Silence over the collapse of the car industry

During the long debates about Brexit Remain MPs and campaigners centred much of their argument on  the plight of the car industry in the UK. They falsely claimed Brexit would disrupt supply chains from the continent, ignoring the fact that substantial numbers and volumes of components come into UK auto factories today from non EU sources with no border issues.

They often alleged we would end up with EU tariffs against our cars whilst  presumably imposing the same 10% tariff against theirs. That is the tariff the EU makes us impose today on on EU vehicles. They wrongly said this would  be very damaging, refusing to accept that were that to happen UK factories would sell more to UK customers whilst losing some sales to continental ones.

They wanted to create the impression that an important industry would lose sales heavily and suffer loss of investment and jobs as a result. Instead major motor manufacturers pledged their continuing support for making cars here.

Over the last year or so there has been a large collapse in car sales, especially of diesels. This is a big loss to the UK which has done much to improve the cleanliness of diesel engines . The UK is a major diesel engine producer. This sales drop  has nothing to do with Brexit. It is the direct result of the EU/UK policy of trying to get diesel and petrol cars off the road as part of the decarbonisation policy, and to switch as many people as possible from personal transport to public transport. In the last few weeks the impact of anti virus policies has exacerbated this trend and further worsened the plight of the industry.

In  the first quarter of 2020, mainly before the lock down, sales of diesel cars in the UK  fell by 51% and of petrol by 36%. In March the trend grew worse with a fall of 62% for diesels and 50% for petrol vehicles. There was scarcely a word from all those Remain campaigners and MPs about this disastrous plunge in sales and output by the industry, yet it has been on a scale out of all proportion to their falsely pessimistic forecasts about Brexit.  Why the silence? If they truly cared about the  car industry why are they not demanding policy change?

The government increased new vehicle taxes in the 2017 budget which harmed the industry. The Bank of England tightened credit for car loans which harmed output. Government announcements about the need to move on from diesel and petrol put people off  buying new ones. Isn’t it time those who shed false tears over a Brexit impact that was never likely to happen, shed some genuine ones over the current situation? All our car factories are presently closed. There will be reduced working re-opening  of some next month. The problem is not just the virus, but also the underlying policies towards modern petrol and diesel cars.

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  1. Hangman
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    Where are the emails? The ones sent by the Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty from 2019 October telling the Minster of Health he would resign on principle if NHS staff were not routinely given tests for a whole range of viruses?
    Is he still in post? Why?
    A major swamp at the top needs draining.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

      Well, John says that he would like to see some people shedding tears.

      Those who ignored being implored by the Italians – and by the scientists of the world – not to delay and to make the same mistakes as they did I somehow doubt to be capable of doing so, except in self-pity, perhaps.

      Australia is now in the happy position of being able to ease restrictions, and with only very few of its people killed by this menace, thanks to accepting the scientific advice.

      • Hope
        Posted April 26, 2020 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

        JR, you fail to mention the consultation paper put out by Shapps two weeks ago under the cover of the Chinese virus. Why have you not included parts of it here? Some parts very relevant to your blog? How odd. One part is clear that the intention is to force the masses to use public transport.

        Secondly, Ed Miliband’s (Red Ed your party warned us about) Climate Change Act, that Mayhab wanted to fully implement and build on, could have been ousted at the last election if the Tory party stood down its candidate for the Brexit Party. Your party chose not to! Hence he won the seat despite a Tory/Brexit Party majority!

        There is no hiding the current Tory party and Labour Party are different cheeks of the same arse.

    • NickC
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Hangman, What on earth are you talking about? Explain how you would test for a virus that does not exist yet.

    • Hope
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      JR, your idiotic govt has destroyed the car industry over the sham climate change scam without good or proper reason. Public transport is not an option after your govt and local councils stopped public transport in rural areas! It is currently wrecking the whole economy because it is clueless, no one with leadership skills but a bunch of followers waiting for herd group think to make a decision!

      Raab today sounded clueless without direction, a plan and lost at sea. Worn out strap lines and phrases that instil mistrust and a total lack of confidence. Was his plan to wait for Johnson to return in case he an idea or his popularity could Blag/con the nation? After all Johnson and his girlfriend should first explain why they both flouted the law by going to their second home, he should know better after he caught the disease from breaching the rules/laws he imposed on the rest of us! Same for Jenrick and Met Commissioner!

      The decisions are definitely not science based. We are told by an expert the 2 metre rule did not come from science but a ministers rule of thumb, we are told by scientists open borders are peculiar- how do themscientists think it got here and spread?
      Why would any sane person, let alone expert, allow the vulnerable elderly out of hospital without testing to go to a group of other very vulnerable old people knowing from experience and known statistics they are likely to die?
      Why test trace and treatmfour months after letting in a million or so in from China, US and Europe from Chinese virus hotspots without so much as a blink of the Eye?

      What idiot would carry on listening to NHS England or PHE to be part of the solution after their abysmal failure to prepare, plan which has had devastating consequences for,human suffering and loss of life?

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted April 26, 2020 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        Totally correct. Ironically, Hopeless!

      • Everhopeful
        Posted April 26, 2020 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

        Spot on.
        AND apparently 521 people have come across the Channel in boats since we idiots were “locked down” …aka put under house arrest. They came from camps in France where the virus is known to be ( so says NF) and entered the UK. Probably enriched our viral load?

  2. Mark B
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    A very honest appraisal of an industry that is in decline.

    . . . decarbonisation policy, and to switch as many people as possible from personal transport to public transport.

    And that is the plan. It is to get the ‘little people’ on to cattle trucks away from our betters who can have the road for themselves. After all, who here can afford an electric vehicle costing more than a house in some parts of the country ?

    I hope when this nonsense over the virus is over the government realises that many of its policies, laws and taxes are counter to a productive economy and, that they will start the process of scaling back some of the virtue signalling nonsense. Hope of course being the operative word.

    • BeebTax
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 6:44 am | Permalink

      Well said.

      Successive governments also fail to care about many of the “little people”, who live in places where there is inadequate or no public transport, and are totally reliant on their cars to get around.

      • Mark B
        Posted April 26, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

        Agenda 21.

        All people are to be ‘encouraged’ to migrate into cities and large towns. This is to be done in a number of ways. eg make it difficult to live anywhere except for the aforementioned.

        And one of the major virus vectors is population density. So next time more people can get sick, and quicker !


    • oldtimer
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      There is no doubt that the car industry, both here in the UK and around the world, is under severe threat. This arises directly from the immediate loss of sales because of the global shutdown. The UK government’s declared intent to drive the ice of the roads is a signal that no manufacturer can ignore. Consumers will think otherwise. Already, in the USA, there are clear signs of non car users looking at car ownership as an alternative to using public transport (bus, coach, train, metro). The reason: it assures social distancing when getting from A to B. Voters will not take kindly to governments that seek to restrict the freedoms they enjoy through car ownership.

      • oldtimer
        Posted April 26, 2020 at 6:59 am | Permalink

        “drive the internal combustion engine (ice) off the roads”

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

      But London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone, and its progression towards becoming petrol and diesel free were Boris Johnson’s proposals.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted April 26, 2020 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        He’s a self-proclaimed socialist.

