Prosperity requires the right kind of government interventions

As soon as the Conservatives win a General election the pundits and the BBC are on telling us that government needs to adopt Labour’s economic policies of a  bigger state and more state intervention. If people thought that was the answer they could have voted for dollops of it given the Labour Manifesto.

What we need is intelligent government intervention where government can make a difference, and help or avoidance of harm for the competitive private sector who will generate many of the jobs and supply many of the goods and services. A Northern city may need better public investment in transport and education, but it also needs a surge of private sector led investment in the many new goods and services which power the modern economy.

To encourage a city outside London to perform more like London needs lower taxes and more freedoms to let people set up businesses and grow them We need more freeports and big enterprise zones. We need lower Income tax, fewer capital taxes and transactions taxes on business, and better education and training to create clusters of excellence and competitive energy.

Of course the Transport department needs a bigger capital budget.It also needs better management of projects and better choice of projects to get more value for money. The railway needs accelerated investment in digital signalling to increase the capacity of existing lines. It needs new short sections of by pass track to allow express trains to keep to timetable on mixed train lines. The road system needs better junctions, more roundabouts in place of traffic lights, and more segregation of cycles from vehicles for safety and easier cycling.

London stays richer with higher incomes thanks to the talent and entrepreneurial energies of so many people.You go to London to set up a business because you find the good people, the specialist suppliers and above all the customers. Northern cities can be helped to be similar magnets.

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  1. Peter Wood
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    Good morning,

    Sir John, your second and third paragraphs are exactly what IS needed perhaps nationwide. Encourage and promote personal enterprise and development, particularly in developing technologies. Please try to get on a UK enterprise committee to pursue.

    I see the EU heads can’t wait to sign up to the May/BorisWA Treaty, surely this means we’re going to straight-jacketed into EU legislation. This must not happen.

    • L Jones
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      It’s a sad state of affairs. We recognise that anything making the EU ”masters” positively gleeful will NOT be a good thing for the UK.
      They’re not ”our friends” no matter how many times Mr Johnson tells us so.

  2. agricola
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    Yes you reflect my thoughts, so do your best to ensure it happens.

    One key to setting off this entrpreneuial firework is the way we depart the EU. They talk of continued alignment to facilitate our departure and a FTA. That is not what we voted for. Have Canada or Japan aligned themselves to the EU, I very much doubt it. The essence of trade is to supply the customer with what he wants in terms of quality, delivery and price. The EU are frightened of having a U7K unencumbered by their beaurocracy and controls on competetivnenss sat 20 miles off their shores. So caution Boris against any further involvement with the EU’s WA2. It is a restrictive practise designed by the EU to hobble a competetive UK. The final point I would make is that trade is trade. We should not allow it to become conditional on the numbers of fish the EU are permitted to take from our waters or any other little earners they may have in mind. We should be free to set up trade agreements with whomsoever we wish from day one. Incidentally a FTA levels the field, it forces no one to buy. One of Labours myths they attempted to sell.

    It requires us to use the big hammer of leaving under WTO terms with the softeners we have already discussed at length. Do not let Boris go down the WA2 route, it is a minefield for failure.

    • agricola
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      How early do you need to wake to get moderated.

  3. Al
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    And businesses in several sectors have to move overseas because even London isn’t friendly from a regulatory standpoint.

    A prime example is crypto, where despite Parliament’s friendly stand, the UK banking industry has ignored the MPs and still shuts down the accounts of any company that either accepts crypto or works with companies that do. US, Switzerland, and Ukraine are getting a lot of this business.

    Others are online safety, where certain payment processors now disclose personal names and home addresses to all visitors – even when a transaction does not take place. This limits the opportunities for small business and microentrepeneurs due to the growth in online stalking. Safety (or even something as basic as a penname) requires a solicitor, address, and alternate ID creating an immediate barrier to entry. As this type of business can be set up anywhere, improving these rules for safety would open income opportunities for the otherwise vulnerable.

    The tax office and payment processor may need to know real IDs, but sharing them with the entire web is ridiculous.

  4. Mark B
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    We need cheaper energy and not the green loony stuff. Alas this government is committed to decarbonizing the economy and that means industry and job losses.

    We also need to start to look at government spending per head of population. It seems to me that certain parts of the UK have more with less than stella outcomes. Where this money is given by central government certain strings need to come attached with regards to output. Just throwing over evermore money hoping to achieve a better outcome will not work.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 6:49 am | Permalink

      Thank you for finally putting up my post from yesterday (0624). Cannot for the life of me see why you held it up this time ?

  5. Mick
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    What is also needed is the bias bbc license fee scraping, since the 2016 referendum result the bias bbc as always loaded it’s political programs with remainer Eu loving people and are still doing it, also scrap the fixed term Parliament act and if time introduce a law that any mp who leaves a party they were voted into at a General Election should step down as a mp immediately and a by-election called

  6. Ian Wragg
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    What we voted for was to get out of the EU and all its institutions.
    Anything less and there will be trouble.
    Most of the traditional liebour seats will desert In droves if you screw up.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      The only trouble that you can make will not be for five years.

      The media will have forgotten for you, whatever it was that annoyed you by then.

  7. Mike Stallard
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    And a huge change of attitude…
    Now we have just had an election which the Labour Party offered, like lady bountiful, to give charity to the poor, the homeless, the underprivileged, the failures. Their pitch was all about caring – downwards.
    And it was trounced.
    Boris was – gasp! – optimistic. He smiled. He wanted us to work and to be unleashed! Shocking. And he wanted us to free ourselves from the shackles of Brussels. Ridiculous!
    We told him.
    Now it is up to the Conservatives to realise what we, the voters, told them to do. Stop all the virtue signalling and get on with running the country.
    I think you lot have actually got the message too and look forward to some exciting times!

  8. Richard1
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    All correct. Boris must resist the cacophony of voices pushing the govt to more statism. We are informed by BBC commentators that the reason for sterling’s rise is Boris will now ignore the ERG types and go for a possible extension to the transition period and then soft Brexit. The possibility that sterling has strengthened because £100s billions looks set to get invested in the UK now the threat of confiscatory socialism has been lifted is not considered or mentioned.

    Commentators are also speculating that Boris will sack Jacob Rees-Mogg in particular, and perhaps other cabinet Brexiteers. Whilst the cabinet could probably manage without Mrs Leadsom the removal of Raab and / or Rees-Mogg would be an error.

    Boris should stick to his 40 / 20k / 50k pledges on hospitals police and nurses, and by all means let’s have some sensible infra spending in the North. But let’s also have robust supply side measures such as those which made the U.K. the most dynamic economy in Europe in the 80s under Thatcher and Lawson.

  9. Kenneth
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Yes, I noticed that despite being on the wrong side of Brexit and after years of weird neo-Marxist tripe, the BBC has still not noticed how out of touch it is with the People and is still playing the old tunes.

    Unless it modernises and gets down from its “liberal” cloud it will lose relevance – and viewers and listeners.

    • Bob
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      Boris has already said that he will de-criminalise non payment of the BBC Licence.
      BBC will need to switch to voluntary subscriptions, so anyone who chooses to pay for their subversive propaganda is welcome to do so.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted December 15, 2019 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

        No, the BBC will have to bring civil actions instead, as happens with non-payment of any debt.

        If non-payers defy the Court, then they go to prison, and maybe for longer than they do now.

