with pots…
        During the English riots our police were restrained – and given the mindless violence they acted well………… The riots were initiated by criminal elements, attacking business especially – so this riot has no similarities to the current French situation

  12. fedupsoutherner
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    There is nothing this government has done recently with Hammond in the driving seat that has inspired me or filled me with confidence. I am utterly amazed at how bad the Tory party has become. If I didn’t know better I would think I was voting Liberal or Labour. Oh, for a real Conservative party.

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      @fedupsoutherner
      My thoughts too – Hammond has been actively working to ensure Brexit gets blamed for his lack of initiative….
      …and yes, it is clear from the extra taxes and other undesirable legislation that the Tories have moved to the left to imitate the position of centre ground that blair said he held. But we do not need another socialist party – we are overwhelmed with them – What we need is a real right of centre party that will make the country strong.

    • John Hatfield
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      The real conservative party is the much despised UKIP. Why despised? I have no idea.
      The UKIP manifesto is sound conservatism. I only hope that Nigel Farage and Gerard Batten can make their peace so that UKIP and Farage’s new party can amalgamate to become the next party of government.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted February 2, 2019 at 7:54 am | Permalink

        Hear, hear John. That would put the at amongst the pigeons. As for ukip being despised it would seem to me that much of the hatred towards them comes from the media, especially the BBC. Its a big like Trump. They cannot bring themselves to say anything positive.

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted February 2, 2019 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        UkIP is despised because it upsets the status quo, and tells the truth.

        Yes – Farage and Batten should unite, for the good of the country – but I’m less happy with Farage these days – he broke away from UKIP and did a lot of damage to UKIP – Time he grew up a tad, and understood the difference between Right of centre and violently hard right.
        Farage has swallowed the idea from labour that anyone further right than an inch or 2 of the centre ground is a raving nazi.

  13. Posted February 1, 2019 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    It seems there are many factors here, not least the propensity the French have for resorting to protesting.
    The eurozone is suffering due to low demand yes, but a lack of competitiveness that being
    members of a protectionist club brings. The EU member states that have more control over the euro will be least affected leaving southern member states crippled whilst trying to gain higher GDP to reduce deficits. Have a eurozone with economies running at different rates was always going to favour those states in control of the euro.

    The new diesel regulations can’t have helped.

    The answer may be that the EU naturally dismantles allowing countries to return to their own currencies which they control allowing natural and sustained growth to return in the long term.

    Far from relishing our EU neighbours’ pain we should be willing to keep trading with member states to allow them to recover as trading partners.

  14. Mark B
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    And amongst all this a British PM goes to Brussels on bended knee and, in similar vein to Oliver Twist begs, “Please sir, can I have some more ?”

    There has never been a better time. A better time to Leave the EU. A better time to demand, post BREXIT, better terms. A better time to engage with the rest of the world.

    Oh. And I see that the Deputy Irish PM is going to the USA (Congress) to get the UK government to cower over the border. Apparently it’s to do with the Good Friday Agreement. No it isn’t, it’s about saving your failing economy. An economy that provided undercut the UK corporate tax all the while whilst selling their overpriced goods, and using our roads free of charge, whilst, once again, having us pay for yours.

  15. Alan Jutson
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Ah yes the hidden cost of motoring.

    Car just failed the MOT test this morning due to the inside tyre wall being ripped up by either pot holes or speed cushions.

    This is the second time in two years I have had to replace what were perfectly good tyres wear wise, because of poor road surface damage.

    Two years ago it was two tyres affected, this year just the one !

    Yes I do check tyres on a regular basis, but the inside walls are rather more difficult to view easily.

    Not only is this a financial cost, but it could have resulted in a tyre failure at speed, which could have been altogether rather more expensive in many ways !!.

    I wonder how many others have experienced the same !!!!

