New patterns of trade

Once we start the relaxations of the lock down, new patterns of trade and business are likely to emerge.

There will be more suspicion of reliance on imports, given the disruption to international trade and travel we have experienced. More people are likely to want local food and products, and more businesses will take some travel risk out of their supply chains.

There will be more concerns about Chinese technology and our dependence on a lot of Chinese manufactures, given the history of the virus and the rows over Chinese involvement in 5G programmes.

There will also  be a governmental  wish to promote overseas trade again after the  big decline, with a more balanced range of counterparties. People will remember which companies and countries were most helpful during the period of virus need.

It is good to hear that the EU/UK trade talks will resume this week by teleconference. I trust the government will also pick up the pace again with the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. These are all important partners, with an enthusiasm to improve trade terms mutually once we are out of the EU customs union.

With governments wanting to promote more trade and with more customers concerned about overseas sourcing, the stage is set for better deals to act as inducements. The better deals will come from the friendlier countries, which in turn will be the more reliable trade partners.

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  1. Larsen
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    We already have a FTA with Japan via the EU, but we lose the benefits when transition ends this year. Australia and NZ have said clearly that a deal with the EU, not the UK, is their priority. You’ve got your Brexit yet you still can’t resist inventing fairy stories about the consequences.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:19 am | Permalink

      Australia said that so clearly that only you heard it ? Odd.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:24 am | Permalink

      The fta with Japan is no good for this country. They continue to onshore business and buy very little from abroad. Ask Honda employees.
      Now is the perfect time to leave the EU when trade volumes are low.

    • Richard1
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:30 am | Permalink

      The EU deals novate to the U.K. upon confirmation of both parties – most already have. both Australia and NZ as well as the US and many other countries, have a expressed a strong interest in an FTA with the U.K. you need to check your facts before posting.

    • Edward2
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:32 am | Permalink

      Did you notice any shortages of Japanese cars or electronic goods in Europe or the UK over the last 50 years?
      They only very recently signed a trade deal with the EU.

      • Andy
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

        Um – they made the cars here. Literally here as in the UK. Japan has now agreed to sell direct into the single market from Japan. So it can make cars there and sell them in. The Germans and French and Italians don’t care as they all make their own cars. The only ones who don’t are us – and we don’t count anymore. Bye Honda. And Toyota. And Nissan. See. Patrick Minford was right about no car industry. Shame he got the rest wrong.

        • NickC
          Posted April 16, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

          Andy, Do you – ever – get anything right? Some Japanese cars have always come from Japan, even in the EU’s heyday. As for your quaint “Japan has now agreed to sell direct into the single market” – that’s the EU single market which Honda is not moving to, isn’t it?

          You have also traduced what Patrick Minford said about UK manufacturing as his letter to the FT shows: “[UK] manufacturing would raise productivity as it has in the past by going up the value chain and becoming more hi-tech”. By all means disagree with him (I do) but at least don’t fake it.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted April 19, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

            I tend to agree with Patrick Minford on almost everything.

        • jerry
          Posted April 16, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

          @Andy; So let me get this straight, what you are saying is, for example, Honda made their original Civic here in the UK back in 1972, and before that Toyota made their Corona here in the UK back in 1965, I’m sure that will be news to both manufacturers, and importers!…

          Post WW2 the UK traded with the RotW (including the EEC) well before the UK entered the old EEC, and we did so successfully.

        • Edward2
          Posted April 16, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

          You talk of only cars.
          Japanese companies set up a few assembly plants here recently, and in Europe, after decades of importing.
          And still huge numbers are made in Japan and imported.
          But cars are only a part of the range of goods Japan sold over the decades.
          Hi fi, electronic goods, lorries, coaches, musical instruments, bulldozers,computers, the list goes on and on.
          All sold into Europe and the UK way before Japan signed the recent trade deal with the EU.
          My point stands
          Many nations like Japan trade very successfully with Europe and the UK with no formal trade agreement.

    • Ian terry
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink


      A deal with the EU? Will it not depend in what shape the EU comes out of this. Already the economic and financial Eurpeon experts are talking really bad numbers.
      It will depend on who out of the 27 is going to take the hardest hit. Already there is disagreement, yet again , between the northern and southern states about who should get what. They will struggle to survive and if they do it I feel it will be in a totally different format. All 27 trying to argue what is best for them without any consideration to the long term plans will be a sight to behold.

      • Ian terry
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 9:29 am | Permalink

        It may have started already. Andrew Neill is reporting that both the French and German leaders are looking hard at coming away from globalisation and exploring avenues to bring the manufacture of critical medical equipment back home.. That could be just the start.

      • bill brown
        Posted April 16, 2020 at 3:36 am | Permalink

        Ian Terry
        We are all looking at bad numbers and we have to deal with them as best possible

    • Le Libertarian
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 10:22 am | Permalink


      Total drivel

      Try checking the facts before you post

      Hint : follow depart of international trade , for info on the 44 deals already agreed

      • bill brown
        Posted April 16, 2020 at 3:30 am | Permalink

        Le Libertarian

        I thought that was exactly what you forgot to do earlier on the EU package

    • Pominoz
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink


      From where do you get your facts?

      Yet more ‘sore loser’ propaganda.

      • Pominoz
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        Larsen – Danish origin? Perhaps explains things.

        • bill brown
          Posted April 16, 2020 at 3:31 am | Permalink

          It is actually also a Swedish and Norwegian name so stop pretending you know better

          • Pominoz
            Posted April 16, 2020 at 5:54 am | Permalink

            Larsen is extremely common in Denmark where it originated -1 in every 56 families. Slightly less common in Norway – 1 in every 118 families, Scarce in Sweden – 1 in every 2,6oo families.

            Were you feeling a little tetchy when you were reading through the responses to Larsen’s post?

    • IanT
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      It seems to me that the corona virus has shown the fundamental flaws in the EU and that in fact we are fortunate in being no longer being shackled to them. Interestingly, the Italians seem to be coming around to this point of view too.

      We will be living in a Brave New World when this crisis finally passes – and I think membership of the EU (or not) will be the least of our worries.

      • bill brown
        Posted April 16, 2020 at 3:32 am | Permalink


        There is still a significant majority supporting Italian membership (source La Stampa)

    • Hope
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Australian PM describes it as “unfathamable” that wet markets in Wuhan is back fully open trading with full support from the WHO!

      Yet the fake media want to focus on Trump as if he has lost the plot. The UK must withhold its funding as well. The WHO has lost the plot if it thinks this is okay while health and financial devastation still happening around the world. When will the media tell the full story instead of partial facts!

      JR, explain the Govt position to us in relation to WHO and China?

      What the media should be asking is has Raab lost the plot as well to give such assurances to China!

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

        Second. In fact the whole UN is. Disaster and the hope of One World Government fans. It should be dismembered.

        • glen cullen
          Posted April 16, 2020 at 7:14 am | Permalink

          agree – not fit for purpose

      • jerry
        Posted April 16, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

        @Hope; Stop showing your ignorance of what a “wet market” is, the word “wet” simply means cold water, used as a means of keeping food fresh, no different to using ice or even refrigerated cabinets as found at the deli counters or meat isles in supermarkets. So do you want the UK to also ban all our Markets too, such as those extremely popular Farmers Markets, perhaps even supermarkets?

        Those Chinese wet markets were likely no more to blame for the spread of CV19 as the UK’s bushelling supermarkets/shops are (hence the closures of all non-essential shops and social distancing in those that are still open), shops and markets simply being places were incidental person-to-person contact is rife, thus allowing viral contagion.

        “Yet the fake media want to focus on Trump as if he has lost the plot.”

        If only the fake media would, rather they make him out as the only politico remaining in the entire world who has a true grip on the CV pandemic cause and cure – oh hang on, I take your point…

        • Hope
          Posted April 17, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

          Utter dross, your point badly made as usual.

          • jerry
            Posted April 17, 2020 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

            @Hope; Carry on posting all silly insults you wish, they say far more about you though, but the facts will not change, the term “Wet Market” is simply a public market that sells fresh produce. If you want to have a rant about what those markets sell than that is a totally different argument, one the Australian PM doesn’t appear to understand either.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 17, 2020 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

            Oh come on Jerry.
            Wet markets sell live animals.
            They can be taken away or more often killed and skinned right there.
            Animals that we in the UK would never eat.
            Bats cats dogs snakes songbirds penguins and worse.
            The Australian PM is right.
            Carry on defending cruelty to animals.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 17, 2020 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

            Not penguins!
            Typo of the year

          • jerry
            Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; Oh do stop replying to comments you have obviously not bothered to read (if you did then you fail to understand…), by doing so you just make yourself look silly, had you actually bothered to read my comment you will have noted that I do question what is sold in such markets.

            But as I said, that is a different argument altogether. What you, Hope and the Australian Prime Minster are suggesting is akin to say a group of ALF activists not only demanding that the sale of meat be banned but the supermarkets that sold meat should be too -despite the fact they also sell many non meat products!

    • bill brown
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 1:06 pm | Permalink


      Even Sir. JR has his particular horses he likes to ride, this is just something we all got use to over time

      • Hope
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        JR, today’s breifing by Hancock saying measures will not be reduced. Also 3200 fines issued to people for breaking house arrest law. How about Jenerick, Johnson and Symonds? PM should lead by example not break the law/rules.

    • S Matthews
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      Want to bet that the EU can agree a deal with Oz and NZ before we can?

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

        If they are not interested, because their team is busy with an economy five times larger – however long it takes – then why is the desperate haste with which the UK would strike one of any relevance?

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

          five times larger but with 27 different viewpoints and protections.

          Wonder which one will require the least focus and so become the low hanging fruit

        • Edward2
          Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

          Because we are, here in the UK, one of the world’s biggest economies.
          Maybe that’s the reason Martin.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted April 16, 2020 at 6:44 am | Permalink

            But Australia has said that the UK is well down the queue.

            Because it is on the other side of the world.

            And only a fifth the size of the European Union economically.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 16, 2020 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

            Dud it?
            Last time I looked Australia and New Zealand were saying how keen they were to sign a free trade deal.

            Goods arrive here from all over the world.
            Ships and planes.

            If you add 28 nations size together it will be bigger than one.
            But we make a £90 billion annual loss on trade with the EU.
            Trade with the rest of the world is profitable.

        • S Matthews
          Posted April 16, 2020 at 7:04 am | Permalink

          Of course they are interested, but as the EU is bigger its got a higher priority. That has nothing to do with how easy doing a deal with the EU is compared to the UK. It wouldnt surprise me if it takes Canada time with the EU.

