Free trade and national security

As a free trader I think it is usually a good idea to specialise and then to buy in the goods and services you do not produce yourself. All individuals practise this, relying on the supermarket for our food and the power company for our electricity. They are better at those, with economies of scale, whilst we earn a living as best we can.

It can be true for many things for a nation . There are, however, some obvious limits. It would not be a good idea to rely for your defence on importing war supplies when you need them from countries that may be on a different side in a conflict. It is probably a good idea to produce enough food at home so we do not starve should there be some major disruption of global trade.

The UK needs to reassess its national resilience and ask if it has become too dependent on the goodwill of foreigners to supply many of the things we need. Some things ought to be easier to supply from local sources. Water, quarried stone, many other building materials, timber and energy are heavy and expensive to move around, so going more local could make economic sense.

How would you arrange our affairs so we have more of the essential capabilities and technologies an advanced nation needs?

I have written to the government proposing an energy policy that puts self sufficiency at its core. I will take up the issue of more home grown trees leading to more home grown timber, as the government is already committed to the costs of more trees. We need to turn this into a sustainable resource cutting the need to import substantially.

Importing bottled water looks like a bad idea environmentally as well as Economically, so where are the U.K. entrepreneurs who can win the battle of the bottled waters?

The U.K. government controls a lot of economic activity which gives it power as a buyer to organise competitive procurement that can stimulate U.K. activity in the chosen areas. It needs to learn from the NHS experience with procuring protective clothing, drugs, and medical equipment in the pandemic. It can doubtless improve on its experience then. It relied too much on possible foreign supplies which let it down, and ended up paying expensively for more domestic output in a hurry. Longer term planning and working with suppliers who can match world prices for sustained orders is required.

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  1. Andy
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    Why do we want anyone to win any battle of bottled water? Tap water it better for you – and reusable bottles are better for the environment. We should, if anything, be looking to ban bottled water – unless the bottle is reusable or fully recyclable.

    As a free trader perhaps, also, you can share you thoughts on the BBCs. The Brexit Bureaucracy Centres. These dozen or so lorry parks which are springing up randomly across our country will house tens of thousands of lorries heading to and from Europe. 50,000 bureaucrats are needed to man these BBCs. They’ll process 200m+ new forms – at a cost of £30 or more per form. At an overall cost to businesses and consumers in the UK of well over £7bn per year. They will be needed whether or not we agree a trade deal with the EU. How does this count as free trade?

    Reply I do not see the need for these as I think we can use digital registration and customs payment away from the port. You already need to make an extensive filing for trade within the EU, so is a tariff is owing it’s a small addition to the current computer exchange. It will be similar to how VAT is currently paid on EU trade which does not happen at the border for the bulk of properly registered traders.

    • Andy
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      But the BBCs are not about tariffs. They are about non-tariff barriers. We may or may not get a tariff free deal with the EU. This is largely irrelevant because most EU tariffs are low anyway.

      These lorry parks are about customs declarations, rules of origin, EORI numbers, product rules. They really are a bureaucratic mess that is going to cause immense – and permanent – damage to UK businesses. And the most staggering thing of all is that Brexiters refuse to even acknowledge that these exist. Even though your government has told you they will.

      Reply Yes all those issues are covered byThe current declarations as they have to be understand complex and costly EU rules. The issue is how many of them we keep, starting of course with all

      • Hope
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        JR, suggest you read two articles in Con Woman today, fake Freedom after Frost announcing to Fake Tory MPs UK likely to get 60% of what it wants i.e. BRINo butmenough for Johnson tomspeciously claim otherwise and the Fake Tory loss of the culture war when it did not even go into the battle filed. Bottler Blonde true to form in both cases.

        Have you been briefed or heard Frosts capitulating thoughts? If so, why is it not included in your blogs? It still appears the Tory Dishonest KitKat policy is alive and well for surrendering our security, defence and intelligence to the EU! Why?

        Is DEFRA on board to Brexit, if not get rid of the department.

        The not fit for purpose Home Office has claimed another weak ministerial scalp in Priti Patel as she bends to their will not the other way around.

        Your blogs ought to reflect reality not your propaganda aspiration what might be a possibility.

        Reply I have been assured no concessions on fish, borders, law making etc

      • NickC
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

        Andy, Finally you are admitting the enormous bureaucratic burdens imposed by the EU. About time too. Fortunately our trade with the EU is small and shrinking. In the meantime we won’t need to bother with EU rules for over 87% UK GDP. What’s not to like?

    • beresford
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 7:04 am | Permalink

      I make sourdough bread and I use bottled water when I do so. Tap water in Birmingham contains chemicals which inhibit yeast and prevent development of the bacteria which give the bread its flavour altogether.

      • Original Richard
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

        Please buy a water filter to remove the chlorine from your tap water rather than purchase environmentally unfriendly bottled water.

        Bottled water means that extra energy is consumed in its production, bottling and transportation (plus additional NOX gases) and then leaves behind plastic bottle litter which is very difficult to deal with.

        You will also find it much cheaper and more convenient.

        • Iain Gill
          Posted August 1, 2020 at 2:30 am | Permalink

          Filter don’t remove chlorine from water, that’s nonsense.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 1, 2020 at 11:37 am | Permalink

            Charcoal ones do, actually.

    • zorro
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply – Have you explained this to the government, because they seem to be wasting a lot of money then!??


      • Hope
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        Zorro, I think you know by now that JR is mildly conservative the govt is not in any conceivable way.

      • jerry
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        @zorro; The HMRC offices will be the only waste of money, the lorry parks are needed anyway, Brexit or not, due to the regularity of grid lock at French ports!…

    • jerry
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      @Andy; As our host replied. Even the EU have their “Brussels Bureaucracy Centres” on external boarders, should goods not be Customs cleared by a system that has existed in one treaty or another longer than the EU, EEC and ECSC put together – the “TIR Convention”…

      The EU really is not the centre of the world, never mind universe, despite what the Euro-fanatics claim…

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:48 am | Permalink

        I don’t think that many make that claim. It’s yet another silly Straw Man.

        However, its member nations are stronger for that, and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

        It is a significant global player, whereas the UK alone is destined to vassalage, probably to the US.

        • John Hatfield
          Posted July 31, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

          Preferable to vassalage to the EU.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted July 31, 2020 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

            The UK was one of the Big Three with enormous influence over perhaps the world’s most powerful trading group and moral force.

            It joined by will, was free to leave at any time – as it has – and by simple notification.


            You will probably find out what is, before too long.

          • jerry
            Posted August 2, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

            @MiC; “The UK was one of the Big Three”

            Pull the other one!

            The “Big Three” in the EU are France, Germany & Belgium, three original members of the ECSC, followed by Luxembourg, the Netherlands & Italy. The UK has always been way down the list of policy influencers, other than for a short period in the 1980s when Mrs thatcher was doing the European federalists bidding for them by way of wanting a single market.

            But of course before we joined the EEC the UK was one the biggest player within the Commonwealth, never mind at the UN (inc. GATT, now the WTO), and respected as such. Beyond Brexit, as we retake our seats at such tables, our influence will regrow.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 2, 2020 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

            No, the UK had the second largest number of MEPs after Germany, and the maximum twenty-nine population-weighted votes in the Council – Ireland had seven, I think.

          • jerry
            Posted August 2, 2020 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

            @MiC; “I think”

            If only you would!

            MEPs are an irrelevant as they are all but powerless, mere rubber stamps, never mind the fact that they did not exist until 1979…

        • Mike Wilson
          Posted July 31, 2020 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

          whereas the UK alone is destined to vassalage,

          Why? We just need to grow our own food, produce our own energy and make most of our stuff – and we won’t have to bend the knee to anyone.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted July 31, 2020 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

            The UK already has – to the US’s request for it to reverse a sovereign decision to use particular equipment for 5G.

            There will be many, many more.

        • czerwonadupa
          Posted July 31, 2020 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

          We’ll see that when they are asked to contribute manpower & money towards their own EUTO when all in the west refused to pay the 2% minimum of GDP as their commitment towards NATO.

      • acorn
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

        The EU uses TIR for third countries which the UK is now becoming. The EU is one customs area so is not necessary inside the EU. There will have to be an MRA for what will be two separate custom systems.

    • Richard1
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      Interesting that 4 years after the referendum, itself an event in which all these ‘arguments’ were debated and tested, all we get from continuity remain is this hysterical nonsense with contrived claims of untold future costs. Still no arguments in principle as to why the U.K. should want to be part of the integrating federal EU, join its currency etc. There are some so why not make them honestly?

      Of course it isn’t going to cost £30 per digital filing for customs! This is the same sort of silly nonsense as HS2 would save £16 per business person minute, or Brexit would cost the average household £4,300, or the absence of an EU trade deal would cost 5% of GDP in 15 years whereas the addition of one with the US (a larger economy) would add only 0.1%. We should save the cost of people producing this rubbish or at the very least out-source it to the private sector.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      So ( not that I know a thing about lorry parks except how they have blighted Kent for many years)….which “goods” precisely are going to “flow” out of Britain?As Mr Gove announced re purchase of land for said project.
      Lockdown Specials? …”The factory was shut…you know…the VIRUS…but I managed to distill this bottle of gin on the grass verge. I had my mask on…honest.”
      The govt has found yet another way to destroy this country! Heaving lorry parks. I believe they delight the locals by having their engines running all night? Got to keep warm!
      27 acres! One park of 7…unutterable vandals and destroyers of civilisation.

      If anyone had ever paid any attention to infrastructure we would not be in this position.(BUT OH NO…too simple…got to build HOUSES by the million).
      AND…How about basic safety checks on incoming foreign vehicles that rip around our roads?