  16. sobsob
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    You seem to have a fixation with cars- like washing machines and a lot of other consumer goods- goods that depreciate in value so much as soon as they leave the showroom- but I suspect it will not be a problem in a few months time as we won’t be buying too many new items, the used car trade with other second hand goods and spare parts is set to expand- think Albania

  17. Merlin
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Still trying to get up to speed with all this Brexit business. I’m very confused why people seem so hostile to the World Bank, the IMF, the National Statistics Bureau and all the institutions people used to respect and listen to. It seems that people believe these institutions to be discredited. I can’t work out whether people think:

    Everyone’s view is equally valid, and nobody knows more than anyone else
    or else
    The ‘experts’ who agree with my view are the right sort of experts and other ‘experts’ are wrong.

    Any thoughts?

    • RICHARD J MOORE
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      There are experts, and then there are 55 Tufton Street experts. Real experts are usually completely open about their funding. Fake experts frequently are not.

      Real experts issue warnings.
      Idiots ignore them.

    • Al
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps it is just that people have had one too many instances of experts failing to disclose conflicts of interest, such as funding sources, or to recuse themselves due to them? There have been too many studies paid for by the people they advantage, and so many experts being wrong (see the polls before the referendum).

      And that people now are sensible enough to listen to more than one expert – and if you ask five experts, you’ll get six opinions.

    • eeyore
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Yes. Remember the motto of the Royal Society, Nullius in Verba – take no one’s word for it. Or as Paxman put it: “Why is this lying bastard lying to me?”

      No authority is a fair substitute for your own judgement. You may be wrong but at least you’re in good company.

    • rose
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      Michael Gove said the British people have ‘had enough of experts from organisations with acronyms saying that they know what is best and getting it consistently wrong’.
      It is that last “getting it consistently wrong” which answers your question. CBI is a good example.

  18. JoolsB
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    John,

    I can see similar riots, if not worse, in England if a true Brexit is denied. It was England that predominately voted to leave. Brexit was made in England and yet no-one is talking to England. It was their one and only chance to speak after years of being ignored, and if the UK Government want to ignore them yet again by either giving us Brino (May’s deal) , delaying Brexit or worse a second vote, then they are saying the wishes of the majority of this so called union are unimportant and the English must carry on being ignored.

    As John Denham says, no one thinks that governments listen to them much, but the English are least satisfied. They clearly want the same rights as Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish voters to elect MPs to make their own laws. They look most enviously at the protection the Barnett formula gives to other nations but denies to England’s deprived regions. This strongly held, deeply rooted yet dissatisfied identity is held more widely outside the big cities and in places that have often seen the worst of economic and social change. It is the identity of a nation that is barely mentioned in public debate or government pronouncements and has no distinct national forum or institutions. The English are found, in the main, amongst the people and in the places that no one has listened to for a very long time. The attraction of Brexit was not the offer of a new British glory, or even a more clearly delineated England, but the chance to have a voice and change something.

    The politicians ignore England at their peril.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 2, 2019 at 4:51 am | Permalink

      Ah ! But that is it. Once their place is in peril then, and only then, will they listen. And it is to that that we must work to.

      Political parties that are generally seen as single issue (UKIP & Greens) do not tend to fair too well. The SNP being the exception only because Labour, rather arrogantly, thought that the Scots will always vote Labour. Problem was the Labour politicians were dire North of the Border and allowed the SNP in.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted February 2, 2019 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      @ Old-timer,

      JLR’s head office is in Mumbai. If they think brexit is bad for their business they may well protect themselves.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted February 2, 2019 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      JoolsB

      The history of the UK is one of civil wars, dynastic upheaval and conquest. England is the most populous of the group and considered by the other members (NI. Wales and Scotland) as superior. Devolving the government of England would not be necessary if those inferior “countries” would decide to follow the lead of the Scots (although the Irish may now beat them to it) and exit the UK, simply because they are ashamed of their inferiority. In that case a devolved England would not make sense. I guess the gifted politicians of the UK had the foresight to incur no unnecessary cost given the prospect of no longer having to put up with the Celts much longer.

  19. Javelin
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    John,

    In nature there are a number of calibration mechanisms.

    Evolution, The Markets, Democracy and (my theory) consciousness (which I believe is a quasi electromagnetic low energy real-time calibration).

