Can populists govern as populists?

We have two good examples of populists now in power. In the USA Mr Trump is seeking to remodel government  in line with his promises to the American people. In Italy a populist coalition between Lega and Cinque Stelle struggles to keep to its pledges to the Italian people.

Mr Trump’s early months in office were afflicted by a reluctance of departments of government to implement his wishes. Secretaries of State and other senior officials he had appointed allowed the media to run a story that “grown ups” were still in charge of the Administration. Someone briefed that people could safely discount the President’s tweets and views, as these were not what the government was doing. Mr Trump soon worked out that you have to be in power as well as in office if you wish to get things done. He embarked on removing a number of the senior people in the government who did not get on with his tasks, seeking a team of people who would reflect his wishes and would stick to the campaign promises he made.

The governing establishment seemed to think using tariffs to seek better deals around the world was not the done thing. Mr Trump pushed on with the strategy and found a Commerce Secretary, a Treasury Secretary and a Secretary of State who accepted the direction of travel. Some of the Pentagon and State department seem to favour more military action in the Middle East. Mr Trump has been very careful to use minimum power and only in response to a military provocation. As he himself says, he is not a warmonger and would prefer the USA to be at peace.

There are times when the President’s tactical changes to try to get advantage in negotiations with foreign interests make it difficult for the relevant government department to keep up. The departments have got better at keeping quiet when the President is on manoeuvres to gain improvements, as with the tariff threat to Mexico to get them to provide more policing of their borders. Mr Trump’s wish to have wide ranging tax cuts was more of a mainstream policy which government  and Congress co-operated in, with a successful outcome.

Mr Trump seems to show that a determined politician who wants to keep his word to the electors can make a reluctant governing machine do much of what he wishes. Conscious that a network of international treaties, the so called international rules based system, can impede the US ambitions for fairer trade or faster growth, the President has been prepared to bend or remove international obstacles to an America First jobs based strategy. Faced with an often hostile Congress he has made full use of Presidential executive power and special role in international affairs.

In contrast under the much more comprehensive and stifling EU rules the Italian populist coalition has found it difficult to keep its promises. The wide ranging tax cuts Lega favours and the substantial basic income guarantee Cinque wants have proved difficult against EU enforced budget rules. The leaders of the two parties were forced to be Deputy Prime Ministers, with a PM over them acceptable to the EU with the force to keep Italy in the EU and Euro system. The government’s wish to have a tougher  migration policy has come up against the EU rules and requirements. The government’s wish to rebuild the infrastructure and invest more in the economy is thwarted by debt and deficit controls.

The Syriza experiment in Greece  ended in failure for the radical left party, unable to break out of the financial controls imposed by the Euro area because they ultimately would not or could not walk away from the Euro and establish an independent Greek economic policy. Italy is experiencing a similar dilemma. To do the things its government would like to do would require exit from the Euro. The populists are not willing to do something that big and might not have popular support if they tried it. The break up of the Soviet Union showed that it was quite possible for countries to leave a currency bloc and have different economic policies that worked well in a matter of months after exit. Current members of the Euro do not seem to think that would be possible or desirable in their case, so they will fail to be populists in power despite being  in office. The power of an official machine to wear down all but the most energetic and determined of Minsters and Presidents is well known. So far no-one in the EU has succeeded in governing as  a populist with an agenda they can implement.


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  1. Pominoz
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 5:15 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    Trump did, indeed recognise almost immediately that if he wanted to get something done – something that he promised in his campaign – he needed to have the right people around him. He was much criticised in the US media, but he is thick-skinned, and canny, enough to be able to ignore it. He has delivered in spades. Our next PM must be of the same mettle.

    I see that candidates have been nominated for the top jobs in the European Commission. These are hardly populists, being, in the main, the secondary choices of just 28 individuals. Interesting that they include a motley selection of criminals and high-level failures, all voted for by Theresa May. Not our problem once we are out – but it does not bode well, in my opinion, for a positive outlook for the EU. Still, with immunity from prosecution for any future wrongdoings, they are all, no doubt, looking forward to a rosy future on the personal front.

    Very much enjoyed reading your upbeat article on I do hope that your optimism is proven to be well founded come 31st October. There are quite a few names being bandied about in the MSM for Chancellor under, hopefully, Boris. Your name seems, so far to be missing. I really hope that you are in the running.

    Reply Some people put their own names into the newspapers but that may not help them nor reflect the views of the future PM. The next PM will appoint the person he wants. I don’t suppose anyone would turn the job down if offered.

    • Pominoz
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply.

      I like the coded response in your last sentence. As you know, there are many here who continually hope to remind Boris (please let it be him) of your excellent credentials.

  2. GilesB
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    Trump was initially hobbled by the administration. As he is not a career politician and didn’t get full support from the Republican Party, he had not spent years planning his appointments. And a US President has to make thousands of appointments. Obviously some appointments were poor in terms of aspiration, competence and character, and in some cases all three. These are being weeded out and Trump’s effectiveness and impact is steadily increasing.

    He knows difficult problems have to be addressed. Sometimes indirectly. His supporters were right to take his promises seriously but not literally, unlike his opponents who do the opposite.

    In the EU the elite continue with their goal of making everything either mandatory or forbidden. There is no room for freedom. Marianne and Margaret must be turning in their graves

    • L Jones
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      I recall, before he was elected, Mr Trump stated that he was not a ‘politician’ and that he wouldn’t talk the way they do, and that wouldn’t be liked.

      (By the way – the words ”EU” and ”elite” together make an oxymoron.
      They THINK they’re ”elite” – we shouldn’t keep telling them they are.)

    • Hope
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      What a stupid word populist has become. Used by politicos and media with nuances that in some way that there must be something wrong with whomever wins the most votes. Democracy is built on the majority, although Mayhab has tried to make a mockery in championing minority causes to the det iment of the majority- what could go wrong! She now sounds deranged in still claiming her servitude plan is a good deal and her vindictive character will drive her to say the same from the backbenches.

      Similar to the misuse of entrysim. Politicos using terms as a way of smearing people as if there is something wrong with them rather than the politicos have been caught out or found to be wanting ie. Tory party with the likes of Lee, grieve, Gauke, Rudd, Clarkex2, Harrington, Soubry, Wollaston and Allen. No it is not their character faults and character flaws it is the rest of us who found them out to be wanting in basic decency.

      JR, you,should know better than to give your opponents credence in what they use and say as weapons against people advocating democracy for the small people.

      • Original Richard
        Posted July 5, 2019 at 12:41 am | Permalink

        Lee, Grieve, Gauke, Rudd, Clarkex2, Harrington, Soubry, Wollaston and Allen are the “entryists”.

  3. Peter Wood
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    You have still not addressed the EU top jobs selection, for why? Surely the spectacle we have just witnessed in Brussels, the backroom deals to put the place-man/woman in the job where they will do as instructed. Watching Mr. Merkel and the man running France negotiating over who will get what, without a shred of concern about how this apears to democratic populations. Surely it is worthy of comment?
    My comment – Another German in the top job at the EU — Germany beats France,, Again.