  2. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    I see the campaign group 38 degrees has a petition up and running about a sell off of the NHS to the USA. Is there are truth to this John? Surely it would be political suicide? There is so much propaganda about concerning the NHS currently it is difficult to find the truth.

    Reply The NHS is not for sale

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:22 am | Permalink

      The privatised German health service is performing much better than the NHS in this crisis if you go by the data shown in the daily press conferences. An embarrassing fact we’re all meant to ignore.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

        Spending on the NHS is around £120 billion from total government expenditure of £850 billion (2018/19 and rising for both figures)

        We are borrowing £50 billion a year so 15% of our tax and duties are going to the NHS and we are borrowing even more.

        This is not a free service it costs £120 billion per year. So while we should be grateful to all the staff on the frontline – we are paying for it so have a right to expect it to work.

        Save the NHS – we are not saving Warehouse or Oasis and they could not cope. This sycophantic devotion to “our” health service provides comfort at this time like a religion but we have paid for it and we must never lose sight of that.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

        I have a feeling that Germany did not sell its national assets cheaply to the US, however.

        • Edward2
          Posted April 16, 2020 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

          Give us figures for your claim.

          • hefner
            Posted April 17, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

            Give the proof to the contrary then, will you Edward2.
            This type of vacuous argument, which you are so keen on throwing at everybody allows you to never bring anything constructive to the table. You are the perfect pub bore, aren’t you?

          • Edward2
            Posted April 17, 2020 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

            Enjoy having go don’t you Hefner.
            You sound very bitter.
            I just asked for some proof.
            Just like you regularly do.

    • Richard1
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:28 am | Permalink

      At 7% private provision, the U.K. has one of the most statist health systems in the world – probably the most. In every election during my adult life, and in between them, leftists have s said the Tories plan to privatise the NHS. It’s never been done and there have never been any such plans.

      Whether we would in fact be better off if we did have more private sector involvement in health such as is the case in Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland – almost everywhere in fact – is another question. But it’s unlikely to be asked.

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:37 am | Permalink

      That story has been running before. I don’t believe it.

      Personally, I am suspicious of ‘campaign’ groups. Also ‘campaigning ‘
      ‘ charities. I prefer charities that actually do something, not those who just raise awareness.

      • mancunius
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

        Charities that d-do something? But surely their very purpose is to promote guilt and the promise of cash-obtained absolution and redemption. They are not there to alleviate hardship, only to publicise and handsomely profit from it.

        In the main they are the modern equivalent of the medieval indulgence-sellers.

        • Pominoz
          Posted April 15, 2020 at 11:10 pm | Permalink


          Agree entirely. An enormous percentage of all charitable donations is spent on admin and ‘jollys’ for those at the top, with very little actually reaching the intended needy beneficiary.

          • hefner
            Posted April 17, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

            CG, M, P: Says someone who (from Australia!) feels knowledgeable on British charities but very likely never had to be involved in charity work, nor had ever looked at financial reports from charities (from animals-related (Battersea dogs & cats) to Barnardo/Sue Ryder-type to Surfers against Sewage-ecological type or ‘rare’ disease support groups/charities).

            And that, simply because he/she does not like what FoE, Oxfam or Greenpeace are doing.

            There are more than 160,000 charities in the UK, most of them small scale and surviving mainly because of volunteers and small gifts from individuals in the community.

            Don’t paint the whole ‘sector’ with the same brush if you don’t know what you are talking about.

    • SM
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:41 am | Permalink

      Fedup: 1) you have to ask yourself, what commercial company in its right mind would even begin to think of purchasing such a flailing behemoth?

      And 2) if the alleged purchaser were a major Chinese company, I’m sure a couple of posters here would think it a terrific proposal!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      Who on earth would want to buy it?

      What is needed is real competition and choice in healthcare. The NHS is one of the worse system in the world for a similarly developed nation. Note that Germany seems to be doing so very much better – about 5 times better on mortality rates (though this may be partly due to higher testing rates).

      The NHS cannot even organises PPE supplies and distribution despite having months of warning and extra time to organise it. It pandemic planning was appalling. They have some hero’s on the front line but they are appallingly organised and run.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

        Why does Japan have 500 times more ECMO machines per head of population, why did Germany have 6 times as many ventilators and ICU beds at the start of this epidemic?

        Why can the NHS not even feed and water elderly patients or run maternity units property so that fewer tragedies occur. The endless list of NHS scandals that have been hushed up and then continued for year after year is absolutely appalling.

        • glen cullen
          Posted April 16, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

          and at the same time we’re told there’s more and more doctors & nurses….what are the all doing?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      The NHS is probably not for sale in the same way as the BBC was not for sale.

      The corporation of the BBC was not. However it broke up what actually it did into owned subsidiaries, and sold these, e.g. transmitters, outside broadcasts, control rooms and so on. It also started outsourcing the production of its programmes, and so it has de facto largely been privatised. The same is true for many public bodies under the Tories.

      So when politicians make these statements they have to be understood with these possibilities in mind.

      • Edward2
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

        Did the government force the BBC to do those things or was it something the BBC decided to do?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 16, 2020 at 6:50 am | Permalink

          For once, that is a valid question.

          I – personally – think that a climate was created, where the BBC management believed that they were expected to do it.

          A similar thing is the case with Councils etc.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 16, 2020 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

            So it was the BBC that decided to make those changes.

    • Edward2
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      It is very odd because 38 degrees is usually a left leaning group that allow people to start petitions and gather support via their site.
      Most campaigns to do with the NHS on there previously have been about demanding more funding and stopping any privatisation.
      Perhaps the petition you mention is a spoof?

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      Combining superior organisation and technology from the US with the dedication and skill of front line staff would be a world beater for the NHS. As our host shows though it’s “politically unacceptable”. Easier just to dismiss it than argue the case.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      Is there anything left to sell??

    • Irene
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      Truth? From this government? Under the challenging and unprecedented circumstances we’re all trying to come to terms with? No chance.

    • Hope
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      It ought to be.

      The management of the NHS is nothing short of a disgrace. Billions wasted on a failed computer system, no one sacked or censured just given more taxpayers money!

      Hunt was going to stop health tourism and then he quietly dropped it. It needs reforming to help staff provide an efficient service.

      Trevalilian heralding how much (DfiD) she gave away yesterday in overseas aid! Govt borrowing and paying £60 billion in interest to give and fritter billions away to foreign despots and stupid moronic schemes! That is not competent governance. Wait until Public become desperate and see how popular her claims like yesterday will go down. Change overseas aid as a matter of emergency now before the public get really angry with the stupidity of your govt. Did she think about the timing of her stupid announcement?

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

        I was interested to read that WHO payments are decided by size of economy and population. The UK is the second biggest contributor – Why? we certainly shouldn’t be under either of those metrics.

        Our politicians do love to spend our money on other people

        • hefner
          Posted April 16, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

          In US dollars
          USA $115.8 million
          China $57.4m
          Japan $41.0m
          Germany $29.1m
          UK $21.9m
          France $21.2m
          Italy $15.8m
          Brazil $14.1m
          Assessed contributions to the WHO for 2020 (Forbes 08/04/2020).
          And that’s millions not billions. Said otherwise despite the howling in the usual tabloids (and right-wing press) these sums are tiny.

          • Hope
            Posted April 17, 2020 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

            Hef, I am not sure your figures are correct.

            I agree countries pay in millions but why did you think there was a confusion in billions?

          • hefner
            Posted April 17, 2020 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

            Hope, You’re right in that ‘my’ figures are likely to be for the mid-2010s (2015?). I was pointed millions (not billions) as these sums are rather small. If POTUS wants to save money, fine, but there are places where he could make much bigger saving than with the WHO. To me, the POTUS’ present fuss is much more a way to redirect Americans’ attention from the Covid-19 situation he contributed in creating as there are multiple documents (from the CIA among others) that were trying to call his attention already in December. Anyway on Monday 11 February he told his supporters at a rallye in New Hampshire that the virus will miraculously be gone by April when temperatures rise.
            His supporters might like that. I am not convinced that people here in the UK have to concur with him on such a statement.

    • Andy
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      Mr Trump told you it is up for sale. And you are negotiating with him.

      Mr Johnson also hosted an event when he was foreign secretary about privatising the NHS. Mr Hannan was involved too. We all know the Brexiteers want to flog off the health service. Why are you too scared to admit it?

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        When did President Trump say the NHS was for sale? In the free trade negotiation he said initially ‘everything was one the table’ – so he would have supplied our health service with US ventilators for example, with no tariffs. But the U.K. government thought the NHS was organized and viable 😂😂.
        You really think anybody would buy it? Don’t you know it loses £170 Billion a year?

      • Edward2
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

        Why would he want to buy it?
        It loses millions.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

        Yes, we see what happened to Denmark, when they told him that Greenland was not for sale, don’t we?

        And Denmark’s government didn’t even want to sell Greenland.

        As for ours and the NHS?

      • Richard1
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

        Like many of your posts this assertion is clearly false. Everyone knows it is false so it’s useful to see then we can remember that’s likely to be the case whenever you post.

      • NickC
        Posted April 16, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

        Andy, All you seem to want is to keep the NHS as a top-down, 1950s management style bureaucratic behemoth. The covid19 pandemic has exposed the NHS management’s weaknesses. Dozens of private firms, and even universities, have testing and manufacturing facilities going begging, but the NHS management can’t be bothered. And you defend them!

      • hefner
        Posted April 16, 2020 at 9:22 am | Permalink

        Andy, the NHS is not ‘for sale’ as such. But there are a lot of juicy parts that can be and already have been taken over by private health companies. All ‘simple’ operations (e.g., work on hip, knee, … ) can usually been done faster outside the NHS and very often by the same practicians (and covered by private health insurance plans).

        What is much more at stake is the provision of medicines: how NIHCE (National Institute for Care and Health Excellence) will evolve in the future? That’s to me is a more relevant question.

        • Edward2
          Posted April 17, 2020 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

          All GPs are privatised.
          All drug suppliers are too.
          Most suppliers to the NHS are private companies .

          • hefner
            Posted April 17, 2020 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

            As far as I can see there is nothing in what you say that contradicts what I was saying. It will be interesting to see the future decisions taken by NIHCE if the American President, whoever he is, continues to make pressure on the UK as part of a FTA.

    • ukretired123
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      The NHS is a money pit black hole and has massive liabilities.
      In fact you would have to pay someone billions to take it off our hands.
      Its systems of organisation need drastic surgery itself.

      This nonsense is obviously a political stunt!

