Economic uncertainty and the EU

Recent reporting of market movements and the EU arguments has been highly selective. Some ascribe falls in sterling to Brexit uncertainty. At the same time UK government bonds have been rising, implying investors have more confidence in UK financial assets and therefore implying that Brexit is seen as strengthening the UK public finances. My view is they are exaggerating the impact of Brexit on the pound, but maybe they have not worked out that saving all those large contributions to the EU will strengthen the UK public finances and of course cut the balance of payments deficit.

We should be more worried about EU finances and their economic outlook if the UK leaves the EU. Which countries and taxpayers will have to replace the £10 billion the UK pays in to the benefit of the other countries? How will a new UK fishing policy affect the Spanish fishing industry? If the UK imports more cheaper food from the rest of the world who will pay the higher prices for CAP food inside the EU? Is any of the EU’s large trade surplus at risk when the UK leaves, as some commentators like to claim the UK’s trade might be? My view is trade is not at risk, but those who think it is at risk need to understand which side has more to lose.

It is true that the U.K’ S departure from the EU will allow the rest of the EU to move more rapidly to political union and to impose more common policies and more regulations without the UK trying to slow it all down. We have learned that pending rules to ban fast kettles and toasters have been delayed until after the UK vote, as it would not look smart to outvote us on those issues just before the referendum. The 5 Presidents Report has been on ice this year, but could be brought out more rapidly if the UK goes.

I see myself as a good European. I like my continent and many of its people. As a good European I do not want my country to hold up plans for more European integration, nor do I want my country to be dragged into that Union.
The UK is an outward looking global country, trading with the five continents, and friends with many countries worldwide. To restore and foster our democracy we need to leave. There will be no additional economic risks for us outside the EU. On the contrary the risks that come from being too close to the Euro, having to pay into an ever rising EU budget and being pillion on their wild ride to political union mean we must leave to cut our risks.


  1. The Active Citizen
    February 28, 2016

    A superb article JR. It contains so many good points it’s hard to single anything out. However I’m SO pleased in particular that you make the point “Which countries and taxpayers will have to replace the £10 billion the UK pays in to the benefit of the other countries?” That para highlights just how much the UK is effectively subsidising the EU in so many ways.

    I’ve barely seen this point expressed by any others on the Leave side.

    I love your ending: “…the risks that come from being too close to the Euro, having to pay into an ever rising EU budget and being pillion on their wild ride to political union mean we must leave to cut our risks.” I might merely add at the end “…to cut our risks and be much safer.”

    1. Hope
      February 28, 2016

      Cameron has a different view in his DT article. If what he says is true why would he want to be attached to a vindictive organization who are allowed to determine the way we are governed? These are the dangers Cameron warned us about over Lisbon and then did nothing, his comments act in contrast to what he said before.

      40 percent increase in human trafficking because of EU freedom of movement, Greece considered too unsafe to send people back as their first pot of entry, deport first appeal later shown to be a total waste of time as a Romanian rapist is allowed back in under right to family life. Liam Fox rebuts the Putin three by Cameron quite beautifully how it never stopped him invading Georgia, annexing Crimea or cyber attack on Estonia. I would have gone further! it was the EU antagonism that provoked Putin. Welfare figures now produced show £2.5 billion in total given any to EU claimants £886 million in 2013/14- the figures are staggering. Poland and Hungary claiming victory over Cameron benefits without contribution to remain another broken manifesto pledge and promise by Cameron. NI figures for EU migrants not tallying with immigration figures, about time Cameron came clean with the public.

  2. The Active Citizen
    February 28, 2016

    Yesterday JR kindly let me post my ‘Simple Summary For Normal People’ in six sentences, of how ”1.9 million EU workers are predicted to enter the UK in the next 4 years”, based on official ONS and DWP data. (I have a longer version backing up the figures, but JR wouldn’t have thanked me for posting that!)

    I’ve now punched some numbers on the EU and the world economy, based on IMF data tables. Today, with JR’s permission, here it is.

    Simple Summary For Normal People – The Failing EU Superstate Economy

    The EU is the biggest-failing trading bloc in the World. Its’ share of the world economy has almost halved since we joined.

    In the last 10 years the EU’s share of world GDP has fallen at a rate almost 70% steeper than that of the US. The official IMF figures show that the EU’s place in the world has been declining for decades, and it’s now declining even faster than it was.

    The UK has been the fastest-growing major economy in the EU for the last 3 years. And in that time we’ve created more jobs than all the other 27 EU countries put together.

    Think how much better we could do, if we weren’t being held back in a failing institution. Stepping out as a successful independent country is the safer option – the people of Britain can’t afford the desperate risk of being tied into the fast-failing EU.

    Leaving the failing EU – the safer economic choice for the people of the UK.

    [Source: IMF data tables.]

    I’m trying to keep these summaries as simple and short as possible, so as to be of maximum use. Thoughts anyone?

    1. Lifelogic
      February 28, 2016

      Indeed, does the UK really not want to have any control over immigration as Cameron and Osborne seem to like.

      I am totally in favour of immigration but we clearly need some quality controls and some limits on the scale.

      Booker, Heffer and Janet Daley all very sound in the Telegraph today.

      The BBC on the other hand managed to dig out Edwina Curry to tell us we would have to accept open door immigration if we wanted to trade with the EU just like Norway! What complete tosh from her as usual. They export more to us Edwina, can you not understand that that gives the UK the upper hand in the negotiation!

      1. Denis Cooper
        February 28, 2016

        Personally I would prefer to have somewhat less than completely free trade with the other EU countries and not have completely free movement of all their citizens into my country. This supposedly indissoluble link between trade and immigration is as far as I know unique to the EEC/EC/EU, dating back to the 1957 Treaty of Rome which was designed for political as well as economic purposes, setting up the EEC as another step towards a sovereign federal United States of Europe.

        As the EU itself implicitly acknowledges by declaring that the Schuman Declaration of May 9th 1950, with its frank references to “federation”, “is considered to be the beginning of what is now the European Union”:

        I would also argue that the economic benefits of the EU Single Market are always being grossly exaggerated by supporters of the EU; even by the estimate of the EU Commission they amount to about 2% of GDP, and that is without taking any account of its costs:

        Given that the long term natural growth rate of the UK economy is about 2.5% a year it would take less than an average year to make up that 2% loss of GDP even if it occurred.

        And I don’t think that it would, because the most powerful EU countries potentially have far more to lose through disruption of trade with the UK than than through limits on the migration of their citizens to the UK.

        Of course the Polish government would object to any restrictions on the movement of their citizens to the UK, and would want to preserve that peculiar link between trade and immigration, but I don’t suppose the German government would want to start a trade war with the UK just because relatively small numbers of Germans like the illustrator of the Gruffalo books might have to get some kind of nod from our national authorities before he could come to study and work here.

        He is not the problem, it is the excessively large numbers of people from the poorer EU member states who are (collectively although not individually) the problem, and by definition those poorer countries will have much less clout than the Germans when it comes to the negotiations for the terms of our withdrawal agreement.

        On the other hand I am acutely aware that there are many people who have been chronically misled into accepting the europhile’s over-estimation of the value of the EU Single Market, and it is necessary to reassure them or they are more likely to make the mistake of voting to stay in the EU.

      2. Richard1
        February 28, 2016

        I certainly hope we will have a very liberal and open immigration policy if we leave. It is asserted wrongly that Switzerland has the same free movement rules as the UK. It does not – you can go in no out of Switzerland but if you want residency or a work permit you have to apply, the rules are the same as far as I’m aware for Americans Australians and UK citizens. Switzerland does however have a higher level of immigration per capita than the UK.

        We certainly do not wish to discourage Polish builders, Feench bond traders and other valuable immigrants.

        1. Lifelogic
          February 28, 2016

          Indeed it is all about being selective. Take those who comfortably pay their way but perhaps not the feckless or low earners with ten children, elderly sick parents, no money, no health insurance, a criminal history and unable to speak any English.

          Cameron want open door to all, the leave side want to be selective.

      3. Sean O'Hare
        February 28, 2016

        They export more to us Edwina, can you not understand that that gives the UK the upper hand in the negotiation!

        The problem is @LifeLogic that even it they wanted to give us a better deal than EFTA/EEA (Norway Option) they dare not because it would mean the end of their dream of a European superstate.

        To expect a better deal within the 2 year timetable allotted under Article 50 is unrealistic. The only way we are going to get that better deal is incrementally – the same way as we were sucked into this political project in the first place. The first incremental step being to adopt the EFTA/EEA option as an interim measure from which be can negotiate as part of a beefed up EFTA and eventually achieve a Europe wide free trade area.

