What you want to read about

I have had some criticism for writing about environmental issues. Looking at the blog  stats you found habitats as uninteresting as the Withdrawal Agreement. The two most commented on recent blogs were the  one on how to have  a more prosperous UK out of the EU, and what laws we should change on exit. A good number of readers are interested in waste and plastics.

This is different to the volume  of emails I get as an MP, where environmental ones greatly exceed Brexit ones. Most of them are copies of lobby group emails which people want to route on.

I will continue to write about a range of relevant topics. Those who are only interested in Brexit will find regular update  posts they can respond to.

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73 Comments

  1. James Bertram
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    I was really pleased to see the article and comments on Habitats.
    What you might want to read might not correlate with what might be commented on.
    Some articles and comments just give you the opportunity to perhaps learn something new, and perhaps to think differently.
    A lot of comments may just mean it is an area of life we are more familiar with, or one where we have formed ‘stuck’ opinions.
    An argument for quality, not quantity.
    An argument for change.
    I hope you will continue to write articles on a wide variety of subjects, and the more they make us think anew, and the more challenging they are, the better.
    Good luck.

    • IanT
      Posted August 4, 2019 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      I agree with James – please don’t confine yourself to a narrow band of subjects. I read all of your posts and often get a different perspective on something I possibly hadn’t thought about too deeply before. Certainly in my case, there is no direct connection between the articles I have found interesting and the ones I have commented on.

    • Posted August 4, 2019 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      Agreed, Mr Betram.

    • Hope
      Posted August 4, 2019 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      How about expensive inefficient councils being allowed by your party to separate charges from council tax by stealth while keeping the council tax high and allowed inflation busting rises- two under Javid at 5% each year!

      Councils were allowed under Tories to separate water and sewerage from our rates making it a separate charge. Just imagine your council tax bill if the water and sewerage was added on?

      Councils currently charging add ons for Adult Social Care and Flood Defence- despite the latter being the job of the Environment Agency.

      Councils allowed to separate garden waste so it is another charge.

      Another charge the Tories have allowed is maintenance of open spaces and play parks on new developments-in addition to council tax. Now all new developments charge a management fee to maintain open spaces and children play parks between £125-£250 on top of council tax.

      Let us not forget in 2010 Tory govt cut council grants, but in their place allowed councils to charge CIL and NHB for every new home built. It was to provide incentives to force councils to build. no one hears of NHB or CIL but they do here about the cut in grant! It was colloquially known as the “Boles bung” who was community secretary at the time.

      All these add on costs at our expense. The Tories are the highest taxing party in fifty years. These are examples of further stealth taxes through council tax they allow councils to charge. We could add street parking having a detrimental effect on the high street, business rates causing businesses to close. Councils need radical overhaul and salaries need caping or cutting. The CEOs and director of services are simply not worth it.

      All these additional costs hit the lowest paid.

      • Stred
        Posted August 5, 2019 at 7:11 am | Permalink

        Residents parking at, £150 pa, whilst cutting spaces and selling more permits than spaces available. It’s a racket.

    • Rob Pearce
      Posted August 4, 2019 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Yes I agree with most of that James.

      I think most of us have an eclectic range of interests and concerns, but what drives many of us is that we have been holding our collective breath waiting to be taken out of the EU as Cameron promised we would be if we voted such. I admit I cannot focus my mind to any issue other than Brexit as it seems we are so damn close to actually getting what we voted for finally. This doesn’t mean environmental and many other subjects aren’t important, far from it. It’s just Brexit being done and dusted is so vitally fundamental to underpinning everything else, and then I for one can focus on the next issue, and this probably speaks for a lot of other people.

      • J Warrior
        Posted August 5, 2019 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

        I couldn’t agree more. The behaviour of some of our MPs, in seeking to obstruct the process of leaving the EU, has driven me crazy. We will prosper once we leave, I am sure, but it is risible that something so hugely important as getting Brexit right has been reduced to a playground fight.
        I expected the EU to behave as they did – ruthlessly in their own interests, but I also expected that we would be just as tough a negotiator. Of course, no-one had factored in Mrs May! I believe an election is in the offing, due to the Government’s vulnerability, and desperately hope Boris is talking to Nigel Farage.