      I would not recommend anyone of sound mind to touch it with a barge pole.
      Meanwhile our brave doctors nurses and supporting staff are working their socks off God bless them!

    • Barry
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      Sell it to Germany instead, they seem to be doing rather well (if the figures are comparable).

    • rose
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      38% is just a campaigning group of the left, wanting to topple the government on any pretext. It will be interesting to see if it runs low on funds during the present conditions.

    • IanT
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      It is complete nonsense of course – so why give it air?

      But having worked for American companies for much of my working life – the idea that some of the NHS managers I’ve met could actually survive any such new US-led commercal regime did amuse me.

      Of course, there are always exceptional people to be found anywhere but unfortunately there seemed to be some pretty mediocre ones around too (at least when I had dealings with the NHS). I worked closely with very large public and private organisations and I know which ones I considered well managed – and the private sector were generally streets ahead. Clear responsibility and accountability for senior management are the norm in large private companies but frankly seemed far less well defined in some of the public sector organisations I’ve worked with – which include the NHS & MOD.

    • Condone
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      The sale of the NHS to the USA or anyone else was never on the cards. It is just Corbyn anti-Americanism, leaving by void, socialist attachment sticking in there.
      Why he does not proclaim his Russian citizenship is “Something for the weekend Sir?”

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      Hell you could not GIVE it away!

    • John Hatfield
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      That is a pity. Some form of privatisation would do the top-heavy NHS no harm.

  3. oldwulf
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    Yes. This will present an opportunity to press the reset button for the economy.

    Hopefully, minds will be focussed on getting deals done and there will be less room for political posturing.

    • MPC
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

      Political posturing will continue to apply to (expensive) energy policy given the PM is about to marry a Green enthusiast

    • Ian terry
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink



      Totally focussed with 150% commitment.

    • glen cullen
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      There was/is no need to hit the reset button, it was a choice of the UK government to engage in an economic lockdown

      The economy was doing okay 2 months ago

  4. Mark B
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Will we also be looking at reducing the import of foreign workers ?

    • Ian terry
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      Mark B

      Please don’t hold your breath.

      Fine if they are all qualified in the skills we need but as this virus has shown up the agricultural workers have got to employed from within. An example would have been that the 4000 prisoners let out of jail could have been redeployed picking fruit and crops. In all probability they would have earnt more than what they are getting from the state as unemployed.

    • Newmania
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      You mean like the ones dying in Hospital wards trying save British lives ?

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

        Or are they in hospital wards ‘taking it beds’ – we are told BAME are disproportionately susceptible to the virus. How much does each treatment cost?

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        I would hate to be an English NHS frontline worker – completely ignored because everyone concentrates on the plucky foreigners doing our bidding for minimum wage (plus generous benefits)

    • Andy
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      Like the ones who saved Boris Johnson’s life in St Thomas’?

    • Timaction
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      I thought it was insulting to the key British workers of all descriptions when Boris chose to highlight the actions of just two foreign nurses during his care when I’m sure the British Doctors, nursing staff, power supply, cleaning staff all supported him. Stop stealing foreign health professionals and start training our own.
      I read today that the New Zealand Prime Minister and a number of other politicians have taken a 6 month 20% pay cut. What do our politicos do? Give themselves above inflation pay rises plus £10K to work from home. You couldn’t make up how bad our lot truly are.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        In fairness the £10K is to allow staff to purchase laptops and printers to work at home. not sure what the other £8K is for though.

        • Hope
          Posted April 16, 2020 at 11:32 am | Permalink

          No, the computers for those who left could have been used. Deselected MPs had their computers wiped and allowed to keep them! Plus parachute payments.

  5. oldtimer
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    Much will depend on which companies survive the lockdown and which countries retain a half respectable credit rating. Much will also depend on a change in Whitehall’s attitude to the private sector from its current apparent indifference/hostility to one that offers actual support in the form of a sensible tax code and regulatory regime. Yesterday at least the Chancellor said the only way out of the economic hole caused by the lockdown will be to grow the economy. That will not be achieved by slapping on more taxes. The Erhard reforms provide a clue to the way ahead. If the government is sensible it will use the acute slowdown as an opportunity for root and branch reform.

    • Bob
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      “That will not be achieved by slapping on more taxes.”

      We should not continue to use our taxes to fund massive overseas aid payments and HS2.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

        Second – and the green claptrap.

    • Reaction Harry
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      “If the government is sensible it will use the acute slowdown as an opportunity for root and branch reform.”

      Sadly, given our electoral system where the “many” consumers of wealth outnumber the “few” creators of wealth, I think that the best you can hope for is managed decline.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      Indeed grow the economy, and this is done by getting the bloated, mainly parasitic and rather inept state sector of the backs of productive. This so they can compete in the world. A bonfire of red tape, a halving of the size government, cheap reliable energy, no wasteful grand projects like HS2, no war on plant food C02, real and fair competition in banking, schools, health care, universities, housing, farming, broadcasting, easy hire and fire thus far more people actually do productive work and far fewer doing essentially parasitic work handicapping the productive. Freedom and choice for people as to how they spend their own money.

      In short we need the complete opposite of what Blair, Brown, Darling, Cameron, Osborne, May and Hammond have given us. Leading to the highest levels of tax (and tax complexity) for 50 years and the highest levels

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        and the highest levels of red tape and over regulation. I meant to add.

    Posted April 15, 2020 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    China. A beautiful country populated by warm and friendly people but infected by the poison of Marxism. And still this most evil of political systems is venerated and upheld as a model of government to be copied

    Backbench Tory MPs should threaten to bring down Johnson’s government if he doesn’t scrap this agreement and then sack himself and those who took the decision to allow Hauwei (a CCP outlier) into the UK

    I’d like to know who benefits from allowing Huawei into the UK?

    Is it quid pro quo geopolitical shuffling to gain wider access to the Chinese market for UK exports?

    The price is too high.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:25 am | Permalink

      Plus 100. China is a pariah state and should be ostracized.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        Three cheers for Trump for calling out the WHO
        I also agree with Starmer that the government should produce an exit strategy. I detest the man but in this instance he is right. You will lose support if there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.

        • rose
          Posted April 15, 2020 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

          Starmer is just rocking the boat, trying to bring the Government down. As a Privy Counsellor he is being fully included in conversations about all this, and if he wanted to, he could write to the Foreign Secretary privately in the same way that Sir John can. That would show he has the national interest at heart rather than just wanting to score cheap political points. If he has a strategy worth considering, let him bring it forward. I very much doubt he has.

    • Javelin
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:55 am | Permalink

      Several of the directors are ex advisers to David Cameron. That will tell you all you need to know.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      If you “offshore” with such childish and greedy determination as the stupid UK has done YOU LOSE THE CAPABILITY/CAPACITY.
      We used to have companies like Plessey, and Marconi which were cutting edge in telecoms but just like civil nuclear power we WILFULLY threw these away and we are now dependent on the kindness of hostile powers to build the nuclear power stations and 5 G networks we are told we need!!!

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        but the directors at the time enjoyed trebles all round I am sure.

        We need to bring quality manufacturing back to this country, charge a premium and pay a premium.

      • Anonymous
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 10:08 pm | Permalink


        Who can now look at the last 50 years and say “Well those policies turned out well !”

        We are literally in a horror story !

    • Ian terry
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 8:00 am | Permalink


      I’d like to know who benefits from allowing Huawei into the UK?

      A pound to a pinch of snuff it will not be the British worker or taxpayer.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      They employ a lot of so called political “consultants” who are near to power and who have powerful contacts – when you look closely. They many declare their interest but mere declaration does little to stop it.

      This is surely the only reason we are wasting so much money on HS2 or renewables too. There is surely no other possible explanation for these damaging economic absurdities going ahead no one could be that stupid could they? Vested interests and essentially a corrupting of the political process.

    • Andy
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Hard luck. It’s gone through Parliament already and the Tory rebellion failed.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

        Yep, that’s what a majority of eighty, comprised largely of eager-to-please newbies means.

        An absolutely, prime, hallmarked, rubber-stamping, Parliament.

        • Edward2
          Posted April 16, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

          Would you and Andy prefer the American 5G system being sold by President Trump to China’s ?
          I find that surprising after reading some of your comments on here.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

        So has Brexit Andy! Being Sovereign means that when we make a mistake we can reverse our decision.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 16, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

          Who ever are “we”, Lynn?

          Are you part of the legislature?

          • Edward2
            Posted April 16, 2020 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

            No but Lyn is a voter directly connected to the Parliament in her own independent nation.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      Yes the world needs to see the CCP for what it is. The new patterns of trade and business to which Sir John refers need to be appropriate to/robust to emerging geopolitics. I have shifted my position on Huawei and now believe decision should be reversed. Initially I thought the decision was balanced allowing UK 5G to proceed, intelligence learning to continue through watching Huawei, but limiting the scope to leave other companies to catchup and repeat, this despite the obvious support that Huawei has received from CCP. I think CCP’s covid19 cover up and misinformation has to be acknowledged by WHO and UN, and should be done so immediately, there are too many people who do not wish to do this as they want to criticise Trump and effect the next USA election. Putting personal politics ahead of the threat from the CCP as it seeks geopolitical benefit from the CV19 epidemics is frightening for the future of the world. By its recent actions the UK has lost all credibility by turning away from democracy and individual freedoms – there is not a rational defence for the actions taken and so one has not been given. Countries that have the possibility to return to rational, liberal democracy need to switch off their newly found totalitarian behaviour immediately, develop a joint response to CCP and develop restrengthen their relationships, trade and otherwise.

      It may of course all be too late China has had over 3 decades of research assistants and fellows coming to work in international universities then returning to China to transfer the knowledge, it has had decades of reverse engineering, decades of ignoring patents and decades of insisting on joint home production – no signs of any quid pro quo. The democratic world has been to blame as well, believing China would change even after 1989. With a no term limit on Xi Jinping nothing will change.

    • ukretired123
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      China aims to be Top Dog by 2049 by hook or by crook and shallow thinkers are blinkered by the cheap goods they produce and “Contained pseudo capitalism” behind the Great Firewall of China’s web like the Forbidden City.

      Historically they lagged behind the West in creative innovations just like their totalitarian comrades Soviet Russia but both found ways of stealing intellectual property and state secrets.

      We should be under no illusions that they are a real threat to the world order and Huawei whilst a good company have to give the Communist Party whatever they wish to infiltrate Western communications infrastructure.

      Further China’s recent takeover of ARM Holdings, makers of world leading RISC miniature computer chips should be confirmation of China’s intent to dominate the world’s digital eyes and ears too.

