Germany will still sell us her BMWs if we change our relationship with the EU


The main argument that advocates of our current EU relationship advance is that we do more than half our trade with the EU so we have to maintain full membership to keep all those jobs. It is the most stupid argument in current UK politics. It is extraordinary that it has been trotted out uncritically for more than fortty years, and still many in the media fall for it.

It is often based on the lie that more than half our trade is with the rest of the EU. This figure ignores our very profitable trade in services, where well over half is with non EU countries. It ignores the Rotterdam and Amsterdam entrepot effect, where trade with the rest of the world passes through these large ports and is counted as EU trade when it is with places further away.  It fails to take into account that our trade with the rest of the EU is in heavy deficit, whilst our trade with the rest of the world is in good surplus.

Worse still, it assumes if we tried to change our relationship or if the UK electors voted to leave, that trade would be lost. Are they seriously suggesting Germany would no longer sell us BMWs and Mercedes? Do they think we could not manage by buying cars we make here, if they will no longer sell us cars they make over there?

Do they not grasp that EU countries are signatories to international agreements on trade which would prevent any such interference in trade with the UK?  Why do they wish to bind us into close union with countries which they think have such ill intent towards us that they would seek to damage trade with us as revenge for our wanting more independence?

It is all absurd. The rest of the EU has too much to lose from its lucrative UK trade to want to damage it, and would be restrained anyway by the legal requirements of the international trading system.

They sometimes go on to argue that we need to be inside to have influence over the rules and regulations that apply to goods and services we supply to the rest of the EU. We have no such influence over the rules and regulations imposed by the US or China on our trade with them, but they never argue we should join some type of political union with these countries to sort this out. The problem with belonging to the EU is that we need to apply EU rules not just to goods and services we supply to other EU countries, but they also  make us apply them to products we want to sell to third countries. As often the UK ends up with more rules and regulations than it wants or needs, this can make it more difficult to sell outside Europe.

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  1. Robert K
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    The Jubilee celebrations have brought home the importance of the Commonwealth to Britain. Rather than being entangled in a Continental bureacracy we should be looking to our historical connections within the Anglosphere.
    Why don’t pro-European integrationists want a referendum? Because they know Britain would pull out of the EU tomorrow if we were given half a chance.

    • APL
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      Robert K: “Why don’t pro-European integrationists want a referendum? ”

      They do, because they know that they have millions to be spent by the EU, partial and biased programming for their cause by the BBC – which is 50% of the news media in the UK and we only need to loose one referendum and John Redwood’s chums in the not Tory party will be jumping up and down.

      We don’t need one referendum, we need a rolling referendum on the ’73 EEC act every five years.

      Multiple referendums, it’s good enough for the EU, it’s good enough for US.

      And since we clearly cannot trust the Party not to put its own interests above those of the UK, we cannot trust them with big issues either. While we are at it, a referendum on the finance act too.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 8:27 am | Permalink


      • Timaction
        Posted June 5, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

        A £50 billion EU annual trade deficit. £10 billion net annual EU aid. £9 billion to administer its directives strangling our businesses every year and 80% of all our laws. The loss of an entire fishing industry and 400,000 jobs. 1000,000 young people unemployed undercut by Eastern European in starter jobs. No reform of the CAP so we subsidise EU farmers with billions in extra food costs. Millions in mass migration ensuring that 25% of our school budget is to educate foreign born children. Billions in housing and health costs at Englands taxpayers expense………
        Laws and bureacracy to hamper our industry and service sector whilst promoting their own.
        The benefits are?

        • Boudicca
          Posted June 5, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

          None for us. Plenty for the Political Elite, Establishment and globalists – which is why they won’t countenance leaving.

          • APL
            Posted June 6, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

            Boudicca: “Plenty for the Political Elite, Establishment and globalists .. ”

            Who seem to infest the modern Tory party, so what’s a voter to do?

  2. lifelogic
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    Indeed and the figures also include trade with Ireland in the over half claim
    Trade overall would surely rise – if released from endless mad regulations, able to buy from the best worldwide suppliers and without the additional costs and inconveniences of the EU.

    The main positives for an economy at the moment, seems to be having your own currency and being free of the EU straight jacket, in control of your own decisions and having the freedoms to use cheap energy (without political /religious/quack green interferences).

    Norway, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Singapore and many others seem to be doing fine.

    • zorro
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      They certainly don’t seem to be having the same debt or growth issues. Can’t our politicians just ponder that for a few minutes?


    • lifelogic
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      I happened to catch some of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Sermon to day. Mainly delivered to the expensively over dressed and pampered state sector who arrived in their large petrol eating over polished cars or private planes. Most of it, as one would expect from him and his ilk, made no sense whatsoever. He made the usually digs, political nonsense and platitudes, one section:-

      “Moralists (archbishops included) can thunder away as much as they like; but they’ll make no difference unless and until people see that there is something transforming and exhilarating about the prospect of a whole community rejoicing together – being glad of each other’s happiness and safety. This alone is what will save us from the traps of ludicrous financial greed, of environmental recklessness, of collective fear of strangers and collective contempt for the unsuccessful and marginal – and many more things that we see far too much of, around us and within us.”

      Moralist (what is moral about archbishops dressing fancy robes & talking rubbish I wonder) surely he means ludicrous financial “waste” not “greed” (as in the EU, government in general and the quack green religion perhaps).
      “environmental recklessness” I hope he means the absurd obsession with wind farms, carbon capture and so called “renewables” but I suspect not.
      “a collective contempt for the unsuccessful and marginal” does any one have contempt for them? Only perhaps when (as encouraged by the lefty state) they live of the labours of other but are in fact perfectly able to provide for themselves.
      Also “a collective fear of strangers” what is he on about “fear” of what exactly?

      I suppose it is hard to say something sensible without offending some of the overdress, over paid powers that be in his congregation but he might have tried a little.

      The music was quite nice but the huge delayed acoustics rather wastes it. Is St Paul’s a cheap building to heat and maintain I wonder – (as he is clearly most concerned about such matters and looking after the poor)?

      • zorro
        Posted June 5, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

        ‘Collective fear of strangers’ is an unsubtle reference to those of us who think it might actually be a good idea to limit immigration in order to control a population problem, rising varied social costs, and allow some employment opportunities for lesser skilled British workers rather than them rotting on the dole or benefits……..i.e he thinks that we are xenophobic….I am however pogonophobic( etc etc)


        • lifelogic
          Posted June 7, 2012 at 8:22 am | Permalink

          Beards, golden gowns and weasel words.

      • Bazman
        Posted June 5, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

        Maybe the laws of Physics could be deregulated to become as flexible as the middle class social security system solving a large number of problems. How many scientists have we got working on this?

    • uanime5
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      In order to continue trading with the EU Norway and Switzerland have implement almost all EU law, even though they can’t influence it.

      Also Hong Kong is a city in China, not an independent country.

      • zorro
        Posted June 6, 2012 at 8:46 am | Permalink

        Wrong again, it is a Special Administrative Region which has independence in a lot of areas, and has its own currency and passport.


        • uanime5
          Posted June 6, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

          1) A Special Administrative Region is part of a country, not an independent country.

          2) Macau is also a Special Administrative Region but the UK doesn’t consider it a separate country.

