Chiming our independence

At 11 pm on 31 October the UK becomes an independent nation again, promised by our likely next Prime Minister. Many of us will wish to celebrate this much heralded and delayed event.

You would expect national media to show the countdown to the moment through the movement of the hands on the clock on the Elizabeth Tower at Westminster, known as Big Ben. It is perhaps symbolic that this Parliament which has done so much to try to stop us becoming independent again, and so much to thwart the results of the referendum, should have decided the clock is unavailable on the stated date. We need to find a good alternative to look at.

There are many great public clocks around the UK. Should we turn to Big Brum on the Council House in Birmingham? Or to Manchester Town Hall clock, or Leeds Town Hall, or the Liver building? I invite your thoughts.

It is time for us to be confident as a nation, proud of our democratic traditions and keen to be an outward looking global influence for the good. We will regain our votes and voices on international bodies and be better able to shape our future as we wish.


  1. Pominoz
    July 22, 2019

    Sir John,

    Indeed the Brexit moment needs symbolic recognition. A clock is one thing, but what about that commemorative Brexit coin?

    I think it only fair that the significant involvement by our former PM in the whole Brexit issue shouId now be suitably recognised. I propose, therefore, that the design incorporates the head of Theresa May so that future generations may reflect on all that she did.

    I feel, however, that her head should be on both sides of the coin thereby accurately portraying her two-faced approach.

    1. Lifelogic
      July 22, 2019

      The 50p Brexit coin such enthusiasm from the establishment! If you look at it is seem to be more of a celebration of out period of membership than celebration of our independence.

      Who decided it should be on the 50p – Hammond/Carney perhaps? Was it selected because it is perhaps the least used coin?

      Absurd discussion just now on Today Programme about Hammond period as Chancellor. Two BBC think people saying he was OK but perhaps a little lacking in inspiration. No he was absolutely appalling. He has given us absurdly high, complex and idiotic taxes, wastes money all over the place, causes doctor to cancel operations due to insane pension taxation, rob landlords (and thus tenants) with taxes on profits they have not made (hardly sustainable for long) robs home movers, promises to undermine Boris and destroy the Conservatives before he is even in office …. thank goodness this dreadful man is going together with the dire Theresa May, Gauke, Hunt (hopefully) and most of the rest of them.

      1. Lifelogic
        July 22, 2019

        Then Hammond complains of poor productivity, this when it is his government’s red tape, absurd over taxation, mad expensive energy policies, bonkers employment laws, gender pay reporting, bloated inefficient state and absurdly over complex taxation that is the main cause of it.

        If people have to spend all their time dealing with this and are taxed to death then businesses have little to invest in new equipment and little time (or incentives) to do it anyway. They are also rendered less competitive so they lose market share (harming their productivity further). But he clearly does not understand even the basics of business economics.

        The Office of Tax Simplification was set up in 2010 since when the tax rules must have roughly doubled in complexity and sheer stupidity thanks mainly to Hammond and Osborne. So not much “productivity” from them them in terms of simplification. Hammond still ratting on the £1M IHT threshold each promise too. Perhaps the new Chancellor will do that now and make the point that in future Conservative promises to the electorate (like this, Brexit and being the party of low taxation and law and order will perhaps actually be kept! It would make a big change from Major, Cameron & May’s dishonesty and many dishonoured promises.

      2. Mitchel
        July 22, 2019

        Probably because the 50p is the coin most used for celebratory issues-there have been many events commemorated-Battle of Britain,Olympics,etc on 50ps since they were first introduced.

    2. zorro
      July 22, 2019

      I can think of a far more appropriate place to put her head, Brexit and all considering! And certainly not on a commemorative coin…..


    3. Dominic
      July 22, 2019

      A truly appalling idea. The last thing I want is to be exposed to her face each and every time I buy a carton a milk.

    4. Anonymous
      July 22, 2019

      Very good !

    5. Gary C
      July 22, 2019

      “I feel, however, that her head should be on both sides of the coin thereby accurately portraying her two-faced approach.”

      An amusing idea however the less I see of that perfidious woman the better.

    6. Ian Murray
      July 22, 2019

      Preferably on a platter

    7. GilesB
      July 22, 2019

      Would you also want one penny notes with the EU flag printed on soft paper?

      1. Fred H
        July 22, 2019

        I imagine somebody is already producing some rolls – I’ll buy them.

    8. Sir Joe Soap
      July 22, 2019

      The same face on each side with “No deal is better than a bad deal” around the circumference on one side and “A bad deal is better than no deal” on the other.

      1. Sir Joe Soap
        July 22, 2019

        The second face with Pinnochio sized nose.

        1. Fred H
          July 22, 2019

          love it, just love it.

    9. Pominoz
      July 22, 2019

      So, ‘Hammond the Horrible’ has announced that he is going to retire. Joy all around?

      Well, not really, as, like May, he intends to remain in position until the bitter end. His resignation will only occur to avoid being sacked. This should have already happened, but May, consistent to the end, is quite prepared to allow her fellow traitors to pursue their booby-trap agendas without fear of retribution.

      What a way to end. Prime Minister, Chancellor and many more, corrupt to the last. The legacy of the whole stinking lot of them will be recorded for posterity in history. All schoolchildren in the future should be told of the treachery of these elected politicians who decided to put their own personal views and interests ahead of the mandate of the electorate. It would be good if those schoolchildren could also learn that such treachery was met with just punishment. Alas, I suspect that ‘punishment’ will be elevation to the HoL.

    10. Profiteer
      July 22, 2019

      Yes a gold coin with a raised map clocked at at £99-99p but only showing the UK, and four fifths of the coin missing. The missing gold, a symbol of how the EU has ripped us off.

  2. Ian Wragg
    July 22, 2019

    No need for bells chiming. Just make sure we leave. Then we can party.

  3. Leslie Singleton
    July 22, 2019

    Dear Sir John–I loved Martin Howe’s idea in the Sunday Telegraph that the Royal Assent could be withheld under Government advice. Sounded brilliant. Do you agree it would work?

    1. formula57
      July 22, 2019

      It is unlikely to work, as explained cogently by Cambridge University’s Mark Elliott in his Public Law for everyone blog of 21, January 2019 where he makes clear the Ministerial advice and royal assent conventions apply in separate circumstances and the Monarch has a constitutional duty to grant royal assent to Bills, a sphere into which the Ministerial advice convention does not intrude.

    2. Leslie Singleton
      July 22, 2019

      PS–I take that as a No–Is this a taboo subject or what?

    3. Richard
      July 22, 2019
  4. Mark B
    July 22, 2019

    Good morning

    We were promised over one hundred times over the despatch box that we will be Leaving the EU. We have one extension after another and, quite frankly, when it comes to it we simply cannot believe you. We cannot believe that the HoC will keep its promises. Promises made in the referendum, pre and post, and promises made in a General Election Manifesto.

    So let’s just Leave and then talk about all the benefits. I am a Leave means Leave sceptic, and with good reason.

    1. McBryde
      July 23, 2019

      Every town hall clock in the country.

      By the way, the British Parliament passed legislation that said that Britain would be leaving the European Union on 29th March, 2019. That legislation has not be repealed, and is still on the statute book. It is being argued (the British Democrats) that PM May couldn’t use Prime Ministers ‘Royal Perogative’ to override an Act of Parliament in that fashion (the govt admitted that what it did was not in accordance with the legislation that Parliament passed), and that Britain has, therefore already left the EU! 🙂

      Their case was overruled by a High Court Judge (“their case is wholey without merit”), even though it is a well founded case in law. According to some, their appeal has a good chance of winning, should they get an unbiassed judge.