  2. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    The environment situation isn’t as fast changing as the Brexit one, so probably doesn’t feed the need for rapid fire comment.
    Nevertheless a judicious mix of what is long term common sense in terms of waste and plastics and the day to day rumblings of Brexit isn t a bad combination.

  3. Cliff. Wokingham
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Sir John
    I find all of your writings interesting in one way or another.
    I do believe some single issue groups have rather hijacked the political agenda which may distort just how much of a concern some topics are to the general public.
    Personally, I am happy with the range of topics you discuss but what I would find interesting would be a series of posts on just what we want government to do. I feel we have far too much government and seldom does a week go by without an announcement of even more government being created.

    Thank you for your efforts as our MP and in particular for this blog.

  4. Dominic
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    I enjoy your blog and I appreciate the time, effort and consideration you invest in it.

    As an MP there are topics and issues of a fundamental nature that you refuse to address. Issues that go right to the heart of what the UK’s become as a nation. Issues that expose our political system for what it’s become.

    There’s a lot of anger in the real world, outside of Westminster politics and the Home Counties. I have seen it and I have heard it. This anger isn’t triggered by the issues of plastic, waste and other, shall we say, less visceral topics. It is triggered by attacks on our freedoms and liberties using the weaponisation and politicisation of these issues

    The left dominate all aspects of today’s political discussion to the point where even the Tory agenda is set by Labour. This causes real anger amongst Tory and right of centre opinion.

    I suppose we see a Tory party that now panders and capitulates to the left and their activism

    With Johnson as PM I just don’t see that changing.

    • agricola
      Posted August 4, 2019 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely correct. There are subjects that even this diary fears discussion of. A very sad and dangerous state of affaires in a democracy. Subjects not aired only fester and grow.

    • Julie Williams
      Posted August 5, 2019 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      There is a life outside of Brexit( and I suspect that few of us guessed that it would drag on o long, whichever way the vote went) and we need to debate how the world will proceed.
      I worked for a local authority that went for a waste-to-energy plant a couple of decades ago.It was a nightmare contract full of uncertainty and government recycling trends made it unfriendly and expensive.
      It’s now been rediscovered!
      Why?
      Because we can’t really recycle rubbish and other countries half way round the world (see the blog on rubbish in oceans)?
      Who knows.
      What I would like is some real evidence on which to try to reach an opinion.
      For me : this site helps, I wasn’t educated to only cope with thing that agree with me and I wasn’t educated to agree with everything that did!
      May I suggest that you continue to post as you see first and never mind us!

  5. stred
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    It would be better to keep discussing some other subjects apart from Brexit. For example, the economic effect and dangerous results of blackouts if the government and opposition accept the recommendations of the Climate Change Committee and civil service need to be examined.

    • jerry
      Posted August 4, 2019 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      @stred; I agree that there needs to be a mix, far more than exists even now, but the series of articles I complained about did not have a balanced mix promised in his article of 26th July, even today the emphasis is more on personal and family taxes when many (judging from the 2017 GE result) are more worried about business, enterprise polices (both structure and taxation) and the UK’s place in the world, not ‘micro-economic’ detail of how much VAT someone might pay, be it 0%, 5% or 20%, post Brexit!

      I have no problem if Sir John wants to defend his income tax, industrial or what ever policies but unless he allows and encourages such debate [1] he and us will only ever hear descenting voices from those willing and able to take the debate off topic – hard to do when, perhaps necessarily longer, off topic comments can take hours and even days before being published, our host preferring to try and keep up with the more numerous topical posts.

      [1] This site is far more intellectual than most others, such as ConHome for example, but it is (necessarily?) less immediate, which is why it is always going to be up to our host to start the debate, doing so by playing Devils advocate

  6. J Bush
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    I enjoy the wide variation of topics you offer for comment.

    Some I had previously not given lots of thought to are brought to the fore by the debates on your blog and gives me food for thought.

    I just wish the government would also pay more attention to the opinions of those outside their virtue signalling bubble.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 4, 2019 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      I too enjoy the varity. I am also very concerned about real environmental issues.