    • ChrisS
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      It’s worse than that, Peter.

      The backroom deal between Macron and Merkel sees French woman, Christine Lagarde as head of the ECB and German Ursula Von der Leyen.

      Once again the old firm of France and Germany, have sorted the two big power jobs amongst themselves, sidelining the other 26 member states.

      All countries in the EU are supposedly equal but is there any doubt that some are more equal than others ?

    • margaret howard
      Posted July 5, 2019 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      Peter Wood

      The spectacle we have just witnessed in Brussels?

      Compared to our spectacle here with about 120 000 establishment figures forcing a prime minister on us when we have no vote until the next general election in 3 years time?

      And we are a country, not a trading bloc of 28 independent democratic countries incl 2 (Italy and Greece) with the oldest democracies in the world.

  4. Mark B
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    First let me wish our Trans-atlantic cousins a happy independence day. We too would be celebrating such but we were denied, not by force of arms but, lack of political will.

    Our kind host mention a very important difference between those of President Trump and Prime Minister Salvini. President Trump is in power, were as, Prime Minister Salvini is merely in office. This is why I want to Leave the EU, so that those we elect can act on, and for, our behalf. What did you Remainers vote for ?

    • L Jones
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      I don’t think many remainers know what they actually did vote for three years ago. Many seem to think that ”freedom of movement” is something to do with Spanish holidays, or their children being able to work in a bar in Greece. Others, like Andy, think there was a status quo that had a lot to do with his/her bank balance and self-interest, but now are unable to acknowledge that the EU is continually morphing into something very unpleasant.
      And the confusion between ‘Europe’ and ‘the EU’ is STILL apparent.

      • Nicky Roberts
        Posted July 4, 2019 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

        Yes conversations I have had with remainers always surprise me. Some who are adamant that another vote should be taken have no understanding of the single market or customs union, or the trips to Strasbourg for no reason at all and costing hundreds of thousands a year. I find this very odd. One neighbour told me that if we left the EU we would only be defended by two submarines in Scotland!

    • margaret howard
      Posted July 5, 2019 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

      Mark B

      “This is why I want to Leave the EU, so that those we elect can act on, and for, our behalf.”

      And meanwhile you are quite happy that about 120 000 establishment figures from the shires appoint the next prime minister for us while we have no vote in the matter until the next election in 2020? 3 years without a democratic vote?

      Can you name a single democracy where this is allowed And you lot rail against an ‘undemocratic EU’ ?

  5. formula57
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    Whilst the Evil Empire’s placement (Mattaralla, Conte, and Tria) have their feet on Italy’s windpipe, it will struggle to save itself.

    Italian officialdom must owe some monies the UK for some reason. The UK ought to help by insisting settlement is made in newly-minted mini-Bots. Such an opportunity to attack the soft underbelly of the Evil Empire and land a blow from which it may never recover! There is populism in power!

    • agricola
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Our blow is to leave the EU. How effective it is as a blow is in the hands of the EU, who on current indications have every chance of shooting themselves in the foot. It is the UKs responsibility to make a great success of Brexit to give courage to any EU countries wavering on continued membership.

    • acorn
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      As JR says, the breakup of the 15 Soviet Union states using the Ruble, took about three years to reach a sort of level of stability. The first few years of each state having a “new to the world” sovereign currency was socio-economically painful; but, long term they will be much better off; they will be proper sovereign countries.

      A similar process could be used to break up the Euro currency into 19 sovereign currencies, while leaving outstanding Euro acting as tax credits. I can’t see any other way to go. The Eurozone / EU27 goes totally federal US style; or, it gets broken up.

      BTW Both UK and Eurozone economies are hovering on the point of recession as a consequence of government budget deficits, being too small relative to their current account (imports) deficits. The EU has the economy killing, idiotic, stability and growth pact, which the UK Conservative government has turbo-charged into austerity plus plus.

  6. Dominic
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    The lexicon of politics continues to regurgitate meaningless expressions whose intention is not to illuminate and educate but to slander and defame. As such, the term populism is useful only insofar as it defames your opponent

    New Labour came to power in 1997. Today, that cancer of a political party is still governing and dictating events with the use of its client state, its Quangocracy and its political appointees. In fact, New Labour were so successful that even the Tory party and the Tory government came and still comes under its spell.

    So if a Tory government is returned to power with a Commons majority or my hope, a Tory-BP coalition it would be legitimate for such a government to implement without apology and with determination and resolution the total destruction of Labour’s power structures, including the total removal of pro-EU political appointees, the degrading of the BBC, the abolition of Labour’s Quangos and the targeting of all union and left-wing funding mechanisms

    I believe Eurosceptic voters want to see a PM that is viciously resolute, aggressive and confrontational. We are tired of pandering to the left, pandering to the EU and pandering to political activism

    We know that if Hunt is elected leader then the march of the liberal left will continue and our EU membership will continue. That’s unacceptable though it would be a boon for the BP

    If Johnson is elected pro-EU forces in the Commons will try and bring him down within weeks. If he’s going to be a success he needs to dispense with the idiotic conviviality and become overtly confrontational. No more the apologist.

    If Johnson continues to pander he’ll fail. To see him and the other 4 hopeless Tory candidates on his knees capitulating to (*an opponent ed) from Gloucester was the most humiliating thing I have seen for years. When will Tory MPs understand that you don’t apologise to activists and opponents, you go on the attack

  7. agricola
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    Should the UK government become responsive to the will of the people rather than the vested interests that have traditionally guided them, they might then become “populist”

    Would that populist government have the courage to drain the swamp, as has Donald Trump. I personally doubt it. The two main beasts of the swamp are the civil service top echelon, who have allowed themselves to become political, and the BBC. The latter supported by direct taxation and financial contributions from the EU have become a political party acting without responsibility.

    Once the dust has settled on Brexit, both swamp beasts must be tackled. One could consider making employment within either organisation subject to contract. Break the contract and you are out. It should be made clear to both that they are drinking in the last saloon in town. Failure to recognise this should lead to the Trump solution for the Civil Service and privatisation of the News and Current Affairs department of the BBC.

    Populist is a demeenable label for Democratic. It should be encouraged. At a lower level in the chain, MPs should be responsive to their electorate in the five years between elections. Mine has not been and as far as I am concerned he has broken his contract with both his constituency, his manifesto and the majority in the country. As a fifth columnist, who has participated in government to thwart the will of the people, he loses my vote.

    • nhsgp
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      Or simply put into the HRA the right of consent.

      Then you can say no to the state, and no means no.

      For the more deluded, they can of course, say yes.

    • oldtimer
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      You make good points. My MP, Dominic Grieve, has strayed too.

      Re the final round of the contest between Johnson and Hunt it is easy to discern the differences between the two; Johnson the populist and Hunt the establishment candidate (“May in trousers”). It is accompanied by the none too subliminal message that Hunt will be more likely to stitch up a deal with the EU and less likely to provoke a vote of no confidence in the HoC. This latter point is reinforced by the none too subtle hint from Hammond that he could not be relied on to support a no deal outcome. Hunt’s campaign essentially relies on this proposition. It is weakened by the latest poll that puts Labour on 18%, its lowest ever.