          • zorro
            Posted June 7, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

            Yes it does for visa purposes….these SARs have their own flags, passports and currencies for at 50 years. I was addressing your point that Hong Kong is a city in China, which, of course, it is not.


  3. Brian Taylor
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    Keep up the good work,these facts should have as much coverage as possible.

  4. colliemum
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Thanks for this fulminant repudiation of the myth that we couldn’t possibly survive outside the EU.

    It is typical of the whole debate about our EU membership that this myth is being trotted out again and again even today.
    Perhaps we could look at how much these regulations cost our industries and make our exports more expensive than they need to be.

  5. Mike Stallard
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Brilliant article – well said. Even I can understand it!

  6. RB
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    More to the point, Mr R, these statements by others that you mention are untrue, and deliberately so. Fear. Its all they ever give us.

    • lifelogic
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      Fear is a powerful tool for governments (and most religions) fear of global warming, fear of bird/swine flu, fear of hell and damnation, fear of terrorism, fear of execution or amputations, fear of imprisonment. Fear is indeed a very powerful tool for governments and always has and will be.

  7. Ian
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    Countries like Norway still have to implement single-market rules (these include welfare, VAT, freedom of movement, public procurement, competition law, health and safety, manufacturing standards, professional requirements, environment, etc.) in order to avoid punitive tariffs on their exports to the EU. This isn’t free trade, it’s nation-wrecking!

    But if we simply refused to implement single-market rules, and the EU put up such tariffs against us, then our retaliatory tariffs would severely damage the EU economy, such is the level of our imports from the continent. So even if the EU doesn’t want to give us genuine free trade, we can still blackmail it out of them.

    • MartinW
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      Quiter so. All we need is courage – a commodity sadly severely lacking in our pea-brained politicians at the present time.

    • uanime5
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

      Simple mathematics shows why this won’t work.

      Of the 26 other countries in the EU 5% or less of their exports go to the UK. By contrast 53% of the UK’s exports go to the EU. So if trade was to cease between the EU and the UK it would damage the UK far more than the rest of the EU.

      In conclusion losing access to 26 markets causes a greater loss than losing access to 1 market.

      • Mark
        Posted June 6, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

        The whole point is there won’t be such loss of access. Ask the Chinese whether they need to be part of the EU to be our biggest trade deficit partner, or the Americans whether we refuse to sell to them because they aren’t in the EU.

  8. Sue
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Everywhere I go the shops are flooded with German goods. White goods, laptops, tools and other electronic devices. They are good value for money. Germany would not want to lose this market, it’s far too lucrative.

    As Robert says above, the millions of Britons that have attended the Jubilee and the sea of Union Jacks is a statement by the electorate that they are British and not European. It was the one occasion that they couldn’t be accused of belonging to the BNP. There wasn’t an EU flag in sight. It was beautiful.

    • Sebastian Weetabix
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      German laptops???

      I think you’ll find consumer electronics overwhelmingly come from China, usually having been designed in the USA, Taiwan, Korea and Japan. But when it comes to white goods and cars your point is well made.

    • uanime5
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

      The UK accounts for 6.2% of Germany Exports. Here’s are Germany’s other major trade partners from comparison: France 9.4%, US 6.8%, Netherlands 6.6%, Italy 6.2%. So the UK isn’t as lucrative as you make out.

      • uanime5
        Posted June 5, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

        Also 11.2% of the UK’s exports go to Germany, so the UK is likely to be flooding German shops with UK goods.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted June 6, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        You still haven’t answered the fundamental point. Why would ANY nation want to stop trading with us, just because we don’t want to share institutions of government with it? What would the motive be?

        • uanime5
          Posted June 6, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

          It’s called a trade bloc and is used to protect those within the trade bloc from those without. Basically it allows countries to sell to anyone but only to buy within the trade bloc, thus benefiting all within this bloc.

          • Lindsay McDougall
            Posted June 7, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

            This is the sort of crap that we used to get from the EEC founding fathers who erected a 70% external tariff barrier. It didn’t benefit anybody and the only companies and people that it protected didn’t deserve to be protected. Trade blocs are no use to anybody. Get rid of them. Tariff barriers are justifiable only against those nations that refuse to float their currencies freely.

  9. Ralph Musgrave
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    JR: I fully agree with you.

  10. Pete the Bike
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    Not to worry, Euro collapse is close now so the balance of trade will be largely academic. If it’s as bad as it could be we’ll be more worried about basics than BMWs.

    • Tony (Somerset)
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      I refuse to believe that the effects of withdrawal of any country from the Euro will be as dire as that predicted by the vested interests.

      • A Different Simon
        Posted June 6, 2012 at 7:42 am | Permalink

        Same here , so much scare mongering going on .

        It’s a mole-hill but unfortunately exotic financial instruments are capable of making an Everest out of a mole-hill .

        Govt’s could do a lot more to minimise the risks too – by declaring all synthetic credit default swaps null and void .

        If they don’t I fear the tax-payers will be co-opted in to bail out any banks with net synthetic CDS exposure to the tune of multiples of the actual amount Greece defaults on .

        I don’t think they’ve got the guts to face down the financiers on this one . Much easier to transfer the losses to the taxpayer .

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted June 7, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

        You are absolutely right. If the weaker nations left the Eurozone one by one in an orderly manner, we could see some growth in their economies as a result of evaluation. The effect dosn’t necessarily last but in the short term it is beneficial.

  11. Paul
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    The real agenda of the EU is, of course, nothing to do with increasing trade or making trade easier, it is a political project to form a United States of Europe. These unelected bureaucrats are obsessed with destroying great nation states rich in its own history and culture to create their dream of one big european country with no identity. The people do not want it and those who are aged over 55 did certainly not vote for this in 1975, it is an utter betrayal by all three failed parties. I simply do not see any other option but to vote UKIP. It might be different if JR or David Davis was Tory leader, but we have Cameron who, frankly, is the most sorry excuse of a PM in my lifetime.

    • Boudicca
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      He is certainly the most sorry excuse for a Conservative PM in my lifetime… I still think the most sorry excuse of all was Brown – and let’s for forget that it was he who refused to honour the manifesto commitment for a Referendum on the proposed EU Constitution (redrafted as a Treaty) and who slunk off to Portugal to sign the Lisbon Treaty after all the others – hoping that we wouldn’t notice the treachery.

      There’s a special place on Tower Green I’d like him delivered to.

    • lifelogic
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      “Cameron who, frankly, is the most sorry excuse of a PM in my lifetime.”

      Quite a competition here – Douglas-Home, Heath, Wilson, Callaghan, Thatcher, Blair, Brown, Cameron.

      Only Thatcher was remotely sensible and even she abolished many grammar schools, signed absurd EU treaties, joined the ERM, gave power to the idiot John Major and failed to cut the state sector down to size.

  12. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    JR: “It is often based on the lie that more than half our trade is with the rest of the EU. ”

    We shouldn’t be surprised that this fallacy is used by supporters of our membership of the EU, after all the whole concept was based on the lie that it was not designed to be a political and fiscal union. The BBC will happily trot out such falsehoods and equally happily accept £millions in grants from the EU. Of course this doesn’t in any way affect their editorial output! Even within your own party leaders those who speak out are those like Clarke who perpetuate the falsehoods with abandon.