    Anyway these 4 calibration mechanisms make up a working society. By understanding how self calibration works you can create better systems.

    Calibration has two sides that need to calibrate. Supply and demand, voters and politicans, genes and environment, expectations and experience. There are always two mechanisms involved. One can be seen as a adjustment the other feedback. For example DNA mutations, price changes, Gov policy or learning. There are always counter measures such as survival vs fitness, tax vs expenditure, demand vs supply, The balance is not equal as both sides rely on completely different processes. The definition of counter calibration is two different mechanisms sharing common measures.

    So to create a better Government the feedback mechanisms need to be made as open as possible. This includes things like making MPs not use the private sector. At the very least the head of Gov and civil service for health and education should have to use public sector services.

    Calibration is the natural position for conservative thinkers. Conservative does not mean static but progressing through improvements. Conservatives should not just think about the markets but also democracy as self calibrating.

    Coming up with more open feedback would create a better Government and provide better services. Having self serving elites is not a true conservative position because there is no feedback through the whole process of Government and back to the voter.

    • forthurst
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

      The voters don’t control the politicians, especially where FPTP creates a putative duopoly which is in fact a monopoly insofar as the moneyed globalists having interests which are totally divergent from those of the people are able to fund political parties in order give them direction from behind the curtain, otherwise the ME wars under both Labour and Tory and the importation of millions of unassimilable aliens with the spending of vast resources on building new schools and homes for them would not have happened as there was no public demand for any of it, quite the contrary.

      The best we can do is to get rid of FPTP as soon as possible and allow new parties to present themselves for election against the duopoly which is supported by the MSM (apart from Jeremy Corbyn who was not in the script). The internet does provide a facility which has allowed parties operating under proportional representation such as Lega and 5 Stelle and AfD to blossom despite the vitriol poured on them by the MSM. On the other hand in France which has FPTP, the globalists who also control the MSM were able to fabricate and market En Marche like a soap powder, thereby finessing the growing popularity of RN (as it is now); hence, the Gilets Jeunes, realising they had been duped, are angry, in particular, with the oppressive motoring taxes including revenue raising radar traps which bear down on them.

      When the governed forcibly withdraw their consent, the globalist controlled politicians are totally nonplussed.

  20. Everhopeful
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    They should have studied the history of the Roman Empire before embarking on The Project.
    Apparently it is very difficult to rule disparate and distant nations …even if a network of quislings has been set up.
    Has any ruler ever set out to make people happy? Not as far as I can see. Might be worth a try?

    PS Authorities should be wary of over zealous “Health and Safety” rules. Gilets Jaunes have been provided with a legal uniform. And everybody has one! 😂

    • Mitchel
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      The Russian and Chinese Empires have been reasonably successful at it but their empires were/are assimilative in nature rather than,in the case of the western maritime empires(including the USA),exploitative.

  21. Stred
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    The government has announced that a curfew and the military will be introduced in the event of a no deal WTO Brexit on March 29th. This is supposed to be to overcome problems of supply. In fact it is to prevent protests at not leaving at that date. Don’t be surprised if they are not planning to follow Micron and put down crowds with the same methods.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      I must have missed that announcement. The fact that the government can call upon the military to support the civil power and can impose various emergency regulations including curfews is not new, and nor is it unique to the UK, and nor is it anything particularly to do with Brexit. More interesting is the question of where these scare stories originate and why the government never effectively rebuts them.

    • Posted February 1, 2019 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      This ‘problem of supply’ is another part of Project Fear. Looking around the supermarket today, and reading labels assiduously, it is obvious that we would be very well supplied by a huge range of food stuffs from countries outside the EU. So what if we don’t get a supply of indifferent-tasting tomatoes from the Netherlands, or French brie, or over-priced lettuce? There’s a whole world out there waiting to trade.

      As long as medical supplies continue (and as our host has explained, they will) what is the problem with modifying our dependence on EU made/produced/grown stuff?

      This threat of pitting any legitimate protesters against our own military will not end well. As for curfew – a perfect situation for looters, and will they be shot?