        • Edward2
          Posted December 16, 2019 at 8:36 am | Permalink

          Prison is very rare for civil debt.
          Bailiffs are the usual enforcement method.
          Defiance when it is plain you have funds to pay, may on rare occasions find the debtor in contempt of court or a bankruptcy order issued.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted December 16, 2019 at 10:58 am | Permalink

            No, it would be for contempt of court.

        • anon
          Posted December 16, 2019 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

          If there is no contract between the parties on what grounds would a civil action be brought?

          A presumption that people are watching live TV is clearly erroneous.

          Civil actions brought without cause could easily backfire. I suspect many people would help crowd fund actions against the BBC.

      • Dennis
        Posted December 15, 2019 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

        As long as BBC radio is not touched – I find it pretty good – Radios 3,4, 4Extra & World Service. I don’t mind a lot of rubbish particularly on BBC TV, in fact I wish more as I can use the time to do other things.

        Oh, BBC 4 can have interesting docus.

    • turboterrier
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 9:21 pm | Permalink


      Lose listener’s and viewers

      It already has in droves

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 16, 2019 at 2:09 am | Permalink

      Indeed. For me the TV licence is quite good value and would be happy to pay it just for radio 3, but for the huge BBC political bias.

      The BBC always call for higher taxes, more regulations, more government, more red tape, more EU, more political correctness, more identity politics, more climate alarmism …… Their bias on climate alarmism and “renewables” is absolute and absurd. No sensible realists are ever allowed on to the BBC at all. Nor it seems are they allowed to work there. Or at least not unless they keep it hidden. Misguided lefty, art graduates almost to a man or woman.

      • a-tracy
        Posted December 16, 2019 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

        The BBC gets accused of political bias from you and others from the right and also from the left, the Twittersphere is full of it, so perhaps they are quite centrist other than the Brexit topic. I would continue to buy a BBC licence even if it wasn’t compulsory but I know a lot of people especially the younger generation who wouldn’t and that would be a death knell.

        Now, Channel 4 news is another story, I understand the accusations, it got so bad I stopped watching it months ago and it’s the news that is on when I get in from work, the news anchors are completely hostile to Conservative commentators. They now interview each other for their personal opinions, several top people from C4 news have been openly hostile.

  10. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    The most supportive thing that the Government can do is to ease frictionless trade with the European Union, which accounts for roughly as much commerce as with the entire rest of the world.

    Alexander Johnson is fully aware of this, and his time as London’s mayor makes him aware of the particular needs of the Capital too.

    His large majority means that his hands are no longer tied by the ERG and the DUP, so I await with interest to see what he proposes.

    I understand that Jacob Rees-Mogg is likely to be deselected from the Cabinet along with others, and, if, so, perhaps that gives a clue as to his intended direction of travel?

    • libertarian
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 5:50 pm | Permalink


      Stay away from business and trade you are totally ignorant

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted December 16, 2019 at 7:32 am | Permalink

        No, I’ve no experience of tarmaccing drives or of illegal dog breeding, and I’m quite happy to stay that way.

      • bill brown
        Posted December 16, 2019 at 12:57 pm | Permalink


        You really have to learn to argue without becoming personal, we have talked about this before. Do you remember?

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

      I shall be very sorry if Jacob Rees Mogg is deselected. I have always thought he made a measured and valuable contribution to debates in Parliament. Not given to hysterics, like some people.

      I believe he still has much to offer.

      • Charlie
        Posted December 16, 2019 at 8:45 am | Permalink

        I’m sure if JRM is de-selected he won’t take it lying down. Or maybe he will.

  11. Nig l
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Yes and if the ST is to believed this morning the ‘anti democratic’ Civil Service is going to be shaken up by Dominic Cummings. We know from his blogs how much he ‘hates’ them. There is an excellent article in yesterday’s DT by Andrew Roberts calling for the predominantly left wing Quangocrats, Chancellors of Universities, Broadcasters etc to be cleared out to stop the constant left wing bile.

    It cannot start to soon.

  12. Kevin
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    “We need more freeports and big enterprise zones.”

    And we need to scrap the requirement, contained in Clause 72 of the Political Declaration, that the UK cooperate with the EU on the development of measures for the regulation of fisheries, “in a non-discriminatory manner” – effectively, so it is argued, keeping us in the Common Fisheries Policy.

  13. Ian Wilson
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Good to see you back as an MP – I wish you were in the Cabinet instead of some of the dead wood still there but ours not to reason why.

    These ideas look good. I’m no railway expert but I’m uneasy about HS2 and wonder if better investments might be electrifying the route from south-west to north-east and re-opening the Pennine route through the Woodhead Tunnel, a then all-electric line inexplicably closed in the 1980s.

    What the government should desist from spending is the billions wasted on “fighting climate change”, most if not all of which is natural. Before more money is spent on climate emergencies or whatever the latest hyperbole, would someone please explain to this simple mind why present levels of CO2 constitute an emergency whereas for millions of years dinosaurs and plants thrived at levels 10 or even 20 times as high.

    And how about following Chile’s sensible lead and cancelling the Glasgow climate conference? Otherwise around 25,000 – 30,000 delegates will do a colossal amount of talking without altering global temperature by one hundredth of a degree.

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 16, 2019 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      Ian, I always wonder if some of these closed down rail routes could be put out to tender for competition railways companies or could the rails be used by tram companies to create a competitive service for freight and passengers through this expensive pass that the public already paid to create when the railways were BR. Or could they be tarmacked over for cars to use?

  14. GilesB
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Business rates need rethinking and in many cases reducing and removing.

    Businesses with many employees need large buildings, particularly manufacturers.

    Business like financial and professional services make much more profits per person but need a lot less space.

    Rates are currently a tax on jobs. This is exceptionally ruinous for startup and struggling businesses. Faced with an unavoidable cash cost such companies take on less staff, or let them go, so as to reduce the need for space and the burden of rates. There are also rents to be paid, but one can negotiate with landlords.

    One example to explore is the way that some private landlords will offer a much lower rent in exchange for a share of turnover, or profits

    Let’s have a pilot in a Northern city. Set business rates on turnover and see how it attracts businesses and increases employment

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 16, 2019 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      What rate on turnover would you propose Giles and would it be different for a shop, office, warehouse, factory or the same for all? Same for every area of the UK or higher for shops in London with the greater footfall?

  15. Everhopeful
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Re segregation of vehicles.
    Where roads have been made virtually unusable by being narrowed to accommodate a cycle lane then cyclists should be “encouraged” to use said cycle lane…. and not cycle two abreast along the road that has been modified to provide a cycle lane!

    • Doug Powell
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      Quite right!
      Cyclists appear to be totally ignorant of the Highway Code! Recently when driving, my side of the road was clear – there was a car parked on the opposite side of the road which meant traffic going in my direction had the right of way – However, there were 2 cyclists coming towards me – arriving at the car probably a second before me, did they wait? Hell no! They pulled out in front of me as though they owned the road! Forcing me to take abrupt evasive action!

      On another occasion, in the university part of the town, I was approaching a pedestrian crossing and was totally amazed to see a student looking youth riding a bike along the pavement then turn abruptly onto the crossing – not slowing or looking! What was more startling was that his hands were not on the handle bars, instead he was holding a book which he was reading!

      I think cyclists need to be made more responsible when using the road. Two courses of action are recommended:
      1) Cyclists should take a Ministry of Transport test and carry documentation with them when using the road;
      2) Cyclist should have to purchase insurance as do motorists!

      For some years I have had a dashcam to provide evidence of wrongdoing by other road users.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      Do you remember a thing called a “Boris bike”?