      4. Richard1
        February 28, 2016

        The key conclusion of Bookers column is Remain are likely to win due to the “total failure of the various Leave campaigns to agree on any plausible properly worked-out plan for how we could extricate ourselves from the political government of Europe while continuing to have full access to the single market”.

        Reply That is a wrong conclusion. We have a perfectly good plan, depending on the obvious strength of our negotiating positions as we are more customer than supplier, and with WTO back up.

    2. M Davis
      February 28, 2016

      Thank you, Active Citizen, for this and your other excellent comments. I’ve saved this one for future reference, as I have saved JR’s blogs on the EU. Many thanks to JR for these!

    3. Bert Young
      February 28, 2016

      Keep them shorter .

    4. Dennis
      February 28, 2016

      “we’ve created more jobs than all the other 27 EU countries put together.”

      Perhaps this has happened ‘cos we have imported easily, ‘cos of our membership of the EU, those skilled workers from the EU and beyond! it could be argued.

      What are the statistics?

    5. Vanessa
      February 28, 2016

      I find it astonishing that countries are still queue-ing up to join ! They must be mad.

      1. Mitchel
        February 29, 2016

        The countries queuing to join are dirt poor,scared of their neighbours and/or have never known independence/democracy for any great length of time.For them there is no downside.

  3. lifelogic
    February 28, 2016

    Good points, we must indeed leave to cut our risks. The real dangers, as you say, lie in remaining in the hugely unstable EU & EURO experiment.

    So Brussels has ‘pulled the plug on plans to ban higher power kettles and toasters’ so to speak, in view of the pending BREXIT vote. Totally bonkers anyway as lower power kettles and toaster would actually tend to use more energy not less. They would just take longer to boil the same amount of waters or toast the same amount of toast. They would therefore have to be hot for longer and so would waste more energy not less.

    Do they not employ any scientists or engineers at the EU or are the ones that they do employ just there to tell them what ever unscientific nonsense they want to hear?

    Trade is indeed not at risk. If they slap a tariff barrier on trade we can do the same on imports and it would raise more than theirs. It would be in no one’s interest to hamper free trade anyway.

    Even if they were difficult we could just switch the production & trade to the home markets to replace what we currently buy from the EU or more more to trade with the rest of the World.

    Businesses and the UK can be very flexible and could adjust very rapidly. Especially with far less red tape, lower & simpler taxes, no absurd EU regulations, far cheaper energy, no EU membership fee and perhaps even a proper low tax at heart Conservative leader & government. Instead of the Cameron and Osborne, say one thing do the complete opposite types.

    1. stred
      February 28, 2016

      Re the Brussels kettles and toasters. Ideally a kettle which boiled in say 10 seconds would save thermal loss and be the most efficient. However, by putting a coat of say 10mm of PU foam around the kettle, the losses could be minimised, allowing windmill generation to be maximised. EU boffins may be on to this. On the other hand, they may not know much about kettles, as until recently they boiled water in saucepans.

      Re toasters. Slow cooking toasters would dry the bread more and spoil the crunchy outer layer with the soft contrasting inner. Possibly they are trying to make us eat something like their ‘Crackottes’.

      Suggest buy kettles and toasters before June.

      1. a-tracy
        February 29, 2016

        How many other EU Countries other than us have tea and toast as their national favourite breakfast? Who dreams up these plans? Do we ask for scientific evidence? Whenever I visit Europe I can never get a decent cup of tea because they don’t fully boil the water. Isn’t Dyson having his vacuums threatened under EU regulation too to stop him exporting his superb machines? We have boffins of our own don’t we, we need to generate our own POWER.

  4. lifelogic
    February 28, 2016

    I have just read Cameron article in the Telegraph today – The question those for ‘out’ must answer.

    Is this really the best he and his staff can do it? It is a pathetic defence of the remain position. I could have done a far better job of defending ‘remain’ even though there are clearly so few reasons to doing so.

    He ends with:- A vote to leave is the gamble of the century. And it would be our children’s future on the tables if we were to roll the dice.

    Remaining in and being controlled by the anti-democratic, sclerotic & proven disaster that is EU is by far the greater risk. The EURO experiment is yet to explode.

    Our children’s future will be far brighter if we compete in the whole World, have far cheaper energy, far fewer daft regulations, have intelligent & selective immigration, far less red tape, far less government, far lower & simpler taxes.

    Above all our children will still then live in a democracy and will still be able to choose and change their own governments and leaders. They will also be able to decided who can live and work in the UK.

    Cameron wants to steal democracy from us and our children and enslave them in the totally anti-democratic, sclerotic, we know best, top down, socialist, command economy EU.

    Is there one thing the EU has actually done well and efficiently and that has benefited UK or even EU voters significantly?

    1. Pericles Xanthippou
      February 28, 2016

      Craps is a gambling game — the player having no control over the outcome. Poker, on the other paw, is more like a mathematical or statistical puzzle — the player’s fate in his own hands and depending on his ability to understand the odds (generally thought of as ‘a feel for the cards’).

      The Prime Minister compares the forthcoming plebiscite to a crap game (“roll the dice”). He’s wrong: it’s more like poker in that it gives the player the opportunity to control his destiny; it does, however, depend on his ‘feel for the cards’ (understanding of the matters under discussion).

      I’m pleased to see that, toward the improvement of that understanding, the Public Administration Select Cttee. is to raise on Tuesday the question of Civil-Service balance with the Cabinet Secretary. I wonder whether Lord Hall will broadcast the session … or try to suppress it.


    2. Denis Cooper
      February 28, 2016

      Well, Cameron has some kind of point insofar as the gamble of the last century was joining the thing in the first place, and that hasn’t turned out too well. Although you might not think so, given his recent declaration that if we weren’t already in the EU he would be very happy to join the “reformed” EU on the excellent new terms he has negotiated. Even though those new terms do not reverse a single one of the changes made by the Lisbon Treaty, which he opposed as Tory leader, or by the earlier Nice and Amsterdam treaties which his predecessors opposed.

      However my previous confidence that if we vote to Leave the EU then we will manage a smooth withdrawal and be better off afterwards is now significantly enhanced by the grim warning from the G20 that our withdrawal could not only be disastrous for us but could also precipitate a world economic crisis affecting every other country in the world.

      If they really believe that could happen they have now assumed a responsibility to help make sure that it doesn’t, and it will be good to have all of the major economic powers in the world joining us in pressing for a common sense outcome from the process of agreeing new treaty arrangements with our neighbours.

    3. Vanessa
      February 28, 2016

      Lifelogic – do read eureferendum dot com on the lies we are being told and how ministers are losing their temper when these lies are published !! Not a way to rule a “democracy”.

    4. old salt
      February 28, 2016

      to lifelogic
      ‘one thing’ could be the 100,000 euro equivalent bank or savings deposit guarantee giving a degree of confidence something we would most probably not have had had the EU not imposed.

      1. lifelogic
        February 29, 2016

        Clearly the UK government can fix its own level of bank deposit guarantees.

  5. Antisthenes
    February 28, 2016

    Yesterday I was bemoaning the G20 for spouting rubbish by saying that Brexit would destabilise the world’s economy. Your article today makes me think that perhaps they have a point after all. Although it is not the UK that is the threat but the EU that is. In fact without the UK the EU may fall apart. Even if it does not it will find maintaining itself considerably more difficult. So much will have to change a considerable amount of economic, fiscal, spheres of influence and control with have to be restructured weakening it in the process.

    As you point out fishing grounds, a substantial amount of it’s revenue will be lost to it and a lot more besides. The EU would be less able restrict our businesses and trade so unit costs would fall and our competitiveness increase. Trading with the EU of course will continue and the products and services we sell them will still have to be to it’s standards but they will cheaper. Our exports will grow to the EU not fall and will increase world wide as we will not be over burden by EU rules and regulations and costs.

    So yes the G20 are right Brexit will be destabilising but not for the UK but for the EU. The G20 are fearful that without the UK the EU will not be viable and they are probably right. It is ironic that historically continental Europe has had to turn to the UK on so many occasions to restore order there and help them put it’s house in order. Each time when all was well again the UK withdrew until the next crisis came along. Oh and we had to pay heavily in doing so. Well yet again the time has come to exit and let the continentals get on with it and this time they can sink or swim on their own and let the cost of the burden of it be theirs not ours.

    1. Pericles Xanthippou
      February 28, 2016


      Let me get this straight: twenty finance ministers and their central bankers, individually incapable of running their own economies and collectively unable to keep that of the World on an even keel, presume to predict the economic consequences of something? Of anything?