  8. agricola
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    The problem for the populist parties in Italy and Greece is that their countries are “Dependents”. They want what they see as the security of the Euro and the handouts from the ECB. They are irrelevant in the scheme of things, except as an irritant, until they have the courage to go self employed.

  9. J Bush
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Many people had reservations about Trump’s ability during the election campaign and when first elected. I wonder whether it was his typical Yank loud and brash character that clouded their opinion. But credit where it is due, in his determination to uphold the promises he made, he has surprised many. He has made a positive impact on the lives of many Americans and challenged those Countries, who under the previous President were ‘encouraged’ to use unfair trading tactics, to the detriment of America.

    There are of course those who will never agree with his direction, because he refuses to pander to illogical or invasive ideology and all credit to him. And there are those who probably hate him because he refuses to bow to NWO and Global government dictats that emanate from the likes of the UN etc.

    He is as you say, what people term as populist. I understand that to mean he is popular, because he respects and upholds democracy and pushes to achieve the promises he made to the American people. I wonder if that is why so many of our ‘politicians’ here keep going on about how terrible ‘populism’ is and why they dislike him so much?

  10. Alex
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Trumps tarrifs have certainly succeeded in making Americans pay more for goods and forced some businesses to leave the country due to high raw material costs. His border wall is non existent. His bully boy foreign policy succeeded in alienating everyone and the only reason he hasn’t started a war is he knows that it would destroy his re-election chances. His tax cuts have made the rich richer. As far as I can see he is a failure as a populist and was only ever allowed to win the election to cause further fracturing of American society which he and the Democrat rabble have done to perfection. If he is an example of success then I fear this world is going to get a lot worse than it already is.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      US unemployment is at a historic all time low and GDP growth at a multi-year high. If that’s failure let’s have some of it here.

    • agricola
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      He is an example of work in progress. Decide on how popular he is after the next presidential election.

    • L Jones
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      And his predecessor’s outstanding achievements were….?

      • hefner
        Posted July 4, 2019 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        Whether there were any or not, you are too biased to even consider them. The problem is not so much populist leaders (as in a first stage they mostly start with trying to improve the welfare of people) but the wave of demented talks and acts coming afterwards released by those politicians’ talks.
        How can one take Ann Widdecombe’s exit from slavery talk in the EU parliament seriously?
        It should be a shame for all British people, and it is very unlikely that such behaviour from the Brexit Party MEPs will help in whatever future trade talks with the EU27.

        • libertarian
          Posted July 4, 2019 at 6:07 pm | Permalink


          What should be a shame for all British people?

        • formula57
          Posted July 4, 2019 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

          @ hefner “How can one take Ann Widdecombe’s exit from slavery talk in the EU parliament seriously?”

          Well I did not find it that hard, given she said: –

          ““There is a pattern consistent throughout history of oppressed people turning on the oppressors. Slaves against their owners, the peasantry against the feudal barons, colonies Mr. Verhofstadt against their empires! And that is why Britain is leaving.”

        • L Jones
          Posted July 4, 2019 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

          We’ll ”consider them” if you tell us what they were.

          Most of us feel that pussy-footing in the EU Parliament is not the way to go – otherwise we shall always be walked over and sniggered at by your discourteous and arrogant EU masters.

          Good for Ms Widdecombe that she has the passion to put her (and our) opinions forward in such a short time. I’m not ashamed. I’m glad that we have people to give voice that are not yes-men. (And women.)
          ”Exit from slavery”? Well – yes, and now let’s debate it.

    • mickc
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      The USA doesn’t need the friendship of other states. Trump is the first stage of the USA retreat into isolationism.
      It will learn that costs of empire far outweigh the benefits.

      • Mitchel
        Posted July 4, 2019 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        That’s my view too.Interesting to note that the tone of essays and reports from the institutes and think tanks of the US foreign policy establishment has become quite fatalistic over the past year;titles like “End of hubris”,”What comes after the Pax Americana?” and the front cover of Foreign Policy magazine for July/August,just out-“What happened to the American Century?”with a graphic of a bald eagle perched precariously on the end of a branch/twig,shedding its’ feathers.The exceptionalists seem to be losing their voice.

        • Mitchel
          Posted July 5, 2019 at 11:21 am | Permalink

          And another one out on Foreign this morning:

          “What happens after the Transatlantic Alliance?”

      • L Jones
        Posted July 4, 2019 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

        The world has to hope that America doesn’t pull up the drawbridge.
        The world would be the loser.

      • libertarian
        Posted July 6, 2019 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

        mock michael

        But interestingly Trump hasn’t bombed the bejazuz out of anyone yet. So I think that the USA will have a far better reputation aroundd the world than it did under Obama, Bush, Clinton etc

        Or to put it another way I think youre both very wrong about the USA’s standing in the world and correct about empire building protectionism like the EU implements being a massive negative internationally

    • John C.
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

      Allowed to win the election. What an odd phrase. Bit sinister.

  11. Roy Grainger
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Radical views there John, suggesting that Trump has done anything that is not 100% evil and wrong. The latest moan from USA is that his diplomatic efforts with Kim Jong Un (which have de-escalated the crisis with North Korea he inherited) are merely “normalising tyranny”. Of course if Obama had been pictured with Kim he’d have won a second Nobel Peace prize. In USA, and here, what you say is deemed much more important than what you do – so Boris is portrayed as a homophobe for a magazine article he wrote even though he has broken three-line whips to vote in favour of gay rights (Corbyn abstained).

    • agricola
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      I think the word you are looking for is hypochracy.

  12. Newmania
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    Yes indeed, even if, by overwhelming plebiscitary authority you have created the position of Fuhrer, it will do you limited good until you have found a ‘final solution’ to enemies in Parliament ( obviously ) but also the judiciary academia arts broadcasting , always one of the first , or ignored the International framework of, let us say, the Versailles Treaty.

    • sm
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      Newmania, I suppose you want to make a point, but for the life of me, I cannot understand what it is, despite 3 readings of your post (not something I would normally bother to do, but I’m waiting in for a tradesman who is late…)

    • formula57
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      The speed and pervasiveness of the Nazi takeover of Germany was astonishing, as cogently described by Karl Bracher in his book” The German Dictatorship”. Recall it was as soon as 23, March 1933 (less than two months after becoming Chancellor) that Hitler presented the Reichstag with an enabling law empowering him to rule by decree. There was clearly no question of being in office but not in power.

      • hefner
        Posted July 4, 2019 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, but he had been moving in slowly but surely since 1919.

        • formula57
          Posted July 4, 2019 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

          I meant having captured the levers of government (albeit with only two important jobs in the Cabinet), the Nazis acted with great celerity to consolidate their command of the state.

          Certainly Hitler had been active in German politics since 1919 but all his efforts could so easily have come to nought.

    • agricola
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      The WA is as odious as the Versailles Treaty. Were it adopted the result would be political upheaval the like of which we have not experienced since the Civil War. Both I observe promoted by the French.