  5. Shirley
    July 22, 2019

    I am concerned about one thing. If Remainer MP’s force a new GE would it prevent the UK leaving? It is already in EU and UK law that we leave on 31st Oct. That would still stand, wouldn’t it? I hope so.

    I don’t fear a GE. It would give us the opportunity to clear out many undemocratic MP’s, but I do fear it will delay Brexit.

    1. Mark B
      July 22, 2019

      If we are to have a GE then the sooner the better. Too close to the Leaving date will mean we may have to seek another extension.

  6. Dominic
    July 22, 2019

    From what I’ve been reading since yesterday I wouldn’t be so confident in declaring the UK’s recapturing of its sovereignty from the clutches of the constitutionally and morally bankrupt EU.

    I for one will wait for undeniable, incontrovertible and indubitable evidence that we have the left the EU. What form that evidence will take is still undecided.

    How will we know we have regained full sovereign and independent status and have reverted to pre 1 Jan 1973?

    I still fear Johnson will betray Brexit on the altar of political convenience

  7. Helena
    July 22, 2019

    Such nonsense. We are an independent nation now. All that happens on 1 November is that we lose our voice in the most powerful trading bloc on the planet. We will be no more and no less independent, but we will be a lot less powerful.

    1. Edward2
      July 22, 2019

      Currently one vote in 28.
      And we are not independent until we leave the EU.
      Read the Lisbon and Mastricht treaties.ll

    2. agricola
      July 22, 2019

      I am witnessing EU power at the moment. Where are they in support of their own sanctions against Iran. All tucked up in the Maginot Line awaiting developements. I would question whether they are the World’s most powerful trading bloc, certainly not the most beneficial to developing countries but perhaps the most restrictive/ protectionist.

    3. John Hatfield
      July 22, 2019

      We need to be thankful for small mercies then Helena.

    4. Rob Pearce
      July 22, 2019

      OK then Helena.

      So if we’re independent, let’s start with supporting our rural post offices, the ones in small villages where OAPs are in danger of losing their local access to stamps etc. Someone in Whitehall said we can’t because of EU competition laws or similar. Must have been a lie.

      How about some of our would-be viable heavy industry like in South Wales, again told we aren’t allowed to save thousands of jobs in what many people would call pretty important industries.

      You happy paying VAT on your feminine hygene products are you? Well no-one else in this country thinks it’s fair on women to charge that, including us blokes. So let’s stop charging for it then – what’s to stop us?

      Etc, etc, etc.

      I tell you, there’s a lot of lies coming out of the government, isn’t there..

    5. libertarian
      July 22, 2019


      Try google, theres nothing powerful about the EU , it has steadily been losing its share of the world economy. Its not and never has been the largest trading block and why would we need to belong to an undemocratic, unelected supranational government in order to sell things to each other ? 167 other countries manage just fine without doing that

      1. bill brown
        July 23, 2019


        You are getting caught up in your own propaganda again, it it not and it will never become a supranational government. The Commission is an execution body on behalf of 28 democratically elected governments, who have found it advantageous to work together.

        What the rest of the world chooses to do has very little to do with the EU mamabership

        1. Edward2
          July 23, 2019

          No it’s not.
          The Council does that role.
          The Commission is out on it’s own.
          An unelected law making body with no citizen in Europe ever having had a vote.

  8. jerry
    July 22, 2019

    “At 11 pm on 31 October the UK becomes an independent nation again, promised by our likely next Prime Minister.”

    Except we may likely never leave now. 😡

    There’s likely be a new Govt before Oct 31st, one that is either elected or a grand coalition of existing MPs/parties, the latter by way of the FTPA. Right wing Brexiteers had the chance to call for a referendum on How we leave (and I still believe that the case for a WTO exit can be won) but no, your faction chose to circumvent the very direct democracy you championed in the years before 2016, now they bleat, and how they bleat…

    “Operation Brexit” will go down in the political history books as the prime example of how to win a battle but loose the war.

    But then Brexit was never really about leaving for the vast majority on the right-wing, it was a vehicle [1] to get rid of the social conservative “Wet” influences within the party echelons, replacing the Leader/PM with a Thatcherite, although I’m not sure either of the current candidates are of that ilk…!

    My point, what ever is now said, Thatcher was a Europhile, just not a Federalist [2], in the 1980s our economic salvation was to come via the would-be EU Single Market, designed in the image of Thatcher(ism), fully supported by her -and our host- at the time, before Jacques Delors made promises to undo much of Thatchers anti Trade Union laws in his 1988 speech to the TUC, until then both the TUC and the Labour Party were eurosceptics if not europhobes.

    [1] Brexiteers were expecting a narrow win for Remain, but enough to topple Cameron, hence why Farage proclaimed defeat at 10:30, only to be woken up at 3am with the news that he now needed to give a victory speech

    [2] for political reason, not economic

  9. agricola
    July 22, 2019

    If everyone could wait five days we would have many more figures we could put on the bonfire along with Guido Fawkes. Perhaps we should await the success of Brexit before celebrating anything. We first have to prevent Hammond and a few others from stealing the bat and ball. Our politics breeds some very bad losers.

  10. eeyore
    July 22, 2019

    Sir John looks ahead, as always. I asked a year ago what celebrations HMG had planned for March 29, which was then to be Independence Day. It turned out there were none – an eloquent silence indeed.

    Our new PM should form a committee immediately to consider celebrations for October 31. Time is very short, and the message to Brussels (not to mention Westminster and Whitehall) must be unmistakeable.

  11. Bryan Harris
    July 22, 2019

    You can just imagine the way the BBC would celebrate our departure:
    A montage of disasters, burning buildings, plague, marchers and rioters, as well as all businesses going bust…

    In this digital age, we can still use Big Ben as a symbol, as well as everything else that represents freedom, justice, and real hope for the future – things that inspire, to the tune of Elgar’s Jerusalem … That would do it for me.

    1. sm
      July 22, 2019

      Bryan, the words of Jerusalem are by William Blake and the music by Sir Hubert Parry. It is a protest against the Industrial Revolution, by the way.

    2. Len Grinds
      July 23, 2019

      Brilliant, Bryan – you want to celebrate Brexit with “Elgar’s Jerusalem” – something that does not exist. But thank you Bryan, you have summed up the utter ignorance that lies at the heart of Brexit

      1. Bryan Harris
        July 23, 2019

        My misappropriation of composer has nothing to do with your perceived ‘ignorance that lies at the heart of Brexit’.

        Jerusalem represents something that EU lovers can never understand.
        It is the spirit of hope for the future that the EU has taken away, and would be a most suitable symbolic return to our values.

  12. J Bush
    July 22, 2019

    I would like to think all the bells up and down the whole country ring out like they did at the last time we won the right to freedom from oppression.

    Making it a National holiday would also be a good idea.

    Perhaps street celebrations. However, that also runs the risk of sore losers and the …….funded mobs trying to spoil that.

    So for the purpose of your invitation, perhaps just consider the top 2 suggestions.

  13. sm
    July 22, 2019

    I’m sure if you ask Mayor Khan nicely, he’d be willing to organise a firework display on the Thames – or perhaps some of those Extinction Warriors would sail their boats down The Mall to Buckingham Palace?