      I am however sick to death of fake “greenwash” and scientific lunacy from virtue signaling people who do not understand physics, science, climate, chaotic systems or energy engineering. The sorts of people you get on the BBC with degrees in English/PPE or similar who do not even know the what “positive feedback” is and confuse “energy” with “power”. The ones who do not seem to realise importing biofuels is idiotic, as is the Swansea Lagoon Project and the electric cars are not zero emmission (as the very expensive and environmentally damaing) batteries still need to be charged). Or that intermittent energy is worth far less than on demand energy as it needs back up.

      • agricola
        Posted August 4, 2019 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        The “Greenwash” is a religion. It is not a matter of fact, it only requires blind belief. It is further confused with the mixing of climate change, not disputed, it has been happening for millions of years, with the environment which is entirely down to man.

  7. James Matthews
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    I am interested in topics other than Brexit, but whether we actually get to leave the EU and, if so, on what terms, has a direct bearing on almost every other important issue. Without being sure of the overall political and economic context it often seems impossible or pointless to try to reach a sensible position on other matters. We need certainty – and not just for economic reasons. Once we have that normal politics can resume.

  8. Newmania
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Out campaigning, I stood next to the Greens ,usually knitting a patchwork for peace or something. I recall saying something like… ” Look; trade and capitalism, have cured malaria, freed women, particularly, from ignorance, and taken Asian families from no shoes, to two cars. It has ended a universal pattern of dying babies and poor lives unchanged in a thousand years until the industrial revolution. Me likee ! So here I stand, a boring centrist remainer and what do I see ?
    Corbyns lot claim the 20th century was the victory of the planned economy. The Brexit crowd ( UKIP Conservative )spread ‘poisonous myths ‘ about immigrants when they think we can`t hear, and you advocate subsistence farming . Like your car, by the way, Tibet this year is it? ”
    “The question is ,how we keep the gains of industrial growth AND look after the environment. You don`t have an answer ” . That was my side anyway but it was good to talk to good people.
    Mr Redwood is an amusing arguer in the cause of nonsense, but when he turns to green issues its a bit like watching Phil Tufnell come into bat. He doesn`t really want to do it at all , but at least it will soon be over

  9. Shirley
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    I would be interested in an article on allocation of land. Where do we put all the housing to accommodate the high levels of immigration? How do we keep producing our own food if arable and grazing land is taken out of production? Do the government plan to keep our green belt, SSSI’s, our parks and wild areas, ie. forests, dales, lakes?

    What about housing itself? The only efficient use of land is to build upwards rather than outwards, ie. 3 story houses are becoming the norm in our area as they have a smaller footprint. Tower blocks are not good for the human psyche, but we may have no option if the UK population keeps increasing at the current rate.

    What are the governments plans to decrease immigration, or increase house building, and where will they put new housing?

    • James Bertram
      Posted August 4, 2019 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

      Part of that debate, Shirley:
      A third of land in England and Wales is still owned by the aristocracy, according to Country Life magazine’s most recent Who Owns Britain survey. Some 36,000 people, 0.6 percent of the population, own more than half of rural land in England and Wales.
      Scotland has the most unequal land ownership in Western Europe, with just 432 powerful landlords owning 50 percent of the land.
      The Ministry of Defence is the second biggest landowner in Britain.
      It owns more than 500,000 acres—and has “right of access” to 500,000 more.
      Its property portfolio is valued at around £20 billion and costs £3.3 billion to maintain.
      https://socialistworker.co.uk/art/43221/Who+owns+Britain+How+the+rich+kept+hold+of+land

    • James Bertram
      Posted August 4, 2019 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      ‘What are the Government’s plans..?’, Shirley – probably to build more golf courses.

  10. SecretPeople
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    I was interested to read about environmental issues, but also disappointed by what you had to say in respect of the greenbelt and our wildlife.

    The Telegraph today:
    “The Campaign to Protect Rural England will publish a new poll showing that 63 per cent of the population oppose changes making it easier for homes to be built on green belt land” and “just 15 per cent of voters would support changing planning regulations to make it easier for homes to be build on green belt land”.