  13. Roger Farmer
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    When the overwhelming logic is to leave the undemocratic, corrupt, and financially irregular cabal that calls itself the EU, why are we still there. We assume the Clegglet is preparing the ground for a well rewarded job when the UK electorate give him the push, but what is in it for Cameron, Osborne ,and the rest of the Tory front bench. Are they looking for sinecures to boost their egos. I would welcome any explanation of where they think they are going. From outside they look to be taking the country to hell in a handcart.

  14. Leslie Singleton
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    I’m all for Exit ASAP not because of their wretchged rules but because of the EU’s effect on the English-speaking nations. That said, I think you may be glossing over what used to be called the cartel against us. Maybe the cartel is no longer what it was, perhaps because of recent WTO rules: what would be very informative is some kind of summary of EU tariffs ideally compared with tariffs against our exports put in place by other countries. I suspect EU tariffs are still much higher than other countries’–it was why we joined surely, viz to get behind the cartel wall. If there is no longer a high wall it would help the cause, Exit, to make that clearer. It is too cavalier just to remark that Germany would (of course) continue to sell cars to us: there is more to it than that (as you know). I’d get out anyway but others worry about these things and it would be good if the numbers did indeed help.

    • uanime5
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

      Under International law a group of countries working together cannot be considered a cartel. This is why OPEC is free to set the price of oil.

      • Mark
        Posted June 6, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

        OPEC hasn’t set the price of oil since 1985. All they have been able to do is to try to agree to restrain or increase production from time to time: but usually self-interest prevails after a short interval, and they are back to selling everything they can produce at whatever the market will pay for it.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted June 7, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

        If it walks like a duck and quacks, it’s a duck. OPEC is a cartel. If International law says it’s not, then International law is an ass. True, it’s not a very effective cartel, but that’s another story.

  15. zorro
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Yes John, but try telling that to somrone like uanime5!

    Your last point is particularly apposite – these EU rules/regulations harm our zbility to trade more effectively with non EU countries. But if you suggest this, some people that we will start shipping unsafe goods around the world. As you rightly say, there arr international trading rules.


    • sjb
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Permalink


      The UK runs a trade deficit with non-EU countries, which you appear to claim may be due to harmful EU rules/regulations.

      How then do you explain the trade surplus achieved by other Member States such as Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, France, Latvia, Austria, Finland, and Sweden?

      Source: External and intra-EU trade: A statistical yearbook, 2011 edition Trade balances by Member State, 2001-10, p110 et seq

      • zorro
        Posted June 5, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

        I think that it has more to do with the access to easy credit which has a tendency to suck imports into the UK, and the fact that our maufacturing export base has struggled for a number of years meaning that we have been dependent on banking and other services. The other countries are rather small (except Germany/France) compared to the UK economy and are not such a target for exporting countries. There may be other factors involved in the calculations too but I can’t read it as it’s just on my phone now.


      • uanime5
        Posted June 5, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

        According to this in 2010 the EU had a trade deficit of €159.9 billion, the USA had a deficit of €512.5 billion, and India had a deficit of €78.8 billion. I guess not all trade deficits can be explained by EU rules.

        For comparison in 2010 China (not including Hong Kong) had a trade surplus of €204.1 billion, Russia had a surplus of €117.6 billion, and Saudi Arabia has a surplus of €89.1 billion.

    • zorro
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      sorry about the spelling my phone was playing up…


  16. APL
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    JR: “Germany will still sell us her BMWs if we change our relationship with the EU”

    With a low tax economy and a well educated workforce, who knows, we might even be able to produce our own motor cars. Heaven forbid! we could even sell some to Germany.

    • Bazman
      Posted June 6, 2012 at 5:10 am | Permalink

      We do produce a lot of cars and a large number are sold into Europe. By foreign owned companies such as Nissan and Honda. Which makes you wonder why they are here with all our regulations, taxes and uneducated workforce. Must be the cheap labour, lack of unions and workers rights?

    • A Different Simon
      Posted June 6, 2012 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      No we can’t .

      There isn’t enough room in our “carbon budgets” for expansion of heavy industry .

      John , since there isn’t sufficient political will to remove this ridiculous carbon dioxide floor tax and quota’s , how excluding home produced goods which substitute for imports because the net carbon dioxide generation is lower once shipping is considered ?

  17. Chris
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Besides Rotterdam there is also the Antwerp effect.
    Of the 40% exports by the UK to the EU, I have been unable to find the percentage of UK exports that are immediately “reexported” from Rotterdam to outside the EU. I understand from some of the EC documents that there is now a requirement to be more transparent with regard to these trade statistics.

    John, has this had an effect, and do you know the percentage which is immediately “reexported” from Rotterdam?

    The figures must surely exist and they would certainly lend weight to arguments against the “misuse” of the 40% export figures.

    Reply Global Britain has estimated them and I have cited their figures before on this site.

    • Chris
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      Reply to John Redwood: could you cite the relevant figures again please as it would add weight to your own article, as well as being of considerable use to so many in the blogosphere?

      • zorro
        Posted June 5, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        John mentioned some figures in this debate on 26/01/2012….

        ”Does my hon. Friend recognise that because of the Rotterdam entrepot effect of goods going through that port to other parts of the world and because of large service exports to non-EU countries, the true figure is under a third? It is nowhere near half….”

        From this, I guess that we are talking closer to 30% but certainly a lot less than the 50% normally claimed.


        • zorro
          Posted June 5, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

          Try this for size on the entrepot distortion…….


          Reply: Thanks for that – I had mislaid it temporarily.

          • uanime5
            Posted June 5, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

            This report does explain why the entrepot distortion occurs (tax reasons).

            However their calculations for the amount of exports from the UK to the rest of the world via the EU involve two main assumptions: the consumption of UK goods in Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg are similar to those of France and Germany; and that 50% of the excess goods are sent to other parts of the world. As there is no evidence to support either of these assumptions their calculation cannot be considered accurate.

  18. Phillip Downs
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    The level of debate in our media is, by and large, utterly moronic and this statement is always presented as an unchallenged ‘fact’. The vast majority of trade takes place between individual businesses and companies and is based on the supply and demand for products or services that are wanted or needed. A change in the political designation of an area will, in itself, have no consequence whatsoever on the choices made by those individual buyers and sellers. In the absence of political interference such as hostile tariff barriers, businesses will continue to do business with those that sell what they want at a price they are prepared to pay. Politicians love to imagine that everything happens at their behest when the reality is quite the opposite. Trade happens despite their influence.

  19. Mark
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Don’t forget our trade in oil and gas and its impact on the figures. About 20% of our exports to the EU are currently in this category. EU refineries need North Sea crudes to balance up their refinery operations economically. Of course, as our production declines, these exports will also fall, regardless of our EU membership.

    We also act as an offshore terminal for LNG supplies to the continental gas grid via the Interconnector pipeline for much of the year, even though we are a net importer of gas overall. Again, unless we develop shale gas, these flows will diminish as we need to retain more gas for ourselves as our production falls.

    The paradox is perhaps that outside the EU we might develop shale gas rather faster than if we remain inside it: of itself it would make an important contribution to improving our balance of payments by substituting expensive imports.

