Our large balance of payments deficit with the rest of the EU is why they want to keep us


When the UK joined the EEC I opposed it for two main reasons.  The first was the likely long term erosion of our sovereignty. The Treaty of Rome made clear it was much more than a free trade area or more accurately a custom union that  they had in mind. The second was the economic damage high UK contributions and the asymmetric approach to trade was likely to do to our economy.

Which brings me back to the UK balance of payments. The UK is not uncompetitive. We have a healthy trade surplus on a regular basis with our number one trading partner, the USA. We regularly sell more to Australia and Switzerland  than they sell to us, two other important trade partners.  When it comes to the rest of the EU it is always the other way round. We have usually suffered bad deficits.

In the early years of our membership the whole approach was to ease duties and restrictions on trade in goods where Germany had the advantage, and to restrict or fail to liberalise trade in services where the UK had an advantage. That worked very well for the rest of the EU who ran big surpluses at our expense.

In more recent years the EU has dangled the carrot of a better trade in services for the UK as a means  to gain more and more control over our service areas by endless regulation. Whilst some of the new rules have helped build pan European business opportunities, more of the rules have driven up costs and damaged the UK’s worldwide competitiveness in services.

The official Pink Book for 2013 shows the UK running a massive deficit of £88bn on the current account with the rest of the EU, led by Germany at minus £35bn.  In all years since 1997 the UK has run a current account surplus with the Americas, Australasia and Oceania.  We have been large importers from China, but the German deficit has far exceeded our Chinese deficit. Trade with India is well matched.

The UK’s surplus on services is heavily dependent on insurance, pensions and financial business, which recorded a £58bn surplus in 2013.  Our travel account is in heavy deficit, as we travel more and spend more than foreigners do when visiting the UK.

When conducting domestic policy we need to remember just how this country earns its living. When conducting foreign policy, we need to remember just what a bonus the rest of the EU gets from its current relationship with the UK. £14.8bn of our current account deficit in 12013 was our  net payments to the rest of the EU, for the privilege of them selling us goods! They would want to keep their access to our market, whatever other sensible political arrangements we might insist on.


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  1. Mick
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    I am sick to the back teeth of the intervention of the EU, now they want us to have low powered ovens does this madness never end, and your mr Cameron made it very clear on TV yesterday that he will not let any of his cabinet vote to leave the EU, so he might as well join the lib/dem’s and have his cabinet full of EU loving yes men

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      Indeed now some will have to have cold coffee as well as dusty and poorly lit houses. This as filter machines will soon have to switch themselves off after a short time.

      It will not affect me as I find a cafetieres are far better anyway. If the coffee goes cold I just microwave it hot again and it is fine. That way it does not taste off due to any overheating. In fact it is one of the few things I use the microwave for. That and if the red wine is too slightly too cold from the cellar, about 15 seconds I find.

      • DaveM
        Posted January 5, 2015 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

        Give it a couple of years and you’ll be arrested for using that microwave, LL. The big telly that you’ll have in your house will see both ways, remember!!!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 5, 2015 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        Also I tend to prefer dust to the noise and effort of vacuum cleaners.

      • Bazman
        Posted January 6, 2015 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        LEDs producing 1500 lumens the same or more as a 100 watt incandescent are now available from ASDA bought two for the hall and landing and they are better than incandescent using only 18 watt has arrived. At last! Why are you still using them assuming you can afford the investment and lower bills. Is this logical?

    • Sue Jameson
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      I detest the way the EU is completely taking over our lives. If they want to introduce “Eco products”, that’s fine, but I still want the choice that we already have. I feel like I’m being constantly conned by the Green Blob.. if the products are so great, why do we still have to pay Green taxes on them? Why not make green products VAT exempt if they want us to buy them?

      This is not my idea of a healthy capitalist, free market.. its protectionism at its very worse and I resent being cajoled into it.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 5, 2015 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        It is indeed all a big con. If they wanted to save energy and co2 they would ban bonfire night, the new years day fireworks, bonfires in general and all the eco summits in exotic locations. It is all part of the “Prince Charles” do what I say not & what I do approach.

        They would also ban small wind turbines in Notting Hill and the likes this as they use more co2 to make than they can ever save. Clearly large engine cars like Aston Martins, BMW7s, Rolls, Jags and Bentley would have to go too.

        • BobE
          Posted January 5, 2015 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

          All Gov cars should be electric by now

  2. bluedog
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Dr JR, it seems that the benefits of leaving the EU are relatively easy to quantify, and can be classified as ‘known knowns’.

    On the other-hand, the potential negatives of leaving the EU could be rated as ‘known unknowns’. In this categorisation the worst event is an ‘unknown unknown’, a rating which does not seem to apply in the context of Brexit.

    So it’s full steam ahead for the open sea.

    • outsider
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      Dear Bluedog, Given the fiasco of Westminster’s panic capitulation to SNP demands ahead of the independence referendum, the worst known unknown would be the ability of any potential Government to negotiate the details of a new arrangement with the EU that was actually in UK people’s interests.

  3. Edward.
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    For all of the Federasts, EU lovers and liberal elite, guardian readers and most of recent house buyers in Islington aka the UK ‘establishment’ need to be apprised of the reality. For all of the aforementioned the biggest conundrum and one that none of them can refute [not even that mouthpiece and EU place-man Nick Clegg].
    It goes, ‘they’ [Brussels] have need of us far more, than ‘we’ [Britain] need them. In detailed fact, to coin a phrase – we need them – ie Britain needs the EU like a drowning man needs a lead weight round his ankles.
    We are of the sea and need to be about the oceans, Britain needs forthwith to raise the anchor and set sail, away from the ravages of the blight of the €zone – as the impending implosion of said currency grows nigh.

  4. Dame Rita Webb
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Well this a novel twist of being able to blame the EU for all the nation’s ills. In or out of the EU people are going to want to buy from Germany because of the quality stuff they produce. Of the volume car manufacturers, are you seriously going to buy a Nissan from Sunderland over a VW from Wolfsburg? Also you can hardly blame people for importing stuff because we no longer make it here anymore e.g. a washing machine and again look at how many come from Germany. You may actually find that British foreign policy will be determined instead by a run the pound. After all you cannot keep importing stuff on the basis of cheap credit for domestic consumers forever without the FX market getting a little too concerned.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      Well certainly I would not but a Nissan Leaf even if the government give you £5K for some half baked reason.

    • libertarian
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      Dame Rita

      Washing machines from Germany? Are you sure? The 3 biggest manufacturers who own nearly 30 different brands ( including all the ones with German sounding names) are:

      Electrolux– Swedish
      Candy — Italian
      Whirlpool — United States

      Nissan UK produced saloon cars for the Japanese market not here
      The only vehicles manufactured by Nissan Sunderland for UK market is Qashqai & Juke.

      The automotive industry in the UK turned over £59.3 billion in 2012 and accounts for around 10% of all UK exports. In 2013 more than 1.5 million cars and more than 2.5 million engines were produced in the UK

      • Dame Rita Webb
        Posted January 5, 2015 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

        stick to being an “expert on employment” …. miele, ariston, bosch etc are all premium brands and come from Germany.