      • hefner
        Posted July 4, 2019 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

        So today’s flavour of the day is French. Yesterday’s was German.

  13. Bryan Harris
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    What I read here is that the ‘EU system’ is not designed to allow any freedom in local management of economies, with the EU making sure that everything is tightly run from a central point. This is the opposite of what is optimum.
    Over 46,000 people are employed in EU jobs, with over 32,000 in the Commission alone – This is not small government, but it is ‘rule by bureaucracy’
    It’s not that populist governments will fail, although they probably will in the end, it is the determination of the EU elite to be in control, and how the EU was designed to prevent decisions being made and carried out away from the centre.
    There is nothing wrong with populist parties who have every justification to complain about how the EU is run – It’s just that they get tied up in red tape and goooe.

    • agricola
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      Populist (democratic) parties in dependent nations of the EU, and there are around 20 of them, will fail unless their electorates also agree to ditch the Euro. The Euro and periodic hand outs from the ECB are the umbelical that in effect emasculates the populist/democratic parties. If they are to succeed they must carry their electorates with them in all respects and then have the courage to leave the EU in all aspects. They are the water born tadpole that does not yet realise that as a transformed frog it can live on land and in water.

    • Andy
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      46,000 for a continent of 500m.

      Meanwhile here there are 414,000 civil servants.

      80,000 in the Department for Work and Pensions.

      Scrap the pensions you can scrap a lot of the civil servants.

      • Know-Dice
        Posted July 4, 2019 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

        And how many civil servants are there in the other 27 EU countries?

        EU hands down the orders, local civil servants do the dirty work..

        • Bryan Harris
          Posted July 4, 2019 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

          That really is the point – @Know-Dice – Just why does the EC need so many employees, (can’t call them civil servants because that would suggest they work for us rather than against us), when the dirty work is carried out by local civil servants.

      • Robert mcdonald
        Posted July 4, 2019 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

        46000 bosses in the eu to write out the instructions for the multitudes of civil servants in each nation to implement as ordered. No choice given.

  14. Andy
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile, in Italy – the populists arrested a ship captain and accused her of an ‘act of war’.

    After she rescue 50 or so drowning people from the sea. They were migrants. Their boat sank.

    The captain should have been hailed a hero for saving lives. Instead she was locked up and charged. (The judge threw it out and commended her).

    Like the Trump regime, the Italian regime seeks to dehumanise people.

    Is this what populism means?

    • nhsgp
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      It’s about consent. Governments don’t believe in consent and the EU certainly doesn’t.

      What you are saying is that people should be forced to pay for immigration, They have no rights to say no. If they say no, then the police will go round, cart them off to prison and take their cash anyway.

      That’s why people are saying no. It’s about economics.

      Instead what you want is to dish the money out to economic migrants, and that means more and more come.

      Why shouldn’t those in favour of migration be charged with accessories to the homicides of those killed because they attract people in, who risk their lives?

    • sm
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      Would it not make far more sense for good people such as the ship captain and her organisation to confront the dreadful governments of those countries in Africa, South America and the Middle East that are making life so awful for their own countrymen, who are subjecting themselves to these dangerous migrations?

      Why do so many Mexicans want to flee their home land? Or for that matter, Afghanis or Somalians or Zimbabweans or Malawians? Putting sticking plaster on frequently occurring wounds might be a temporary panacea, but doesn’t address what is causing the damage in the first place.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      Come come. Not exactly accurate now is it?
      Read reports again. Especially the bits about her picking up people in Libya and ramming a police boat!
      Not to mention the fact that she was only put under house arrest and even that has been overturned.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Agree separating children from parents at the Mexican border and keeping them in cages as Obama did seems a bit harsh. He must have been populist too ? It took Trump to repeal those Obama laws – another good thing he’s done.

    • J Bush
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      It had naff all to do with ‘populism’. That the government is run by those considered populist is neither here nor there. The fact is, she broke international law.

      The law required her to take them to the nearest port, which was the one they left.

      She didn’t. Instead she supplied a taxi service for illegals and took them to another country miles away.

      That was why she was arrested and charged. It also sends a clear message to the others who believe they are a law unto themselves.

      • margaret howard
        Posted July 4, 2019 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        J Bush

        “That was why she was arrested and charged. It also sends a clear message to the others who believe they are a law unto themselves.”

        How is that going to work out since the judge threw it out and commended her?

    • Woody
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      And in “saving” 50 she has endangered thousands more who will believe it’s a good thing to pay a fortune to sail in unsafe craft for a possibly safer life … like London, where even Somalians think it’s too dangerous to bring up their young.

    • graham1946
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 10:11 am | Permalink


      You’ve got a nerve considering your views on the elderly, wanting their pensions (which they paid for and are due) taken away so they starve and freeze to death in winter and generally wish them a short life.

      • Andy
        Posted July 4, 2019 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

        Nobody advocates taking away your family and m locking you in an overcrowded concrete cell.

        Though, come to think of it, it might be the best way to deal with some Brexiteers.

        • Edward2
          Posted July 5, 2019 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

          That isn’t what Graham said.
          Your Stalinist attitudes towards those you disagree with come shining through andy

  15. Turboterrier
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    Who wants to keep his word.

    Alas so many of our existing politicians have no concept how to do this let alone what it really means.

  16. Ian Wragg
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    I don’t think either Boris or Hunt will challenge the establishment. Boris has already signed up to the Climate Emergency nonesense
    It will take someone like Farage to show results.
    Unless we are out of the EU by 31st October it will be academic as the Tory Party is finished.

  17. Richard1
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    In the event we are obliged to ‘jump off the cliff’ into WTO Brexit on Nov 1 it seems from the case of Switzerland that the UK will face aggressive and dysfunctional behaviour from the EU, contrary to the clause in the the Lisbon Treaty specifying good neighbourly relations with neighbouring countries.

    Could we for example make a unilateral declaration of free trade, as has worked so well eg in Singapore and Hong Kong, but still use Trumpian tariffs against the EU if we find they behave towards us as they are now doing to Switzerland as they try to force that Country, against the wishes of its people, to become subject to EU economic and legal policies?

  18. hardlymatters
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    As you say America is a mad place- and so is Italy- others say that UK is a mad place and can’t disagree with them on that. On the question of Populism? well a far as I can see all politicians are at it, telling lies and spin, more fake news, anything to climb the greasy pole

  19. William1995
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    I expect Trump to be re elected. Who do we have in British politics who has the guts of Trump to fire the blob and get things done? I sincerely hope it’s Boris Johnson. I suspect not though.

  20. Lifelogic
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Exactly right.

    There is no real democracy for the peoples of countries that are in the EU and EURO.

    Allister Heath today:- The EU is a sham democracy, and its pitiful new leaders are the proof
    Who are they? A pathetic bunch of retreads, failures, and federalists who may now wield immense power.

    • Marcus
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Yeah just like the 800 in HoL and the british civil service, not to mention the Royals, none of whom are elected? And now we have the battle for PM of tge country, Hunt vs Boris, to be elected by 0.2 per cent the population..think we should look to our own set up first.