      ’Avin’ a larf, incha?


  6. Leslie Singleton
    February 28, 2016

    As someone who wants Brexit it seems to me that we have to be honest and address the possible, some would say probable, tariff barrier that “they” would erect against us (despite their selling more to us blah blah) given half a chance. Never seem to learn much (No comment last time I asked here) about what teeth the WTO has these days. I remember some years back the USA blatantly breaking WTO rules to protect its steel industry when precisely nothing happened by way of any kind of retribution. Is the WTO likely to be able to prevent or minimise a tariff barrier or not? No good pretending the question does not arise. To me it is just about the only question.

    reply. WTO rules are observed by the EU and will continue to be so. Again, why wouldn’t they when they do not want retaliatory tariffs from us.

    1. Lifelogic
      February 28, 2016

      WTO rules are observed by the EU and will continue to be so. Again, why wouldn’t they when they do not want retaliatory tariffs from us.

      Perhaps you could enlighten Edwina Curry on this!

      1. Lifelogic
        February 28, 2016

        And Cameron, Osborne, Hammond and the rest of the Libdim faction.

    2. Mike Stallard
      February 28, 2016

      Leslie, you are behind the curve! Dr Richard North – who is probably not on our host’s Christmas Card list – was there ages ago.
      If we make very sure of our EEA membership and also temporarily – I repeat temporarily – secure our EFTA membership, then we can remain trading in the EU for as long as those two hold. We do not need the WTO at all – yet.
      The danger with WTO is that negotiators get paid by the hour. Swiss negotiations took 16 years! The TTIP negotiations have gone on for ages. If we are not secure, then our trading arrangements are, as you say, in peril too, possibly for years and years.
      With Article 50/138 we have a 2 year time limit – quite enough for money makers to adapt. Then, once free, of course, we come under the tariff agreements of the WTO and also, more important, the Standards Organisations which allow free trade over the whole world.
      At that point, EFTA and the EEA shrink into oblivion as we have achieved our independence equal with India, Australia and Canada.

      Reply The ability to spend or not to levy in tax £10 bn we currently send to the EU is a crucial part of the campaign to restore our democracy. There is no need to do a Norway and accept the need to contribute to the EU once out, nor do we need to pledge freedom of movement.

      1. Dennis
        February 28, 2016

        “and also, more important, the Standards Organisations which allow free trade over the whole world.”

        They may allow it but not prohibit tariffs as against Africa by the EU and probably others.

    3. Antisthenes
      February 28, 2016

      If I am correct in my thinking then once again common sense is being thrown out of the window. The EU exports more to us than we do to them so tariffs are the last thing they would want. Even if they did then the UK treasury would surely be the winners as the tariff money poured into their coffers so could be used to mitigate the effects of them. However the same could not be said for the EU as the income to them would be considerably less and not have the same mitigating benefits.

      Point out where my thinking is muddled if indeed it is as I do not profess to be an expert on tariffs.

    4. Denis Cooper
      February 28, 2016

      It’s not just the certainty that the UK government would come under pressure to impose reciprocal tariffs and other barriers on their exports, it’s also that at present we are their very good and willing customers but attitudes could change sharply if the British public perceived them to be unreasonable and vindictive.

    5. Leslie Singleton
      February 28, 2016

      Dear John–How can you be so sure the EU will continue to obey WTO rules? You make clear yourself that the EU could stop doing so but that, as you see it, they won’t because of their (mainly just Germany??) sales to us; however their sales to us overall (ie not just Germany) are not large enough to be determining in relation to all 27. If by the grace of God we get out, nothing I’ve read convinces me that in say five years’ time we won’t be facing a tariff wall–which worries me not so much by reason of any forthcoming reality but much more because of imminent debates. To be clear, I am for Brexit no matter what but it would be nice to know that the WTO has a few sharp teeth which so far I have had trouble detecting. Remember the EU will hate us even more than they do now (again not that I much care).

      Reply The EU will not wish to be expelled by the WTO so it will continue to obey WTO rules.

      1. Leslie Singleton
        February 28, 2016

        Dear John–I’m not saying you are wrong but I do say I am amazed, for I well remember when, as I alluded to earlier, the USA, blatantly to protect Pennsylvania steelworkers (to gain their votes of course), defied the WTO with, best I could tell (I was there), no adverse consequences and certainly nothing resembling the threat, never mind the actualite, of the USA’s being thrown out. This would indicate that the WTO in practice has little clout against a whole continent–and the EU is nothing if not gross. My gut firmly tells me that the idea that the WTO might throw out the EU is, as has been said, “for the birds”. Puzzles me why and how you gloss over this.

        Reply There are 5 million jobs at risk on the continent, as the Remainers say, so they will not do as you fear.

        1. Leslie Singleton
          February 28, 2016

          Dear John–I personally fear only that I am unable to rebut the fears of others who most definitely do worry about the possibility, some would say certainty, of a tariff wall being rebuilt, repeat rebuilt, against us. I think this is of the utmost importance and that, to come back to my original point, which by default you seem to concede, the WTO appears to have no teeth to enforce much of anything. If that indeed be the case it is a hard row to hoe persuading fence-sitters and potential Brexiters that there is nothing to worry about, indeed many think it is the only thing to worry about. I am for Brexit on any basis but if I were looking for an excuse to slide in to ambivalence, or Heaven forfend voting to Stay in this is what might do it.

    6. Sean O'Hare
      February 28, 2016

      Reply to Reply

      As I understand it JR, it is the importer that pays the tariffs. As we import far more from the EU than we export it would seem that we wouldn’t have the upper hand in a trade war with the EU?

      Reply We would collect such tariffs! We would follow WTO rules. Such import tariffs will ,not be sought by the EU anyway as they would encourage UK consumers to buy elsewhere.

  7. alan jutson
    February 28, 2016

    Good to see some of the focus now being put on the risk if we stay.

    It is not the EU of today we should be worried about , although that is bad enough, but the EU of the next decade, when closer Union in all things both political and financial, will be bought forward.

    Even if we had some of the opt outs that Cameron suggests, this would mean we would be left as a second rate member (in their eyes), because the other 27 would move forward to closer union without us, leaving us as a bit part player, with bit part influance.

    With 1 vote against 27 it would be like constantly banging our heads against a very expensive wall.
    Thus the sooner you give up, the less long term damage you do to yourself.
    Keep on doing it long term, and you end up with permanent and severe damage, which then needs expensive long term/perminent care.

    Of course they do not want us to leave, £10 Billion is a lot of money to lose, as are the fishing grounds, and areas where EU immigrants/refugees can live and work.

    Europe will be poorer without us, and we will be richer without them.


    1. Mike Stallard
      February 28, 2016

      Here are some other things:
      1. Immigration – when Turkey gets membership there will be several people who might like to pop over for an indefinite stay. Already we have a lot of Notrumanians in our English classes. Mr Farage was rubbished for saying that. He was, as usual, right.
      2. Have you read Spinelli, the Five Presidents’ Report or listened to what M. Juncker is saying. It may have been put on hold as our host says, but ever closer union must be a solution to the present chaos.

      1. alan jutson
        February 28, 2016


        Yes I have read parts of the Five Presidents report (not all as it is nearly 400 pages) and think I have seen enough to worry me about what the EU will be like in a few years if we vote to stay.

        What worries me more, is that few who want to stay appear to have done so, or if they have done so, want to almost deny its existence given its content.

        I have yet to see any sizeable publication or even a precis made of this report appear in the so called general media.

        To be fair given the EU the politicians seek (total political integration), then all Countries involved will have to agree to have the same or similar budgets, laws rules, regulations, taxation, welfare, pension and benefits systems, for it to work, otherwise you get the chaos that we restarting to see now between Countries who want political unity and sovereignty, but are finding out to their cost that you cannot have both at the same time, because one cancels out the other.

        If you agree with complete political Union, then you must agree that your own Governments National power becomes completely subservient to the one of the Union.

        So many Countries and their populations it would seem, still have to recognise this fact.

  8. JJE
    February 28, 2016

    What is needed is a manifesto for a post exit vote Government laying out the new policies in areas that have been EU controlled together with priorities and timescales for implementation.

    Reply. That’s what I have been producing in my posts

    1. JJE
      February 28, 2016

      And that manifesto should include a plan for the money we will save. Allocate some to the NHS, some to infrastructure, some to deficit reduction etc. Then it becomes real money and a real prize in voters minds.