  22. formula57
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Let us recall that Italy’s recent attempt to introduce much needed economic stimulus was hampered by the Evil Empire imposing its budget borrowing rules (not applicable to France though) and the brave Italian government stood up to the bullying in part by fudging numbers to predict a 1 per cent. growth rate. That Italy is now in recession (the last two quarters showed contraction) doubtless means evil will soon return to stalk its people.

  23. A different Simon
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    The economies may benefit from some stimulus but what is needed is widespread debt relief .

    Time to make it clear to creditors that they must bear the cost of making bad loans .

    Place limits on the amount of money they can recover by foreclosure so that ordinary people don’t lose everything and end up unable to support themselves .

    • Mitchel
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      But we have built our economy on “making bad loans”ie debt that can never be repaid.

  24. Mitchel
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    More stimulus?More debt that will never be repaid?No wonder the price of gold continues it’s ascent of recent months.

    • Eh?
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      Eh? The TV adverts encourage buying of gold from persons eager to get rid of it even if it means giving in to pretty coin veneer.
      I heard of one investor, USA, with loads of money who is earmarking some, a little, of his investments again to gold but he is a one-off and very brave or very foolish

    • Mitchel
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      I see from the WGC figures that net purchases of gold by central banks was up a whopping 74% last year at 651.1 metric tons,with Russia alone adding 274.3 tons and other notable purchasers being Turkey,Kazakhstan,India ,Iraq and Hungary.

      What does the new Eastern bloc know that our lot doesn’t?!

  25. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    This morning the Guardian is running with this front page headline:

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/feb/01/one-three-uk-firms-activate-plans-move-operations-abroad-no-deal-brexit-iod-survey

    “One in three UK firms plan for Brexit relocation, IoD says”

    With the sub-heading:

    “Survey finds surge of smaller companies activating plans to move operations abroad”

    The body of the article starts:

    “Nearly one in three British businesses are planning to relocate some of their operations abroad or have already shifted them to cope with a hard Brexit, according to a leading lobby group.”

    However it continues:

    “The Institute of Directors (IoD) warned that 29% of firms in a survey of 1,200 members believed Brexit posed a significant risk to their operations in the UK and had either moved part of their businesses abroad already or were planning to do so.”

    So the survey is not of “UK firms” or “British businesses” in general, but only members of the Institute of Directors.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institute_of_Directors#Membership

    “There are currently 30,000 IoD members in the UK and overseas, with an additional 2,500 student members. Anybody who has an interest in business, is running a business, sits on a board or runs their own company can join the IoD.”

    So for their survey the Institute has somehow taken a 1,200 sample of 32,500 members, which may or may not be a representative sample, but of even greater concern is whether those 1,200 are a representative sample of all businesses in the UK:

    https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN06152/SN06152.pdf

    “In 2018, there were 5.7 million private sector businesses in the UK”

    So the survey sample is 3.7% of the IoD membership but only 0.02% of the total number of private sector businesses in the UK, and a sample which we can be sure will be far from random or representative … well, given that only about 6% of UK businesses are involved in exporting to the rest of the EU it did seem a bit unlikely from the start that a third of UK firms are planning to relocate some of their operations.

    We hear a lot about the lies supposedly told by Leave campaigners, so I wonder whether Remoaners have any thoughts about this brazen attempt to mislead the public.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      Now I read here:

      https://www.iod.com/news-campaigns/news/articles/Nearly-a-third-of-firms-looking-overseas-due-to-Brexit

      “64% of IoD members export to the EU”

      which is an order of magnitude greater than for UK businesses as a whole.

      • acorn
        Posted February 1, 2019 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        Denis, I take it that “statistical sampling” was not your major at University. For a survey of 30,000 members, 1,200 respondents, would give you a 2.8% margin of error for a 95% confidence limit. The survey was of IoD members alone. “… only 0.02% of the total number of private sector businesses …” is irrelevant.