      (Actually, they were Ken Livingstone’s idea, but we’ll let Al off on that)

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 16, 2019 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      We have a 70 mph dual carriageway with cycle lane at the side and some lycra clad professional looking cyclists insist on still riding in the road instead of the wide cycle lane causing untold problems for larger vehicles.

      Funny enough Martin most of us don’t live in London.

  16. BOF
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    This morning came the first Labour lite policy on NHS funding, and my first disapointment.

    Next I expect HS2 to get the go ahead.

    • Simeon
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      The first of many I warrant. To be fair, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. BJ is a centrist to his fingertips. The One Nation schtick isn’t just rhetoric. The plan is, in essence, borrow more money, taking advantage of low interest rates, and pour that money into unreformed public services and vanity projects, like HS2. Of course, spending will end up being more than anticipated, and so taxes will have to go up. And then there will be a deadly serious economic downturn. What could possibly go wrong? But fear not, because all this is endorsed by our kind host. At least Brexit-related economic disruption will be kept to a minimum, courtesy of BJ’s ‘great deal’/Treaty which leads to a very cosy relationship with the EU…

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 16, 2019 at 1:57 am | Permalink

        This would be a disaster for the economy. Taxation and the size of the state in the UK are far, far too high already and public services are appallingly inefficient and indeed often appalling too.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      Indeed the NHS is a dire state monopoly and unfair competition for other providers. What is needed is to scrap IPT on medical insurance, give vouchers to people on waiting list that they can top up and go privately if they choose and tax breaks to people and companies you go privately. So as to lighten the load on the NHS. Stop social services, GPs and the NHS pushing people from pillar to post to try to make each other pay for things. All three, after all, are arms of the state so the tax payer pays anyway so why waste money on silly battles between them.

      Freedom and Choice please and a level playing field between the NHS and private care options. Charge at the point of use other than for those who really cannot pay. Not charging give a dire virtual state monopoly with patients treated as a nuisance and often with gross incompetence too. With patients rationed, delayed and inconvenienced.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      Certainly the way the HS2 inquiry was stitched up (as the sensible but sidelined deputy chairman pointed out) suggests that the economic lunacy of HS2 will continue. Doubtless the green crap subsidies lunacy will too.

      You can only cut taxes and get the economy going if you stop pissing tax payers’ money down the drain. Please can you tell Boris & Javid this home truth.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      This really was our last hurrah. The Blairists have won but please let us believe in our ‘victory’ for a little while. Telling us we ‘won’ whilst giving the Left and Remain what they want really is the only way of pacifying the country. Peter Hitchens calls it right again this morning.

      Much saving and improvement can be made on NHS, law and order, education through costless personal responsibility and self discipline.

      My biggest problem with the Left is that it doesn’t believe in personal responsibility and self discipline and certainly doesn’t believe in stigmatising anything but tradition and English nationalism. Why does ‘English nationalism’ always sound in the pejorative whereas Scot’s nationalism sounds heroic ? Well that’s because we’ve been programmed to be ashamed of it.

      Why not stigmatise needless behaviours that cost the NHS ? It’s a highly effective behavioural method.

      • Anonymous
        Posted December 15, 2019 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        Plus eating two cows when you really only needed to eat one is highly damaging for the environment.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted December 16, 2019 at 1:54 am | Permalink

          Might not be good for one’s waist line or health but the world climate sensitivity to CO2 have been hugely exaggerated and the extra C02 in the atmosphere is actually greening the planet wonderfully. Perhaps we just need to capture the methane from both ends of the cow (somehow) and use it in power stations! Or just grow fillet steaks directly somehow without the rest of the cow!

    • Hope
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Money guaranteed in law without any guarantees of improvement! Stupidity. Sounds a bit like the failure of the hazard left BBC. It also sounds as stupid as the overseas aid guaranteed in law scam of £15 billion a year wasted without any significant return on anything! P,us £3.7 billion to the EU to waste on its overseas aid scams. £19 billion a year wasted by Labour lite Tories.

      SNP guaranteed NHS waiting times in law, targets failed since 2012 . An election gimmick with no consequences.

      NHS bosses will be rubbing their hands with glee, how many more tires of left wing management, how many NHS scandals causing death, Tory forget their £32 billion wasted on a failed computer system!

      Why not put cutting immigration targets to 50,000 a year in law to help all public services? Far more cost effective.

      I fear many more left wing policies coming down the line.

      Gove today giving me the clear impression UK will be in lock step with EU under EU control while pretending the UK has left! Economy and foreign policy are always closely linked. UK cannot impede or act against EU foreign policy.

      For example, Where does that leave the UK at the UN Security Council, present but voiceless with nothing to say!

    • Kevin Stanley
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      Stop carping and rejoice CorBin has been consigned to the political dustbin!
      I don’t suppose it will prevent some on here to accept we are leaving the EU and get behind B.J in wishing our country well!

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      Better would be to go ahead with the East-West HS3 and do HS2 piecemeal only after that is finished.

    • iain gill
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      yea doesn’t matter how much money is thrown at it, the NHS will always be crap

      that’s what happens when the individual consumers have no say, and unaccountable bodies like CCG’s make the rationing and allocation decisions

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted December 15, 2019 at 3:48 pm | Permalink


        From experience, The clinical side of the NHS is not too bad, and in some cases is excellent, it is the Administration and Management which is diabolical.

        No point in just throwing money at the NHS without solving the problem above, as it will just be wasted.

        Certainly we need more capacity in Hospitals, with proper management of A&E (Real Accident and Emergency presentation only) and in General Practice.

        • Iain Gill
          Posted December 16, 2019 at 8:13 am | Permalink

          far too variable, and subject to the whim of CCG’s which can be massively different in different areas.

    • turboterrier
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 9:33 pm | Permalink


      NHS funding in any form is a solution and not addressing the real underlying problems.

    Posted December 15, 2019 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    New Labour regurgitation.

    Prod me when this PM starts the difficult process of reforming and purging the left and Labour from all State activity starting with the neutralisation of the left from education and the privatisation of the BBC. Until then we may as well parachute Blair back into the PM’s seat

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      Well, if any candidates had stood on that ticket then people could have voted for them.

      But they didn’t, because totalitarian parties tend not to get elected in the UK.

      • libertarian
        Posted December 16, 2019 at 10:17 am | Permalink


        Youre right about totalitarian and indeed extremist parties being unelectable in the UK. Thats why Labour got handed their a**** on a plate at the election

      • steve
        Posted December 16, 2019 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

        “totalitarian parties tend not to get elected in the UK.”

        You don’t say, Sherlock.

        Labour is ?……….not elected.

    • steve
      Posted December 16, 2019 at 5:21 pm | Permalink


      Labour is finished mate. It was obvious whoever lost this election was going to be toast.

  18. Kevin
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    I have just heard Mr. Johnson’s declaration, in Sedgefield, that the Withdrawal Agreement will “definitely” be ratified before Christmas. How much keener the Conservatives are to carry out the ambiguous mandate to get “Brexit” done than they were to fulfil their promise to implement the explicit mandate we gave them to leave the EU. How quick they are to use a “stonking” majority’s worth of parliamentary sovereignty to pass Art. 127 of the WA, making the UK subject to new EU laws after “Brexit” on January 31st.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 3:42 pm | Permalink


      Agreed the WA was negotiated by a very weak Prime Minister leading a weak Government, now we are much stronger, and in a much better position, thus a much better deal should be done.
      Why should we cash in on a losing hand when now is the time to hold and negotiate the future terms.