    • DavidJ
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      The large ports such as Felixstowe already use digital means for export documentation. No reason for others not to use that system (destin8 is an example).

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      At an overall cost to businesses and consumers in the UK of well over £7bn per year.

      Sounds great to me. That should put up the price of imports and we’ll get some encouragement to buy British and create British jobs and British tax revenues. It’s win, win, win!

  2. Nigl
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    Ban bottled water completely. With our water supply no need. Solves the problem..

    • jerry
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      @Nigl; Nonsense, you might have acceptable drinking water but many do not, yes it is safe but it is not palatable, some tap water can not for example be used to make a cup of tea. The only problem with bottled water are the bottles, and in any case how is transporting water any different to transporting bottled wines, or a tank/trailer full of tomato -or brown sauce, you know the one, with the picture of the place our host works on the label…

      I buy bottled water, but I buy only UK sourced water, and yes I would be more than happy if the bottles were made of glass rather than supposedly recyclable plastic that are so often not.

      • Anonymous
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

        Can’t say I’ve ever had a problem making a cup of tea with tap water anywhere in the UK.

        • Mike Wilson
          Posted July 31, 2020 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

          For many years our grandmother’s tea (in Bedfordshire) was regarded by the rest of the family as utterly undrinkable. We used to beg her not to make us a cup of tea. At her funeral we drank tea at her neighbours. Exactly the same! The water there is awful. (Near Hockliffe in case anyone lives in Bedfordshire and is offended).

        • jerry
          Posted July 31, 2020 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

          @Anonymous; I can’t say I have ever knowingly tasted your tea to know if you and you tap-water make an acceptable brew, for all I know warmed up bilge water might taste better – each to their own! 😮

        • Fedupsoutherner
          Posted July 31, 2020 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

          Nor me.

          • jerry
            Posted August 1, 2020 at 6:37 am | Permalink

            @FUS; How about personal choice?

            As well as being forced to drink tap-water should we all have to live in identical looking houses with the same décor inside and out, only ever be allowed to have no more than two children, all drive around in Trabant’s too?!

            Sometimes the irrational right wing can appear to have all the traits of the far left…

    • Posted July 31, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      Yes let’s get back to fresh water in the pipes. Force the water companies to remove all lead pipes and let’s revert to pre-EU water quality in our pipes.
      Plastic bottles contain image the water! So bottled water might have been spring fresh when it went in – not necessarily so when you suck it out.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

        The dangers of old lead pipes are rather exaggerated.

        • Mike Wilson
          Posted July 31, 2020 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

          The dangers of old lead pipes are rather exaggerated.,

          They really aren’t. You need tiny concentrations of lead to bugger your brain.

        • czerwonadupa
          Posted July 31, 2020 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

          New tests confirm that Ludwig van Beethoven suffered from lead poisoning.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 1, 2020 at 4:58 am | Permalink

          Old lead pipes get coated internally and tend not to be a very serious problem.

          • jerry
            Posted August 1, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

            @LL; Well yes indeed, but it is that coating along with fragments of lead that get ingested!

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 1, 2020 at 11:41 am | Permalink

          Depends where you are. With chalky London water they’re not so bad.

          With acidic moorland run-off, they’re terrible.

      • Nigl
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 10:43 am | Permalink

        Yes. Mr ‘opinionated’ Jerry wants to trash the planet with plastic or use masses of energy making glass just because of his cup of tea.

        Banning it would indeed force up the quality or if still not suitable to Jerry’s sophisticated palette make personal water filtration systems cheaper and more widely available.

        • jerry
          Posted July 31, 2020 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

          @Nigl; Wow, your knees must have hit your chin such was their jerk!

          OK, you say you dislike plastic but just how much plastic do you own, and how much is even recyclable, how much plastic is in your motor car, how much in household products, how much plastic was used on that aircraft that you jetted off on your holidays last year? I’ll take no lectures from a capitalist who worships the consumer economy as you do!

      • jerry
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 10:59 am | Permalink

        Lynn, the UK has been adding fluoride to water, in certain areas of the country, since 1964, other chemicals have been used for a very long time in the process of purifying drinkoing water that has been sourced from rivers where other pollutants exist naturally or due to economic or human processes!

        • Posted July 31, 2020 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

          Yes the auk is hooked on mass medication. We used to have fresh cold water, that’s why our taps have a separate feed for hot and cold – unique in the EU! We want to get back to our old, higher standards.

          • hefner
            Posted July 31, 2020 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

            ‘Unique in the EU’: Ridiculous: Practically all houses I know in France have separate feeds for hot and cold waters. Just for your information, a so-called mixer tap still relies on two feeds.
            One house I know well in South of France even has a third tap providing ‘rain’ water for, for example, gardening purposes.
            What have you been drinking recently to produce this type of uninformed drooling.

          • jerry
            Posted August 1, 2020 at 6:52 am | Permalink

            @hefner; “What [has Lynn] been drinking recently to produce this type of uninformed drooling.”

            I have no idea but what ever it is she needs to take more (preferably bottled) water with it… 😆

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

        Seems like you want a lot of what you call “red tape’, Lynn.

        • Mike Wilson
          Posted July 31, 2020 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

          Oh dear. Unable to differentiate between necessary and sensible regulation and unnecessary and job-making regulation.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted July 31, 2020 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

            I don’t call any of it “red tape”.

            I believe in proper regulation, and in laws with real teeth.

        • Posted July 31, 2020 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

          No Martin just pre-Eu water standards. Like everything else associated with the EU, clean fresh water went down the drain!

          • jerry
            Posted August 1, 2020 at 7:03 am | Permalink

            @Lynn Atkinson; OK I’ll bite, what EU regulation or directive has cause the standard of tap-water in the UK to get worse – please be specific.

            I strongly suspect you are mixing up the failings of both the Environment Agency and Ofwat here in the UK.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 1, 2020 at 11:43 am | Permalink

            They, like all European Union standards, are absolute minimums.

            There has never been anything stopping the UK from supplying water of any quality that it liked above those.

      • Peter van LEEUWEN
        Posted August 1, 2020 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

        @Lynn Atkinson:
        Yes Lynn, Who wouldn’t want high quality water . . . but not just for drinking!
        Latest data puts Britain near bottom of Europe’s league table for bathing water quality 8 June 2020

        The good news, once out of the EU, you’ll be in a league of your own. 🙂

    • glen cullen
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      Ban all public sector, tax-payer funded institutions from purchasing bottle water…..if the rich and stupid want to buy something thats free from a tap; let them

    • Mark
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

      I depend on a well shared with a neighbour. Whilst we have our own water treatment plant, things can go wrong with equipment, or even downhole in the well itself: I met someone locally whose well had run dry. It is essential for us to be able to have bottled water as a backup. Indeed, it is what the water companies rely on when they have something go wrong in their system, meaning they have to cut off piped supplies.

      If you are complaining about mineral waters, then perhaps you should complain about all flavoured drinks. No tonic for your gin, no canned sodas for a hot day, or even as a non alcoholic drink at a pub or restaurant. Live like the Amish.

  3. Ian @Barkham
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    Good morning Sir John

    I often wonder what you mean by Free Trade? If it means you can produce goods in a tax free/subsidized country and bring them into the UK with out paying the same taxes that our own businesses do. That is just moving the wealth of the UK to a foreign domain.

    That diminishes the UK’s wealth, therefore its ability to fund education health and security. i.e. it removes the facility to fund our national security.

    If on the other hand Free Trade is just a clumsy phrase and what is really meant is friction free trade, then that should be welcome.

    At the moment what is interoperated as ‘Free Trade’ is the same as the EU fishermen turning up in UK waters removing uncontrollably all the fish they can find and leaving nothing for the UK. They have done it in there own waters, they want more of what we manage and nurture, but don contribute.

    Sir John I believe you and government generally need to define Free Trade, at the moment what is suggested is rape and pillage until it is all gone.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 6:37 am | Permalink

      The real inhibiter to trade is what called almost be called bogus rules and standards. As in you can’t trade with some nations unless you have submitted for approval to their rules and standards authority.

      The pretense is that the originating country is not of the same standard. This is disingenuous as most trading nations have rules and standards that are virtually identical. What is called equivalence should come into play, for the most part that would mean trading partners recognize one and others standards authorities.

      Trading freely is not the same as free trade.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      It seems the government is solving the problem of cheap labour. Yesterday alone the Border Farce taxied 202 (words left out ed)John is very quiet on this ticking time bomb.
      Farage is gearing up to challenge the government on this and many other stupidities that continue.

      Reply I have urged the govt to intensify its efforts to stop people trafficking across the Channel.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

        The people doing the trafficking are French and British patrol boats.

      • Otto
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

        ‘Reply I have urged the govt to intensify its efforts to stop people trafficking across the Channel.’

        Has any single urging on your part ever resulted in any result? An example or two would be nice.

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted August 1, 2020 at 7:27 am | Permalink

          Surely if all Conservative MPs urged action something might be put in place at last or even just turn them round which would be the strongest deterrent.

      • M Davis
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

        Yes and with the consent of the Government,(named company ed)is being payed billions to put them into 4* Hotels, as well as other accommodation. Over 3,000 so-called asylum seekers have already arrived this year, most of them young men!

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      If on the other hand Free Trade is just a clumsy phrase and what is really meant is friction free trade, then that should be welcome.

      Why should we welcome it? If China can employ a bloke for £10 a day and the same bloke costs £100 a day here – and trade between us is ‘friction free’ – then that will achieve exactly what you mentioned in your previous paragraph – either the outsourcing of production or the death of production here. Either way, the wealth goes abroad and with it the taxes for our services.