      Time to wise up and love him or hate him Donald Trump is spot on regarding how the threat is ongoing and unrelenting.

      Meanwhile the MSM are criticising our government’s grappling with a problem caused by China’s cover up. How convenient is that?

    • rose
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      Ask Sir Mark Sedwill. He led the trade delegation there during Mrs May’s administration. You would think it would have been the Foreign Secretary, Mr Hunt.

    • APL
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      China. A beautiful country populated by warm and friendly people but infected by the poison of Marxism.

      We’ve got that in common with them then.

  7. Tom Rogers
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    Isn’t this a case where the government has caused the problem it is seeking to solve? Isn’t all this just a little bit galling?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 7:12 am | Permalink

      Causing problems is the main activity of government – that and taxing people to give them the resources to cause even more problems. Oh and also inventing problems like “climate alarmism” so as to give them another excuse for more taxes and yet more government.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

        Inventing or at least hugely exaggerating!

    • Everhopeful
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      Gosh you sound like H.G. Wells in his book “The New World Order”.
      Problem (created)….Reaction…Solution ( offered as only course of action).
      Never let a good crisis go to waste!!

      • Everhopeful
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

        Actually at the moment it’s more like “The Machine Stops” by the same chap!!

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      You do realise, Tom, that if the Government let this virus run wild, as you implicitly recommend, then this country would be quarantined by almost the whole rest of the world for the foreseeable future?

      That would be on top of its other problems, of public health provision collapsing, and far more.

      • Tom Rogers
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

        Tell me where I have said or implied that any government should let viruses run wild.

        I stated from the start that the government should take reasonable precautionary measures. The government has not done so.

      • Anonymous
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

        I think the whole of the western world is going to have to let it run wild.

        There will be wave after wave of outbreaks.

        A sneeze can reach 25 feet and linger for hours – I walked through a smoker’s plume of smoke over thirty feet from where he was sitting down.

        Only one carrier is needed to infect a whole nation within a matter of months. So a whole session of lockdown can be easily undone with a small slip – and that’s not including sabotage.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 16, 2020 at 6:55 am | Permalink

          Yes, it will be far more of a problem in some countries that in others.

          And they will be quarantined by the rest.

      • NickC
        Posted April 16, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink

        You consistently fall for the illusion of the omnipotence of governments and bureaucrats, Martin. Hardly surprising given your idolisation of the EU. In reality, the purpose of this authoritarian lockdown is merely to slow down the rate of infection, not stop it. Covid19 is “running wild” – that’s the point – until a vaccine, or other treatment, tames it.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 16, 2020 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

          Not in all countries, Nick, not by any means.

          I won’t list yet again the growing number where it has been, for practical purposes, suppressed.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 16, 2020 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

            Glad youve stopped claiming it has been eliminated

  8. Roy Grainger
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Bit premature John as we’re plainly not going to be out of the EU by the end of the year, I see selective leaks already softening us up for this.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      All business needs is more uncertainty. We have planned and paid for organising to fully leave the EU in December at the latest! I want it brought forward to June!

  9. Bryan Harris
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    There might yet be a golden lining to all of this then…

    Those with the skill, products and wherewithal should see plenty of opportunities, and with the right kind of investment new companies will start to take the place of China – The government should start promoting this and advising the type of products we should now be making in the future.
    What concerns most people though is how the government will pay off it’s huge debt mountain, and who will be penalised with extra taxes few of us can afford

  10. Javelin
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Many people may not of heard of the Sacheverell riots of 1710, which were the worst, of many, that century and led to the Riot Act being passed.

    The riots followed a 35% drop in GDP and high taxes following the start of a war with Spain.

    Whilst the argument itself was between the Tories and Whigs and focused on religion the real cause of the riots was the drop in GDP and high taxes. As the Tories got to write history the riots were blamed on a religious disagreement. If taxes were low, GDP was rising strongly and there was prosperity and peace for all the argument would have been confined to a letter to The Times.

    As it was the war, drop in living standards and taxes was taken out on what was seen as the religion of the rich and recent German immigrants.

    A lesson from history. Severe Riots follow a 35% drop in GDP. Many more riots have followed smaller drops in GDP. We all know what followed the 1930s depression. History tells us the argument is irrelevant and the target group is a different belief system.

    l’ll repeat what I said in early February that the Government should have locked down and supported the vunerable much more strongly, should have locked down the borders strongly and should have let the healthy and strong keep the economy rolling.

    • Mark
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

      1709 had a very severe winter (some say the coldest in 500 years), which caused crop failure and famine across Europe. Our recent mild winter left us with fewer than normal deaths, and more people at risk of dying who might not have survived a harsher winter. We should be grateful for our climate change.

  11. Lifelogic
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    We will above all need a sensible cheap reliable energy policy and far, far less government.

    Various people keep suggesting this will give us an even larger state sector. In fact it should give us a state sector with more debt to pay of this state debt we will need a larger private sector, a far smaller state sector (which is largely parasitic and inept anyway) and a bonfire of red tape, cancellation of HS2 and other wasteful government lunacies.

    The next pandemic planners should be one or two bright sensible people who understand manufacturing technology, medical technology and science and can organise plans so that the ramp up of production of medical and PPE equipment manufactured locally to existing designs. Surely some PPE should be able to be sterilised and reused too or recycled in some way.

    What are we doing to find out the best treatments for patients with Covid? Trial and research are needed. Does the tuberculosis vaccination actually help, why does it attack diabetics, blood group o, men and the elderly rather more that others, do any existing anti-virals work, does earlier oxygen help, any other lung drugs or treatments that might help them last longer or inhibit the virus. Would it help to artificially lower blood glucose a bit with other drugs perhaps. So many possibilities and things to be learned and tested. Why are Germany (seemingly) keeping so many more alive than than the NHS (about 5 times better)? Is it just that they are testing more or do they have rather better hospital care and if so in what way?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      Decent pandemic planning could easily have been done for less than 0.1% of the cost of the absurd HS2 project. Doubtless these inept pandemic planners spent far, far more than this doing a truly appalling job, then conducting exercises in 2016 to test it (with 200+ organisations and quangos being involved) and then duly burying the results so as not to worry the public.

      Doubtless many will be getting (or will have already received) honours for these great “achievements”. Perhaps May, Hunt, Rudd, NHS England and the NHS CEOs at the time can explain themselves? The BBC had a long interview with Hunt but the subject was not even mentioned?

      • Anonymous
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

        They relied rather too much on the competence and honesty of international business partners.

        Remember that China could and should have isolated herself.

  12. The Prangwizard
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    We must change minds and if necessary people. The idea held by many individuals and persons in authority that we can get things from overseas always better and cheaper rather than through self reliance must be challenged every time it is promoted. All procurement rules must be geared to domestic development from 50000 ton ships to featherlight paperclips. Businesses must be protected from foreign acquisition. The malign influence of the City in this respect must be curtailed. After all they are only in it for their commusion and fees.

    And at a more local and domestic level we must not allow the lead feet of bureaucratic inertia drag us back to previous ways after people have got used to working from home and running a business from home. Local authorities must continue to allow it and insurance companies must not be allowed to stop it by profiteering or imposing unreasonable conditions for their own convenience.

  13. steadyeddie
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    It would be great if we had a comprehensive and deep relationship with the countries that share our values, like Europe. Oh we have just left such an arrangement to rely on dealings with the likes of China, USA(with its unpredictable and ‘America first’ approach) and the unstable Middle East.

    • NickC
      Posted April 16, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      Eddie, “Europe” isn’t a country. And the EU quite definitely doesn’t share our values. Otherwise the EU would be more like the UK, and we would have had more influence on it (well, more than zero, that is).

      • hefner
        Posted April 16, 2020 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

        That’s a good one, the only way to share according to you is when the others adopt our values. Could it be a reason why the British Empire was not such a success? And could you for one precise what are these British (or English) values that the uncivilised people out on the continent do not share? I am rather curious what make the British so much better than the other European tribes.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted April 16, 2020 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

        Could you identify a so-called “British value” which is not also shared by every other modern, democratic country please, Nick?


        • Edward2
          Posted April 16, 2020 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

          Its odd how the left really hate the achievements of the British Empire.
          The only empire that gave up its territories.
          The only empire where most if its territories still decades later love the motherland.

          The Commonwealth is an enduring example of how a benevolent empire can create an enduring group of nations.

          • hefner
            Posted April 17, 2020 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

            Answer please: what British values?
            Or have you nothing sensible to say apart from your right/left mantra?
            As for “the only empire that gave up its territories” let me laugh. Ever heard of the American Revolution, the Irish Famine, the Indian Mutiny, the Mau-Mau rebellion, the events around the creation of Israel, Suez, Singapore, Burma, Nigeria, … you are even more naive than I had thought.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 17, 2020 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

            Oh calm down Hefner
            I wasn’t talking to you.
            The Commonwealth still exists and is a happy band of nations.
            Who still want the Queen as their head of State.

  14. Javelin
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Will a 35% drop in GDP mean a drop in Government spending?

    The Labour Party reckons the last recession (a 3% drop in GDP) caused 120,000 premature deaths. That’s 12,000 per year ontop of the 500,000 deaths per year. Which statistically sounds about right.

    The current drop of 35% in GDP will cause many more premature future deaths.

    • NickC
      Posted April 16, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      Javelin, Indeed you are correct. So it is time to start easing the lockdown initially wherever social distancing can be continued (eg: hardware shops). Then by returning to school, and younger people returning to work (the under 45s).

  15. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Home grown food and automation for harvesting it – that is our first priority.

    Rebuild UK manufacturing base building reliable, innovative and lasting products. We need to wean ourselves off our need to constantly update. Amazon vans are still to be seen out and about which suggests that people are still buying tat even while concerned about their future.

    • a-tracy
      Posted April 16, 2020 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      Narrow Shoulders there are many people working for our public sector who aren’t the slightest concerned about their future, they think this train is rolling along as usual, their full earnings are protected, their pensions tax-payer guaranteed even those in the Council in council schemes get their schemes topped up when they make investment errors like putting money in Iceland covered by the Rate Payer it stinks and the worm is going to turn, especially when we can only get a bin collected once per fortnight.

  16. Margaret Howard
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    The reason we have to rely on imports for so much of our needs was the obsession of the Tory government under Margaret Thatcher to turn us from a manufacturing industry into one specialising in services and finance. Countries like Switzerland thrive with that but not one like Britain with over 60m people who have to make things to survive.