      1. Lifelogic
        February 28, 2016

        The manifesto should take advantage of the freedom and financial advantages to reduce taxes, simplify taxes, cut the red tape, develop a strong economy, accept only the quality of migrants we need, encourage some self reliance, saving and a strong currency while discouraging crime and fecklessness.

        In short do that opposite of what pension and landlord thief and IHT ratter Osborne has done.

    2. JJE
      February 28, 2016

      I see Osborne is planning further spending cuts in the March Budget according to his comments at the G20.
      What a perfect opportunity to brand these as the cost of staying in the EU, comparing their extent with our net contributions.

      1. alan jutson
        February 28, 2016


        “What a perfect opportunity…..’

        It would be but Osbourne will never do that close to a referendum, although he did once mention he could not control VAT rates in one of his Budget speeches a few years ago.

        Would be nice to get a copy of that statement for publicity sake.

    3. eeyore
      February 28, 2016

      Will Mr Redwood’s manifesto be adopted as such by a united Leave camp and published before the vote? Will there be an official Leave Manifesto at all, whether from Mr R or elsewhere, so people will know exactly what to expect if they vote Leave?

      I certainly hope so. Nothing else could be quite so fatal to the Cameronian bogey of a “leap in the dark”.

      Reply The Vote Leave website is gradually publishing our joint work on the Manifesto.

      1. eeyore
        February 28, 2016

        Reply to reply: I take it that’s a No. It’s certainly not the same thing as an agreed Leave manifesto, published as a single document and released to a fanfare of trumpets at an official press conference. People must know exactly what’s in the tin if they’re to have confidence to vote Leave.

      2. Leslie Singleton
        February 28, 2016

        Dear eeyore–Doubtless you read Ian Duncan Smith’s “Stride in to the light” rebuttal of Cameron, which I thought rather good. I am not exactly unbiased but I feel it in my waters that Cameron has got it all wrong with the doom and gloom scare-mongering. We only want to become a normal country after all and none better to do so. If that’s going to cause problems bring them on.

      3. JoeSoap
        February 28, 2016

        This is correct.
        The budget is a golden opportunity to publish an alternative “Out” manifesto. The official one is likely to be quite dire. You should take this one by the horns!

  9. turbo terrier
    February 28, 2016

    Once again John very well explained and informative.

    The one question I can never get an answer to from the stay lot and by the way a lot of disgruntled Scots are all talking about leaving, so much for Empress Nicks dreams,is this:

    In the real world nothing is forever and the way that the EU is going what would happen to us/Scotland if it all fell apart, would it just be a case of go back to start and don’t collect your £200. Until then it just seems we are flogging a dead horse albeit with billions of pounds. Any good company/organisatiion should have an exit strategy in place just in case of the fateful day of “what now” It seems that CMD and others have not got a clue to what will be the inevitable. I hope they all do the noble and moral thing and tender their resignations immediately, enabling the real believers of our future to operate and not have to contend with muddy waters created by others.

    1. Anonymous
      February 28, 2016

      Many Scots, it seems, prefer rule by Brussels to rule from London. (Note my careful use of the words ‘by’ and ‘from’.)

      Pure spite against the English.

      1. Leslie Singleton
        February 28, 2016

        Dear Anonymous–Be assured many don’t as well

        1. fedupsoutherner
          February 28, 2016

          I second your comments Leslie. Anyone seen the petition a Scots woman has put on the internet complaining about the BBC six oclock news being changed in Scotland? It has over 10,000 comments already and all of them want the SNP to butt out of the news and stop trying to make Scotland a Communist country. I can assure you Anonymous, there are many Scots that would love it if the SNP all fell off the nearest cliff.

  10. Alan
    February 28, 2016

    To answer the questions:

    The EU has a balance of trade surplus. I think it will have no serious problem in providing the £10 billion that the UK will not be paying. Especially as we might end up going on paying it. We don’t know what agreement the Eurosceptics will negotiate with the rest of the EU. It may involve making payments to the EU.

    We don’t know what the Spanish fishing industry will do, because we don’t know what agreement we will make with the rest of the EU. Maybe it will just continue as now. Maybe it will be compensated out of payments we will make to the EU. We don’t know what the result of the Eurosceptics policies will be.

    The prices of food inside the EU will remain much as they are at the moment. I don’t think the UK leaving will significantly affect this.

    We don’t know what the trade agreements with the EU will be after we leave. The Eurosceptics are divided on this issue. They don’t know what agreement we will make either.

    It is true that the EU may gain in unity if the UK leaves. But you can equally argue it will cause more disunity. We don’t know what the results of the Eurosceptics policies will be. I don’t think the Eurosceptics do either, but they are good at hoping. Mind you, some seem to be hoping that the EU will fall apart and others are hoping that it will become prosperous, so some will be wrong and some will be right.

    To foster democracy in Europe we should stay in the EU, in my opinion. I think that’s quite a strong argument in favour of staying in the EU and for contributing more to its politics, instead of constantly obstructing and negotiating opt outs. In my view we have too many MEPs who see their job as obstructing and insulting the EU, and too few in the influential party groupings that affect EU policy. I think we have made ourselves less influential than we could have been. I feel despair at all the energy being devoted to getting out of the EU, which could have been far better employed in improving the EU.

  11. acorn
    February 28, 2016

    This EU budget pages has not been updated yet, it may have been delayed for Brexit reasons. It is out of date, but it is worth comparing the UK with Germany.

    NOTE. It quotes the UK government in the following; also elsewhere this week I have read: “the UK has eight times more civil servants than the whole of the EU Commission!” All sorts of disconnected numbers are starting to get thrown around all over the shop.

    “The UK government estimates that the single market brings in between GBP 31 billion and GBP 92 billion a year into the UK economy – or between 5 and 15 times the UK net contribution to the EU budget, which, once the UK’s rebate is taken into account, amounted to about GBP 7.258 billion – EUR 8.641 billion in 2013.”

    Reply The UK like all member states has to employ a lot of additional civil servants to transpose and implement EU laws!

  12. Anonymous
    February 28, 2016

    The economic impact of Brexit cannot be accounted for until Brexit has taken place (which it never will by the way.)

    Boris Johnson has hinted that there will be another referendum if there is an Out result. He then backtracked to say that “Out means out.” I do believe he’s hijacking the cause for his own good.

    There needs somone of similar gravitas saying that “In means in. Forever.” with ever closer union and the complete loss of British sovereignty. A military general writes in the Mail today that we will be less militarily secure on exit.

    It needs to be made clear that Brexit does not mean us becoming unfriendly rivals with the EU.

    1. Denis Cooper
      February 28, 2016

      The media chose to put a particular interpretation on what Johnson said.

      I can’t read his mind and say “He never meant that”, but nor can they read his mind and insist their interpretation was correct and he has since changed his mind.

      It seems to me that further negotiations after a vote to Leave the EU is a much more likely prospect than further negotiations after a vote to Remain in the EU, which is the vision that David “Jam Tomorrow” Cameron is now conjuring up.

      1. Leslie Singleton
        February 28, 2016

        Dear Denis–You have to be right because the idea of negotiations after a Remain vote is, again, for the birds

      2. Anonymous
        February 28, 2016

        Denis – We will be asked the question until (and only until) we give the answer that the EU wants to hear.

        Thereafter we will be locked in forever.

  13. ian
    February 28, 2016

    Nice work john,

  14. formula57
    February 28, 2016

    Well said!

    As we know because today one of your friends tells us ““It’s simply not good enough to assert everything will be all right when jobs and our country’s future are at stake” and so with even Mr Cameron’s own Justice Secretary opining that the deal he obtained on EU reform is not binding and as it did not cover a good number of the matters it should have done, will the Remain side now be candidly forthcoming about what it will mean to stay bound to the Evil Empire, anti-democratic and incapable of reforming itself as it is?

  15. Liz
    February 28, 2016

    David Cameron says he would stay on whatever the referendum verdict. If it were to be to leave, could or would he be able to negotiate terms at all let alone to Britain’s advantage having spent the previous 4 months telling everyone what a disaster it would be? A good point on Andrew Marr this morning is that Harold Wilson stood above the fray in the last referendum and let his ministers do the arguing. David Cameron might be well advised to do the same as people want a civilised debate not mud slinging.

    1. Denis Cooper
      February 28, 2016

      Wilson also got civil servants to prepare contingency plans in case he failed to dupe enough people to vote to stay in the EEC; they are in the National Archives.

    2. alan jutson
      February 28, 2016


      Cameron has made himself the Lynch pin of these negotiations, so the deal has his name written all over it, thus he has too much at stake to now try and stand above it all.

      As I mentioned last year what he should have done was to get real EU sceptics to argue the case for him, then he could have stood above it all.

