Newspapers write strange things without checking.


 I read in today’s Mail online something about what I am going to recommend on taxation when doing the policy work on the Manifesto. It was a very misleading piece that does not reflect my views.


The Sunday Times was not a lot better with its front page story on migration, though the media of course immediately assumed every word of it was correct!  The best source for my views and actions is here, for any journalist interested.


  1. margaret brandreth-j
    December 23, 2013

    Would you consider running for leadership?

    Reply I did, twice, and was unsuccessful. There is no current vacancy and I have no plans to run again.

    1. lifelogic
      December 23, 2013

      The fact that the Tory MPs preferred to go over the cliff for 3+ terms behind John Major to the proven right on most issues JR, shows what bunch of fools/sheep/career politicians/lefties most Tory MPs are. They seem set to repeat the over the cliff for several terms experience with Cameron shortly.

      1. Hope
        December 24, 2013

        They have not won a majority since 1992, one would think they would have got the message by now. May is so far off the mark what conservatism is about it is depressing. There might be a clue that people voted to get Brown out not to get Cameron in, no one knew what he stood for,but gave him the benefit of the doubt over Brown. He has completely lost that angle.

        Today we have Grayling trying to change an established principle that you do not judge people on today’s social values with laws of the past. Dr Turling might have been brilliant in his field and helped the country enormously, however he knowingly broke the law of the day and pleaded guilty at his trial, he chose chemical treatment rather than go to prison.. There is nothing to apologise for. 250 years ago it was okay to marry at 12 and 14, today people would be convicted for being a paedophile. This appears to me more about appealing to the lobbying liberal left trying to change culture and history by inaccurate and inappropriate means, as well as demonstrating how the Tories have changed. Halving the numbers of supporters might have given them a clue about their success to date.

        1. lifelogic
          December 24, 2013

          Indeed no majority since 1992 shortly after which the voters actually realised what a pro EU, unapologetic, pro ERM, BBC think, incompetent John Major was. It looks as though it will now be at least another 10 more or so before they get back thanks to the Cameron disaster.

          So including Major perhaps 41 years of tax, borrow and waste, green crap and giving away our democracy and further powers to the EU. If indeed they ever get back at all.

  2. Patryk
    December 23, 2013

    So what exactly did both papers say? How did they misrepresent your views?

    Reply NO need to reproduce error for those who have not seen them.

  3. Bert Young
    December 23, 2013

    I’m not surprised that newspapers have created news without checking the accuracy of detail . I took heart however when it was reported that you were “advising” on the content / thrust of the next Conservative manifesto . Failure to appeal to the electorate spells certain defeat and I rely on you to drive the message that we must not and cannot continue with our present relationship with the EU . If Labour win it would be a disaster ; there has to be credibility in building a workable link with UKIP or , a big swing to the right . Good luck .

    1. Lifelogic
      December 24, 2013

      “If Labour win it would be a disaster” – well if they don’t it would be totally amazing after Cameron’s ratting, 299 tax rises and his failure to even get a level electoral playing field. A Labour government or Labour coalition is surely virtually certainty unless Cameron comes to his senses. Even if he does no one sensible would trust him an inch.

      One cannot help thinking Cameron would be quite happy to lose, or is even planning to lose the election. He threw the last one away after all and Milliband would largely continue with a lefty, pro EU, high tax borrow and waste, green crap Cameron type agenda anyway.

  4. zorro
    December 23, 2013

    Yes John, some world class journalism there…..They seemed to put 2 + 2 together and got 13.7! From memory, they stated that you was the chairman of the EAC, and as a result, assumed that you was effectively in charge of the next manifesto! Obviously, they haven’t been reading the blog for the last four years….


    1. zorro
      December 23, 2013

      oops….you were

  5. Brian Taylor
    December 23, 2013

    Dear Mr Redwood
    May I take this opportunity to wish you and your family a happy Christmas and a happy new year.
    Please keep up the good work and encourage all those in public life to use social media.

    1. Mike Stallard
      December 24, 2013

      I would very much like to wish you a Merry Christmas too and fully to support this most excellent comment.