    We need to get a grip on immigration; the current rate isn’t sustainable.

  11. Gareth Warren
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    The enviroment seems to be an issue greatly influenced by the establishment.

    The UK is definitely a country of animal lovers, we also like the natural countryside and are happy to improve it.

    But I am skeptical about both the science of climate change and our ability to improve it. Here if the UK uses less oil it is a good thing, but then that lowers the price of oil meaning more is used outside the country.

    On threats to humanity only comets and meteors have caused worldwide extinctions, we know the dinosaurs were wiped out by one 65 million years ago. But evidence of the earth being hit by the Taurid meteor stream 12000 years ago including fascinating evidence of civilisation existing at that time – Gobeki Tepe in south eastern Turkey has been dated without doubt to that time (around 10000 BC) and consists of multiple carved stone henge circles that were decorated.
    We pass through this stream in June and agian in October that contains multiple 1 km+ chunks of rock and some believe a 30km rock all of which previously were a 100 km comet.

    We sould as a nation colaborate with NASA when we get out of the EU as the technology gained may prove vital.

  12. Gareth Warren
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    And I am happy to read the current mix, I would like to know more about what work has been done on trade deals for brexit, I believe progress on these is vital.

  13. ukretired123
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Sir John
    It’s good to see you have as an MP a more rounded view of life outside the Westminster bubble to put things in perspective in the wider context. You gain feedback from the ground up showing humanity and above all an excellent listener. Very rare skill it appears today – listening to the people.

    I am sure you are a good inspiration to a lot of youngsters in all walks of life especially those wishing to do Public service with your integrity despite all the criticism and barbs. I know you never let praise nor criticism unduly affect you as in the poem “If”. There are other MPs who plough the furrow with similar modus operandi but many are one-trick ponies sadly.

  14. Pominoz
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    Perhaps, at the present time, many read and contribute to you diary because of a passionate feeling for, or against, Brexit. You, unashamedly, reveal your personal thoughts on a wide range of topics – which, dare I may say, is very brave. Whether your views on each subject raised are agreed with or not entirely is irrelevant. Your diary promotes thought. Readers may consider that they have the knowledge or experience to contribute to the debate on that subject, or not. It is, in fact, irrelevant as long as it is thought-provoking, which it invariably is.

    My one request is that all contributors, whether to your posts directly, or to the responses of others, maintain a level of respect and courtesy in their posts.

    Brexit is a most divisive issue. One of my lifelong best friends (I count these in the low single figures) is a firm remainer. The subject is not directly discussed between us as, whilst the issue remains unresolved, it is not worth the destruction of that relationship. I do hope that Boris can, on 1st November, allow the whole British nation to move forward together, once again. He really must not fail.

  15. MB
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    I am interested in environmental discussions, especially the health of rivers. Many rivers are being damaged by the run-off, of pesticides, fertilisers and soil from intensive farming methods, with the consequent adverse effects on aquatic insect life and the salmon and trout in our rivers.

  16. Cromwell
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Hello John
    I would enjoy hearing your and other peoples views on the last Great Nationalised Industry – The National Health Service

    • Shirley
      Posted August 4, 2019 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      Agreed. I would also be interested in exploring the NHS services further. The NHS cannot be all things to all people. There isn’t enough money in the world for that, never mind just in the UK.

      What is the governments solution?

    • agricola
      Posted August 4, 2019 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      The replacement of freedom of speech with polititical correctness is also an important topic that requires airing.

    • Walter
      Posted August 4, 2019 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Was reading that US Ambassador Johnson says ‘everything’ will be up for discussion when it comes to a new trade deal. when he was asked about the NHS specifically he said “yes-everything”- later retracted to read, except the NHS- but my thoughts- Sup with the devil better use a long spoon

    • jerry
      Posted August 4, 2019 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

      @Cromwell; Is that the UK or German model of a Nationalised health service, the difference between the State taking payment direct via taxation (UK) or the State mandating by law the minimum amount someone has to pay (from their post-tax income) for health insurance provision (DE) – but then perhaps you were comparing both with the USA system…

  17. Turboterrier
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Sir John

    Your format for change of topics is just fine with me. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to comment on such wide ranging subjects should we decide to do so.