        A General Election poll of 46 million voters to give the standard 3% margin of error for a 95% confidence level, is circa 1,100 respondents. Ask YouGov.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 2, 2019 at 8:55 am | Permalink

          Perhaps you did not read the bit about “and a sample which we can be sure will be far from random or representative”.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      Again, thanks DC for exposing the lie behind this story.

      That’s the rudimentary truth of those that try and use maths to prove a point that they don’t understand themselves…

      Was that 64% of the 1200 sampled?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 2, 2019 at 8:56 am | Permalink

        Of IoD members.

  26. Dominic
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    As we can see, being a member of the EU is not a panacea for a sclerotic economy. A nation’s productivity is determined by many things. Being a member of the EU is NOT of them.

    Depose May
    Elect a Eurosceptic leader our party
    Get us out of the EU on a hard Brexit
    Slash regulations, business tax and income tax
    Inject energy and activity into the economy and please someone, anyone remove overt political interference in the private sector

    A government’s job is to create the necessary conditions for wealth creation. Trying to take credit for economic growth when the praise should be directed towards business in the real world is disingenuous and utterly shameless

    Less politics
    More private

    Give us our freedoms back, destroy liberal left fascism and dismantle Labour’s client state

    • John Hatfield
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

      Well said Dominic.

  27. RICHARD J MOORE
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    So today we here one third of British companies are planning for a no-deal Brexit re-location.

    No doubt those afflicted with denialism will spout more ‘project fear’ nonsense.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      Or they will look at the facts, see above. You might like to try it some time.

    • Brit
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      It is a pity those companies do not concentrate in running their businesses effectively then they would not need to have complaint staff in call-centres outnumbering their peeved productive workforce

    • Dennisa
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      The nonsense is in the “project fear” presentation of the claim. The reality is many firms are establishing european premises, a totally different story.

      There, see, another denialist for you.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 2:49 pm | Permalink
  28. Adam
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Gilet Jaune is an intelligent uniform for effective display of protestation. French police in attempting to disperse crowds or prevent disorder should not use aggressive weaponry for such purposes. They should plan & deploy techniques which are efficient in achieving civil order without harming the citizens their purpose exists to protect.

  29. Matt
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    The ‘Gilet Jaune’ rioting is virtually nothing to do with ‘fuel prices’. Some of the hard core of the rioters want to ban cars altogether.

    These riots are all to do with the mob rule which has always characterised French politics since the Renaissance.

    The French are very much like John Redwood. They think that as long as the state organises (and where it suits them ‘de-regulates’) everything, in particular way, directs borrowing into this and that, and manages demand we can all live happily ever after at.

    But it’s not economic micro management that’s at fault. It’s John Redwood’s socialist Keynesian world view itself. It’s impossible for the state to do the things he thinks it can.

    Neither is there anything ‘ironic’ about the rioters being associated with something that’s regulated.

    Many of them are fascists of all persuasions themselves who want to regulate everything.

    John Redwood’s obsession with getting the state to incite people to borrow and waste yet more money, on buying yet more imported cars, is nonsensical.

    It’s this very borrow – borrow – borrow – spend – spend – spend, state managerial mentality, which has led France (in their case the state) into the debt and regulation that’s at the centre of the French malais.

  30. margaret howard
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Nothing has anything to do with Brexit! Not the headline in today’s Guardian

    “Fear of Hard Brexit pushes 1 in 3 firms to plan move abroad” or the chief executive of Airbus warning of massive job losses or all the other industry warnings – all Remain propaganda.

    How much more will it need before diehard Brexiteers admit they are bringing this country to the edge?

    ReplyJobs up, better growth than Germany

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      Just wait until JR has moderated my prior comment on that Guardian article … actually I have since emailed the Institute of Directors as follows:

      “Nearly a third of firms looking overseas due to Brexit”

      “I assumed that the Guardian had misrepresented what you were saying, but now I find that you yourselves have originated this lie.

      Don’t you think it a bit odd that only about 6% of UK businesses export to the rest of the EU, but a third of UK businesses are planning to relocate some of their operations?

      Could it have something to do with IoD members being about ten times more likely to be involved in exporting to the EU than the average UK business?