      The simple and rapid solution is to attach an amendment to the present WA that says “NOTHING IS AGREED UNTIL EVERYTHING ID AGREED”, and put WTO terms back firmly on the table as the default position.
      We certainly do not want to be hamstrung but this putrid WA and then find ourselves trapped by the EU to pay Billions, and accept EU regulations, if the EU will not cough up properly on trade, fishing, and a host of other topics.

      More than happy to co-operate on other projects if it is in the mutual interest of both Parties.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      It meets the legal definition of leaving the European Union.

      That’s for what you voted, so like it.

  19. George Brooks
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Ever since the referendum was announced in 2015 the serious side of running this country has been neglected and this neglect got progressively worse as the Brexit argument developed. All those who wanted a second vote have had their answer and by mid February Boris will be able to select his team to take this country forward and upward.

    We will get clear of the EU’s micro management of our manufacturing and economy which has progressively damaged this country over the last 40 years. It won’t happen over night as it will take time for this regeneration to take root and we won’t have slogans and little action like ‘Northern Powerhouse’, but policies that stimulate enterprise and growth.

    There is a lot of rubbish in the government cupboard that will be cleared out and that includes both people and procedures. A lot of money is also wasted which can and will be spent more effectively.

    You have set out the right targets Sir John and the new team will hit them and we will all benefit

  20. Mick Anderson
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    I would have liked to have been able to cast a vote for a smaller state and lower taxes. Unfortunately that has not been offered in the decades that I have had a vote. All three options offered to me this week seemed to be various shades of socialism.

    The nearest chance I ever had was to vote Leave in 2016, but then the State rebelled.

    • Bob
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      “I would have liked to have been able to cast a vote for a smaller state and lower taxes.”

      You should checkout the UKIP manifesto Mick.

      • Mick Anderson
        Posted December 15, 2019 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

        Or The Brexit Party. Unfortunately the only options on my ballot paper were LibLabCon. At the local elections it’s generally only LibCon.

        Last week the incumbent took >50% 0f the votes cast; this is one of more than 60 constituencies that have not changed parties in the last 100 years, with only five different faces in that time.

        Realistically any new party has a snowballs chance in hell of being in a position to be in government. The best we can hope for is them to pull the Overton Window to the right, but there are lots of noisy lefties preventing that.

  21. Lifelogic
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    My thought exactly. Nick Watt (Newsnight’s political editor) was saying exactly this with the BBC’s typical lefty big government group think. Suggesting that, as he has these northern seat, Boris will ditch small government and due to his good majority will be able to sideline his sensible wing. This is the last think he should do. What works is lower taxes and small government. It takes time to work so do it now we have the highest taxes for 40 years and are absurdly over regulated.

    Small government, cheap energy, a bonfire of red tape, a clean Brexit, easy hire and fire, cutting the green crap subsidies, sensible selective quality only immigration …. is as much in the interest of the North as the South perhaps even more so. There are so many people in the state sector doing little or nothing of value that could be released to get a real job. Many state sector workers actually do positive harm to the economy or just inconvenience the productive. Cull May’s moronic, expensive and damaging gender pay reporting for a start!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      Many of the brighter more hard working Northerners aspire to getting a good well paid job in the state sector (in the north these are often the best paid and easiest/cushy jobs) or they just leave to move south. Cheap on demand energy is vital and get fracking. C02 is greening the planet very nicely indeed and there is no climate Armageddon round the corner despite what the deluded drama queen Greta comes out with. The lefty alarmists are totally wrong. Cut many of the worthless university courses and let suitable people have loans to start businesses instead of large student debts.

      The BBC needs to be told to be balanced on this, they are 100% alarmist loons. Even more biased on this issue than on there other group think biases (big government, pro EU and the rest of their anti-logic, anti-competition in health care, media & education, pro magic money tree economics and anti-real science agenda).

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted December 15, 2019 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

        Johnson has a majority of eighty.

        He no longer needs to listen to the extremist fringe such as you.

        Try again in four years time.

      • hefner
        Posted December 16, 2019 at 9:05 am | Permalink

        Well, the recent Australian bushfires are obviously not ‘round the corner’ from Britain … but I am not sure that they contribute to ‘greening the planet’.

  22. Christine
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Will you please start the process by at the very least reviewing IR35? The self employed added almost £300 billion into the economy over the last 12 months. Many Tory votes came from the self employed who believe, perhaps erroneously, that the Conservatives support initiative and hard work. Please don’t let them down.

    • Al
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

      Given the effects it had on the health sector by hitting groups like agency nurses and causing many to leave the profession, scrapping or seriously reviewing IR35 would also help with the NHS staffing crisis.

  23. JoolsB
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Why do Tory MPs go on about the north as if that’s all there is outside London? I live in the forgotten South west where we have two buses a day, it takes six hours to get to London by train and the nearest hospital is 25 miles away and the nearest airport, a tiny provincial one with hardly any flights, 40 miles away. Meanwhile my friends in the north have wonderful tram systems, world renouned hospitals such as Christies nearby and international airports on the doorstep plus cheaper trains to London.

    Could it be because the South West is a Conservative stronghold, our votes can be taken for granted and we don’t need to be bribed? That’s how it seems John. Be careful when you keep going on about the North because there are other deprived areas in England that aren’t in the north and need more investment too.

  24. Iain Gill
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    It also requires state regulators to have proper enforceable impartiality rules, properly independent complaints processes (not independent in name only), proper external random audits of their caseload. The need to follow norms of justice, allow both sides to see what the other is saying, and so on.

    All of our state regulators need this stuff, as at the moment its like the wild west.

    • James1
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      The Labour apologists are saying that they won the argument. That Jeremy wasn’t the problem, it was the media portrayal of Jeremy that was the problem and that they didn’t get their message across. What a wonderful delusion. The truth is that they did get their message across. We didn’t like the message.

    • BOF
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      It is like the wild west because the state sector is at least twice the size it should be with multitudes of unaccountable quangos.

      The cost and the waste becomes almost impossible to calculate and your comment, Iain, seems to imply that it should be bigger?

      • iain gill
        Posted December 15, 2019 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

        No the state should be far smaller.

        But those in quasi police and/or judicial roles in state regulators should be under similar pressures as police officers and judges to be properly independent, with properly independent complaints system, and follow the norms of properly fair justice. The quality the British people get from people in such state regulators and jobs is completely unacceptable.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      A good rule of thumb I find is that any organisation that feels the need to put the word “Independent” in their title probably isn’t. Similar to the general rule that anything that needs to put the word ‘Science’ in their title probably isn’t really science – more likely politics or some quack religion only the occasional exception.

      • iain gill
        Posted December 15, 2019 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

        like “The Independent Assessor – Financial Ombudsman” lol, so obviously not independent a 6 year old could spot it.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted December 15, 2019 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

        I feel the same about the word “logic” on recent evidence.

      • hefner
        Posted December 15, 2019 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

        Does that also apply to the qualificative ‘Research’, like e.g. in European Research Group? A teeny-weeny ‘research’ would show there are no essential differences between PM Theresa’s and the present PM’s WAs.

  25. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    The last thing we in the north need, is ‘aid money’ via the State. Consett (Council) was ‘given’ £3 million to ‘invest’. They ran out of ideas on how to get rid of the money so replaced a perfectly good clock. Nobody noticed.
    Investors and business people in Consett need to keep very much more of their own money – we know what is an investment – and we need the Council to empty the bins and keep the streets clean so we no longer suffer plagues of rats. They need to stop people defecating in the streets! Yes, that is what we are up against! Nobody wants to do their Christmas shopping dodging rats, slipping in poo and bumping into bins permanently parked on the highway!

