The twin deficits

The UK is currently running a large state deficit, with the government spending maybe £350 bn more than its tax income this year. Last year we also ran a £100bn balance of payments deficit. Whilst this fell sharply during the global lockdown and big hit to world trade, it is picking up again as world trade recovers.

Allowing a huge deficit for just this year by the state is affordable, as interest rates are near zero and at the same time the Bank of England is buying up £250 bn of the state debt for taxpayers. The US, the Euro area and Japan are all doing the same. It’s still not a good idea to waste any of the money so borrowed, nor to think this is a long term answer to our economic challenges.

More serious is the balance of payments deficit. This now stems from two main causes. The first is the persistent large trade deficit with the EU. Our surplus with the rest of the world does not manage to get anywhere near offsetting all of this.

The second is the now persistent deficit on investment income account. Because for the last few decades we have imported so much more than we exported to the continent, we have had to sell companies, properties and shares to foreign buyers to raise the foreign exchange we need to pay for all the European imports. As a result we have changed from a country with a large surplus on our overseas investments prior to joining the EEC/EU into a country with a large deficit in investments, owing overseas investors much larger sums in interest payments and dividends than they owe us.

In future blogs I am going to return to the question of how once out of the single market and customs union we can reduce our trade deficit with the EU and stem the need to keep making our investment position worse by having to sell our assets. It is not a good economic model to be dependent on the goodwill of foreigners to buy your food or electricity, relying on foreign supply and on foreign finance to do so. The balance of payments has to balance, so if we import too much we have to sell off the country’s assets to pay the bills.

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313 Comments

  1. Stephen Priest
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    The Government seems to be living off mirage money.

    Who is the de facto Prime minister of the country?

    What does levelling up mean if by 2030 only very expensive electric cars will be available?

    Why does Prince Charles think that the currently crisis is a great opportunity?

    Why does the Labour health spokesman want to suppress any open discussion on vaccines? Does the left suddenly love Big Pharma?

    Are these peoples right to be crush by a Labour Health spokesman with no medical qualifications?

    Coronavirus: NHS staff flock to anti-vax group (The Times)

    Hundreds of NHS and care home staff have formed a group opposed to vaccinations, wearing masks and testing in hospitals.

    The group, NHS Workers for Choice, No Restrictions for Declining a Vaccine, has gained more than 250 Facebook members in a month. They include a GP, several accident and emergency nurses, healthcare assistants, lab workers, and private and public care home staff.

    It says it is not an anti-vaccine group and exists to support healthcare workers, etc ed

    One member who works in a GP’s surgery, said that she would rather quit than help with a vaccination

    • Stephen Priest
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

      This Is How Great Reset Will End Western Democracies

      Mahyar Tousi – you tube

      What are Conservative MPs doing to try and stop this Globalist Agenda?

  2. Keino
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    What you say is not a good economic model is in fact what every economist for the last 300 years has said is the very basis of our market economy, ie selling things. You plan to take us back to the stone age it seems

    • Hope
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      JR, you need to make a correction the UK will not be out of the EU single market and customs union, Northern Ireland is very much in it and very much UK! You ought to know you voted for it!

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        To avoid that border in the Irish Sea the only solution is for the whole UK to be in them.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted November 17, 2020 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

          Your Mrs May! Everything makes serve now!

    • IanT
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Yes, “selling things” – not selling the companies that make those “things”

    • Everhopeful
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Yup!
      That is definitely the plan.
      Stone Age…but just for the 90%.
      The 1% will continue as before only more so.
      Our lack of political vigilance has lost us everything.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      You have got the reverse of what JR has said. Read it again. We have had to sell our assets to get the money to pay for imports. £250 billion leaves our economy every year. JR has said it is not sustainable and we must produce more and NOT depend on foreigners keeping us.
      With what do you disagree?

      • DavidJ
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

        +1

      • Hope
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        Lynn,
        A bit like JR highlighting drop in car sales/manufacturing by his govts taxation then the Fake Tories giving it another hammer blow! This week getting rid of petrol and diesel cars by 2030! Is this on the say so of Mistress elect Johnson?

        Come on.

        I know how about getting rid of perfectly cheap coal fired power stations where their is an aundance of coal and not replacing them while Germany, India and China carry on building them! Or how about this govt importing our coal from Russia rather than mine its own!

        Economic plan, what effing economic plan? Same for immigration. Last week Fake Tories passed through the immigration act making it worse not better, all rhetoric and spin. Ten years of it. Yesterday JR claimed Cameron followed his evonomic plan, god help us if he did because I remember the Fake Tories failing to deliver on their manifesto promise of balancing the structural defict three times!

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted November 16, 2020 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

          Hope I don’t understand what you are trying to contribute. As far as I can ascertain your complaint is with Boris Johnson. However you are attacking JR who is defining the problem which needs to be reversed.
          Your flailing about seems to be associated with your inability to treat individuals individually. You treat the whole Conservative Party as a collective. Very socialist! Cant you see that we are fighting for the heart and soul of the Tory Party, so it can deliver in spades what you demand and more? Yet you attack those of us fighting to deliver.
          Exactly what a Farage does and the reason he is not a serious option, never has been and never will be.
          Now get a grip. This is not JR’s ‘government’ any more or less than it is yours and mine in that it is the Government of the U.K.

          • Hope
            Posted November 18, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

            Ten years of marching left. Three PM’s and how many cabinets! I do not doubt JR is a conservative but he is in a very small minority that is ignored. He keeps saying he will work to gain some sort of consensus to his views when the party left him years ago! Same for you. Keep beating your head against the wall.

            There are many left wing Johnson’s in your party. Wake up.

      • acorn
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

        JR’s second to last paragraph is factually incorrect. “… sell companies, properties and shares to foreign buyers to raise the foreign exchange we need to pay for all the European imports.”

        Actually, we pay for the imports with Pounds Sterling. Foreigners then have to find Sterling denominated assets to invest in. If they sell those Pounds for other currencies, then the Pound drops in the FX market. UK can then no longer afford to buy foreigners’ exports, causing unemployment back in foreign homes.

        So they buy UK factories, Chelsea mansion etc. Back home they call them “foreign reserves” in their national accounts. As long as foreigners think Sterling assets are worth holding on to, no problem.

        The UK as a large importer, makes it worth foreign central banks “buying up” the exchange value of Sterling so it can keep buying the stuff they are exporting.

        If you run very large current account deficits for long periods, you end up exporting large amounts of your currency. Such that foreigners collect it and start using your currency as their “reserve” currency, to trade between themselves, if their own currency is a bit fragile. That “reserve” currency is today the US Dollar.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted November 16, 2020 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

          You are wrong. You have confirmed the basis of u-your confusion, you can’t grasp the realities.

          • Peter Martin
            Posted November 17, 2020 at 10:59 am | Permalink

            @ Lynn,

            Acorn is applying a measure of lateral thinking so his conclusions seem odd from your POV which come from a more conventional vertical thinking.

            If I understand him correctly he’s saying that net exporters have chosen to be net exporters, and to do that does mean that they have to put their surpluses back into the UK via our capital account.

            That way we continue to run a deficit in our current account. And we can continue to purchase their exports.

          • Edward2
            Posted November 18, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

            But acorn also tells us that we can endlessly create sterling without any real problems.
            So paying for imports is easy.
            And the fx markets are always available if they want to swop sterling for another currency.
            Or use their sterling reserves to purchase goods and services we have for sale.
            There is more to international trade and currency movements than meets the eye.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      Yes, simply we have to sell more stuff by being able to tilt our table our way, rather than having rather large “friends” sitting on our joint table at their end tilting it their way.

  3. DOM
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    The second paragraph is testament to the sheer laxity and complacency of the British political class. It is NOT affordable in the least.

    The price for the construction of an authoritarian, omnipresent, omnipotent State and the financing of a dependent political culture using taxpayers money will bankrupt the taxpayer.

    We are in effect financing our very own subjugation. Indeed some have actually voted for it

    And now we have this PM suddenly and conveniently disappearing from public view to avoid the world following the coup now taking place at the centre of government

    And then news that a massive tax raid on the motorist will start through road charging to pay for Mr and Mrs Johnson’s EV crusade. An assault on our pocket and no doubt a cover for vehicle tracking

    Track the person using the virus cover and then track the vehicle using the EV cover

    All is Reichstag politics. If a reason cannot be found to justify oppressive political action then invent one

    I actually fear for my person going forward. There’s an ominous foreboding as we see the State slowly creep and creep into the very fabric of our private space. We can’t escape from it

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

      White feather! Drip, drip, the country and freedom have NEVER been saved by people like you yelping from the sidelines undermining our forces.
      If you can’t help, at least stop hindering.

      • Hope
        Posted November 18, 2020 at 10:23 am | Permalink

        Lynne,

        How unpleasant. Nor has it been saved by political traitors in the Fake Tory party or those who vote for it after witnessing over four years of betraying their country and population! What did Johnson do? He just rewarded some of them!

        Just remember how you helped the traitors by voting for them.

  4. David in Kent
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    I’m glad to seeing you are raising this issue. For years people have complained when we sell off classic companies like Cadbury and important ones like ARM while many Mayfair buildings are empty much of the time. They forget that these are consequences of our having to finance our large trade deficit with the EU. What however can be done about this?
    We can presume the Euro with continue to be undervalued for German industry, protective tariffs are hardly the answer as they invite retaliation. A liberalised regulatory regime which removes bureaucracy would help but increased productivity must be part of the answer. Increased investment in productive assets would help but we will need more. What do people suggest?

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

      Halving the state sector, a real National Insurance run by insurance companies who bid for blocks of citizens (healthy and sick) who will push up quality and productivity of the NHS and ensure only our people are treated. Massive tax reduction for investments, businesses and indexed CGT at the same level as enjoyed by foreigners.
      It should be illegal for the Government to borrow to ‘give’ money away either to NGO, Charities or foreign countries and authorities including the UN, Commonwealth, etc
      Stopping the repatriation of funds by people working in this country to their ‘home’ countries, Pakistan alone gets a total of £1.5 billion pa from the U.K.!
      JR will have better ideas than I do. That’s why I want him in nr 10.

      • Hope
        Posted November 18, 2020 at 10:24 am | Permalink

        Why not go to the end of the rainbow and collect your gold. Wake up.

  5. Mark B
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    The economic model would have worked if the EU Project succeeded in assimilating all nation states into one single entity. But the pace was set deliberately slow and the UK got a bad deal when joining. It seems that the Tories are going to pull the same trick with, yet again, a bad deal. Perhaps PM Johnson could ask the EU if they would be prepared to Level Up on trade?

    It is all well and good our kind host outlining these proposals, but is anyone in government listening or has anything similar ? All I am hearing is the creation of green jobs. One therefore can only assume that we shall be regressing to an agrarian society much Cambodia did under the Comaire Rouge.

    Good luck with that !

  6. Julian Flood
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Sir John, the UK is an archipelago build on kilometre-thick beds of gas-bearing shale and surrounded by hugely productive seas. We are refusing to exploit the one and are trying to give away the other.

    We deserve to fail.

    JF

    • glen cullen
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      Our new First Lady Carrie can only see ”renewable”…..and thats how it shall be

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      Exactly. We have 300 years of coal which could make us self sufficient in fuel.
      No doubt we will give away our fish stocks, after all, Barnier has said we can have 20% in exchange for the EU continuing with their £90 billion deficit.
      We don’t have a government with our best interests, just a load of troughers wanting to preserve the status quo.
      Never have I been so disappointed in a so called Tory government with an 80 seat majority.
      Boris has thrown the towel in and will be out of office shortly when he will redign his seat and dissappear into obscurity.

      • Ian Wragg
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

        Resign.

      • glen cullen
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

        Correct – and its the good coal, the clean coal, British coal….and we’re sitting on a big rock of it – nothing to import

    • MWB
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      Let’s see some fracking in London and the south east, and then just maybe we will be prepared to have fracking in the north. Don’t bank on it though.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

        Oh yes we will! The north is not stupid, canny.

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Exactly right.

    To do this we have to become competitive again. Far less state and less government waste, lower taxes, simpler taxes, a bon fire or red tape, no renewable subsidies or other green crap, relaxed planning, freedom of choice and no market rigging in education, health care, energy etc.