      “64% of IoD members export to the EU.””

      I await their reply.

      Of course you will uncritically swallow any Remoaner propaganda.

    • Brit
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      The Guardian has become even worse and silly than its original promise. “It’s not a serious and quality newspaper” used to be a posh persons cliche. It still is in wording and tone. But the working class as The Guardian would term it, merely says it’s b/s

    • margaret howard
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      “Jobs up, better growth than Germany”

      Oh dear. I think Rien Huizer answers you best above.

    • Posted February 1, 2019 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      The Guardian? Are there still people who believe every word in that ‘news’paper? Amazing.
      Nice one, Mr Cooper.

  31. Turboterrier
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    You can cjut the mustard anyway you want but thee kos no escaping the fact that the state of our car industry is solely responsible to a Mr Gove and his knee jerk reaction over air pollution and the Greens screaming for an all electric world. One must learn to think, absorb, dissect the information before opening one’s mouth. Clearly Mr Goveis incapable of understanding such a simple process.

  32. ian
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    I see that the UK PMI is down to 52.8, I view that as a very good performance considering what’s happening in the UK car industry.

  33. NickW
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    I find it astonishing that those in favour of remaining in the EU are completely blind to the economic, social, and political degradation taking place in front of their eyes.

    It as if remaining in the EU represents some kind of religious fervour totally unaffected by reality.

    It is time that the remainiacs were asked to explain themselves.

  34. Davies
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    I have an old school friend who lives in France who showed me an aggregated set of videos, dozens of them showing what looked to me like severe police violence causing some of the injuries you describe.

    In some cases deliberate targeting of children happening to walk past a demonstration and being attacked by the police.

    I know videos can be edited to omit what went on before etc but I think there will be severe legal consequences here when the dust settles.

    Time will tell.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted February 2, 2019 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      @ Davies

      Is your friend’s name Mr You Tube?

  35. Stred
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    On the Con Home site today, there is an article about the forthcoming extended Ultra Low Emission Zone. The writer is miffed that he bought a hybrid to do his bit and now it will be banned. My new diesel, purchased as advised with an E6 engine is also banned, as are many vans, bought on government advice recently.
    In the comments it is pointed out that the figures given by the government show that the extension of lifespan, itself calculated using disputed data, is in days over an 80 year residence in the zone for particulate pollution, taking the current proportion of diesel cars. This is similar to my own calculation from the Up in the Air document by The Trust for London.

    And so, the car industry is being wrecked in order to satisfy bogus green propaganda about unreal numbers of deaths. The latest findings based on one death from asthma will be used to ban more cars and vans but will probably not make any difference, as there will still be particulates, as 60% come from tyres and brakes and there is always, as ever, background pollution.

  36. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted February 2, 2019 at 1:48 am | Permalink

    Nevertheless, we do need a package of measures to improve air quality in our cities and towns. If we clean up motor cars, we need to clean up buses too. Mr Redwood would make a name for himself if he suggested a suitable package – one that wasn’t too expensive for tax payers.

    • Stred
      Posted February 2, 2019 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      What is the point of banning up to date diesel vans, cars and taxis if, according to the government technical documents, the increase in lifespan will not be measurable and people suffering from asthma and COPD will still be affected by other sources of particulates? The reason for Khan’s enthusiasm is the huge tax take. My neighbours who are engineers already pay £35 a day and updated their vans in 2015. Next year the will have to pay even more. Few taxi drivers can afford £57k or the rental for the new hybrid taxi.

  37. Richard
    Posted February 2, 2019 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    In other news, another Tory Brexit buffoon makes a complete ass of himself with WW2 bullcarp. Dan Kaczynski Tory MP claims the UK didn’t benefit from the US Marshall Plan, but Germany did. As if this is even relevant 70+ years later, let alone true.
    Perhaps this is why the BBC struggles to find Brexiters to fill their panels to provide ‘balance’. They all get ripped apart now the BBC appears to be finally getting it’s act together after 2 years of petty much unchallenged nonsense from brexiters.

  • About John Redwood


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

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