  4. Tabulazero
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    So in short, you want the UK to freely export whatever it likes but when it comes to imports, you want the UK to be able to somehow restrict them as it sees fit ?

    Listen, this could have worked when it was the British army that was conducting the trade negotiations.

    Today, I find it hard to believe why another country, especially a bigger country like the US or China would accept such terms.

    What you call free trade really sound like mercantilism.

    What had happened to « let the market decide » which not long ago was a key tenet of Conservatism ?

    Reply Many countries rig their markets.We need to argue for freer trade whilst being realistic about dependence on imports.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      @Tab I read today’s piece as a desire to produce better goods at better value than are available from abroad. This would drive free exporting and restrict imports through the competitiveness of the products. That is the very essence of the free market.

      Globalism to my mind has reduced the quality element from purchasing concerns and replaced it with a decision purely on price.

      Similarly offshoring services has introduced a cattle market approach to the routine at the cost of ability to react to the obscure. With more demand for homeworking this is likely to increase, if your job can be done from home it most certainly can be done from Warsaw or Mumbai.

      • Tabulazero
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:57 am | Permalink

        What you are proposing here is a fundamental shift in Conservative thinking.

        It is quite strange to see John Redwood espouse it.

        • acorn
          Posted July 31, 2020 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

          It is fascinating to see Tory politicians who have spent the last decade austeritising the nation’s resilience to attacks into a wheelie-bin; leaving the nation with no defence equipment in strategic stock, to counteract a viral attack, that came out of the blue. As these things always do. Just-in-time became Just-ain’t-got.

          Alas, Debt to GDP ratio as a Conservative neoliberal prime metric to suppress muppet voters with, has been quietly forgotten. They now, embarrassingly, have to admit, they knew where the magic money tree was all along.

          • A-tracy
            Posted August 1, 2020 at 9:51 am | Permalink

            Yes acorn, Mr George Osborne should be interviewed about this as he was so strident.

        • NickC
          Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

          Tabulazero, Free trade is fine if everyone does it. They don’t. The EU and China (amongst others) use trade as a weapon (both use mercantilism, for example). Consequently we should recognise and counter that unfairness.

          • Tabulazero
            Posted August 1, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

            What a change from what was promised in 2016. Remember the line about the EU being an evil protectionist racket curtailing the UK’s free trade aspirations ?

            The next thing John Redwood is going to tell us is that British farmers and fishermen need some form of policy to protect them against foreign competition at global prices they have no hope in hell of competing against.

            A.k.a the CAP.

            Just wait.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 1, 2020 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

            CAP doesn’t benefit the UK.
            Only France and to a lesser extent Germany

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 7:31 am | Permalink

      Many countries do indeed rig markets look at the UK’s health care system, schools, university funding and grants, the BBC, transport, housing, long tern care, the energy markets, electric cars, much of the legal system and very many other areas. Rigged, rigged and rigged again.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

        Many countries do indeed rig markets look at the UK’s health care system, schools, university funding and grants, the BBC, transport, housing, long tern care, the energy markets, electric cars, much of the legal system and very many other areas. Rigged, rigged and rigged again.

        Wow, you are writing stuff I agree with.

  5. Richard Dawson
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    An interesting article Sir John but you do not mention labour costs. One of the reasons for importing so much of what we consume is because it is cheaper to do so given relative labour costs here and in other parts of the world.

    • Nigl
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

      And regulation etc. Actually we have plenty of UK branded water. If overseas competition is unfair do a Trump, hit them with duty to level the playing field.

      Politicians spend their lives trying to find alternative answers because they do not like the (inconvenient)truth.

      Boris’s ludicrous approach to obesity actually goes against the science and personal experience, some say NHS guidance even contributes to it.

      It won’t work, the problem is complex and structural but hey, who cares if throwing a few useless bob at it makes him feel good and maybe earns a few votes.

      People with knowledge view it as another not thought through government initiative wasting money.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

        Nig1. Yes, you are correct in saying that NHS guidance contributes to obesity. Even at a diabetes clinic my husband had to attend, they were telling people to eat foods that are high in carbs. Plenty of research has been done into low carb, high fat diets which actually cure diabetes and lower cholesterol. The man in the street has been conned with this low fat diet crap and we are all paying the price. Meanwhile it suits the pharmaceutical companies as they get more people using their drugs and then go on to fund many of the universities where they can brainwash more of our trainee doctors with more of this crap.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      Innovation, uh huh, innovation.
      Innovation’s what we need.
      If we want to be the best, if we want to beat the rest
      Innovation’s what we need

      (With apologies to the late Roy Castle)

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      Plus we have the addition cost of labour lumped on to us by government and endless daft and hugely excessive employment laws.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      Those disparities are concealed beneath welfare top ups and benefits.

      We are still paying coal mining and ship building communities even if they don’t dig coal or build ships.

      We may as well have been doing it here.

      Andy may tell us that we’re cutting our energy costs by using more efficient light bulbs and toasters but really, all we’ve done is outsourced our heavy burn to coal powered stations in the East.

      We may as well be doing the environmental damage here too.

  6. Peter
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    With so much of our industry in foreign hands, the proposal is like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.

    We can reflect on how we allowed this to happen, but rectifying the situation is an enormous task.

    We have taken little account of strategic implications or national interest. Individuals were biddable and looked to short term financial gain for themselves. The country had no defence against the negative impact of globalism.

    • IanT
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      Unfortunately, I must agree Peter

      Sir JRs thoughts seem to make good sense but good theory is very far from the actual practice over recent decades. Maybe Covid will be a wake-up call to our political classes, because they’ve been asleep at the wheel for a long time now.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      I have been on this site and others saying as much for at least ten years now.

      It was all predicated on “Don’t worry. We’ll be in the EU and we’ll have all the banking.”

  7. Adam
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    Needing to be self-sufficient for essentials in defence is self-evidently essential. Former Govt members have pursued other priorities, gradually losing grasp of the highest responsibility their appointment existed to serve. Remedying earlier slippage now is a good move toward a better position.

    Similarly, use of local resources often carries its own economic advantages naturally. Distorted Govt policy has contributed to errant methods and subsidies; equivalent pushing water uphill instead of letting it flow direct to find its own level where needed.

    If plans for improvement are needed there will be no shortage of ideas, yet the Govt has control over tax policy, which as a single instrument can probably remedy most of what needs doing without involving needless heavy lifting.

  8. Javelin
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    Companies need to be careful that Wfh does not create an opportunity to outsource our white collar workforce in the same way that manufacturing was outsourced.

    There needs to be a heavy tax for companies who outsource “custom” services abroad. In the same way the IR35 was used to find “disguised” employees then the same rules need to apply to disguised employees who are outsourced abroad and only supply their services to one company. You’re not stopping it but you are making it too expensive to hollow out the UK white collar labour market.

    Free trade was an idea that did not include the internet and global shipping containers.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      A surprising number of those working from home will be losing their jobs soon.

      A huge AI hit is coming and it will be much easier to scale down a workforce that has no ‘team’ spirit.

      At any interview I’ve been at the KEY word to get in is ‘team’.

      WFH destroys the team. My young nephew is about to graduate in finance and cannot use his personality to get in a team in the City as was his plan.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

        A huge AI hit is coming and it will be much easier to scale down a workforce that has no ‘team’ spirit.

        In the 1960s we were told that automation would mean we’d be working a 20 hour week – if that! – by the year 2000. Each technological advance since has increased employment. And those actually displaced by globalization and/or automation are now busy cutting hair or grass or finger nails. Nature abhors a vacuum. We all HAVE to work. ‘They’ say so.

  9. Mark B
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    The U.K. government controls a lot of economic activity which gives it power as a buyer . . .

    And for me this is the problem – The government is seen as a large Cash Cow that cannot ever run out of money. It is, a perfect customer. Large, always grand expensive projects that cannot be cancelled for political and grandiose reasons. Easily lobbied / persuaded, into a course of action. If government had less money to spend it would have to find evermore ways to make every pound spent go as far as possible. But when it has a big spender whose only solution to a problem is to throw more money at it, what’s not to like for big business ? After all, it is not their money and they are not the ones who will be paying it all back over the next century.

    Off topic

    I have recently learnt that a large company I worked for is due to make redundant a third of its workforce. They currently employ some 1,500 people so, that is some 500 household that will be wondering how to pay the mortgage / rent, plus food and bills. I would like to hear what our kind host has to say about all this ? How does his party, which is in government, plan to help these people back to work ?

    • Everhopeful
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      They don’t..simple.
      Reckon the whole purpose of “viral overreaction“ is to comply with Zero carbon.
      Plus global redistribution of OUR wealth.
      Remember the 1%…they are the only ones who will not be a GREAT DEAL POORER!
      No jobs, no cars, no freedom, no cities/towns, no healthcare.
      And meanwhile this shambolic lot are crashing around like huge out of control toddlers in a sweet shop…drunk with sugar and power, trashing a thousand years of our blood.
      I wish for them a true fairytale ending…given that they are the villains of the piece.

      • Mark B
        Posted August 1, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

        Well said.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      How does his party, which is in government, plan to help these people back to work ?,

      That’s an easy one.

      Some will become uber drivers.
      Some will use redundancy payments and buy a franchise to cut other people’s grass.
      Some will turn their hobby into a business.
      Some will open a shop and close it a couple of years later having at least kept the landlord in rent and the council in business rates for a couple of years.
      Some will work for a delivery company.