    • A Different Simon
      Posted June 6, 2012 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      I’m not sure how much of the blame for things proceeding at a glacial pace in the UK can be laid at the door of the EU .

      Poland have shown that with Shale where there is a will , there is a way .
      The UK establisment lacks this will .

      We’ve got a coalition govt who are scared to do anything requiring courage as it might alienate a few voters and turn shale into the party political issue it has become in Northern Ireland .

      Unfortunately the UK government is anti onshore shale gas and anti onshore shale oil and prefers the option of importing our gas and oil (and laws) .

      Here is a debate from the House of Lords :-
      Lord Lawson of Blaby: “My Lords, does my noble friend the Minister agree that the best way of safeguarding our gas supplies is the most rapid development of our indigenous shale gas resources? Will he give an undertaking that the Government will present no impediment to the rapid exploration and development of our own shale gas?”

      Lord Marland: “I cannot guarantee that there will be no impediments; nor would my noble friend expect me to. The reality is that we are taking this very thoroughly and steadily. The Government fully support this development. At the moment, according to the British Geological Survey, shale gas equates to only 5% to 10% of our potential gas supply, but it is still a significant figure.”

      • Mark
        Posted June 6, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

        Lord Marland is of course quoting hopelessly out of date figures from the BGS in 2010 – before any of the major discoveries were announced. These same figures are also used by the Climate Change Select Committee to hide behind their lack of action. They willfully turn Nelsonian telescopes to the announcements from Tamboran, IGas and Cuadrilla. Meantime, the BGS is discouraged from amending its figures in the light of the discoveries.

        Quite shameful. Imagine if we did this with our official statistics generally? Oops… Perhaps we shouldn’t dig too deeply into all the off balance sheet stuff, from PFI through pensions etc.

        • A Different Simon
          Posted June 7, 2012 at 8:23 am | Permalink

          For a minute I thought you meant Newtonian telescopes 🙂

  20. Alan Wheatley
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    In the days of sail the UK was a successful trading nation worldwide. So, in these days of vastly superior communications and means of transporting goods, what sanity is there in the belief that EU trade is the be all and end all of prosperity?

  21. NickW
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Why do politicians and the media propel themselves and others into mass stampedes into folly?

    There is a clue in a post about George Osborne and Wind Turbines, from the Spectator,


    ‘Psychologists have a term for the wishful thinking by which we accept any means if the end seems virtuous: ‘noble-cause corruption’…Politicians are especially susceptible to this condition. In a wish to be seen as modern, they will embrace all manner of fashionable causes. When this sets in — groupthink grips political parties, and the media therefore decide there is no debate — the gravest of errors can take root. The subsidising of useless wind turbines was born of a deep intellectual error, one incubated by failure to challenge conventional wisdom.’

    Fear and laziness characterise the media response to both climate debate and Europe; there are very few with the courage to leave the groupthink bubble, defend reality, and ruthlessly expose folly.

    The Spectator post is here;

  22. Local Tory
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    John, I think we should be firmly inside the EU economic bloc (while getting out of the political side of the European Project) in case the trade barriers go up in the future. I also support common EU financial regulation because I think the future of the City is to house the European Headquarters of the global banks.

    But, unlike the narrow and negative vision of UKIP, you have in your books discussed the only viable constructive alternative. Which is to enter into some sort of self-governing anschluss with the USA by leaving the EU and applying to join NAFTA. And by using the weight of North America to then negotiate a mutually beneficial trade deal with the EU.

    In this context, I am hoping you will follow and comment on this site on the current EU-USA trade negotiations in the coming months, to be scoped by the end of this year, probably negotiated next year, before coming into force I suspect by mid 2014.

    I could live with either being a member of an EU social market economic bloc or joining some sort of free market Oceania economic bloc. As long as whichever route we follow the UK retains its historical institutions, constitution, monarchy and remains politically self-governing. So why don’t you put the positive case for the Air Strip One Alternative at some stage over the coming weeks?

    • Sebastian Weetabix
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      That choice is not on offer. In or out? Which is it?

      The trouble with the rank and file of the Tory party is that they persist in arguing for a choice which is not, never has been, and never will be on offer, viz: “in Europe, not ruled by Europe”

      As for “I support common EU financial regulation” – give me strength. It is a Franco-German racket to destroy our financial services industry and bolster Paris & Frankfurt, and people like you aren’t even awake to the danger.

      Until the Conservative party wakes up it’ll be UKIP for me. The esteemed author of this blog excepted, I see no difference between conservative attitudes to Europe and those of labour and the lib dems. I’ll vote for the devil himself if it gets us out of this burning tower of babel.

    • Boudicca
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      “I also support common EU financial regulation”

      That is intended to ensure that UK taxpayers pay for the failure of the Eurozone and to provide a direct revenue stream for the EU.

      No Way.

      Why should we pay so that the Kommissars and Eurocrats can live a life of luxury and without the fear of any electorate in any country removing them.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted June 6, 2012 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      Do you have a practical plan to bring about that which you would like?

  23. Michael McGrath
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Well said

    The great problem with such bureaucratic constructs as the EU is that the “officials” have a vested interest in making up ever more detailled and pointless regulations to justify their own inflated positions and the mass of hangers-on who suck up to them. In so doing they continually embellish the very constraints to enterprise that are standing in the way of the entrepreneurial enterprise and risk taking which is so badly needed to sort out the current mess.

    En passent, as with German cars, can anyone seriously believe that the French wine producers would refuse to sell their their product to the UK, one of the biggest wine markets in the world, but hand this business over to the Australians, New Zealanders, Argentinians, Chileans, Californians, South Africans……….

    Dream on

    • A Different Simon
      Posted June 6, 2012 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      Michael ,

      Here is the scary thing .

      Germany has it’s cars and it’s white goods , France has it’s wine .

      What has Britain got , other than arms , that the rest of the world wants ?

      The Govt is sacrificing our economy and what’s left of our I.T. industry in the surely mistaken belief that the rest of the world wants our financial services .

      They are betting the farm on a totally discredited pariah financial services sector and renewables which are not ready yet .

  24. Alan Radfield
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Well said John – keep on saying it, louder, until our self-interested elite are forced to listen AND act.

  25. ADAMS
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    So what are you saying JR ? Let us get out of the failing EU Empire ? You know your Boss man Cameron will not allow that . Or maybe you are part of the Greek chorus .just in the backround there to whinge and lament ? Renegotiation is not an option .
    You know that I think .

    Reply: And by now you should know what I think. I voted No in 1975.

  26. Tad Davison
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink


    It’s the very absurdity of the situation, which you so well define, that makes me certain there’s an ulterior motive on the part of the pro-EU Federalists.

    We have one of those in Cambridge in the form of the Lib Dem MP, Julian Huppert. That contemptible man hasn’t even the courage to engage me in a proper debate about Britain’s damaging relationship with the EU, and that’s because he knows he’ll lose it. He won’t even furnish me with the figures I requested back in October of last year, concerning Britain’s nett contributions, and the amount paid since we first joined.

    As I understand it, there was just one year, 1974, when we actually got out more than we put in, and that was when a Labour administration once again took us to the edge of financial oblivion, so history does have s history of repeating itself, with the index almost dropping through the floor.