  18. Ian Wilson
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    I feel you strike a good balance including genuine concern for the environment.

    Regrettably the pressure groups all too often damage the environment. Wind turbines are one of the worst examples, despoiling our best landscapes, damaging peatland and killing huge numbers of birds and bats. I see in today’s papers wind turbine interests are lobbying Andrea Leadsom to be allowed yet more onshore developments. Let’s hope she resists, particularly now Allam cycle gas power stations show promise of rendering wind obsolete.

  19. Whichever
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Yeah it’s a good idea to be concerned about important environmental issues but not at this particular time with the country facing into it’s biggest political economic shakeup of a generation and on such a gigantic scale? So am thinking it would be much better to not write at all rather than give the false impression that it’s all only about rearranging furniture on the Titanic afterdeck- or nearer to the truth- more like ‘Nero fiddled while Rome burned’. Environmental issues can be long term projects if you like that can be fixed in time, but what we’re facing here right now on 31st Oct is calculated to be sudden and life-changing.

    • NickC
      Posted August 4, 2019 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      Whichever, Almost 88% of UK GDP is derived from not selling to the EU. In economic terms the EU is important, but no where near as important as the rest. Eliminating half of all plastics used in the manufacture of household goods, industrial goods, houses, cars and packaging would likely have more extensive consequences than leaving the EU treaties.

  20. Posted August 4, 2019 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Sir, I hope you continue to post blog entries as you see fit. It is an excellent insight as to both what you are thinking and what topics you believe need addressing (which is not necessarily related to overall importance).

    Many blogs have a facility for tags which allow them to filter blog posts by topic. Perhaps it would be worth activating the feature on your blog so those that want a quick link to your, say, Brexit posts can have it,

  21. margaret
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    I think John that you must take into consideration the amount of time spent on Brexit and the defunct withdrawal agreement. Most readers have probably exhausted their arguments having stated them over and over again . One can only say so much : the rest is tittle tattle. Also blogs addressed near weekend are more likely to be responded to . This is the problem with stats; they don’t look at all the variables which I am sure that there must be more than the significance of interest.

  22. malc
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    I read your blog regularly and find the topics as well as the comments very interesting. There is life after Brexit so articles such as on plastic, banking, industry, housing etc all very welcome.
    Your articles stimulate good comments.
    I think the plastic problem is serious. How about Boris nominating a minister of Plastic to tackle the problem from start to finish.

    • jerry
      Posted August 4, 2019 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

      @malc; The entire waste collection, processing and retail models are the real problem, whilst the fad for recycling can often cause other environmental issues, from reprocessing “waste-miles” to fly-tipping of waste that incur penalty disposal charges. I’m not against recycling but far more should be done to encourage returnable containers and bottles, post Brexit tax-rebates could be give to companies who return to the use of such containers, rebates going to help off-set the costs of say using glass bottles, the return & their reuse.

      We also need to tackle food waste, not by the use of slop-bins [1] but banning multi packs and BOGOF type offers for perishables, families of an odd number can often find it a problem if unused food can not be frozen, whilst for others multi packs encourage over eating.

      But perhaps I’m sounding to much like someone who has just stepped off a time-machine from the 1970s again!

      [1] many people simply do not have a suable location to keep slop-bins, some do not even such a location to keep the general recycling bin

  23. Bob Dixon
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    I find everything you write on usefull.

  24. bill brown
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Sir JR

    Well articulated response

  25. NickC
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Jr, I think your blog is excellent as it is. I like your varied topics. Waste for example is a live issue, not least because at the moment the rules about it are mostly from the EU (eg WFD 2008/98/EC). Inevitably politics is dominated by Brexit (it would be less so if continuity Remain and Remain MPs hadn’t attempted to halt Brexit), but that isn’t a problem. It is especially useful to see how feeble and ignorant Remain arguments are.

  26. BR
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    It’s sad that people are not interested in env issues – that’ s said as a sceptic in many areas.