  26. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Did you know that private geriatric homes pay VAT which they are unable to reclaim? That means they have to be 20% more efficient than state-run geriatric homes to just be equal! Let’s stop crippling those most able to deliver good services to our own people in the interest of ‘making the state look good’.

    • hefner
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      Could you please explain and define what the ‘state-run geriatric homes’ are? For what I know the ‘state sector’ nursing and residential care homes in England is essentially private. Did you look at the Competition & Markets Authority ‘Care Homes Market Study’ published in November 2017?
      It is not because the care and financial assessments are carried out by local authorities that the ‘end products’ that old people have to ‘join’ are in the state sector.

  27. acorn
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    JR, you are a dyed in the wool “supply-sider” (trickle down economics). A form of Conservative neo-liberal capitalism that has created the economic mess the western world is now in. Continuing with this proven failed supply side ideology, is not going to improve the middle and lower income households “demand-side” consuming power.

    Democracy Journal’s “The Middle-Out Moment” symposium has an essay titled “Burying Supply-Side Once and for All”. It is worth a read over Christmas.

    • libertarian
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 5:53 pm | Permalink


      You dont have the remotest clue. Thanks but get out of the way and let us business people get on with CONTINUING to create the greatest uplift in health, wealth and happiness that has happened to mankind, all in the last 50 years

      • bill brown
        Posted December 16, 2019 at 12:56 pm | Permalink


        Lots of lecturing and big words but I have my doubts about the delivery, it might be the same forecast as the end of Merkel

    • Edward2
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      Odd you define the huge growth of European state spending, taxation, new laws rules, regulations and directives forced upon the wealth creating sector as neo liberalism.
      Your recipe for future success is, I expect, even more State borrowing even more state taxation and even more state control.
      How about trying a little bit of a move in the opposite direction to the last few decades.
      You say capitalism has failed the western world, yet plainly it hasn’t.
      Standards of living have risen greatly in Europe and in the Anglosphere over the last few decades.

  28. The Prangwizard
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    I would agree with all that.

    There are small scale and rather mundane road improvements which could be made quite quickly and which would have an immediate benefit – along rail lines too -, and that involves the removal of trees and shrubs.

    These often encroach right up to the road side impeding visibility and are often only trimmed by the large vehicles. Drivers steer clear mostly and position nearer the road centre than they would otherwise. There ought to be a minimum clear view area of 10 feet.

    Close and overhanging trees leave debris and when on the south side shade a road surface often permanently which is then broken up quickly by frost and damp.

    Many carriageways could also be widened; even only six to 10ft feet would make a significant difference in itself but on narrow roads cyclists present problems as drivers are often unable to pass them safely for lack of space. It shouldn’t require a wholesale rebuild initiall but if this requires acquistion of farmland then so be it. I don’t know how it is normally done butby compulsory purchase if necesssary to create a new verge area.

  29. Shirley
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    I hope all these plans for the North are honoured. We have been abandoned and destroyed by the Tories for decades, all starting with Thatcher. I agree that the unions needed to have their power controlled, but the loss of many industries has devastated the North and Wales, and fishing communities too, but very little, if anything, done to redress the balance.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      The North is far from being the only region which is deprived in England.

    Posted December 15, 2019 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Mr Jones from Sheffield University appears to have a great deal of influence over current Tory thinking. His ideas aren’t new or revolutionary just a rehash of technocratic thinking from the 1960’s where government advisers and civil servants had both eyes on ‘regional inequalities’ but without an appreciation or understanding that wealth and material creation comes not from government activity but from the ideas, attitudes and drive of human beings

    You only have to look across the pond and note the source of Apple, MSFT, Amazon, Dell, Alphabet, Walmart and McDonalds. These companies started with minimal capital by a small number of private individuals. Indeed Apple was started in a garage. Today, Apple is capitalised at over $1 trillion with an initial capital investment of just $250k.

    My point is simple. Government should encourage the creation of a wealth creation and business culture. Encourage the stimulation of business ideas with the education system used to give pupils and indeed adults in the wider world the confidence to set up business and generate new products.

    At present, the education system’s been infected by social progressives whose aim is the exact opposite of the above. This infection has happened under your government John and I suspect you and others are privately at odds with the direction in which our education system is heading

    Smash Labour’s client state. Dismantle the liberal left and banish them into the wilderness where they can do little damage to children. Criminalise progressive politics for it is not progression but regression and indoctrination of children and young adults

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      Note to normal people: Dominic is entirely serious.

  31. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Off topic, the SNP should be told to wait and see how Brexit actually turns out before asking for a repeat independence referendum on the grounds of radically changed circumstances since the 2014 referendum. At present they assume that it will be economically damaging to Scotland when in my view there is no sound evidence to support that assumption. Why did the opposition parties constantly clamour for the government to publish official predictions of the economic impact of different Brexit scenarios? Because they knew that Theresa May had appointed a strong Remainer as Chancellor to oversee the production of those impact assessments and so they would always be heavily biased against Brexit. Now that Boris Johnson is confirmed as Prime Minister and in a very strong position he should order new and more realistic economic assessments to be made, as suggested here yesterday:

    “Well, Boris Johnson is the First Lord of the Treasury and he should order its officials to seek outside advice and revise their models to produce more realistic predictions of the economic effects of the UK leaving the EU without any special trade agreement … “

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      Had we voted Remain the Scot Nats would still be campaigning for independence. They are being opportunistic.

  32. Northern Monkey
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    You also go to London because that’s where the money and the infrastructure are…

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      Have you seen how poor many of the London boroughs are ? The quality of life is dire.

  33. Antoinetta III
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    What railroads also need is fully segregated tracks. One set of tracks for freight, and an entirely separate one for passengers. I’m here in the States across the pond and this is one of Amtrak’s (US passenger rail) biggest problems. I was out on the trains once, and at one point we were proceeding at about 40-50 miles per hour. But the tracks were both straight and flat, so I asked the Conductor why we weren’t going faster. His response was that since the freights are so much heavier than passenger trains, that they distort the track surface, and that if we went much faster, we would risk derailing. Amtrak locomotives are capable of 125 MPH, but Amtrak has set a speed limit of 79 MPH, primarily for this reason. Amtrak does not have this speed limit on the northeast run, from Washington DC to Boston, because they own the tracks here, and no freights are allowed on them.

    If you can get the tracks separated and have 125 MPH passenger rail, you don’t need so-called high speed rail, which is considerably more environmentally destructive and about four times more expensive to construct (due to the extra bulldozing and earth removal required to flatten and straighten the tracks.)

    Antoinetta III

  34. Andy
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    The Tories are on very dodgy ground with the SNP and Indyref 2.

    The SNP has far more of a mandate in Scotland than Boris Johnson.

    Plus the material facts of the first Scottish referendum have changed. One of the many arguments for staying – that Scotland would have to leave the EU if it were independent – has been turned on its head. Of courses the Tories will not allow a formal referendum – so Scotland will hold one anyway, setting up a nice little constitutional crisis. The precedent has also been set that 50% of votes plus 1 would be a mandate for independence.

    A referendum on a united Ireland will also have to be held. There is now clear evidence of a potential majority against the Union.

    Still you all get what you what. Your (T)rump Little England going against the world Basil Fawlty style.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      Nowt wrong with being a little Englander. Nothing against the world either.