    It is so frustrating, when the signs are so clearly marked for all to see, that Britain’s best interest lies outside the EU, that so many fools want yet more of it. I have long been of the view that the lunatics have taken over the asylum.

    So in a spirit of fairness, can anyone tell me what ‘good and beneficial laws’ has the EU given us, that our own parliament couldn’t have enacted were it so minded, and of course, had we not already given so many powers away to the iniquitous EU in the first place?

    And then we must look at our nett contributions for which we get little or nothing in return. It’s fine for countries like the Irish Republic to have great big billboards next to newly-constructed roads proclaiming, ‘Built with money from the EU’, but let’s not forget whose money they’re actually talking about!

    And we also need to tackle the issue of waste and misappropriation. For years, the EU’s own auditors have refused to sign off their accounts, but were we free of the highly-restrictive and prescriptive EU yoke, that would no longer be our problem.

    Tad Davison


    • David Walley
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      “So in a spirit of fairness, can anyone tell me what ‘good and beneficial laws’ has the EU given us, that our own parliament couldn’t have enacted were it so minded, and of course, had we not already given so many powers away to the iniquitous EU in the first place?”

      One of the problems with that question is that our own Parliament sometimes “isn’t so minded”, and in those cases the EU can perform a useful service.

      The case I have in mind is that of “Phorm”, a proposal for BT to analyse users’ web traffic in order to serve up appropriately chosen advertisements. Initial trials were held without consent of users (without even telling them that their web traffic was being monitored), leading to serious questions whether there would be any effective way to opt out of this scheme.

      The UK authorities raised no apparent objection to this (both government and police appeared to ignore it) – but the EU opposed it, and threatened the UK government with legal action for failing to protect UK citizens’ privacy, and eventually the proposal was dropped.

      I would agree that in most cases the EU regulations are overwhelmingly counter-productive, but it is only fair to give credit on the rare occasion when they are beneficial – and perhaps to learn from the defects in our own system that this reveals.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted June 5, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

        Ah, but at least when our own political representatives get it wrong, or don’t act in the public’s best interest, we can get rid of them via the ballot box. That option is denied to us when it’s a faceless, unelected Brussels bureaucrat who is telling us what we must and must not do.

        And if ever we are given the right to recall our MPs, as Cast-Iron Dave promised, that should improve things still.

        I am also in favour of greater police accountability, but when we look at some of the EU legislation now on the horizon, it’s downright scary! The terms, ‘Police State’ and ‘Stasi’ really do pale into insignificance.


    • uanime5
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

      The EU courts did make it illegal to fire pregnant women for being pregnant, something that was allowed under UK law.

      • Marie1797
        Posted June 6, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

        Not necessarily a good thing!

  27. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    So what should our relationship with the EU be? I have suggested that it should be roughly the equivalent of repealing the Lisbon, Nice, Amsterdam and Maastricht treaties. The Single European Act of 1986 was an acceptable compromise. There is then the need to keep within very narrow bounds the circumstances in which a European court can overrule a British one.

    But what is Mr Redwood’s opinion on the relationship?

    Reply: I wish to start by reinstating our power of veto over all present a future EU laws, then move on to repatriating policies like fish and regional policy where we can do it better and more cheaply. Alternatively a new relationship based on trade and friendship, exempting us from the common government and common budget.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted June 6, 2012 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      Re reply.

      A step-wise process to get from here (where we do not want to be) to there (where we do want to be) is a sound and sensible approach to making things better without major disruption, BUT only in circumstances where it will work.

      There are two parties to the UK’s relationship with the EU, us and them (as represented by all the other member states). I do not think there is the remotest possibility of the EU collaborating and enabling the UK to achieve a better relationship, for it runs counter to the political objectives at the heart of the EU. Further, if the EU was to allow the UK to achieve a customised form of membership it would open the door for all other member states to seek their own, customised membership, and “ever greater union” would be a dead duck.

      Another problem with the step-wise approach is that the first step may be seen to be making progress, especially if the object is minor and the EU thinks it is politically expedient to give a bit. This then gives the impression that renegotiation is possible and undermines the OUT campaign, but “progress” will be illusionary and temporary.

      You can play around with all sorts of scenarios as to what may or may not achieve this that or the other, but in the end they all amount to nothing. We need to step back, stop looking at the trees and evaluate the wood. Are the principles of the EU that which we want for the UK? I say a resounding NO; the EU is fundamentally undemocratic and there is a much, much better alternative for the UK linked with the Commonwealth.

  28. Matthew
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Agree 100%

    Many pro EU politicians go straight to this line – talk of threats, probably because they’re following a cause, an ideal and they are short of other arguments. So they go for the fear factor, of job losses.

  29. Electro-Kevin
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Will Britain benefit fully – in economic terms – from the development of graphene at Exeter University ? Or will this be yet another historic British innovation that’s sold off to the world at a bargain bucket price ?

    Yes. We’ll still buy German BMWs (I say ‘we’ll’ loosely as I’ll never afford a new one – even though I’m eligible to pay 40% tax) but it would be nice to have something that they really REALLY want to buy from us.

    • zorro
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      You can get some very good second hand BMWs (not keen on the new shape myself) and hold their value if well kept…..see even I will buy a German car so I can’t be xenophobic 😉


      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted June 6, 2012 at 1:01 am | Permalink

        I understand, Zorro.

        My point about the 40% tax wasn’t to bemoan the fact that I can’t afford a BMW but that I am considered to be ‘privileged’ because of my earnings, especially in terms of my children’s access to university.

        I don’t want more money – I just want my government to recognise what I do.

        (In my area is a young man) was arrested thrice last year for violence and disorderly conduct outside our house.

        (there are also-ed) benefit dependants who seem to live better and more freely than we do – except for (0ne) who is in a psychiatric prison having suffered irrepairable brain damage from skunk cannabis.

        We are looking forward to our first foreign holiday for four years such is the level of sacrifice we have made to educate our boys.

        I don’t want the Govt to enable me to buy something as pointless as a BMW.

        I utterly resent the fact that – because of my wage level – my boys are likely be excluded from the level education they are more than capable of. I’m seriously considering quitting my job at a tactical point if this comes to pass.

        40% tax bracket these days includes people who drive knackered Ford Mondeos and live in 3 bed semis in fairly problematic areas as I do.

        • zorro
          Posted June 6, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

          I couldn’t agree more with children at, and expecting to go to university.


    • Tad Davison
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

      I must be Mister Untypical then, I deliberately bought a car that was made in this country, thus giving a British bloke a job. I’ll always buy British first.


      • A Different Simon
        Posted June 6, 2012 at 8:36 am | Permalink

        Well done Tad .

        I’d love to know how many people look for a label to see where a piece of clothing is made or will pony up for British vegetables .

        Better to have money circulate in your own economy than have it bleed overseas or straight back to the bank in the form of interest on mortgages without circulating first .

        I could not afford a new car so bought a 10 year old Peugeot which had an estate back the size I needed .

        BMW’s seem to appeal to people in their twenties and thirties who want to immitate their parents .

  30. Martin
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    I can’t think of one single benefit being in the Commonwealth gives an ordinary person. Maybe privy councillors and press barons get special treatment?

    My experience in multi-national companies over the years is that dealing with other EU countries is a piece of cake. Even France which used to be the EU awkward country IMHO has got better over the years.