      • Fred H
        Posted April 26, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

        and very laudable too. Should be done in the centre of all major cities, maybe not Cardiff.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      Shame they didn’t think of all this when govts discovered mass immigration ( ie overcrowded the country) and when they decided that many must travel to relocated/centralised workplaces!
      “Cattle trucks” have entered my head many times during this appalling “lockdown”..isn’t it scary how this overreaction seems to fulfil so much of the “virtue signalling nonsense” you mention?
      At this point hope is all we have.

    • Dave Ward
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      “I hope when this nonsense over the virus is over the government realises that many of its policies, laws and taxes are counter to a productive economy and, that they will start the process of scaling back some of the virtue signalling nonsense. Hope of course being the operative word

      I’m afraid we will have to continue hoping – there is NO sign of this insanity ending any time soon…

    • NickC
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      Mark B, The UK government (all main parties and the civil service) have lost the plot. They are there to put this country and its natives first – but instead they have, over many years, promoted secondary (at best) objectives such as EU membership, “zero” CO2 emissions, massive immigration, foreign aid, genderism, appeasement of Islam, etc, etc.

      This pandemic shows that when push comes to shove, Jonny Foreigner does not put the UK first. And there is no reason why he should. That means we must grow up, and start looking after ourselves. No more importation of Romanian labourers, especially in the middle of a lockdown, when unemployment is likely to rise significantly. No more politically correct excuses for failing to lockdown our borders. And of course we need to leave the EU now on WTO terms whilst we have the chance. And so on.

  3. Old Albion
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    Greta wants us all to either drive electric cars or walk. Our Gov. along with the EU thinks she’s right.
    Have a look at the ‘scientific’ predictions for death doom and gloom made over the last 50 years. Every one wrong…………

    • SM
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      One decade, we’re told to switch to diesel because it’s cleaner, next decade we’re told that was wrong, we’ve got to switch to electric, when that’s in place we’ll presumably be told it was wrong, so we will all have to switch to teleportation except the boffins haven’t quite worked out the finer details….

      but never mind, China is onto it.

    • BOF
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      Yes, as they will be wrong for the next 50 years.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      No Old Albion, you are wrong. It is just that you are not reading from the same script as they are.


    • Original Chris
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      All part of UN Agenda 2020 and 2030, Old Albion. Worth a read for what they have in mind for us. Very alarming. The problem is that Boris and so many of the political elite are apparently signed up to this.

    • margaret howard
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      Old Albion

      “Have a look at the ‘scientific’ predictions for death doom and gloom made over the last 50 years. Every one wrong…………”

      Which ones are they? Can you name a few?

      • Edward2
        Posted April 26, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        Oil running out by 2000
        Runaway tipping point temperature rises post 2000
        Polar bears dying out post 2010
        New York under water post 2010
        Huge famines and huge deaths due to population growth post 2000.
        Islands in the Pacific under water by 2010 curiously still visable.
        Theres a few from the last century that never came true.
        I have loads more if you are interested.

        • graham1946
          Posted April 27, 2020 at 10:02 am | Permalink

          Keep the list handy Edward2, she’ll be asking for it again in a few weeks.

    • John Waugh
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      The focus always seems to be on the girl Greta without considering who is operating behind the facade . Can anyone name the individuals ? We should find out .

    • NickC
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      Old Albion, Given that the government is failing to build the extra power stations needed to fuel battery cars, I think the establishment intend us to walk. Whilst they ride, of course.

  4. M Brandreth- Jones
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    When I was a teenager I drove a reliant 3 wheeler which enabled me to pass my driving test at 18 years old first time. Driving and car ownership in those days was a luxury. Today, more so out of London area where trains and the tube are not used frequently, cars are seen as necessity .From the 90’s and onward hourly rate working practices and zero rate contracts came into being ; I personally travelled daily all over the north west just to get work and many others suffered the same punishment from private intervention in the NHS. Pollution reached a high.Glad to finally find some stability, we travel less by car and only want to use to get from A-B. No longer is travelling by car a luxury for fun . The roads are congested and the process is stressful.

    Due to on line ordering more and more wagons and delivery cars are using motorways and it is probably better to improve those vehicles used for utility purposes.Travel by train in Manchester needs improving and car use is made too difficult to get around town with one way streets and pedestrian walk ways . The factors are many fold and if we were still watching’ Tomorrows World ‘ on our TV sets I believe we would see many alternative travel modes.

    • a-tracy
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

      Talk about improving trains is just talk the service from Chester to Manchester reduced and is actually worse now as you have to go all the way out passed Stockport to get into Central Manchester, they won’t put a metro link into Cheshire West, we should have put a dlr system in place including from all towns to the hospitals. Who wants to be ransomed by a regular militant transport union just to get to work.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      I don’t know how old you are but when I was a teenager – car test in 1969 – ALL my generation had a car. It was not regarded as a luxury. My first was a 1959 Austin A35 – with a reconditioned engine and a new clutch – £70 (admittedly from my brother who owned a garage). Cars were as cheap as chips in those days. Anyone could run an old banger. Now, if you are talking about the 1950s – fair enough. My dad was the first one in our street to buy a car – in 1956.

      • M Brandreth- Jones
        Posted April 26, 2020 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

        69 in June.. My dad had an Anglia .. you must have lived in an affluent area.. My first car cost £175. I lived on a row of large Victorian terraced houses . The row was 13 houses with back gardens. We were the first to get a car,

        • Fred H
          Posted April 27, 2020 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

          ah memories. My first car at 17 – an old banger Ford Popular, I used to put 4 gallons of leaded petrol in typically per week. Change from a pound. Just down from Harrow Tech the petrol station charged 4s 10d +halfpence per gallon – not litres. Getting towards 60 years ago – doesn’t time just flash by?.

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    Indeed the climate alarmist soothsayers, priests & ‘believers’ are trying to force people to buy electric cars which, for most people, are rather or very impractical (with current battery technology). Also rather expensive and do not actually even save any net CO2 when manufacturing the cars, batteries, generating and distributing the electricity is taken into account.

    So most (would be) buyers are sensible sticking with their old cars which are generally better and more practical vehicles. Also far cheaper vehicles with little depreciation left in them.

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 7:15 am | Permalink


      Agreed, we only ever replace our vehicles when they are no longer economic to repair.

      Combined age of our two vehicles is 33 years, with a combined mileage of just over 200,000 on the clock.

      One is a 4 x 4 double cab pick up truck still running from when I had my own business, the other a medium size hatchback.

      Nil depreciation on one, very, very little on the other, both still very reliable and comfortable, and believe it or not, both still look good.

      Total Motoring and depreciation costs of less than £1,400 a year combined, plus whatever fuel is used.

    • Mark B
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink


      . . . trying to force people to buy electric cars . . .

      I don’t think so. As our kind hosts states, they are trying to force us onto MASS transport.

    • Peter
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      Correct. As I live within Greater London, I also have access to 24 hour public transport to within a few minutes of my door. It is usually more convenient to use that.

      I have used the car more since lockdown, in order to avoid contact with others on trains and buses. It has also been so much easier on the roads. The obvious downside is that there are very few places left to go now.

  6. Sea Warrior
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    I am currently reading ‘Global Warming: A Case Study in Groupthink’ by Christopher Booker. It would be nice to think that every MP, with time on their hands, would read it, or something similar, in the next few months. And then the government needs to set up a well-funded Climate Change Rebuttal Unit to give intellectual challenge to the ‘consensus’.