      If he fails to win remain, he will be a Prime Minister dead in the water so to speak.

      Expect votes of no confidence, and rightly so.

  16. Antisthenes
    February 28, 2016

    By the way going off piste a bit. Did you notice the heatwave we had this winter? No? Neither did I. According to the BBC propaganda machine on the news this morning however the UK experienced the hottest winter ever this winter. Note not the mildest or even the warmest and that is what I experienced. Just to push their climate warming agenda the BBC had to use the more emotive and alarmist words “the hottest”. And they claim to be unbiased and balanced in their reporting. Goebbels would be proud of them.

    The sooner that organisation is broken up and sold off the better.

    1. getahead
      February 28, 2016


    2. fedupsoutherner
      February 28, 2016

      They want to try being in Scotland. Nothing is out yet, no daffs like down south. Why do they always lump the UK in together? Scotland is normal and flowers and shrubs are coming out normally. While we are on the subject, we also had a dreadful summer last year so all these fantastic wind farms are doing nothing except bleeding us all dry.

  17. Mark B
    February 28, 2016

    Good morning.

    When they move to full political, economic and monetary union the ECB can then legally do bank transfers and inflate away all their debts. Much like the UK and US has done. 😉

    And when the Germans realise all their precious savings have been wasted on the Club Med Countries and all the new comers etc, they will not be best pleased.

  18. David Price
    February 28, 2016

    “Which countries and taxpayers will have to replace the £10 billion the UK pays in to the benefit of the other countries? ”

    And the rest – what other costs and risks will we be exposed if we stayed that others will have to cover if we leave?

    For example, I believe there is currently a UK exposure of £4b for EU pensions, no doubt this will increase. I think Mr Cameron and all the EUphilics need to come clean and tell us what other costs and “unknowns” we are facing if we stayed, in addition to poorly performing kettles.

  19. bluedog
    February 28, 2016

    One of the more irritatingly naive claims of the Remainians is that Leaving is a leap in the dark. That’s only true if you are too young to remember the UK before say, 1975. Leaving simply restores Britain to its situation before EU membership had any real impact. George Osborne seems to be using this leap in the dark threat extensively. The riposte to Osborne would appear to be both simple and of course, helpful:

    1) It’s not your fault, but you’re too young to remember the UK before it became an EU colony.
    2)As a government minister post Brexit, you may have to think for yourself rather than following EU diktats.
    3) You should not admit that worries you because people will conclude you are not up to your job.

  20. Ex-expat Colin
    February 28, 2016

    The business of degrading domestic machinery by the EU. Most of it is somewhat essential I’d say. And the business of 500M people using an “extra” 1KWh or less per day appears on the surface to be compelling. Big numbers that suck the juice out of wind/solar and need coal/gas/nuke to maintain, backup and infill. know?

    The machines I have of the offending kw ratings I class as controllable devices. I would not buy them if they weren’t. Control at user level is all that it is and not by a bunch of hand wringers I did not elect or even ask! For that reason I’m out…again!

    1. getahead
      February 28, 2016

      Reducing the power of domestic appliances does not mean less total energy (KWh) will be used.

      1. fedupsoutherner
        February 28, 2016

        No, it just means more inconvenience for most of us similar to the useless light bulbs we are all now using. Mind how you go!!!

  21. Bert Young
    February 28, 2016

    Compared to the EU our state of the economy is sound ; there is confidence in the £ – as John has pointed out . The ECB has admitted that it will have to continue for some time pumping money into Euro system due to the vast range of difficulties most EU countries face ; Germany has never been a willing subscriber to this system and will certainly not expose its reserves . Greece for example will never be able to repay its debt and Germany will not allow it any leeway .

    The economic case for us leaving the EU is second only to that of regaining our sovereignty ; those who argue that “it will be a step in the dark” if we do leave are not doing their sums right ; the surplus gain in leaving is gigantic . Also those who believe it will cost us a fortune to buy into a new trade pact with the EU show they have little or no commercial sense ; our market is huge to EU country exporters – we could well end up charging them to continue doing so !.

  22. oldtimer
    February 28, 2016

    There are economic risks for the UK whatever the outcome of the referendum vote. A vote to remain will keep the UK in its current weak position within the EU, and with a diminishing ability to do anything about it as the EZ and project for political union gather pace. There are also risks and uncertainties arising from a vote to leave. But a vote to leave would restore control back to a UK government to make decisions to respond to events and circumstances. That is the essence of the case to leave.

    The big unknown is the outcome of post leave vote negotiations. In this context it is worth spending one moment to consider where the UK stands today. In 2015, besides being a net contributor of c£10-£11 billion in fees to the EU, the UK also ran a substantial deficit in traded goods. Ruth Lea recently drew attention to the fact that in 2015 the UK had a total goods deficit, world wide, of £125 bn of which £89bn was with the EU, and of which there was a £31.6 bn deficit with Germany alone. For every £3 the UK sells to the EU, the UK buys £5 in return. One would suppose that EU exporters would not want to see impediments to their trade with the UK but it cannot be ruled out. The start point, from the point of view of the interests of manufacturers and all the people they employ would be a continuation of the current free trade arrangements.

    If, as the G20 finance ministers say, there would be a shock to the system if the UK voted to leave, that need not necessarily extend to a significant economic shock if current trade arrangements were maintained. The decision to change them, for example by adopting the default position of WTO tariffs would affect trade. For example the tariff on cars would become 10% which, if imposed, would undoubtedly affect cross border sales. The responsibility for such a decision would rest squarely with the EU negotiators. It seems unlikely that German car manufacturers would welcome such a regime with equanimity.

    I also ask myself why it need be such a huge political shock. The rest of the EU wants political union. The UK does not. A vote to leave would facilitate the EU objective of ever closer union. The UK would become a friendly neighbour instead of an awkward bed fellow. The UK would be ready to continue to co-operate closely on areas of mutual interest. The responsibility for breaking off, or putting impediments on, such arrangements would rest squarely with the EU negotiators.

    So why all the fuss and fear mongering? My guess is that it has two obvious elements. The EU wants our continued membership so that it can continue to receive the £10-£11 bn net fees paid by us each year, and so that the rest of the EU can continue to run the £89 bn surplus in goods. There is a third less obvious element – the suppression of the UK as a nation state.

  23. Horatio
    February 28, 2016

    Marr should be taken off the public broadcaster until he can be unbiased. The way he treated IDS and Angela Eagle differently was pathetic. The way he tried to take up time by discussing Tory infighting was disgusting. Like most BBC presenters he uses attack questions and sneering on euroceptics in an effort to promote the status quo and never puts leave arguments at all, let alone aggresively to remainers. Thank god for the small sliver of light which is andrew neil on the BBC. Far to little though.

    1. alan jutson
      February 28, 2016


      I agree absolutely.

      Indeed the difference was so great as to be embarrassing and so, so obvious to anyone who was viewing.

      Thought IDS did well in the circumstances.

      BBC again, what do you expect.

      Cannot upset the EU the BBC may lose some income !!

      1. Mitchel
        February 29, 2016

        “Thought IDS did well in the circumstances.”

        I thought IDS was magnificent in that interview.

    2. miami.mode
      February 28, 2016

      Agreed Horatio. Very noticeable how Andrew Marr often interrupted and spoke over IDS but gave Angela Eagle a free ride. It could, of course, be that he is an extremely old fashioned gentleman who treats a lady with the utmost respect, but I have my doubts!

      1. Anonymous
        February 29, 2016

        gave Angela Eagle a free ride

        Angela Eagle has abandoned low skilled workers and traditional Labour voters for her EU utopian socialist ideals. When asked the other day about mass migration keeping wages down she seemed to be saying all low paid work should be done by foreign workers and indigenous Brits need to get more skills.

  24. Anonymous
    February 28, 2016

    Jonathan Shaw (ex special forces leader) writes in the Mail on Sunday that Britain will be unable to cope with a rag-bag of terrorists on her own.

    He also says – that without combined military and intellectual might – we will be at risk of being dominated by a leftist, undemocratic, corrupt state which will take our freedoms away.

    Reply The UK will not be on her own fighting terrorism. We will continue to be in NATO, Five Eyes, and will doubtless have substantial co-operation with continental governments as now.

    1. Anonymous
      February 28, 2016

      By that I meant Russia and China – not the EU.

    2. Denis Cooper
      February 28, 2016

      For crying out loud … does anybody seriously think that if the German police picked up some information about a planned terrorist attack on London then they would say “Well, the British chose to leave the EU so we won’t warn them about this, we’ll just sit back and wait for it to happen.”? Or that the British police would say “Pity that now we’re out of the EU and so totally cut off from all our old contacts in Germany we can no longer tell them about this plot set off a dirty bomb in Berlin”?