    I remember the daily announcements at the time of factory after factory closing down. Another reason was her determination to defeat the unions

    The finance industry concentrated the wealth in London and I can’t think of a single European country with a capital city hogging most of the wealth and creating such an unequal society.

    • Edward2
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      It was customers who decided to buy superior products from outside the UK that reduced our manufacturing sector.
      Blame them.

    • NickC
      Posted April 16, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      Margaret H, Manufacturing output initially dipped but then increased over the time of the Thatcher governments. Manufacturing fell from a base of 100 in 1973 (when we joined the EU (EEC)) to about 80 in 1982. Then it climbed steadily under Thatcher’s guidance to about 105 in 1990 (Kitson and Michie, 2014).

    • a-tracy
      Posted April 16, 2020 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      Margaret why do you live in the UK, every utterance of you is negative about this Country, I know you enjoy that your child is at Oxbridge but what else have you remained for?

    • Le Libertarian
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 7:11 pm | Permalink


      Oh my word, try joining us in the reality of the 21st century

      UK Service sector 80%

      We are the number one financial services centre in the world , the city doesn’t horde wealth it transacts it .

      German Service sector 75%

      27th in Financial services

      French Service sector 79%

      25th in Financial services

      Japan service sector 70%

      Nowhere as far as financial services are concerned

      Switzerland 75% Services

      Number 5 in financial services


      79% service

      Number two financial centre in the world

      The worlds largest manufacturing countries

      1 China
      2 USA
      3 Japan

      UK is now up to 7th

      ps there are UK financial centres in Leeds Manchester and Edinburgh too

  17. Richard1
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    I think we need to be careful of opinions from the left at this point. Many of them would like to see a big hit to the economy, so as to avoid Boris and the Govt looking good, which is of great concern to them now opinion polls show support for the Tories running over 50%!

    Economic damage can possibly also be blamed mendaciously by continuity remain on Brexit.

    Sir Keir Starmer was just interviewed. He seems a decent enough sort. But he said nothing, completely bland platitudes – he’d like more testing. You don’t say! He’s concerned about schools being closed but on the other hand he’s not in favour of opening them. Obviously it was a soft ride, it being the BBC. So he wasn’t asked eg about unions telling workers who clearly can work with distancing not to do so.

    Still no great evidence of a correlation between severity of lock-down and deaths per million. Capacity in the NHS has been built up now, so time to get back to work.

    • rose
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

      You don’t seem to have fallen for the Starmer fakery!

    • jane4brexit
      Posted April 16, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      Sounds like the The Conservative Woman headline calling him “Starmer Chameleon” was right!

    • a-tracy
      Posted April 16, 2020 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      Richard, was Starmer asked if he would have awarded the testing contract to the private sector to actually get the job done quickly?

      Was Starmer asked about closing down earlier, the outbreak in the North was a week or so lag behind London, so you can see around the UK what a faster close down would have got because those areas effectively got a quicker close-down.

  18. Kevin
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    With all this in mind, it should also be noted that the Government and Parliament have shown themselves capable of rapid legislative action that is allowing them to govern our lives in great detail. I imagine it would be a very hard sell indeed for the Conservatives to convince the public that, come July, they need to continue outsourcing the power to make laws over us to a foreign entity (the EU), under Arts. 126, 127 and 132 of the Withdrawal Agreement.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      Actually IMPOSSIBLE! We can’t pay for our own stupidity closing down our humming economy, if they propose we pay for the collapsing EU as well they may as well immigrate.

  19. agricola
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    What you say is true. Every export/manufacturing/trading company needs to have a re-think on how they do things, On the question of food we need to become much more self sufficient and technology in producing and harvesting is the way forward. I have often wondered why we don’t containerise the food chain between southern Spain and the UK. I estimate it would be a 65 hour sea journey and would go a long way to reduce lorry traffic. The UK could ship vehicles for sale on the return trip. Not forgetting high quality beef and lamb.

    You could put Mr Cummings to work reorganising the way we go about things in the UK. Infinitely more home working to unload our transport/commuting system for instance. Better ways of manufacturing houses is another one, long overdue. Holiday work in our fields for our student population. If girls could do it in WW2 I see no reason why all students should not be directed to do it now, It might contribute to the nations fitness, save money on a trendy gym subscription, and earn good money at the same time. Re-assess the stocking of essential medical protection apparel, masks and gowns do not date.

    No doubt the contributors to this diary can come up with a few more revolutionary ways in which we could do things better without sliding into state direction. Enterprise is a private sector function so lets see it flourish.

  20. Ian Kaye
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    The the trade deal between the EU you and Japan is restricted principally to motor vehicles and dairy products.. to call it it a free trade deal implying that it relates to all products is a misnomer. The the EU you had a trade deal with South Korea in my my opinion because it wanted South Korean batteries for electric vehicles in the EU. If the UK balance of trade improves this will be an addition to GDP and should endure for the foreseeable future. If it is correct that Australia and New Zealand want a trade deal with the EU you before for one with the UK Australia and New Zealand have repeatedly said they want a trade deal with the UK for example the UK has the highest quota for imports of New Zealand lamb because of our historic connections

    • Margaret Howard
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 10:25 pm | Permalink


      “the UK has the highest quota for imports of New Zealand lamb because of our historic connections”

      We cut off trade with both Australia and New Zealand overnight when we joined the EU. The effect this had on the export of Australian lamb and the New Zealand dairy industry was devastating until they eventually turned to the East for the survival of their trade.
      Hope they have short memories.

      • Edward2
        Posted April 16, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

        Thanks for reminding us about another sad and negative effect of us joining the EEC Margaret.

      • Le Libertarian
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 6:57 pm | Permalink


        Wrong as usual, I know you aren’t very bright but you would think that you could check before posting your drivel

        From the British Meat Industry website

        The UK currently imports around a third of the sheep meat it consumes, or around 100,000 tonnes annually. Imports have been stable . The dominant supplier has always been New Zealand, with a market share of over 70 per cent. Australia is the second largest supplier, accounting for around 15 per cent. This largely reflects the different seasonality of sheep meat production in the Southern Hemisphere, which helps to ensure supplies are available throughout the year. The EU supplies around 10 per cent of imports.

        You dont have a memory at all you just make it up

  21. Alan Jutson
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Nice words John, and hopefully some of the friendlier Countries and Companies to the UK will get more trade in the future, but unfortunately very often long term, it will be simply down to the lowest price for many, who know the cost of everything, but the value of nothing.

    Lessons to be learned.

    The Government and the NHS can act fast when it has been required, as has been proved by recent actions, so why does it take so very, very long to get change in normal times for very minor tweaks to anything.
    Is it because it is at the moment front line/clinically driven, and the normal incompetent management and pen pushers have been bypassed.
    The emergency has shown the failings of many departments in not being able to get their acts together for the common good, notes should have been taken for when it’s time to remodel them.
    If one thing has to be learn’t, it should be that in a fully developed society, everyone plays a key part, so let us scrap this key worker label nonsense, as I have outlined before.

  22. ChrisS
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    The most noticeable consequence of the Pandemic in the UK will be the decimation of the High Street. Already in dire trouble, many businesses will not survive the lockdown and many more people will have realised how easy it is to order goods online and will not wish to spend the time to shop or revert to all the difficulties of finding a place to park. The virus will simply accelerate the demise of the traditional High Street.

    We should therefore start to look at what we do with all the derelict shops that will have no useful purpose. After all, we do not need any more Charity Shops !

    A fundamental change is necessary, bulldozing parts of town centres and building nicer couryard-style housing developments of terraced houses where, for example, large stores like Debenhams once stood. Some smaller shops can be turned into stand-alone housing units.

    Government support will be needed for this to happen but the alternative will be parts of town centres that look like ghost towns for generations.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      We don’t need any more houses! Millions unsold!

  23. Iain Moore
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    HS2 given the go ahead, just what we need a £100 billion white elephant when the economy is disappearing n a Covid black hole.

  24. Sakara Gold
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    According to many financial sources, the whole world has been effectively shut down as people suffer enforced lockdowns and much economic activity grinds to a halt. People are not talking recession, they are talking depression.

    The Fed has decided that the way to combat this is to print yet more money, the BoE has responded likewise. This also happened post 1929, it failed and resulted in the Great Depression, the rise of fascism, the Holocaust and a devastating world war.

    The problem then, as now, is that the current exeptionally high levels of sovereign and personal debt can only be serviced when people (and countries) have jobs; no job = no income = no tax revenue = bankruptcy = foreclosure and loss of asset values.

    Never has the need for an effective vaccine been so obvious.

    We are caught in a Catch 22 situation; if the government ends the lockdown we risk a massive resurgence of infection that would overwhelm the NHS, if we don’t end the lockdown massive company and personal bankruptcies will result – an unenviable choice.

    If we don’t find a way to break the chains of infection this summer by a mass testing campaign, isolation of those testing positive, agressive tracing of their contacts and quarantining we are looking at very serious problems next winter – social unrest, probable food riots, looting and a breakdown of the rule of law. The PM is recovering from this vicious virus at Chequers, the government is leaderless. Commeth the hour, commeth the man. Where is our Churchill?

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      Monitoring this blog!

    • Stred
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      At Chequers with his preggers girlfriend talking about how our fantastic NHS and Public Health are and how they run on love.

  25. Ian @Barkham
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Sir John

    There is irony in your Blog today.

    The Imagination Technologies Group a massive until recently UK company seen as a world leader in chips for digital devices. Has been bought by the Chinese and now has to suffer the indignity of the technology and its IP being moved to China lock stock and barrel. Once again this Conservative Government is selling the UK advantages to others.

    At this rate their will be nothing left to salvage. Our Nuclear Energy technology moved abroad, our Glass industry moved abroad, Chip makers ARM and now Imagination moved abroad, our train making moved abroad with just assembly of foreign components left in the UK, on and on it goes.

    It is a Governments duty to protect this country. That means its health, security and its safety. If Government allows the sale of critical of the structures that help secure our wellbeing, you have to ask who are they working for. Bear in mind these industries and technologies would never at any time be permitted to be sold to the UK by the countries doing the buying.

  26. Ian terry
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Sir John

    Please do us a favour and bend someones ear about getting the 99 year old army captain a knighthood , he has just passed the 5 million pound mark and it is still going. At this time of so much sadness and at times political snipingwhat an incredible indictment that if you are focused and determined you can achieve almost anything.

  27. John E
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    You should not be fuelling crazy conspiracy nonsense by putting Huawei, 5G, and the virus together in the same sentence.

  28. Anonymous
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    After this I expect we’ll do what the Chinese government tells us to. The new ruling super power.

    I hope they’ll be benevolent and kind rulers.