      1. alan jutson
        December 24, 2013


        Happy Christmas to our host and all those who contribute to this site.

    2. Alte Fritz
      December 24, 2013

      I would like to echo these comments.

  6. lifelogic
    December 23, 2013

    Strange things indeed:

    I even read today that Vince Cable likens David Cameron to Enoch Powell. If true rather a major misreading of history and an insult to the latter. Perhaps he meant to say Ted Heath, where the parallels are indeed worryingly large.

    One imagines Powell reaction when Cameron brought in gender neutral insurance, pensions and annuities something like:

    In trying to control prices, in contravention of the deepest commitments of this party, has my right hon. Friend taken leave of his senses? Does he now believe he is a God and can control different genders longevity and driving patterns?

    I am sure JR what you will recommend on taxation will be sensible as usual. Things such as reduce the rates, simplify, cut the huge parasitic activity in government and private sector tax accountants and lawyers, give incentives to real (productive) work, encourage employment, have a fiscal/subsidy level playing field in energy, trains and indeed everywhere, get rid of silly jumps in rates at certain thresholds like stamp duty and income taxes and cut expenditure and waste hugely. Oh and de-rat on the £1M IHT threshold promise to restore some credibility.

    Also do not create silly filing rushes for certain dates like Jan & Dec 31st. Make the penalties taper somewhat, so the computers do not crash and HMRC can actually cope, perhaps even answer the phone and accountants can have their work smoothed out.

    1. Bazman
      December 24, 2013

      Level subsidies in energy and travel? That nuclear out of the window and everything on the roads as pointed out before. Interesting to see how the housing market would go without rent subsidy or the oil/gas markets without their massive tax and pollution subsidies

      1. Edward2
        December 24, 2013

        I dont know Baz, how you can possibly claim road users and oil and gas industries are subsidised when they pay billions more in taxes and duties than they ever receive.

        1. Bazman
          December 24, 2013

          Fossil fuels receive massive subsidies in taxes and do not pay anywhere near the costs of pollution they cause. Coal is massively subsidised by the amount of pollution from mining and electricity generation. One of the biggest environmental disasters in the US was a coal sludge spill. I they pay so much taxes and are so profitable as you say why do they need any subsidy? They can pay the full cost and leave the taxpayer alone. As livelogic says compete on a level playing field. There costs are lower than alternative as one of the reasons is the benefits of years of subsidy much more than wind or solar which is catching up as Buffet believes.

          1. Edward2
            December 25, 2013

            Bold assertions Baz, but no facts or figures as usual to support your opinions.
            Nor any real answer to my original post, just vauge comments about pollution.

            I look forward to the time when wind and solar are taxed at a similar rate to a litre of petrol or diesel.

          2. Bazman
            December 26, 2013

            Nuclear that does not work without massive subsidies is however OK? The idea that fossil fuels are not subsidised is laughable.

          3. Edward2
            December 26, 2013

            I have rarely read such a loony left wing artcle even on the BBC.
            I note it carefully fails to explain how it calculates the figure it claims is a subsidy.
            Well I can tell you.
            It adds up any normal tax concession that every business in any nation has and tries to claim that is a subsidy.
            For example every company can balance costs like wages, purchases, exploration costs and capital investments against its sales.
            This is not a subsidy.
            If you were right nations rich in reserves of gas and oil would be poor not hugely wealthy.

          4. Bazman
            December 27, 2013

            Blaming then reporting of a report by The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) will not help you argument. Try reading insted of shooting the messenger. I know the BBC should only report from a right wing basis for you whilst shouting bias. Goole Oil/gas subsidy. The next thing you will be telling us there is no MCSSS. As if. A Daily Mail scandle.

          5. Edward2
            December 27, 2013

            Are you saying their way of calculating and defining a “subsidy” in their report as I have explained it, is incorrect?
            Yes or No

          6. Bazman
            December 27, 2013

            They are not normal tax concessions that businesses such as manufacturing gets which ultimately keeps them in business. They are subsidies. Often the subsidy takes the form of tax, security, labour, grants, transfer of property rights by governments. Bill payers paying more to get back these subsidies The pollution and health effects are picked up by the state too another subsidy the list goes on. The IEA’s latest estimates indicate that fossil-fuel consumption subsidies worldwide amounted to $544 billion in 2012Thoughin the United States, credible estimates of annual fossil fuel subsidies range from $14 billion to $52 billion annually.
            You will be telling us next that nuclear is not subsidised and is cheap.