    3. getahead
      February 28, 2016

      Security agreements and trade agreements are not dependent on rule by Brussels.

    4. Anonymous
      February 28, 2016

      Reply to reply (and others) – My comment was meant to be sardonic.

      Jonathan Shaw’s assertion that we cannot cope against terrorists is plainly ridiculous.

      And if not terrorists then whom is he saying we cannot defend ourselves against ?

      Submitting ourselves to the plans of the EU is a very similar fate to surrendering to Russia or China in my book.

      If we give up sovereignty to the EU we may as well give up any pretences towards defence altogether.

      The man’s arguments need to be debunked publicly.

      1. stred
        February 28, 2016

        Excuse me for ignorance, but have Russia or China been working towards asking us to ‘surrender’ and if so please explain? The EU Spinelli (Wal)loons have been a bit threatening lately, but we still don’t have to surrender yet and can still enjoy ridiculing them.

  25. Javelin
    February 28, 2016

    The stay campaign have one simple tactic. They point at the failings of the EU and say that it will get worse if we leaveThe stay campaign have one simple tactic. They point at the failings of the EU and say that it will get worse if we leave. However the reality is that when we leave we won’t be burdened with the failings of the Eurozone.

    This is a good example. The EU has had a decade of near zero growth because of the Euro.

    If the UK was out the EU the UK would be able to create trade agreements around the world. The EU currently has Zero free trade agreements with big trading countries !! Not with the USA, China, Japan, India etc. They have one with Mexico and Chile. So what.

    The stayers need to screw their heads on and start to do some research about how bad the Eurozone is for the UK economy. The stayers need to use their brains and check the facts.

    Have a look at these links if you want to start making a decision based on facts rather than fear or emotional attachment.

    This is a map showing the Eu trade agreements. I think Mexico looks the biggest. The 27 EU countries simply cannot agree amongst themselves.

    As you can see the EU is very bad for international trade and when the whole of the EU is dependent on itself the whole of the EU suffers when it has near zero growth.

    This next link is the first graph I see when I google eurozone growth. It averages 0.25% since the Euro was introduced.

    When you compare the terrible Eurozone growth to UK growth, which is 2.5% you can see how much of a drag the Eurozone is on the UK. The U.K. Needs to leave the Eu.

    I hope I have convinced some of you how bad the Eu is. Based in the facts not fear.. However the reality is that when we leave we won’t be burdened with the failings of the Eurozone.

    This is a good example. The EU has had a decade of near zero growth because of the Euro.

    If the UK was out the EU the UK would be able to create trade agreements around the world. The EU currently has Zero free trade agreements with big trading countries !! Not with the USA, China, Japan, India etc. They have one with Mexico and Chile. So what.

    The stayers need to screw their heads on and start to do some research about how bad the Eurozone is for the UK economy. The stayers need to use their brains and check the facts.

    Have a look at these links if you want to start making a decision based on facts rather than fear or emotional attachment.

    This is a map showing the Eu trade agreements. I think Mexico looks the biggest. The 27 EU countries simply cannot agree amongst themselves.

    As you can see the EU is very bad for international trade and when the whole of Eu is dependent on itself the whole of the EU suffers when it has near zero growth.

    This next link is the first graph I see when I google eurozone growth. It averages 0.2% since the Euro was introduced.

    When you compare the terrible Eurozone growth to UK growth, which is 2.5% you can see how much of a drag the Eurozone is on the UK. The U.K. Needs to leave the Eu.

    I hope I have convinced some of you how bad the Eu is. Based in the facts not fear.

    1. Jagman84
      February 28, 2016

      A UK, independent of the EU, would be a more prosperous one. In turn, we would have more resources to spend on goods from the EU bloc than before. Surely this would be a positive for the EU? We are not xenophobic when it comes to buying goods, unlike France & Germany.

  26. Pericles Xanthippou
    February 28, 2016

    It’s true to say that many of Britain’s citizens, working or not, now live in other E.U. countries and are pleased to be able to work there and to have access, owing to her membership of the union, to local medical &c. facilities when ever the need arises.

    The fate of the whole country however ought not to rest on the matter of what most benefits several thousands of her citizens but to be decided on what confers the most good upon her as a whole. Unfortunately in the system we’re pleased to call democracy — nothing at all like the fifth-century Athenian system from which its advocates claim it’s derived — encourages the voter to cast his ballot in his own interest.


    1. Denis Cooper
      February 28, 2016

      Which EU countries?

      The reality is that most of the UK citizens living in other EU countries are not living in the much poorer EU countries which are especially problematic as far as mass immigration into the UK is concerned. No doubt some UK citizens have taken advantage of free movement within the EU to move to Romania, perhaps buying up property cheaply, but I suspect that the flows are very heavily weighted in the other direction. The priority for a country like Germany is sending us its stuff, not its people, and I doubt there is any pressing need to impose controls upon the immigration of German citizens into the UK or vice versa.

    2. graham1946
      February 28, 2016

      To hear some talk, half of the doctors and nurses we turn out go to America and Australia. Even if w it were true, which I doubt, it is nothing to do with free movement but with selection of who they want in their country. We should do the same. I can’t see the EU wanting to turn out our citizens who are keeping it afloat by working or spending their pensions there, or wanting return of their citizens who may be over here.

  27. Richard1
    February 28, 2016

    Rather a good interview with Lord David Owen today, following an irritating one with Anna Soubry. Lord Owen points put that if leaving the EU would be the disaster it is made out to be by Mr Cameron, he should not have permitted a referendum in the first place. We are having a referendum as the governing Conservative party – and to a lesser extent other parties – are split. Therefore parliamentary democracy is suspended and the people must choose. By definition any responsible government should only put a choice to the people if either option would be possible without national disaster.

    1. graham1946
      February 28, 2016


      We are actually having a referendum because the Tories were running scared of UKIP. They may well be again. They have always been split on the EU and always will be. This referendum will not solve that problem.

      1. JoeSoap
        February 28, 2016

        Well if we assume that 50% of the Tory “inners” are infact sycophantic toadies, that only leaves around 25% of Tory MPs as real inners. Therefore add the true Tory outers at 75% of MPs to UKIP candidates who would win an election in the toadies’ seats and you have a vibrant “out” party post 23 June.

    2. JoeSoap
      February 28, 2016

      Indeed Cameron’s whole approach has been unworthy of a leader.
      First, either his negotiating skills are non-existent or something more sinister is happening.
      Second, having negotiated to the best of his ability, he should have stood back and put the issue neutrally to the Country.
      Third, having negotiated poorly and taken a partisan line, he is now personally slagging off and insulating both his colleagues and the people who voted for him

  28. Jim
    February 28, 2016

    I am getting the impression that the Leave campaign has the best arguments.

    But I also suspect that to a certain extent the Remain campaign is avoiding engaging in arguments lest they be seen to lose them … Perhaps they have decided that they will win because when push comes to shove a majority will opt for the status quo. And that is more likely to happen if there hasn’t been too much engagement with specifics,

    I don’t know whether this is the case or not, but if it is then the Leave campaign may win all the arguments and yet lose the referendum …

  29. Shieldsman
    February 28, 2016

    I have spent the last week trying to find details of that mythical REFORMED European Union without success. Has there been a Treaty change between Thursday 18th February and now that I missed?
    Logic has it that any reform (fundamental or otherwise) has to be incorporated in a treaty approved by all 28 member States.
    The PM bounced into the into the ring at the O² call centre in Slough on Tuesday declaring it’s the right thing to do to stay in a reformed European Union. Then followed and ever since a tirade against leaving and the dire dangers that would result.
    From his big deal there was his wishful thinking “we also have in two vital areas the commitment to treaty change. Treaty change to carve Britain out of ever closure union. So we’re in the bits of Europe we want to be in but out of those we don’t want to be in”.
    Sounds a bit like ‘pick and mix’ which President Hollande said was not on.
    The ‘ever closure union’ opt out only highlights the UK’s different direction of travel from the other 27 members. Being excluded from further political integration is fine, we never wanted it in the first place. Are we half in or are we half out?
    By staying we will still be enmeshed in those bits bits of Europe Cameron did not want. “(UK) will not create obstacles to but facilitate such further deepening (economic and monetary union) while this process will, conversely, respect the rights and competences of non participating member states”

    He has obviously given up on reducing the migrant flow by accepting freedom of movement. The charade over benefits for migrants is just that.