    Dealing with non EU countries is much more difficult. Try Canadian immigration for starters. As for customs rules….

    Travelling privately the EU is also easiest.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted June 6, 2012 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      The “ordinary person” is more likely to be able to communicate in a common language within the Commonwealth. Also culture is more homogeneous. Also, in times of conflict we have more often fought alongside Commonwealth countries.

      As to the rules, they are as they are as a result of the UK going down the EU route rather than a commonwealth one. That can be changed.

  31. forthurst
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    “It is the most stupid argument in current UK politics.”

    That’s all we ever get, stupid arguments, because the real reasons for doing what politicians do would be totally unsaleable.

    We need to be in the EU…. Real reason to abolish the England and create jobs for EUSSR Kommissars.

    We need more more third world immigrants….Real reason to (change our country?).

    We need to attack a country close to Israel…. Real reason to provide pro bono mercenaries to keep Israel ‘safe’ whilst flooding the West with Asylum seekers to assist with the previous item.

    We need to save the planet….. Real reason to shift all industrial production to the East and turn the West into a third world (state?).

    We need gay marriage…. Real reason to follow the Cultural Marxist cookbook by continuing to turn what was previously considered normal behaviour on its head.

    We need to follow whatever self-destructive nonsense the usual suspects come up with…Real reason, we are too cretinous and craven to outargue and outface them.

    Politicians think that it is legitimate to make arguments which have been given them pre-cooked; well it’s not. A lie is a lie whether it was concocted by a ‘mainframe computer’ or not.

    • zorro
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      Well forthurst, we know all about the Frankfurt School and its aims…….if a population is mixed with lots of different cultures, immigrants, recent arrivals, people prepared to work for low wages, it is less likely to rebel, and far easier to control…….this is why the education system is not being allowed to work properly.


      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted June 5, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

        I beg to differ. Gangstas most certainly do rebel. So much so that they caused our police to militarise.

        I wonder why we see so few of them in the crowds at the Jubilee, running in the London Marathon or giving blood.

        Are they banned or something ?

        • zorro
          Posted June 6, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

          Good point, but not generally amongst the immigrant population which wants to work, an important distinction. Yes, when viewing the Jubilee crowds, I wondered which city it was taking place in!


  32. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Well-rehearsed and substantially valid arguments which will often make an impression on patriotic Britons who’ve been misled into assuming that EU membership is an economic necessity, but which nonetheless seem to cut no ice at all with some of the more fervent EU supporters.

    As Tad Davidson suggests above, discounting sheer stupidity I’m certain that we have to look for ulterior, and often dishonourable, motives in such cases – personal financial or career interests, unthinking loyalty to party or other faction above loyalty to their country and its people as a while, or a deep disaffection with their own country and a desire to see its extinction as an independent sovereign state.

    Orwell had something relevant to say about some of the last category, in 1941:

    “In intention, at any rate, the English intelligentsia are Europeanized. They take their cookery from Paris and their opinions from Moscow. In the general patriotism of the country they form a sort of island of dissident thought. England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution, from horse racing to suet puddings. It is a strange fact, but it is unquestionably true that almost any English intellectual would feel more ashamed of standing to attention during ‘God save the King’ than of stealing from a poor box. All through the critical years many left-wingers were chipping away at English morale, trying to spread an outlook that was sometimes squashily pacifist, sometimes violently pro-Russian, but always anti-British.”

    • zorro
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, Orwell had the measure of the English intelligentsia…..let’s face it, he had plenty of exposure to it (Eton etc)


      • forthurst
        Posted June 5, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

        One would hesitate to quibble with the words of one of the greatest stlylists in the English language, but when Orwell wrote “English intelligentsia”, did he actually mean, ‘intelligentsia inEngland’.

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted June 6, 2012 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      Sometimes ulterior motives can be honourable, at least as seen from the viewpoint of the person with the motive.

      Ted Heath may be a case in point. After reading his biography I was left with the impression that his personal experience of World War had such an effect on him that preventing a recurrence subsumed all other consideration. So, for him, joining the EU (as it became) had to be achieved by all means possible, and for the significance and consequences to be obscured from public understanding was very convenient, to say the least. It does not help his cause that he seemed to have thought that his judgement on these matters was so superior to all others that they did not mater.

      So even if his objective was honourable, his method was not.

      Once upon a time I was a Ted Heath supporter, but I will never forgive him for what he did to the UK.

  33. Derek Emery
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    The liberal EU can never hope to match the technological progress and economic growth in China and other countries which have a driven culture towards private sector growth and success. They are not going to slow down and embrace the EU laid-back left liberal culture. Liberals see competition as negative as their main driver is the antithesis of this i.e. equality.

    Germany is the only EU country that manufactures large quantities of goods the rest of the world wants which helps to fund the EU. I suspect that in another 10 years the more rapid technological progress in China and elsewhere will translate into the world wanting Chinese products over German in many more cases.

    This would create big problems for the EU as it then has no way to fund its lifestyle and would have a large import deficit to fund by borrowing.

    The EU high energy price policies have to affect German productivity adversely as they are competing with countries without this energy agenda.

    The balance of trade by the UK is likely to shift between the rest of the world and the EU over the decade. The EU can only continue to have low growth at best bearing in mind the huge debts and inherent low productivity of much of the EU.

    This means that UK exporters will have look to the rest of the world for growth and profit. In addition the UK is increasingly likely to find better value for money products from the rest of the world over the EU (i.e. mainly German) products.

    The EU will no doubt impose import barriers but this will only speed up the differential between the appeal and technological advance of Chinese and EU products. Protection means slower advance. The EU liberal elite cannot deliver meaningful private sector growth because the inherent competitive nature of private enterprise is not valued by the liberal mindset. The EU public will become poorer and more discontented. So far the EU has not had to face the downside from no longer being a top economy in the world but this has to be increasingly likely going into the future.

    • Sebastian Weetabix
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      China has achieved “technical progress” through industrial-scale state sponsored IP (acquisition? ed). Western governments have acquiesced in this, not wishing to interrupt the flow of cheap goods, despite the fact that this is destroying our industrial/scientific base and in the long term threatens our security.

  34. David John Wilson
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    If EU regulations are such a brake on UK trade why is the UK parliament so keen to get them implemented? For many new regulations we are usually one of the first EU members to implement them.

    We also need the UK parties to be much more proactive at EU election time about presenting policies that their candidates will put forward or support should they be elected. Instead of moaning about what the EU is putting in our way we need much more action from our MEPs in promoting policies that are in the UK’s interest. This means that we need our parties to be part of the major groupings not side lined ina minority group. We also need a PM who puts himself at the front of inter-overnment negotiations.

    • zorro
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      He’ll be too busy chillaxing with a glass or two of wine! (sorry Ed Balls just hijacked my computer).


    • uanime5
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

      EU regulations don’t need to be implemented as they take effect as soon as they’re created. It’s EU directives have to be implemented.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted June 6, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

        And you’re happy with that?