        • libertarian
          Posted January 6, 2015 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

          Dame Rita

          Thanks for the advice, I will my employment based company had another record year this year thanks, we grew 56% in revenues.

          Ariston is owned by Indesit which is an Italian company

          Bosch is part German the other half of Bosch is owned by Worcester a British company

          Miele the smallest of the brands is indeed German

          My point still stands the 3 companies i cited are the biggest sellers of washing machines

        • libertarian
          Posted January 7, 2015 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

          Dear Dame Rita,

          Ariston is Italian, Bosch is part owned by British Company Worcester & yes little Miele is German but although they make very good washing machines they have a very small market share.

          I will of course keep on being expert in UK employment, I’m very successful at it thanks

    • peter davies
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

      He’s not blaming the EU, merely stating the fact that we should be able to pull out whilst retaining the leverage of maintaining our free trading status with them whilst sitting outside their customs union

    • David Cockburn
      Posted January 6, 2015 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      I certainly very happy to buy Honda rather than BMW. More reliable and not so aggressive.

      • Bazman
        Posted January 6, 2015 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

        But still a Honda and not a BMW. As for reliability Japanese cars are a bit like motorbikes, very reliable when new, but not so when they get a few miles on them and are expensive to fix then. BMW cars are expensive though.

        • libertarian
          Posted January 7, 2015 at 7:04 pm | Permalink


          The top 4 most reliable cars are in fact Japanese with Honda being top.

          I tell you this just as a statement of fact, I myself prefer German cars, not BMW’s though ( rep’s car).

          • Bazman
            Posted January 7, 2015 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

            See above.

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    “The UK is not uncompetitive” relative to some perhaps not. But it is far from as competitive as it could be with cheaper energy, sensible employments laws, a far smaller state sector, an efficient state sector, lower & far simpler taxes, fewer payments to augment the feckless and fewer daft EU and other regulations in general.

    Anyway Miliband & Ball will shortly make us rather more uncompetitive thanks to Cameron’s determination to lose.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      I see the times reports that the CBI has received more than £5.4 million from taxpayer-funded organisations in the past five years, including dozens of universities, NHS trusts, the BBC and Channel 4.

      The CBI has been consistently proved wrong on the ERM, the EU and EURO – is this perhaps why?

      They also suggest:

      Cameron woos Ukip with fast-track vote on Europe – Cameron clearly needs rather more in the way of wooing skills if that is his attempt.

      • forthurst
        Posted January 5, 2015 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

        CBI is excellent brand, so it is obvious why Europhile organisations would like to climb aboard to direct its message. etc ed

  6. Andyvan
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    One thing is for sure, the political elite and their owners will fight tooth and nail to stop us having a say in who gets to rule us.

    • agricola
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      For sure many must be on a promise. The large corporation element of the CBI want to stay in because they and their equivalents in Europe have everything neatly sewn up. The small entrepreneurial element of industry has to make the best of it. They have no friends among politicians because they are looking for fat cat sinecures on retirement. Blair utopia is what they are aiming at following his shining example. Were the politicos and their fellow civil servants interested in small business they would have long ago put an end to the very late payment policy of big business. They prefer to be corrupted via the lobby industry.

      • outsider
        Posted January 5, 2015 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

        Many of the CBI’s most influential members are overseas-based multinationals, many based in other EU nations.

  7. David Cockburn
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    What makes our current account deficit with the EU particularly interesting is that it is only Germany and the Netherlands with whom we have a deficit, with the other 24 countries we are in surplus.

    Reply Not true I n deficit with France, Spain, Belgium etc

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Well. JR, I’m glad that your headline:

      “Our large balance of payments deficit with the rest of the EU is why they want to keep us”

      did not continue with “in the EU”, because even if we were outside the EU they could continue to benefit from that balance of payments surplus with us.

      However there are other more important reasons why they want to keep us in the EU, which are nothing to do with profiting from their trade with us or even with getting our contributions to the EU budget, as some suppose.

      Because as our political leaders have always been perfectly well aware the EU is above all else a political project, indeed a geopolitical project, directed towards the creation of a new country of “Europe”; which would more likely be a sovereign federation as adumbrated in the 1950 Schuman Declaration than a unitary state, a federal United States of Europe to match “America”, the federal United States of America on the other side of the Atlantic.

      It may be recalled that in late 2002 when the EU Constitution was first being drafted it was briefly mooted that the EU should be renamed as the “United States of Europe”, established on a “federal” basis; the UK government objected both to the alternative name and to the word “federal”, so in the end it remained as the “European Union” and the word “federal” was replaced by the wording “in the Community way”, held by others to mean the same thing anyway.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, that was intended as a separate comment not a reply.

  8. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    As usual, I see things from a little different perspective: Of course we (the Dutch) want to keep the UK as an EU member, but more so that it infuses some British values into the mixture of many continental cultures. Most of the northern part of the EU and also some nations in the east would be of the same view. The efforts towards less regulation for SMEs, towards more subsidiarity, and towards many concerns your prime minister listed in his Bloomberg speech are examples of that willingness. But he price the EU members are willing to pay to keep the UK inside the EU is limited, as they have shown already a few times that they will move on without the UK if necessary. If and when the UK leaves the EU, I would fear more for your service sector than for our exports to the UK. A service is much easier to relocate than a Nissan or Toyota factory. I could even imagine that some EU countries would be more willing to open their service market into a single market, if big brother UK were to be temporarily excluded. Any developments built on the fiscal compact would also exclude the UK. If the UK then were to return to the EU, say in 2050, it would lost many years of influence (again). I know that you never want to return to the EU, it’s just speculation. 🙂

    • DaveM
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      You really think there’ll be an EU in 2050??!!!

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 6, 2015 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

        @DaveM: The EU is still very young ( about 60 years?) and only 35 years to go and the EU will already be in 2050. Quite realistic.

        • William Gruff
          Posted January 6, 2015 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

          Nazi Germany was very young, considerably younger than the EU, and very strong, in 1940, yet the thousdand year reich was in ruins five years later.

    • Timaction
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      Good we agree you should move on and leave us behind and out of your socialist highly regulated failing EU. We don’t want the EU in any way, shape or form.
      We wish you well. We’ll consider what tariffs are appropriate on the £77 billion annual trade deficit if the EU wants to play hardball with any service provision or trade!! We’ll save £14 billion for our own public services, be shot of CAP and regain our Fishing Industry. Make our own trade deals with the rest of the growing world leaving the shrinking highly regulated EU behind. Free to trade with the rest of the world as the 5th largest economy. As a bonus we can secure our borders, regain our sovereign democracy and be able to remove and wave goodbye to the unelected dictators like Junker, the other Commissioners and Mrs Merkel can rule the rest of the EU! Bliss.