    The West could not afford to react the way it has to this disease but by virtue of the fact that we are democracies we have had to bankrupt ourselves to destruction to prove this.

    Food gets sold to the highest bidder where ever they are – so we may not be allowed to eat our own beef. The government need to prepare for privations hitherto unseen in this country – there are more of us here than in 1930 and we are less hardy and less skilled.

    Oh. And the virus is still on the loose. We are going to have to take the mortality hit that we were going to take all along. We thought we could beat nature but can’t.

    The West is chewing its own tail. Bashing itself up over this while China gets away scot free. Had China locked down her own airports and told the truth this would not have happened.

    How much PPE was going to be enough ? Since the last pandemic – 1918 – how much shelf-lifed stock were we meant to have thrown away over the decades while the NHS was already battling an obesity epidemic – the nation’s number 1 killer ?

    We now know a BMI of oyer 30 is the greatest COVID-19 risk next to being over 65 years of age. It’s widespread news outside Britain now. At least obesity isn’t going to be a problem in this nation anymore – we won’t be able to afford it.

    Posted April 15, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    HS2 go ahead. The EU will be pleased by another link in their EU wide transport network. I predict a bridge connecting the British mainland to N. Ireland next to complete the EU pincer strategy

    Vote Tory and Labour and you can bet with certainty that deception is just around the corner.

    Charlatans, total charlatans.

    • Andy
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      HS2 links London (not in the EU) to Leeds (also not in the EU) – and it is some how the EU’s fault?

      Also a proposed bridge (which will never be built) linking one part of the UK to another part of the UK is also somehow the EU’s fault.

      Life is much better if you just ignore the conspiracy theorists.

      • jane4brexit
        Posted April 16, 2020 at 9:28 am | Permalink

        If you type into search the ‘Trans-European Transport Network’ you will see the EU maps although the link to Ireland is shown as Cork, but presumably now we have left that has had to change. All dictated to us in an EU directive as far back as 1996, I think it was.

        • jane4brexit
          Posted April 16, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

          Sorry the link was originally Dublin with a road to Cork, should have checked first.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 16, 2020 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

          The scheme is voluntary and includes numerous non-European Union members too.

          There was no “directive”, nor “dictation”, nor any other form of compulsion.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 16, 2020 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

            Yes but the UK is keen to follow all of the EU’s voluntary requirements.

    • glen cullen
      Posted April 16, 2020 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      agree – what a disgrace

  30. Andy
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Some customers are concerned about where their products come from. Mr Duncan Smith, for example, thinks we should buy British. At least he does now. I remember not long ago he was wittering on about global Britain. In any case he can buy British because he can afford it because he married into money. Which is at least a variation on the usual Tory theme of being born into money.

    But the reality is that most consumers are price conscious and they will buy whatever is cheapest. And that won’t be British. Plus, of course, you can’t buy British cars or TV or phones – and people want and need this stuff too. And all the things that would have been British – our utilities, airports etc were sold off by the Tories to foreigners.

    • Edward2
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      But the UK has huge investments in overseas companies too.
      I’m not sure what your policy is Andy.
      Open borders…tick yes?
      Free global trade…tick yes?
      Perhaps you would have a think and let us know.

    • hefner
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      Strictly speaking, it is not 100% true: ‘things’ were sold to foreigners by both Tory and Labour governments influenced by some ‘60s economic ideas (Milton Friedman) keenly digested by Mrs Thatcher, R.Reagan, and in a somewhat weakened form by practically all UK PMs since. They were not sold as such, it just was the results of ‘the free market’ (Hallelujah). Or that’s at least what we were told.

      In these lock-down times, maybe Sir John could bring us all reminiscing about these happy days. That might beat exercising with Joe Wicks.

      • Edward2
        Posted April 17, 2020 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

        You preferred lame duck funding and the joys of the GPO and British Leyland

    • steve
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 8:08 pm | Permalink


      “And all the things that would have been British – our utilities, airports etc were sold off by the Tories to foreigners.”

      Blair sold off more than Mrs Thatcher, after lying to the nation that he would reverse all of the privatisations she had made.

      PS I and I daresay most people couldn’t care a hoot if IDS married into money, it’s his business not ours. I don’t know why you post things that no one is interested in.

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 9:55 pm | Permalink


  31. Ian terry
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Sir John

    So President Trump has just announced that he is withdrawing funding for the WHO over its handling of the Coronavirus pandemic. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus by his involvement with China which runs a lot deeper than generally thought it would seem to be the trigger for his decision. Rebel News the Canadian news site has a disturbing video on his background which can be accessed via the Not a Lot of People Know That web site dated the 5th April.

    In the longer term does it not beg the question that the UN and its associated organisations have lived their usefulness in their present format and possible change is needed?

    • rose
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

      The UN has been an anti Western organization run by dictators and tyrants for as long as I can remember.

  32. Everhopeful
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    A little “forward thinking” by our betters might have been helpful.
    Like …have contingency measures in place BEFORE the emergency happens.

  33. Caterpillar
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    I appreciate reading the positive post indicating a rebuilt future. Sadly such optimism is misplaced, the Govt will not stop the lockdown and allow even the slightest step towards the economy restarting. There is no calculation that shows the Govt’s decision is even close to being correct (in terms of lives now vs. lives in the future); it is difficult to find any optimism for any future decision being decent.

  34. Everhopeful
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Hopefully at some point local people will take trade/supply into their own hands.
    Maybe if they become uncharacteristically bold enough garden centres, butchers and those with large gardens will keep chickens, goats, pigs without reference to the almighty DEFRA.
    We will again see honey, eggs, fruit and veg for sale in front gardens.
    Maybe too an occasional freshly killed chicken such as I saw in Dieppe market in the 90s when the UK was shivering submissively under EU rules and regs.

  35. Bob
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Surprised that the UK still hasn’t approved the use of Hydroxychloroquine for treating the Wuhan Flu. This drug has a long history of safe usage, so what’s the hold up?
    We now find out that the death rate of elderly people dying at home untreated is not even recorded in the statistics.

    What could possibly motivate the authorities to withhold a safe and potentially life saving medication?

    • Stred
      Posted April 16, 2020 at 3:02 am | Permalink

      Possibly because they haven’t ordered any and it’s not made here.

    • anon
      Posted April 16, 2020 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Overzealous top down control. No ability to react timely.
      No balanced risk approach in a pandemic scenario.

      Please could someone ask Boris if he has had any other treatment apart from oxygen and paracetamol? Which was not approved by the CMO.

  36. Javelin
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    When the GDP drops by 35% the economy and government will not be decimated, it will be tricimated.

  37. Mike Wilson
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood, interesting as trade may be, I am much more concerned about money. After the 2007/8 banking crisis, following the government bailout of the banks, we were told by every Conservative government since 2010 that the only way to deal with the deficit was to tighten government spending. Following the Corona crisis, when the government has bailed out the whole country and government debt will be X times more than in 2010, what is your government going to tell us now?

    This, surely, is the BIG question.

  38. John Probert
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    I am sorry to have to say that I have given the government the benefit of the
    doubt and I understand that being in charge of a crisis is very demanding
    Where are the Ventilators ?
    30 delivered on 1st April ??
    Even the minimum design specification requested by the government is wrong
    Error Delay Error Delay
    When the going gets tough The Tough get going
    Sorry but this lot just don’t have it
    Realistic Goal Setting Fail
    Decision making fail
    Adaptability fail
    I could go on and on ????

    • steve
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      John Probert

      Sorry, Sir, but I disagree.

      I may or may not vote conservative next time, but I will say this; as far as I’m concerned our government is doing a pretty good job under the circumstances.

      Who, if he were to be truthful, thinks he can do better ? Do we really understand what goes on behind the scenes when ministers have to deal with China to get the PPE our health service needs ?

      I rather suspect we do not fully understand what they’re up against. I certainly wouldn’t want to wear their shoes, not for a single day.

      • glen cullen
        Posted April 16, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

        But the circumstances have been self enduced…this govt put us in economic lockdown it didn’t have to

        And you must ask why the nurses & doctors are telling us about the lack of PPE and not NHS managers. Especially considering there is and has been for 4 weeks a dramatic reduction in hospital patients and therefore PPE

    • a-tracy
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

      Well John, did we actually ever need the thousands of ventilators and was that the correct clinical response, who told the government they needed all these ventilators and that was the only solution? How many patients did the Germans put on ventilators?

      Could Earlier hospitalised oxygen treatment sooner applied instead of just telling people to stay at home and infect all their relatives have worked. Who decided that was the best course?

      Could we have used the private hospital services sooner to isolate, test, treat and care? Were our health responses as good as the private German hospital responses to early tested and isolated patients?

      But what role were the UK clinicians and PHE taking in these decisions? Everyone seems to be holding Matt Hancock to account and Boris’ ‘slow response’ to just shut everything down but remember the WHO said Korea’s mask 😷 solution wasn’t required, they did criticise Trump for stopping flights from China, they criticised Trump for not wanting cruise ships to offload untested travellers, the WHO knew about the Lombardy health outbreak but didn’t suggest they closed down half term holiday travel to that region, they knew Spain had a serious outbreak and Paris earlier than the U.K. but didn’t warn us not to travel or did they inform Boris?

  39. ChrisS
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    I read in the Telegraph that Barnier is expecting the UK to agree to extend the transition period because of the virus but that it must be the UK that requests the extension.

    I have no desire whatsoever to see an extension because it will only be because the EU refuses to continue meaningful talks via video link. The advantage of an extension is purely for the benefit of the EU as it would allow them to continue fishing in our waters and perpetuate their vast trade surplus with us.

    There is, of course, the small matter of them demanding we continue to pay them £1bn a month !

    If Boris judges that an extension is really necessary, it must be without any further contributions to the EU budget and be a proper “transition.” In other words, it most definitely must not be a continuation of the same free access to UK waters and our market.

  40. rose
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Perhpas there may be greater impetus to revive our fishing industry, the most self sufficient one of all and one we always used to have. Maybe our young will now be keener to go into fishing, just as they seem keener now on fruit picking.

  41. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    “Start the relaxations”? Reported last night that the lockdown could last all year. By then the govt will have driven millions into financial ruin, thousands into suicide, stressed millions enough that their marriages break up – but still have imported thousands more freeloaders from Calais to be a financial burden – and possibly a danger to us. Priorities for the govt are becoming clearer by the day.

  42. Anonymous
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    So now the government is being held accountable for deaths in care homes.