      I want Scotland to go free and good luck to them. It is an affront that they get free university education and care fees at our expense and get to vote on our issues when we can’t on theirs.

      A young Scots person can expect to be hundreds of thousands of pounds better off than a young English person in many cases.

    • Richard1
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      The majority of votes cast in Northern Ireland were for unionist parties, so it seems unlikely a border poll would lead to union with the republic if held now. But the purpose of the good Friday agreement was to establish a peaceful means for such a poll if that’s what people desire.

      Scotland is very unlikely to leave the U.K. in the first place there has already been a referendum, which ought to decide the issue (will the SNP be arguing for a confirmatory referendum on any deal with the U.K. in the event there was a vote to leave, as they’ve been arguing for in the case of the EU? Thought not).

      In the second place the whole separatist argument led by salmond in 2014 was that membership of the EU made separatism risk free. Once the UK has left the EU and established eg an independent trade policy, it is going to be much more risky for Scotland to go. Then there’s the question of the currency – will Scots really vote to join the euro? Very unlikely. Brexit will make Scottish separatism less not more likely.

    • libertarian
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 5:54 pm | Permalink


      Sorry , still waiting for your explanation as to why according to you almost everyone is now a remainer yet they voted in a landslide for Brexit. Do enlighten us further

  35. BJC
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Many of today’s issues can be traced back to the Blair days, but he did one thing that has caused genuine problems for Labour ever since, i.e. he gave Labour supporters the vision to see themselves as successful and the architects of their own destiny…….very Tory!!! Subsequent Labour leaders and particularly Mr Corbyn, despise this independence of spirit as it undermines the Party’s raison d’etre, so they’ve tried to put the genie back in the bottle by reinforcing the conventional view that their supporters are poor, downtrodden and in dire need of interventions that only the State can provide.

    I believe that governments should act as enablers with flexible policies that support opportunties for economic growth, as well as providing a safety net for the less fortunate to either turn their lives around or have a dignified existence. I do hope that others will have the good sense to exploit your obvious talents for the mammoth, but tremendously exciting task we have ahead of us, Sir John, because success shared throughout the country will be the weapon that neutralises the siren calls emanating from Remainers and Scotland.

  36. Gareth Warren
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Completely agree, the only industry the government should be investing in directly is defence.

    Money spent here spurs manufacturing and hitech industries, something history has proven to occur.

    The north has been neglected while we were in the EU and I am sure it will need extensive transport improvements, which will repay themselves tenfold with brexit.

  37. Christine
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    CITIES, CITES, CITIES. You haven’t learned anything from this election. Northern cities are not the problem, it’s the towns. Have you been to Manchester lately? It’s vibrant and growing with lots of jobs that have been taken from the northern towns. Its transport system is fantastic. Most people do not want to move to the cities. They want local jobs in their dying towns. Yet again, your party isn’t listening to the people who voted for you. Those who shout loudest get the attention and all these cities with their high profile mayors suck the life out of our towns.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      Yes, that is the same picture that I see, Christine.

      It’s fairly general in the world.

      The French call it “désertification”.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      Newcastle, Leeds, York too. Far better living standard than much of London and southern England, Devon, Cornwall…

      Brexit Party voters lent their votes too.

    • libertarian
      Posted December 16, 2019 at 5:02 pm | Permalink


      Could you give me one or two examples of the towns that you have in mind

      ps for what its worth not all cities are that vibrant Birmingham has the highest unemployment rate in the country

      • Christine
        Posted December 19, 2019 at 10:24 am | Permalink

        Blackpool and Preston in Lancashire. These two towns have lost over 3000 civil service jobs (detailed in a recent LCC report) which have been moved to Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle. All under George Osborne’s Power House of the North. Preston was deemed unsuitable to be a location for these jobs due to having poor transport links. This was totally untrue. It has the West Coast railway running through it and is surrounded by motorways.

  38. Matt Ryan
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    One of the reasons London does well compared to other parts of the UK is that Parliament is there and so people want to be close to the centre of power. It would be very interesting to see how well London did without Parliament being there. Move it for 20 years to Birmingham or Manchester while the Palace of Westminster is renovated. as an experiment.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      You are joking.

      A kid has to pay 800k for a tiny London terrace.

      And no. The earnings don’t make up for it. Newcastle offers a far higher standard of living and affordability.

  39. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Of course the Transport department needs a bigger capital budget.

    Forgive me Sir John but there is plenty of capital budget there already. Nearly £80 billion for HS2 which could be spent much better across many smaller public transport projects.

    Your new government is running a deficit, you can assuage your new Northern fans with the HS2 money not new money.

    Suggest you also take some funding out of the Barnett formula as the Scots seem ungrateful about the extra they get.

  40. 37/6
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    If you know someone in charge of digital signalling can you tell them to get class 2 trains and freight trains out of the way of class 1 trains please ? Digital signalling only seems concerned with keeping trains in order rather than getting them back on time when things have gone a bit wrong. A late intercity has a long way to go and many junctions to clear further up the line but its class 1 designation doesn’t seem to command the respect it once had. Perhaps the computerised system is so clever that it’s working out net delays of all trains and is mitigating them for the greater good but I somehow doubt it.

  41. Geoffrey Berg
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Congratulations to John Redwood on his victory in Wokingham and indeed to Boris Johnson on a very well conceived campaign. I realised how well it was doing in actually getting votes when I talked to people on the day before and the day of the election. It was really effective in walking the tightrope of gaining votes in the Labour North without losing them in the Conservative South of England.
    I agree with John Redwood about lowering taxes but I don’t agree about more public spending. We need to be brave enough to face and communicate some harsh truths. The North has inherent geographical disadvantages compared to the South (just as Southern Italy has compared to Northern Italy) compounded by the profitable world financial centre that is the City of London which of course we want to keep. Another truth is that the main overall shortfall in public spending is not through spending too little money but through getting too little value for the vast amount of money that is spent in the public sector and that failure is mainly systemic. We are never going to get value for money in systems where government officials make costly financial decisions without any financial consequence to themselves and where inefficiency is thoroughly tolerated and excused. The real remedies are radical. For instance the Health Service can and probably should be publicly funded but it does need to be run along non-monopoly private enterprise principles and that does mean genuinely privately run (synthetic public trusts in synthetic competition is not the answer). In a field I know more about, homelessness, the answer is not building expensive publicly funded and publicly run hostels but paying rent direct to private landlords to house them where there is empty accommodation in the North and not allowing these people to get the rent paid direct to them and then spend it instead of giving it to the landlord which is the main reason why private landlords won’t house them.
    I have read that even the famously left wing Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio has come to this conclusion and is sending the New York homeless to New Jersey where rents are cheaper with a year’s upfront payment to landlords in New Jersey to house them so as to solve the rough sleepers problem in New York.
    We must stop just throwing taxpayers’ money at problems and instead look for real cost-effective solutions to problems.

  42. Tony Sharp
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    The UK’s London capital and finance markets have created a great opportunity for regional investment. Most countries have difficulties in attracting finance at all but London is awash with it. Give investment tax incentives to the private sector in our depressed regions – contra EU policy which was all about vanity projects and sticking plasters for industrial decline – and the City bankers will offer a portfolio which will be oversubscribed.