    • outsider
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      Dear Peter van Leeuwen, You mention subsidiarity, which ought to be a matter of interest to all EU member states, but the Commission, aided and abetted by the European Court, seems to made it a dead letter.
      For example, before shelving the idea of major home improvements in panic, I struggled with the highly prescriptive 2010 EU Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings. It dismisses subsidiarity in this seemingly local matter, arguing that improvements “cannot be sufficiently achieved by the member states, due to the complexity of the buildings sector and the inability of national housing markets to adequately address the challenge”.
      I fancy that the Netherlands, like most other member states, could do their own thing perfectly adequately but it might be hard for the some of the tiny EU members such as Malta, Slovenia, Latvia etc.
      Neither the Commission nor the Parliament has much interest in the welfare of these states (ignoring, for example, the unwanted foreign military occupation of Cyprus) but cynically uses them as an excuse to override the principle of subsidiarity. In this case, for instance, the Commission could have drawn up non-obligatory model rules.
      For any headway to be made on subsidiarity, we should need to establish Court-enforced procedures for the Commission to provide such services/help/guidance for the smallest and or poorest members states that are not needed by the bigger or richer ones.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 6, 2015 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

        @outsider: the future may be different from the past. Personally I have high hopes for the new Dutch commissioner (Frans Timmermans) who has started by scrapping 80 regulations and will likely scrap many more soon. He also holds a veto on any regulation brought forward by other commissioners. All these require no ECJ as you understand. If you study earlier positions by the Dutch government (from Timmermans’ department) which stated that the time of ever closer union in every area was something of the past, and it spelled out I believe 52 items were power needs to be repatriated to the Netherlands or where the control may not move to EU level. I admit that these contain many smaller issues, but it shows the new focus.
        I know extra focus will be given to small and medium enterprises, so I wouldn’t be too surprised if the EU also gives special attention to the smallest EU members

    • bluedog
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

      PVL says, ‘I would fear more for your service sector.’ Fear away, then.

      The financial services sector prefers the precedents of courts based on the principles of English corporate law and the Common Law, which explains the global dominance of London, New York, Hong Kong and Singapore. As an example of this bias, consider the failed attempt by Shanghai to dominate Hong Kong. Under the Hong Kong hand-over agreement the CCP made the mistake of allowing HK to retain its independent judiciary with, of course, an English legal system. The banks stick to what they know rather than take a risk on Chinese courts.

      Now, one concedes that the Code Napoleon and EU courts are marginally preferable to those in China, but if you can prepare a document that is more or less valid around the world in ‘English’ courts, you are going to do so.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 6, 2015 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        @bluedog: There are more services than just financial services. I expect the City of London to continue to dominate financial services for some time, but I don’t expect English corporate and common law to necessarily dominate. There are quite some corporation on the continent and they fit quite well with continental corporate law. For the financial sector, I expect that at least some clearing houses will set up on the continent because of ECB requirements about the euro. That may already happen anyway, regardless of a Brexit.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted January 6, 2015 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      Peter – You like our British values but the typical Europhile tells us we are racists, bigots, Little Englanders and nationalists if we express our desire to protect British values or to leave the EU.

      In fact the BBC is at pains to tell us that there is no such thing as ‘British’ and that we are a (mixed ? ed) race – this is directed more particularly at the English. We are constantly asked (on debates about mass immigration) “You say you are English – what is English ?” a trick question to prove racism or to argue that Englishness is a figment of the imagination.

      The Scots were never asked “What is Scottishness ?” during their recent referendum. They are allowed to have a Scottish National Party.

      The English would never be allowed to have an English National Party and it would be run out of town by the BBC, the three parties and rent-a-mob student protesters.

      This overbearing and patronising approach by federalists is the chief reason that there is an upsurge in anti-EU sentiment within the UK.

      It is unusual to hear a Europhile recognise and praise our nationality. Would it stretch so far as to recognise and praise Englishness ? Whatever that is ???

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 6, 2015 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

        @Mondeo Man: Being married to a half-English half-Scottish wife it is difficult for me to distinguish between the two cultures. I laugh as much about Scottish as about English humor on TV. I could as easily spot Scottish eccentrics as English eccentrics. The difference I see is more socio-economic, the Scottish being closer to a continental social-democratic society. Labeling happens vice versa among the more zealous debaters, but I would never regard the British as racist, you have far too many people from foreign descent living nicely integrated in your country. I think the anti-EU sentiment in the UK has different origins, partly historical but also due to decades of anti-EU crusading by some of your tabloids. It may well be too late now to correct all the misinformation having been poured out over the British people, I certainly don’t see this as my task. If pro-EU Britain keeps silent, so be it.
        If you can expain to me what typical Englishness is I’d probably have no problem to praise what I like in it. But: don’t the Scottish believe in fair-play? Are there no Scottish “gentlemen”. Don’t they drink boiled water with leaves? 🙂

        • Kenneth R Moore
          Posted January 6, 2015 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

          The madness of the Europhile position is that it has allowed 600 million people to potentially take from a welfare pot filled by 60million people in the Uk. How is that supposed to work?.
          So can we put that old chestnut about ‘tabloid newspapers’ to bed.

          Similarly how can an education, social housing or healthcare system be on call for a similar number of people?. The whole idea of ‘ever closer union’ needs to be consigned to the dustbin of history.

          Eurosceptic politicians are constantly being told that they must not ‘cave in to right wing extremists’ such as Ukip.

          But it is not extremists that want back control of our own affairs it is the majority of the British people. Please credit us with some sense – the tabloids have rightly REFLECTED the anger felt here – not caused it. Politicians need to get back to the idea that they are there to REPRESNT the people they serve.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 6, 2015 at 9:28 am | Permalink


      If we leave and maintain access to the EEA, which we can if you read Article 50 of the TFEU, you will see we can still access the service sector, as services comes under the Four Freedoms.

      I time though, I would expect the UK to leave the EEA and negotiate a trade deal with the EU. Such a deal would require the UK to have access to the Service Sector.

      So your dooms day scenario does not stand.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted January 6, 2015 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        @Mark B: We will have to wait and see. As part of the EEA, the UK will be contributing financially more or less the same and will “suffer” the same EU regulations as now. If you exit completely, become like Canada, then a trade deal is to be expected, I agree with you. No doom scenarios, although some EU members might favour a bit of retribution towards an ex-member that, in their mindset, hasn’t succeeded in wrecking the EU

        • Hope
          Posted January 8, 2015 at 8:41 am | Permalink

          Exercising choice to leave a socialist construct as the EU should not be viewed as Wrecking it. Although it does deserve to be wrecked for all the destititution and hardship it has caused ordinary people around Europe for political ideology that the public does not want.

  9. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Facts like these demonstrate why the eurosceptic side needs an onside broadcaster. It is evident from this data that 3 million jobs are unlikely to be at risk from an exit. Unless of course those jobs at risk are on the continent.

    As ever messages are better delivered by the statists and controllers, free marketeers believe that truth will out and that is our achillies heel.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      The BBC is clearly institutionally biased to a huge degree and wrong on nearly every issue.

      It is left wing, full of green crap, pro EU, full of PC drivel, vehemently anti UKIP, pro open door immigration, pro tax borrow and waste, anti real science (unless they can find a woman scientist/engineer perhaps), pro a boated state, pro the appalling free at the point of rationing NHS, anti grammar schools and anti good schools in general.