      • Robert mcdonald
        Posted July 4, 2019 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        And there have been 4 top policy driving, euro consuming jobs assigned by 0.00005% of the eu population.

    • hefner
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic, what have you actually achieved up to now to characterize a Minister since 2005 as retread, failure. And what about Mr Johnson’s achievements? And for that matter, Mr Heath’s contributions to the UK society as a whole?
      I would rather expect (hopelessly I guess) that you would think twice before writing this type of comments.

      • Jiminyjim
        Posted July 4, 2019 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        What nonsense, Hefner. Perhaps you could give us chapter and verse about WHY these new EU leaders are in any way the best for the job? They are every one, people considered to be failures in their own countries and two of them ought to be (pursued further for past misconduct ed)!

        • hefner
          Posted July 4, 2019 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

          So who were your favourites and best for the jobs?

          • libertarian
            Posted July 5, 2019 at 9:52 am | Permalink


            “So who were your favourites and best for the jobs?”

            1) We didn’t get a choice

            2) We dont want ANYONE to do the job , its not necessary

            3) If these failed autocrats hadn’t seized power the EU would still just be a harmonised trading block and not seeking to be an Empire and we wouldn’t be leaving

            Youre welcome

          • hefner
            Posted July 6, 2019 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

            Oops, I forgot, could you please remind me who voted for the leader of the the Brexit Party Ltd. and what its constitution/founding text/whatever is.

    • margaret howard
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 4:03 pm | Permalink


      ” The EU is a sham democracy, and its pitiful new leaders are the proof
      Who are they?”

      I bet European countries envy us our democratic system whereby the 120 000 or so Tory establishment figures present us with either Boris or Jeremy (give them another vote on fox hunting) as our new prime minister.

      Aren’t we lucky people!

      • formula57
        Posted July 4, 2019 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

        Let us keep in mind that the democratic system that is conducting an election now that will deliver up either Mr. Hunt or Mr. Johnson is that of the Conservative Party not the British State. The British state acts via Parliament that would, as normal and conforming to the constitution, in due time select the prime minister.

        Let us recall what Churchill said to Stalin and Roosevelt (iirc at the Yalta Conference) – that he was the only one of the three who could be instantly dismissed from office by the people’s representatives at their whim. Something to envy I suspect.

        • Mitchel
          Posted July 5, 2019 at 9:52 am | Permalink

          Did he actually say that to them or just write it up in his notes?The full quote also refers to the fact that the USA did not have universal suffrage at that time:-

          “Although I was constantly being beaten up as a reactionary,I was the only representative present who could be thrown out at any time by the universal suffrage of my own people and I gloried in that danger.”

          W S Churchill,Yalta Memorandum.

      • libertarian
        Posted July 5, 2019 at 9:55 am | Permalink

        Margaret Howard

        Please point me at one European Country that offers the entire electorate a vote on the leader of each of the parties

        I’ll wait

        Whilst I agree our system isn’t very democratic its a shame that the EU fanbase doesn’t seemed to have bothered about Gordon Brown being handed the role of PM by just ONE person or Jim Callaghan being handed the role of PM by just ONE person

        As each day goes by the bubble dwellers look more and more ridiculous

      • libertarian
        Posted July 5, 2019 at 10:24 am | Permalink


        Its a real pain when you troll for an organisation then they DIASGREE with you and make you look silly isn’t it ?

        “The European parliament’s political groups have united to condemn the selection of the next European Commission president, branding the process an undemocratic stitch-up by national governments.

        EU leaders chose Ursula von der Leyen as their pick to replace Jean-Claude Juncker as the leader of the European Union’s executive branch despite the fact she was not on the ballot paper as a candidate and has no manifesto.

        The European Council effectively ignored the European parliament’s spitzenkandidat, or “lead candidate” system, which was supposed to inject an element of democracy into the selection of commission president – instead nominating the defence minister, who is largely unknown outside Germany”

  21. A.Sedgwick
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Allister Heath – Daily Telegraph today. Answers please from Remoaners e.g. Andy, Newmania, Margaret Howard.

    The EU is corrupt in every sense.

    • Kenny Gray
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      The choices for the EU’s top jobs must be vetted and approved by MEPs, our elected representatives. Remind me who will be installing Mr Johnson as PM. There is a corrupt and undemocratic process on show here but it us not in the EU

      • GilesB
        Posted July 4, 2019 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

        At any time the leader of the opposition can call for a vote of no confidence.

        To carry there has to be sufficient support from our elected representatives.

        If there isn’t sufficient support we have a General Election to select a new Parliament.

        (The detailed process is a bit more complicated)

      • libertarian
        Posted July 5, 2019 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        Kenny Gray

        Er the Tory candidates were vetted and approved by our elected representatives !! Doh !

        Who MIGHT install Boris as PM, thats a job for the ENTIRE Parliament

        You EU fanboys have so little understanding of anything its pitiful

      • libertarian
        Posted July 5, 2019 at 10:26 am | Permalink

        Kenny Gray

        I bet you will feel really stupid when you find out that the New European President wasn’t even on the ballot paper !!! DOH !

        The European parliament’s political groups have united to condemn the selection of the next European Commission president, branding the process an undemocratic stitch-up by national governments.

        EU leaders chose Ursula von der Leyen as their pick to replace Jean-Claude Juncker as the leader of the European Union’s executive branch despite the fact she was not on the ballot paper as a candidate and has no manifesto.

        The European Council effectively ignored the European parliament’s spitzenkandidat, or “lead candidate” system, which was supposed to inject an element of democracy into the selection of commission president – instead nominating the defence minister, who is largely unknown outside Germany

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      Indeed it is.

    • Andy
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      What does he whine about this time? I try to avoid the Torygraph and find Allister Heath a really dull read anyway.

      • Richard1
        Posted July 4, 2019 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

        Yes you must find Allister Heath very tricky. Coherent and logically argued cases for free markets and economic liberalism. I guess you stick to the echo chamber of continuity Remain moaning in the likes of the guardian?

      • margaret howard
        Posted July 4, 2019 at 4:16 pm | Permalink


        ” find Allister Heath a really dull read anyway.”

        That’s probably because, according to Wiki, Heath was born in Mulhouse in Alsace, France. He lived there until the age of 17 when he moved to the UK to study economics at the London School of Economics

        Incidentally Ursula von der Leyen, the new European Commission president is an LSE alumni and she is on record as saying:

        “My aim is the United States of Europe — modelled on federal states like Switzerland, Germany or the U.S.,” Der Spiegel in 2011.

    • L Jones
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      It’s a good article from Allister Heath. It would indeed be interesting to get the Remoaners’ take on it.
      I wonder if we will…..

      • Richard1
        Posted July 4, 2019 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

        See above

  22. Everhopeful
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    The reluctance to tear up treaties seems odd really considering what has been done to European countries..the betrayal and indignities suffered by them.
    Maybe a sort of Stockholm Syndrome? Or sheer cowardice? Maybe the Dodos were cowards rather than just flightless?
    It is scarcely…looking at our own parliament…as if mere RULES mattered any more.
    So why not a free for all?
    Where are the heroes when you want them??
    Busy counting their “bungs” mayhap?