      After a while – they’ll all have jobs. Some of them will have two or three jobs, no paid holidays, no job security, longer hours and minimum wage pay. Welcome to the society created by the party you vote for because, let’s face it, the Tory Party has been in power for most of the time since World War II. It’s your feck up. Own it.

      • Mark B
        Posted August 1, 2020 at 7:00 am | Permalink

        . . . the party you vote for . . .

        It’s your feck up. Own it.

        Er. . . What makes you think I vote Tory ? 😉

        And as for feck up, I think you Socialists (Labour / New Labour) have done more harm than in less time. It is just that you won’t admit to it let alone own it because your cowards !

      • A-tracy
        Posted August 1, 2020 at 9:44 am | Permalink

        Mike, all workers have paid holidays even zero hours workers have 1 days holiday every 9 days worked?

        It is only the self-employed that are meant to put their holiday pay into their charges to enable them to take the compulsory number of days that everyone else has to take even if they’d rather have the money that year.

        Most of the delivery companies use self-employed drivers, they price uncompetitively because of their tax advantages and not taking into account nest, holiday pay, employers ni and this government will be sorry when they put other companies that hire workers on paye out of business as the extra taxes will need to be found elsewhere.

  10. Ian @Barkham
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Tap water should and used to do nicely. But open a tap here in Wokingham and you get knocked out by the chlorine gas, and drinking the water is the same as drinking the water in the local swimming pool.

    That’s without getting in to having to have chlorine wash shower each morning.

    • matthu
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Gov advice: “Your tap water shouldn’t smell and should be clear – if it isn’t, contact your water company…”

      Seriously, is there any government site where results of regular water testing by area is available to the public? And if not, why not?

      • Ian@Barkham
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

        the local advice is to let the water stand for the chlorine to evaporate. Alternatively use a filter system. Either way what is called fresh water in this part of the Thames Valley is actually human waste recycled so chlorine is essential

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      When I lived in Wokingham we regularly used to get a nice brown water coming out of the tap for a while. I don’t know if Wessex Water is any better, to be honest, but it seems to be clear and I don’t feel the subconscious desire to fetch my swimming trunks when I raise a glass to my mouth.

  11. Ian @Barkham
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Sir John

    Most of your proposals could be met quite rapidly if only government recognizes that as a high tax over burden with red tape regime it is the one causing the problem. Sort that and everything else fades.

    Given the money government is chucking a way here there and every where on non-essential virtual signaling now has to be paid for, I can see there is a problem of having the nerve to address the real tax question – we pay to much and get very little in return.

  12. The Prangwizard
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Fine words, but what do you believe about stopping the continuing prostituting of our country? What action ate you prepared to take to stop it?

    There are only a tiny number of our bigger companies truly home owned and those are ones the owners of which have decided not to let City Spivs with government backing anywhere near them. Otherwise they would by now have been flogged off for fat fees and commissions and the government happy with the foreign ‘investment’.

    All foreign owned businesses take the surplus cash and profits out of the UK, generated here by our work.

  13. jerry
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    We need to be able to produce all we can, here in the UK, obviously if we have no access to raw materials we are at the very minimum reliant on the source country but should they also supply the finished product, probably not. That is not to say we need to have factories turning out MOD spec widgets every day but we need both manufacturing capacity and the skills to do so, like in WW2 when factories big and small turned their production and skills to other things, from Austin making aircraft at Longbridge, the railway workshops building D-day landing crafts, to a small town machine shop turning out munitions or tin helmets.

    WW2 showed the problems of off-shore supplies, and these days oil supplies are a classic reminder when ever conflict breaks out in the Middle east, and even friendly supply networks can be broken should a country be invaded.

    A rhetorical question or two, how many of the UK Nay’s ships are powered by a nuclear reactors and how many rely on fuel oils, how many are reliant on semiconductors that can not be manufactured here in the UK? I think I read or heard some place that even the toilets/system on the HMS QE were not made here in the UK – I suppose the crew can always use buckets though…

    • jerry
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      OT; No Mr Hancock, it is not (just, or mostly) relatives and close friends mixing in back gardens but people mixing in pubs, restaurants, even gyms, at work and on holiday. The problem is this govt wishes to get commercial businesses up and running again because they are scared of a spike in UB/UC claims once the Furlough scheme starts to wind-down.

      It has also been noticeable that, since BoJo’s miss placed mask mandate, even though masks do not stop contagion, social distancing in and around shops has started to breakdown.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

        Jerry you are correct about non existent social distancing in shops. Some shops don’t even control how many are going into the shop. Masks give a false sense of security.

        • a-tracy
          Posted August 1, 2020 at 9:49 am | Permalink

          Last week we went to the big shopping mall in Trafford, if Trafford wants to know why it has a spike watch the camera back from Saturday shopping last week.

          Many families in large gatherings walking around without masks or masks under their chins, walking into people’s 1m space, walking the wrong way around the None security controlled one way system, it was absolute chaos. I did what I had to do there and left quickly. It was unpleasant, dangerous and probably caused the spike in that area of Manchester.

  14. Dave Andrews
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    I am in favour of the UK being self-sufficient on food. However, a quick calculation indicates our agricultural land can sustain of population of 16m.
    Time to stop importing people and try exporting.

    • jerry
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      @Dave Andrews; Yawn … that is at today’s productive best, with set aside and other non farming interferences most likely, without which, and with GM plus other technologies well have no problem feeding more than your suggested 16m.

      But should we stop welcoming those prepared to get off their office chairs and into the fields we will not even be able to feed the 16m, unless UK nationals take up the slack if you don’t want migrants doing the work, by 7:25am Mr Andrews you would have been hard at work in a field some place since probably 5am at this time of year, not posting political mumbo-jumbo to the Internet! Try to understand why the agriculture and market garden sectors have turned to employing migrant workers…

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

        Much of the farm land in Shropshire is being used to build ugly houses which don’t fit in with the villages. Other than that fields around us have been growing rape seed it would seem for the oil but also for the bio digesters. I noticed a distinct lack of bees this year on my garden and didn’t know if it was to do with the type of insectiside used on the rape.

        • jerry
          Posted August 1, 2020 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

          @FUS; No, much of Shropshire is not being used to build ugly houses, or any houses, a relativity small areas is being used, given the county is the 13th largest in the UK, at 1300 sq miles give or take.

          Please define what you mean by “ugly”, after all many will no doubt dislike your idea of a ‘nice’ building – stop being such a NIMBY and such a parochial view!

    • Everhopeful
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink


      • jerry
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

        @Everhopeful; 100% of zero is still zero….

        • Everhopeful
          Posted July 31, 2020 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

          Who mentioned zero?
          Certainly not the Eastern European worker when he sees his UK wage packet translated into his home currency!
          The history of how the indigenous English population was taken off the land is quite complex and it certainly does not involve any notion that they are not hard workers.
          It involves greedy landowners, the gradual shackling of itinerant workers, the inflexibility of the benefits system, agricultural easements, council houses and the rising cost of land/housing as a disincentive to housing agricultural workers.
          Old age pensions of course were only brought in to relieve the employer of any responsibility towards his infirm and ageing workers.
          They aren’t kind you know!

          • Narrow Shoulders
            Posted August 1, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

            Thought provoking. Thank you

          • jerry
            Posted August 1, 2020 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

            @Everhopeful; The problem is the UK work ethic, many British born people will happy work for the NMW flipping burgers or serving designer-coffee but would never consider doing a job in agriculture even though it is often better paid and has a better defined career path, especially for those willing to attend college or Uni. So why do so many of the young British working age not want such work, because it can be hard physical work with long hours, easier to flip burgers or pour coffee and claim tax credits…

            It wasn’t always the case, at one time much of the East End of London used to empty in summer as whole families would take their holidays in Kent picking the Hops. Even in the 1970s any schools in towns bordering agri/horticulture areas offered career advice to those thinking of entering the industry.

            You talk of “greedy landowners” and the many other problems, how is/was that any different to greedy factory owners in urban areas with many of the same problems?

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      However, a quick calculation indicates our agricultural land can sustain of population of 16m.

      Nonsense. Here in Dorset there is nothing grown bar grass to feed cows and sheep. A highly inefficient way of growing food.

    • Mark
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

      The greatest stupidity is growing crops for energy. It takes away production from food, and when you analyse it, it turns out not to be very green anyway. All part of trying to reduce us to the Stone Age.

  15. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Noble aims Sir John but Government intervention to build industries is a little frightening, taxes already nudge behaviour, procurement policies with no in built quality control (it is government after all) will be ruinous.

    It will be anathema to many on this site but tariffs for imports of that which we can supply ourselves is the only way to provide the required protection for our high labour and energy costs while ensuring the quality element that will make consumers pay more for their purchases. Longer lasting, better products will work out cheaper long term but consumers need to be convinced over time which needs tariffs to protect in the interim.

    Wide ranging tariffs could be different to government deciding which areas to support if any item which could be produced in this country attracted a tariff to import and the tariff on the exporting country was decided by a matrix including labour costs, shipping costs and energy costs particular to that country. That would level the field and not be government policy driven.

  16. Lifelogic
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Why would anyone buy bottled water (other than perhaps sparkling water) we have taps and there should be plenty of public fountains.

    There is a good charity called “The Drinking Fountain Association” I believe. Readily available water for people and children helps with dieting too.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      People should refil a water bottle and give all the money they save toward the Drinking Fountain Association perhaps. Saving a lot of plastic refuse and energy in the process too.

      • miami.mode
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        I’m pleased to see that there is still a drinking fountain on Tooting Common that I used to use as a kid. Hopefully it still works.