  35. nicol sinclair
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,

    Brilliant post! What more can I say? Nowt…

  36. David Langley
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    I like your reply regarding what you want John, so do I, is there any chance we can starve the EU project of cash? Its the money that drives them over in Brussels and Strasburg. There will no doubt be power crazed EU project people but its the cash that keeps this project alive. The incessant cry for more funds in the budget . Charity begins at home and surely we need the cash too, our banks need recapitalising, our efforts in Libya and Afghanistan should be recognised, our service people rewarded etc. What would happen if we sent them a note saying “There is no more money”.

  37. A.Sedgwick
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Back to a hobbyhorse, why do the Police drive around in BMWs?

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

      The City Police do for some reason.

      The provincials prefer Skodas these days.

      The favourite car in the ’90s was the Rover Sterling based at Wood Street police station. I crewed it as a radio operator for a while. The Class 1 drivers loved it’s automatic gear box and its kick-down.

      A decade before that the Triump PIs were a big hit with persuit drivers.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted June 5, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

        late ’80s should I say.

        Goodness. Has it been that long ?

  38. AJAX
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    That’s a good technical case on the economic detail but it needs a “vision thing” to pin itself to, to compete with the idea of the EU Block’s strength & momentum

    The Anglospheric nations are an option for a globe-spanning trading block for England to establish (whether the USA will play ball with that is an unkown, 20 years ago – no chance, but now, there’s real fear in the States now as to what’s happening to its bedrock economy & it maybe more open to such a concept), & if England were to get out the EU & also re-forge & assume the leadership of EFTA it could offer Europe another option other than the only game in town currently being run by Paris & Berlin

    But this is too ambitious a game for the bit dim Tory Party to play, it needs to come from another quarter, possibly UKIP

  39. oap
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    It is a fact that officialdom often exaggerates to make its point. The nature of the trading relationship with the EU is no exception. Your preferred route to a new, friendly relationship with the EU would be a good outcome – if it can or could be achieved.

    Events, in particular a fracturing of the EZ, will produce an unknown trading landscape. I would be none too confident that established rules of international trade would be observed or respected in extreme circumstances. The EU/EZ has not been a great respecter of its own rules and treaties – as you and others posting here have pointed out. It is not obvious that the rules of international trade would be regarded any differently in the event of a breakdown of the EZ.

    I have no doubt that the UK must devise its own salvation. It will not be easy. My worry is the quality of the political leadership on which the UK`s fortunes presently depend.

  40. Christopher Ekstrom
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    While playing a very stupid game with all the Wally lot of Europe what became of our advantages in Asia? But we have had inadequate leadership & now it will take a messiah, of sorts, to put us aright. Individuals like Mr. Redwood see the situation & say to themselves “situation normal all f***** up”. But it really is far beyond that point. The ultimate necessity of UKIP is its willingness to make demands. The debate has been quite over for some time. Nationalism is also going to be needed because the much dreaded “Little England” is also our only destination worth fighting for. Recovering itself , England’s economic roar, would leave the feeble euro zone to the futi(lity-ed) of Van Rumpey.

  41. John Stobart
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    I couldn’t have expressed it better myself. Now – how about an article refuting the climate change liars and these absurd windmills.

    • Vanessa
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

      What a good idea – I had forgotten about this catalogue of lies. What is it with politicians that they are incapable of telling us the truth?

  42. Patrick Loaring
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    John, I agree with you 100% and have been arguing the same for years. Although I didn’t know about the entrepot effect and how this distorts the percentage.

  43. Jose
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    I don’t believe we should be in the EU, it happens to be a rather convenient excuse for failed politicians and an extended career path for some.

    If the EU is so bad for Britain, how come the likes of the Germans and the Dutch and the Finns can make it pay? The answer must surely be that they have administrations that assist them in growing their economies within and without the EU. Many UK governments have achieved absolutely zero in advancing our economy but rather have succeeded immeasurably in increasing our dependence on a ‘failed’ state.

    We should exit the EU immediately and also reduce the burden imposed by government by at least 30% and see where we are at; the present lot are doing no more than tinkering around the edges.

  44. Barbara Stevens
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Well we all know what we want, the problem is the political elite not accepting our wishes and acting on them. The majority want out, the majority want a referendum; and how any politician can sit in the House of Commons or House of Lords and ignore our requests, is beyond belief. As for trade with Germany, they’d trade with the devil if it means prosperity for Germany; those that say different are fools, as would any country given the opportunity.
    We have this week celebrated our Queen’s 60 years, and what devotion she has given us all; its a pity our politicians don’t give us the same devotion and honesty. Some do, but after the expenses row, we were all demoralised by what we realised was going on. This week, again, the Monachy as produced the ‘great’ back into Britain, I just hope the political elite realise what they have done, and act up on it. Its time they understood what democracy was, is, and we want it back like it was years ago. That means giving up the EU idea completely, and trading with all the world including the EU. Its breaking this country in costs, ill feeling, and hatred of unelected boffins telling us what to do. Time for the excit door, and as fast as we can. Please Mr R take note.

  45. i.stafford
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    I agree. The misguided view that we must be in a protective trade bloc is a hangover from the 1950s. Then it was assumed that the semi autarchic national policies of the 1930s could not be broken except by forming a local trade bloc in order to create some form of export market. It assumed the rest of the world would do the same, creating their own protective blocs. They did not – there is no other system like the EU. GATT and WTO all have developed international free trade ideas not a system of protective blocs. It is a pity that many ideas ostensibly favouring the EU are outdated but still put forward as if they were relevant.

  46. Boudicca
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    A great article – but unfortunately the faux-Conservatives running the Government are too blinded by their obsession with the EU to see or admit that it is right.

    Membership of the EU is NOT in our interests. The economic arguments they have always used to justify it no longer stack up, if they ever did. The political ‘considerations’ were never put to the British people – the impact on our Sovereignty was deliberately denied and hidden – so they have no mandate to use that as a justification.

    We’ve spent the weekend celebrating our Monarch; our Constitution; our Sovereignty (or what remains of it) and now it’s back to reality. Control over the UK has effectively been given away by our political elite and Whitehall to the Kommissars and Eurocrats of Brussels.

    Who, on hearing Land of Hope and Glory, could fail to think that it is now a meaningless tune from our history. Not because the Empire has gone – because the Commonwealth is a worthy and admirable successor – but because we no longer have control of our own country.

    Foreign, mainly failed, politicians, Eurocrats and foreign so-called judges now rule the Britons who ‘never, never, never shall be slaves.’ Well we may not be slaves, but we certainly aren’t free to run our own country the way WE want it run.

    How Cameron and the rest of the Quislings who refuse to free us from the EU could stand there, joining in the celebrations, is beyond me. They are all two-faced, despicable cowards.

    I loathe each and every one of them.

  47. Vanessa
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    At last a politician who tells us the truth. The internet blogs-phere has been saying all this for years but the idiots in parliament trot out the lies which frighten people who know virtually nothing about the EU. Why has it taken you so long? UKIP MEPs have been saying this for a long time – the ONLY party prepared to tell us the truth.

    Reply: I have been saying this for longer than UKIP has existed.

  48. uanime5
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    “It is often based on the lie that more than half our trade is with the rest of the EU. This figure ignores our very profitable trade in services, where well over half is with non EU countries.”

    Given that 40% of all the UK’s trade (good and services) is with the EU and 53% of the UK’s exports go to the EU it’s safe to say that a significant part of the UK’s trade is with the EU.