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 6:52 am | Permalink

      @Sea Warrior
      Yes – Group think has little to do with innovation.

      There is a vast amount of data on the internet on why man made climate change relies on false science – It is a political football, with very little truth attached.

      I’d be happy to provide links from qualified CC scientists against the current group think.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      The best way to avoid group think is to have public referendums. The public get things right so much more often than politicians do. Group think is hugely damaging. To a man with a hammer everything starts to look like a nail. To a politician or lawyer they always want more laws, more government, more red tape, more EU, more international organisations, more taxes, more powers to interfere and more bureaucrats to assist them in that.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      Yes to a Climate Change Rebuttal Unit to give intellectual challenge to the ‘consensus’.
      I find the less people know about physics, energy, engineering, maths and climate the more they just belief the BBC propaganda on this issue as they do not feel they can question it. Abolish the appalling Climate Change Act and the moronic Committee on Climate Change for a start.

      But even Trump (who on this issue is sound) has not done this much for some reason.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      Even if you do believe in the CO2 “devil gas religion” it is perfectly clear that the ‘solutions’ that the alarmists propose (renewables, electric cars, public transport, cycling, walking, electric home heating) do not really work anyway (or make negligible difference or just export the emissions and jobs too).

    • Original Chris
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      The Global Warming Policy Foundation provides just that sort of information. (I think its name is misleading). Excellent information and articles on its website and a good newsletter with latest information/articles.

  7. Kenneth
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    I am glad John Redwood has called out the hypocrisy of those who were wailing about the collapse of the car industry but who are now silent when it really happens.

    This is only one of many examples that illustrate how their propaganda brought such shame to our country.

    They managed to rally an alliance of the unelected: quangos; civil servants, charities, trade organisations etc etc and roped in the minority parties.

    They also had their own media operation through the massive budget and powerful transmitters of the BBC.

    This alliance and its propaganda machine promoted what I would call “unpopulism”.

    We need to learn lessons from the rise of the unpopulists. Thankfully we overcame them…but only just.

    We need to ensure that never again can public bodies, including the civil service use public money to push a minority agenda.

    Not only did they nearly manage to impose a settlement with the eu that went against our expressed wish, had they prevailed we may have seen civil unrest or worse.

    The unpopulists are not only unpopular, they are dangerous.

    • BeebTax
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 6:58 am | Permalink

      I fear we have not overcome them yet, they are still busy trying to undermine the recently-elected government – now using the covid crisis to do so – and pushing for the EU negotiations extended. They are prepared to do enormous harm to our country in order to achieve their aims. There are more battles ahead.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      I agree with that – but have we actually overcome them? They are still forcing expensive energy, HS2, electric cars, endless red tape, a state monopoly NHS and other climate alarmist lunacy onto us. We have the highest taxes for 40 odd years yet they are clearly intent on increasing them still further. Though in some ways you might argue that the furlough scheme and rate reduction schemes are tax reductions – in the short term anyway.

    • Peter van LEEUWEN
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      “We need to ensure that never again can public bodies, including the civil service use public money to push a minority agenda.”

      How can they succeed? By definition your government (43.6% at the last elections) carries out a minority agenda.

      • Edward2
        Posted April 26, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        Is there a current European government party that had more than 50% of the vote?

        • Peter van LEEUWEN
          Posted April 26, 2020 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

          There are governments that have more than 50% of the vote, e.g. my country – The Netherlands – in which is virtually always the case. I suppose you could check that in wikipedia.

          For me that would bw a condition for democracy, i.e. that a majority of the people, through their parties, rule.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 26, 2020 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

            Are you going to restrict the numbers of parties allowed to enter ?
            More than two would appear to be an increasing problem for your theory.

          • M Brandreth- Jones
            Posted April 26, 2020 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

            Do you know Peter and I am actually a little scared of saying this, but democracy is giving way to those who are not as intelligent ,cannot think things through , love hype and personality and due to ignorance of the multitudes get things wrong so we all have to suffer.

            BUT I cannot think of a fairer alternative.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 27, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

            Would your complaints be eradicated by just using one of the numerous PR systems to elect our representatives?

          • Peter van LEEUWEN
            Posted April 27, 2020 at 11:13 am | Permalink

            @Edward2: The current Dutch government coalition comprises 4 parties. I believe that in Switzerland that number is higher, and Swiss democracy is also functioning well.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 27, 2020 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

            Not actually answering my questions.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      Bullseye! We must dismantle the ‘unpopularist’ machine.

    • graham1946
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      Have we really overcome them? Even now, daily they are urging delay (actually meaning cancelling Brexit altogether) and using any and all excuses their fevered, panic stricken minds can dream of. We must keep telling them ‘no’. It was good to see Mr Frost telling the EU that they must treat us the same as other countries with whom they have Free Trade Agreements, that the ECJ will have no power over us and that we will not give up our fishing grounds to the EU but will discuss licenses to fish etc. The fact that Mr Barnier got in a huff over it shows we are going in the right direction and now that our stance has been publicly stated (though not in the main broadcast by the BBC and the Lame Stream Media), must make it more difficult for any weak kneed politicians to back track and try to sell us out again.

    • Andy
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      I guess you consider yourself a ‘populist then’. Mr Johnson got 42% of the vote at the election. 58% did not vote for him. So it turns out you are not that popular either.

      • Edward2
        Posted April 26, 2020 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        If you add all the votes for all the other parties together Andy you will always be able to say that.
        Very few elections in Europe have a winning party with over 50% of the general vote.

  8. Fred H
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Well if we had worked harder on other industries to be successful instead of making cars people only want to boast a certain number plate, then things would not sem so bad. These status items are largely parked on drives, roads or in garages. Mileage and fuel used has dwindled, pollution fallen and the atmosphere much healthier. A silver lining.

    Perhaps we will reflect on redirecting workers to producing things of better social value than status objects.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 7:04 am | Permalink

      Some truth in that I suppose. I have never been one to spend money on flashy new rapidly depreciating cars.

      But then some people get pleasure from just taking a walk, bird watching, listening to opera or J S Bach, reading a book or keeping pet dogs. Other like watching a football match, movie or driving/polishing/stroking their status Porches and Bentleys.

      It is after all their money that they have earned and paid tax on. Perhaps some people need their status symbols?

      • Fred H
        Posted April 26, 2020 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

        but it often rests on borrowed money or company car benefits.
        Neither good for our economy or Balance of Payments.

    • graham1946
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      We must hope that the St. Greta adherents will see what her policies really will mean to the world economy in this unintended ‘dry run’ and stop spouting the nonsense they do, like decarbonising by 2025 and it is good that the ‘Rebellion’ crowd have had their guns spiked. Maybe once they see they will not have access to their new jazzy phones, that their smashed avocados etc may be hard to come by they may see sense,but whether they have the brains to connect the economic damage to a lowering of their lifestyles remains to be seen, but religious zealots seldom use facts.