    Almost the opposite of what Boris and Sunak seem to have planned. They have not even cancelled HS2 yet, are going ahead the Stone Henge underpass, mutter about a tunnel to Northern Ireland, have a ten point green crap plan to announce this week and still fund millions of largely worthless degrees with soft loans.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      Sunak plans for increases in wealth taxes will do even more harm to tax revenues and to the economy and tax base. He is a PPE graduate and the Chancellor so one would not expect him to be remotely economically literate I suppose.

      Reported yesterday that Boris has to isolate again and cannot be tested as he has no symptoms? What lunacy, he has had it and almost certainly will not get it again as we know. They can test all of Liverpool without symptoms but not the PM? Plus loads of people at University are being tested without symptoms too before they return at Christmas.

      How long after catching it and fully recovering does one still test positive for I wonder. How many reported covid death are in fact people who have had it recovered but still test positive when going into hospital but then die of other causes?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

        Despite having antibodies the rules are the rules says Boris. Well government make the rules change them so they are sensible rules Boris.

      • Know-Dice
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

        If the rules don’t make sense then change them…

        The PM has been asked to self-isolate, he should be tested on a daily basis in any-case…

        I think Boris must subscribe to a hybrid Ostrich/Mushroom theory…
        Head in the sand & Dump on people daily..

      • matthu
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

        54 million people worldwide have reportedly contracted Covid.
        And only 4 people have contracted it more than once…

        Boris being forced to self-isolate when he is clearly immune is another reason I won’t ever download that NHS app. (The other reason is that the initial contact is more likely to have been a false positive than a genuine infection.)

        Madness.

      • Longo
        Posted November 17, 2020 at 6:00 am | Permalink

        Did Johnson have Covid-19 or something else?
        Something else would explain need to isolate now.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      King Boris, Rishi Sunak plus Queen Carrie that is.

    • Ed M
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      @Lifelogic,

      ‘To do this we have to become competitive again. Far less state and less government waste, lower taxes, simpler taxes, a bon fire or red tape, no renewable subsidies or other green crap, relaxed planning, freedom of choice and no market rigging in education, health care, energy etc.’

      – And we do that by getting people to work harder (work ethic and patriotism). Not by selling off more of our country’s assets.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        More incentives for people to be self reliant whenever possible and fewer incentives to be feckless and indolent as now.

        • Ed M
          Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

          @Lifelogic,

          I agree to a degree. But money can’t be the only incentive.

          Young men need to be taught and encouraged, for example, that hard work and responsibility is good for them. Money will flow from this. But the real pleasure is in the enjoyment of hard work.

          If they haven’t been brought up with strong work-ethic values, they will either just remain being lazy or else go to the other extreme and earn money in dubious ways (that then leads to all kind of new problems – addictions, relationship break-ups and so on).

          Ultimately, the great problems of this country can’t be solved by politics alone and/or by low taxes (I agree to low taxes but as an ultimate end goal – although you can certainly lower them to a degree whilst you try to reach the end goal). To really bring taxes down we have to change the culture back to the values of work ethic, taking personal responsibility for oneself and public duty / patriotism.

          How you do that is a lot more challenging than just a political tweak there and another political tweak there. It involves changing the culture in education, the media, the arts – and so on, and letting this spread to individuals and families and take it from there.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted November 17, 2020 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

            Make them do some work and/or some job training for their benefits.

          • Ed M
            Posted November 18, 2020 at 1:57 am | Permalink

            @Lifelogic

            ‘Make them do some work and/or some job training for their benefits’ – agreed.

            I also think choice of – after leaving school at 18 – national service for 3 months or do other voluntary work (and food and accommodation paid for with pocket money allowance of £5 a day or something – for both). The middle classes too – so many take gap years anyway.
            Or they should be able to do something similar during school years.
            To make the young more self-disciplined, responsible, patriotic, sense of public duty, and more, including great fun (CCF was a real good laugh when I was at school – getting muddy with mates on Salisbury Plain night exercises, firing guns, seeing tanks close up shooting across the countryside etc.. ).

            And / or they can do it duri

    • glen cullen
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      There must be a golden goose hidden away somewhere – there’s no other answer

      • Ed M
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        The problem is later generations pay for the selling off of the golden goose now.

        Each generation has to do its part of building up a golden goose. For example, by getting more young people to go into High Tech and start up the great British High Tech companies of the future, that offer high skills, high productivity and high value exports.

        And on top of that, re-create a culture of keeping one’s company in the family in some shape or form or at least within British-owned hands as so often took place in the old days in this country and still to an important degree in Germany today with German companies.

        Sadly now, so often we think it’s all about money when it should be about work ethic (which involves the joy of working hard at something we really enjoy doing – which inevitably brings in money – but the real joy is the work itself not the money).

        • Ed M
          Posted November 16, 2020 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

          It’s a bit like couples getting married for the sex and emotional highs, instead of getting married because the whole thing is enjoyable (and challenging) not just the sex and emotional-high parts and they will come even more in a happy marriage overall.

          Or a bit like couples going into politics for the power, when the real joy of being a politician is the satisfaction in building up one’s country and one’s people. Power isn’t a bad thing at all (heresy to suggest so) but only when we focus on it for its own sake (the same for sex in marriage and money in business).

          Our country (and others in The Western World) is sadly obsessed, from one degree to another, on money, sex and power, when all of these things are great but in the right context.

          • Fred H
            Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

            why spoil it by getting married?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      Covid deaths last seven days up only 25% on the previous seven day. Death yesterday about 6% up on those a weak earlier. Covid deaths next week will will be about the same or just slightly more than this week’s I predict – given the current trend.

      Excess deaths last week recorded (week 44) about 10% up on the 5 year average well within a normal range. And this despite much of the NHS being shut down!

      There really is not reason at all not to get back to normal (other than a few special cases) as soon as posible. The goverment actions are causing far more harm than good. By the time we have the vaccines (and know if they will do more harm than good) it will be largely over anyway.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

      +1

  8. DOM
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    The Remainers are now back in charge in No.10. We won’t be leaving the EU in the way most expect

    And what will Eurosceptic Tory MPs do about this? They’ll talk about it, discuss it and then do absolutely nothing. They have become part of the problem if they aren’t prepared to do what is necessary

    The Tory-Labour scam continues unless we have a party that enters into the public consciousness and grabs the imagination of the voter though I suspect the British political class will dismantle democracy or certainly nobble it if they detect a true political threat to their grip on power

    • BOF
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      +1

    • glen cullen
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      Does anyone in government know the new deadline date

    • Andy
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      We were never going to leave the EU in the way you all expected. Because you all expected all of the economic, social and political advantages of EU membership with none of the costs. Instead you get masses of pointless paperwork, huge hassles and lorry parks. When they said they wanted to end free movement the Brexiteers forgot to tell you that your free movement was ending too. Your friends who want to retire to Spain now can’t. Your children who wanted to spend a year or two working around Europe – they can’t either.

      The Brexiteers also didn’t tell you all that the type of foreigners you mostly voted to stop coming here largely don’t come from Europe anyway.

      So, no. You will not get what you think you voted for. But that is because they lied to you in 2016. So blame them.

      • Edward2
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

        You are obsessed with trade young Andy.
        It is more about being a free independent nation.

        Able to democratically decide our future.
        Free of the EU.
        Able to make our own laws control our borders and control our taxation and be supreme with our own courts.
        You think old British Empire nations are right to assert their right to self determination.
        You also think UK nations should also be able to break free should they wish.
        Odd that you think the UK should be refused that luxury.
        Despite a referendum where a clear majority voted in favour.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      They don’t have to defeat you, you concede all day every day. For Gods Sake, where are these red blooded British men and women who have wrested such a gentle civilization out of a vicious world?

      • Hope
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

        Lynn,

        No, totally incorrect. I believe you might be a conservative. Unfortunately you fail to grasp that ship sailed long ago. Neverthelss you keep voting for this party hoping it will be different! You repeatedly show your frustration towards! You keep voting for the same left wing lies.

        Simon Stevens was Blairs health policy advisor he is now in charge of NHS, did you expect him to change from his left views and not select or promote people in a different image to himself?

        Same for MoD, Home Office and all the quangos etc etc. ingrained left wing views throughout these organizations. Fake Tory Govt’ (3) supported and furthered these left wing causes for ten long years without any change because people like you voted for them!

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted November 16, 2020 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

          😂😂you believe I may be a conservative! Holy God how perceptive. That meant that I voted against the Tory Party for 20 years! Have you got the guts to vote for your politics rather than your party?
          I want Tories in charge of the Tory Party but all you UKIPpers do is attack us!
          If my husband had won the UKIP leadership in 2,000 we would to day have been an independent country for a decade at least and we would have an honest Tory Party, the sort that JR would deliver!

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      Establishment 1 Brexit 0

  9. Lester Cynic Beedell
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    A very clear explanation of the obvious, the only problem is that I cannot see anyone in government taking the slightest notice!

    I see that Boris has ducked behind the parapet to avoid the criticism coming in his direction, never mind, I’m sure that Carrie Symonds is more than capable of ruining the country in his absence .

    I’ve just made a donation to Reform U.K. and I’ll be voting for them in next year’s local elections, if elections are still permitted?

    I informed my local MP but other than an acknowledgment he never replies to me, presumably he doesn’t have answers to my questions, how did you vote in the lockdown debate, no response so I hazarded a guess….. you rubber-stamped it, he’s not replied so I’d guess that I was correct?

  10. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Fracking for our own gas would be a step in the right direction but won’t be considered with the woke lot in charge of the country. Still the plan being considered by Ris hi to tax us for every mile we drive should raise a fortune. This will surely kill more businesses off. It’s just going to be another way to get Joe Blogs off the roads. We won’t even have the pleasure of driving soon. As I said 2 days ago it will be something only the wealthy will be able to afford.

    • BOF
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      And control Joe Blogs!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      Indeed motorists already pay far more than is fair for the pot holed and over congested roads.

      The only advantage electric cars have is no tax on the fuel and the other tax payer funded bribes. If these go there is no reason to buy them at all. So they will have to force people to as is clearly their plan.

    • graham1946
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      The ones causing the deficit on motoring tax should pay – those already well off enough to spend 30 grand upwards on an electric car get a free ride at the moment. It will not be acceptable to charge for road use whilst petrol tax and road tax are in existence. Get rid of those two and he may have a cause. I think it is another kite flying exercise to see what the public think. Let them know, it won’t do. This is the old Tory trick of feather bedding the well off and hammering the poor. Quite how that squares with ‘levelling up’ and making one nation I would like to hear explained.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      We also have loads of coal, but that won’t be used while the green agenda reigns. That’s until people start shivering in their homes, then coal mines will be opened up before the next general election.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      +1 but Queen Carrie might not allow it!

  11. SM
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    And yet the Govt continues with Cameron’s crazy commitment to Foreign Aid.

    Does it really think the world thinks better of us because of our (forced) charity, or does it just make already-wealthy people feel good?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Home-grown crime costs the UK ten times our aid and contributions to the European Union combined, and that’s before you count contingent costs.

      Our crime rate is twice the pro-rata European Union’s too.

      So if only that could be brought down to the average, then that would save several times the amount.

      But keep on getting het up about developing markets and educating children instead if you will.

      • SM
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

        Home-grown crime? Well I don’t doubt that many criminals are UK-born, but a significant number seem to have come from elsewhere in the EU and further abroad to land on Britain’s all too welcoming shores.

        And what is wrong with a wish to educate children and develop markets for goods that will provide jobs for now and the future?

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted November 16, 2020 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

          +1 another costly import!

    • graham1946
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      Foreign Aid – taking from the poor in rich countries to give to the rich in poor countries.

      • glen cullen
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        Spot On

  12. Andy
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Your party has, literally, spent 40 years selling off our assets.

    Telecoms. Electricity. Gas. Water. Rail. Airports.

    And these have since pretty much all been sold off to foreigners. What a surprise.

    It is not the EU who made us do this. It is the Conservative Party which did it.

    Like a rich old relative who inherits loads of wealth and then spaffs it all on themselves rather than sharing any with their kids.

    • No Longer Anonymous
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      + 100

      And the outsourcing of work. Now we’re seeing the results.