  23. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    The Maidenhead Advertiser has published my most recent letter:

    under the heading:

    “Irish backstop leading us to no-deal Brexit”.

    Highlighting the recent revelation that the European Commission has instructed all the customs authorities across the EU, including the Irish authority, not to engage with the UK over possible ‘alternative arrangements’ for the Irish border.

    Next to my letter and occupying twice as many column inches there is an opinion article by somebody whose name I do not recognise, headed:

    “Price of leaving EU is too high”,

    rehearsing some of the same old rubbish we heard before the referendum, which Theresa May has been only too happy to see not only left in circulation unchallenged but refreshed and reinforced by ministers and civil servants of her government.

    • alexP
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      Denis, the Irish did not make the border, same as the Irish did not vote for Brexit. But we can see if you persist with a no deal departure then, who knows? result could be the break up of the UK itself. And don’t forget if UK breaks up along with it will go Gibraltar and every other remaining British outpost that took hundreds of years to put together. “price of leaving EU is too high” – yes but it is only the start of it

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted July 4, 2019 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        The Irish people voted for the Lisbon Treaty, INCLUDING THE NEWLY CREATED EXIT CLAUSE ARTICLE 50 TEU, WHICH WAS SPECIFICALLY MENTIONED DURING THE CAMPAIGN, admittedly on the second time of asking, and so their government should not seek to be obstructive if another member state chooses to make use of that clause. Moreover the Irish people have voted for a EU treaty article requiring the EU to foster good relations with other European countries, and so their government should cease and desist from unnecessarily stirring up fabricated difficulties with the UK.

  24. Lifelogic
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Jeremy Hunt, on radio 4 wants ‘to set an example of tackling all “prejudice” within the our party with an enquiry into Islamophobia. Sounds like a political disaster shooting the party in the foot to me. Whose definition of what is “prejudice” will he use for this? Will Boris be reprimanded?

    Personally I am rather mistrusting of all religious belief systems and leaders (for what I consider to be perfectly sound and rational reasons. Look at the many irrational lunacies that the recent Archbishop’s of Canterbury and Popes have come out with?

    Mrs May, for example, clearly wanted to encourage active and real discrimination against men with her laws on gender pay, Cressida Dick states that want the London police to reflect the “diversity” of the London population (rather than employing the best people for the job). You clearly cannot do both.

    • Beecee
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      The Boris Burka comment was first aired on BBC’s Have I Got News For You, and nobody thought it a problem then – but prejudice against Boris turns it into a problem.

      We live in sad times!

  25. Lifelogic
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Very sorry to hear of the death of Christopher Booker. He did not get everything right by any means, but was exactly right and on Climate Alarmism and the huge costs and damage this unscientific, left wing religion has done and the absurd position of the anti-scientific and endless propaganda from the BBC on this issue.

    His books such as:- The Mad Officials: How The Bureaucrats Are Strangling Britain, Scared To Death: From BSE To Global Warming, Why Scares Are Costing Us The Earth, The Real Global Warming Disaster and others are excellent. A shame no one in government took any notice at all.

    The red tape spewing, greencrap and other government lunacy continues totally unabated. At least Trump is sound on this and making progress with huge benefits to the US economy.

    • rose
      Posted July 5, 2019 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

      There is a video of him giving a lecture in Glastonbury on CO2, global warming, and the hockey stick fraud. You can search for it on Youtube.

  26. Jumeirah
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Trump is not a politician and I don’t believe he would ever believe that he is one nor would he want to be one. HE is a businessman – the CEO running the most powerful Corporation the world has ever seen and it is clear from what he has done so far (and what he has told America and the world that he will do) that every decision he makes is based on that – there is no room for niceties ; very very little compromise; absolutely NO appeasement; fearless and ruthless in the pursuit of his aims; expects (through his tweets) criticism but simply ignores it when it comes ; will not tolerate dissent within his Boardroom Team (on side or out) and acts swiftly and aggressively when that happens. HE GETS THE HARD THINGS DONE and in doing so puts his Country FIRST. Our politicians most importantly PMs (past and particularly present) would appear to have been influenced in their decision making by ‘outside’ influences and succumbed leaving our Nation hamstrung and tied to foreign political ideologies over which we have little control nor indeed influence and THAT is a disgrace.

  27. Gareth Warren
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Trump has done well to both keep his promises and return the economy to growth,his attitude of not caring about what others feel has underpinned many successful deals for the USA.

    I hope Boris can see and learn from this, here we are a lot more politically correct in the UK but I sense the BBC view on subjects such as illegal immigration and foreign aid differ widely from the general public. The very trust in the media has been largely destroyed due to new labour spin, the second gulf war and financial crises.

    A good target to stand up to is China, they treat countries they perceive as weaker then them poorly, internally they are very nationalistic so naturally do not buy foreign products.

    Another similar target is the EU, the new faces in charge look no more competent then the departing ones. The winebag Junker being replaced by the German defense minister who presided without shame over a military forced to practice with broomsticks instead of guns.

    I expect them to treat us very unfairly, not due to our actions but because it is their way as Switzerland shows. We should in return treat them fairly but refuse to get into negotiations and instead publicly pursue FTA’s with other countries responding with like for like reprisals with any attempt to offer us less than WTO treatment.

    This will be seen positively in the UK, and understood as consequences of EU actions by the EU populations.

  28. Peter
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Hang on, let me get this straight. You’re saying that structures like the EU provide a system of checks and balances that prevent populist politicians like Trump from being able to do what they want without being blocked. Fine. But you’re saying… that this is a bad thing?

    • agricola
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      The totalitarian EU does its damnedest to ensure that populist/democratic movements are stiffled at birth in financially dependant nations under its umbrella. There are about 20 such nations within the EU. They would have a bigger problem with the other 8, witness their response to the UK leaving.

  29. William Long
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    I think you have set out very clearly that a populist can be very effective so long as the government he (or she) leads is truly sovereign, or he is prepared to make that government so. I should be very interested to know whether you consider that Mrs Thatcher would have qualified as a ‘Populist’ were she in office now? She is a very good illustration of the level of determination and grit that it takes to prevail against the elite, and even she did not fully succeed as we know from the NHS and the fact we are still in the EU.

  30. MickN
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Do you all realise that it is 263 years to the day when the USA crashed out of the British Empire with no deal. Jumping off a cliff doesn’t seem to have hurt them too much.

    • MickN
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      That is of course 243 years. Oops! sorry for the typo.

      • Andy
        Posted July 4, 2019 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

        Great comparison.

        Except that for the first 150 of those years the United States was subordinate to Britain.

        Leaving a union never goes well in the short or medium term – and rarely in the long term either.

        • Edward2
          Posted July 5, 2019 at 6:22 am | Permalink

          That’s not correct Andy.
          About five years after the Declaration of Independence America became a proud free nation subordinate to no one.
          That is all that matters.
          That was what the people desired.
          For better or for worse.
          We here in the UK are just three years into that process.