    Seeing May commit to zero carbon by 2050 should worry people re Brexit or anything else to do with the economy (how are we going to make a success of Brexit with that millstone round our necks?). One could be forgiven for thinking that Hammond & May set this up for Brexit to fail, but I suspect that they’re just plain old fashioned stupid on this issue as on so many others, such as Brexit itself.

    Please try to get the science done properly so that we understand once and for all (a) if there is any genuine long-term trend towards warming (b) if man-made factors are significant and (c) identify the root cause.

  27. Mark
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    If I were you I would attach little weight to computer generated email campaigns.

    The postbag delivered by the postman may offer a more reasonable guide to public opinion.

    I read that XR have some very extreme …….. aims, with funding from the usual suspects. More details at various sources………. Perhaps MPs ought to take an interest in not letting these people hijack our future.

  28. sm
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    John – I read all your articles, but don’t comment when I have nothing to add, either because of lack of knowledge on my part or because another poster has articulated my thoughts.

    Please carry on as you are doing now!

    • jerry
      Posted August 4, 2019 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

      @sm; “or because another poster has articulated my thoughts.”

      A decision that can only be taken well into a debate…

      I think our host often increases his own workload due to his habit of (often) moderating newest to oldest, meaning that many newer comments echo much earlier comments – also if iI can make a suggestion, perhaps Sir John could take advise on if WordPress has a up/down-tick plug-in for individual comments, thus allowing someone to up-tick rather than post a one liner that is basically a +1 or Me too comment?

  29. ferdinand
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    That is an interesting comment. Let’s just get rid of the ill thought out Climate Change Act as soon as possible.

  30. Posted August 4, 2019 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    One of the serious failings of the Conservative party is that we automatically assume that everyone knows what we, at our core, stand for. I have never yet met a true Conservative who did not hold the concepts of conservation dear to their hearts. I for example quietly and because its absolutely the right thing to do for future generations, have planted thousands of trees, recovered water courses and ponds & recovered a 7 acre traditional wild flower meadow an dover the next few years will do the same to a 13 acre one we own.
    My failing, and I thing that of the Party, is that we do not tell the world what we are doing.
    perhaps the next party political broadcast should be a take on Monty Pythons Life of Brian “What have the Romans ever done for us”
    If this approach were taken would we for example currently have the situation were a Government scheme, HS2 is cynically stripping thousands of acres of countryside of everything green to try and present the review with a fait accompli to stop its cancellation

  31. formula57
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    “I will continue to write about a range of relevant topics.” – good, for I am here to be educated. I remain astonished by your industry and by your insightful expertise over a wide range of matters. Thank you.

  32. Lifelogic
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Good to see Priti Patel wanting to see some deterrents in the criminal justice system. Rather a U turn from the rather misdirected policing we have suffered under Cameron and May. Policing that even tells criminal they have given up on shoplifting and many other serious crimes. Or the policing allows religious climate protest groups block the roads for days or allows people to carry knives as weapons.

    Some comments from you on moving towards a sensible system of law and order that deters and prevents crime would be most welcome.

    Also something on how we can move to easier hire and fire, kill the many parasitic jobs in the state sector, the law, health and safely, HR, tax compliance, the provision of worthless degrees, renewables and the likes.

    Perhaps an article on:-

    How governments can stop generating ever more parasitic jobs with idiotic laws, endless red tape, and ever more tax and tax complexity.

    Or what Osborne’s “Office of Tax Simplification” has achieved 20 July 2010!

    Should it be renamed or culled perhaps?

  33. Elli Ron
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Sir Redwood,

    Please continue your blog with any subject you feel is important enough.

    One of the ones I have not seen, but which will have huge influance on the future is 5G, I for one would like to have your thoughts.
    Thanks

    • Fred H
      Posted August 5, 2019 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      Elli,
      The world and the UK has thrived while telecomms has slowly moved on from 2G – 3G – 4G.
      Just what beneficial difference has moving from 3G to 4G really made? I see downsides – appalling social media fixation, obsession with food photos about to be consumed, teenage entrapment over sexuality, filmed violence for fun, youth obsession with online (games, porn, etc) dividing families, obscene bills which create crazy profits for Telecomms cos to further invest in the trend to extract profits.