          7. Edward2
            December 28, 2013

            Total Rubbish
            You do not know what you are talking about Baz.
            They get the same tax breaks all companies have in the UK.
            You keep quoting the figures quoted for normal company tax arrangements and try to say these are subsidies.
            They are not subsidies.
            Just like you having tax free pay is not a subsidy.

          8. Bazman
            December 29, 2013

            If you think that energy companies get the same tax treatment as any other business you are just wrong and living in a dream world.

          9. Edward 2
            December 29, 2013

            No proof nor statistics nor any argument that refutes my totally correct statements that the biased reports you quote define subsidies as any tax break which apply to all commercial businesses.

          10. Bazman
            December 30, 2013

            You are seriously arguing that the oil industry does not get any more tax breaks than other industries? As if. It is not worth citing any evidence if this is what you believe as nothing will convince you. You are an idiot.

      2. lifelogic
        December 24, 2013

        If that is what the economic logic says then so be it.

        Pissing money away on daft train lines, wind and PV is simply bonkers.
        Worse, I suspect it is just a way to divert taxes into people’s personal pockets using the fake green religion.

        1. Bazman
          December 24, 2013

          Warren Buffett buys $1 billion of wind turbines, the biggest land-based wind power purchase ever and is also putting billions into solar. Are you betting against him?

          1. Edward2
            December 25, 2013

            He knows that endless generous State subsidies will bring him a handsome return.

          2. Lifelogic
            December 25, 2013

            Well if you give wind/solar a huge subsidy they may make sense as an investment for the investor, but only due to the irrational tax payers subsidy. It make no sense for the country.

            In the long run they may actually be made to work and investment into R&D is fine – but covering the country in technology that does not work yet is bonkers.

        2. sm
          December 25, 2013

          Wind/Tidal etc turbine tech & capacity is still evolving.

          Consider the subsidies for nuclear & the cost of a Fukishima * by the probability- the hidden medical costs etc. Consider fuel security and security of imports going forward. Consider that timeshifting and storage tech is moving on. Consider EDF is a foreign/EU state controlled company and the others are all MNC.

          They can be built quickly and to budget-not decades. We just need to ensure that the building and supply chain stays in the UK, and this must be absolutle, if it is subsidized from UK taxes. This should be a condition of receiving the subsidy. That is not anti-competitive. If company A wants to win it needs to build in the UK AND pay tax in the UK based on where the revenue is generated not where the cost book-shifted OR the interest bearing debt is created out of thin air as another skim for the bankers.

          The future payback would be in 1) jobs & the multiplier effect.2) Direct stimulation of production of energy. 3) Reduction in fuel imports. 4)Security v defense costs. 5) Increase in taxes paid in the UK.

          The problem we are not sovereign and parliament has refused to accept its collective responsibilites to faithfully represent the electorate.

          We are managed by central bankers in cahoots with big business- to protect private debt – created wealth to the advantage of the few.

          Desperate for cheap workers subsidized by working credits but also desperate to avoid taxes and competition.

          Time to watch the Wizard of Oz again. Merry Xmas.

          If we had any where near like level field competition at the 1% level, MNC level , i might have more sympathy.

  7. oldtimer
    December 23, 2013

    Your comment will not deter those who want to make mischief by misreporting or inventing opinions they claim to be yours. And your political opponents ae even worse.

  8. Brian Tomkinson
    December 23, 2013

    In my earlier post today I stated: ‘I noted with interest that the Sunday Times reported that when you and colleagues approached Cameron in the autumn to warn of growing rebellion about immigration he “brushed off” your concerns and for good measure he told you nothing could be changed.’
    Since you have questioned the accuracy of this report perhaps you would enlighten us and explain just what was ‘misleading’ about that report.

    Reply The main point of my meeting in the autumn was the issue of EU powers generally. Mr Cameron did not brush me off on the immigration issue.