    Hang on a minute. Care homes are supposed to be able to cope with contagious illness outbreaks – this for a care home is the Navy equivalent of a fire on a ship (I’m not just talking about C19.) They should be the go-to experts on how to deal with this and be equipped for it.

    Just what have residents been paying £1000 a week for ? Mash potato and spam fritters ???

    • SM
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      You are possibly confusing care homes with nursing homes, Anon.

  43. Stred
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Just when businesses have two weeks until bankruptcy looms, self employed have paid their tax and face empty bank accounts and 37% interest on overdrafts, the employees of large firms are being paid £25kpa by the taxpayer to do nothing and most public employees are on full pay not to teach or to police movements and parking fines, Boris has become an even bigger fan of the fantastic NHS, which is all about love, at least something is going ahead full speed. Yes the £100 billion to get from Birmingham to London twenty minutes quicker is just a bit extra to be borrowed and HS2 is to go ahead full speed, which will eventually be £70 mph faster than the slow coach French TGV. It’s good to know that the government has had time to think about its priorities.

  44. Lester Beedell
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Off topic

    What has happened to the Smack of firm Government, have we become so reliant on the 10 commandments handed down by Brussels that we’ve lost the capacity to Govern ourselves /

    How would my Great Grandfather Sir John Baddeley, Lord Mayor of London in the 1920’s and his generation view modern Britain?
    I suspect not very favourably, one of the reasons that many people voted Leave in the 2016 referendum was to stop the flow of illegal immigrants to our shores?
    They are still coming here in increasing numbers, assisted by our Coast Guards, because it might infringe their Human Rights, how about our Human Rights to resist an invasion of a culture who’s professed aim is the destruction of the Non- Believers?

    I so wish that Donald Trump was our Leader, stop contributions to the WHO….. done, I expect that there would be someone Here seeking to increase them here!

    All this has brought to mind a joke that I heard many years ago but it seems relevant now!

    A man is invited to join a company shooting party, he gets a gun dog called Salesman, absolutely brilliant, he retrieves every bird, very impressive!

    He goes the following year and asked if he could have Salesman again….. very sad story there Sir, someone called him Salesmanager and now he just sits on his A**e and barks!

  45. Bob
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    The UK should follow Mr Trump’s lead in withdrawing funding from the WHO after their politically motivated handling of the Wuhan virus outbreak, even suggesting as late as January that there was no person to person transmission and criticising countries which barred flights from affected zones.

    Quangos like the WHO have been widely colonised by leftist political groups.
    Turn off the taxpayer funding, and that includes the BBC.

    • hefner
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      See wikipedia “Timeline of the 2019-20 coronavirus pandemic from November 2019 to January 2020”.
      Note in particular what WHO was saying on 31/01/2020.

  46. Sharon Jagger
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    I may have the reason for why our death rate is so high!

    The number of people who have had the virus is far higher than the official figures, so the percentage of deaths looks too high relative to the official number of cases.

    An NHS Professor friend of ours has been off work for three weeks with Corona virus – but is going back after four weeks off work – and she’s not been tested.

    I know of and have heard about quite a lot of people who believe they’ve had it – as far back as January! This failure to test people is causing massive confusion!

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      It is indeed, Sharon.

      And like it or not, the UK is going to have to play catch up. Otherwise the country will be quarantined by all those countries who have risen to the challenge, once they have succeeded.

      The epidemic can be extinguished, as plucky old Greece is showing right now.

  47. The Prangwizard
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    A bit off topic but the government does not appear to be in charge of the public agenda. The Scots get in first every day with their press briefings in the mornings, with interviews often following. The London administration fetches up in the late afternoon in its pedestrian way in late afternoon.

    It’s telling. The pedestrian thinkers in the ‘UK’ lose the initiative; they give their critics all day to get their acts together. The leaden civil service are a millstone round our necks. Watching the alleged London briefing is the mental equivalent of wading through treacle.

    And finally where are the voices for England in these briefings. The government puts up UK ministers alongside those who are alleged to represent England’s interests, but it’s all very confusing and conflated as usual. My guess is many things go wrong because of this confusion.

    We must have clarity and we must have Ministers who represent England and only England and can speak for England, unequivocally. This issue will not go away. It can only be resolved with the creation of a true English parliament.

    • ChrisS
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      Oh, dear, you are a little confused, Prang Wizard :

      Chris Witty, who appears at most of the daily conferences at around 5pm is the chief medical Officer only for England.
      Matt Hancock is the minister for health in the UK government but effectively holds the post for England as the NHS in Scotland is independent and is the responsibility of the Scottish devolved executive. Ditto in Wales.

      The afternoon press conference is therefore exclusively for England.

      PS Sturgeon has to go earlier otherwise her conference would get almost no coverage at all !

      • a-tracy
        Posted April 16, 2020 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        ChrisS why can’t Sturgeon’s conference go after Hancocks and as it is only relevant to Scotland why is it shown at all in English news?

        • ChrisS
          Posted April 16, 2020 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

          Quite right, a-tracy, we have no interest in hearing what an appalling mess Sturgeon is making of running Scotland !

          I suspect if she went first, even Scottish voters wouldn’t bother to watch.

          It’s a complete mystery why the Scots still support the SNP given the scandals that have enveloped the party and their complete failure to even maintain the performance of their education and healthcare systems. It can’t be because they all want independence !

    • steve
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 7:42 pm | Permalink



      A start could be made by preventing the seditious BBC from referring to Scottish and Welsh Assemblies as ‘governments’.

      They are not governments, if they were, they’d have their own prime minister or president, their own currency etc.

    • rose
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

      “A bit off topic but the government does not appear to be in charge of the public agenda. The Scots get in first every day with their press briefings in the mornings, with interviews often following. The London administration fetches up in the late afternoon in its pedestrian way in late afternoon.”

      Do we really want HMG to get into an unseemly race with such an unworthy person? Let her have her few minutes of triumph. Ditto for the Irish in their petty little point scoring.

      • rose
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

        PS I mean the Southern Irish.

  48. Russian Zenhead
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Oh, the Italian statistics on smoking, age groups have just been taken down right after I provided the link. Oh well.
    It shows the Virus casualties come from non smokers or those stopped from smoking or advised not to smoke by doctors and the Italian establishment.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      Yes, it’s very interesting.

      The stats from China say, that although smokers make up 15% of the population, they only – apparently – make up 5% of those who died from CV.

      So, without more, it would appear that smoking perhaps even offers some protection.

      • Le Libertarian
        Posted April 18, 2020 at 6:48 pm | Permalink


        Ive seen two studies that purport to show that smoking offers a degree of protection which is very counter intuitive for a disease that effects the respiratory system

        It has to be said that before Sir Richard Dolls ( admittedly very unscientific and politically motivated ) report into the effects of smoking Doctors often were seen in adverts recommending various brands as clearing the chest and stopping the common cold !!!!

        I would be amazed though , but wouldn’t it be hilarious, that smokers had protection from cv19

  49. ukretired123
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Sign of the times today a Gentle Giant Jumbo quietly low flying on its approach to the Kemble dismantlers …

    • ukretired123
      Posted April 16, 2020 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

      Apparently 5 BA 747 Jumbos are heading there for storage!

  50. Iain Gill
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    New patterns of voting and politics will emerge too.

    If you seriously think any freelancers are going to be voting Conservative you can think again. Presumably a new opposition party will emerge, since Labour are dead in the water.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      I’ve had two emails from Mr Tice recently – and that’s one more than the Conservative Party bothered to send me during the last general election campaign.

      • Andy
        Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

        This is the same Mr Tice whose party won no seats at the last election – and whose party will never win significantly more than that?

        • Le Libertarian
          Posted April 18, 2020 at 6:49 pm | Permalink


          In fact exactly the same number of seats that your party won then ie ZERO

  51. DrPeterVC
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Totally agree.

    Perhaps we should also reconsider how we measure success. It struck me as odd that the EU decided (2010?) to insist we should measure such things as illegal drugs and prostitution as part of GDP – which we did in 2014. So to increase GDP we need to increase the “grey economy”.

    IMHO since 2008 the world economy has been on life support, with historically low interest rates and very low “growth”. The Galbraith model of producers encouraging us all to want the next best thing we did not know we wanted was blowing up a bubble that had to burst sooner or later. The writing had been on the wall – for example in the travel and airline industries as well as the high street stores.

    Keep safe – life will never be the same for any of us after this.

  52. bill brown
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Sir JR

    With some of the most friendly countries like DK, Swe, Nor, Holland and Germany already significant trade partners I am sure the thriving trade will continue

    • Fred H
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      Flowers and cars …..wonderful.

      • bill brown
        Posted April 16, 2020 at 3:26 am | Permalink

        Fred H
        meat, insulin, machinery and lots of gas and LEGO

    • Le Libertarian
      Posted April 18, 2020 at 6:42 pm | Permalink


      Of course you are right, trade as I have said often happens between buyers and sellers , suppliers and customers it doesn’t require a supranational bureaucracy in order to make it happen or indeed to stop it.

      I will happily eat danish bacon, drive a German or Italian car etc They will continue to buy our medical equipment, software, high tech, banking and trading services etc etc

  53. Original Richard
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Hopefully the government will build up the necessary strategic industries to better ensure our safety against pandemics and other dangers to us.

    And that 3D printing will improve, become more affordable and widespread in its use so as to make it possible for us to reduce imports.

  54. Lifelogic
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Nearly 50% of care homes in Scotland seem to have the infection (doubtless the figure is similar or probably rather larger in the UK). Once in a home it spreads rather rapidly it seems to staff (their families and people they travel with on buses, trains etc.) and to other residents.

    The Nightingale hospitals are now largely empty so why are the patient from nursing homes not being take to hospital? Surely not all off these residents have refused medical interventions? Have they got not got the staff perhaps just beds?

    Or is it just that the NHS/government would prefer these people to die in the nursing home and thus not have the bother of dealing with them?

    Perhaps Mr Hancock can elaborate?

  55. Lester Beedell
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Oh Dear!

  56. Fred H
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    From REDACTED.

    World Health Organisation officials denied that Taiwan ever alerted them to the potential of human-to-human spread of the Chinese Virus. Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control said in a press conference because they specifically mentioned “atypical pneumonia” – drawing a comparison to SARS, which is transmitted between humans – “public health professionals could discern from this wording that there was a real possibility of human-to-human transmission of the disease.”
    Taiwan has declared itself as an independent nation for over 70 years. China has consistently refused to acknowledge Taiwan’s sovereignty and wants it back under Beijing’s control. As a result, China has successfully persuaded the World Health Organisation to exclude Taiwan.