  9. Bryan Harris
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Yes – a typical response from dishonest remainers
    The problem though, regarding policy, is that it is too often being driven by dogma, propaganda or what someone else is doing.
    I long for the day when a lot more MP’s who have had experience in the real world can evaluate for themselves without being told what to think by civil servants or vested interests. Certainly the term ‘experts’ should be re-evaluated.
    As an independent nation we look forward to being our ‘own man’ – Let’s hope that can be achieved with a true spirit, with no deceit, and all eyes open.
    Globalism and multiculturism must take a back seat in future as we rebuild our nation, not just economically, for there are many things that must be improved, given so many bad policies copied / goldplated from the EU, and many aspects of socialism embedded in our national soul.
    As for the car industry, we should remove the false God of MMCC from considerations and allow it to evolve naturally into something better and cleaner.

  10. Fred H
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    What will we see from ‘I’m in charge Boris?’ A clearer direction and an end to the three monkeys’ daily bore is badly needed to lift spirits and begin a route out of lockdown for many.

  11. percy openshaw
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    What I would like to know, Sir John is why – however we cast our vote – we end up with so many of the same policies? Why is a Tory government, apparently committed to nurturing economic growth, engaged in hobbling that growth with foolish, counterproductive “green” legislation? Do you ever feel that wherever you sit in parliament and whoever is PM, you are permanently in opposition?

  12. Lifelogic
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    The government and their “experts” also seem to think that public transport saves C02 which is also highly questionable. Clearly it can make sense when a large number of people want to travel, at the same time, from A to B. But in the real world this is often not the case. Occupancy of public transport can (outside rush hours or on the reverse journey) be very low. Routes taken can be very indirect, slow, and often need car connections at each end. These are often double journeys at each end too (if for example you wife picks you up and drops you off). Or a taxi which again usually does a double journey with lots of empty travelling and has a professional driver with all their CO2 demands on top.

    Not of course that most sensible physicists think a small increase C02 is really damaging anyway it actually have many positive effects in greening the planet and increasing food production.

    More to the point many jobs, or daily journeys to several places simply cannot be done by public transport or would take three days to do rather than one. Not likely to help productivity very much. You cannot carry much on public transport, cannot easily divert you journey if circumstances change and you might catch a virus too.

    Then we have all the congestion caused by buses (often nearly empty ones) that are often given half the road space (for perhaps 10% of the passengers) and stop every few hundred years to hold everyone up too. Then we have the congestion (and pollution) caused by cyclists going up hills at 5 mph with 20 cars and a bus behind them.

    Interestingly taxis are far less efficient than private cars (more than twice as inefficient as they travel empty much of the time and need a professional driver too) so why do they get to use bus lanes but car do not?

  13. Stred
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    The environmentalists knew that, when taking all generations of electricity and production into account, electric cars saved little if any CO2. The EU was persuaded to tighten the pollution limits for diesel and petrol vehicles and the emissions were cut. By 2005 particulate emission was cut right down by the fitting of filters. Catalyses had already reduced other gases. The only remaining gas was NoX where the high temperature of filters produced more NO2. Suddenly this gas was promoted from a ‘mild irritant’ to the devil gas, causing 40,000 annual deaths in the UK. The same happened in the EU. In fact the number was made up by using a US study which found that people who lived in polluted areas lived slightly less long than the rest. Other studies disagreed but this difference was multiplied by the whole population and produced the notional figures of horrifying deaths equivalent to the sort of numbers in a pandemic such as we are seeing today.
    By this time the diesel motor manufacturers had developed Ad blue which cut the small amount of NO2 to zero and it was used in trucks and some diesel cars. But by then the campaign was in full cry with doctors against diesel and clean air London claiming all manner of diseases from dementia to heart disease being caused by the diesel car. The EU was first to lower the limit but the German car makers were influential and argued that the limits were not going to lead to a measurable increased life span. In the London Central area the ban on diesel csrs would extend the life of the inhabitants by about a week over 80 years.
    It was up to the United Nations through WHO to halve the limit further, which happens to help their Agenda 21 and 30 which instructs us to live in giant cities and use public transport. The civil service and their spokespersons like Grant Shapps and Michael Gove, who thinks that Greta is our conscience, are lined up and the Prime Minister is now fully converted to the cause, with greencrap whispered in his ear.
    The only customers for diesel cars today are in China, which produces the electric car components and nominated the head of the WHO.

  14. BOF
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Why the silence, you ask Sir John?

    I believe, because they are all fully signed up to the green agenda, global warming, man made climate change. The greatest fraud ever inflicted on mankind.

    Posted April 26, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Trash the private sector car industry and our private wealth creation base but the BBC, Civil Service, the NHS, the politicised CPS and judiciary and Labour’s client State still enjoy huge protection and ever more funding and now enjoy almost enjoy divine status

    This is what your party John. yes, Labour is indirectly responsible and no doubt what have accelerated the damage but your party has been in government and had the power and still does to change things. And what have you done? You’ve gone further LEFTWARDS. That’s a shocking indictment of who you are and what you’ve become

    You have sacrificed all on the altar of an all powerful State. Some call that Socialism.

    The State now controls EVERYTHING. There is no private space in which to hide away from the propaganda you have inflicted

    The State has revealed its true nature. It’s revealed its true intent and indeed its intentions. It can and it will take our liberties and our freedoms any time it chooses.

    The UK’s become a unholy, stinking mess thanks to politicians, bureaucrats and aggressive political activism across all areas of public life

    Self-isolation is a sinister term indeed. It infers choice to isolate but there is no choice to isolate. The choice was made by State commissars handing down orders. This subtle inference is utterly deceitful.

    The political destruction of our private sector is DELIBERATE. And the NHS? The NHS is a bottomless pit of waste and has become a political animal. Save the NHS, sacrifice your freedoms

  16. They Work for Us?
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Let us remember no one has voted to ALLOW the Govt to decarbonise us. I recently renewed my dual fuel energy contract. Gas < 3 pence per kwhr. Electricity almost 15 p. Clearly there is no sensible case to move from gas to electricity for home heating.

    Older folks are car reliant and I live in a rural area. I can get click and collect from supermarkets but must travel to them, I can get to the doctor, pharmacy for myself etc and for the person I am a carer for. I support Boris but he must stake the green lunacy vampire or like for Brexit the voters will rise up and overwhelm the Conservatives.

  17. Everhopeful
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Horrible thought…but could it be that the collapse of car industry suits those who want to go ahead with all the green nonsense?
    Aren’t we signed up to it anyway?

    • jerry
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      @Everhopeful; Might also explain the way the govt has been continually highly critical of private motor car use during the CV19 lockdown, despite the fact that the R number from someone (and their household group) using their own motor car even if symptomatic with CV19 will be zero, hence why the govts CV19 testing program has been designed to be drive-through!

      Hypothetically someone could drive from one end of the country to the other and back again without infecting one additional person, yet the govt’s mantra encourages someone doing essential work or where they have not been furloughed (and are still required to turn up by their employer) who is unknowingly asymptomatic to travel across say London by tube or bus and by doing so create a two digit R number even though correct social distancing has been deployed at their work place…

      • Everhopeful
        Posted April 26, 2020 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

        Yes. Agree.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Yeah! Green energy! Such nonsense. Much better to burn black oil eh?

      • Everhopeful
        Posted April 26, 2020 at 6:02 pm | Permalink know what happened when “ The wind didn’t blow”….don’t you?

  18. MPC
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    I await the usual suspects on this site later today still maintaining the car industry woes are all down to Brexit!

  19. Johnny Dubb
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately Sir John is a conservative MP in a non-conservative government. The PM being engaged to Greta’s big sister doesn’t help.