    If you are right, John, and it actually happens, I’ll raise of glass of very expensive whisky to celebrate!

  14. Lifelogic
    July 22, 2019

    Rather than a pathetic fifty pence coin we should have an Independence Day bank holiday celebration on 24th June. The day we should have left the EU had Cameron prepared for Brexit and served notice the day after the referendum as he promised to do. It is almost the longest day of the year and perfect for a day off. We can easily afford one if we get rid of all the EU’s red tape and go for cheap energy we can probably afford ten+.

    We should also switch GCSE, A level, university and similar exams to have them taken in March. May and June are far too nice to be stuck indoors revising. Revise on the dark days of January and February instead.

  15. Nigk
    July 22, 2019

    A little premature I think. We do not know whether we will be truly leaving or assuming it’s Boris, we end up with a cosmetic back stop tweak and then most of Mays WDA intact. When I see no Customs Union, massive ongoing contributions, being tied to their procurement and subsidy rules or the ECJ etc then I will believe it.

    I agree with you that it should be a massive cause for celebration I fear that the behaviour of the Remain element to date indicates that they would make such as divisive as possible, accusing Leave of hubris, rubbing their voters nose in it etc and inviting unrest.

    Regrettably I think the celebrations should be low key this year but when the decision turns out to be the success we all expect, it’s anniversary should become a national holiday.

    One positive side effect is the revitalisation of ideas pouring out of Boris casting off the shackles from the the bland dirge of Theresa May and Hammond. He must chose and empower Ministers who can truly come up with exciting policies to take on the blob of the establishment and put clear blue water between him and Corbyn.

    They should not be ‘turned’ by their Civil Servants especially in the Treasury and be prepared to take them on, cull them etc to ensure our elected representatives run the country not them.

  16. Old Albion
    July 22, 2019

    This Parliament would never celebrate leaving the EU. It will continue to whinge and whine, spreading project fear.
    If despite this, we do eventually escape. In a couple of years when the country is seen to be thriving, Parliament will be telling us all, how they always supported regaining our independence and sovereignty.

  17. Andy
    July 22, 2019

    Out of a population of 65m fewer than 17m – barely 1 in 4 will be celebrating the moment of Brexit. And many of them are so elderly they’ll struggle to stay up til 11pm anyway.

    Perhaps they could do a special version of Countdown or the Archers – or show back to back episodes of Dad’s Army so you can all celebrate?

    For the rest of us it is merely a minute closer for us undoing your doomed project.

    1. Glenn Vaughan
      July 22, 2019


      My suggestion is that the BBC broadcast repeat episodes of Play School for your benefit!

    2. Fred H
      July 22, 2019

      You could be right Andy, millions soundly asleep in their beds, while thousands of you lot are sobbing your heart out.
      sing along if you wish—-

      So let the heartaches begin
      I can’t help it, I can’t win
      I’ve lost that Ref for sure
      Tears won’t help anymore
      Yes, let the heartaches begin
      I can’t help it, I didn’t win
      I’ve lost that Ref for sure
      Now it’s gone I can’t hold back the tears anymore.

      With apologies to Long John Baldry for adjusting his lyrics.

    3. SAP
      July 22, 2019

      Andy, just for the record, how old are you? I know several people under 25 who voted for Brexit & also understand that the percentage of those eligible to vote in that age group who did actually vote is tiny.

      1. margaret howard
        July 22, 2019


        “I know several people under 25 who voted for Brexit”

        SAP I think you’ll find that Andy meant not just the old who voted Brexit but also according to statistics, the young poorly educated.

  18. formula57
    July 22, 2019

    “It is time for us to be confident as a nation…” – it certainly is and an important task for the new government will be instilling that confidence through promoting our liberation from the Evil Empire as a moment of renewal.

    Not hitherto having a post-Brexit Ministry to identify and prepare to exploit the myriad opportunities that will arise was another signal failure of the appalling May administration. There is much to do immediately, alas including confronting quisling antics and overcoming the morosity of the Remoaner class.

  19. APL
    July 22, 2019

    JR: “At 11 pm on 31 October the UK becomes an independent nation again”

    More Tory ‘jam tomorrow’.

    The EU notification of withdrawal act 2017, Authorises the Prime minister to serve notice of the UKs intent to leave the European Union. Accordingly, she did.

    The EUs own article 50 provides that the process of withdrawal has to be in accord with the particular nations constitutional procedures.

    The Gina Millar case established in Law that primary legislation should be passed, hence the EU notification of withdrawal act 2017.

    Article 50 clause 3: “The treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question, from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement, or failing that, two years after the notification referred to in clause 2.

    Since the EU Notification of Withdrawal act 2017 is primary legislation, it may not be amended by statutory instrument, it must be specifically amended by act of the British Parliament.

    There is no lawful, legal authority in the EU notification of Withdrawal 2017 act, to provide Theresa May with the authority to extend the date of leaving. Statutory instrument has no authority to amend primary Parliamentary legislation, unless specifically provided for within the legislation itself. There is no such provision within the EU notification of withdrawal act 2017.

    The treaties have ceased to apply to the UK by mutual consent of the UK Parliament, and the European Union on the 29th March 2019.

    Thanks to Robin Tilbrook, leader of the English Democrats.

    English Democrats, doing more to get the UK out of the EU, than the whole quisling Tory party for the last 43 years.

    1. APL
      July 22, 2019

      By the way, it has long been established in British custom and practice, that if there is any doubt as to the interpretation of British legislation, you may cite Hansard to interpret the intent of the legislation.

      Allegedly, Theresa May stated a hundred or so times that her intent, and the intent of the withdrawal act was to leave on the 29th March 2019.

      There is no scope to reinterpret what Theresa May intended, to be we’ll leave on 31st October.

  20. alan
    July 22, 2019

    Better wait until New Years eve and then have the countdown- that’s if Boris manages to get us the No Deal departure together with a FTA with no strings attached as promised by IDS.

  21. Andy
    July 22, 2019

    Perhaps we should get the government to distribute Union Jack underpants to everyone. Brexiteers can then show how tough and patriotic they are by actually wearing them.

    Brexit is pants – so it would be totally in keeping with the rest of your project.

    1. Edward2
      July 22, 2019

      And it will be nice seeing you in your tin foil hat andy.

    2. Alan Joyce
      July 22, 2019

      Dear Mr. Redwood,

      Oh dear @Andy!

      Is that the best you can do?

  22. Anonymous
    July 22, 2019

    Boris is not going to deliver.

    Remainers should realise that they get Remain and Marxist government. Nothing else.

  23. Shieldsman
    July 22, 2019

    The only deal on the table from the EU Council, the Withdrawal Agreement has been rejected three times by the Commons. As it is not open to amendment it cannot be resurrected, so Steve Barclay was correct in saying it is dead.
    The wording of Article 50 sets a time limit of two years (ending on 29th March 2019) both for the negotiation and the time window in which to apply for an extension by the departing State. This extension was granted on 21st March until 12th April, 14 days beyond the two year period (the time window )  for granting an extension.
    Lord Kerr’s interpretation : “We needed a time limit in order to reassure the departing state that it could really depart — it would get out, it couldn’t be enmeshed forever in endless negotiation, it could escape.” It was and is still is the default position ‘The get out of Jail Card’. It was meant to be used on 29th March 2019, and should have been waived on 12th April.
    As we will be trading on WTO terms, as a third Country in EU parlance, our Government must timely promulgate the tariffs.
    Prior to 29th March many preparations were made to ensure the free flow of goods through the Ports of Dover and Calais. With the known tariffs they need to be advanced and strengthened.
    Eire no doubt wants to have its cake and eat it, continuing in the Common travel Area in lieu of the freedom of movement. The GFA is not at risk from the UK Government having given assurances. The EEA is a problem for the Irish Taoiseach to solve, under a non agreement departure.