      • Mondeo Man
        Posted January 6, 2015 at 8:57 am | Permalink


        Every panel show, Live at the Apollo stand-up show features at least one dig at Ukip with orchestrated audience groans and boos (easy enough to do with a few plants in the audience.)

        Groans and boos is not what I hear in the messroom, pub or club.

  10. agricola
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    So the EU needs us more than we need them. Ergo a continuing trade relationship will not be in question, apart from people like Clegg and his fantasy three million jobs. We are potentially ,in trade terms, better off out than in because we would be free from the financial and regulatory burden that restricts our trade with other nations.

    If as you maintain, the conservative party is Europhile, then why not get them to put pressure on Cameron to explain in detail, I mean cold hard facts not rhetoric, why he is so pro EU. Demand that he explain what is driving him. I would loose a lot of respect for him as a fellow human being if in ten years it became obvious what his motivation was, as is the case with Blair.

  11. Ian wragg
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    I see the papers are full of CMD, s inuendo that he may have an early referendum. This is the Lisbon Treaty moment when if he should remain in power he can renege on.
    With such a serial liar no one will be fooled.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      Without UKIP he would not even be moving that far and he has far more moving still to do.

      • turbo terrier
        Posted January 5, 2015 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

        Roger to that

    • Timaction
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      I too saw Mr Cameron on Andrew Marr and thought he had a message and was going to deliver it regardless of the question. The politics of fear (Labour) and smear (UKIP). So wooden, no character, no depth, no reasoning, no conviction. A hollow vessel that preaches the same message ( If he says it, it must be true. NOT). Mr Farage and any other member of UKIP will wipe the floor with him in any debate and at any time. The EU arguments are lost. There are no economic, cultural, historical, military or strategic reasons to belong to this 20th Century dying socialist club. It is and always has been about the creation of a United States of Europe. Nothing else. Mr Cameron talks about the markets and Marr and the rest of the media puppets let him get away with it.
      £14 billion for a £88 billion trade deficit plus all the further billions in “on costs” of regulation, CAP, fishing, and paying for the health, education and in and out work and child benefits for a few million former communist block workers!
      Mr Cameron what are the benefits……………………err, trade markets! You couldn’t make it up! I had to turn over and watch Nigel Farage on Sky News for some sanity!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 5, 2015 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        The problem for Farage in any debate is that LibLabCon and perhaps the chair will constantly interrupt and not let him speak. They will have found to quote (taken out of context) by some UKIP person or other years ago – for him to defend.

        • Mondeo Man
          Posted January 6, 2015 at 8:59 am | Permalink

          I’d still like to see the debate done, Lifelogic.

          Ukip is the biggest threat to the Tories and Mr Cameron should be able to see it off in a one hour televised debate.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted January 6, 2015 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

            Cameron would have little chance against Farage unless it was a set up as Cameron has not got a rational position to defend. Farage has Cameron know this as what he says is far more farage than what he does.

      • fedupsouthener
        Posted January 5, 2015 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

        He is the only sane leader around at the moment!

    • bluedog
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      Cameron only infers an early referendum because he is afraid that the Greek election on 25th January will result in the progressive collapse of the Eurozone.

      He therefore needs to get in quick. We know Cameron wants the UK to stay in the EU, so holding a referendum before a major Eurozone nation like Italy or Spain pulls the pin on the EMU would be an important tactic.

      And Cameron only thinks tactically.

      Reply There are several reasons why Mr Cameron wants an earlier referendum, which is all to the good in my view.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 5, 2015 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        Well the main reason for Cameron in having it early will be: if he thinks he can stitch up a stay in vote – with the aid of the BBC, CBI, big business, tax payer funded propaganda, a silenced cabinet and all the usual suspects.

        • Bazman
          Posted January 6, 2015 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

          You are right for once but forget to mention the super rich buying favours as you may well.

      • zorro
        Posted January 5, 2015 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply – What are these several reasons?


    • Bryan
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      But he is really pleased that Obamarama calls him ‘bro’, as in “come here and sit by my feet bro”.

      Shows the level of his ambitions


    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      And if/when that referendum took place all Tory ministers would be required to join Cameron in campaigning for a vote to stay in the EU:


  12. Sandra Cox
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    John, off topic, but while we discuss the ins and outs of the EU etc, it seems that the basis of our democracy – our electoral system – needs “emergency” changes. Five years too late?:

    ‘More than 1.5 million people who are not British citizens will have the power to swing the general election. Senior Tories called for an emergency change in the law last night as official figures revealed the scale of foreigners who will be free to cast a vote in May. This could result in them being able to decide the outcome of what is set to be the closest and most unpredictable election result in decades.’ – The Times.

    • alan jutson
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 9:28 am | Permalink


      “More than 1.5 million,,,,,”

      Yes could only happen in the UK, doubtless they will also be able to vote in any EU referendum as well if we ever have one.

      The longer we leave it, the larger the numbers who can vote.

      We need to stop most of this postal voting as well.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      Don’t forget the “tail wagging” SNP effect…

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      I’ve repeatedly argued that only UK citizens should be allowed to vote in ANY public election or referendum held in the UK, national or local or whatever. And moreover contrary to the relevant provisions of the EU treaties as first agreed by Major at Maastricht I wouldn’t be willing to make any exceptions for “municipal” elections and referendums, such as the elections to the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish independence referendum, or for the elections to the EU Parliament as the citizens of other EU member states resident in this country could cast absentee votes in their own countries. And I would look again very hard at our legal provisions on multiple citizenship, as well.

      It would be interesting to see the breakdown of that 1.5 million; I guess that the largest national contingent will be Irish citizens resident here, but apart from them there are all the “qualifying Commonwealth citizens”, including those from the Indian sub-continent, and even those from Mozambique since that country asked to join the Commonwealth and was allowed to do so:


      It’s absurd that we should allow all these non-citizens to vote.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 5, 2015 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

        Indeed someone from the EU but working for a short while in the UK perhaps has no interest in the UK’s long term interest. But perhaps would like to be able to continue to stay there and theirs friends and family to join them. They are likely to vote for their personal interests.

      • Sandra Cox
        Posted January 5, 2015 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

        Apparently, figures from the Commons library show that there will be 345,000 eligible Irish voters, 306,000 Indians, 180,000 Pakistani citizens, 73,000 Australians and 52,000 people from Zimbabwe. Other countries in the top ten are Nigeria, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Canada and Bangladesh.

        I also understand that Grant Shapps announced a while ago a manifesto commitment to abolish the rule which prevents British expats from voting in the UK after they have lived abroad for more than 15 years, saying: “…. although it may mean little to those who don’t live abroad, it is hugely significant for the 5.6 million British expats.”

        John, what is your take on what looks like a panicky Conservative Party approach to voting eligibility in the 2015 general election, and a possible longer-term gearing up for an EU referendum?