  57. a-tracy
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    What is the difference between the plastic in bin bags and the plastic in disposable aprons? If bin bags are being repurposed at low cost what is the problem if supplies of disposable aprons got held up in China and India and another low wage Countries?

    The reckoning is coming if you want the minimum wage at £10 and more then expect to pay more for essential items to be made in the UK with people on higher wages to make them or get better robots to make them within the UK.

    Who makes the CV19 test kits – the ones that actually work? How many of the test kits does the UK make each week? How many are clinically tested in the UK? How many can they process each week?

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      One has printing of the Local Council on it the other doesn’t

      It is also seemingly against Government Policy to purchase from any place but China.

      The UK Government has a policy to support foreign manufactures at the expense of its own manufacturing and people.

      CV19 testing is any of the equipment any good is it just the Governments preferred supplier of China that is good. Then again test someone today only gives a result for that moment in time only, tomorrow is another day, so unless 69 million tests are carried out each day they are meaningless in the grand scheme of things. Is it those that have it or carry it that should be the priority.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      The CEO of Thermo Fisher Scientific was on the radio last week, they make testing kits, they saw what was coming and repurposed their manufacturing here to up the production of them. He said they had no problem making 100k testing kits a day, along with Boots to do the outside testing, and Amazon to ship them around they had it all sown up, until it enters the realm and responsibility of the State to process them, here its all held up by the centralised facilities the NHS has set up in Milton Keyenes and else where.

      • a-tracy
        Posted April 16, 2020 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        Iain, if that is true that this is the question that Nick Hancock needs and answer and why he didn’t let these enterprises do the required testing to get us back into action as fast as Germany did.

        • Iain Moore
          Posted April 17, 2020 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

          I have heard reports of people being sent there to do the testing, being told that they will be worked off their feet, but find themselves twiddling their thumbs in hotels, and the kit the state took from Universities and elsewhere gathering dust.

    • steve
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:55 pm | Permalink


      “..expect to pay more for essential items to be made in the UK ”

      Gladly !

  58. David Brown
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    New patterns of trade will come as a refreshing change, along with more home working for some. It occurs to me the key to successful economy is manufacturing and I feel there needs to be a greater emphasis on new technology away from China and the USA. In the immediate future the total lock down does need to move to a more flexible approach where some businesses can be quickly restarted but using sensible precautions. We need to flat line the worst of the economic forecast into one that’s less of a big drop.
    As an aside I picked up other topics from previous messages around more volunteer help etc. It seems to me there has been an excellent take up of volunteers across a number of sectors all keen to do there part to help. This brings me to the age old chestnut of the BBC dare I say jumping in and scheduling a live evening called
    BBC One’s The Big Night Matt Baker, Zoe Ball, Lenny Henry, Davina McCall and Paddy McGuinness will be hosting the show live on Thursday 23 April.
    Given they will be asking the public for donations and more volunteers, I wonder if the BBC are paying these presenters?. Seems to me a bit rich that the public are volunteering their time if the BBC are paying these people. If they are doing the show on a voluntary basis then great.
    I wonder if we could all as individuals to this blog put in a freedom of information request to the BBC asking a simple question
    “Will the presenters of BBC one Big Night in be paid – yes or no”?
    If its yes then I think its a bit much of the BBC considering this idea seems to have come from outside the Corporation and the BBC have simply accepted it mmmm

  59. formula57
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    With autarky back in fashion the Government ought to be readying itself to encourage and assist entrepreneurs to establish the required businesses.

    At the same time, Government might sensibly avoid holding harmless from the crisis businesses whose only qualification for demanding help is to have existed hitherto.

    • steve
      Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:54 pm | Permalink


      “…. encourage and assist entrepreneurs to establish the required businesses.”

      Why, so they can give the manufacturing to China ?

      Show me an ‘entrepreneur’ who is loyal to his own country, no such thing. They’re loyal to two things only…..the cheapest possible labour and the biggest possible profit.

      Entrepreneurs got us into this mess in the first place.

      • a-tracy
        Posted April 16, 2020 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

        Lord Bamford from JCB Steve.
        There are nearly 5 million family firms in the UK employing nearly 13 million people please don’t tar people you don’t know with one brush.

        • steve
          Posted April 16, 2020 at 5:22 pm | Permalink


          “Lord Bamford from JCB Steve.”

          And err….what happened to JCB at the start of this crisis ?

          Could it have been supply issues from China, perhaps?

          Your choice of an example was ill-informed.

  60. Javelin
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Spoke to my accountant today. A lot of businesses are going to miss next months tax. Not in a nice way, but sticking their finger up at the taxxman. Better to pay interest on two months tax than go out of business.

  61. ChrisS
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    It gives me no pleasure to say this but we have a great deal to learn about how to organise an economy from Germany. Having lived there for five years as the representative of a major UK firm I do have some knowledge of the subject.

    In the UK we have some very large businesses, now almost all owned by overseas holding companies. We also have many thousands of very small companies employing between 1 and 25 people. We have very few companies between these two extremes.

    In Germany there are well-known major employers, the equivalent of ours, but the difference is that they are mostly German-owned. The truly major difference is that in Germany there are countless thousands of businesses employing between 100 and 1,000 people. These have grown from very small businesses since the 1950s into the profitable high-tech engineering businesses we see today.

    The reason they have prospered is financing. Here, it is almost impossible to grow a business into a mid-range company because finance is simply not available. In Germany there are industrial partnerships between towns and Regional Government (the Lande) and business that sees these public sector authorities investing in local companies enabling them to grow.

    One example is the ZF Gearbox company. ZF is a world leader in many areas, especially gearboxes and its major shareholder is the town of Friedrichshafen where it is based. There are countless other examples of which VW is one.

    In Germany investors are interested in the long term success of the business. After all, a local authority is far more focused on jobs for its citizens than a bank. In the UK, our banks and other investors want to see a return in two to five years or they won’t invest.
    As a result, our businesses invariably cannot grow to the next size up without taking extreme risks which are often unsuccessful, bankrupting the business.

    If we want to grow our economy and see profits stay here, we need to create the conditions in which UK investors can see a good return on their money but be prepared to be patient to achieve it.

    • ChrisS
      Posted April 16, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      PS :
      I hear from a friend this morning that his bank is demanding an interest rate of 30% for a loan to his business under the government’s 80% guaranteed scheme. We are talking about a decent-sized business with a strong record of making good profits.

      With the banks able to borrow at almost zero percent, if that is not profiteering, I don’t know what is.

    • Original Richard
      Posted April 16, 2020 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      I agree.

      In particular we need to learn from the Germans the tricks on how to get state aid to mid range companies without looking like they are breaking the EU’s rules on state aid and competition.

      I’ve seen one of the tricks myself.

  62. steve
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 6:45 pm | Permalink


    Agree wholeheartedly, in particular –

    “There will be more suspicion of reliance on imports”

    There is no doubt at all we cannot be in such a weak position ever again.

    FYI years ago while I was working in the defence industry we’d often get contracts from McDonnell Douglas et al. Every last nut and bolt had to also be available in the US. It isn’t difficult to see why.

    I think where PPE and chemicals of prime importance are concerned, this crisis has caught us with our pants down.

    I think it would be a good thing if our country could develop / re-establish home industries.

    …..and you are right, things will have to change. This crisis must never happen again.

  63. Mike Wilson
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    What are the facts about testing?

  64. APL
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    This is the headline published by the BBC on it’s website regarding the death of Eddie Large.

    “Eddie Large: Comedian dies aged 78 with coronavirus”.

    Notice they didn’t try to say he died of coronavirus, because that would have been a lie.

    But the only bother to tell you that Eddie Large had a heart transplant in 2003 three quarters of the way down the article.

    So lets look at the red flags

    A ripe old age, 78 – check.
    co – morbidities, Heart transplant and immune suppressants. – check

    But the BBC, says he died with not of, you notice. with.

    The BBC is acting as a domestic terror organisation. It’s spreading fear and terror with it’s remorseless daily headline death figure, but next to no analysis of the figure.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 16, 2020 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      Well the BBC certainly have done this this with their climate alarmism religion almost everyday and for very many years. The virus has a least shut them up on this somewhat.

      Clearly if you are already sick the coronavirus is unlikely to help and is very likely to be the last straw that finally brings about the death.

      • APL
        Posted April 16, 2020 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic: “Clearly if you are already sick the coronavirus is unlikely to help.. ”

        True. But Eddie Large would have been on immunosuppressants, a cold could have killed him.

        It’s not that he died, I’m sorry for that. But the BBC associating his death with Covid-19 when it really wasn’t anything to do with it, is just sheer terrorizing of the population.

        Large had his heart transplant in 2003, He’s done bloody well to get this far.

  65. MeSET
    Posted April 15, 2020 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    JR. I would not wish to personally offend a friend of yours. Nadine Dorries, if she is a friend and if she is not I do not wish to offend. I speak and write only in the political context when in the political context.
    I do not agree with her. I doubt she places too much attention to my agreement. That’s ok. We will have something in common soon. Neither of us will be employed as politicians.
    It’s a good life not being a politician. People attack you but with the personal touch which is most fetching.

  66. MeSET
    Posted April 16, 2020 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    This is a link to Trump’s Press Conference a few hours ago which works

    It seems the EU is chucking out guidelines on the ongoing relaxation of state enforced house arrest and helicopter pursuit of a lone walker and dog in the middle of nowhere.It will NEVER be forgotten.

  67. david at Shaftesbury
    Posted April 16, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    So many points. Bloomberg and other financial institutions have been forecasting the demise of the Euro and even the EU, particularly in the event of a recession. Can it all really survive this ? The EU is extremely weak, current bale outs are insufficient, ECB and German banks are struggling for funds, and the 2021 budget negotiations are in disarray. Then there is China, building a coal fired power station every week, in part, to drive the computing power for their digital currency system, because they are unable to grow renewable energy fast enough. The plan is to become the world leaders in renewables, as well as digital currency, AI, military, surveillance etc… , and they manufacture 80 – 85% of the active ingredients in medicines. That is for starters, and now they can continue to buy up western tech start-ups, now at knockdown prices. We have an empty Pfizer site in Sandwich ! As for the NHS, one of the top three employers in the world and unmanageable in its current form, it needs a widespread review. There are now opportunities for the UK , still voted the no. 1 financial centre in the world, and the world’s best country for friendliness towards business, with three of the worlds top universities where the EU have NONE. Much to play for.

  68. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted April 16, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Our balance of payments is still not good, methinks. We need to boost our export industries and look for import substitution. We need, for example, to reopen our motor car factories.

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    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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