    • Mark
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      I found a long term (back to 1946) chart of the balance of payments current account at the ONS website.

      https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/nationalaccounts/balanceofpayments/timeseries/hbop/pnbp

      It shows that the tribulations that had Denis Healey borrowing £400m from the IMF are very small beer indeed compared with our recent deficit. The first significant trouble came during our period of ERM membership, but restoration of floating rates afterwards reduced the deficit substantially. It started to rise alarmingly again about 2 years after Labour came to power in 1997, since when we have had chronic deficits. It may help to understand why this is so to recall that manufacturing employment fell dramatically in the Labour years, while house prices were pumped up through mortgage borrowing that was fed back through the sale of mortgage securities to overseas buyers, which was a principal source of capital account funding of our import binge.

      The cumulative current account (adding up all the surpluses and deficits over the years) was £104m in surplus over 1946-1984. Post ERM it stabilised at about £1.3 billion deficit. It has subsequently ballooned to £1.3 trillion cumulative deficit since 1946. That has been financed by selling off and mortgaging our assets. Domestic mortgages have risen from £417bn in May, 1997 when Labour came to power to over £1.5 trillion today, with the rise largely financed by a combination of QE and sale of mortgage securities, mainly to overseas buyers.

      Bear in mind that modern definitions exclude accounting for net remittances overseas, which have been running at ever higher levels as the numbers of migrants have increased. They probably add at least another £200bn to the 21st century cumulative deficit, and equally have to be financed.

      • a-tracy
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

        Very interesting, thank you.

      • hefner
        Posted November 18, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

        Thanks a lot for this and your other contributions.

    • Fred H
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      thats a bit of a clue to how you feel about elderly relatives? Left out of a will, were you? How sad – still the cats enjoy a life of luxury.

    • M Davis
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

      Don’t want to rain on your parade, Andy, (Ha!) but wasn’t it Socialist Gordon Brown of the Labour Party that sold our gold at a ridiculous price?

  13. Alan Jutson
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Amazing that with a Parliament stuffed full of what we are informed are bright forward thinking Mp’s, who then hire hundreds of experts at great expense to keep them advised, do not seem to have understood or were worried about the simple task of balancing the Countries books, and getting it to live within its means for decades past.

    Money squandered on a host of vanity projects and ideals, little regard for the quality of goods and services purchased, inefficient working by Government staff, with nothing put by for a rainy day.

    Couple that up with a penal tax system that sucks the life out of those who want to try and better themselves, and the solution they come up with is to want to penalise them even more

    I see from press reports that the Chancellor is now looking at additional road charges for all vehicles, because the tax he will lose on the demise of petrol and diesel fuelled vehicles cannot be afforded.

    Crazy, absolutely crazy.

    How do they think millions of ordinary households manage. ?

    They think ahead and budget properly !

  14. Simeon
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    You are of course right to point out that consuming more than we produce is a serious problem. Therefore, isn’t it ironic that one of our supposed trump cards in the negotiations with the EU was our profligacy? Or in other words, a pretended strength was in fact a weakness.

    Where you are wrong is to suggest that the state deficit isn’t a serious problem. You say it is affordable as interest rates are so low. But the national debt has to be serviced, which is a drag on the economy. Merely reducing the deficit (which only slows the growth of the debt) has serious implications, both politically and actually in terms of state services,. Whatever ones view on the past decade of ‘austerity’, it is inarguable that the majority of people feel that they are poorer. Reducing the deficit is something that one must be seen to be doing, or access to those low interest rates disappears. Either way, people can expect to feel poorer going forward.

    All this, without stating the obvious, which is that interest rates cannot remain low forever. At some point creditors will lose confidence in the ability of debtors to pay. And/or the massive inflation of the money supply will translate to rocketing consumer prices, the remedy for which is… rising interest rates.

    In short, the future is painful and miserable as we pay the price for living off credit for so long. The only way to avoid this is if the economy suddenly starts to grow at a pace that no one is predicting. To pretend that this kind of growth is possible would be both ridiculous and dishonest. Yet it seems to be the unstated assumption that underlies your final para.

  15. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Yes, damn that European Union eh?

    It makes wonderful stuff that people want to buy, and it’s a great place to go and to spend money too.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      It’s hard to see how making the UK unwelcoming and having tariffs slapped on our exports by our market – as John’s ERG implicitly demand – will help the balance of payments problem though.

      Reply Getting our fish back and having a domestic led farming policy makes a big contribution

      • margaret howard
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

        Reply to reply

        So how much is our fishing industry contributing to our economy? How many %? And will we have to buy back the quotas our fishermen sold all those years ago? And will they want to sell them back to us?

        And will our farming industry be able to feed the country? And what will happen when people revolt over the limited produce they will have to contend with after decades of being able to buy products we can’t grow ourselves?

        • Alan Jutson
          Posted November 16, 2020 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

          Margaret

          Why will we have to buy back fish quota’s

          We have already agreed to pay them £40 billion for goodness sake, how much more do you want to give them.?

          • Edward2
            Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

            You are, as usual, quite correct Alan.
            Quotas are voided if we leave the EU.

          • Bitterend
            Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

            Because at this time 60 per cent of the UK quota is already sold out to foreign companies- they just send in boats and change them to british flag to catch and land the fish in Uk and afterwards export most of it to the continent. Aftrr 1st January these foreign companies won’t be able to export the produce to the continent anymore without tariffs in place so will have to sell their businesses to UK intetests.. if they can..something like that

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted November 16, 2020 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

          How much has NOT having our fishing industry since 1972 cost us? Billions!

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

        Thank you for the reply, John.

        However, how will making it far harder for our farmers to export to their erstwhile largest outside market, the European Union, and also tougher to defend themselves against cheap factory-farmed US food help at all?

        And for how long do you intend to replace their subsidies? My understanding is that it is for one year only?

        That’ll focus their minds on having voted Leave – I can’t say that I have much sympathy with any that did.

      • Andy
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        Fishing is an irrelevant industry.

        Don’t get me wrong. If I were a fisherman I would be angry at life too. But I’m afraid they will have even more to be angry about after Brexit. Because it turns out that the fish we like to eat here mostly does not live in our waters. So we have to rely on imports for our fish and chips.

        And the fish and seafood we catch here we mostly don’t like to eat so we mostly export it. Except that Tory Brexit makes exporting harder and more expensive and will, consequently, make British exports less competitive. Plus, of course, the embarrassing way the Tories have behaved during Brexit – particularly the abusive way in which they talk about our continental friends- does not exactly endear us to them. Why would French people want to buy over-priced fish from Brexit Britain when the Brexiteers have spent years being rude to them?

        If Tesco started screaming abuse at me, I’d shop elsewhere.

        The reality of Tory Brexit is simply that we will spend the coming decades undoing it, probably gradually. The next generation will not put up with your lorry parks, your silly and pointless bureaucracy and your unnecessary hassles.

        • Edward2
          Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

          Everything to you is an irrelevant industry, except the one you own your living in.
          Give away each industry sector and before you know it your sector disappears too.

          • a-tracy
            Posted November 17, 2020 at 9:57 am | Permalink

            The government would just need to task the favoured chefs they regularly push at us; Nigella, Jamie, Ramsey, Berry, Harriott, Pascale, Hussain to promote meals using British fish, job done.

            When do you ever see on prime time BBC, ITV, C4 long-standing British business promoted and celebrated?

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted November 17, 2020 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

          Tell that to the EU Andy, they seem confused and are fighting for the fish in our waters!

      • Ben
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

        There is very little profit in fish meal

        • Julian Flood
          Posted November 16, 2020 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

          Stopping Danish fishermen from hoovering up sand eels for fishmeal which is then fed to farmed salmon or livestock has decent side-effects. The sea bird population will thank us. Of course the Green blob’s response to that would be to look puzzled.

          JF

        • Edward2
          Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

          By very little Ben, you mean this sector has no impact on your life.
          Yet if I ruined the sector you earned your living from I predict you would get very cross.

      • Julian Flood
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

        Energy, Sir Joh, energy. When Matthew Hancock was the Minister for Energy and Climate Change we had a protracted winter and the UK was within weeks of running out of natural gas. We were saved by the arrival of two LNG tankers from the Middle East. Today I read that our friends in the EU are threatening to cut off the interconnectors through which we swap electricity if we don’t let them plunder our fish stocks in perpetuity.

        When the lights go out the party in power will not be forgiven. Sewage in the streets, shops plundered, hospitals running on standby generators, old people huddled in church halls with little gas heaters to keep warm. Never mind, there’s a plan — we’ll all be warm when the wind blows.

        I’ve been brushcutting about half an acre of brambles and it has made me tetchy, but nevertheless that’s the reality of what we face. Green reset? Green bl**dy disaster more like.

        JF

        • Fedupsoutherner
          Posted November 16, 2020 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

          +100

        • Timaction
          Posted November 16, 2020 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

          Indeed. The threats by our enemies are never robustly challenged by our politicians. Woke PC political pygmies when we’re crying out for a right of centre party prepared to challenge the left and rid all our public institutions from climate anarchists and bended knee brigade. 10 years in office and no challenge to the left or repeal of the inequality legislation. Who represents the English people?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted November 16, 2020 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

          Exactly.

        • Mark
          Posted November 16, 2020 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

          I recall that actually some of the first Russian LNG was the saviour being short haul, although government statisticians initially refused to acknowledge it (they now do), and there were many attempts to pretend it had not been landed – I think we were supposed to be running sanctions against Russia at the time. I monitored the shipping movements into both Grain and Milford Haven. I note they have been taking in several Russian cargoes lately too.

    • Ed M
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      @Martin,

      Leaving the EU is rightly about sovereignty – not about money.

      Sure, we need a plan and the plan has to be properly led. That’s a different, although related, argument. But that doesn’t take away why I nation should govern itself, just as an individual should ultimately be sovereign and a family should be sovereign and not under the governance of another (except God – if you believe in God – and to some degree in marriage if you believe in Christian sense of ‘One Flesh’ marriage).

      • Ed M
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:43 am | Permalink

        Sadly, our country is in a mess (like rest of Western of world) – one reason because people don’t believe in or appreciate, to the degree they should, the importance of sovereignty – of country, family and individual.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

        Since you care more about the economy than you do about lives lost to covid19 you obviously do care about money.

        So putting the two together means that you care very much more about your puritanical, obsessive brexit than you do about very great loss of life.

        That says very much about you, I think.

        • No Longer Anonymous
          Posted November 16, 2020 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

          So the NHS was created first and an economy came after it.

          Oooo-kay.

        • Ed M
          Posted November 16, 2020 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

          @Martin,

          If our economy is decimated, then more people will die because of other illnesses (heart, strokes, cancer, obesity and so on).

          You’re response is over-simplistic – at great cost to the young who will have to pick up your bill for years to come but also lead to more deaths overall.

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

          where in his post does it suggest the he, as a Christian, values the economy more than lives lost to Covid?

          It says more about you and your own obsessions Marty

          Do keep taking the tablets, they will still be available on Jan 1

    • No Longer Anonymous
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      Here are my comedy choices (continuing the theme from yesterday):

      # 1 Ivor Biggun and his Vulgar Band (aka Doc Cox on That’s Life)

      # 2 Bill Bailey

      # 3 Ant and Dec

      # 4 Michael McIntyre.

      The greatest joke ever told (and I understand and accept why he is unacceptable today) Jim Davidson’s Judge’s joke.

      Note. No satirists in that list.

      Satire is dead. It has found its boundary and is too cowardly to even admit that it has one let alone tell us what it is. Their only job now being to set boundaries of acceptable humour for the rest of us and to defame the people that brought the world George Formby and Morecambe and Wise.

      What will they do for a living when Trump goes ?

      All you can do now is sneer and put muzzles on people.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted November 17, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

        What a wonderful day it is. Yes folks, what a wonderful day it is – for looking into a brexit fanatic’s head, at the pea-sized object rattling around, and saying “how about that for Freedom Of Movement?”

    • agricola
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      True Martin but after 1st January 2021 the buyers of goods and services here in the UK have an infinitely greater choice. Cane sugar rather than beet sugar because the EU tariffs against cane sugar will be lifted. While I feel sorry for the Valencian orange growers, who are already on their uppers, we have the options of Israel, S Africa, Florida and California to mention but a few. In terms of Spain’s largest industry, tourism, the options were there before Brexit. You should see Benidorm at the moment , it is like a ghost town, half the shops closed down, possibly for good, and no holidaymakers. What do you think that has done to the underlying 20% unemployment. Spain and the EU have made no life sustaining hand outs such as people in the UK have enjoyed.