    • jerry
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      @LL; “there should be plenty of public [drinking] fountains. “

      Oh joy, how wonderful, just right for spreading Covid-19 and other pathogens, no thanks!

      Have you ever stopped to wonder why such fountains were turned off, and well before now, yet you claim to have a scientific education…

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

        Oh joy, how wonderful, just right for spreading Covid-19 and other pathogens, no thanks!

        Why? We had them in every park when I was a kid. You had to crane your neck down to get to the stream of water. You could not wrap your germ infested mouth, or hands, around the spout delivering the water.

        • jerry
          Posted August 1, 2020 at 7:23 am | Permalink

          @Mike Wilson, You really do not have a first clue how those water fountains were being miss used by late night revealers. Good riddance!

    • Everhopeful
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      There used to be drinking fountains in beautifully manicured parks.
      England is ( or at least was) well blessed with water and there were many spa towns ( a lot of spas in London too).
      Naturally all trashed in obeisance to the NHS.
      Politicians have not only sold every single item of family silver but they have turned our heritage into a third world slum.
      How long would a drinking fountain last now?

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        There used to be drinking fountains in beautifully manicured parks.

        In the rough area of West London where I grew up there was a recreation ground behind our house. 22 acres housing swings, 4 football pitches (in the winter) and 2 cricket pitches (in the summer). The cricket squares were fenced off and were of bowling green quality. The pavilion hosted the cricket and football teams and, in the summer, very civilised teas were provided by the players’ wives. There was a full-time park-keeper and two full time groundsmen. The pavilion was surrounded by beautifully planted flower beds. The grass was cut regularly and the whole place was an oasis of civilised behaviour.

        Fast forward a few decades – no staff whatsoever, gates never locked, cars stolen and driven around doing doughnuts, pavilion burned to the ground one night, cars burned out next to my mother’s house a number of times.

        How come we could afford staff in the past and not now? We paid very little rates then and pay a fortune in council tax now.

        • jerry
          Posted August 1, 2020 at 7:27 am | Permalink

          @Mike Wilson; Your second from last paragraph, indeed but that is what the country voted for, and has done for 40 years. We know the value of everything but the worth of nothing – not having park wardens etc. ends up costing more in the long run of course but it’s on another departments spreadsheet.

    • Irene
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 10:20 am | Permalink


      Not everyone who buys bottled water is doing so for feeble reasons.

      Sometimes people with a serious health problem, such as a rare life-changing and potentially life-threatening autoimmune condition, are advised by their consultant to either boil every drop of water they drink, or to buy bottled water. Not always and not everyone with an autoimmune condition. Once bitten – twice shy.

      And, btw, where I live the tap water tastes foul.

      • jerry
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        @Irene; Indeed. I actually buy bottled water because it is softer than the tap water, my other option would be to filter the tap water, but the amount of plastic and energy used to manufacture the filters (that need changing each month) is more than buying bottled water.

        More of a problem than bottled water are the variety and quantity of sugary drinks sold in plastic bottles, many that never end up in recycling bins but dumped by the road on on beaches etc. – yet the anti bottled water zealots are silent on these totally unnecessary bottles of obesity and tooth-rot, probably because they enjoy them, no doubt to disguise the foul taste of their tap water, or so to not drink it at all.

  17. John E
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    If it’s essential to life – food, medicine, baby supplies, PPE, etc. we need a strategic plan that gives us resilience of supply via home production that can be ramped up, stockpiles etc.
    The “nice to haves”, the consumer goods, the shiny new phones, can come from wherever is cheapest provided the suppliers have no expectation of being bailed out if they rely on complex distant supply chains that suffer disruption.

  18. BJC
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Slightly off topic, but perhaps we should be considering a UK specific alternative to the likes of Amazon as an internal online market, where taxes lost from our High Streets would actually reach and replenish Treasury coffers.

  19. steadyeddie
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Covid 19 has clearly shown that all countries must work together to protect our health security and this is a cipher for trade, defence, migration and other international issues. We will struggle to work with rogue states that do not obey the rules but we can do well by working with countries that share our values- in particular our nearest neighbour, Europe.
    On the subject of bottled water, can anyone explain the economics of being served Italian mineral water in a restaurant in Christchurch New Zealand last year and, no, it was not an Italian restaurant.

    • NickC
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      Steadyeddie, Covid19 clearly showed that many countries preferred to work independently, particularly EU countries.

  20. Posted July 31, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    “How would you arrange our affairs so we have more of the essential capabilities and technologies an advanced nation needs?”

    I’d probably start off with a survey of our natural resources, everything from coal to slate and beauty spots — I’d include all the industries we have, match them against what the future needs are likely to be and support those that need help.
    Then you’d look at what we didn’t have, and work out how we could invest in these industries, providing they were needed in the world.

    It should be a Thatcher style analysis – no silly emotions.

    • NickC
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

      Bryan Harris, Far too sensible (and efficient) for our civil service!

  21. James Freeman
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    What happens if local suppliers cannot match world prices? How do you differentiate these producers versus others creating a gravy train for themselves? Tariffs and subsidies often lead to inefficient local production. Supply of raw materials (e.g. fracked gas and coal for steel production) requires difficult political decisions against the environment. Government procurement rules are too much of a straitjacket to be effective. I am not hopeful!

  22. Alan Jutson
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Any news on what we are doing with the 3,000 plus dingy imports who have arrive across the channel this year, on a now daily basis.

    I see from recent reports that virtually none at all have been returned home, and it is reported that Serco have been given a multimillion pound contract to look after them in hotel establishments around the country, where they are free to go out and roam around at will.

    Priti seems to talk a good game, but action seems non existent.

    Any idea on what the real policy is JR ?

    • BOF
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      A J. I have seen pictures of the dinghys in storage. Are they being kept, I wonder, for the indigenous population to escape?

    • The other Christine
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      It would appear that the real cost is likely to be £4 billion! It’s barely believable. I have emailed Priti Patel more than once about this scandal but answer comes there none. I really don’t know what more we, as English citizens, can do. This situation is untenable while thousands will be out of work come the end of furlough (my son-in-law has just lost his job – recently self-employed so no Government support over the past five months). What about us, the tax paying people of this country? Why are we supporting illegal immigrants to the tune of almost £50 per week spending money (everything else is free for them, of course)? It’s madness. Please make it stop!

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

        Hear, hear to all of that Christine. The way we are being treated is disgusting and to think we all thought things would change under Boris. Yes, they have changed but for the worse.

      • Mark B
        Posted August 1, 2020 at 7:18 am | Permalink

        Sorry to hear about your Son in Law and I hope he finds something soon.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      Any idea on what the real policy is JR ?

      You won’t get an answer to that awkward question.

    • NickC
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

      Alan J, This government could stop them or return them if it wanted to. The conclusion is inescapable that the government doesn’t want to stem the influx, whatever it says.

  23. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Thousands more job loss announcements – many more will follow – and STILL boat after boat of unemployable foreign freeloaders are brought into this island. Their families will follow. Absolute madness for us. Brilliant for those who get a rise in living standards on our taxes, for coming here and doing nothing. If the govt wanted to live in a 3rd World, why didn’t they all move to one – instead of destroying this country, it’s culture and it’s people?

    With the culture of those being brought here from Calais we are being turned from an island into IS-land.

    • Mike Fountain
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      +1 I agree with you entirely absolute Madness.

    • BOF
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:17 am | Permalink


    • Andy
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      What’s your solution then? You are good at moaning about it – but have yet to come up with a plan to solve it.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        What’s your solution then? You are good at moaning about it – but have yet to come up with a plan to solve it.

        Turn the boats around? Once word goes out that you can’t cross the channel to England, they will stop coming and seek asylum where they are.

      • Posted July 31, 2020 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

        Turn them back stupid!

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted August 1, 2020 at 6:25 am | Permalink

        Take a leaf out of Australia’s book. They just sent them back. Simple.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 1, 2020 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

          It’s a different “them”, and the laws are accordingly not the same as for people claiming to be asylum seekers or refugees.

          I doubt whether you care about legalities though.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 1, 2020 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

            Which legalities are you referring to?
            What about those who apply to enter Australia legally?
            Should they go to the back of the queue whilst those who land on a beach at midnight push in?

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

      Absolutley correct on every count Big Neil. I hope Nigel Farage can expose all of this madness. It’s about time we were given the opportunity to vote for a party and see them get seats in parliament instead of seeing 4 million votes get nothing. We have the dire SNP in parliament causing all sorts of bother but a party that gets no votes achieve nothing. It’s simply not democratic.

  24. SecretPeople
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    The same principle should apply to skilled professionals. Even after millions upon millions of extra people have moved here we still don’t have the ‘skills’ apparently and need to keep on importing more people.

    For multiple well-rehearsed reasons we need to nurture our own people and invest in developing our own healthcare professionals, engineers, innovators and public sector workers.

  25. Nigl
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Someone used loss/downgrade of reserve currency status yesterday as some sort of criticism and another one eyed big up to the Euro as indeed others used the loss of the pounds value.

    So what they want is the pound is to be umpteen points more expensive which is what it would be if other Countries bought it as a reserve making exports more expensive and imports cheaper not forgetting foreign currency earnings, dividends etc having less value.

    They are conveniently forgetting that Germany has been a major beneficiary of the Euro not appreciating anything like the D Mark would have done and I guess the Guilder with it.

    With no inflationary pressures, Sir J R a weakened pound making imports more expensive /less competitive will help do the job for you.

    For the strong pound argument from Remain justifiers, another sign of their desperation.

    How big are the structural imbalances across the EC countries because they don’t have an exchange rate safety valve ?