  24. Fred H
    July 22, 2019

    The clock in Waterloo station would do nicely. Perhaps after the long awaited moment the BBC might play the Kinks ‘Waterloo Sunset’? Somehow I don’t think they will want to celebrate.

  25. Barbara C
    July 22, 2019

    Quite frankly, there isn’t an alternative to Big Ben, and I should like to remind your colleagues that it’s an icon that belongs to the people, not Parliament. Its instantly recognisable faces look out to the four corners of our great nation, and the sound of its wonderful chimes at such an important moment in our history would be symbolic of a battle hard fought and won. Our petulant Parliament would do well to reconsider. What on earth is the matter with them?

  26. Dominic
    July 22, 2019

    If Johnson chooses a Remain Tory politician for a Cabinet position I’ll never vote Tory again.

    Johnson’s got one chance to get it right. If he panders to Remain pressure he’s finished and so are the Tories

    He needs to be brutal and uncompromising. Nothing else will suffice

  27. Peter
    July 22, 2019

    I would not expect a media countdown. That would send the message that Brexit on 31 October is inevitable.

    Instead we will get a continuing and familiar message that Brexit is fraught with difficulty and the EU will not budge.

  28. Alex
    July 22, 2019

    Since the “democratic”system we suffer here has been proved to be a total fraud and, as you say, politicians have attempted to thwart the people’s vote we should not see any clock that is connected in any way to government. Use this one

  29. Denis Cooper
    July 22, 2019

    I watched Andrew Marr interviewing Simon Coveney yesterday:

    and found it hard to contain my rage at the way our government have allowed the Irish government to get away with their rubbish. I could go through the interview and pick out all the lies and fallacies but it would take too long.

    However I then see this on the Telegraph website this morning:

    “Boris Johnson: Ignore the pessimists – if we can put a man on the moon, we can solve the Northern Irish border problem”

    which exposes a fundamental lack of understanding on his part.

    The primary obstacles to a manned moon landing were technological; but that was not the case with the removal of customs checks on the Irish border where the necessary changes were legal – the advent of the EU Single Market – and not technological.

    It was legal changes, modifications to both UK and Irish domestic laws to implement the new EU treaty, the Single European Act, and the EU laws flowing therefrom, that gave both sides sufficient confidence that there was no longer any material need to intercept and check goods as they crossed the border in either direction.

    The Irish Republic will not be leaving the EU when we leave and presumably Irish law will continue to insist that all goods circulating in its territory must comply with EU laws, so unless and until we decide that EU law is seriously deficient in some respect we will have no new need to check goods as they enter Northern Ireland.

    All that is then required so there is no new need for the Irish to check goods as they cross the border into the Republic is a new UK law to ensure that only EU-compliant goods may carried across, an exports control law, with agreed de minimus exemptions, plus trust on the part of the EU and the Irish government that we will enforce that new law in the future just as we have been enforcing the present law for a quarter of a century.

    So why did nobody in the UK government take umbrage when Michel Barnier suggested that we could not be trusted?

    “It’s OK, acorn, Michel Barnier has already insulted us by saying that we could not be trusted to collect the EU’s customs dues on its behalf, even though we’ve been doing that for forty-five years; so it will come as no surprise if next he insults us by saying that we could not be trusted to enforce a UK law prohibiting export to the EU of any goods that the EU deems to be illicit, even though we have been enforcing laws to keep such goods out of the UK and so out of the rest of the EU for the past forty-five years. To which second insult my suggested response would be “Well, that is what we are offering to do, to be helpful to you, so take it or leave it as you please”.”

    1. Len Grinds
      July 23, 2019

      Denis, you seem astonished to discover that when you leave the EU club, you no longer enjoy the benefits of membership. What exactly did you think you voted for when you voted Leave – did you imagine nothing would change?

      1. Denis Cooper
        July 23, 2019

        What “benefits” do you have in mind?

        The benefit of a massive trade deficit, the benefit of ever increasing net budget contributions, the benefit of having about half our laws imposed on us?

        1. Len Grinds
          July 24, 2019

          The benefit of an invisible border in Ireland. Be in the EU, there is one. Outside the EU, there isn’t. That’s what you voted for. To give up control.

          1. Denis Cooper
            July 24, 2019

            Wake up, according to Simon Coveney at present there is no border at all on the island of Ireland, not an invisible border nor an open border nor a frictionless border nor any other kind of border.


            If you choose to show your intellectual deficiencies by aligning yourself with that nonsense that is up to you.

      2. acorn
        July 23, 2019

        Len, Denis has been looking down the wrong end of the brexit telescope for three years now. He has never grasped the prime fact that the UK is voluntarily leaving the EU. The EU is not throwing us out. Result, the EU does not owe the UK any leaving favours that are not primarily a benefit to the EU27.

        The economic impact of Brexit will hit the EU27 by circa 1% of its GDP, which it will make up within three years. The UK impact will be 4 – 7% of GDP. But; if a Conservative government prevails and continues to follow a classic Conservative Party neoliberal austerity fiscal policy – that is a budget surplus – as it has since 2010; it is difficult to see how the UK can avoid a recession that will last for a decade.

        1. Edward2
          July 23, 2019

          They were saying that nonsense before the actual referendum in Project Fear 1.0
          This is the same doom laden predictions just moved forward a few years with a few added “if’s”
          It is just your Project Fear 2.0

          1. Denis Cooper
            July 24, 2019

            Oh, but these are government projections, produced and leaked by the Treasury under the direction of Philip Hammond, with tacit approval from Theresa May, so that the opposition will be properly supplied with anti-Brexit ammunition.

            From April 18th 2018:


            “Unfortunately while the doomladen forecasts pushed by the Treasury before the referendum have proved wrong some of its staff have now taken it upon themselves to produce and leak new editions of the same kind of doomladen forecasts, and they are being treated as proven facts rather than as just another set of unreliable heavily biased speculative forecasts.”

            “I am still waiting to hear that the minister in charge of the civil service (Theresa May) has hunted down those responsible and they have been severely disciplined.”

        2. Denis Cooper
          July 24, 2019

          Try reading Article 8 TEU.

  30. Everhopeful
    July 22, 2019

    Let every Parish Church ring out its bells at the appropriate moment?
    Doubt if that would be allowed any more than Big Ben…
    Or would a celebration in Charing Cross be more appropriate? Set up a clock..nothing more sinister this time.
    I wish there was a symbol/illustration that would completely sum up the treachery of the ruling class through the ages.
    Let’s think….something like…. a wolf in sheep’s clothing…..?

  31. Brian Cowling
    July 22, 2019

    Erect a new clock at the centre point of the UK. And start it when we’re independent again. There’ll be plenty of time to discuss where that point is, and to erect the clock given the time our elected representatives are taking to honour the result of the referendum.