  43. Yossarion
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    What I have heard from the new Northern MPs John they seem More ERG than the Oliver Leftwing type, however straight away all the BBC said was this now means the PM does not have to listen to the ERG. Time for the BBC to go so they stop leading the News rather than reporting it.
    Once again McDonald on Red Andy’s show this morning banging on about lying, funny back earlier this year Emily Maitliss spent a Month telling everyone who had to listen that there are all types of Democracy and that all politicians lie. time the Beeb was held to account, get rid of the telly tax.

    • Bob
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      “Emily Maitliss spent a Month telling everyone who had to listen”

      Nobody is compelled to listen, it’s entirely voluntary, just like the BBC Licence itself in fact.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      Decriminalise non payment of the licence. Make it a civil issue. After all, the police have given up on shoplifters. It would leave the courts with more time to deal with serious criminals. 13% of magistrate court cases are TV licence prosecutions.

  44. Lifelogic
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    “Prosperity requires the right kind of government interventions”

    The “right kind” of intervention is as little as possible – of tax, red tape, employment laws, market interventions, green crap ….. Every time government taxes to spend money we get perhaps 50p of value for each pound taken off people or businesses who would have used/invested it far better themselves. There is no reason for the state to have a virtually monopoly in health care, or education. Indeed it is hugely damaging that they do. Freedom and Choice as to how we spend or invest our own money. This is what is needed

  45. BillM
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    LOL. You have to laugh at these people who seem to think, wallowing in their blind arrogance, that despite the election result, they still know best.
    What ALL democracies need, is smaller Government and a bigger Private sector, free to do their own thing. That “Thing” being, to create, invent, produce and manufacture under the best available conditions with a high degree of Government assistance and an acute shortage of Government bureaucracy and its sclerotic brother, Red Tape.
    Both Hong Kong and Post War Germany turned away from the socialist ideal and went on to boom under the power of the people. Similarly Singapore today.
    If we are to repeat their outstanding progress and performances we must follow their ways and never those dictated by rampant socialism.
    You pundits and the biased BBC, take note. Your ways are the ways of the last century and are proven failures.
    We voted for change. Live with it or move to socialist Brussels where you will feel more at home..

  46. Time out
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    How many interventions by the SNP MPs are going to be tolerated In Parliamentary time?
    They wasted a massive time with repeat questions last time.
    They will not honour the Independence Referendum and have no interest in making genuine Parliamentary work run smoothly.

    • steve
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      Time out

      “How many interventions by the SNP MPs are going to be tolerated In Parliamentary time?”

      Personally I think they should be barred from the HoC. Can you imagine the uproar if we had English MP’s in Hollyrood doing likewise i.e. balling and shouting, whinging on and on in an uncouth and loud mouthed manner ?

      • Fred H
        Posted December 16, 2019 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        exactly …..Speaker should have a YES/NO board he raises to allow/refuse interventions. The MP can then glance at him for guidance avoiding the tiresome breaks in the discussion.

  47. Ian @Barkham
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Consistently all UK Governments have this bizarre inclination to RULE and not govern. Being under the EU yoke has tainted good government. Central government keeps playing the local council role instead of the more appropriate external international role. When local councils can do it infinitely better.

    The best people to move things on are the people themselves. Every area, every region, every community will have different priorities, needs and different asperations. With a UK population of 65million a one size fits all approach has the result of holding back the vast majority.

    Yes government should suggest frameworks, coordinate infrastructure but a top down centralized system is inept, clunky and costly. More focus should be made in facilitating how a community wants to run their lives and make it easier for them to get on with it.

    No one has yet said who HS2 will benefit other than the developers that pushed for the contract – that’s almost weird. Is anyone bothered about getting from Birmingham to London 10 mins quicker? That’s another problem it highlights everything is London centric at the expense of the whole of the UK. London itself cant cope with more people and the rest of the country is lacking in the facilities to cause mobility.

    • Nigel
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      Cancel HS2 and spend the money on improving commuter trains in the North. Reward those up there who voted Boris in.

  48. Car Rismarr
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    The Tory Party is lucky in having the prospect of Jess Phillips, Rebecca Long-Bailey, and Thornberry as likely leaders of Labour. They may be wonderful people, and their constituents may love them but to the general electorate they come over as very annoying indeed no matter how good what they say. Irritating. They are earache. Well it is the truth.
    It is not their fault. Politely put, they lack the necessary charisma. Cooper is genuinely hated in her own constituency not least by Labour Party members. They blame her for the loss of the Wakefield seat too as do their Party members. Richard Burgon likewise. Annoying.
    Benn will never get to be Labour PM with this shower. One is sure he knows it and any support in The House he gives them will stop him dead politically.
    Well he should have owned up to being a Tory in the first place. He’ll be a good constituency MP and that’s his lot.

    • Doug Powell
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      Just to add: Any Labour leader from the Arrogant Camden/Islington Set will surely lead to the self-inflicted demise of the Labour Party!
      Remember in the 17GE Thornberry belittled constituents who put the cross of St George on their house! Only to see her cavorting about in an EU decorated garment at the Euro election!

      Also, what seems to have been forgotten in the heaving of brickbats at Corbyn is that his election was probably the greatest political example ‘be careful what you wish for’ in the 21st century! Remember, Corbyn could not find sufficient people to back his candidature! Come to the rescue Becket and others of the arrogant Labour Right, who thought they would help him out, so they nominated him, expecting to give the left a hiding in any leadership election! Well, we know how that turned out!

      Self inflicted! So any blame for Corbyn must initially be shouldered by Becket et al.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      Only weaklings and the timid perceive an illusory thing called “charisma”.

      Those with confidence hear all with an open mind, and are persuaded only by sound reasoning, informed by a thorough knowledge of the subject.

      We will have to see how the contenders shape up.

      • libertarian
        Posted December 16, 2019 at 10:07 am | Permalink

        Martin IC

        Oh goodie does that mean that you are actually going to research facts before posting in future ?

    • Andy
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

      Jess Phillips would wipe the floor with Boris Johnson. I would love to see that combo at PMQs.

      • libertarian
        Posted December 16, 2019 at 10:07 am | Permalink


        Jess Phillips couldn’t wipe the floor with a mop

        There isn’t a single person on the front bench of the Labour Party who would last 5 minutes as leader

      • Fred H
        Posted December 16, 2019 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

        Andy – – Agreed, if you are impressed by raging, loss of control, red faced ranting. Yet to see Boris lose cool.

  49. Lifelogic
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    New Tory MPs are ‘servants of the people’, says Boris Johnson. Hopefully they will be and not just the new ones.

    This would be a very dramatic change from the administrations of Major, Blair, Brown, Cameron and May all of whom wrongly thought they new best and the people were there to tricked, lied to, ignored and of course to be milked with endlessly increasing taxes for these governments to waste all over the place. This while they endlessly lie to us that they were going to “give us a referendum”, or were “cutting taxes” or “repaying the debt” or are “low tax cast iron Conservatives at heart”.

    Can we just have a low tax, real Conservative government in “reality” and in their actual “actions” this time please. With no pointless, damaging & counterproductive wars either please.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 6:48 pm | Permalink


  50. margaret
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    As anything there is a balance which needs to be struck between private and public,The state is an important part of our stability and our heritage.Once everything goes private so does our independence . Private firms do no work for the sake of the state. Parliament’s salaries would go and corruption would set in , the NHS would go even more downhill with those who could pay getting the best treatment.Balancing finances is more subtle than simply the mechanics and you probably know this as well as any other.

    If you listen to peoples comments, anger , verbal abuse, how they treat one another, how comments on this blog demonstrate how they define themselves, then you will see that that there is much spite, jealousy , inflated egos, ill thought out arguments . These types of behaviour could influence too much with a rapid escalation in ruling private concerns.

