The snare of the single market

One of the worst jobs I was given in government was negotiating numerous Directives and Regulations to complete the so called single market. Seeing the construction of this complex web of law codes from the inside taught me that this was no ordinary market. This was a simple power grab by the EU authorities, using the cover of the markets as means of taking over large areas of legislative authority from the member states.

The job was unsatisfactory, as it entailed endless hours of discussions and debates trying to stop needless rules, or trying to amend badly drafted and over the top proposals to make them something business could live with. I soon concluded it was all based on a false premise, that you can legislate to create a market. Markets require willing buyers and willing sellers. They need some people to be good at defining services and designing products that others will value, and other people willing to shop around with an open mind. You do not need to amalgamate law codes or adopt common laws in order to buy from each other. China’s laws are very different from the UK, yet they manage to sell us a large amount of product.

It is true that there is a benefit in the single market legislative programme. If you have a product which is of marketable quality for country A within the single market, that same product will meet the legal and technical specification needed in country B if also within the single market. This of course is an advantage to countries trading with the EU from outside the zone, as  much as it is to members inside the zone. It also brings the disbenefit to members of the zone that if the EU decides on unsatisfactory requirements and specifications you are lumbered with it, whatever world companies may be able to produce which is better outside the EU specification.

Too many still seem to think the single market is some priceless creation. I remember it being a series of compromises over very often badly drafted texts, where the main aim seemed to be to establish EU control or involvement in the particular area covered  by the draft law. Nor is it true to say you cannot trade with member states if you no longer  belong to the single market. The rest of the world trades daily with the EU without being members.

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  1. Lifelogic
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    Exactly, as you say it is mainly a power grab by the EU authorities, using the ruse of needing to regulate the “single market”. Government in general, far from enabling trade, just gets in the way of it.

    You say:- “too many still seem to think the single market is some priceless creation”, certainly far too many on the BBC do, indeed nearly all and all the “experts” on the BBC do.

    • Hope
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      May’s statement that Brexit means Brexit is as credible as Cameron’s false claim, I rule nothing out. JR, you have hit the nail on the head, parliament could make withdrawal happen tomorrow. It is as much in the EU’s interest to negotiate as ours. Withdraw and negotiate, it will focus minds quite sharply.

      The delay is a sinister ploy by May to unnecessarily draw the matter out in case a way of staying can be found. Listen to Heseltine, he appears quite optimistic that the matter is not over-why?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 6, 2016 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

        Brexit means Brexit so what, what does that actually mean?

        When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

        After all we were even told that “a treaty is no longer a treaty” once ratified!

        • Hope
          Posted August 7, 2016 at 8:41 am | Permalink

          Most negotiations take place at the last moment. Withdraw now. Most of the substance will be agreed at the end once the neogotitiating dance has played its part, Who who blinks first etc.

    • zorro
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      Indeed…. During the referendum campaign the Remain argument tended to almost insinuate that we would not be able to trade/exist outside the Single Market if we left the EU. If you questionned this argument, the BBC and others might look at you strangely as if you were simple or saying something totally unreasonable….. all the while being seemingly blissfully ignorant of the majority of the world’s economies who seem to be able to trade/function perfectly adequately with the EU….


      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 6, 2016 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

        Rather the same as the reaction you get from the BBC if anyone says that the global warming agenda might be a little exaggerated and that is has not actually warmed at all for 18 years (contrary to all the experts predictions).

        Or if you point out that the government cannot invest in anything without first taking the money off someone or some business (who would usually have invested it far better), or borrow it off the backs of the people essentially deferred taxation.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    Congratulation are surely due to the London police for only using a taser on the attacker in Russel Square.

    Unfortunately there are other people with very dangerous mental health problems who are merely released from hospital (after serious attempted knife attacks on people) often just a few days later. Perhaps just after adjusting their drug regime or them being told to actually take them. Many unnecessary deaths and injuries arise as a direct result of this bizarre policy.

    • Adam
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      The drugs dont make a difference. One of the secrets of mental health. Nothing they do makes a difference.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 6, 2016 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

        The approach certainly seems to be to wait until they do something very serious indeed such as a murder. Little at all seem to be done before that.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    So where is the announcement, from May and Hammond, on the direction this government is going to take? A sensible announcement could do far more for confidence than the BoE’s actions.