    1. M Davis
      July 22, 2019

      Centre of Great Britain – the computer calculation resulted in a location 7 km north west of Dunsop Bridge, Lancashire, by Whitendale Hanging Stones on Brennard Farm in the Forest of Bowland (SD 64188.3, 56541.43).

  32. Sharon Jagger
    July 22, 2019

    To whom would the electorate write to request Big Ben be available?

    If we all put the word out, that Big Ben is not available- perhaps if enough people requested it….?

  33. Glenn Vaughan
    July 22, 2019


    Given the incompetent negotiations conducted by the present government over the past three years or so I would suggest that a bedside alarm clock would be most appropriate and sufficient.

    1. Mark B
      July 23, 2019

      Not incompetent. Downright treacherous.

  34. MPC
    July 22, 2019

    At least we only have to wait until 31 October to see if Mr Johnson is to deliver a non WA based Brexit or not. I have my doubts and would be delighted to be proved wrong.

  35. David in Kent
    July 22, 2019

    I bought a half-dozen rockets to fire off on Independence Day last spring; they are still sitting in my basement but will be sent skyward at the end of October, always assuming we do finally escape.

  36. Garland
    July 22, 2019

    Not London, not Birmingham, not Leeds, not Manchester, not Liverpool. Proudly open minded cities that voted Remain. You need somewhere that captures the essence of backward looking Leavers. A decrepit mouldy village somewhere in wet and windy Norfolk full of pensioners where they’ve never met a foreigner perhaps

    1. Fred H
      July 22, 2019

      Norfolk? – they have probably more Polish/Romanian friends than you do!

    2. formula57
      July 22, 2019

      A commendable suggestion: a Norfolk village for sure should have the honour, or somewhere else that represents the backbone of England. It was of course a Norfolk village that gave us Horatio Nelson who did so much to thwart our enemies from Continental Europe.

    3. margaret howard
      July 22, 2019


      You could add Lincolnshire. My constituency is typical of many where the Tories have held sway since the year dot. Doffing of caps is still de rigeur and a day out at Sunny Hunny wearing sandals and a knotted hanky as part of your holiday wardrobe is still regarded a treat.

      (Hunstanton by the way is known as Peterborough by Sea as their citizens own all the caravans there) -:)

    4. L Jones
      July 22, 2019

      What a bitter and narrow-minded comment. Especially formulated to insult as many people as possible, including those of us from mixed race families, with many young professional friends who voted ‘leave’, who live in beautiful Norfolk and are proud to be English.
      Perhaps you should get out more. (And take Ms Howard with you.)

  37. A.Sedgwick
    July 22, 2019

    Birmingham is a big and significant place, which is generally overlooked. It is the second city and effectively the capital of the Midlands, which with the North has been downgraded with our loss of manufacturing, which has to be reversed. There is a groundswell against London and the barmy armies it attracts. It is so ironic that Corbyn and McDonell are MPs there.
    Instead of rebuilding the palace of Westminster I would build a new seat of government in Birmingham.

    I have no connections at all with Birmingham and have been there once.

    1. outsider
      July 22, 2019

      Likewise Mr Sedgwick. Big Brum would be suitably symbolic. The Midlands is the real heart of England & Wales (as well as the spiritual home of democratic Conservatism) and should play a much bigger practical role in our affairs post-Brexit. Big Brum even plays the same “Westminster Chimes” as Big Ben. The seat of Government would ideally move back to Tamworth but the National Exhibition Centre site, with its superior rail, road and air connexions, would be more “pragmatic”.

  38. Andrew Barnby
    July 22, 2019

    Let all the country’s church bells peal for an hour at 0800 on 1st November.

  39. Roy Grainger
    July 22, 2019

    You are ever the optimist John ! We may have to remove Hammond’s government of national unity (sic) first.

  40. gyges
    July 22, 2019

    Symptomatic of the waning relevance of London to the nation …

  41. BCL
    July 22, 2019

    I believe our coming (I hope) independence should be recognised in some way. A bank holiday to be known as Independence Day perhaps or a coin but some sort of celebration and commemoration seems appropriate. Remoaners can protest by going to work on that day each year, if they wish. It would be an opportunity to celebrate our liberation and might, in time, become a unifying influence. It probably won’t happen but one can dream. One could always just celebrate it, whether it’s official or not! Would it be 31st October, assuming that’s when we eventually escape, or 23rd June?

  42. Kevin
    July 22, 2019

    This is similar to a post you wrote in the run-up to March 29th. The
    only thing that matters is to implement the democratic vote. I would not
    make any plans to celebrate on a particular day. I would be surprised if that
    many people expect Mr. Johnson to deliver at all, let alone by Halloween. If
    you really want Brexit, Boris, “no deal” should be your exclusive focus.

  43. Everhopeful
    July 22, 2019

    If we do actually get our independence…(and will we?)…something drastic must be done about the treacherous media.
    It really is unthinkable that a load of hack journos have been allowed to create such total, biased chaos around a democratic decision.
    They have to be controlled or sacked en masse.

    1. Everhopeful
      July 22, 2019

      Possibly off topic~
      I would like to know how this govt even dares to suggest holding a consultation on personal water consumption.
      This has taken place today with little publicity.
      Do they believe that mass immigration is a water saving initiative?
      And apparently fracking requires whole oceans of the stuff.

      1. Mark B
        July 23, 2019

        Speaking of Oceans and even seas, I wonder if they ever noticed we are an island surrounded by the stuff.

        Short sightedness and pandering to foreign owned water companies.

    2. M Davis
      July 22, 2019

      Hear! Hear!

  44. NigelE
    July 22, 2019

    In view of us Brexiteers’ claims that we are looking to the future, the clock should be digital and atomic – such as those developed at the National Physical Laboratory. I’m sure they’d be able to rig up an appropriate digital countdown driven by their internationally acclaimed atomic clocks, accurate to 1 in 10^18.

    (Then again, perhaps they are all retainers at the NPL … ?

    1. Peter
      July 22, 2019

      The social club at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington used to put on a magnificent fireworks display and beer festival for Guy Fawkes night. Maybe that could be reintroduced for late October?

      Then again NPL morale there is not what it was – cutbacks and outsourcing have taken their toll.

    2. gregory martin
      July 22, 2019

      In view of us Brexiteers’ claims that we are looking to the future, the clock should be digital and atomic – such as those developed at the National Physical Laboratory. I’m sure they’d be able to rig up an appropriate digital countdown driven by their internationally acclaimed atomic clocks, accurate to 1 in 10^18.

      (Then again, perhaps they are all retainers at the NPL … ?”

      The atomic clock, at Greenwich was, I believe, dismantled in 1999 as they feared the Millenium Bug, that was the proto type ‘ Project fear’

  45. tim
    July 22, 2019

    We will never ever leave. When Boris goes through the door to no 10, they will be waiting for him. They will transplant Treason Mays brain in to his cranium, and it will start all over again.

  46. bill brown
    July 22, 2019

    Sir JR,

    We have always had our independence for hundred of years, our standing in the world has actually been higher since 1972 as we have been part of the largest trading block in the World.
    We will most likely be leaving the Eu with some sort of deal that both we and our European friends and allies can live with.
    Our voice in international institutions has never been in doubt even during our membership of the EU, in the UN, IMF, World Bank, OECD and many other international institutions.
    To be talking about regaining our independence is just like the continued talk about Project Fear , it is a load of nonsense.