    1. zorro
      December 23, 2013

      Reply to reply – Did he brush you off on the more general issue of not being able to do much about the march of EU powers, or did he appreciate your counsel and experience in looking at areas where productive negotiation would have a realistic chance of success?


      Reply We had a good conversation – watch this space –

      1. zorro
        December 24, 2013

        Reply to reply – space will be duly watched….. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2014 to John and your kin, and to all other contributors large and small who make the blog worth reading!


  9. acorn
    December 23, 2013

    The way things are going, after last week’s ONS economic updates, is that the opposition will be in the catbird seat at the next election, to attack Osbornes 2011 budget. The heterodox economic websites have already started pulling the feathers out of it. Remember phrases like, “for making things, not for making things up” and the unforgettable, “Britain carried aloft by the march of the makers”. (HT Billy Blog). Most, in fact, practically all of that budget speech has crashed and burned. I have been back through it; can’t find one OBR economic forecast that got anywhere near being correct.

    Unfortunately, it would be true, if the opposition branded the Conservative Party economically incompetent. Fortunately, they won’t, because they don’t understand the first thing about macroeconomics either. Nor do any of the fringe parties; so, the Conservatives could win by default.

    The fact that the EU doesn’t know how to make the Euro work in Euroland is irrelevant. The Euro is the largest currency on the planet in circulation terms. Followed by the currencies of the US, Japan and China. The Euro is twelve times bigger than the pound Stirling by circulation. The pound is now a mere 2% of the planet’s total currencies in circulation. There are more Russian rubles in circulation than pounds. Tell Cameron, that you cannot strut around pretending to be a world power while you are backed by a mickey mouse currency. I am saying basically, keep in mind that we may HAVE to join the Eurozone. The Euro is becoming too big to take apart.

    1. ian wragg
      December 24, 2013

      What utter tripe. The US Dollar has been the worlds reserve currency for years and there has been no suggestion that we join. The Euro is a failed policy which is causing enormous grief in Southern Europe. We’ve not long returned and in Italy and France boy is it hurting.
      My colleague who lives in Belfort is scathing about the socialist policies of Hollande and the fact his 22 year old son cannot get a job although he speaks fluent French, English and Spanish.
      Many in France are suggesting they go back to the Franc and this is gaining traction. Hitching yourself to a sinking ship is always a bad idea no matter how big the ship is.

    2. Denis Cooper
      December 24, 2013

      Firstly, at present I don’t expect the Conservatives to win the next election by default or by any other means.

      They blew the 2010 election by failing to fully exploit the gross economic and financial mismanagement of the Labour government, more than anything else, and that failure during 2009 has left them in the position where they, rather than Labour, have been blamed for the slow economic recovery.

      On top of which, because they ended up in coalition with the LibDems they have been unable to get the boundary changes they wanted, and so they still need to be about 6% ahead of Labour to have a chance of winning an overall majority at the next election; and rather than being about 6% ahead of Labour as needed, they have been running more than 6% behind and so far they have not discovered how to even close that gap let alone reverse it:

      It is also interesting to look at the left hand end of those charts, where it can be seen that during the eight months or so after the formation of the coalition government support for the LibDems dropped from about 24% down to about 10%, while at the same time support for Labour rose by about 11%.

      I’ve been looking at those charts for many months, and I have to admit that I’ve been a bit slow in realising the full implication of those movements after May 2010 – that Cameron is only Prime Minister now because the LibDems succeeded in temporarily pulling a large chunk of support away from Labour, something that the Conservatives had been incapable of doing to the required extent.

      The conventional view is that it was a mistake to allow Clegg to take part in the TV debates, but maybe it was in fact a cunning ploy?

      However I don’t expect that the LibDems will be able to perform the same service for the Conservatives at the next election, because they are now tainted by their time in government and it is unlikely that they will be able to once again inveigle one in seven voters to switch to supporting them rather than Labour.

      Paradoxically Cameron’s best chance of remaining Prime Minister after the next election might be to insist that UKIP should be allowed to participate in the TV debates, but at the same time try to make sure that UKIP then took more support away from Labour than from the Conservatives.