    • Fred H
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Ha Ha.

    • Andy
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      At the last election in December the Conservatives stood on a manifesto which guaranteeing the country would be carbon net zero by 2050. Of course plenty of individual MPs will weasel out of it. Presumably mainly the same ones who in the last Parliament spent all their time moaning about colleagues whose stance on Brexit they thought was at odds with the 2017 manifesto.

      If you voted Tory you voted to go green.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted April 26, 2020 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        Andy we voted Tory for Brexit. We will sack these GREEN idiots long before 2050. You solve one problem at a time.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 27, 2020 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

          No, you get rid of a Tory government and solve several big ones all at once.

      • Edward2
        Posted April 26, 2020 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

        Achievable with innovative engineering.
        And closing down our manufacturing industry and exporting it to China.

    • Man of Kent
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      The PMs first job on return will be to attend remotely the Petersburg conference to decide with Germany what money can be given to green causes .
      As reported by Roger Harrabin on BBC , this takes place 27/28 April .
      Would not mind betting this is kept as low key as possible .
      Let’s see !

  20. Kevin
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    In his Greenwich speech earlier this year, the Prime Minister made the following remark (with emphasis added):
    “[O]n…perhaps the greatest issue facing humanity, Britain was the first major economy in the world…to place upon our own shoulders a legal obligation to be carbon neutral by 2050. That will put huge strains on our system…but we know we can do it”.

    When he first uttered these words, the P.M. put me in mind of Alec Guiness’ character in Bridge on the River Kwai – seeking to showcase the capabilities of the British regardless what it may cost us. It was, furthermore, a burden that Mr. Johnson sought to impose on the British alone, as he went on to say this:
    “Are we going to insist that the EU does everything that we do as the price of free trade? Are we? Of course not!…. Will we stop Italian cars…from entering this country tariff-free…unless they match our laws in any…field of policy that might conceivably affect the production of an Alfa Romeo…? Of course not!”

    Now, unless we are all in nationwide lockdown for some other, unknown purpose, the “greatest issue facing humanity” is something other than Mr. Johnson imagined it was at the start of the year. It has, moreover, already placed huge strains on our system.

    The field is now open to a political leader willing to put a stop to the further strains that Mr. Johnson has envisaged for us.

  21. Peter van LEEUWEN
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    And there was me thinking that the Brexit discussions, entertaining as they may be, were something of the past! You “got it done” remember?
    We now live in a new, covid-19, reality. This week, according to Bloomberg, FED, ECB and BOJ (no BOE) will come together to align strategies as more money may be needed.

    As far as cars are concerned, I seem to remember that the concerns about supply chains came from the car-industry itself! I don’t buy it that the car industry was made up of “Remainers” only.

    I wouldn’t mind if the Brits mainly drive their homemade Jaguars and the Continentals their homemade VWs. During covid-19 cars may offer more protection than public transport. I notice that several of my British family have now taken to e-bikes, even better.

    • Richard1
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      Policy has been co-ordinated in recent weeks between the BoE and the Fed. The main issue on the ECB’s plate is of course the unresolved dilemma at the heart of the eurozone – the need for taxpayers in Germany and the Netherlands to start to make massive transfers to the highly indebted eurozone periphery, and to accept debt mutualisation.

      There will be no problem with continuing to buy BMWs VWs etc in the UK in the future if people want them, though it’s likely they will be manufactured in plants in North America so they can be imported into the U.K. tariff-free. Of course it would be better for everybody all round to just sign a comprehensive FTA and move on to other issues in a friendly and co-operative way….

      • Peter van LEEUWEN
        Posted April 26, 2020 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

        @Richard1: That unresolved issue is on the plate of the other EU institutions, i.e. the European Concil. It will not completely be resolved very soon. Political integration is a longterm project. In the meantime halfway alternatives will likely be fould but in the long run it will be in Dutch and German interest to hav forms of mutualisation of debt.

        I don’t think there will be much of an FTA between the UK and the EU. Britain has become too much driven by ideology. It be so.

        • Edward2
          Posted April 27, 2020 at 9:11 am | Permalink

          The “ideology” is that the UK desires a free trade future with minimal tariffs with the whole world.
          The EU currently wants a very different future and it is not offering the UK anything like the deals it has recently concluded with other nations.
          So be it.

    • John Barleycorn
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      Why the assumption that personal transport has to be a car driven by fossil fuels? What about the ultimate personal transport, walking? Or cycling? Why didn’t the last budget support them as well as major roads for motor traffic? It’s false to assume that wanting to stop climate change means you are against the private car.

      For journeys that need a car, electric cars have better performance, are more reliable, are quieter and generate less pollution in our towns than fossil fuels driven ones. Our car industry failed to see this, and is now playing catch up as consumers choose better products. Why do they deserve subsidy to stick with inferior technology?

      • Mark
        Posted April 26, 2020 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        Consumers are not choosing EVs in general, despite the subsidies they enjoy, because they are much more expensive to buy and depreciate rapidly, with battery life a big uncertainty and cost. Moreover, if you exclude taxes, EVs are actually more expensive to fuel than diesel or petrol cars per mile driven at the moment. Of course, you choose to ignore the enormous pollution that goes into EV manufacture.

      • Peter van LEEUWEN
        Posted April 26, 2020 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

        @John Barleycorn: I don’t disagree with you. I’m all for cycling and its infrastructure.
        What I mean is that at the moment, social distancing is quite difficult in public transport.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      I’m very happy with my new Jag – and happier still that the Bank of England doesn’t have to align itself with the ECB’s plans.

    • Edward2
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      And there was me seeing the arguments going on inside the EU and the lack of agreement over who is going to pay for their bail out fund.
      Holland and Germany resisting calls from France Italy and the rest to pay huge sums in.

      • Peter van LEEUWEN
        Posted April 26, 2020 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

        @Edward2: deciding among 27 sovereign nations is always difficult, and it usually takes time to find an acceptable compromise.

        • Edward2
          Posted April 27, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

          I appreciate that Peter.
          I wish them all the best in their quest to square that circle.

    • Fred H
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      I have friends who say ‘we like to cycle’ very commendable. Then they spoil it adding ‘ the latest electric bike does this xx, and goes uphill or slopes’.
      Exercise? bunkum.

      • Peter van LEEUWEN
        Posted April 26, 2020 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

        @Fred H: My bike is a 20 year old Dutch town bike, not electric and with only 7 gears. The reward is that I don’t need a helmet, usually not going faster than 30km/h and often a lot less.

        • Fred H
          Posted April 27, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

          Peter – -so do you recommend using it, helmet free in London rush-hour? Just asking. or here in Wokingham area on the pavements like most ‘cyclists?

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      Never mind Peter what we lonely Brits are doing. Think about yourself when you have to bail out the rest of the EU. We want nothing to do with your failed institution. This pandemic has spotlighted Brussels for what it really is. An autocratic irrelevance.

      • Andy
        Posted April 26, 2020 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

        It is really amusing that, on the one hand, Brexiteers whine about the EU having too much power.

        And yet you also whine that it doesn’t have enough power. Health is not an EU competence which is why it is left entirely to nation states. Which is why you have a hotch potch response.

        In any case you left. You have a crashed economy of your own to deal with – once you’ve cleared all the bodies out of the care homes.