      You make the basic mistake of confusing the EU with Europe. The first an undemocratic totalitarian entity and the latter a great place to visit or reside in. Do not ever think that the intrinsic essence of Spain is an EU achievement.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      We have had to sell all our companies to it so that our politicians could swan around the world chucking billions at it, for no return!
      Our companies made the goods people wanted to buy, but we have been so impoverished by the EU that we no longer own them.
      Proud?

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      Go there then.
      I thought we were going to suffer through losing the enormous EU market for our goods?
      Now you’re saying that our own stuff is so poor nobody would want to buy it anyway. Make your mind up.

    • Julian Flood
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Buying a new German car is an unpatriotic act.

      JF

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 17, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

        Buying any new car given the uncertainty created in the market by government green lunacy is probably an expensive mistake currently. Lot of very cheap secondhand ones about.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted November 17, 2020 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

        +1

    • Fred H
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      Andy will tell you that soon you will not be able to. All those forms, no aircraft, no visas, nobody willing to have a Brit in their hotels etc.

  16. DOM
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Johnson goes into hiding. How convenient

    Covid, the gift that just keeps on giving to those with sinister intent. Starmer and Johnson no doubt coordinating their activities

    • a-tracy
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      Why would Boris have come within 2 meters to anyone with covid at work, this would breach the rules. Why doesn’t the Prime Minister and other important heads of State work behind the safety panels the rest of business has had to provide to continue to operate. This is odd because if all the rules are followed in the workplace he wouldn’t have to isolate.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

        and that is why you shouldn’t download the test and trace app.

        follow all the guidance and rules, still get shafted by the algorithm

        • a-tracy
          Posted November 17, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

          We have had to invest thousands £££ in ppe, safety panels, extra cleaning services, and the people that tell us to do this can’t be bothered! We are supposed to respect them as leaders to follow!

          This app as you say takes away liberty whenever they want it to.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      +1
      They aren’t very subtle really, more totally transparent.

    • glen cullen
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      Like teachers, MPs are hoping to get the T&T call for an all paid 2 week holiday

      • Fred H
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        they had a lot this year already!

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      John needs to be aware – he probably is – that most Tory voters are not like the fixated, tormented handful, who haunt his and similar blogs with their fevered imaginings.

      • Fred H
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

        Thats exactly how I would describe you, should you give us all a break and wreak your torment elsewhere.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted November 17, 2020 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

        😂😂you should get out and speak to them! Very many are far more forceful than the comments on this blog!

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      Thank God for it! Frost will deliver the Brexit you have told us we will never get. We don’t need Lord Haw Haw or Bull, we have to to kick the stuffing and Hope out of us every day.

      • Hope
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        Lynne,
        Keep voting the same way and hope Fake Tories will miraculously change. They have gone left for ten years, but you keep voting the same!

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted November 16, 2020 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

          You don’t know how I vote Hope but you are wrong as in most of your other assumptions.

  17. oldtimer
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    We can rely on UK governments to get themselves into a hole of their own making and to keep on digging. The current government is no different except that it’s determination to pursue it’s green agenda will only serve to accelerate the process of economic decline. It seems to be a regrettable fact that many MPs appear clueless, or not to care, about national economic well being. But without it their other ambitions will crash and burn.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      +++1
      Almost as if they planned it!
      Not to mention the gold ( for some!) in them there GREEN hills!

      • Fred H
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        Only if you dig ’em up for housing – – growing stuff? no way.

  18. Ian Wragg
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    We may never be out of the single market and customs union properly.
    It looks very much like Boris is going to throw the towel in on instructions from his consort. P

    • Robert Mcdonald
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      The silent majority is watching and will judge come the next election.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted November 17, 2020 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

        +1

  19. GilesB
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    We need to:

    – reduce consumer spending. Stop living beyond our means.
    – devalue by about 10%
    – improve competitiveness by increasing investments in infrastructure and industry.

    On the third point, far too large a share of investment has gone into housing, hospitals and schools for a growing population. We used to have about a million pounds of infrastructure per head of population, it’s now less than £900k, directly causing our falling productivity. Each new immigrant reduces the funds available for investment in industry, even if on a cash flow basis they pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits. We need to allocate much more of investment flows to industry in order to increase productivity

    • GilesB
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      Why is this post awaiting moderation?

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 17, 2020 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

      We need to reduce STATE SPENDING! That would increase consumer spending which is what is required. We have a floating currency and don’t ‘devalue’ anymore, the Market knows the value of everything better than even H Wilson!

  20. Ian @Barkham
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Good morning Sir John

    The real much needed discipline is for the Government to stop talking about ‘their’ money. They have adopted a lot of left wing ideas seen coming into office, but the need to get it into their heads like all left wingers they don’t have any of their own money!

    They also need to get it out of their heads debts are paid by squeezing the UK money generators. Its a balancing act I know, but release the UK citizen from government ego and we will thrive. Every pronouncement they have made relates to an inducement for the wealth generators to wish to leave and those that can step up their off shoring their profit centres.

    HS2, really? Its not an infrastructure project, its an ego trip and a backdoor payment to friends in business. Crossrail, doubles the journey time from Reading to Paddington, who thought that was an efficient way to use taxpayers money.

    We need a government in the UK that creates a basic framework for people to thrive, not to rule by decree, not to play to MsM agendas of WOKE and Cancel. This government doesn’t even get that, the MsM is struggling from falling audiences, therefore falling revenue, so stories and that is what they are just stories, with headlines to catch attention of a few abound, more in hope than purpose. Yet we see a government without any conviction of their own just playing the MsM agenda. Talk about fiddling while the country burns. They cant even give us(the people) the ‘Clean Break from the EU’ promised because

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      The damage this government has done to the UK economy by not giving us the ‘Clean Break’ from the EU is I would guess already far greater than any benefit trading/further rule from the EU could ever award us with. Yet they still persist!

      • bill brown
        Posted November 17, 2020 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

        Ian@barkham

        Some figures to support this argument abou the EU and government would be very beneficial?

  21. Frances Truscott
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Encourage people to buy British products.

    • rose
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      That is what our competitors do. French markets and shops are full of French produce; Italian likewise; and naturally the Germans buy German. but our supermarkets pushed continental produce at us in a big way, in preference to our own excellent produce. As for Chinese manufactured goods…it is impossible to buy anything ti seems without it turning out to have been made in China. Even Japanese cameras are now made in China..

      • Hope
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

        With all those coal fired fire power stations that Fake Tories shut down in the UK!

      • graham1946
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

        The funny thing is that a certain German supermarket seems to have more British goods than the big UK supermarkets. Better quality stuff too, especially meat and veg and considerably cheaper.

    • glen cullen
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      Like the police driving British made cars, the army driving British made armoured vehicles, the aux navy sailing British made ships and nurses wearing British made ppe…all travelling on hs2 a foreign made train set

      Maybe our own government should support British made

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        Glen totally agree with this. We should expect our government to support British jobs using OUR money.

      • DavidJ
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

        Absolutely glen and get rid of HS2 too.

      • graham1946
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        The EU wouldn’t let us do it and our clowns of course obeyed to the letter and gold plated it. Hopefully, if we get Brexit we can do these things, though I’d not bet on politicians doing anything sensible.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted November 17, 2020 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

        +1 – and the RF too?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      Properly designed and produced goods are what encourage people to buy them.

      The European Union seem to be quite adept at those.

      • Fred H
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        pity you couldn’t say that about Chinese.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted November 17, 2020 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

        So why have they lost such a huge % of world market share?

    • MWB
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      Which products exactly ?

    • Cliff. Wokingham
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      Exactly… Re run the I’m Backing Britain campaign.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

        Cliff. So are we. Anything made in Britain gets our money. You can stick your German and French stuff where you like.

    • Ed M
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      ‘Encourage people to buy British products.’

      – Yes, which Brexit should help encourage people do.

      – Also, encourage a culture here in the UK that people don’t just sell their companies to foreigners when they do well but hang on to them (Germans are good at this – part of their work culture).

      – Also, encourage more young people to go into the High Tech industry and so start up their own British tech company (instead of so many young being syphoned off to the City of London – important as that is but not to over-do it).

    • DavidJ
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      Indeed and stop foreigners buying up our companies then running them down so we have to rely on imports.

  22. Colin B
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Thank you, Sir John. A good short comment on a worrying subject.

    A lot can be contributed to joining the EEC / EU where in the first decade or two we saw a massive decline in our fishing industry, car industry and steel production. And let’s not mention the financial contributions to the EU and all those other payments to their slush funds that we are never informed about.
    But it’s not just the EU. Successive Govts in the UK made poor policy decisions.

    Why do we not produce some of our own cars under UK ownership. We need to bring back manufacturing to some degree despite having a globalist outlook ( President Trump may have had a unique character but he was right on many things such as Chona, encouraging manufacturing at home and the US balance of payments )

    Why do we need to buy so much food from the EU when it can be produced in the UK.
    I think Sir John raised the point about the sale of low value milk to the EU but the UK importing expensive cheeses.

    Why do we allow our successful companies to be bought by foreign companies including ARM ( I think in Cambridge ) and allowing the Americans to buy a UK defence company ( possibly one from the North of England )

    When the UK is heading towards bankruptcy ( an exaggeration I know ) why do we contribute large sums to foreign aid including China ( and India who have F1 circuits and space missions )

    Why do we need to buy wind turbines from Sweden or Norway. Surely we have the engineers and manufacturing skills in the UK to make them.

    Surely it is not an overly complex process for the UK govt to look at the big ticket items such as farming and cars and to formulate a strategy to reduce imports by creating home grown skills and manufacturing over the short to medium term.

  23. Sakara Gold
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Having witnessed the destruction of the UK’s industrial base, the squandering of N Sea oil revenue and our failure to export the “services” that were trumpeted as the future of our economy, I look forward to reading your proposals.

    The world has moved on now, the future is going to be Chinese. The announcement this weekend of the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that will include Australia, N Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Brunei etc (but not the USA) looks like the death knell for any UK trade deals in Asia. China will undoubtedly block any prospective deals with our friends there.

    I see no prospect whatsoever of any meaningfull reduction in the twin deficits. Historicaly, the printing of fiat in the humungous quatities we have recently seen resulted in the Great Inflation of the 1970′ & 1980’s. This will destroy savings, eviscerate the economy, cause civil unrest on a hitherto unprecedented scale and will ultimately result in the break-up of the UK.

    The government cannot print gold, which will retain it’s reputation as a store of value. My Asian friends buy and hold gold for this reason. I shall do the same.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 17, 2020 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

      But the ‘future is Chinese’ – do they hold gold?

      • Sakara Gold
        Posted November 18, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

        Yes they do, the Chinese buy up nearly all their domestic gold production. 2017 figures published by the World Gold Council show they hold 1843 tonnes – more than India (557) and the UK (310) but less than Germany (3374) France (2435) or the USA (8133)

  24. Caterpillar
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    £350 *10^9

    £20 * 10^3 per life year (NICE)

    Equivalent life years = 17.5 * 10^6

    Average remaining life expectancy of those dying of/with Covid: 8 years (supposedly)

    Equivalent lives ‘saved’ for £350bn: 2.2 million (about 10 times the worst case estimates)

    • Bill B.
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      Caterpillar, the average age in the UK of death with Covid 19 on the death certificate is supposed to be 82.4 years.

      Average life expectancy in the UK is 81.

      How does that affect your figures?

      • Caterpillar
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

        Bill B,

        Life expectancy at 80 is about 8 or 9 years (you give the life expectancy at birth). An issue is that the elderly that have sadly died is not a random sample (e.g. care homes) so the number of years might be lower than the 8 I chose. I have seen estimates a bit lower and a bit higher, but I don’t actually know.

    • No Longer Anonymous
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      Please write that in a way I can understand.

      You also omit offset deaths due to lock down and economic contraction.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

        In other words:

        It feels like saving 1 life today by killing 10 tomorrow.

        • No Longer Anonymous
          Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

          Thanks

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Indeed NICE allow £20K per life year saved to justify treatments so spending £350 billion on non Covid life saving would save far, far more life years than this £350 billion being spend on Covid. But this government do not seem to do maths. Witness the fact that their proposed vaccine priorites (if it is save enough to use a very big IF) do not even adjust for male & female risk from the disease.

      It is worse even than this though, as the second lock down will almost certainly cause more indirect deaths than deaths from Covid anyway. Some studies suggest 10 times. Finally the money being spend (on the lockdowns) largely just delays covid infections & death by a few months anyway – so it does not even prevent them.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        It it is safe enough not “save”!