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted January 6, 2015 at 10:18 am | Permalink

          Well, the Wharton/Neill Private Members’ Bill would have allowed all of them to vote in the EU referendum:


          “2 Entitlement to vote in the referendum

          Those entitled to vote in the referendum are –

          (a) the persons who, on the date of the referendum, would be entitled to vote as electors at a parliamentary election in any constituency … ”

          That’s bad enough, but some years ago another Private Members’ Bill for an EU referendum had the franchise being the same as that for EU Parliament elections, so even more non-citizens would have been allowed to vote in that.

    • Vanessa
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      I did not think they were eligible to vote in a General Election ?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 5, 2015 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

        But in a referendum it depends on the rules if they can vote! You can be sure how the rules are likely to be decided upon.

    • agricola
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      This must be a one off arrangement within Europe because I am unable to vote in any Spanish general election though permanently resident in Spain. I would ask John if this was part of Blair’s floodgate opening to immigrants of UK borders in the hope that they would be grateful and vote labour given the instant freedom to do so.

    • ian wragg
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      This precisely what CMD wants at the referendum. 10 million Europeans voting to stay in the EU as it would adversely affect them.
      Why do you think all the legacy parties are happy with half a million incomers every year.
      Shysters the lot of them.

    • Hefner
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      Who are you talking about? I have been living in the UK for 28 years, and the only UK elections I have ever been able to vote for are the local and European elections.
      So be more precise please. Who are the non-British citizens able to vote in British elections?

      • Dame Rita Webb
        Posted January 5, 2015 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

        Commonwealth citizens, my other half is from Singapore and has voted in EU, local authority and general elections for years. I can see why you worried as he has wasted it on Labour and the Liberals. I think citizens of the Irish Rep also get it too as part of a deal we did with them in the ’20s.

  13. Mark B
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Little will change with us leaving the EU on this. What will change, is or ability to customise our business laws and regulations to suit our internal market. A more competitve internal market will create jobs and wealth which, over time, will grow to become international competition.

    We would also be masters of our own energy policy. Cheap reliable energy will attract investment. Removal of VAT and any other taxes and duties required by the EU will make the UK more competitive internationally.

    Long term, the UK would need to seek a trade deal with the rest of the EU if they wish to sell us their goods. Such a deal would of course need to take into account our need to access their services. If their market is either too small or restrictive, we can impose high tariffs on goods produced from the EU. Yes, they would reciprocate, but, they would lose far more than we would and may themselves seek to build and invest in the UK.

    But I do not think they want us in because of the reasons you describe. I think, if the UK were to leave and show other members that it can be a painless and very profitable decision, which I believe it can be if we keep EEA membership (for a short while at least), others will follow. If that happens, the project is as good as dead.

    • DaveM
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      “If that happens, the project is as good as dead.”

      I hope so. If Greece leave and start to recover, the Meds will follow. If the UK leaves, the Danes and the Czechs will too, shortly followed by the French. I still cannot understand how those in the EU that think treaties, etc can create a European superstate (which is what, for some reason, they’re all desperate for). There have been attempts to create one since Roman times, and not one has succeeded because the countries of Europe are divided on ethnic, tribal, and linguistic lines. As someone else here says, I just want to know why people like Cameron and Miliband are so desperate to stay in this socialist dinosaur. If it was not purely self-interest surely they would have told us by now? Cameron talks constantly about markets, but we had markets before the EU and there are even more markets available now thanks to globalisation, the web, and transport developments!!!

    • bluedog
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

      ‘ Removal of VAT and any other taxes and duties required by the EU will make the UK more competitive internationally.’

      A contradiction in terms. Indirect taxes (like VAT) permit lower personal and corporate tax rates that are the true drivers of business creation, wealth generation and international competitiveness.

    • Bazman
      Posted January 6, 2015 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

      A more competitive internal market will create jobs and wealth which, over time, will grow to become international competition? With China and India?
      In a race to the bottom is the most likely scenario as minimum wage and employment rights can be disregarded. How you will get anyone to work is another question. Benefit cuts being the main answer one suspects.
      All past evidence of food banks and bankers bonuses points to this.

      • libertarian
        Posted January 7, 2015 at 7:30 pm | Permalink


        I’m not really sure why I’m bothering with this other than I feel sorry for you wasting your talent in a dead end drudge job because you can’t see the wood for the trees.

        Please explain how and why a bankers bonus causes anyone to earn less than minimum wage or to have to use a food bank?

        Let me explain how it works

        Bank A makes a large profit

        They pay Banker 1. £1m bonus from that

        Here’s what happens

        After tax Banker 1 has £540,636

        UK Govt has £459,364 income tax and NI

        Employers National Insurance Contribution £136,902

        Therefore the UK Govt now has £596,266 to spend on poor people

        Bank A makes a large profit

        Banker 1 receives NO bonus

        UK Govt receive no money

        However because the Bank didn’t pay out a bonus the £1m is part of their profits and attracts corporation tax of 21%

        So UK govt gets £210,000 to spend on poor people

        Please also bare in mind that of course Banker 1 in the first scenario is likely to spend his money also earning the UK govt another 20% tax on top

        So please explain what it is about this arrangement you don’t like

        • Bazman
          Posted January 7, 2015 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

          I have given up on Tory aprechnique like yourself and this the reason we must not argue with them but fight. It’s apologist nonsense and that is where it begins and ends. Further comment would be superfluous.

          • libertarian
            Posted January 8, 2015 at 7:24 pm | Permalink


            1) I’m not a tory

            2) I won, you’ve no answer

            3) You will never succeed as you choose to ignore reality

        • Bazman
          Posted January 9, 2015 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

          The sparrow and horses theory in a nutshell.
          Massive payments made for ‘talent’ justified by the amount of tax they pay from a bank propped up by tax due to the bankers failings! The taxpayer is paying his wages or as he calls it compensation, remuneration, honorarium and any other word except wages because that is what normal people get.
          However no pay rise for the workforce using the same theory is justified is it? 1% for the nurses was pulled by shooting the umpire. We live in a demand economy and massive payments for no reason to the wealthy are not good for the economy especially when paid from taxes to banks to big to fail with a high risk strategy. It’s an expensive and inefficient way of redistributing wealth if this is what you are claiming by giving it to tax dodging bankers ain’t it? Charity no less! LOL!
          It ain’t rocket science and yes you are not a Tory but a deluded right whinner with no idea. This is the reality and my answer.

  14. alan jutson
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Nail on head today John.

    The EU does not want us to leave because of our huge financial contribution, not only trade for our goods but our yearly subscription as well.

    Given we are in deficit with the EU on most things, fishing rights as well, then some of the other members would need to stump up some more cash if we left.

  15. Vanessa
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Well said ! We are the second largest contributor to the EU coffers after Germany, OF COURSE they want us to stay in.

    We could use that money to prop up the NHS, improve schools, improve roads and all manner of important things in this country. Why we give all our money away to the Continent to spend is beyond me?

    We are in credit with the rest of the world. We have to buy most of our food from Europe with their high tarrifs etc. the EU is madness for us.