    “It ignores the Rotterdam and Amsterdam entrepot effect, where trade with the rest of the world passes through these large ports and is counted as EU trade when it is with places further away.”

    Why would the UK send goods to Rotterdam and Amsterdam to be sent to the rest of the world? Why not send them directly to these countries?

    Also which countries does the Rotterdam and Amsterdam entrepot effect apply to?

    “It fails to take into account that our trade with the rest of the EU is in heavy deficit, whilst our trade with the rest of the world is in good surplus.”

    Even if the UK left the EU we would still have a heavy deficit because we would still need to import things from the EU. This deficit may even get larger as EU countries can only import products from outside the EU if they can’t get the products they want inside the EU.

    Also according to the HMRC the UK current has a deficit of about £5 billion per month with non-EU countries, not a surplus.

    “Do they not grasp that EU countries are signatories to international agreements on trade which would prevent any such interference in trade with the UK?”

    These international agreements don’t prevent the EU setting quotas on non-EU goods, for example China’s textile quotas. Don’t expect the WTO to protect the UK if things go badly if we leave the EU.

    “The rest of the EU has too much to lose from its lucrative UK trade to want to damage it”

    No they don’t. On average trade with the UK accounts for 5% of the exports of the other 26 EU countries, while the UK’s trade with the EU is 53% of our exports (10% of GDP). So the UK will lose far more than the other EU countries if all trade ceases.

    In other news the job market may get tougher as more cheap prison labour is used:

    Also the Work Programme forced the unemployed to work as unpaid stewards during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations:

    How exactly is introducing more cheap/free labour going to produce more jobs or reduce welfare costs?

    • Sebastian Weetabix
      Posted June 6, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      “No they don’t. On average trade with the UK accounts for 5% of the exports of the other 26 EU countries, while the UK’s trade with the EU is 53% of our exports (10% of GDP). ”

      This cherry picking of figures is bordering on the mendacious. You are not comparing like with like. The basic fact is that the UK operates a trade deficit with the Eurozone, ergo any barriers to trade will hurt them more than us.

      • uanime5
        Posted June 6, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

        It’s clear you don’t understand how the trade deficit works. Basically losing 26 markets will hurt the UK far more than losing 1 market will hurt the EU.

        • Sebastian Weetabix
          Posted June 7, 2012 at 8:24 am | Permalink

          You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. The “glory” of the Europe you love so much is that it is a single trading area. There aren’t 26 markets to lose. The UK operates a deficit with that trade bloc. Do you really think that commercial organisations in that bloc wish to lose access to the UK, a G7 economy? Of course not. Try using some rational thought rather than the threat of imaginary bogles under the bed.

  49. Javelin
    Posted June 5, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    From the FT

    “The parliamentary leadership of Germany’s ruling Christian Democrats – the majority party in Angela Merkel’s centre-right coalition government – has flatly rejected the use of eurozone rescue funds to recapitalise Spanish banks directly. Instead they called on the Spanish government on Tuesday to decide urgently whether it will seek money from the €440bn European Financial Stability Facility according to the fund’s normal rules, requiring agreement on a proper rescue programme negotiated with its European partners.”

    • Javelin
      Posted June 5, 2012 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

      Is Spain about to blow up. The ECB certainly hadn’t been able to stop a crisis that is only getting bigger and us about to pull the EZ over the brink.

      How soon before we smell burning gunpowder in the wind.

  50. Dan Course
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    I also believe that there is life after the EU if decided to leave, sure it will be turmoil for a bit, however it always works out in the end. People will still buy our output!

    Also, I seem to remember, before the EU restrictions on trade we were doing just fine in selling to the US?

    Thanks for another great blog post, however think you’re too excited and typing too quickly with the little spelling mistakes 🙂


    • uanime5
      Posted June 6, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      Before we joined the EU the exchange rate was about £4 to $1, so the UK’s products cost a quarter of the US’ products. As the current exchange rate is £1 to $1.5 this means UK products will be 50% more expensive. So the UK probably won’t do very well by trying to sell more to the US.

      Reply: The exchange rate was never as low as £4 to $1!

      • Mark
        Posted June 7, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

        The low point was $1.03 in March, 1985.

      • Mark
        Posted June 7, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

        The Wilson devaluation in 1969 was to 1d=1¢, or $2.40. The pound was at this level in March, 1975 before plunging during the Sterling crisis of 1975/76. You may remember it was a profligate Labour government that got us there, ending with begging to the IMF.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted June 7, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

        There are 120 Japanese Yen to the £. Does that mean that our products are 120 times more than Japanese products? Duh.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted June 8, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

        T’other way up. It was £ = 4$ after WW2 until Attlee’s mob devalued to the rate £ = 2.8$. Wilson/Callaghan devalued to £ = 2.4$. Heath and Wilson endsured that it fell to £ = 1.57$ on the day that Dennis Healey had to turn round on the aeroplane steps to go cap in hand to the IMF. It is still roughly the same today.

        • zorro
          Posted June 9, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

          No pithy return uanime5…..? Where did you get your figures on the pre EU pound/dollar exchange rate, and your production formula….?


  51. Time to leave
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    “Amen” to all you say John !

  52. peter
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Totally agree. We need to pull out of the EU and replace it with EFTA and some other European partnership programs in the same way Norway does – they seem to be doing just fine making their own laws and governing themselves and have no plans for joining.

    Defence cannot be used as an excuse to join the EU by Norway because they are part of NATO, economics cant be used because they are part of EFTA so trade under those rules so it beats me as to what people are getting so heated about not being part of an EUSSR straight jacket – Even their socialists seem to get this.

    They appear to be doing just fine so whats there to stop the UK doing the same. Put it to referendum – all the facts on the table, no BBC bias and let the people decide.

    No one has had a say on anything to do with the EU since Heath took us in apart from the political class.

    Over to you Mr Redwood to put to the top of the Tory tree that if they want a majority next election and keep the UNISON/UNITE puppets out of government they MUST put this referendum in place ASAP – If they get a simple majority they then have the authority to rescind all treaties and come up with something new – if the tory fedelarists (they know who they are) don’t like it then let them switch to the Lib Dems.

    • uanime5
      Posted June 6, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      Norway has to obey almost all EU law in order to have free trade with the EU, even though they can’t influence this law. I doubt that having to obey almost all EU law without being able to influence it would be very appealing to certain UK political parties.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted June 7, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

        I doubt if that’s true, but if it is true it means that the EU is a monstrous tyrant that must be destroyed.

      • zorro
        Posted June 9, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        Just like China and the USA….you do talk some nonsense sometimes!


  53. Marie1797
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Exactly, and we don’t need the dictatorial rules from the EU, we can sell to whomever we want outside the EU it’s a free market. Surely we can sell our English sparking wine to Brazil or who ever without having to have it controlled, authorised and transported though the EU?

    But knowing the control freaky Germans and some of the French, they no doubt will want control of goods from all EU countries being exported and imported going through hub ports and airports like Rotterdam and Amsterdam, and skim off a commission for themselves no doubt.

    They want to make all EU countries the same so that none has any differing characteristics and goods to sell, all have the Euro and Germany is the ruler. I hope it doesn’t get this far that we’ll be in subservience to the (Germans) and Brussels. We can stand on our own feet surely?

  • 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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