      Of course this is just how it looks now, and things could change over the next year.

    3. Denis Cooper
      December 24, 2013

      Secondly, I’ve no idea why you should describe sterling as a “mickey mouse currency”.

      It’s not a case of Cameron strutting around the world backed by sterling, it’s a case of sterling being backed by the UK economy, which is still the sixth largest in the world:

      There are 186 other countries with smaller economies than the UK, and many of them also issue their own currencies, so would you disparage all those other currencies in similar terms?

      Well, if you did that then of course you would be right in some cases, but I don’t expect it would go down well in Australia (twelfth on the list) or for that matter Switzerland (twentieth on the list).

      You write:

      “The pound is now a mere 2% of the planet’s total currencies in circulation”,

      and that is not entirely unexpected when the recent development of other countries such as China means that the GDP of the UK is now only about 3% of world GDP – oh, and incidentally responsible for only about 1.4% of the total manmade emissions of CO2 – but so what?

      You also write:

      “The Euro is the largest currency on the planet in circulation terms. Followed by the currencies of the US, Japan and China.”

      I don’t know exactly what measure you’re using there, because to the contrary I read here that the euro has just been knocked from second place to third by the yuan:

      “The Chinese yuan surpassed the euro in October to become the world’s second-most-used currency in international trade and finance, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) said in a statement on Tuesday.

      The share of the yuan, or renminbi, in trade finance as measured by the Letters of Credit and Collections, grew to 8.7 percent in October, up from 1.9 percent in January 2012, data from the global transaction services organization showed. The yuan now ranked behind the U.S. dollar, which had a share of 81.08 percent, while the euro’s share dropped to 6.6 percent in October, from 7.9 percent in January 2012.”

      Finally you write:

      “I am saying basically, keep in mind that we may HAVE to join the Eurozone.”

      Personally I don’t foresee a time when we will actually HAVE to join the euro, any more than I foresee a time when the Japanese or the Australians will HAVE to join in a currency union with China; but I can certainly foresee a time when the insane foreign policy adopted by the present government will come to fruition, and having successfully got almost the whole of Europe lined up against us in a eurozone bloc our treacherous politicians will then falsely say that we HAVE to join the euro, and they will take us into it with or without a referendum as they see fit.

      1. acorn
        December 25, 2013

        Sorry, I left out so much of the text I had used elsewhere my post doesn’t make a lot of sense. It would have been far too long in its original form which concerned the US dollar being the last currency to become non-convertible to gold.

        I am talking about “currencies in circulation”, what is referred to as Money M Zero (M0). Notes and coins in peoples pockets and stuffed in mattresses a lot of which is physically held by persons outside of the country of origin of a particular currency; about a $5 trillion dollars worth. Not M3 which is about $70 trillion dollars worth and contains all forms of financial assets, and mainly exists in computer ledgers.

        Two thirds of $1.23 trillion worth of US dollar notes are held by persons outside of the US. $1.3 trillion dollars worth of Euro are out there somewhere. If the Euro fails, a lot of people will be very upset and very angry!

    4. Chris
      December 24, 2013

      “The Euro is becoming too big to take apart”

      The only reason that the Euro has not yet failed is the immense politic will
      ( and fear ) amongst Eurozone Politicians who have done everything to keep it alive, including breaking EU fiscal rules, despite riots on the streets of Athens and protests in Spain.

      However support amongst National politicians, let alone citizens, for the level of integration necessary to keep it afloat is simply not there.

      The crunch point is coming : I simply cannot see Hollande being able to agree to control of the French budget being taken away from Paris or Merkel getting political and public support for the kind of fiscal transfers necessary from German taxpayers to ClubMed to keep the show on the road.

      Nothing has really changed. It will fail, it’s just a question of when, not if.

  10. alan jutson
    December 23, 2013

    Yes I read the article in question, did not believe it, as your views are clear for all to see with your everyday blogs.

    Methinks some of the Press are up to mischief already.

    Certainly pleased if the Government/Chancellor is at last seeking your advice, even if it is such a late in its request.

    If only it had been 4 years ago !

  11. cosmic
    December 23, 2013

    They’re not called churnalists for nothing.