  16. oldtimer
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    You sum it up very well. Germany, of course, runs a trade surplus vs everyone else, ie vs ROW, vs rest of Eu as well vs the UK but is able to shelter behind a euro weakened by the other members of the EZ. Nice work if you can get it. And Germany does.

  17. Bert Young
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    As usual I am 100% in agreement with your blog today . Putting the loss of our sovreignity first on your list made me feel “comfortable” ; if you saw the EU relationship case this way then so would other members of the Conservative Party . I hope and trust you will battle away and encourage your colleagues to do the same in the coming months . Cameron must allow all Conservative MPs the right to vote and speak as they wish on this issue . Threats to cause any of them to tow his line will not help him in any way .

  18. fedupsouthener
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    John, reading this, it is clear we need to leave the EU and as quickly as possible. I see no future for my children all the time we are being fleeced by the EU and Cameron has said he will encourage ministers to be pro Europe. The mess just goes on and on and nobody in any of the main parties has said anything yet to convince me they are serious about putting it right. We have to leave the EU and these facts must be made known to the public and not hidden away by our politicians and our media. The BBC are the worst in this case. The way they always laugh and joke about UKIP and Farage in particular makes me think they are more afraid of him than they like to let on. Let the public decide with the truth and more honesty about the figures involved.

  19. Matt
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    “They would want to keep their access to our market, whatever other sensible political arrangements we might insist on.”

    This assumes that they act pragmatically. If they act idealistically, or just have other concerns such as wanting to avoid setting the precedent that a country can have an arrangement with the EU such as you suggest; then the negotiations will not go well.

    Reply German Ministers have said they would want a trade agreement if we leave.

  20. Tom William
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Useful facts. Do these figures allow for the “Antwerp/Rotterdam effect” whereby shipments from the UK through these ports are counted as exports to them?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      Indeed and the large Irish/UK trade which was long established before the EU and clearly would continue.

      • Bazman
        Posted January 6, 2015 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

        Would Nissan and the like stay if tarries were introduced given they are not here for our great infrastructure and education? Cheap labour and low employment rights in many other EU countries. German and French power companies might charge us more too as could other foreign state owned companies. Just refuse to pay? Go to a competitor As you do for your energy and water?! Get real.

        • libertarian
          Posted January 7, 2015 at 7:33 pm | Permalink


          Seeing as Nissan UK make right hand drive cars for the UK and Japanese market only I’m not sure what benefit they would have making them in another EU country and then paying export tariffs to ship them here !

  21. Bill
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Like others, I am utterly fed up with the intervention of the EU and its bureaucrats. I have just been looking at my finances and found that my accounts have been messed around because Lloyds was forced by the EU to sell off branches to TSB and some accounts were not transferred properly. In addition I understand that some of the banking staff have lost out because their pensions were worse in TSB than they were at Lloyds.

    Incidentally, in relation to a post a few days ago, I had a conversation with a man who in a small northern town bought a property worth about £140,000 and took out a full mortgage with Northern Rock. Northern Rock, however, gave him about £160,000 so that he could pay off his credit cards as well as buy the house. This, of course, under the incompetent Labour Government of Blair and Brown. It seems perfectly obvious that a man who runs up a bill of £20,000 on his credit cards will be unable to pay a mortgage. No wonder Northern Rock went bust. This in microcosm is what was happening in the final years of the last Labour Government.

    • bluedog
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

      But the geography of Northern Rock’s client base covered Tony Blair’s electorate in the North-East. Lending at 105% of valuation both supported and increased existing property values, creating a wealth effect with accompanying sense of prosperity. However, there is no suggestion that this was done deliberately by a government owned bank in order to ensure a favourable electoral outcome for the governing political party.

  22. Atlas
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Cameron’s offer (but not an offer) to hold an EU referendum early is not credible given his performance on delivering other ‘cast-iron’ guarantees.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

      Cameron is the sort of man who can only judged by his past actions which are very clear. His words are valueless (even to himself) and discarded before the vibrations have even fully decayed. They are usually the opposite of his actions.

      His words are selected by what he and his “electoral experts” think that floating voters in marginals wish to hear. His actions have entirely different drivers.

      “A prince never lacks legitimate reasons to break his promise.”
      Niccolò Machiavelli

      • Bazman
        Posted January 6, 2015 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

        The floating voters in your opinion want to hear right wing nonsense one presumes such as massive unfunded tax cuts for the rich, no NHS, no IHT, railways abolished outside London, massively expensive nuclear plans, welfare state abolished, planning laws abolished and the like?
        Go for it Dave!

  23. Mike Wilson
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Anyone else bored to tears with this? I think Mr. Redwood is a good M.P. – a sane and hard-working member of what used to be our legislature.

    But nothing he says matters a jot. The government is run by Cameron and the whipping system means no-one will say boo to a goose. It’s just tiring and depressing.

    In a sane world we would not pay £15 billion as the price for allowing other people to sell their goods to us. But this is not a sane world. We are governed by …. well, I don’t know what the right word is.

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      Quite right Mike. No wonder there are so many of us on anti-depressants!! There isn’t a lot to be cheerful about.

    • DaveM
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      Yes, Mike, I’m bored to tears by it. Totally sick to the back teeth of the EU, the BBC, LabCon, human rights lawyers, H&S legislation, windfarms, clueless party leaders, arrogant people changing the face of my country, unfair treatment for England, minorities (who are accommodated by the British people) being pandered to, every aspect of life being affected by people who can’t mind their own business, high taxes given away to people who don’t even live here, friends dying trying to fight wars with their hands tied by politicians and lawyers who have no idea how to fight an irrational enemy. I’m sick of tuition fees for English students, metric fascism, getting served by people who don’t speak English, seeing “GBP” instead of “pounds sterling”, bad roads, pointless traffic lights, stupid judges, toothless police,….the list goes on. Most of it can be attributed to membership of the EU and the last Labour government.

      But most of all I’m sick of being ruled by a man who has presidential powers whilst the electorate doesn’t have the privilege of a presidential election, a man who can’t even answer a straight question or be honest about his personal ambitions. And at the same time watching good men and women like our kind host being silenced by whips, party loyalty, and skewed media coverage. I was so optimistic when we had a Conservative Prime minister 41/2 years ago. Now all I can see is a dictatorship where Lab and Con swap the baton occasionally and hold 60 million people in place like the USSR used to, and pander to foreign masters. Something has to change. I pray (to my Church of England Christian God) for a real Tory government, but the best I can realistically hope for is a coalition without too much LibLab involvement.

    Posted January 5, 2015 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    ” We have a healthy trade surplus on a regular basis with our number one trading partner, the USA. ”
    The figures seem about even stevens to me but I guess it depends on which particular stats one looks at.

    (#It would be interesting to know exactly which items we import from the US as “Made in America” isn’t often seen on the High Street )

    But with such a large amount of trade with the US, how can the UK have any hope of a independent foreign policy and defence policy? It would be like North Korea breaking links to China. That said, severing formal ties to the EU would place the UK in what some describe as the unenviable position of one or two tiny European states who are economically dependent on Russia. We would be dependent wholly on US trade. In that the keys to our armed forces barracks are not already hanging on the back the outhouse door of President Obama, we would be effectively a State of the USA but without representation in their Senate and House of Representatives.