    Bill Gates sets a good example . The comment where you assume that people should vote for another if they want state to remain state is also a little shallow, unlike yourself and you sound as though you have become a little high on the success.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 16, 2019 at 1:45 am | Permalink

      Indeed there is a balance to be struck. The state should do only those few things that they can do better than people, businesses or charities can. So law and order, defence and not much more. Certainly health care and education would be far better out of state hands. Though clearly some safety net would be needed for those who really could not pay.

      You say “Private firms do no work for the sake of the state” indeed and that is very good – they work to satisfy the paying customer which is far better and gives the customer power to use the service or not. Unless that is it is a natural monopoly where some sensible arrangements might be needed to prevent exploitation.

  51. czerwonadupa
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    No doubt Sir John will know that this election was run on the old unfair boundaries were people in Scotland are over represented compared to the English amongst others. New boundaries were proposed during the Cameron/Clegg administration but just as the majority in Westminster have spent the past 3 years trying to block Brexit they have done the same to the changes proposed for new boundaries – they’ve blocked them. I believe two of the wards for change were in Islington, not an area willing to accept the democratic vote, represented by a Mr Corbyn & Lady Nugee, so not surprising the changes were blocked

    • Michael Diedan
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      Scotland and Wales are overrepresented but so are the regions in England.

      North West: Population 7.2 million – MPs =75
      London: Population 9 million – MPs=73

      Yorkshire: Population 5.6 million – MPs 54
      East: Population 6.2 million MPs 58

      The north’s overrepresentation has much more of an undue influence on elections than Scotland. Look at this election. The Tories shifting left to capture Labour seats. The Tories will now have to become a variant of Labour to secure a majority at the next election.

  52. Derek Henry
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Sitting in first class travelling from Munich to Stuttgart.

    50 euros for 2 people. Service is excellent.

    You do not get any right wing than Bavaria and Baden Wuttemburg but they are very proud of their public transport. No years of neglect or under investment and that is with the Euro.

    Private sector good public sector bad not always the case.

    Competition in the UK is competing who can rip you off the most and they still get subsidies.

    • Derek Henry
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

      DB makes the UK railways look like a third world country

      If buses are over 2 mins late they get a fine.

      Fantastic value for money. We went backwards when privatised things that should never have been privatised. No matter what the ideologues say.

      • libertarian
        Posted December 15, 2019 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

        Dear Derek

        One journey isn’t an analysis

        The German railway system is in crisis

        Newspaper headline

        ‘We are becoming a joke’: Germans turn on Deutsche Bahn

        Cancelled trains and lengthy delays have turned a once-trusted railway system into a source of national shame

        • Fred H
          Posted December 16, 2019 at 11:59 am | Permalink

          Earlier last year we travelled on railways connecting us to 4 European major cities. Poor signage outside the stations and inside guiding us to platforms for trains. Little information about train delays and coach sequence on displays meant panic free-for-alls with suitcases. Prior to train arrival it was rare to see any manning of the platform by staff. Some trains had minscule areas for suitcases and old-fashioned luggage netting overhead. State of the art they certainly weren’t. All we ever see on news and tourism media is beautiful sleek new punctual train travel. Well it wasn’t.

      • APL
        Posted December 15, 2019 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

        Derek Henry: “Fantastic value for money. ”

        Which probably means you are paying full price, but the 75% value you don’t pay at the ticket desk is coming out of you wages.

        But I might be wrong.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      But what is the tax payer subsidy for it on top of the ticket price?

  53. ukretired123
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    The Japanese think well ahead of the pack long-term future as they did when they planned a nationwide fibre optic network over 20 years ago! We are still not there! Arrogant?
    Whilst the UK debates things engineers like Brunel think 100 years ahead encouraged by their government.
    All the country should be boosted by this basic insight to kick start the 1 nation pledge as it will allow more investment nationwide as a priority.
    As a systems professional I regard it as a major failing of all governments since 1997 to be blind to the obvious.
    The dawn of AI is upon us and despite another UK lead foreign takeovers seem more interest than us. We are allowing world leading companies to have our future jewels!
    The government needs to address this urgently if we are to prosper independently.
    Cobham springs mind like ARM holdings snatched under May’s don’t knows….

  54. Michael Diedan
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    “We need lower Income tax, fewer capital taxes and transactions taxes on business, and better education and training to create clusters of excellence and competitive energy.”

    In addition we should also have tax decentralisation – let counties, cities and regions set and retain their own taxes. This will generate competition and force a reduction of wasteful public spending that currently occurs in certain regions thanks to the highly centralised taxation and redistribution model currently employed by the UK government.

  55. James Wilkinson
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a simple point to consider:

    Fuel tax disproportionately affects those outside urban areas. In effect London is being subsidised by this uneven tax.

  56. steve
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 4:20 pm | Permalink


    “As soon as the Conservatives win a General election the pundits and the BBC are on telling us that government needs to adopt Labour’s economic policies”

    Yes it’s so ridiculous as to be slightly amusing. If we thought labour policies were the answer we’d have voted Labour.

    ‘congratulations on winning, now adopt our policies which caused us to lose’……LMAO, priceless !

  57. UK Qanon
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Yes, the conservative party was the winner due to the “BREXITEER” voters. Many who would never vote conservative did so based on the premise that we will leave the EU TOTALLY, no strings, no tentacles. We have the power to dictate the issues now, NOT the EU.

    The only thing we can guarantee with this new government is that Boris, with the coercive power of the Establishment will SCREW the people. once again. The Establishment do not want to leave the EU as it does not suit their purpose.
    By the way, how in the hell did Theresa May get re-elected, she is a TOTAL remainer

  58. BW
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Sir John. Boris said, no deal is better than a bad deal. His deal is still seen by many as a bad deal. May’s deal with a few tweaks. Now that he has a working majority should he not go back to the EU and demand more concessions. For example not being subject to the ECJ.

  59. agricola
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Found Marr bizarre this morning, whole programme devoted to the entrails of Labour who suffer the illusion that it was the media what done it for them. I also note that in a largely “Guardianista ” visual media Laura Kuenessberg was getting abuse from the rag bag end of socialism. I have found her reporting to be fairly neutral and have no idea of what her politics are. There is going to be a lot of socialist blood on the carpet as they attempt a reincarnation.
    It at least leaves the way clear for Boris to progress the prime job in hand.

  60. Lifelogic
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    But what is the tax payer subsidy for it on top of the ticket price?

  61. mancunius
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    Even more urgently than more roads and faster, trains, GB needs universal, affordable-to-all, speed-of-light broadband. Then we don’t need to get into cars and trains to hurtle north and south and waste our time travelling. We can meet and talk sensibly, via the screen.

    I once asked a friend who’s in advertising why he commutes from the south coast to London for work. ‘Well, because the office is there…’
    ‘But you have an office at home, big computer, all your files, all the creative software you need, Skype.’
    ‘Yeah, but the clients want to travel to London to meet.’
    ‘They need to have an excuse to get out of their offices, have lunch, shop, visit their clubs.’
    ‘And you can’t say ‘no, let’s do it on Skype?’
    ‘Well, I need to get out of the house as well…’

  62. Alec
    Posted December 16, 2019 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    The only actual gains in prosperity I can recall are when government pulled back and did less. Government intervention is never intelligent. It is driven by special interests and political motivation not practical considerations. Less is most certainly more.

  • About John Redwood

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

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