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      That’ll be “the price of everything and the value of nothing”, then.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        Price is what you pay “value” is what you get. Governments are very good indeed at paying a very high prices for worthless dross as we see time and again.

        It is not there money so they “care not what they pay” and not for them so they “care not what value (if any) they get”!

        • Lifelogic
          Posted November 16, 2020 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

          their

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted November 17, 2020 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

          +1 exactly. The people must spend their own money.

      • No Longer Anonymous
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        You have a one track mind, Martin.

        Lock down and economic collapse kills too and NICE already put a value on life … because there is not an infinite amount of money.

  25. Ian @Barkham
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    The EEC/EU was never and still isn’t a trading block, it is simply a protectionist block that unable to use tariffs because of the WTO have resorted to rules and laws to manipulate trade. You could reason that is why with the façade of trade talks going on, ore not about a mutual trade relationship, but how the EU can maintain its rule over the UK to STOP the UK competing on the World stage.

    ‘Level playing field’ that’s a joke, lets talk about the CAP and what say the UK has in ‘the CAP’ going forward – one of the biggest distorters of world trade. Fishing, the UK inshore coastline fishing did not historically give access to EU fleets. That is just something the EU basically stole by stealth by the UK being part of their club. It is only important now because the EU fleets have plundered and decimated their own coastal fishing grounds. Does the Government entertain the idea that the EU should continue to damage the UK in this way?

    There is no trade of when it comes to who rules and governs the UK and how it works internally. Our elected Governments are lent the powers they have by the people, they are custodians for that moment in time. Change the government and that is the people saying we don’t like what you are doing in our name, therefore we want it changed.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 17, 2020 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

      And bloody bad at ‘protection’ it is too. Europe on its knees again, 3rd time in a century. Thanks Mutti.

  26. John Halom
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Both deficits caused by government. The push to get us into and keep us in an anti democratic super state was entirely led by the ruling class and enabled by successive administrations for decades. Wealth has been extracted from the people of Britain continuously and disguised by excessive debt and fancy electronic gadgets. The only thing that has actually increased the quality of life and wealth has been the internet which was largely unregulated and, therefore, profitable for ordinary people. Now it is being regulated away and together with the removal of most other small freedoms we once had in the name of an imaginary virus we look forward to a dark future. Sadly nobody now believes in free markets or even in freedom itself. Decades of government indoctrination and media manipulation has seen to that.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 17, 2020 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      Entirely true. I doubt whether half Tory MPs understand even the concepts of Capitalism.

  27. Sea_Warrior
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    ‘… we have had to sell companies, properties and shares to foreign buyers to raise the foreign exchange we need to pay for all the European imports.’ I really don’t see a linkage between the two sides of the equation. For example, the decision to sell ARM, taken by shareholders, was not influenced by wider considerations. But I agree that something must be done. NS&I should be ordered to set up an OEIC that will progressively buy up large stakes in our utilities, ensuring that dividend payments go to British citizens rather then flowing out of the country. It would prove hugely successful with those currently nursing large cash balances paying a paltry 0.01%.

    • Mark
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      The linkage is indirect. But when we are running international deficits, we can either devalue, borrow, or sell and mortgage assets to try to bridge them. Potential UK buyers of ARM would have to finance the purchase, probably largely with additional borrowing, which would equally probably come largely from abroad – so in effect, it’s an equity release mortgage. If the sale overseas had not taken place then we would either see other borrowing or sales or depreciation of sterling. Asset sales and mortgages have prevented a collapse of sterling, but eventually we will run out of things we can credibly sell and mortgage. Sterling would then collapse, forcing us to cut our imports because we can’t pay for them, and lenders would cease to be prepared to offer credit. It then becomes almost impossible to bootstrap the economy. Much better to build a productive economy as soon as possible.

      • Old Salt
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

        Mark
        + 1

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted November 17, 2020 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

        Yes! You should be in Parliament.

  28. agricola
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Whether our future is FTA or WTO we gain the freedom to purchase on normal criteria. We no longer have EU tariffs against the outside world that push us in the direction of buying in the EU. Personally I want us to be buying much more from the less wealthy parts of the Commonwealth, so I await your thoughts on what we should be buying and from where.

    There is also the question of Tax Reform for both business and individuals such that it attracts industrialists to set up in the UK and the people to retain much more of what they earn. I do not want to see any negative tax proposals coming out of the Treasury to offset the effects of Covid19 lockdowns. If the Treasury need money to pay for Covid19 it should come from vastly increased commercial activity. January 1st 2021 is a time for brakes off, not the opposite, dreamt up by civil servants who have never sold oranges on a wet Saturday from a market stall.

    • SM
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      +10

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 17, 2020 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      The State sector must be halved. The State must suffer austerity for the decisions they have made.

  29. Sharon
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Thank you for your explanation.

    I knew we’d sold off an unbelievable number of businesses during our EU membership, but didn’t wholly understand quite why. I assumed it was the choice of the individual business, which has always puzzled me as to why they’d want to do that.

    With our financial state in such a mess, we’re unlikely to be in a position to buy them back for a very long time. Our EU membership really was a big mistake.

  30. Fred H
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    OFF TOPIC.
    A long 35 minute meeting with Lee Anderson resulted in the PM getting pinged by Track and Trace. A former Labour councillor, he switched to Conservative and became an MP 2 years ago. He has consistently voted against measures to prevent climate change. Carrie won’t be a fan then.

    • Fred H
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      Andy Carter, the 3rd MP to go into isolation, states on Twit ‘Discussed plans for driving levelling up agenda, jobs, infrastructure and public services’.

      • Fred H
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        now it is 6 MPs and 2 political aides.
        Wonder how many more they infected when going home?

        • glen cullen
          Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

          No one is sick, no one has symptoms – just a text to say ”stay off work on full pay”

    • rose
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      Isn’t he an ex miner?

    • a-tracy
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      Fred, if Boris had followed his own rules in the workplace he wouldn’t be isolating.

      A ‘contact’ is a person who has been close to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 anytime from 2 days before the person was symptomatic up to 10 days from onset of symptoms (this is when they are infectious to others). For example, a contact can be:
      • people who spend significant time in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19
      • sexual partners
      • a person who has had face-to-face contact (within one metre), with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, including:
      • being coughed on
      • having a face-to-face conversation within one metre
      • having skin-to-skin physical contact, or
      • contact within one metre for one minute or longer without face-to-face contact
      • a person who has been within 2 metres of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes
      • a person who has travelled in a small vehicle with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or in a large vehicle or plane near someone who has tested positive for COVID-19
      Where an interaction between 2 people has taken place through a Perspex (or equivalent) screen, this would not be considered sufficient contact, provided that there has been no other contact such as any of those indicated above.
      Contacts of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 need to self-isolate at home because they are at risk of developing symptoms themselves in the next 14 days and could spread the virus to others before the symptoms begin
      If you are a contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, then you will be notified by the NHS Test and Trace service via text message, email or phone. If you are notified, please follow the guidance in this document closely.
      If you have not been notified that you are a contact, this means you do not need to self-isolate and should follow the general guidance, for example, social distancing, hand-washing, and covering coughs and sneezes.
      This guidance does not include health care workers and others working in health and social care settings, who should follow separate guidance.

      • a-tracy
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 4:47 pm | Permalink
      • Jasper
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

        Thank you for this, I was very confused by Boris having to self isolate due to being in contact with someone who had tested positive, especially as it was a work place environment. I had to self isolate due to being in contact with my son who had tested positive- when I asked the NHS advisors (who rang me every other day to check I was self isolating) should my colleagues at work now self isolate, I was told no need provided we all practiced social distancing. One also advised that if we had to tell everyone to self isolate who had been in contact with someone in a shop or hospital then no where would be open. So I actually find it quite off that 6 MPs now have to self isolate !!

        • a-tracy
          Posted November 17, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

          Boris is giving out a false message. If those other five people didn’t come into contact with the original host of the virus why would they have to isolate for 14 days?

          If they stood or sat within 2m of each other why did they?

          If this rule was followed for everyone there would be no hospitals open, no bakeries, no supermarkets, as one positive test would close the whole place down for a fortnight.

          This is getting ridiculous now. The PM is tested weekly I’m sure, we were told get it once and it gives you a level of immunity (that’s what herd immunity was all about). If a person who has had it once has no immunity then how has China iradicated the virus totally from Wuhan with no vaccine?

  31. The Prangwizard
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    I’m pleased to see comments on the balance of payments disaster which has unfolded in recent years and which I have banged on about for some considerable time. It must be the highest priority because bankruptcy is just around the corner otherwise.

    I look forward to suggested solutions, but why over past years has so called inward investment been lauded by just about everyone, from government to individuals. There seems to be a promoted view that the world is out there to supply us with what we need and thus why bother to produce things ourselves.

    Big attitude changes are urgent and one must be to turn attention on the malignant influence of the City. Spivs there just can’t wait to get their greedy hands on businesses and other assets so they can groom them for sale to get a nice fat commission.

    From now on we must keep what we’ve got, which isn’t much and keep what we grow. But we can’t take a gradual approach. Nor should we be so keen to allow foreign companies licence to come here, rent a big shed and then import their products, destroying our similar businesses in the process.

    And we must promote ‘Made in England’.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      Prang it would be a start if we could see the English flag on produce. At the moment we get the Welsh dragon and the Saltire slapped all over things but the English flag is so small and almost ashamed to be on view that you need a magnifying glass to see it. It’s sickening.

      • The Prangwizard
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

        Another issue close to my heart. Some time ago I asked why the English flag was not on products when the Welsh and Scottish flags were. He said it was and pointed to the Union flag. Such ignorance is astounding. We must ‘keep on’, but it’s hard when those who pretend England comes first are deceivers. Tories always put the Union ahead.

        • Paul Cuthbertson
          Posted November 17, 2020 at 1:04 am | Permalink

          Unfortunately the English Flag is deemed WACIST.

      • glen cullen
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

        +1

    • Mark
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      It seems the government is hell bent on destroying further tranches of industry. It is hard to see the automotive sector staying under the planned assault that bans its products and attacks demand for any substitutes. That will stretch a long way up the supply lines too.

      Inward investment can work, in that it provides some local jobs and perhaps some real net tax revenue if the venture is profitable, and it may produce some multiplier effects through spending in the economy by its employees and on locally sourced supplies, and through export revenues: see the North Sea oil industry. However, the interest, profit and dividends go to the foreign suppliers of funds instead of recirculating in the local economy, so it is better if we manage to own the assets and are able to provide the funding. It is of course quite useless to invite foreign companies in to erect highly subsidised wind farms built abroad, extracting the subsidies out of the economy for repatriation, flying in their maintenance crews from Norway and Denmark.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 17, 2020 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

      Hell we paid the foreign companies billions, taken from the local companies who were doing fine, to come and undercut our own companies, steal their staff too.

  32. Norman
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Thank you Sir John. Where else can one find such an authoritative snap-shot of this present tragic reality. Facing up to the truth is the first step to remedial action. How desperately this is needed in our day!
    Just a mile or two from here, there’s a small dwelling called Wesley House. It is where he first preached his liberating message in this town, on 16 March 1761. His ministry was a culmination of a struggle for truth over previous centuries. He’d once said, give me a 100 men of like mind, and I will change this land. One only has to look at the now derelict chapels in every little hamlet, to realize the once great impact of the Spirit of truth. The 6,000+ glorious hymns penned by his brother Charles are further testament to that divine power that was once at work. But sadly, as predicted by Wesley himself, the greater the blessing, the greater the fall from grace, if the word of God is neglected.
    Hence, we now also have this great spiritual deficit. But in the mercies of God, and in our not despising the day of small beginnings, that could change. However, time is now shorter than most of us realize.
    Meanwhile, keep on being ‘valiant for truth’ in every sphere!

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      Writing a load of tuneless dirges (hymns) is not evidence of a divine power at work. It is evidence of someone who had too much time on his hands and probably never did a honest day’s work in his life. 6000 dirges!