  26. Posted July 31, 2020 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Shocked to get a circular today from St Bees School asking for support for its ‘3 new St Bees Schools in China’. China has now taken over the original 400 year old St Bees School In St Bees and is teaching its own curriculum mostly to chinese students.
    This is not the sort of ‘free trade’ I support. It’s a sell out because we are so poor, and we are so poor because the government takes all the investment-money.
    Age old good gambling advice is ‘to eat y0ur betting-money not to bet your eating-money’.
    The Government now wastes-our-investment-money soon we will have no eating-money!

  27. Anonymous
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Bottled water is sheer lunacy. One of the heaviest things you can transport contained in the most environmentally destructive material there is, for something obtainable on tap.

    Off topic please.

    When did the pandemic measures switch from ‘prevent the NHS from collapsing’ to ‘no CV19 deaths’ ?

    There is no second wave. The graphs are showing regional spikes, not national ones – in hitherto unaffected areas.

    The disease is running its course – and until there is a vaccine New Zealand will have to take its hit too.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      The NHS just dumped infected patients onto ill prepared care homes untested thus killing thousands and deterred people from to going to hospital until they were in a very bad way indeed. Generally the NHS perhaps even did more net harm than good. Such are the joys of an essentially communist, state monolopy health care system. Circa 50% of people died away from hospital and those that died in hospital often seem to have had little more than sympathy and an oxygen mask. Deaths (per tested positive patient) in Germany and Singapore were massively lower than under the UK’s system.

      Meanwhile they spent millions “building” Nightingale Hospitals with no prospect of available staff and virtually no patients anyway.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

        The NHS has been under the Tories for TEN YEARS.

        • Posted July 31, 2020 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

          Actually the Tories have been under the NHS for 10 years – I will not explain why!

          • A-tracy
            Posted August 1, 2020 at 9:55 am | Permalink

            I agree Lynn
            The people at the top of the NHS are political, self interested union backed opponents to the Tories at every step.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted July 31, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

          Yes but the Tories under Cameron and May were deluded socialists. Pro EU green crap pushing socialists too.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 1, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

            Oh, well, that’s that, then.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      The sports stadiums are full in New Zealand, Taiwan, etc.

      They aren’t taking that much of a hit just now.

      Let’s hope that people like you are unable to sabotage their outstanding achievements.

      • Anonymous
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        Then they must keep quarantining arrivals for ten years.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 1, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

          I’m confident that they will if that is needed.

      • NickC
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

        Martin, Their “outstanding achievement” was to lock down their borders early on. Something you were opposed to.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 1, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

          No I was not, as I have repeatedly reminded you.

          But with a majority of eighty there was nothing whatsoever preventing the Tories from doing so, other than their own lack of will.

      • A-tracy
        Posted August 1, 2020 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        Martin, you’d be the first one bleating if the UK closed off our Island to incomers and those that must come put into isolation centres for at least a fortnight and tested. ‘Little NewZealanders’

        There are many people here who would like to do a New Zealand but we weren’t allowed, we have to keep thousands untested arrivals from hot spots around the World and just take the hit ourselves.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 1, 2020 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

          See above.

          Yet again.

          And stop the phoney victimhood pleading, do.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 1, 2020 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

            So you favour a complete lockdown of our borders?
            Therefore you would reject any refugees and asylum seekers and illegals?

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 2, 2020 at 7:00 am | Permalink

            I favoured doing what New Zealand has done.

            That is, quarantining all incomers. So that would apply to anyone detected entering unlawfully or otherwise.

            It’s a bit late now – the UK population are more a risk to them than vice-versa.

            Until something is done about that it would make little difference.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 2, 2020 at 9:33 am | Permalink

            Dodging the question as usual.

  28. Anthony
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    I would seek to create a list of such areas of production (food, energy, etc.) where national resilience should have a higher priority and then debate this matter in parliament on government time. If at all possible, the list should be embedded in a resolution of some kind, passed by the House of Commons indicating where the House seese the need for more resilience.

    This has the benefit of creating a political requirement to act on these points and binds the government politically. If the Labour party supports it, they will also be politically bound. National resilience would then form the basis of a bipartisan industrial strategy. Many aspects of industrial strategy would not be bipartisan of course but national resilience in those sectors would be.

    It would have further political benefits. It would focus the minds of MPs on the national rather than supranational; and if the Labour party supported the resolution it would take them further from supporting a close relationship with the EU which would cause infighting. Alternatively, if they didn’t support the resolution they could be attacked for deliberately making our country vulnerable – hitting them where they are already weak.

  29. formula57
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    It is unlikely that tax breaks and investment incentives would be sufficient to see that we have more of the essential capabilities and technologies an advanced nation needs so some more interventionist and direct measures might be considered, including the Government establishing some sort of sovereign wealth investment fund. That could buy (in secret perhaps!) selected foreign companies and cause them to either move here or establish operations here.

  30. BOF
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    OT. Yesterday, out of the blue came letters from the Government. Actually from Boris personally to both myself and my wife. They were begging letters that went straight into the recycle bin.

    Strange, I thought, from someone who apparently has access to a forest of money trees.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      Absolutley correct on every count Big Neil. I hope Nigel Farage can expose all of this madness. It’s about time we were given the opportunity to vote for a party and see them get seats in parliament instead of seeing 4 million votes get nothing. We have the dire SNP in parliament causing all sorts of bother but a party that gets no votes achieve nothing. It’s simply not democratic.

  31. Original Richard
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    We’re not going to be able to plan to achieve stability, national resilience and self-sufficiency if open borders means that we continue to import 700K people each year and we never know what will be the size of our population.

  32. kenneth
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    We need to ditch the min wage and other expensive employment legislation, get more prisoners producing useful goods and crack down on tax-avoiding outfits that are importing goods from India, Pakistan, China and Eastern Europe and undercutting legal companies.

    I agree that food, defence and medical supplies should mainly be produced and procured in and from the UK

    • graham1946
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      Try Leicester, they seem to pay £3.50 an hour. Low enough for you? Would you work for less than minimum wage? If not ask yourself why you expect others to. Prisoners are not permitted to work because it upsets the unions.

      • A-tracy
        Posted August 1, 2020 at 10:00 am | Permalink

        Prisoners should have to do the number of hours at minimum wage to pay for their free lodgings and security.

    • Mark B
      Posted August 1, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink


      Whilst I agree with you about the minimum wage I am afraid it is here to stay. Labour like it as it increases the wage packet of their voters. The Tories like it as it helps corporates drive out competition. I mean, how many local one-man-band shops have self service tills compared to all the large supermarket chains ? 😉 It also papers over the cracks that MASS IMMIGRATION would drive down wages so low only those prepared to work for next to nothing would and / or could do it.

      The only hope is to take away the power for politicians to set the price of such labour.

  33. Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Sir – all good common sense. It is worrying that you feel the need to say it.

    “How would you arrange our affairs so we have more of the essential capabilities and technologies an advanced nation needs?”

    Education, education and education …. but without the useless university courses

  34. Caterpillar
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    The obvious aside: Why is Mr Hancock still in his job?

    Three months ago on here we were discussing relaxation of the lockdown, interpretation of the Govt’s 5 measures etc. At the time I noted the need for a better targeted, stratified testing regime ( 3 (three !) months on and we still have Mr Hancock knee jerking the country around whilst ‘we’ have not designed and leveraged the testing regime. So, a not well designed testing regime, no NHS available for most people and total insanity with respect to getting the country going again. I have even wondered whether Mr Hancock is finding things to do so the PM cannot sack him at an inopportune moment. This person needs to go and the country needs to get a more competent strategy.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      Foot on the break pedal* of the economy and all the life years that will cost. Conservatives may need to remove their leader if he doesn’t dump Hancock and Sunak, and get some effective and realistic policies implemented.

      * Other more telling metaphors are available.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      Precisely so that people like you continue to blame him, rather than the PM and Cummings, for the UK’s 70,000 excess deaths so far this year.

      Seems to be working.

      • Posted July 31, 2020 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

        Not Cummings fault, he’s an advisor! Ignored mostly or we would not be in this mess!

      • graham1946
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        Hancock does not have a stellar CV. When he was Sec for Digital, culture etc his big ambition was to get 20mb broadband whereas the far east already have 100 and 1000 mb. He’s just a time server, not much use at all.
        I doubt if Covid deaths are anywhere like the 46,000 deaths. Doctors are issuing death certs without even seeing the patient and diagnosing by phone and if in doubt its Covid.

      • NickC
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

        Martin, You continue to make specific adamant claims about the death toll in this country, and in other countries, when you haven’t the faintest idea about the criteria for diagnosing those deaths, or their honesty, or their accuracy, and when the virus is re-emerging in places you hold up as examplars.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 1, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

          Well, if the ONS hadn’t the faintest about excess deaths then you would be correct.

          However, I think that they probably have.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 1, 2020 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

            You’ve been quoting ONS figures.
            So do you accept them or not?

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 2, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

            I accept them with the qualifications that they themselves make.

    • Mark B
      Posted August 1, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      Mission Creep !

      The Lockdown was designed to, “Save Our NHS !”. Now it is something else. The goal posts have been moved time and time again as each successive excuse has been shown to be bunkum.

  35. Caterpillar
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    “The U.K. government controls a lot of economic activity which gives it power as a buyer to organise competitive procurement that can stimulate U.K. activity in the chosen areas.”