  30. Vanessa
    February 28, 2016

    It is a shame that the pm is not fighting this issue with honesty and decent negotiations. If you read EUReferendum dot com the lies are beginning to rise to the surface and break through the flimsy covering he is hoping we will not see through. Read this critique here.

  31. Pericles Xanthippou
    February 28, 2016

    On the subject of ‘Project Fear’ I commend this article by Lord Owen in the Sun, reference to which I was fortunate to find elsewhere.

    Quite pleasing, given the Sun’s circulation and influence, to see prominent support of the British campaign from such a quarter.

    Also of interest, reported by the same newspaper: comments by Marina Wheeler, Q.C. (Mme. Boris) on the Gove spat.


  32. Tad Davison
    February 28, 2016

    May I, on this occasion, point to a BBC interview that WAS useful in its balance and depth. It is worth watching as it holes the ‘IN’ campaign below the waterline.

    The BBC’s Andrew Neil gave Labour’s so-called ‘big beast’ and devout ‘IN’ campaigner, Alan Johnson, a difficult time on his Sunday Politics Show by posing some searching questions. Mr Neil pressed home fundamental points that so many of us have been asking for so long.

    To keep it brief, the basic tenet was this. The massively ‘pro-EU’ Labour party is troubled by the thought that in the event of the UK leaving the EU, Labour might lose certain pet laws and entitlements they wish to keep. Why then, in the event of Britain leaving, would they not trust the British people to vote for a party that espoused those same laws through our democratically elected national sovereign parliament?

    Could it possibly be that Labour are scared the British people wouldn’t give them a mandate, and the only way they can get such things is to subscribe to an undemocratic alien political construct in the form of the European Union?

    If that is the case, it shows how fundamentally dishonest Labour are on the issue of our membership of the EU, and people need to wake up to that fact.

    Don’t let anyone ever say this forum isn’t read by lots of people in the media, and in the world of politics. Regularly, items and arguments that appear on these pages, subsequently have oblique or direct references made to them in the wider debate. Let’s hope people of influence take notice of this this one.

    Tad Davison


    1. Denis Cooper
      February 28, 2016

      The converse being Lord Tebbit’s view that if the British people vote for socialism then they should get socialism, which according to him is what Heath wanted to prevent by joining the EEC and hoping that its rules would tie the hands of any future Labour government. Now that is working the other way round.

      1. Tad Davison
        February 28, 2016

        Good point Denis. People should make more use of facts like that.


  33. Dennis
    February 28, 2016

    That a proposal to “ban fast kettles and toasters ” indicates that energy production is seen to be too high. Why should this be? It is obvious – the EU and the world is overpopulated which means that more and more production of almost everything is needed leading to catastrophe all round.

    We won’t get thoughts on this from anyone in govt. until emergency stares us in the face. We are too greedy to do anything about this until then. Sacrifice? What does that mean?

    1. Lifelogic
      February 28, 2016

      Low power kettles just take longer to boil they save no energy at all perhaps using more in fact. The water still needs the same number of kilo watt hours to get it to boil. But perhaps the EU are planing some new laws of physics?

  34. Kenneth
    February 28, 2016


    I keep hearing ‘what does OUT look like?’ Yet the BBC never gives anyone the chance to answer the question because the question is never asked.

    This blog deals with the other side of the coin: what does IN look like? It looks at this question from the point of view of the remaining members of the eu. How will they cope with less money from the UK?

    All good stuff, but why is this not being covered by our broadcast media?

    The great complaint coming from many people I speak with is that there is insufficient information out there for people to make up their minds.

    As most people still get this kind of information from broadcast media, it falls upon these outlets to inform the public, especially the BBC which has a duty to inform.

    However, after listening to the output from the BBC it is little wonder why people feel they are uninformed.

    The topics that are discussed tend to be about cabinet splits, gossip about the future of the PM and the apparent lacklustre support of the Leader of the Opposition for eu membership.

    In the context of a very important referendum which may have implications far beyond the careers of those that the BBC likes to gossip about, the BBC is failing to provide the public with the arguments.

    We need to hear debates between the Remain proponents and the Leave proponents as that is usually when the information starts to flow. Having debates also produces far more interesting output than the usual BBC talking heads.

    It is madness that websites such as this one run on a shoestring are providing useful information, yet, despite the licence-payer forking out £millions on powerful transmitters, studios and hundreds of journalists, the BBC is unable to provide this basic service.

  35. Denis Cooper
    February 28, 2016

    The Remain case seems to have some internal contradictions, of which the latest is:

    For decades we’ve been told that the days of the British Empire are over and the UK is now an insignificant off-shore island and can have little clout except through the EU; but now suddenly we’re told that if we seek to make some sensible changes to our treaties with our European neighbours then that could precipitate a global economic crisis.

    How is that? Would the G20 be fretting about the potential economic effects on the rest of the world if Malta decided to leave the EU? Well, Greenland did leave the EEC, and that “shock” hardly brought down the world economy, so how large does the economy of a country have to be so that it would be a global catastrophe if it decided that after four decades of experience it had had enough of the EU treaties, and it saw no prospect of them ever being changed to satisfy its national requirements, and so it wanted to make new treaty arrangements with it outside of the EU?

    The good thing about the near hysterical warning from the G20 is that having identified a risk to the global economy – so they say, at least as a favour to Cameron and Osborne, who will now owe them a favour in return – they now have a responsibility to act to avert it, just as the threat of the Millennium Bug was identified in good time and averted.

    And that does not mean keeping us imprisoned in the EU, but rather pressing for sensible alternative arrangements to be put in place in good time before we actually leave.

    1. miami.mode
      February 28, 2016

      I, too, saw how contradictory this statement was Denis, but I imagine now that David Cameron and George Osborne can campaign for In and thus claim their version of Gordon Brown’s “save the world”.

    2. Dennis
      February 28, 2016

      ” so how large does the economy of a country have to be so that it would be a global catastrophe …”

      Well we are supposed to be the world’s 5th largest economy which might indicate some impact but then again being 5th could mean that we are tiny as those smaller being even tinier.

  36. forthurst
    February 28, 2016

    “We have learned that pending rules to ban fast kettles and toasters have been delayed until after the UK vote, as it would not look smart to outvote us on those issues just before the referendum.”

    More EU means more unpopular EU; more EU means more arbitrary and absurd laws made by people who believe no economic sacrifice is too small if it hastens the day when the EU has total control over all our lives.

    Perhaps Mr Turmes, Green by Party, green by his understanding of elementary Physics, needs to consider how Joule Heating (I^^2R) constrains the possibility of efficiency improvements of appliances whose purpose is to convert electrical energy into infrared energy, especially when by reducing the heat output of the appliance by unit of time, the potential for heat losses over time, reducing the efficiency of the heating process, are also proportionately increased.

  37. Denis Cooper
    February 28, 2016

    Although you haven’t asked I’ll tell you what I think – I don’t care.

    If we lose this referendum then we’re sunk, and if some people decide to vote to Leave the EU on the assumption that it would trigger further negotiations then so be it, I would rather they did that than vote to Remain.

    As for JR’s reply, as I have repeatedly pointed out since 2013 the referendum Act is completely silent on what would ensue from a Leave vote. It could have said that the government must give the EU notice that we were Leaving, but it doesn’t.

    1. Leslie Singleton
      February 28, 2016

      Dear Denis–If we vote to Leave it seems to me we either immediately give Notice or we delay, or are delayed, by the dreaded further negotiations; I cannot see any other options especially as snake-oil Cameron will be gone by then (Please God).

    2. matthu
      February 28, 2016

      I think on Feb 25 I noted that

      “the government is desperate to position anyone from the establishment who will be acceptable to the Leavers as a potential leader.

      “The point being that IF the government can get the people to back this new champion, he can later win a resounding victory for OUT and then immediately appear to have the authority to re-open negotiations with the EU – and we end up with associate membership under another name.”

  38. Dennis
    February 28, 2016

    To travel out of any country the leaving border is in that country – in the Calais case that is in France. If France allows people to exit France without proper papers this must surely be illegal. Am I wrong about this? Are there any penalties for this?

    1. Denis Cooper
      February 28, 2016

      As far as the Channel Tunnel is concerned the border is actually at the mid-point of the tunnel, that was agreed before it was approved. In principle it would be possible to excavate a large chamber for border controls at that point, stopping the trains for checks etc, but instead the more sensible option of having controls at both ends was adopted. There’s no way the French could decide to move the border from Calais to Folkestone, as our own government likes to threaten, firstly because it isn’t at Calais and secondly because even if it was at Calais neither party could unilaterally move it from its agreed position.