    Even the quality newspapers these days seem to devote an awful lot of time to celebrity drivel and ‘health’ coverage. They don’t seem to have many correspondents with an in-depth knowledge of the subjects they cover, defence, economics science, and they certainly have no inclination or ability to probe beneath the surface of the stories they relate, preferring to engage in superficialities, personality politics and Chinese Whispers. The Times had a slogan in the 70s, “We have an eye for a lie and a tooth for the truth”. Those days are long gone.

    One Daily Telegraph environmental journalist is notorious for adding a prologue and epilogue to activist group press releases and presenting their view uncritically.

    Apart from the churnalism, what they omit steers the story.

    The newspapers are a dying industry and almost all have chronically declining circulations.

    My only surprise is that you should be surprised by the laziness and incompetence of the newspapers.

  12. Stephen O
    December 24, 2013

    Newspapers are run as businesses. They need to maximise revenues and minimise costs.
    A newsworthy or entertaining story sells more papers than an accurate one. A journalist with a good turn of phrase who is a generalist able to cover a number of topics, is more cost effective than a journalist who is an expert in a narrower field.
    When I read a story about a topic I know relatively well, most times there is at least one error and half the time it is more wrong than right. So I do not think your experience is unusual.
    Of course voters have to vote according to the information they have. Some may come from direct experience, but what they hear or read in the media will be important. Bad journalism makes for a weak democracy.
    Another negative affect is that it puts a premium on politicians’ ability to put their message across and be newsworthy at the expense of political debate and an expert understanding of the issues the country needs to resolve.
    Solutions to this seem hard to come by. Any regulatory approach to incentivise editors to make accuracy their priority would need some authority to give an impartial, objective judgement. But who is to judge who is truly impartial? This approach would inevitably suppress free speech.
    More free speech in the form of getting more information on journalistic errors and low standards would be the best approach, maybe this will come about through the growth of blogs at the expense of the newspapers. We can hope.

  13. Bazman
    December 24, 2013

    Don’t forget to pay your rent this Christmas.
    Councils wasting money trying to collect rent from scroungers and being patronising to hard working people. Never happen in the private rental sector….

  14. forthurst
    December 24, 2013

    The MSM these days publish two types of story, the paraphrase of the Press Release and the works of pure journalistic imagination. The story of which JR complains comes into the later category: it is perfectly true that JR would have liked a reduction of top rate income tax to 40%, but nevertheless agreed that the reduction to 45% would generate more revenue. As the 45% reduction generated plenty of phony outrage from the left, probably no more than had the Chancellor acted more sensibly and reduced the rate to 40%, it would be very unlikely that JR would have demanded a further reduction to 40% be included in the Manifesto which he has not actually advocated on his blog.

    1. behindthefrogs
      December 24, 2013

      If it is desireable to reduce the tax paid at the highest level, and I am not sure about this, then it should concentrate on earned income. That is reduce NI contributions rather than income tax.

  15. brian
    December 24, 2013

    Well said John. There is a huge amount of misinformation and scaremongering in the papers which I assume is done to try to sell more papers. Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.

  16. Denis Cooper
    December 24, 2013

    Off-topic, JR, I would like to thank you for spending your time, and also your own money, on running this blog and so frequently responding to comments from your readers, and in particular for your generosity in publishing sometimes quite harsh criticisms, and I would like to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  17. Electro-Kevin
    December 24, 2013

    Happy Christmas, Mr Redwood.

    I have been misrepresented by the Daily Mail too (seriously.) Though I was chuffed to find myself quoted in it at all.

  18. English Pensioner
    December 24, 2013

    Newspapers write strange things without checking
    From my experience, newspapers write strange things even when they have been provided with hard facts. I certainly don’t believe anything technical that they print without double checking it, based on my experience some twenty or more years ago when working at the Air Traffic Control Centre. On a couple of occasions, the media was provided with the exact reasons for a failure resulting in delays and on both occasions the media preferred to concentrate on something else which was entirely irrelevant.

  19. Mark B
    December 24, 2013

    Merry Christmas Mr. Redwood MP sir and to everyone here.

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