      So now 5G is the next big thing? To do what to enhance our lives? It is NOT needed, possibly will become a big brother spying mechanism invading our lives. I see nothing of value. Abandon all financial incentives Boris. Make a stand for civil liberties.

  34. agricola
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    From what you say it would appear that the organised environmentalists are collectively targeting your diary in numbers rather than quality of submission.

    I was accosted by one aspect of their efforts in the High Street yesterday. While I have no interest in foxhunting I do not believe that urban do gooders should dictate to the rural community. Nothing predates on the fox so since stopping foxhunting the animal has become a problem both urban and rural. My instinct and experience tells me that this brigade of activists will next target anglers and shooters. They have already had some success in curbing pest control in the countryside to the extent that crows are now predating on lamb stock due to lack of shooting control.

    Everyone can have an opinion and the right to try and sell it. However it is Parliament that needs to strike a common sense balance.

  35. Everhopeful
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    JR should just keep on writing as he sees fit.
    It is a lovely blog.
    And I do hope there will be another Christmas story this year!

  36. acorn
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    I will be very interested to read where you JR, are going to make all these “tax cuts for all”.

    I have one simple question JR. How large an annual budget deficit are you going to run to keep the UK’s post Brexit no-deal economy, out of recession; for let’s say, three to five years?

    And; how likely is the Treasury bench, to accept a large deficit spending plan, when it committed to a budget surplus by 2015, now delayed to 2025?

    Frankly, I don’t see the rabid capitalist Thatcherite Sajid Javid, doing a Trump and running a 5.5% of UK GDP budget deficit (circa £115 billion a year) to boost the UK economy; do you?

    Reply I have given you the figures. Try reading the blog. Gross fiscal expansion of 1% of GPD ( £22 bn) , half tax cuts half spending, minus the Eu contributions making a net so called fiscal stimulus i.e. extra borrowing of 0.33% of GDP

  37. Posted August 4, 2019 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    JR – you are clearly a many with many strands of expertise, which is good because you give the facts without the spin… and a valid viewpoint

    I will continue to plague you on the subjects that rattle my cage the most, so excuse me if I am sometimes absent.

  38. Helen Smith
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    I’m most interested in what you think are the chances of Grieve, Hammond, Bebb and Lee’s chances of toppling the government and installing Labour purely to thwart Brexit. They say Leavers are thick. At least we haven’t been sucked into sacking ourselves and installing a maxist opposition under some handy pretext thought up by Starmer as he couldn’t get rid of Corbyn any other way.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted August 6, 2019 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      If they succeed in triggering a general election then Boris will win it and the careers of the faux-Cons and agents of the EU will be over. Good – we need a clear-out.

  39. mancunius
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    It’s your blog, JR, and you’re fully entitled to write on whichever subjects you want.

    When you write that environmental concerns are very often ‘ lobby group emails which people want to route on’…. it made me think. Currently the anti-western, anti-capitalist, anti-free market global marxism movement has shifted to environmental issues. Last year but one it was ‘austerity’ – i.e. lambasting the taxpayer for not giving so much stuff away to those who don’t work for it. Last year it was ‘open borders’, and now that’s not so easy to sell, they’ve moved on to ‘the environment’. Run a close second by ‘humanitarian assistance for refugees’ – i.e. helping the people-smuggling trade.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted August 6, 2019 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      Yep – a great many ‘refugees’ expend all of their wealth to come to the West. Why? Because they can look forward to free housing, welfare and higher-education. The Conservatives need to toughen up. The only thing a successful refugee applicant should ever get is a National Insurance number. Then watch the numbers coming here collapse overnight. Our own needy should come first.

  40. Mark
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    The media have been devoting a lot of attention to the Whaley Bridge dam, for the most part trying to blame climate change. Others have researched the history to show that on several occasions since the dam was built there has been much worse local rainfall and flooding. At least one paper managed to find pictures of the spillway covered by vegetation in all the cracks between the concrete slabs in 2016. The British Dam Society page on dam safety and the training aid they link to make it clear that such growth indicates a great risk of voids forming under the concrete as water leaks into the gaps and scours. It would appear that recent statutory inspections or the response to them have been inadequate in failing to highlight the need for repair.