        • Edward2
          Posted April 26, 2020 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

          But where was the leadership, the guidance, the help, the money?
          Failed completely.

          • Peter van LEEUWEN
            Posted April 26, 2020 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

            There is more money availale than needed. That is why the next tranch will not need to come before January 2021 and all 27 agree with that.

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

            You speak only of money already agreed in negotiations concluded prior to the current Covid crisis.
            The money you mention is for the ongoing subsidising of members having conomic problems.
            The post Covid bail outs will be of a very different order.

      • Peter van LEEUWEN
        Posted April 26, 2020 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

        @Ian Wragg
        I don’t remember me writing about “lonely Brits”.
        The EU is not very well understood in Britain (due to lack of interest)
        I doubt that Brussels will be irrelevant now that the 27 have decided that the restoration fund will be mainly the EC’s responsibility.

      • bill brown
        Posted April 27, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        Ian Wragg,

        can you please substantiate these nonsense statements with some facts?
        thank you

    • M Brandreth- Jones
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      Cars do protect against Covid-19 but if the virus gets into a car they can also act as very good incubators. As far as bikes are concerned the problem is the vapour / viral trail they leave behind of expiration under effort.

      It is good to see you back Peter and although I do want Brexit feel very strongly about friendship with other European countries.

    • a-tracy
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      And who told Bloomberg this Peter?
      I’m hope we stay out of it to be honest.

  22. glen cullen
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    It’s a philosophical thing; you either love or hate the internal combustion engine depending on where you fall on the climate change chart

    I could never understand why our government(s) have been so anti the car engine, rather than making the UK a world leader in the design and manufacture of clean and efficient petrol & diesel engines

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      And a chance to relaunch a real British car industry with our incomparable designs and style. We have the factories, we have the skills, all we need is the balls!

      • glen cullen
        Posted April 26, 2020 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

        It could happen….we only need a PM with the balls

  23. agricola
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Our government, would you believe, a conservative government, supposedly made up of well educated intelligent individuals, is forcing us into a technologically impossible cul de sac, largely through ignorance.

    Elecrification of vehicles has many unanswered drawbacks.

    1. The UK is barely producing enough electricity for current needs.
    2. Electric cars are too expensive.
    3. Electric cars are limited in range.
    4. The environmental cost of producing the batteries and disposing of dead ones has not been taken into account.
    5. Recharging systems are inadequate in number, slow in operation, and electricity is expensive.
    6. When all transport is electric all the freebie incentives from government will disappear.
    7. The concept of a single fuel makes us, as a nation, strategically very vulnerable.

    By applying science and engineering to the internal combustion engine it can be made even cleaner than it is at present, which is better already than laid down standards. Unfortunately our parliament, whose largest component group are lawyers, think that by passing laws all problems go away, total folly.

    One of the major necessary government re-thinks post Covid 19 is the green lunacy that currently besets their thinking. Above all else industry needs inexpensive reliable power which is not available or reliable when our national natural assets are ignored in the face of one MP and a pubescent schoolgirl of foreign extraction. If EU vehicles become undesirable we have a home market that is more than large enough to support our existing car industry. I would be very interested to hear what the Mekon of government advisors thinks on the subject.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      Do you remember how expensive the first colour TVs were?

      • Fred H
        Posted April 26, 2020 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

        Most new developments are…..then the components, the production tuning, the growth market allow cheaper.

        If we wait long enough electric cars will be affordable? Like colour TV – just keep waiting.

  24. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    So perhaps we should have maintained a more balanced industrial approach, retained our manufacturing in process equipment, toolmaking, pharma, metal manufacturing, chemicals and developed medical, electronics and so on?

    Germany and its EU accession satellites kept and developed these businesses under the EU umbrella, while we migrated to services. It’s now enjoying the benefits of having big pharma inside its borders.

    Perhaps now is a good time to kick start things again. Get rid of the Micky Mouse courses for a start, and encourage young folk into industries making kit for the future. Look at Ireland – tax breaks for R and D start-ups covering five years. Why kill off golden geese with business rates, Corporation taxes high NI charges, pension contributions and so on before they even get off the ground?

  25. glen cullen
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Most OME car manufactures have furlough high numbers of staff, that on the surface appears okay, however the real industry is in the tier 1 and 2 supply chain SMEs which are going bust in great numbers. Check the data at end of April

  26. acorn
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink
  27. Andy
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    It really is time for Tory Brexiteers to stop whining.

    Moaning is all you have all done for 40 years.

    Have your hard Brexit.

    If you are right and not much happens then happy days for you.

    But if you are wrong and businesses are right then be in no doubt there will be consequences.

    There will be a public inquiry. There will be prosecutions.

    And if it turns out the Tory Brexiteers actually do not know better business then there will be prison too.

    • Edward2
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      Too many paragraphs.
      You wont get a good grade at GCSE doing that.

      • Fred H
        Posted April 26, 2020 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

        At least it is not in capitals.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      We ARE British business Andy! On this blog you hear the voice of British business which generates the wealth and pays the taxes upon which you and the Govt and the NHS all depend.

  28. Andy
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Diesel engines can kill people. Even the ‘clean ones’ pump out noxious fumes which are harmful to health and to the environment.

    You all lost the debate on climate 20 years ago. Your can carry on like Japanese soldier who was still fighting WW2 in the 1970s or you can move on to an issue you can win. Not that there are many of them.

    • Edward2
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      Any evidence for that ridiculous propaganda?
      All you have is a dodgy study that claims some people have died a little bit earlier than they might have done had they lived on a deserted island instead of London’s Oxford Street.

      • Fred H
        Posted April 26, 2020 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        Ed2 – – why bother reading it anymore?

        • Edward2
          Posted April 26, 2020 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

          He needs his nonsense repudiating.

          • Fred H
            Posted April 26, 2020 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

            Ed2 – -I tried. Believe me I tried. Then after a while I thought WTF and gave up.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      Peanuts can kill people …

    • Kenneth
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      What debate?

      When were we consulted?

    • outsider
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      Dear Andy,
      Not being a climate expert, I wanted to be “guided by the science”, which found man-made global warming . This grew harder as the science became increasingly campaign-led rather than objective so I instead judged the actions of those who said that Co2 climate change was the greatest issue facing mankind to see if they were serious – and have been disappointed.
      The Labour Government, having introduced the Cimate Change Act, backed an additional runway at Heathrow. So London’s competitive position was a higher priority than climate change.
      The Maldive Islands , the most Co2 threatened country on earth, is building a series of new small airports round the archipeligo because boosting tourism ranks ahead of Climate Change just now.
      The left persuaded the Labour government to phase out atomic power, initially in favour of more power from hydrocarbons. So objections to atomic power ranked ahead of Climate Change .
      Under today’s Conservative government, more of the extra power soon to be needed will come from hydrocarbons while far less will come from atomic power. That was also the “transitional”policy of the German Green Party in government.
      Diesel-powered vehicles were promoted because they emit less Co2 but are now damned as worse than petrol. So urban pollution ranks ahead of Climate Change.
      I conclude that while Co2 reduction is an objective it is not a top priority for policymakers who claim it is.
      So why should recovery of the UK economy and jobs from the current loss of output and likely recession – including making more cars – not be a higher priority “for a transitional period” ?