    It was quite remarkable when trade sanctions were imposed on Russia that the UK could say “We don’t have much trade with Russia “. I believe we lost some cheddar cheese exports and were considering a ban on hunting rifles and dart boards.

    So the UK had little input in trade with Russia the 9th biggest economy in the world.
    On the aforementioned considerations, it may very well be best if the UK before it rhetorically speaks of an independent foreign and defence policy and on leaving the EU that it starts trading in a balanced way with the rest of the world.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 6, 2015 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      One of the reasons why our trade with other countries is so poor, is that the EU negotiates ALL our trade deals for us.

      Membership of the EEA would still allow us to trade under those Trade Treaties signed for us by the EU, but would allow us to negotiate our own trade deals. Eventually, we can get rid of the EEA and seek better arrangements with the EU and others that are more to our liking.

  25. brian
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    The EU , especially the Euro, is so much skewed in favour of Germany that they will not give way to most of Britain’s requests. etc ed

  26. petermartin2001
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    It is interesting to take a look at the list of countries by current account balance:


    France and Cyprus are the only two Eurozone countries to have deficits – even small ones. (I wonder if that’s real in Cyprus’s case). That’s not a co-incidence. The rules imposed on the EZ countries are intended to suit the big exporters like Germany (7% surplus) and the Netherlands (10.2% surplus). Its only by bringing in money from exports that it is possible for the EZ countries to hit their so-called “Stability and Growth Pact” targets.

    Even Greece and Spain have been forced into small trading surpluses.

    The problem with the German and Dutch attitudes is that they fall into the classic fallacy of composition. If we can run a trade surplus , then so can everyone else is their message. You don’t have to be an economist to know that’s simply not possible. Trade has to balance! Germany needs countries like the UK to run a deficit. But, if Britain was part of the Eurozone they wouldn’t allow it to be anything like 4.5% ! That trade deficit translates directly into the budget deficit too. It simply would not be possible for Britain to have less than a 3% budget deficit, to meet EZ requirements, and 4.5% trade deficit too.

  27. BobE
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    I just want my country back. Who doesn’t?

    • DaveM
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      So do we all Bob. But so many people don’t realise the traitorous actions that have been going on for so long now. As with everything it needs to be broadcast. Ukip are trying, but the LabCon controlled media outlets just make noise over the top of it all.

      Sadly for LabCon though, huge numbers of people are no longer being fooled. The beast is awakening, and only the election will show how they behave. I just we get the hell out before Labours imported voters tip the balance.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      Cameron, Clegg, Miliband and Lib Lab and half of Con do not want it back.

      • Bazman
        Posted January 6, 2015 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

        Back from foreign multi nationals, foreign owned state companies, hedge funds, sovereign wealth funds, Oligarchs, the idle rich, spiv landlords. Who do you mean?

        • libertarian
          Posted January 7, 2015 at 7:36 pm | Permalink


          All those nasty things you list are provided to you courtesy of the EU, as an avid supporter of that institution why are you moaning?

          • Bazman
            Posted January 8, 2015 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

            What else eis the EU responsible for, the weather? Tell us why it is?

  28. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Good common sense from JR.
    In stark contrast to Mr Cameron on Sunday. Viewers were invited to believe by Mr Slippery, that the Conservatives have reduced the deficit from a third to a half in a few short weeks. But the lies didn’t end there.
    This follows another big fat lie he made that the Conservatives were ‘paying down the debt’.
    Cameron went on to explain that having eliminated the deficit, his government would then be in a position to ‘set aside money for a rainy day’. Perhaps JR could remind him of the small matter of the 1.5 trillion + debt that needs to be repaid before any money can be set aside for said ‘rainy day’.

    One really does have to feel sympathy for JR – a fundamentally decent and honest man having to lend his support to this dishonest spiv of a man that somehow oiled his way into the highest office in the land.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      Indeed I agree with all that especially the last paragraph.

    • William Gruff
      Posted January 7, 2015 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      ‘One really does have to feel sympathy for JR – a fundamentally decent and honest man having to lend his support to this dishonest spiv of a man that somehow oiled his way into the highest office in the land.

      The price one pays for being involved with any sort of movement. Having taken the king’s shilling, as it were, one is bound by his rules and regulations.

      The compromises necessary to accommodate oneself to membership of a political party might reasonably be summed up as ‘the wages of sin is death’, albeit of a moral and intellectual sort.

  29. acorn
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Got it backwards again JR. Imports are to OUR benefit; the exporters sacrifice their own domestic consumption (and enjoyment) to give us those benefits, for what; a bank account full of Pounds Sterling, which they will probably spend on buying another hotel or mansion in Knightsbridge.

    We should be grateful that there are exporting countries that are still prepared to put some of their savings in Pounds Sterling assets after flogging us an Audi R8 or a Merc C63 AMG, or their little brothers and their refrigerators and cookers and microwave ovens and 60 inch plasma TVs and Samsung cell phones etc etc.

    The UK can’t live by selling dodgy financial investments alone.

    Reply It isn’t. Recently it has been selling flats to rich foreigners to pay for more German cars.

    • DaveM
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      The sale of property in this country concerns me quite a lot. I don’t have time to research – would you happen to know if the larger properties are sold freehold or leasehold?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 5, 2015 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

        Mainly F/H other than flats but both.

      • acorn
        Posted January 5, 2015 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        Mostly freehold, some foreign investors have trouble getting their heads around the concept of leasehold. But, where you get a flat in a block of flats they will be leasehold. It is like the concept of a “condominium” where there are shared assets in the form of entrances and hallways.

        My Italian number crunching colleagues tell me that they do not have a “leasehold” level of ownership as we understand it. I have not been involved in research in this matter.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      You really hate this country and its people, don’t you.

      • acorn
        Posted January 6, 2015 at 7:47 am | Permalink

        I like 99% of them very much. It is just the right wing neo-cons that I enjoy winding up.

    • petermartin2001
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 7:57 pm | Permalink


      You’re making the point that the EU “want to keep us” so they can give us more stuff than we give them in return. So looked at like that it does seem odd! Shouldn’t that be a reason for them wanting to get rid of us?

      However, the imports are good, exports are bad argument ( or even the other way around ) does need to be tempered by reality. If Britain becomes too dependent on imports then there are possible strategic problems for the future. OK we don’t have to make steel or dig coal now, but what if there is a future conflict and we find we do need to do things ourselves? Some regions are heavily dependent on one economic activity. If we replace those activities by substituting imports, there is a net social cost which is often more that the mere financial cost. That needs to be considered.

      But , there is no reason why Britain shouldn’t have a net deficit of less than 5% in trade. Arguably there is no reason why Germany shouldn’t have a net surplus of 7%. But countries should be allowed to choose what suits them. The EU rules , especially in the EZ, don’t allow for those choices. I can’t understand why anyone would have wanted to take the UK into the EZ. Or why they even thought it may have been a good idea. It would have been a disaster for a net importer (albeit a small net importer) like the UK.