    Yes it is truly difficult to balance the position of patronage and monopsony power. Depending on the good or service, approaches might be:-

    (i) enhanced openness in a new political system (mixed member PR to give robustness against interests and lobbying, so that chosen areas are democratic)
    (ii) UBI to to transfer buying decisions equitably to the populace
    (iii) State supply (e.g. school) but many buyers (e.g. school vouchers)

  36. glen cullen
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Free trade and national security is a none starter until 1st Jan 2021 and whether we are restricted by the conditions of our EU withdraw agreeement and trade deal or conditions of WTO

  37. Sakara Gold
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    The British industrial base was destroyed at the end of the last century, along with any hope of regaining a balance of payments surplus and eliminating the government’s spending deficit.

    The factories have been turned into brownfield sites and redeveloped into upmarket housing estates and office blocks. The industrial tooling and our ability to manufacture goods is long gone. Selling off the nationalised industries to foreigners to bring in hard currency to allow the middle class to enjoy foreign holidays finished it off.

    How much money can we can earn by manufacturing PPE and exporting it? It would be a drop in the ocean compared to exporting ships, heavy electrical, telecommunications gear, steel, mining equipment, tooling, lathes, fork lift trucks, milling machines, cars, motorcycles, computers (which we invented) Every Ready batteries or industrial gases….

    All these industries were sold off to foreigners to the detriment of our country. You can’t bring our industrial base back because we are too indebted as a nation to invest in the necessary manufacturing technology. Even Dyson manufactures his vacuum cleaners in Malaysia.

    It seems to me that stockpiling what we would need in a national emergency is the only option now open to us. Ammunition, military spare parts, vehicles, consumables etc could be imported before the next crisis hits us. Except we used to have an excellent missile and ammunition storage facility in a mountain in Wales (Llanberis) – sadly it was sold off during the Thatcher era.

  38. multiID
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    It’s all nonsense- without a British Merchant Navy to depend on ie. British owned and British flagged, to carry imports and exports from a small island nation of 65 million we are going nowhere- especially if we define it in terms of ‘Free Trade and National Security’. For instance we are leaving the EU orbit and setting our sights on doing trade deals with countries on the other side of the world- but have we even factored in the cost of putting alone just one ship through the Panama Canal? the cost- probably hundreds of thousands of Pounds- with hundreds of thousands more added for fuel and wage costs and this for a month long voyage from OZ, NZ or Japan? and who do you think is going to pick up the tab for all of this. Then here we are not even including mention yet about UK National Security- as I say it’s all nonsense

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      The cost of shipping goods on those massive container ships is negligible. Why do you think lots of the stuff imported from China is so cheap!

      • multiID
        Posted August 1, 2020 at 10:34 am | Permalink

        Yes Mike but not on British owned and British flagged container ships- how do you think it might be in times of an emergency or a crisis like the outbreak of hostilities worldwide? do you still suppose we can depend on these foreign owned foreign flagged ships to transport our goods from the other side of the world?

      • multiID
        Posted August 1, 2020 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

        And also because the produce itself is so cheap..made in china at near slave labour cost..just to be clear its not the cost of manufacturing in these low cost base countries..including for the rag trade..the big cost is in transporting and mark up at every turn

    Posted July 31, 2020 at 11:09 am | Permalink
  40. zorro
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Why is our dreaded Health Commissar Mat Hang Kok locking down huge swathes of the North.? How many are seriously ill in hospital or have died? Are his utterances ‘guidance’ or enforceable law?

    Why does he use the coronavirus and not COVID 19? Coronavirus covers a multitude of sins including the common cold. What is going on JR? Just before Eid too, fancy that….


    • Caterpillar
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      I suggest he is locking down huge swathes to appear useful even though the UK (Hancock) has not put in a systematic hierarchical targetted testing regime. The PM urgently needs to get rid of Mr Hancock and get a strategy.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      It s clear infections are fed by multigenerational living, care homes and hospitals.
      Restrict movements of people in those and problem solved.

  41. zorro
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    So here we go, face coverings to be mandatory in all indoor settings as of 08 Aug. We’ve gone a long way since flattening the curve. This is the real lockdown and tyranny. This government needs to disappear….


    • beresford
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      Will this include the House of Commons or does it only apply to the plebs?

    • Posted July 31, 2020 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      I’m sad to say I agree 100% – I believe one way or the other it will go. It may as well choose the bloodless way.

  42. BillM
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Re our defence. It appears that with the exception of BAe Systems, our defence industry is dominated by French owners. At present it is clear the French, under Pres. Macron, will do anything they can to bring us to heel over our leaving of EU juristiction.
    Therefore, would it not be appropriate at this time, to insist that these Company owners will always continue to follow the ways and demands of the British MoD and Government else we would seek an alternative structure for our Defence and Utility industries?
    Our Defence is like our infrastructure when all of the related manufacturing of defence equipment and our Utility companies should remain under complete British control. At present it does not.
    I do not know of any other Westernised country in the world that allows a majority foreign ownership of their defence industries and their utility companies.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      The much talked about Galileo SatNav. Has some of its roots as a University of Surrey project, that evolved then into Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. Now 100% French owned.

      So the UK taxpayer funded the education, the startup everything needed to get it of the ground and the along comes the UK Government to give it a way.

      It perfectly illustrates the successive UK Governments concerns of the health, wealth and security of the country – Nil. The focus is always the give a ways of taxpayer money to ensure success at the next election. The UK is being diminished by the lack of interest by Government and seemingly Parliament as a whole. Taxpayers are paying for their life style and ego with nothing in return.

      Out of the 650 or so parliamentarians less than 10% even care.

      • Andy
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

        Galileo is an EU project and you voted out of the EU. It’s not rocket science. (Brexit I mean, Galileo is obviously rocket science),

        • graham1946
          Posted July 31, 2020 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

          Paid for in large part by UK. It is international – the EU could not decide how to make a cup of tea, anymore than governments import or export.

          • hefner
            Posted August 1, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

            The UK had paid a total of €1.2bn on a project now thought to have cost €9-10bn with annual running cost of €800m. So the project had a contribution from the UK, true. A large part? That can be discussed.
            The main point is that it is a dual purpose project, both civil and military. The UK could have gone on with the civil part as that would have been (practically) free to all participants. What caused problems was the military part of the project, as the EU wanted that to be fully independent of the USA. Unfortunately the UK appearing more and more to become a lap dog to the USA, the collaboration stopped. Whether the UK will recoup its original funding is still an open question.

      • hefner
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

        EADS Astrium has its headquarters in Paris but is a European company (F, G, I, NL, Sp, UK) that has been active under different names (involving a lot of acronyms with A for Airbus) for years in civil, military satellites.
        And sorry, but Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd was a long long time ago one of the roots, but never was the main root. If anything the UK bit was Marconi (satellite division) (which for a while used U.of Surrey developments) that merged in the 1990s with French Matra (please remind me: which party was in power in those days?)

        If one wants to be up-to-date, much better to talk about SSTL as now directly involved in the OneWeb project.

        • Ian@Barkham
          Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

          you are correct, the point being our goverments don’t understand the advantage and beauty of the things the UK seeds and has no clue about the place they have in the health, wealth and security it creates

        • A-tracy
          Posted August 1, 2020 at 10:06 am | Permalink

          Yes, Hefner its all coming out now isn’t it just how much we complied, gave up on, didn’t support and protect within our own Country.

          Just how much our governing class get down on one knee to Europe and the UN and frankly anyone else that wants to take a bit out of us.

  43. DavidJ
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Excellent post Sir John but you need to persuade Boris and others who seem all too keen to promote foreign interests above our own. Your example of bottled water is a good one of unnecessary imports; a low value product where transport costs could well exceed the cost of production.

    A good start would be to force manufacturers to declare the percentage of costs deriving from foreign sources; I expect it would be staggering to most of us. However it will take time to rebuild our own industry; tax incentives must be given to persuade companies in the right direction, ultimately strengthened by suitable import duties. My experience indicates that many products coming in do not meet our product standards.
    Chinese steel is a worrying one where the composition is evidently not consistent and section profiles, on visual inspection alone, often do not comply with those specified in the standards.

    Sadly the economic disaster of the virus will not help; if someone wanted to trash our economy what better way?

    • Andy
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      Conveniently Brexit will require manufacturers to say exactly where their products come from. Rules of origin requirements mean they will need to know the source of every component of every product. Easy if your product has one component. But if you make planes or cars a bureaucratic nightmare which explains why you will, sooner or later, leave Brexit Britain.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

        When are you off?

      • graham1946
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

        We used to have laws that required country of origin on them, but that stopped when the EU was formed and they went for the CE label. Seems China just put CE on any old junk and we cannot tell about anything else.

      • Edward2
        Posted July 31, 2020 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

        Those records are kept now by manufacturers.
        Plainly you have never ever worked in manufacturing industry.

        • acorn
          Posted August 1, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

          They haven’t yet started tracing down to sub-component level. UK assembled vehicles will be rated as 65 – 70% non-UK originating content.

          Sigrid de Vries, CLEPA Secretary General, said, “The European automotive industry is operating highly integrated global supply chains. A single vehicle consists of around 30,000 parts many of which cross borders multiple times. […] the UK no longer being party to EU trade agreements and preferential arrangements with some 30 countries, including Turkey, South Africa, Canada, Japan and South Korea, and content from UK suppliers would no longer contribute to EU originating content for the purposes of rules of origin.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 1, 2020 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

            All the paperwork relating to supplied components is kept for years.
            Product sheets describe all the specs and materials in each component.
            Any information required by others in the supply chain from suppliers from all over the world can be provided to whoever requires it.
            CLEPA are just trying to make life difficult for non EU component suppliers and continuing the EUs protectionist policies.
            WTO rules will not allow this obstructionist posturing.