      1. stred
        February 28, 2016

        Euotunnel is almost all French owned, and Eurostar is being sold to Canadian pension funds. Neither owners could risk fines and UK Customs sending back travellers without proper documents. The danger is that EU countries issue passports or forged documentation is used. Either way we need border controls and to send back illegal migrants.

  39. Narrow Shoulders
    February 28, 2016

    Yesterday a G20 communique stressed how damaging Brexit might be.

    If Brexit is so damaging for the world why does the EU not confirm now that we would continue to enjoy a free trade agreement with the EU and collaboration in many areas would continue post Brexit. Just by our choice rather than by treaty or mandate.

    Uncertainty eliminated.

  40. Lifelogic
    February 28, 2016

    While Osborne is destroying incentives to work or save.

  41. Lifelogic
    February 28, 2016

    They will not give up that easily, a better deal will certainly follow. Bur we can escape if we really want to.

  42. Lifelogic
    February 28, 2016

    I do not have much faith in Michael Howard and was rather surprised to see him on the leave side. Still perhaps he has seen the light at light?

    Reply A brave and sensible judgement by Michael given his closeness to Mr Cameron.

    1. Leslie Singleton
      February 28, 2016

      Dear John–Kindly put a sock in comments along the lines of Howard’s (and Gove’s) “closeness to Mr Cameron”; also in the praise one hears for Cameron’s hard work and the difficulties he has faced etc. Distill this kind of emotion out of it: literally all that counts is where we have reached and the choices before us.

    2. graham1946
      February 28, 2016

      Reply to reply.

      I don’t get why politicians, even you, JR, keep saying that the ‘outers’ are ‘brave’ because they are mates with Cameron. My best friend and I have diametrically opposing views on politics and always have had over the last 50 years, and we argue like hell, but still part friends. If I had jobs to give out I would give (or not) him one based on my knowledge of the man, not petty squabbling because he doesn’t agree with everything I say. You’d probably get a better result from someone with opposing view as it may make you think a bit better before deciding. Perhaps sycophancy is why politics today is so bad.

      Maybe politicians need to grow up and leave the playground behind.

      These are people who we trust to govern. God help us.

      1. Margaret
        February 28, 2016

        Oh, come on we are talking about money and jobs. Do you expect them all to be open in the ‘house of cards ..That is rather naïve , although I wish we could all behave free to voice our own view and Spock- like stay in power. I could have been far mores senior if I had crept and made sure my background was a suitable married with 2.2kids and a successful husband.
        The future may be different , but for now the game goes on.

    3. Richard1
      February 28, 2016

      Quite extraordinarily uncharitable article by Peter Hitchens today alleging Michael Howard and Boris Johnson joining Leave is a cynical takeover of Leave by liberal modernist Conservatives who really want to stay in the EU. Mr Hitchens is quite unable to accept that any (Conservative) politician he has ever criticised could act in what he believes the Country’s interest to be rather than his own personal interest. There are many people for whom this is a difficult question, with strong arguments on both sides.

      1. Richard1
        February 29, 2016

        No I’m sure he’s saying what he thinks. But he seems unable to accept that someone like Michael Howard might have just weighed up the pros and cons and come to a different conclusion from that which he held previously.

    4. stred
      February 28, 2016

      The way to resolve the problem concerning the possible second referendum is to state that Leavers do not want a second chance to stay. A second referendum is standard EU practice when they do not get the result they hoped for, as with Ireland, Holland etc.. If they suddenly offered a genuine free trade deal, without the crap, then we may decide to accept. But they won’t. It will be another deception.

  43. getahead
    February 28, 2016

    John, why does Mr Cameron deny the truth?

  44. sm
    February 28, 2016

    Who said? ‘When it gets serious you have to lie’?

    Cue the G20 ‘Project Fear’ play.

    I am curious as to how current EU funded salaries and pensions & would be funded post Brexit? amongst a lot of other things.

    We all including the EU will have to make some tough choices which we have been avoiding. We may be the subject of a few harsh words by some but others will no doubt agree.

    After all it is relatively easy to spend other peoples money.

    Now the Reality of Remain.

    Remain really means EU army,EU passports,EU money, regional EU government. Ever more massive immigration way above current levels – until a really bad dystopian collapse.

    Which other countries are next to join the freedom of movement area? or just invite everyone irrespective Ms Merkel?

    How is the deal with Turkey progressing? A little bit more important than 3kw kettles.

    Out means out but they have form and we will be asked to vote again. No doubt old cast-iron with QMV brakes will oblige.

    With reference to internal UK questions these can be resolved after Brexit.

    I fail to see how Post Brexit any part of the UK union would benefit from re-joining the under funded EU, they simply would not get a good deal.

    However small the chance it would still be manageable.

    After all we all want good friendly pragmatic relations with all states and peoples in and outside the UK.

    Indeed – i rather suspect others may wish to adopt a wider and more pragmatic global outlook without the insanity of the EU.

  45. Tania
    February 28, 2016

    Why wait until after the election to remove David Cameron as party leader? Why not get rid of him now?

    1. bluedog
      February 28, 2016

      If enough Cabinet ministers come out for Brexit there would have to be a point at which Cameron did resign. After all, if the majority of his Cabinet colleagues were to vote with their feet, Cameron’s authority as PM has obviously evaporated. Presumably it’s the same with the non-Cabinet members of the Parliamentary Conservative Party. If enough MPs are for Brexit, Cameron’s ability to remain as party leader is severely threatened. It simply requires a challenger to point this out to DC and tap him on the shoulder. One presumes Dr JR and colleagues have been considering this possibility.

  46. The Active Citizen
    February 28, 2016

    A little amusement for a Sunday afternoon….

    If we want to win the Referendum, one of the quickest ways would be to mandate the BBC to beam at least one hour per day of the proceedings of the EU Parliament into every home in the country.

    Recommending a speaker to look out for is difficult. There’s the intensely arrogant and dictatorial Herr Schulz, German Pres of said parliament. etc ed

    Then there’s the aimiably-disastrous Jean-Claude the Juncker, Pres of the EU Commission, whose rambling incoherence at the lectern really has to be experienced.

    However my prize for ‘MEPpet of the Week’ goes to the Big Belgian Waffle himself, Mr Guy Verhofstadt – head of the MEP Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. On Friday he excelled himself in the EU Parliament, saying: ”It’s totally bonkers, dear colleagues. It’s pathetic… Britain is step by step transformed into Little England.” A real diplomat, is their Mijneer Verhofstadt.

    If the British public could see the ramshackle and unintelligent speeches, absurd leftist claptrap, and pompous posturings of the MEPs and of the unelected members of the EU Commission, they’d be scrambling for the voting booths and selling their grandmothers for a pencil stump, in order to put a cross against ‘Leave’.

    Bonne dimanche, tout le monde.

    [These are strictly personal opinions and not those of our host, who is much too much of a gentleman to comment, I’m sure.]

  47. They Work for Us?
    February 28, 2016

    Thank you once again JR for your clear exposition. I am sure certain EU members are very worried about where the money will come from in order to keep them in the style to which they have become accustomed.
    During the week attended a public meeting hosted by our local conservative MP (who is undecided on the EU referendum). Strangely enough out of the 5 other panel members, 4 were found to be in favour of “remain” and the one “leaver” somehow did not get the opportunity to say much. No questions from the floor were taken and the audience listened to the panel in stony silence.

    A further disadvantage of leaving was explained to us and it is a cracker.
    “You do all realise that the Single Market only covers manufactured goods and when it is opened up to cover Services (comment it hasn’t for 4o yrs?) we shall enjoy enormous opportunities for prosperity, it would be a great mistake to pass these up by leaving.

  48. Denis Cooper
    February 28, 2016

    I hope MPs will remember who is Minister for the Civil Service when they question Jeremy Heywood about his instruction to civil servants to deny assistance to ministers who support Leave:

  49. majorfrustration
    February 28, 2016

    and the BBC receives how much from the EU?

  50. Iain gill
    February 28, 2016

    John, have you seen the numbers sleeping rough near Paddington station? This is getting beyond a joke. What on earth is going on with our political class that they allow this state of affairs. If I was ever elected to parliament this would be the subject of my maiden speech
    Why does the system let single men down so spectacularly?

  51. matthu
    February 28, 2016

    JR says “Vote No and we check out. We can then stop paying the hotel bills.”

    What I want to ask is how we force the government to check out if they feel more comfortable simply paying the hotel bills?

    Reply There will be enough MPs who want to enforce the pubic view post referendum

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