    • Mark
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      One of the remarkable facts about the present lockdowns has been the continuing levels of pollution in major cities that were supposed to have been caused by diesel cars before the lockdown revealed that to be nonsense.

      • Fred H
        Posted April 27, 2020 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

        think buses, lorries, vans, cars, motorbikes, mopeds, heating boilers…..
        all still going.

  29. ukretired123
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    The time-bomb PCP (Personal Contract Purchase) driving the majority of car sales in recent decades has been dealt the kiss of death by the CV19 crisis.
    The car manufacturers will have to write off mountains of debt and cars expected to rise in price so sales will decline – a vicious circle just when they have been switching to electric too.
    Many headaches for everyone, sadly unless we go back to basic transport and not the gizmo gimmicks.
    I would favour more use of electric bikes and training folks better on 2 wheelers incentivised by the govt esp as the power to weight ratio is more lighter on scarce resources than one person driving a 2 tonne electric car.

  30. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Haven’t we got to obey Barnier or else? They are getting desperate. They want our money and to flood us with 3rd worlders that the EU is letting in ( clearly backed up by the Border Farce).

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      The European Union is not responsible for the maintenance of external borders, nor has it an immigration policy, nor any remit in that area.

      The respective nations are and have.

      Would you rather that they weren’t and did not have?

      • Edward2
        Posted April 26, 2020 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        It is responsible for external borders.
        It has an immigration policy, it welcomes all who wish to come.
        Especially any who say they are refugees and those who claim asylum.
        Why be a denier Martin?
        Tell us out loud.
        Be proud of the policies you agree with and support.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 27, 2020 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

          Can you please post a link to The Immigration Policy Of The European Union?

          And to its “Asylum Policy”?


          • Edward2
            Posted April 27, 2020 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

            It’s in the various treaties
            Freedom of movement
            Acceptance of refugees and asylum seekers.
            It is policy
            Still denying Martin.

  31. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Right on. Since our balance of payments remains awful, we should encourage industries that export and provide import substitution, with the car industry right up there.

    There is a case for banning diesels from cities, provided that we treat diesel fuelled buses in the same way. I understand (this needs checking) that in London the total emissions from diesel buses are double those from diesel cars. Something like 10 years notice for such a ban would be a good idea.

    If the Government wants to encourage the electric car market, it should encourage the creation of charge points in public places. This might involve the award of initial grants plus allowing the providers of charge points to make a worthwhile profit. Where would the provision be? Some out-of-town supermarkets have excess parking capacity. Some filling station owners may welcome the opportunity to convert from petrol and diesel supply to charging points. That’s two types of location. There will be others.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      Isn’t it annoying when you see a bus with 1 person in it – the driver! And especially on a 14 ft wide country road!

  32. JimW
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Yes this was very predictable, just no-one seemed to want to listen. Still if you think the UK will be badly hit, just have a look at Germany, they have been in the process of self annihilation of their economy for a bit now.
    By the way, talking of all things ‘green’. Pray that the forecast for more wind by mid week does not come to pass. The electricity demand in cv-19 lockdown world is so low that if the wind turbines had been running over the last few days the control of frequency of the grid would have necesitated widespread black outs. The current ‘calm’ will be over by Wednesday/Thursday, its going to be difficult for Grid to hold it without cuts in supply.
    Hope the hospitals have good back-up generators.

    • Fred H
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      I think they need massive replumbing for delivering oxygen to wards.

    • hefner
      Posted April 26, 2020 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

      Could you please explain the problem with the frequency of the electricity provided by a wind turbine when the wind speed increases? I am rather curious.
      The maximum wind speed forecasted over Britain next week does not go over 8 m/s (28 km/h, 17 mph). Most wind turbines have a so-called rated speed of 30 mph and cut-off speed around 50 mph. Why do you think there will be a problem?

      • Edward2
        Posted April 26, 2020 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

        Autumn gales and winter storms?
        Just when generation demand is higher.

  33. forthurst
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    The government consists of uneducated people ie those who have not studies STEM subjects to the point of comprehension. Uneducated people can be relied on to take the wrong decisions on any important subject since all important subjects contain a larger or smaller scientific element which the uneducated simply ignore if they conflict with their weltenchauungs. The issue of the vehicle industry is a case in point. The government’s decision to wreck the British economy by 2030 was highly irresponsible virtue-signalling which will not be achieved for scientific reasons. South Korea will ride out the global warming hoax as they are riding out the COVID-19 pandemic, by taking decisions which are based on scientific realism.

  34. Mike Wilson
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Cars these days will last a good fifteen years. Mine is almost 8 years old and I have been able to extend the manufacturer’s warranty from 5 years to 7 years, then from 7 years to 9 years. I can keep extending up to 12 years. Why on earth would I change it? I will wait until it is at least 12 years old, or reaches 100,000 miles (I only do about 5,000 a year since retiring). Why the obsession about us all buying new cars – on credit.

    My next car will definitely be at least a hybrid – if not all electric – depending on the state of play in 4 to 5 years.

  35. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Everything the government touches turns to ashes. By trashing the leases it has allowed Primark (1 billion on its balance sheet) WHSmith who raised £180 million in a rights issue and Boots, which continues trading (amongst many others) to simply refuse to pay their rents. Landlords are being bullied and threatened (with the closure of shops) into writing off rent.
    It’s a serious overturning of business models and careful gearing. We are not discussing a few thousand here an ethereal but business threatening withholding of cash flow.

  36. DrPeterVC
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Sir John,

    Slightly off topic. The EU parliament voted 693 for 1 against with 2 abstentions earlier this month for delaying the implementation of EC proposed new rules on production of medical devices. It was proposed to require a massive amount of extra data on the origin of all components for medical equipment to go into a database. This would be required for any products sold within the EU (aka non-tariff barrier). The implementation date was set for 26th May. The vote was to delay implementation by one year.

    It will be great to free all our manufacturing and agricultural industries from the excessive pointless regulations (which some European manufacturers seem to cheat anyway). Thus we can focus our manufacturing on the rest of the world – while charging more for anything sold in the EU if they require extra regulations. Likewise they can sell their products to us which meet our standards (eg higher animal welfare standards).

    As an engineer I am less worried about the car industry because there is always stuff to be made. Sunderland built around 70% of the world’s ships a century ago and now they build none but have one of the most efficient car factories in the world. This current crisis has shown us that we need to have a more solid home grown manufacturing base and not just rely on other nations. We need to follow through on STEM education and training.

  37. ChrisS
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    The only people who will benefit from the decimation of the European car industry are the Chinese. They will carry on producing IC-engined cars regardless of any environmental considerations while ploughing the profits back into beating the West in the rush towards cars powered by Electric and Hydrogen fuel cell technology.

    Our government needs to be realistic about car production and use :

    Firstly we have nowhere near enough generating capacity for predicted consumption even before embarking on a foolish and expensive early switch to full electric mobility.

    Secondly, the only source of power that is both green and practical for our needs, particularly in winter, is nuclear, yet in 55 years, thanks largely to Labour Governments, we have gone from being a pioneer in nuclear power, to being woefully inept at even getting others to design and build stations for us !

    Thirdly, battery-powered cars are the wrong technology. Expensive in rare metals, many of which China is close to being the monopoly supplier, and are very hard to recycle. The future should be Hydrogen Fuel Cell power, not battery electric.