      • Norman
        Posted November 17, 2020 at 2:24 am | Permalink

        MW- Dirges? Are you kidding? Charles Wesley wrote some of the most inspired and joyful hymns of all time! Their soul-healing power carried Britain through a dark period when Revolution might have overtaken us, as in France.
        ‘Love Divine All Loves Excelling, Joy from Heaven t0 Earth Come Down!’
        ‘And Can it Be, that I should Gain an Interest in the Saviours Blood?’
        ‘Oh For a Thousand Tongues to Sing My Great redeemers Praise!’
        ‘Crown Him with Many Crowns, the Lamb Before the Throne!’
        All of these still sung around the world today.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted November 17, 2020 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

        Wesley worked every day of his life, wrote his Sermons and songs in the saddle!

  33. Bryan Harris
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    A good subject…

    Boris really does need to be reading this diary, instead of the Guardian.

  34. Stred
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Boris and his Party prefer to buy 15,000 wind turbines made by Danish, German and Chinese manufacturers and requiring massive quantities of copper to power electric cars, homes and factories along with their batteries made using lithium, cobalt and rare earths from abroad. Prof Kelly has calculated that these will be in very short supply, with the British car fleet needing much of world production and owners needing new batteries every six years. On top of this, Johnson thinks that the floating turbines in the deep sea are just wonderful. It has just been revealed that these are twice as expensive as the ones on towers and already costing over three times the wholesale price of electricity.
    That’s going to do the balance of payments a lot of good.
    At least customers will have so little money left that they won’t be able to afford foreign holidays.

    • rose
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      And the solar panels from China are manufactured using coal fired power. Two coal fired power stations opening a week, is it, to supply the clean green revolution in the West? The mining of the rare minerals and metals you mention lays waste to other countries’ landscapes. And the turbines in Germany are now being replaced with the second generation, but where to throw the first generation?

    • glen cullen
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Average break-even point. 14 years – source http://www.renewableenergyhub.co.uk

      • Fred H
        Posted November 17, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

        and will the panels still work and deliver the output at Year 14 stated at Year 1?

  35. Newmania
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    More serious is the balance of payments deficit. .

    Complete and utter nonsense. This statement rests on a kind of economics that became redundant when Adam Smith wrote Wealth of Nations in 1776. It runs counter to the facts of comparative advantage and is a tedious whining refrain that Protectionists seem to be unable to to outgrow
    Rubbish aimed at the ignorant to justify higher costs in the shops due to tarrifs imposed by the Brexit State on a country that has now decided it does not want the whole crackers project at all.

    • Edward2
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

      Are you forgetting floating currency exchange rates?

    • Paul Cuthbertson
      Posted November 17, 2020 at 1:10 am | Permalink

      By the way how much are we indebted to China? Hinkley Point, HS2 plus others.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 17, 2020 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

      You EU sycophants accusing other of Protectionism!

  36. Bryan Harris
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    The fallout continues over how much power Boris has seeded to his girlfriend

    “Boris Johnson’s MEDDLING fiancé caused CHAOS in Downing Street”

    None of this reflects well on Boris — He needs to get a grip, and wake up from the love induced haze he seems to be in.
    It’s reported that his GF had previously said she would do anything to get into #10 — It seems that cost was to have his baby.

    • Cyril
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      He has to handover to someone while he goes into the ‘tunnel’ or is it the bunker?

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 17, 2020 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

      It is outrageous that the PM discusses governance with unauthorised people. Are you sure he is not telling her all the security stuff? I’m not! Boris is not up to the job in any department and must depart.

  37. margaret howard
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    BBC News:

    “Fifteen countries have formed the world’s largest trading bloc, covering nearly a third of the global economy.

    The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is made up of 10 Southeast Asian countries, as well as South Korea, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

    The pact is seen as an extension of China’s influence in the region.

    The deal excludes the US, which withdrew from a rival Asia-Pacific trade pact in 2017.

    The new free trade bloc will be bigger than both the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement and the European Union.”

    So where does that leave our much trumpeted trading future with say, Australia and New Zealand? Will we have to be in the queue?

    • SM
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      Are you aware of the tensions rising between China and Australia, because the latter wants an investigation into the initial cause of the current pandemic?

    • Billy Elliott
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      I don’t know about which queue we need to be.
      But what is clear is that world is more and more polarised. Big blocks instead of individual nations. Lowering the trade barriers.
      Wheras we go on reverse: we were part of the unique frictionless single market but decided to leave it and raise the barriers.

      This won’t end well.

    • james
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      The way I see it fifteen major countries have formed the world’s largest trading bloc and not one of them feels the same as UK and want’s to go it alone-
      or am I missing something?

      • graham1946
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        I think you are. A Trading bloc is what it is and what the EU should be, then we would not have left. They are not looking to rule individual countries like the EU does, although I’d be wary of getting into bed with China.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted November 17, 2020 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

        Are you assuming the members of the new ‘trade block’ have ceded their sovereignty?

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

      margaret

      Think you will find our recently signed trade agreement with Japan, and soon New Zealand and Australia will be the entry to join this enlarged organisation, it was reported and publicised some time ago, but the BBC forgot to tell anyone about it in their hunger for more negative news. !

    • Mark
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      The concern is surely that this extends Chinese power and influence. I am sure they have observed the EU closely, and worked out how they can become the indispensable Germany of the bloc, tying the rest up in debt. It is the Belt and Road initiative adapted for the wealthier countries that don’t start out needing Chinese investment for economic development. He who eats with the devil should sup with a long spoon.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted November 17, 2020 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

        +1 yep! China already has Africa ‘in the bag’. A number of EU countries too.

  38. Know-Dice
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    It’s interesting to hear that fishing and state aid are the current stumbling
    blocks for a free trade agreement.

    Are the EU running scared of the French fishermen and what they will do when they lose their fishing rights in UK waters?

    From a UK perspective fishing is “small beer” to the economy, but could be turned into a useful export trade if handled correctly.

    The ROI also seem to be running scared over the “level play field”, they stand to lose access to the UK market and easy transit across the UK, not to mention Ryan air not being able to fly from Stanstead….

  39. Ed M
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    ‘we have to sell off the country’s assets to pay the bills’

    – that leads to a loss of who we are as a nation, and in a way a loss of sovereignty.

    We need to increase the culture of proper patriotism:

    1) For people to buy more British
    2) For owners of British companies to keep their companies British instead of selling to oversea buyers.

    British owners didn’t sell up because of the EU, they simply sold to exchange their assets for cash – this was simply a social/cultural mindset deriving from the 1980’s – and a huge amount of those assets were sold to Americans and Japanese (and Europeans and others).

    Our country is already asset-stripped enough to foreign owners as it is.

    Let’s not also forget that we also have a big trade deficit with China.

    It’s right to want to leave the EU, but for the right reasons: sovereignty.

  40. Christine
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    If my finances were in a mess, the first thing I would do is stop all nonessential spending. This Government does the opposite. I can only think it is intentional and they want to ruin our country. If people wanted all these expensive green policies, they would have voted the Green party into power.

    Rather than inflict more pain on the tax paying population put some of the following into practise:

    1) Cut Government spending
    2) Cancel HS2
    3) Cancel foreign aid and set up a voluntary contribution scheme for those who want to retain it.
    4) Reform and reduce the House of Lords
    5) Return illegal immigrants rather than putting them in 4* hotels
    6) Stop UK benefits being paid to people living abroad.
    7) Deport foreign criminals
    8) Revitalise the fishing industry with money to build new trawlers, train fishermen and build processing plants.
    9) Introduce road tax for foreign cars and lorries on GB roads (Northern Ireland excluded) similar to Switzerland.
    10) Scrap Police and Crime Commissioners and put the money into front line policing
    11) Scrap Sunday Trading Laws to boost spending on the high street.
    12) Stop Student Loans for Foreign Students. 42% of EU students are not currently paying back their loans. English tax payers are subsidising foreign students including Scottish, Welsh and Irish students. The whole system is totally unfair.

    Of course, this Government will not take any measures to reduce waste and will just heap more misery on the hard working people in this country. It was so easy for them to retain power for decades to come but they have squandered this opportunity by failing to deliver on what the majority of people asked for. If they betray Brexit with an extension or BRINO it will be the end of them. I have lost all confidence in this Government.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 17, 2020 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

      Spot on.

  41. Lester Cynic Beedell
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    My comment which I left at 6.54 is still awaiting moderation whilst comments left before and after have been published…..

    If anymore proof were needed that you censor comments….

    I rest my case , contributing to your diary is a pointless exercise with all the lefties saying the usual things, all the sensible contributors contributing sense…. nothing changes.

    He who controls the news etc.

    The Tories are rotten to the core if more proof were needed, the only emails I get from CCHQ are asking for donations

    • Mark B
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      Mine was held in moderation also. I guess we are both too close to the truth. 😉

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      Lester

      We all suffer from time-time, just get over it and be thankful that we have an MP who actually does bother to communicate with the General Public on a day- day basis.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

      Ah yes..but spare a thought for JR!
      Presumably he reads at least most of our anger even if he suppresses some of it.

      • Fred H
        Posted November 17, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

        He supports freedom of speech, but not all of it on his blog!

  42. Everhopeful
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Or as Justin Trudeau says,
    “This pandemic has presented an opportunity for a reset”.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      Everhopeful I’ve just been reading the UN great reset 2030. Stuff of nightmares and I can see where all these mad policies are coming from. We are sleepwalking into a complete destruction of life as we know it.

      • dark winter
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        People are waking up.
        You lose fear when you can see it.
        It makes me just say what I think
        No pretence.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

        Yes! Yes!
        Read World Economic Forum and W.H.O. too!
        Remember the fuss over pregnant women having a drink and bar keepers turned into stasi …….?
        All there in print for anyone to read!
        Including of course all our MPs …but then I expect they have their own hard copies. ( And have done for years!).

  43. Lifelogic
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Matt Hancock on Nick Ferrari around 8 AM also seems to be in favour of restrictions on free speech over vaccine benefits or otherwise and says “The science is vaccines are safe” ………. “that is the honest truth of it”…………”it would not be allowed if it was not safe” (like Thalidomide. some stents, breast implants or imported blood products for example all allowed)….. “Having a vaccine is so much safer than getting Covid 19″ he says. Perhaps for some it is but for others it is not. For young people Covid is a very low risk indeed how does he know this vaccine is saver?

    Alas this is complete drivel Hancock – the truth is some vaccines are safe and offer a net benefit and some are not and are a net liability”. I am strongly infavour of some vaccines but not all of them depending on the risk/reward in that particular case.

    The risk/benefit analysis for the Covid vaccine is actually rather (or even very) hard to make. If you have to inject perhaps 10,000 people to save one Covid death are you really certain that you will not perhaps cause more death in this 10,000 from reactions to the vaccine? How do you know in advance how many will have adverse reactions to it? Also by the time we have we will have herd immunity in almost all areas anyway. So it may be too late to do any good.

    I though I have better get this in before I am criminalised for saying it.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      safer not saver!

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      This guy Hancock is a despot in the making.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 17, 2020 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      Funny they have indemnity for damage done by said vaccines then. If they are so safe, JR, please tell Hancock that what would convince us to accept the vaccine would be the Govt. (NHS) accepting full liability.

  44. ChrisS
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    No-Deal tariffs will do much to reduce the deficit with the EU, especially on high-value items like cars. The 10% tariff will disproportionally hit the competitiveness of German car manufacturers who have already suffered a 12% increase in costs through exchange rate movements. UK manufactured goods are obviously now more competitive, so tariffs will only put them back into the position they were in around the time of the referendum.

  45. No Longer Anonymous
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Please tell Mr Sunak that it was the Tories who told us to get on our bikes and find work.

    We did better. We took on the responsibilities and costs of car ownership to widen our availability for work – pensioners removed themselves to retirement areas in order to free up housing that was in demand with workers.

    We are where we are. A nation dependent on the motor car with railways and airlines in a state of near collapse. It is unlikely that we will be able to afford a high speed rail network for much longer as it deteriorates and becomes a mass of speed restrictions and disrepair.

    None of us voted for what Mr Sunak plans to deliver in terms of road pricing and petrol is already taxed at a rate of over 100% of the of the cost of the product itself. 58p tax per 113p av pump price.

    This will throw productivity in reverse and demotivate those of independent attitude.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      Plus the road tax, vat, insurance IPT tax (now 12% thanks to Hammond).

      • No Longer Anonymous
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

        And then the parking charges.

        You really do get clobbered for going to work.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted November 16, 2020 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

          Plus the bus lane and hatch junction muggings, the residents parking, the speed & lights cameras soon to have taxes on work parking places too.