    1. Edward2
      July 22, 2019

      Im always amazed how little knowledge EU fans have about our membership.
      We simply are not an independent soveriegn nation until we leave the EU.
      Their courts are supreme.
      We have to obey the laws regulations and directives made in the EU.

      1. Garland
        July 23, 2019

        You could not be more wrong, Edward. Their courts are NOT supreme – the supreme authority in the UK is our Parliament, and EU law applies in the UK only because Parliament has consented to it, by statute. Equally we do not HAVE to obey any of the EU rules – we do so because it suits us to do so, as it does all the other 27 states who understand the value of cooperating with each other through the EU instead of running away squealing about mythical notions like “sovereignty”. The Eu magnifies British power. Brexit weakens British power

        1. Edward2
          July 23, 2019

          Rubbish Garland.
          The EU courts are supreme over the UK
          First you say they are not then you agree they are but only because we agree to allow that.
          Well that has got to be the most bizarre argument I’ve seen on here by you EU fans.
          There is nothing mythical about sovereignty.
          You are either an independent nation or you are not.

      2. bill brown
        July 23, 2019


        I am sorry you still do not get it, we are not in this interdependent world any l0nger and independent sovereign nation, as this does no longer apply or work in a globalised interdependent word. happy to recommend some literature on the subject.

        1. Edward2
          July 23, 2019

          Huge difference between agreeing mutually beneficial trade relationships with other independent nations as the 160 free nations do and our EU relationship with 28 nations where we a subservient legally, we have to pay them 15 billion a year and have open borders with them..

    2. Pam Dyson
      July 22, 2019

      Agreed. No one suggests the UK is not independent – except the Brexiters. They are scared stiff of the modern world. Scared of their own shadow. I want a UK strong in Europe, the Brexiters just want to close the curtains and retreat from the world. Pitiful

      1. Edward2
        July 23, 2019

        Quite the opposite Pam.
        But a typical remain smear.
        Currently the UK focuses too much on just on Europe.
        Out of the EU we will open out to the whole world.
        It is the EU that is putting up the barrier and developing into a protectionist bloc with a reducing share of world trade.

  47. Leaver
    July 22, 2019

    Hear hear. Yes, we should have a national celebration. But only if Brexit is approved by parliament.

    I believe in Brexit, but I believe in parliamentary democracy more. I voted for the U.K parliament to take back control from the E.U – not for Mr Johnson to ignore it. If it’s just a negotiating ploy (as I hope), then good on him.

    If he genuinely wants to bypass parliament, I fear he does not understand what many of the British people voted for. Also, if this isn’t done right, we risk giving ammunition to Remain. Brexit. Yes. No Deal. Yes. Ignore parliament. Not on your nelly. That’s my red line.

    1. Everhopeful
      July 22, 2019

      I don’t think so!!

      1. Leaver
        July 23, 2019

        What kind of patriot are you? I believe in parliamentary democracy and getting out of the E.U, don’t you?

        Just because I believe in No Deal, it doesn’t mean I don’t believe in parliament. Perhaps you would prefer a country where they ignore parliament. Russia, maybe?

    2. Rob Pearce
      July 22, 2019

      Yes but you do realise that Parliament will try, and probably will, find a way to stop Brexit?

      So what does that gain us Leavers?

      The square root of sweet Fanny Adams. The Parliamentary remainers fight dirty and will win. Remember their lives literally depend on staying in the EU, although not a single one of them can give a factual reason why.

      1. Leaver
        July 23, 2019

        Then we vote them out. But we need to do this the British way, not the Russian way.

        Also, if it is rammed though, the Remainers will argue it was invalid.

  48. libertarian
    July 22, 2019

    Sorry there won’t be a celebration there will just be the establishment making it as hard as possible to “prove” that Brexit is a bad idea

    Here in Kent they blocked off 15 miles of the M20 8 weeks ago “in case a no deal Brexit causes congestion at Dover” It remains blocked off at the same time as building a new junction and installing “smart motorways” and closing the M2 for repair .

    Yet in the 25 years of Operation Stack not once did Highways South East make any provision for handling traffic, indeed during the worst outage ever in 2015 when OS was in place for 32 days causing chaos to Kent they had no presence at all and the Head of Highways refused to appear on the media .

    I’m keeping a record of the public sector and establishment operations that are designed to blame Brexit

  49. Arthur Wrightiss
    July 22, 2019

    It will be an early Bonfire Night in my garden . A dozen decent sized rockets should do the trick. Hopefully many others will do the same.

    1. Fred H
      July 22, 2019

      What a great idea……and a nicely chilled glass of white wine. Followed by a playing of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ and ‘Jerusalem’.

  50. Andrew S
    July 22, 2019

    Excellent excellent. See how The Brexit Party and Nigel Farage has got rid of Theresa May, now P Hammond, A Duncan flake, more others to follow. The Brexit Party did this where tory mps didn’t *as a group* have the guts or will.
    We may even get Mogg in a new cabinet and to include John also would be advisable.

    1. Pam Dyson
      July 22, 2019

      I would be delighted to see ReesMogg, Redwood and Farage too in the Cabinet. Then they would have to take responisibility, instead of just sniping and proposing unrealistic ideas from the sidelines. However, for that very reason, I am sure they will find a way to sidestep any invitation to join the Cabinet. Just watch

      1. sm
        July 23, 2019

        In your world, presumably Nigel Farage is a Member of the UK Parliament, which is the only means by which he could be invited to be a Cabinet Minister.

      2. Fred H
        July 24, 2019

        Pam….unrealistic ideas and sniping?
        Farage – adamant re-Brexit future. Redwood adamant re-Treasury and well-placed investment. Rees-Mogg adamant re- old-school integrity, manners, honesty.
        Would you like to explain how you came to make these accusations?

  51. margaret howard
    July 22, 2019


    Seeing that both Manchester and Leeds voted remain, Manchester with over 60% and B’ham leave with just 50.3% I would have thought turning off the clocks and flying the flags at half mast as a show of mourning is much more likely.

    1. BillM
      July 22, 2019

      You really are a very sad person not to want your country back. You forget, Freedom is Priceless.

    2. Penny
      July 22, 2019

      Yes, Remainers DO like to suck the joy out of everything…

    3. Simon Coleman
      July 22, 2019

      Good point. Well over 16 million people oppose this ridiculous OAP-driven project, with two of the four nations and most of the big cities (including London) voting remain.

      1. Edward2
        July 23, 2019

        On a constituency basis the “remain party” government would have had a majority of over 150.

    4. L Jones
      July 22, 2019

      Why be so negative about our country, Ms Howard?
      Instead – let’s hear you write positively about all the good things that flow from your beloved EU. Let’s hear you speak in glowing terms of its glory and greatness and why we should all mourn our passing from its grasp.
      I’m sure you don’t HAVE to be such a miseryguts.

  52. Jack Leaver
    July 22, 2019

    We have probably legally left already on 31 March if Robin Tilbrook’s case is found to have merit by a Lord Justice of Appeal and his application for Judicial Review is allowed to proceed. In addition Stanley Brodie QC has analysed in his article for Lawyers for Britain that the request made by outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May under Article 50 for an extension of the UK’s EU membership until 30 June 2019, and concludes that this request was legally valid; however, it was rejected by the EU.