    Our political class is determined to spend vast amounts of our taxpayer’s money taking us down the wrong path for misguided reasons of political correctness. Current Diesel cars like my 2018 Audi A7 produce far less CO2 than an equivalent petrol car and they are very low in particulate emissions as well. My A7 is capable of achieving a range of more than 550 miles and takes 3-4 minutes to “recharge”. It also cost me half the price of the equivalent Tesla electric Model.
    Yet the politicians want to stop is buying cars like this and purchase electric cars that will remain more expensive and short of range for a very long time.
    The Chinese will eventually take over manufacturing almost all big-ticket items with a devastating impact on our balance of payments and strategic interests.

    And, yes, 5G is a serious issue.

  38. Dave
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    Sir John, you wrote ‘The UK is a major diesel engine producer. This sales drop has nothing to do with Brexit. It is the direct result of the EU/UK policy of trying to get diesel and petrol cars off the road as part of the decarbonisation policy, and to switch as many people as possible from personal transport to public transport.’

    I live in Northamptonshire. You may recall that it went spectacularly broke a year or so ago. The result was that all bus subsidies were stopped with immediate effect, meaning that many villages are now completely without any public transport. There are no buses from where I live to my places of work, so I have to have a car. My wife works in a different location so she needs a car too.
    It’s yet another example of those who make the decisions never having to live with the consequences.

  39. Mark
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    I was pleased to note in the just published IPSOS/MORI key issues index there has been a collapse in concern for the green agenda. Just 1% consider it the most important issue facing the UK today (how did Roger Harrabin creep into the survey?). The pre COP26 propaganda campaign has fallen flat on its face. Meanwhile, people are beginning to grasp that the economy will become a very major concern.

    This trend seems to be quite widespread. In Germany, politicians are now saying that the EU’s green deal is unaffordable. Nice that they have finally woken up.

  40. Ian Pennell
    Posted April 26, 2020 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir John Redwood

    I entirely agree with the points you make about the Car Industry. The same points can be made about the Steel, Construction and Nuclear Industry. A combination of tight finance, over-burdensome Green Regulations (leading to high energy costs among other things) and high taxes mean they all struggle. And with a Government-legislated lock-down of the Economy- leading to it crashing could be the final nail in the coffin for many such firms.

    For the next five to ten years (as Britain struggles to rebuild her Economy) and the Government tries to fix the Balance Sheet- again – Global Warming will be the least of our problems. Economies across the world will have cratered, taking some years to recover: So less CO2 will be emitted and with the Sun being in a Cool Quiet Phase for the next twenty years (as in 17th Century) Global Warming will be delayed another 20 years. The priority will be to go for Economic Growth- which ultimately pays for vital Public Services, for Pensions and Welfare.

    The Car Industry that you mention- plus Construction, Steel and Nuclear Industries need Taxes lower, more targeted support (Britain can subsidise key Industries outside the EU) and less Green regulations. Since the Government will (likely) be almost bankrupt after the Corona- Crisis (and the fiscal measures to support the Economy) a Land Value Tax (LVT) on the Rentable Value of land and property (worth over £1 million) may be required to raise funds to invest in Infrastructure, cut Business Taxes, etc. A LVT is much less economically-harmful, £ for £, than Taxation on Income or consumption: I know a LVT is not a nettle Conservatives are happy to grasp because it means inflicting pain on Core Conservative Voters, but its either that or face losing five million (plus) Red Wall voters in 2024- because they will hate it if you cut their Benefits or further cut Public Services!

    So Green subsidies, Foreign Aid, the EU Divorce Bill and a whole plethora of Green and other anti-business regulations will also have to be slashed in order to save money and protect the UK’s International Credit Rating (Fitch has already downgraded Britain last month). There will likely need to be another Gershon-style Review of Public expenditure (especially the Quangos) to ascertain which is really vital to help the country. You might even consider putting 20% tariffs on Chinese imports to make China pay for the Corona-virus Disaster- this would raise vital funds to enable Britain to support it’s own Industries going forwards.

    Take care and stay safe at this time.

    Ian Pennell

  41. Ian Wilson
    Posted April 27, 2020 at 4:49 am | Permalink

    Government policy on transport, energy and climate has been an unmitigated disaster. The collapse of the car industry was wholly predictable the day Michael Gove announced the forthcoming ban on petrol and diesel, now made even worse with the extension to hybrids. Changes to tax added to the catastrophe.
    The idea of ‘clean’ electricity from ‘green’ wind and solar is a myth. Scotland alone has destroyed 13.9 million trees to build wind farms, they require thousands of tons of concrete for each turbine and kill bats and birds on colossal scale. Solar is building up to a huge disposal problem in a few years. Batteries for electric cars involve destructive mining practices and in the case of cobalt child labour in dangerous conditions which should make ministers who promote electric cars without due diligence hang their heads in shame.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted April 28, 2020 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      Scotland alone has destroyed 13.9 million trees to build wind farms

      Where did you get this figure from? On the face of it, it sounds like nonsense. I tried to find out how many onshore wind turbines there are in Scotland. Adding up the major wind farms, I couldn’t get anywhere near a thousand. Say, there’s a thousand. You’re saying 13,900 trees were cut down to site one wind turbine. It sounds like gibberish.

      they require thousands of tons of concrete for each turbine

      I tried to find figures on this. I found some for the latest mega-turbines in the USA – that stand 324 feet high. They have 750 cu yards of concrete in their foundations which is, admittedly, about 1400 tons in the foundation. Not really ‘thousands of tons’. And, as someone who spent 20 years working on reinforced concrete structures, pouring 750 yards of concrete into a hole in the ground is really not that big a deal. Most of it is ballast.

      kill bats and birds on colossal scale

      Where do you get that from? Not from an environmentalist by any chance?

  42. Will in Hampshire
    Posted April 28, 2020 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood writes ” There was scarcely a word from all those Remain campaigners and MPs about this disastrous plunge in sales and output by the industry, yet it has been on a scale out of all proportion to their falsely pessimistic forecasts about Brexit. Why the silence? If they truly cared about the car industry why are they not demanding policy change?”

    Does he really believe there is a policy intervention that would have people buying new cars at same rate as they were before, given this scarcely believable economic environment? Surely this can’t be true. You might think that he’s more stupid than you thought, but actually it’s just that this is just another cheap shot at Remainers, and he can’t resist those. Old habits die hard, I guess.

  43. a-tracy
    Posted April 29, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Every industry is collapsing and the shrill cries are getting louder and louder, just today BA Unions who managed to get their employees full furloughed pay including all those earning over £30,000 now want the British Government to bail them out – NO, NO, NO!

    This company is registered in SPAIN for tax purposes, Qatar own 25% of it. In fact it is very difficult to see just how much of BA is actually still owned by the British Government and how much is owned by British Shareholders. One can read that Air France is 81% owned by the French, 44% French State, 37% private shareholders, KLM 19%. Lufthansa if 68.6% owned by German shareholders/investors, 13.4% USA shareholders and 4.2% by Lux with 2.9% owned by British Irish investors so we can see so much but BA is clouded in mystery and yet wants the UK government to bail them out.

    These small business loans I hope you caught sight of my e-mail John I am seriously concerned about this on behalf of taxpayers, the UK private pension investors and those without guaranteed state earnings 100% at home safe with their pension safe and sound, well they think it is.

  • About John Redwood

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

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