          • dixie
            Posted August 2, 2020 at 9:29 am | Permalink

            With no trade agreement the same will apply to EU products – how much of a Seat vehicle is actually made in Spain. For that matter considering VW’s problems with software sources how much by value of a VW is actually made in Germany.

  44. NickC
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    JR, A small overcrowded country such as the UK cannot be wholly self sufficient. But we can and should be very much more so than we are now. Depending on Jonny Foreigner must become a thing of the past.

    Your government will have to decide whether it is more important to be “green” virtue signaler, or self sufficient in energy, for example. If the latter we must re-instate coal mining and frack for natural gas.

    We can also use tools such as “golden shares” and maximum 49% foreign ownership for critical businesses.

  45. zorro
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Chris Whitty: ” We’ve reached the limit of how much we can open up society”.

    Are you going along with this JR?


  46. ChrisS
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Modern technology would enable the UK to be competitive against places like China for high end manufactured goods as Germany effectively demonstrates but before we can again become more self-sufficient in manufacturing, there are two areas of our national life that will have to change.

    Firstly, we will have to rethink our education and training system. Our current system puts little value on manufacturing and practical skills and this starts long before young people reach university.

    The government needs to completely redirect the education establishment towards giving students more practical skills. We should abandon the completely daft idea of sending 50% of school leavers to university and ensure that for their own good, students who incur debts of up to £50,000 to attend university do courses that are going to give them a fair return for the investment and for the country. The FE college network is the obvious route for those more intelligent students who wish to become practical engineers and technicians. It should be expanded and work far closer with industry to develop courses that match the skills business needs.

    Secondly, the funding our banks provide for businesses is far too fixated on obtaining short term returns for the benefit of the lender. This is why we have millions of very small businesses and some very large ones but there is a massive gap in the middle. As a result, the UK has few medium-sized companies employing between 100 and 1000 people. Germany has thousands and these are the bedrock of its success in manufacturing and export. They are small enough to be flexible but large enough to gain economies of scale.

    Put simply, long term finance is not available to allow our small companies to grow
    and the background of those running our education establishment is steeped in the rarefied atmosphere of the classics. Put simply, they look down on the very idea of a successful student being one who acquires practical skills as an engineer.

    It is therefore no surprise that the most successful country in Europe at manufacturing and exporting is Germany, closely follwoed by Northern Italy. Becoming an engineer or technician through completing a properly structured apprenticeship is highly regarded in Germany and Italy. Similarly, their banks work more closely with industry and offer finance for far longer-term projects than ours would ever consider.

    We will never be able to go back to being a successful manufacturing economy without a change of direction.

    • dixie
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      An excellent comment ChrisS.

      On education I would add the need to support continuing education, beoynd the traditional Kindegarten – degree period, as well as re-broadening beyond the notional academic focus.

  47. Utter tyranny
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    No one voted for a Great Reset or the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the restructuring of society and the economy by destroying the old economy. No one voted for this John, if we wanted to vote for a mad global governance agenda we would have told you.

    Stop this NOW.

  48. Mike Wilson
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Off topic. Can one express one’s disgust and anger at the news on the radio that Johnson has awarded his brother a life peerage. All you half-wits that voted to give him an 80 seat majority must be so proud of yourselves. It seems he can, and will, treat us with contempt. The bloody House of Lords which should, of course, be abolished or reformed – just as politicians keep telling us – until they are in power and then, of course, it’s one rule for them and the rest of us can do one.

    • Posted July 31, 2020 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      The House of Lords MUST be abolished. All the real Lords have long since left so an easy decision.

      • glen cullen
        Posted August 1, 2020 at 9:50 am | Permalink

        agree – it should be fully elected

    • A-tracy
      Posted August 1, 2020 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      They are pushing us too far. Just making the day of reckoning come faster.

  49. Mike Wilson
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    I have a friend who is interested in many things environmental. She gave me a publication recently extolling the virtues of what (I think) was called a ‘forest garden’. This is an area of land with larger trees, smaller trees next to them, bushes next to them and then low-growing fruit and vegetables next to them. The trees being productive trees such as walnuts, hazelnuts etc.

    It appears one little acre can feed 10 people.

    We could be self-sufficient in food if half our countryside was not given over to growing grass to use as food for cattle or sheep.

    • NickC
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

      Mike W, I have to laugh at greens such as yourself who think you can have fruit trees and market gardens on our great moorland expanses. Sheep and cows are the only things that will grown there. If you think otherwise please be my guest and start farming fruit on the top of Dartmoor, above Glossop, on Shap Fell or around Otterburn.

    • dixie
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      I suspect you are talking about permaculture, whilst aspects could work in your back garden it is not suited for large scale production as it relies on foraging to gather food.

  50. ian
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    How about immigrant worker coming to the UK to replace British workers on 45,000 to 80,000 pounds a year as employers cut back on their wage bills, well you voted for it.

  51. David Brown
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Sir JR, I note you comment a lot about so called Free Trade and Free Trade Agreements.
    Leaving aside the current EU trade negotiations I have to question do Free Trade agreements actually exist in the true sense of the term?.
    My thinking on this is because all countries seem to want one sided special arrangements as part of any deal. The US is very keen to get its pharmaceuticals into the NHS as one example. Its very difficult for me to see any Free Trade Agreements that don’t have lots of red tape legal clauses. To me a genuine Free Trade Agreement is no import duty and no clauses or special arrangements. Just one side of A4 that states Free Trade Agreement with a particular country.
    I recall you once said about leaving the EU “There does not need to be a lot of negotiation”. Well seems to me the same should apply to all Free Trade Agreements.
    Part of leaving the EU is to reduce regulation so we don’t need a lot regulation around a Free Trade Agreement . Very simple really

  52. Iain Gill
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    National resilience should also consider whether such large imported workforces are really such a good idea, and we should just stop the artificial constraints on locals training in many key fields.

    Our reliance on massive numbers of imported doctors and nurses is silly, we could easily be self sufficient. And many other trades and roles, not least IT workers where cheap imports from India are massively distorting the market.

    • A-Tracy
      Posted August 1, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Iain why dont the employment ratios feature this way around, for example all of our doctors in each area of the UK should be 86% white To reflect the whole nation, it makes me question whether there are sufficient openings and training courses, we should free the Training numbers up.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 3:41 am | Permalink

        places for entry to medical schools for locals are artificially constrained by the government. that is the entire problem.

        as for IT the politicians have decided to socially manipulate society by allowing mass import of the cheapest IT grads from around the world, as their mental model is that IT is an overhead to the financial services economy they think they are forming the UK into.

  53. Ian@Barkham
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Another one the UK government let go.

    Nvidia is reportedly in ‘advanced talks’ to buy ARM for more than $32 billion

    • Caterpillar
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      Won’t be good for technology competition.

  54. Mike Wilson
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    What are the latest immigration figures, I wonder. Are we down to the ‘tens of thousands’ yet – now we are out of the EU?

  55. forthurst
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    The existing owner is simply a market trader; however, Nvidia is actually a technology company for the benefit of the Tories with their Arts degrees who can’t tell the difference. So watch out for strategic changes in the deployment of R&D away from Cambridge to Silicon Valley.

    • Ian@Barkham
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      Just another lose, that to move forward we have pay twice for

  56. glen cullen
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Increasing the size of the Lords – big mistake

    • Ian@Barkham
      Posted July 31, 2020 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

      The new model Democracy we have to embrace

  57. NickC
    Posted July 31, 2020 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    Oh, so you do finally admit the EU is a bureaucratic nightmare. Fortunately the vast majority of UK GDP (over 87%) is not with the EU, so all that will happen is we’ll trade less with the EU, and more with the rest of the world. So we’ll be even less likely to rejoin your EU empire.

  58. Freeborn John
    Posted August 1, 2020 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    Complete weakness and negotiating naivety from the U.K. is agreeing to the EU October timeline for negotiations. This will just lead to a Remoaner media drumbeat of fear-mongering peaking at that time. The EU will interpret the U.K. agreeing to their timetable as lack of resolve by the U.K. government to do anything other than cave to all they ask for.

    The U.K. should be saying that negotiations end now unless the barnier negotiating mandate is changed by heads of government in the EU Council. The certainty for business as to what trading relations will be in a few months time is more valuable than chasing a will of the wisp agreement with no time to prepare for it. Nothing else will convince the EU that the U.K. is serious. And nothing else will convince British voters that this government has the competence to get brexit done.

    • multiID
      Posted August 1, 2020 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      You don’t get it.. the EU is standing still..we are the ones leaving, or already left, it is up to us to request from the EU a new is up to them to decide how they want to meet and greet with us..or am I missing something

  59. Posted August 1, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Utter tyranny +1 plus I suspect most of the people here as well !
    For J R to ask questions, and especially the scandal in The Channel, come on JR you have been Watching like the rest of us .
    Your Remainer Government is blatantly doing this to spite this Nation, it is happening everyday for all of us to see.
    How you can ask such questions is beyond me, and most of us here ?

  60. ian
    Posted August 1, 2020 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    The only people not to vote for more immigration were people who voted for the Brexit party or people who do not vote.

  61. alastair harris
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    You make some valid points, but with regard to defence perhaps “import” is the wrong term. We might well have our own armed forces, but the fact is we are dependent on allies and alliances for our security. NATO being an obvious example, but not the only one.
    Certainly the defence supplies industry is both large and profitable, and we should seek to ensure our economy is able to support industry like this, through being a low tax, low regulation, low energy cost place. Which would in practice require a large roll back of the stifling regulation we had imposed by Brussels, and a reversal of the stupid zero carbon policy Boris is championing with a large dollops of gusto.

  • 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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