    He reasoned that the counter-proposal by the EU did not comply with the terms of the proviso to Art.50(3) TEU, and accordingly that is was not effective in law to stop the Article 50 process running up to and including 29 March 2019 at 11.00pm. He concluded:

    Whichever way one looks at it, the Agreement was either unlawful or made for an unlawful purpose or ultra vires. That means that the UK left the EU on the 29th March 2019 by default as there was no valid or lawful impediment to prevent it.

    1. Jack Leaver
      July 22, 2019

      It is also important to point out another aspect of Stanley Brodie’s analysis in respect to the reports that Ursula von der Leyen is prepared to offer a further extension of Article 50 beyond 31 October. He says:

      In paragraph 3 of Article 50 one finds the possibility of an extension to the two year period. At the end of the paragraph there appears this proviso: “unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned unanimously decides to extend this period.” This proviso was obviously regarded as important, and not a casual matter. All the parties, including the departing state, have to agree on any proposed extension of time, unanimously. One further point should
      be noted. The proviso relates to “this period”. The only period stated in paragraph 3 is the two year period.

      From what I understand from the analysis, Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty does not allow for a further extension of the already agreed and implemented extension of the 2 year notification period.

  53. David Taylor
    July 22, 2019

    I agree wholeheartedly , why are the people who are able to have their opinions widely reported in the media , so discouraging in their outlook for a Non EU Britain , watching the BBC news last week , was a constant stream of gloom and the Project Fear manifesto had the lead , what is the matter with them ?
    Trade Agreements will follow , reality enforces it , it is the Political aspect of the EU that is to blame for Brexit , if the EEC , EC & EU was simply a trading bloc , we would not be in this situation , others in Europe will assuredly follow Britains lead , why does not Britain set up an alternative European trading bloc , affiliated to the Commonwealth ?
    Britains membership of the EU , will not safeguard Britain from anything , recession , war , bad management or bad government .

    1. margaret howard
      July 22, 2019

      David Taylor

      “, if the EEC , EC & EU was simply a trading bloc , we would not be in this situation”

      It was never meant to be just a trading bloc.

      The official 1975 Referendum leaflet which nearly 70% of us voted for read:

      The aims of the Common Market are:

      To bring together the peoples of Europe.

      To raise living standards and improve working conditions.

      To promote growth and boost world trade.

      To help the poorest regions of Europe and the rest of the world.

      To help maintain peace and freedom.

      That’s exactly what we got today.

      And we set up various trading blocs ourselves like EFTA and the commonwealth but when they were overtaken by the far more successful EU we begged to join them. We were originally turned down, especially by De Gaulle, but were eventually successful mainly with German assistance. (Bet they regret it now)

      1. Edward2
        July 23, 2019

        Failed on all these vague aims.

  54. BR
    July 22, 2019

    Are you thinking that it will be more difficult for remoaners to stop Brexit if there’s a countdown clock and we appear to be proudly looking forward to being independent?

    I doubt that it would stop them trying and it would look pretty poor if it were reset yet again.

    However, I do feel that the message for Brexit has never been properly transmitted. The MSM are partly responsible, but also the political class (yes, I know that you don;t get he chance, so you have to make your own vehicles such as this, albeit to a smaller audience).

    We do need to start getting across the positives, along with the negatives of being in the EU and challenging the remoaner narrative of making endless vague economic assertions without ever providing any supporting evidence worth of the name.

    On a tangential note: I’d like to see TV discussions where the interviewees are in glass boxes and their microphones are only active when they are invited to speak, with a clock running to show total time speaking such that all get an equal time. The glass should even go opaque when its not their turn so that they can’t pull faces and have friendly directors cut to them when they do so.
    I’m really tired of the left/remain using the tactic of endless interruptions to prevent someone getting the truth across, while looking to the inexperienced voter like someone who really, really cares enough to get emotional about it. New political chat show, anyone? “Politician in a box”?

  55. sm
    July 22, 2019

    ps. After endless days of appalling news about UK politics, my day was considerably lightened when I heard that Alan Duncan had resigned this morning. Is it because of the mess up in the Straits of Hormuz?

    1. Lynn Atkinson
      July 22, 2019

      No, it’s because of the mess in of the Duncan!

    2. Penny
      July 22, 2019

      Of course not. It’s because he couldn’t serve under Boris. Jumping before he’s pushed, like Hammond, Stewart etc.

  56. Lynn Atkinson
    July 22, 2019

    Norris McWhirter, who did so much to promote Brexit even before it had that name, always wanted the hilltop bonfires across the UK to herald the wonderful news.

    1. outsider
      July 22, 2019

      The Millennium Beacons are ready and waiting Lynn.

    2. Mark B
      July 22, 2019

      That’s a very good suggestion. I would like to add my name to that.


  57. Lynn Atkinson
    July 22, 2019

    Maybe the off should be from Greenwich – after all that it the mother of our time too.

  58. BillM
    July 22, 2019

    Let us make it another VE day and let ALL Bells ring out the good new!!

    1. Simon Coleman
      July 22, 2019

      It just shows the sheer delusion of you Brexit OAPs that you keep making reference to the War. Brexit isn’t a war…just a grim act of self-harm. You might as well make it another Waterloo day for all the relevance it has to Brexit. You can probably remember that day as well.

      1. Edward2
        July 23, 2019

        Typical remainer.
        Never a comment without an insult.

  59. Denis Cooper
    July 22, 2019

    Off topic, I’m staggered to see George Eustice still pushing the EEA as an option when it became clear in November 2017 that the Irish government would reject even “light touch” border checks like those which operate between Norway and Sweden.

    “Is the Norway-Sweden border a solution for Ireland?”

    The Irish Europe Minister Helen McEntee from 3 minutes in:

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

    I have repeatedly pointed this out to him and to other enthusiasts for the EEA but it seems that it just will not sink in that on the EU’s standard model the UK, or at least Northern Ireland, would need to remain under the rules of both the EU Customs Union and the EU Single Market to avoid border checks.

    It would not be enough for us to stay in a customs union – we were in the EEC Customs Union with the Irish Republic from 1973, but that was not enough to allow the abolition of border checks – it would need us to stay under the rules of the Single Market as well.

    Conversely Norway is under many of the rules of the EU Single Market but it is not in a customs union with the EU, which is why it and the other EFTA members are free to make their own trade deals around the world but also why there are border checks.

    There is a legal solution to this problem, but it is not provided by the EEA model:

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

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

    That was in May 2018, so what happened?

  60. Fred H
    July 22, 2019


    With India spending billions on moon flights, it made me wonder about UK Aid Budget and scope.

    A look at the long list is an eye-opener.
    Stop most of it.

  61. Little Englander
    July 22, 2019

    By all means celebrate (privately) as we should do. BUT we don’t have time to celebrate nationally as we will have too much work to do and need to crack on and focus and concentrate on what needs to be done in what will be rediscovery and enlightenment.
    A new exciting pathway with challenges to work through (which as a Nation we will do) and in doing so re-energise and reinvigorate ourselves and cast off the lethargy that “The Suits” in Strasbourg and Brussels have instilled in us over many years of subjugation. They have done what they have intended to do( and have been very successful at) which is to ensure that National Governments understand that “there is ONLY one game in town and that there is no other way or face crippling financial hardship”. Avoid, through National celebration, our victory over the EU what hurts most is “if you ignore it and crack on determinedly.
    What has gone before should be left to Historians, other Academics and ” experts” to mull over in the writing of their history books and that is for posterity. We won’t need this ‘coz we already know” and we look forwards not backwards. Here endeth the lesson.