    • Mark
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      Don’t forget the VAT that takes nearly 19p of your pump price.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted November 17, 2020 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

        And we pay VAT on the tax that has already been added!

  46. aden
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    so if we import too much we have to sell off the country’s assets to pay the bills.
    ===========

    What assets does the state own to sell off to pay the bills?

    The ;private sector buys most of the imports and sells its asset to pay for them.

    • Mark
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      Debt. It has sold its own gilts to overseas buyers – some £662bn according to the latest data, a rise of over £600bn since Labour came to power, with most of it in the post financial crash era. Gold held by the Bank of England. There have been large gold sales in recent years, mostly going via Switzerland to China. Land and property: MOD land, Council Housing, state school playing fields, etc. Military assets: RN vessels, RAF aircraft, overseas bases.

      But you are right that whereas balance of payments deficits used to have to be funded by official borrowing, as with Denis Healey’s IMF loan or the money spent defending ERM parities, these days government has succeeded in privatising the international debt burden in large measure. That way it is not news, or particularly evident to those without a good understanding of sector macroeconomics.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted November 17, 2020 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

        +1. Nobody in a government has any political economy.

  47. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    I’ve just seen the idea of “Pay as you Drive” — Roads paid for by taxes on the poorer section of society – now to be just for the rich to drive on . . . and maintained by the taxes of the lower groups.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      +1

  48. Iago
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    The government is also importing 700,000 plus people each year.

    • glen cullen
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      On some spreadsheet they’re deemed assets – but thats civil service accounting

      • Mark B
        Posted November 17, 2020 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

        And none of those 700k people are civil servants 😉

    • Fred H
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      but 350,000 Brits throw the towel in and leave.

      • No Longer Anonymous
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        The 350,000 need qualifications or self funding to go where they’re going. That’s the difference.

        Do you think that’s a fair exchange for the country as a whole ?

        • Fred H
          Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

          and I’m certain the 350k jumping ship are indeed qualified to relocate anywhere, and will not stand for the mediocrity of living under these Administrations.

  49. Iago
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Not quite off-topic if your sensible points are to have any hope of being addressed, a headline from the non-mainstream media:
    Trump Lawyer Sidney Powell: “We’re Getting Ready To Overturn Election Results In Multiple States”.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      Please!!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      Unlikely but it would certainly cheer me up. The last thing the US (or UK) needs is more climate alarmist lunacy, expensive intermittent energy, even higher taxes, more government, woke lunacy and more red tape.

      Looks like the UK is going to get it anyway thanks to the new Leftie/Green Boris his Queen Carrie and their new leftie, Labour & even Green voting spin doctor.

  50. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    The tragedy is that successive Governments have ‘sold’ this dire and unsustainable economic disaster as ‘inward investment’. That means we have had to sell more than any of the other countries with which we compete. And the money has been denied to our own business men. There is precious little investment in the U.K. by British people, just speculation in property used as a defence against Government inflation and your home is of course the only means of saving money, every other method having been denied us by excessive taxes and inflation which together outstrip interest.
    By this lie successive British Governments have ‘nudged’ the British away from being a nation of prudent savers into being a nation on credit and 3 months away from bankruptcy. And they wonder why our health and marriages are stretched to breaking point.
    JR is the first politician honest and courageous enough to state the problem. That is because he ALONE in Parliament has the solution.
    For our own sakes, we need to ensure that MPs know their seats depend on delivering Brexit and a true capitalist Government. There is only one route, JR to nr 10.

  51. forthurst
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    One possible solution: stop inviting third world consumers to come and consume in my country; let them impact their own countries’ balance of payments where they belong. Another would be: stop people with degrees in History of Art determining our uneconomic policies. Another: stop foreign spivs masquerading as ‘investment bankers’, selling off our industrial heritage so that we have to pay rent to live in our own country.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      +1

  52. Stephen Reay
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Here’s one example of how we could reduce our imports. Would you believe that there is only one manufacture of dried pasta in this country. Can you image how much we must import. I only wish I was younger again and would seek to start up a dry pasta making company.

    The manufacturing process isn’t too complexed, and the machinery required isn’t too expensive for small scale production, giving scope for future growth. Oh what an opportunity for some budding entrepreneur.

    • Wil Pretty
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      Who would be an entrepreneur in this country.
      The Government can destroy your livelihood with their interference in trice.
      They interfere in energy, healthcare, education, transport.
      Pasta will no doubt soon be a target in the fight against obesity.

      • Fred H
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

        Open for business! Really?

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 17, 2020 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

      We need energy to dry pasts in the U.K., the Italians use the sun. Our cost of our energy means that the transport costs are offset. So it’s not a viable proposal in the U.K. because of the interference of green crap.

  53. MikeP
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Will you Sir John and the Government no longer brag about the huge value of Foreign Direct Investment, and how we’ve attracted more FDI than the rest of Europe put together, now the chickens have come home to roost? We all saw this coming. We own so little of our business base and infrastructure now, we’re almost ripe for friendly invasion.

  54. hefner
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Paragraphs 3 and 4 of Sir John’s today’s offering look like something that politicians of the last 50 years would write on their ‘Way to Damascus’. Better late than never.

    I am looking forward to reading the solutions announced in paragraph 5.

  55. ian@Barkham
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Sir John, Most of the situations you talk are straight forward to sort out, hard work yes but straight forward. The only impediment to getting things done is a government who is not listening and most defiantly not hearing the people of the UK.

    Remember Corvid-19 only the government could solve it, remember the test and trace app only the government could create it. The only thing the government has found it can do is take our money and spend it on personal pet agendas.

  56. Al
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    If you want to fix the deficit, encouraging government procurement to go to this country would be a start. For example, regardless of the colour of the passport, making it overseas costs jobs here, and likewise manufacturing them in the UK keeps people employed, lowers dole costs, raises tax revenue, and keeps money circulating within the country for the multiplier effect.

    Not to mention the advantage of keeping skills in-house.

    An assessment of government waste at all levels is also well overdue. Councils seem to be going bankrupt around the UK, and it is not the Councillors’ or Civil Service’s money that has to bail them out!

  57. Sea_Warrior
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Discussion point: trade imbalances lead to a declining currency, which, in turn, leads to foreign takeovers of cheap British companies.

  58. Michael Hann
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    I have been reading your blog for some time now Sir John. You are plainly well versed in the business of economics and associated subjects, so my question is, if you aren’t already a member of the Cabinet, can I suggest that you should be made one post haste and bring your undoubted expertise to bear in getting this country back on its feet and dispelling any doubt about how we should leave the EU.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      In politics (unlike business or betting that I tend to stick to) being consistently right and telling the truth almost never gets you to the top.

      Following the group think, woke, green crap, big government, vanity project pushing, virtue signalling, tax, borrow, lockdown and then piss money down the drain, and whatever is the fashion seem to be the way to the top.

      • Paul Cuthbertson
        Posted November 17, 2020 at 1:22 am | Permalink

        LL agreed plus Failure is ALWAYS rewarded with promotion and BS baffles brains. I saw instances of this many times before I retired.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 17, 2020 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

      LL and Paul. I agree, in ‘peacetime’ we can afford all that crap. In ‘wartime’ you cut the crap. We are now in wartime, we need a cool head in charge. The Parliamentary party need to be made aware of this. A few forthright letters never go amiss.

  59. ian@Barkham
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    From Conservative Woman

    Stating what and how ‘us’ great un-washed in the country feel about a government out of touch

    The Great Reset in Downing Street, By – Laura Perrins https://www.conservativewoman.co.uk/the-great-reset-in-downing-street/

    • Fred H
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      the great reset reminds me of one Sir George Downing, the street named after his ownership. If ever there was a ( actually several) startling change of allegiance it was his.

  60. Barbara
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Ot, but can anyone tell me why there is now talk among our so-called parliamentary representatives of making expression of any reservations about a rushed-through vaccine illegal? What the devil is going on?

    • IGNORE THEM
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

      Ot, but can anyone tell me why there is now talk among our so-called parliamentary representatives of making expression of any reservations about a rushed-through vaccine illegal? What the devil is going on?

      …..
      They hate us all.

  61. Everhopeful
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    One gym owner trying to keep his business open attacked, wrestled to the ground by 6 or 7 policemen.
    Shame doesn’t really come into what is happening.
    This is Germany 1939.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

      I’m surprised they managed to pin him down.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 17, 2020 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

      It’s U.K. 1938! (That’s when we decided to fight!)

  62. DOM
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    It is noteworthy that the greater fiscal deficit the less our freedoms appear to be. It seems the State’s obvious thirst for spending other peoples money (abusing future generations) to expand its own power and destroy our freedoms in the process can only lead to despotism which is what we are now seeing both in England and in the Socialist shithole of Scotland

    Thatcher warned of the danger of an all powerful State and her warnings are now taking on reality. That this has happened under an ex-Tory government shouldn’t surprise anyone.

    Major and then Cameron picked up the mantle from rancid Labour. It’s been two corpses (Dead Labour, dead Tory) abusing our world since 1990 and exploded into technicolour totalitarianism under May and her disgustng assault on our most ancient freedoms

    I have no doubt that these two scum parties that have destroyed our civil world and taken away our freedoms will at some point suspend democracy

    To still see libertarian Tory MPs like Davies and McVey on the Tory backbenches is so very saddening and reveals much more than some would care or even dare to admit

    We are on the cusp of something very sinister and politicians and their outriders throughout Labour’s client state are responsible

    • steve
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      DOM

      “I have no doubt that these two scum parties that have destroyed our civil world and taken away our freedoms will at some point suspend democracy”

      ===========

      I take it you infer the prevention of elections. Only one response to that; THEY DO NOT DARE !

      And they know it. Which is why their only option is to lie through their teeth during election campaigns.

      The next general election, is there we’ll get them.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted November 17, 2020 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

        We’ll get them before that.

    • Derek Henry
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

      Nonsense.

      The greater the Budget deficit the more ” savings” the non government sector has.

      It frees the non government sector of private sector debt. Private sector debt is a real problem. You can’t run an economy in the back of private sector debt.

      We’ve tried that it failed.

  63. Geoff not Hoon
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    It is truly incredible Sir John that on the day you write yet another brilliant piece we have a well known Indian Billionaire coming into the UK to begin development of an electric motorcycle under the BSA brand. Doubtless you will want to verify my figure but I’m told he has received more than £2m in UK government funding.
    The UK has Royal Enfield, Norton and now BSA each
    manufacturing in the UK but Indian owned. I have a great many Indian friends who tell me regularly Brits are too lazy to be bothered with such ventures. Are they right?

    • steve
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

      “Indian Billionaire coming into the UK to begin development of an electric motorcycle under the BSA brand”

      =========

      Let him waste his money.

    • ChrisS
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

      The Norton brand was relaunched here in 2008 but went bust recently and was bought by Indian interests. Royal Enfield bikes have not been made in the UK for many decades, just sold here and 49 other countries. It’s a big player in India and sells more bikes than Harley Davidson.

      The big success story is the reborn Triumph brand which is British owned. The new bikes were built in Britain, starting in 2000. Sadly, only R&D and custom bikes are now to be built in the UK as in February it was announced that all large scale production would be transferred to their 100% British-owned factory in Thailand. More than 100,000 Triumph bikes are sold each year all over the world.

      The real question is, how come we are great at R & D but cannot make large scale production pay here in the UK ? It has to be down to costs. Tariffs should pay a part here but they rarely make enough difference to justify building bikes here, even in a modern, efficient factory like Triumph’s.

      As a result, when I come to change my Triumph Tiger, I will be buying another European-built bike but, of course, it can no longer be a Triumph.

  64. formula57
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    Conscious of the balance of payments and as a direct result of your making mention in this diary of the merits of English sparkling wine, recently I have switched to that from Champagne with agreeable result.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted November 17, 2020 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

      Lovely isn’t it, Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger admitted we invented it, champagne should really be called ‘chateau Thames Embankment’!

  65. steve
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    JR

    “[how] we can reduce our trade deficit with the EU and stem the need to keep making our investment position worse by having to sell our assets.”

    ============

    Simple; just don’t trade with the EU, we don’t need it. Work towards self sufficiency. As for selling assets – again, simple, make doing so a serious criminal offence against the state.

  66. XYXY
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    On that basis, we should not want a FTA agreement with the EU that continues tariff-free trade?

    • steve
      Posted November 17, 2020 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      XYXY

      Well I certainly don’t. I voted to leave the ungrateful EU, I didn’t vote for any trade deals with it.