    The response of the forces and fire brigades to avert disaster has been exemplary. Perhaps we need to focus more on real engineering rather than climate change if we are to avoid the need to call them out in the first place.

    • rose
      Posted August 5, 2019 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      I agree, Mark.

      Maintenance seems long out of fashion, in favour of virtue signalling treaties and projects. If the climate is as chaotic as we think it is, and we are at present in a phase of warming, we should be looking to all our defences – dikes and dams, sea walls, and of course our borders. Waterways must be kept clear. People may have to be moved back from the coast and out of flood plains. On no account should we be further increasing the population.

      We can’t control what China and India do, and we must concentrate on our own country. We should face up to the fact that we cannot control the climate, we can only plan for the worst it may throw at us.

  41. Fred H
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    I would like to read more on the so-called democratic Conservative party. Examine the seeds of possible PPCandidate at the YC level in a constituency, the more established members living(possibly working) there and how the encumbents secure local association proposal through to Central Office( is that correct title?) Then possible over-riding where a ‘vulnerable’ figure elsewhere has such favouritism that they are planted on a constituency where a safe majority is assumed.
    How democratic is that process? Does it have responsibility for the present mess many of us feel the Party has got into?
    Discuss!

  42. M Davis
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    Whatever you choose to write about is fine by me, Sir John. Everything about Politics is interesting.

    Obviously, whatever you write about in your area of Wokingham is of more interest to the people who live there but most other subjects as regards the majority of us, is interesting to most of us, otherwise we wouldn’t come here! Thanks for a very interesting Political Diary.

  43. Iain Gill
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    I want to read about common sense pragmatic realism, from a proper Conservative point of view. Refreshingly critical of nonsense no matter where it’s from.

    Throwing more money like confetti at an unreformed NHS is frankly a disgrace.

    That should be a big warning sign about the current government.

  44. AlmostDead
    Posted August 4, 2019 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    I would prefer more topics on tax and how I can keep more of my money and less on environmental, animal welfare, etc. I’m more interested in how we can shrink government and increase personal responsibility. I would like to see a more radical agenda post-Brexit than many on here are advocating, including our host. Most people seem to only want to make minor by for example “reducing tariffs to zero” on goods we don’t produce instead of dropping all tariffs to zero and competing on the world market. If people really want a “Global Britain” you are going to have to let British companies compete at home against the full capabilities of the global market. Many are advocating the same protectionist policies that many rightly accused of the EU. I would like to see articles on reducing or eliminating the welfare state, and privatising most government services. The first on the chopping block the NHS.

  45. Mark B
    Posted August 5, 2019 at 4:43 am | Permalink

    Keep it eclectic.

  46. Julian
    Posted August 5, 2019 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    I agree with a number of the comments that lack of a contribution does not mean lack of interest. I think the environment is an issue but like you I want to see the full picture about global warming.

  47. rose
    Posted August 5, 2019 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Not adding a comment doesn’t betray disagreement or lack of interest. Far from it, it may mean complete agreement. This is where internet upticks come in.

  48. Fred H
    Posted August 5, 2019 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Sir John, It is clear from reading your blog subjects over time, noting responses and more recently adding my opinions (!) there are enormous numbers of issues which need attention from Parliament one way or another. The H of C has been forced to leave them in the in-tray whilst voicing nonsense, or displaying arrogance for 3 years with Brexit even now not finished. Will they ever see the light of day, or will another government lead by Boris sit on hands in the way the previous PM only got energised in her final week? If staying in power the Conservatives must get on with debate and decisions beyond Brexit.

  49. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted August 5, 2019 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Sir John,

    I read each of your posts, some belatedly, but enjoy the breadth of topic.

    Some topics I have nothing to contribute and merely read the contributions, often a couple of days in arrears. From this I know that you are assailed by many opinions, some right, some wrong. All certain.

    I have no suggestion for change as I enjoy the present format.

  • About John Redwood


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

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