        • libertarian
          Posted July 5, 2019 at 10:01 am | Permalink


          You need to try reading a history book

  31. Chris
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    It is important to realise that President Trump employs people to carry out a specific task in a Department, and when that is done, he will ensure that the next step is carried out by the person best suited to doing that. It is not always the same person. Those who do not understand how Trump operates, and succeeds, criticise him for not keeping staff and attempt to imply that things are shambolic. They are not. P Trump knows exactly what he is doing and whom he wants for a job.

    True there are many obstacles put in place by the deep state, in the form of implanted personnel, and there are betrayals of P Trump, necessitating change of personnel. Also important to realise is that the corruption was so deep in the swamp that P Trump could not simply remove all the bad guys at once. Lastly, P Trump expects the best and if someone is just not up to the task P Trump will remove them.

  32. Fed up with the bull
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Celebrations in the USA today and they take every opportunity to knock Trump. Will it ever stop. If Obama had put on the kind of show Trump is then it would be fine.

    If Boris screws Brexit up and doesn’t drain the swamp and get rid of most of the current cabinet then the Tory party may as well pack up and go home.

    Loved the last column in the Telegraph by Christopher Booker yesterday.

    • Andy
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      Obama would never have put on this ‘kind of show’ as you call it.

      It’s a military parade the likes of which we usually see in Russia, China, North Korea.

      • Mitchel
        Posted July 5, 2019 at 9:57 am | Permalink

        But wasn’t Trump’s version inspired by watching Macron’s Bastille Day parade last year.

  33. Dominic
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Anne Widdecombe. Now THAT is what we want to see from our Eurosceptic politicians.

    If Tory Eurosceptic MPs can’t muster Widdecombe’s passion, anger and vision then please go away and retire from public life. We have had enough of your vacillation

  34. Andy
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood – you seem reluctant to publish comments about Mr Trump’s migrant camps. Why? Many Americans are appalled.

    • sm
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      Mr Andy – what are your views of the S American administrations that are so bad that their citizens are prepared to risk so much to get to the USA?

  35. Peter Parsons
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Trump’s policies have seen the US Federal deficit and the US National debt rise significantly. The projected Federal deficit for this year is $1.09 trillion, up from $779 billion in 2018.

    When campaigning for the Presidency, Trump said he would eliminate the US national debt in 8 years. Instead, it is projected that his policies will increase it from $19.1 trillion when he took office to $29 trillion.

    Perhaps someone should tell him that, unlike one of his companies, you can’t just put the USA into Chapter 11.

  36. Tony Sharp
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Sir John,
    I note your comments about the Italian government and its constraint in populist measures in the straightjacket of the EUro and ECB. However, I understand the Italian government has started to issue small denomination Treasury Bills 5,10, 20, 100 etc, these normally are in major denominations, six figure sums, for banking and state borrowing/ finance purposes. This policy is surely a ‘shadow currency’ to reintroduce a New Lira and so disconnect from the Euro?

    • agricola
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      Are they denominated in euros, lira, bitcoins, or mafiosos. Whatever, it adds an air of the unreal to the comic opera currently called Italy. Their government should bite the bullet, drop the euro, leave the EU, and get on with the traditional disorganised way of life so enamoured of Italians. However I would be surprised if they did because they like the dependency of current arrangements with the EU.

  37. ChrisS
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    The Greek Syriza government bottled it when Yanis Varoufakis recommended that they set up a parallel currency and told the EU they would not impose the level of austerity they required. Anyone who is an Europhile ( Andy, Margaret et al ) realy should read Yanis’ books on the subject. You might then come to a different conclusion !

    Tsipras was mindful that the Greek people wanted to remain in the Euro despite the proven fact that it was predominantly the single currency that was the very cause of their financial difficulties, together with the corrupt governments of the former mainstream parties that failed to collect taxes legally due to them.

    The same applies in Italy. The only way of reviving the Italian economy is to increase spending to stimulate the system and devalue, both of which are impossible inside the straightjacket that is the Euro.

    Until people are prepared to leave the Euro, there is no hope of recovery so these two countries and others will limp on with massive youth unemployment. Italy is quite likely to be forced out of the Euro at some point, particularly if Christine Lagarde is confirmed as the new head of the ECB. She doesn’t take prisoners and will want to enforce the rules more strongly than Draghi.

    All bets are off if that happens.

    • Mitchel
      Posted July 5, 2019 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      Christine Lagarde is happy to bend/break/change the rules for political purposes-as she showed at the IMF with regard to Ukraine

  38. L Jones
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Brexit Central today has highlighted the hypocrisy at the heart of the EU and its excesses, in an article by a new MEP.

    • hefner
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      A new Labour, Lib-Dem, Green, or SNP MEP?

      • L Jones
        Posted July 4, 2019 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

        Does it actually matter? The truth about this ‘organisation’ should be out there – so that people who love the whole set up should see it for what it is. Self-serving at the very least.
        If you do indeed love it – perhaps you should tell us why. We need to be told what it is that keeps you people loyal to the idea of being ruled by a foreign power.

        • hefner
          Posted July 5, 2019 at 9:33 am | Permalink

          1. Coming from a family who had travelled a lot and having myself spent time over the years in four countries,(about 30 years in total) I have a lot of difficulties relating to anybody having trembling knees about being a Briton once and for ever. Before you ask, I might be a citizen of nowhere (or of anywhere).
          2. For the same reasons, I do not think the present UK constitution, voting system, and governments (whatever their colour) to be the nec plus ultra. In fact I find the incapacity of (some in) the British public (particularly some on this blog) to be able to even think of possible changes as a sign of closed minds and indirectly of dead spirit.
          3. The EU is very far from perfect, I do not have any problem with such a statement, but the level of hate towards it shown by people like Farage, Widdecombe and some of the commentators here makes me wonder about their sanity.
          4. Finally I cannot help but think that a non negligible of the top Brexiters might be happy being “Sovereign Individuals” (a la James Davidson and William Rees-Mogg) caring not a bit for common people.

        • margaret howard
          Posted July 5, 2019 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

          L Jones

          But was it “A new Labour, Lib-Dem, Green, or SNP MEP?”

          And perhaps you can tell us what you believe the EU is?

          Being ‘self serving’ means ‘having concern for one’s own welfare and interests before those of others’ – not exactly a heinous crime.

          Just the opposite in fact in the light of Trump’s mantra “America First”

  39. BR
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Interesting article. Particularly how the EU rules shut down dissent and control member States.

    Not that I agree with the Greeks or Italians who are suffering the consequences of excessive and sustained socialism.

    Let’s hope they publicise the constraints enough to see a popular movement to leave the EU and/or Euro.

    The EU will hope that the difficulties of the UK’s leaving will be a deterrent, but they should sell that as a learning process – now they see what the EU will try to do they can prepare for it.

  40. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Well let’s give it a whirl! We’ve voted – no more hustings required. Let’s get rid of Mrs May and see if Boris can hold the line.