  67. Progress
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    John, cars kill people, not only should they be banned but any talk of how good they are, made illegal.

    • Fred H
      Posted November 17, 2020 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      In recent times bicycle riders have become killers and serious injury causers, it is about time we banned them in cities and major towns.

    • steve
      Posted November 17, 2020 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

      Progress (?)

      “John, cars kill people”

      =========

      I suppose you think crappy battery powered cars don’t kill people…..oh boy are you in for a surprise..

      Chemical fires.
      Electrocutions.
      Heavy element dumps in third world countries.
      And the pollution caused by making the useless bloody things in the first place.

      Oh and the Co2 emissions from charge infrastructure.

      I think you will find it’s trendy liberal & lefty virtue signallers who kill people.

  68. ian
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    Germany locking down for 4 or 5 months, UK gov wants to follow suit.

    • a-tracy
      Posted November 17, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      Germany didn’t have the 16-week first lockdown we had. Our government are becoming a joke now.

  69. Derek Henry
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    The twin deficits argument is based on flawed logic most of the time.

    It goes something like this: the government decides to spend too much, causing a budget deficit that competes with private borrowers, driving interest rates up. That appreciates the currency and causes a trade deficit.

    The budget and trade deficits are unsustainable as both the private sector and the government sector rely on the supply of £’s lent by foreigners. At some point the Chinese and others will demand payment and/or sell out of £’s causing UK rates to rise and the £ to crash.

    Which is mainly based on a fixed FX analysis. We use floating absurd to point that out but some economic textbooks haven’t been updated yet.

    Truth is…

    1. Overnight rates are set by the Bank of England ; deficits raise rates only if the central bank reacts to deficits by raising the rate.

    Budget deficits result in net credits to bank reserves and hence put downward (not upward) pressure on overnight rates. That is relieved by bond sales by the BOE and Treasury—or by paying interest on reserves. In other words, there’s no crowding out effect on rates. (Inaction lets rates fall.)

    2. Budget deficits result from the nongovernment sector’s desire to net save government liabilities. So long as the nongovernment sector wants to net save government debt, the deficit is sustainable.

    3.Current account deficits result from the ROW’s desire to net save UK pound assets. So long as the ROW wants to accumulate pounds, the UK trade deficit is sustainable. So there is a symmetry to the two deficits, but not the one usually supposed.

    4. The UK government does not borrow £’s from China. China’s net exports lead to accumulation of £ reserves that are exchanged for higher earning UK bonds. If China did not run current account surpluses, she would not accumulate many Treasuries. All the pounds China has came from the UK.

    5. If the UK did not run current account deficits, the Chinese and other foreigners would not accumulate many Treasuries. This shows that accumulation of Treasuries abroad has more to do with the trade deficit than with the UK borrowing. (Compare the US with Japan—where virtually all the treasuries are held domestically.)

    6. A sovereign government cannot run out of its own liabilities. All modern governments make and receive payments through their central banks. Government spending takes the form of a credit by the central bank to a private bank’s reserves, and a credit by the receiving bank to the account of the recipient. You cannot run out of balance sheet entries.

    7. Affordability is not the question. The problem with too much government spending is that it diverts too many of the nation’s resources to the public sector—which causes inflation and leaves the private sector with too few resources.So, no, I don’t worry about sovereign government debt if it is issued in domestic currency—although I do worry about inflation and excessive private sector debt as well as nonsovereign government debt.

    8. The twin deficits are the residuals that accommodate the desired net saving of the domestic private sector and the ROW, respectively. Usually the domestic non-government sectors want to accumulate £’s so the only sector left to inject £’s is the UK government. This means the UK runs a deficit because others want to accumulate £’s The government also accommodates the portfolio desires of the non- government by swapping £ reserves and bonds on demand.

    Finally if the ROW does not want £’s anymore, it can buy goods and services in the UK. That will reduce the external deficit, stimulate domestic demand, and thereby reduce the fiscal deficit. Allow us to substitute some imports.

    Sterling is an export product pure and simple. By focussing on a country, with fixed borders and a consolidated ‘Rest of World’, they appear to miss the subtleties in play that become apparent when you look at the issue from a different point of view.The classic one is believing that foreign is quite different from domestic. It really isn’t that different at all.

    There is little difference between somebody holding, say, Sterling Savings in Birmingham, Alabama from somebody holding Sterling Savings in Birmingham, England.

    Both are a drain from circulation in the Sterling currency area and free up capacity in the real economy within that area, because saving denies somebody an income further down the spending chain. Both may provide capacity to buy something in the future and, outside of cash or a basic deposit account, both are likely to provide some sort of income in Sterling.

    Both can be taxed. Sterling accounts are all transitively linked to the Bank of England via chains of other Sterling accounts. That’s what makes them Sterling. (Yes that applies to Eurocurrency deposits as well — ultimately they have to clear via the Sterling banking system to be worth anything and that allows authorities to collect back taxes on a remittance basis).

    Foreign entities are holding your currency as savings. Similarly, financial products denominated in your currency are held as savings. Savings are, in effect, an export product of your currency area.

    But let’s say the central bank purges its liberal types and hires some people who realise central banks can’t go bust in their own denomination. They ignore the sovereign wealth fund, say it is a silly waste of time, and stop worrying about the inevitable mark up to ‘Other Assets’.

    And let’s say the Norwegians elect the Hedonistic party that promises to swap their huge hoard of savings for actual stuff and blow it all on imports. What is all that spending going to do to your economy?

    It is going to cause an export boom that’s what. Will that stop or reduce domestic spending in your currency area? Probably not, because if your investment expansion caused by the boom is insufficient to handle the load, you can always rely on that circuit breaker — more imports.

    It goes something like this:

    The Norwegians order stuff from your currency area backed with their hoard of savings.
    Your economy ships stuff to the Norwegians in return for their savings in your currency.
    Exporters have an income and pay people.

    Those people then start to buy stuff, but everybody is working for exporters and there is nobody to make anything (allegedly).

    Other nations on the planet — running export led policies — spot the wealth in your nation and turn up in droves to sell their wares.

    You buy imports and they keep the profits as savings (possibly in their own sovereign wealth fund).

    The net effect is that the Norwegians reduce their savings in your currency and other export-led economies run up savings in your currency. So you spread the Norwegian demand around the planet to the extent that you can’t satisfy it yourself.

    But let’s say that, for some reason, nobody wants your savings — even though there is a boom on and everybody is making loads of money. So you can’t rely on imports, or foreign direct investment, because the rest of the world has developed ‘ globalist economics’ disease and desperately wants to preserve a dying model they fervently believe in even though it makes no rational sense whatsoever to expect multiple independent nations to behave in unison this way.

    Surely now your domestic consumers are going to suffer under the relentless demands of hard partying Norwegians! But what political party is going to favour foreigners over residents who actually vote for them? Only those no hopers who have zero chance of ever getting elected.

    Well if an economy is in boom time, exporting like crazy and making profit hand over fist, is the currency going to be strong or weak at that point? Exactly.

    Now that the ‘bond market vigilantes myth’ has been slain, the ‘foreign debt holders’ myth has sprung up in its place. It’s just another excuse to maintain the globalist, creditor first viewpoint and to try and stop politicians being elected that put the public good of the domestic population first.

    Why we all voted for Brexit in the first place.

  70. glen cullen
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    Lord Frost tells Boris to expect a BRINO within seven days

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 17, 2020 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      I suspect that is what will happen.

      Unless Queen Carrie changes her mind that is which seems unlikely!

  71. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted November 17, 2020 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, but we must absolutely put an end to the investment deficit and reverse it. We need to do things like extract ourselves from Airbus and rebuild our own aircraft industry, railway coach building, medical equipment production etc.

    Another way of looking at low borrowing costs is that they encourage the State to waste money on lockdowns, furloughing and vanity projects. Is any of HS2, Heathrow third runway, 5G infrastructure and free-at-the-point-of-use healthcare going to show a profit in the generally accepted use of that term? 5G infrastructure possibly.

    Certainly not HS2. The veteran transport economist Stephen Glaister presented a (government sponsored) review of HS2 costs and benefits to the Transport Economists Group. Benefits only just exceed costs and include dodgy ‘wider economic benefits’, which are usually estimated by sticking a wet finger in the air. On a strict financial analysis, HS2 is a lemon, with £100 billion in costs and only £45 billion in net revenue over a very long period.

    The only way to free up capital for profitable private sector investments is to slow down or cancel several of the Government’s pet projects.

    Sir John will get an opportunity to address the twin evils, the Scylla of the current account deficit and the Charybdis of the capital account deficit, during the debate on the Chancellor’s public expenditure review. He will be able to trash the conduct of economic policy during the Blair/Brown years, when much of the damage was done.

    • Derek Henry
      Posted November 18, 2020 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

      Hi Lindsay..

      Hope you are well.

      The MONOPOLY issuer of the £ does not need to borrow £’s to spend. It is monetary policy simply put a ” reserve drain” so the BOE can hit its overnight interest rate.

      Strategic exports and imports is how Would put it. Why ?

      Because exports are the cost of your imports. The currency you get from your exports allows you to buy imports – the stuff you can’t produce yourselves. Real terms of trade.

      When you think in real resources terms exports are a cost. You are using your real resources and sending them away to earn blips in a foreign central bank spreadsheet.

      Imports are a benefit in real resources terms. Other countries fill factories working 16 hours a day so we don’t have to. We get more leisure time and this allows us to use our skills and real resources more productively.

      I’ve Never understood the metal bashing argument unless it is stategic. Software – which is a service business. can license tens of thousands of copies all across the world with next to no distribution costs. That’s a far more efficient way of exporting than anything real and exchanging your real resources for the blips you need. Thatcher understood that.

      The real wealth of UK is. Think of it as your pile of stuff. That’s your real wealth. Goods and services. Everything from bread to healthcare. Goods and services. That’s your real wealth. So your real wealth is everything you can produce when everybody’s working (job guarentee). That’s how you get the most real wealth.

      Plus whatever you import adds to your pile of stuff. Whatever you export subtracts from your pile of real stuff. Now I did not say that exports don’t help the exporters. Yeah, it helps those people. But it is a subtraction of real wealth from the entire economy. The exports are your cost of imports. Why John always says 0% tariffs on imports why tax something we benefit from.

      Back in the old days we called that ‘real terms of trade’. So to optimise your prosperity, you make everything you can with everybody working, and then you add to that with imports, what people export to you. Then whatever you must export, you try and get as many imports as you can.

      If you can export one Ferrari and get four Mercedes, that’s good. If you can export one Ferrari and get five Mercedes, that’s better. Real terms of trade, that’s the important thing.

      The United States doesn’t even publish the trade deficit or surplus between the states. [The EU is like a collection of US states using a common currency.] Again, that’s a whole debate in itself. Why it is so dysfunctional.

      In real resources terms we are winning the trade war with the EU by a country mile. The winners of wars always get the losers to send them their real resources. They keep their real resources to themselves.

  72. simple soul
    Posted November 17, 2020 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    By a happy chance we happened to be tuned in to your comments in Parliament on overseas trade deficits and goods. I firmly share your general views on the policy issues you raised about the need for zealous and intrepid prosecution of British trade in goods overseas. However, I hope I may draw attention to a popular misconception which has long bedevilled national understanding of this issue. Since the early 19th century, we have had large and alarming trade deficits in goods giving rise every few years to scares about national decline and imminent decay. This continued throughout our greatest period of sustained economic growth and prosperity, in face of all the evidence. The reason is simple. Our industrial supremacy enabled us to consume the products of the earth without restraint, leading indeed to regular and normal deficits in goods trade which upset the nervous. It was obvious, however, that these deficits were amply paid for by an ever growing surplus in invisibles, such as investments, services, shipping, banking, and dividends. Nervous we might be, but we could afford practically whatever we liked, a happy state that continued up to the world wars.

    Curiously, this nagging anxiety about trade deficits re-emerged after the war, again in fair part by turning a blind eye to our success in invisibles. The historical importance of the trade deficits in the 20th century was in providing an illusory support for a wider belief in British decline or “declinism” which affected both policy makers and the general national mood. I hope this is more or less true. I say this cautiously as I am getting on a bit. I.e. I lived through a great deal of it.

    We always greatly welcome your interventions in the House as lucid, instructive, and well thought out.

  • 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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