      So if we do want to increase our exports to the rest of the EU we have to tackle the “imports are bad, exports are good” mentality dictated by the Germans. That means a direct challenge to the nonsensical 3% budget rules, and others, which are imposed for no good reason. All they do is make countries in the EZ poorer and they cause countries outside the EZ to have to cope with an influx of economic refugees from the EZ.

      Primarily we’d be helping those countries in the EZ to run their economies much more efficiently than they are now run and become more prosperous. That would benefit us too. No-one, from a business point of view, wants to see their customers fall on hard times.

    • libertarian
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 8:04 pm | Permalink


      Blimey which century do you live in?

      I guess we can’t live by selling films, music, software, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, technology IP etc etc either….

      • acorn
        Posted January 6, 2015 at 8:21 am | Permalink

        Have a look at the “Growth Dashboard”, particularly the UK Sector Performance / Structure of UK economy. See how much GVA those generate. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/337297/Growth_Dashboard_July_2014.pdf

        • Bazman
          Posted January 6, 2015 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

          Ship building in Britain is almost non existent. The government of course has no part in this in an Island country.

        • libertarian
          Posted January 7, 2015 at 7:42 pm | Permalink


          I read it and it shows what I already knew, that is that the services industry is the biggest contributor, thereby proving your point wrong !!!!

          Odd post

    • outsider
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

      Dear Acorn, foreign companies have also bought up large sectors of our industries, such as building materials, power and process engineering and electricity generation, as a result of which (City services excepted) far fewer new products and services are pioneered and exported from the UK than before, as a result of which productivity is stagnant or falling and UK consumers’ spendable incomes are lagging behind those of people in the exporting countries. Your argument is based on a static snapshot of the economy and trading benefits.

  30. Colin Hart
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    ‘They would want to keep their access to our market, whatever other sensible political arrangements we might insist on.’

    This cannot be said too often. The argument that we would lose all or any of our exports to Europe if we came out of the EU is totally spurious often advanced by innocenti who think trade happens as result of countries doing trade deals rather than myriad transactions between companies and consumers.

    I do, however, have a caveat about raising the balance of payments issue. Other useful idiots might draw the conclusion that it would go away if we were out of the EU.

  31. Jon
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    I’m drawing a link to the part about our Financial Services being a lucrative industry for us with the EU targeting it in a war like fashion and Jim Murphy’s (Scotland’s Labour Leader) big election announcement. He was promoting Labour’s Mansion Tax and that it would deliver Scotland an extra £250 million pa through the Barnett formula, mostly coming from the South East of England.

    In both cases success is being targeted with the more of the wealth generated by the South East being diverted away risking the goose that lays the egg. I wouldn’t be affected by the Labour tax but the clients I work for would be and being global clients there is a risk. The same with the EU onslaught on our global financial services success.

    We need devolution for England which Labour don’t want to give it and we want powers devolved away from the EU one way or another.

    As a side, what Jim Murphy went on about establishes Labour’s Scottish strategy. He spoke at the same time as Ed Milliband so as to drown out his speech up there, However, he promoted central office policy or “Labour Westminster” policy as they call it. They see him as toxic up there now but want to give the same central policy delivered by Jim Murphy who isn’t apparently.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 6, 2015 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      Well, as technically the EU still only has such powers as have been delegated to it by its member states they would be “rescinded” or “retrieved” or “recovered” by the UK, rather than “devolved” away from the EU, which as yet is no more than an international organisation established by treaty between its members.

  32. turbo terrier
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    The shipping incident off of Southampton highlights that that vessel is full of Land Rovers, Jaguars and construction equipment.

    Well, it proves we can manufacture quality goods and in reality we do not need the EU to “give us” export markets. Quality will always get a market to deal with.

    Cannot help thinking just how much better they might do if the had really cheap energy to reduce their overheads.

    The only thing we have to fear about getting out of Europe is fear itself.

    • Jagman84
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. Energy saving initiatives are a big part of manufacturing at present, in order to remain competitive. Re: the shipping incident. It appears that I may have quite a bit of extra overtime in the near future!

    • Bazman
      Posted January 6, 2015 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

      Remind us which countries owns these companies and why they are here? Might not be if they are out of the EU. Poor infrastructure and education, high energy costs, away from the main markets, tariffs, taxes. There is a reason why they operate from the UK and sell into Europe and the rest of the world. What is it?

  33. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Meanwhile we have recently seen rioting, child grooming, overcrowding and collapsing infrastructure as schools and the NHS struggle to cope . Surely something will snap alarmingly in due course.
    How many extra school places, NHS beds, GP’s etc. are being provided for the 250,000 extra people that arrived here last year . My guess is it is nowhere near enough. Falling GDP per capita is the least of our worries.

  34. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    I accept what Dr Redwood says on the reasons why the Eu wants to keep the Uk in it’s grip. But the reasons are ideological aswell as financial.
    Angela Merkel, and Mr Baroso both have values closer to Karl Marx than Mrs Thatcher. The Eu ‘project’ is their dream…and our nightmare.

    They long for a supreme Eu parliament with rubber stamp regional parliaments in member states that have no real power. An independent,powerfull and succesful Uk would be a constant thorn in their side.
    The first part is divide and rule, by creating thought crimes, destroying traditional values, attacking the family. Creating open borders helps to destroy notions of national identity and patriotism – the enemy of the Eu.
    Shamefully, the Uk parliament has been most cooperative in assisting the cultural marxists.

  35. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted January 5, 2015 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    Yes, we in the UK are still attractive. Everyone wants a piece.

    • Bazman
      Posted January 6, 2015 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

      Cut price UK is a more logical answer. Operating a low wage, low skill, low tax economy in the EU.
      My wife works for an American company selling into Germany with no UK customers. All has to be packed and sent there using German speaking phone operators. Why do they do this and not just operate from Germany?
      Germans have higher labour costs, more taxes and more employment rights and regulations is the answer.
      Does anyone think there will be no sanctions and tariffs outside the EU? How can there not be you can’t be in a club an pay no fees. They will use cheaper EU countries. UK cheaper than cheap countries in the EU? Get real they would make sure they are not. China faces export sanctions and tariffs before you quote them.

      • libertarian
        Posted January 8, 2015 at 12:03 pm | Permalink


        Your wife’s American Company must be pretty dumb then. If they are only based here to exploit workers they are missing a trick. All of the Eastern European countries are vastly cheaper than us with vastly lower wages. Greece and Portugal would also be better. Then of course if they were really serious about reducing costs they would operate from Poland but HQ their company in Luxembourgh.

        That or you are just talking nonsense.

        • Bazman
          Posted January 10, 2015 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

          Do tell us why they are here then libtard. Maybe they need your expertise? In recent years they have expanded, again mainly to Germany through Spain and some other countries are served too, but with virtually no business in the UK other than the call centre and warehouse serving these countries.
          Same old trick. if you do not believe or understand anything you say it cannot be true.

  • 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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