  62. Fred H
    July 22, 2019

    another OFF TOPIC.
    DECISION on new leader running late – they can’t make up their mind!
    No surprise there then.

  63. Denis Cooper
    July 22, 2019

    If you search through what Philip Hammond told Andrew Marr about his attitude towards the idea of leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement under the terms of Article 50, a “deal” in colloquial terms, then you will find at least half a dozen references to it:

    However the one which is most telling is this:

    “But it is true that I never believed in no deal. Of course I’ve never believed in no deal. No deal is a catastrophe for our country.”

    Note that he has NEVER believed in no deal; it is not the case that at some point in the past, let us say February 1st 2017, he would have been willing to accept it but has since come to a better understanding of its catastrophic consequences; and nor is it the case that he is only against no deal on October 31st, as he keeps saying.

    So why February 1st 2017, in particular?

    Because that is when he voted with the government to give the Bill to empower the Prime Minister to serve the Article 50 notice its Second Reading, Division 135 here:

    having just shortly before voted with the government to defeat the SNP amendment which had been under debate, Division 134 here:

    Which amendment, which can be read here:

    would have stopped the Second Reading on any one of five grounds, the last being:

    “… as withdrawal from the European Union follows two years after the invoking of Article 50 if agreement is not reached in the forthcoming negotiations, unless they are prolonged by unanimity.”

    So here we had a man who held one of the great offices of state, that of Chancellor of the Exchequer, voting for a course of action which he must have known perfectly well at the time could potentially lead to what he now claims would be catastrophe for our country, without objecting that the Bill should be amended to incorporate whatever safeguards could be devised to prevent that eventuality; only now does he use this as an excuse to try to stop not just a no deal Brexit, but any other kind of Brexit.

    Did I say “man”? I meant “snake”.

    1. Sir Joe Soap
      July 24, 2019

      This is SO obvious and should be trumpeted by the media… those who now say they can’t operate in a government saying no deal is better than a bad deal MUST have known that May was lying in saying this all along.

  64. Penny
    July 22, 2019

    I quite like the idea of a 21-gun salute from the Tower, or perhaps beacons lit across the country.

  65. Frankh
    July 22, 2019

    English people will never claim independence, it is not in your nature, after too many centuries bowing the head and bending the knee to your betters. If you really want true independence you will have to throw off the shackles open the windows and let the fresh air in- you need revolution for change not ticking clocks

    1. Lynn Atkinson
      July 23, 2019

      We have been independent under the Rule of Law for 1,000 years. We do suffer from kindness and generosity.

    2. Fred H
      July 24, 2019

      Frankh…..not a fan of history then? I think if you bothered to check, the British (English if you prefer) have agreed to many nations obtaining their independence from us. Bowing head and bending knee? ….when was that? Some examples please.

  66. Caterpillar
    July 22, 2019

    Perhaps Sir Alan Duncan should make the decision how to mark the occasion, after all he doesn’t seem to rate the ability of Conservative MPs to make a choice.

  67. Simeon
    July 22, 2019

    Sir John,

    We’re you sympathetic to Duncan’s attempts to have a vote of confidence in Johnson? Personally, I thought it was very generous of him. If it flushed out the rebels and forced BJ to seek a mandate from the people, this would be the most advantageous time and circumstances in which to fight a GE. If the rebels kept their powder dry, then BJ’s position would then have been more secure than it otherwise will be.

    (I am presupposing that a GE is an inevitable result of a policy of No Deal – a very sound presupposition in my view – and also that BJ is indeed going to effectively aim at a No Deal (even if he pays lip service to trying to negotiate a deal). This second presupposition I’m dubious of; my view is that, faced with the prospect of staying in no. 10 or fighting a GE imposed upon him by Parliament, he’ll take the former.)

  68. Ian!
    July 22, 2019

    I find it interesting that before Mrs May’s style of government, members of government, the cabinet, if they were unable to support the government in a parliamentary vote they had to resign. What we get now is those ministers that couldn’t support Mrs May’s last Thursday and forgot to resign are now doing thier duty and suggesting is for other reasons.

    If those in government don’t have just basic integrity, they should resign as MP’s and make way for thier electorate to get someone that does.

    Is it no wonder we don’t believe them!

  69. Christopher
    July 22, 2019

    I think, was it during the Olympics, the artist Martin Creed arranged for all the bells across the country to be rung, bicycle bells, ring tones on phones were all rung, I remember standing on Westminster Bridge

    All the bells across the country should be rung

  70. Simon Coleman
    July 22, 2019

    You invite my thoughts – well, thanks for that. I’d be much more confident about our future as a nation and its democratic system if you ERG people weren’t in Parliament, trying to distort every fact about Brexit and the problems that it will create. If we weren’t a free nation then how did the country manage to take a unilateral decision to leave the EU? Well over 16 million of us will not be celebrating this absurd gamble which will impact on every corner of national life. By now you should have proved that those new trade deals will be more advantageous than our present situation, that disruption to EU trade will be minimal, that the City won’t lose 1000s of jobs, that agriculture won’t be plunged into crisis etc etc. You’ve won none of the arguments, yet still claim that 82% of the electorate voted for Brexit at the 2017 election. And your new hero – the man to deliver the ‘real’ Brexit – is going to be elected by a few thousand implacable OAPs who haven’t got over World War 2, or even the Norman Conquest. He will have no working majority – and that means no hard Brexit without a general election. I advise you not to start celebrating just yet.

    1. Len Grinds
      July 23, 2019

      I fully agree Simon. Every promise made by the Brexiters has turned to dust. So who will Boris blame now, now that he is actually in charge. Well, we will soon find out, but of course the Brexiters will never accept any responsibility for the tide of untruth they have unleashed on the nation. It will always be somebody else’s fault!

      1. Simon Coleman
        July 23, 2019

        Indeed Len. But the forces ranged against Johnson are formidable – and he knows it. The sheer dishonesty of the Brexiteers has created further opposition within and without Parliament. We only have to see Mr Redwood’s posts – he’s never once admitted that there might be difficulties arising from Brexit. These people are incapable of being straight with the public – hence no surprise that they’ve elected a man who has a ‘casual’ relationship with the truth.

    2. Edward2
      July 23, 2019

      Still fixated by trade Simon.
      It is about being able to control our laws taxation and borders.
      The freedom to be an independent nation.
      Like the 160 other free independent nations on the planet.
      Many who fought long and hard to achieve that independence.

      1. Simon Coleman
        July 23, 2019

        Edward, are you really saying that the other 27 EU countries are not independent nations?

        1. Edward2
          July 23, 2019

          Yes I am.
          They all have leaders who have agreed over the years that the EU should have legal supremacy over them.
          Don’t you ever read what the major EU treaties say?
          Read the future as set out in the Five Presidents Report.

  71. ferdinand
    July 23, 2019

    Perhaps we could persuade the fine watchmaker from another small independent nation
    to erect an enormous Rolex clock as used at international Grands Prix.

  72. […] Chiming our independence […]

  73. rose
    July 27, 2019

    I suggest Great George in the Wills Memorial Building Tower of the University of Bristol. He is fuller and deeper than Big Ben – E flat, I think – and the architecture of the building – its windows for example – echo that of the House of Commons.

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