  41. glen cullen
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Slightly off topic but still popular, just heard this today on sky news

    EU have today signed an FTA with Vietnam

    So since the brexit referendum the EU have signed FTAs with Canada, Japan, South America (Argentina. Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay)…and today Vietnam

    So way is it so difficult to sign one with the UK and why are they asking £39bn when the others where FREE

    • Mitchel
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      The Mercosur agreement is not yet a done deal as I understand it.

    • alexP
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      After we leave we’ll be free to negotiate FTA’s with whomever including the EU that is provided we have completed our terms of departure, ie. the WA, this is so as to make a clean break with them and then to start anew. The EU will not be asking 39Billion to start anew- the 39Billion you refer to is part of the WA.

      • glen cullen
        Posted July 4, 2019 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

        thats my whole point, why pay £39bn for a WA when we could have a FREE FTA

  42. BillM
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Mr Trump has set the High Bar in new Politics. He must become the role model for a future British Leader. Tough, very tough but fair and an avid desire to act for the people.

  43. agricola
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    I am sure that neither Boris nor Jeremy brought the subject of foxhunting into the leadership debate. A more irrelevant subject in the circumstances we find ourselves it would be hard to find. Which newshound manufactured this false news scenario in a desire to find something controversial to write about. Now of course the Chatteratti are running with it having run out of real news.

  44. Rhoddas
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Well for us in the UK it’s going to be about a General Election, which will surely come within hours/days of Parliament reopening in September, as No-Confidence votes become ‘de rigeur’. Will populist parties take a slice of the seats with FPTP system? Or will the Leave vote split between Tory & Brexit parties letting either Corbynistas or LimpDim remoaners back in?

    Serious strategy discussions are vital within/between Parties – about tactics re candidates standing or nay – e.g the Greens are NOT standing in the Brecon By-Election on 1 Aug to ensure their remain voters are shipped to Liberals….

    I expect to see alot more of this in a GE, both the traditional and populist candidates need canny and pragmatic tactics to ensure they don’t let the Labour nationalizing REF2 ruin our currency (run on the pound and capital controls) and hence our livelihoods even more than this Tory socialist crowd under the Maybot! Wish she’d just go FFS.

  45. rick hamilton
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Every country is run by its elites, whether the USA, UK or North Korea. They try to perpetuate their power by sending their children to the same schools and universities so that they have all the right connections in later life. Populists are the outsiders who do not belong to this club and are dangerous as they might upset the applecart of the vested interests. They must be denounced by the elite as ‘divisive’ or whatever the fashionably hysterical shibboleth of the day is. The populists have an embarrassing tendency to have started life actually doing the real jobs in the country as opposed to the increasingly discredited farce called politics.

    The question is therefore how to get more practical realism into the running of government by bringing populists into it and easing out the useless elements of the complacent elite, without bringing the whole edifice crashing down. I think we are seeing this being tested now through our shambolic, but ultimately decisive, democratic process. It works for us but you wouldn’t want to set up a new country on the same system.

    • L Jones
      Posted July 4, 2019 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

      ”Elites”? Can you define ”elite”?

      • rick hamilton
        Posted July 5, 2019 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        “A select group or class” ( Concise Oxford Dictionary ).

  46. outsider
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir John, thank you for this post. It is genuinely illuminating.

  47. Harka
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Only eight days of full EU parliamentry sessions remaining between today and the 31st Oct. Just enough time for Farage and his rabble to pack their bags

  48. Rob Pearce
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    After years of insanity, of entrenched party attitudes populated by self-serving mendacious scum who think only of their own precious hides, of a class of people who are prepared to commit kamikaze attacks on the half of the country who voted Leave to stop us leaving under WTO, then those that feel it is anything other than Civil War without the guns must have been in some sort of suspended animation for the past three years.

  49. libertarian
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Hey Andy, Newmania , Margaret Howard

    Can’t find your comments or apologies over the incorrect bile you’ve been spilling onto this site

    The Metropolitan Police Service has torn a stripe off of the Electoral Commission

    Police lawyers list a truly remarkable catalogue of fundamental errors made by the UK’s electoral regulator:

    “The proposed claim appears to be premised on the assumption that… when the EC referred those matters to the MPS it supplied all potential relevant documents… That assumption is incorrect…

    “When the EC referred the matters to the MPS, the EC did not provide the documentation from its own investigation as your Letter of Claim asserts. Instead the EC required the MPS to make a request for disclosure pursuant to the Data Protection Act 2018 (a process that the MPS does not consider was necessary)…

    “That documentation was not indexed or organised in what the MPS considered to be a systematic or logical fashion. The EC did not provide (and has not provided) the MPS with a comprehensive schedule of all used and unused material held by the EC from its investigation of the kind that the police would compile in a criminal investigation.

    “The EC’s approach to the gathering and disclosure of evidence does not appear to the MPS to have complied with the letter or the spirit of the Criminal Procedure and Investigation Act 1996 and associated guidance…

    Meanwhile the High Court has judged Marcus Balls law suit against Boris as a politically motivated vexatious claim, oh and in the final summing up they had this to say

    “The alleged offence set out in the Application for Summons is that the Claimant “repeatedly made and endorsed false and misleading statements concerning the cost of the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union”. It appears that if the Claimant had said/endorsed a figure of £350m per week gross, or £250m per week net, there would have been no complaint.”

    So two big remain myths shot down

    Sorry Andy no jailings, no punishment beatings, no retribution as leavers are right and the Remain crybabies are totally wrong

  50. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    To be fair to the EU, allowing Greece and Italy to get away with their lax fiscal policies would involve either a weak Euro or fiscal transfers from rich and disciplined Member States to poor and ill disciplined ones. You cannot expect Germany or Finland to be happy at that prospect. Perhaps Mme Lagarde will manage to square the circle but I doubt it.

  51. mancunius
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Very good points, Sir John. It is all about determination and follow-through.
    I see from his prospectus that Boris wants to ‘put the Brexit Party back in their box’ – but those who will vote for Boris also voted for the Brexit Party at the EU elections, and if he does not resolutely fulfil all his promises, they will vote for the Brexit Party and against the Tories in still larger numbers at the GE.
    But has Boris the capacity to ‘follow through’? I wonder. He says he wants to ‘deliver Brexit’ and ‘move beyond Brexit’ – as if it were a pizza or a road obstruction. But it does not work like that. It will take at least two, maybe three terms of determined, one-track-minded government to implement and manage all the necessary adjustments. We cannot simply roll back nearly half a century of devolved governance in one act: it will need an unremittingly determined and even brutal programme of reform.
    De-funding the BBC and retiring the whole of the top level of the civil service (and not giving them the right to obstruct by issuing them with peerages) is just a modest start.

  52. Caterpillar
    Posted July 4, 2019 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    Talking of elites, David Gauke on PoliticsHome indicating that the speaker and remain MPs will together find a way to stop no deal.on Oct 31st. Is this Speaker activism real? Is this threat real? Have Johnson and Hunt clarified how they will stop this behaviour?

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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