    Are they going to give us lower simpler taxes, a bonfire of red tape, a real Brexit, cheap energy, new runways, selective quality immigration and smaller but efficient government? Or are they going to stick to the tax, borrow and piss down the drain, over regulate, and the bloated, growing but totally incompetent government approach taken by Cameron and Osborne.

    This while putting workers and customers on company boards! Why are these two still in hiding?

    Had Gove not stabbed Boris and Leadsom not been pressured into withdrawing (by the very nasty wing) then we would have had some debate about the direction of the party.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 6:17 am | Permalink

      No sooner have I types this than Theresa May has pops out of hiding to issue some rather trite good wishes to the Olympic team on the BBC. What are you going to do on the economy dear?

      I see that opening ceremony had lots of the usual PC “fake greenery” agenda included. At least nothing about the dire NHS that I saw.

      What on earth is remotely green about flying millions of people (& even horses) round the world to watch fireworks, play games and burn an large Olympic fire?

      What is green about endless new huge concrete building, that end up largely unused as white elephants?

      Like Price Charles and the rest of the “greens” it is usually do as I say and not as I do.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 6, 2016 at 8:58 am | Permalink

        I was hoping this blog could be an Olympics-free zone …

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted August 6, 2016 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

          Dear Denis–Agree totally–Apart from all else crap like women’s football ruins everything

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted August 6, 2016 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

            And of course now the News is totally ruined for 16 days–Why on earth can’t this baloney be in a separate Sports News of some kind??

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 6, 2016 at 4:33 pm | Permalink


        • stred
          Posted August 7, 2016 at 6:38 am | Permalink

          We were looking forward to seeing the Proms in HD and hi-fi.

          The BBC have decided to put the Olympics on BBC4 instead. Still some old interesting programmes on Yesterday and Dave.

          • DennisA
            Posted August 9, 2016 at 11:09 am | Permalink

            Especially Yes, Minister which recently finished another loop on Yesterday.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted August 6, 2016 at 9:51 am | Permalink

        Totally agree Lifelogic. I thought the opening was very good until they started on the green crap. Are they all going to change their lifestyles??? No blo–y way. They will still continue to plant for bio fuels wiping out much of the rain forests and as you say, will still continue flying around the world and driving cars. Let’s face it, just living is not ‘green’ so we could all try holding our breath. This sent to me today so glad you have brought it up.

        In an amazing admission, environmentalists are now acknowledging that they were wrong to have promoted biofuels! This came about due to the overwhelming evidence that biofuels are a NET environmental liability.
        Of course biofuels were a bad choice all along, so why did we waste enormous amounts of time and money going down this dead-end road?
        The answer is obvious: this was a self-serving lobbyist idea. Essentially every time we have lobbyist-written energy and environmental policies the results have been:
        1 – objectives that are not met,
        2 – costs that are much higher than projected, and
        3 – numerous unintended adverse consequences.
        The solution is simple: we should have Science-based energy and environmental policies.
        When will we learn?
        I fully expect that in the not-too-distant future that environmentalists will make a similar begrudging concession about industrial wind energy.
        The indisputable fact is that no scientific assessment has concluded that wind energy is a Net Societal Benefit — because it’s not.
        Lobbyists have become skilled at deceiving the public about Science — because they know that a scientific endorsement of their product is effectively an imprimatur.

        In their aggressive campaign to undermine genuine Science, they have successfully recruited some sympathetic, susceptible scientists to be their allies in presenting fake science. It’s a sad story.
        Here are some excellent comments about real Science that should be understood and committed to memory.
        Once we’re clear about what genuine Science is (a process), it will be much harder for the con artists to fool us into thinking that biofuels, wind energy, etc. are sensible energy options.

        john droz, jr.

        When will our politicians learn and take appropriate action? They are not God as they seem to think.

        • Jagman84
          Posted August 6, 2016 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

          1 – objectives that are not met,
          2 – costs that are much higher than projected, and
          3 – numerous unintended adverse consequences.

          Is that not a precise summary of Socialism?

        • sjb
          Posted August 6, 2016 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

          MPs are inundated with communications of the kind you reproduce above. We are fortunate that most MPs can think critically.

        • stred
          Posted August 7, 2016 at 6:29 am | Permalink

          The late Prof MacKay, who did much to expose the real futility of biomass, said in his final interview that , though he like wind turbines, if we have to build 100% back up using nuclear, then we may just as well run them all the time (and not build offshore wind at 2 or 3 times the cost).

          When discussions take place about energy, it is still common to read or hear ‘experts’ suggest we use wave or tidal generation to provide back up. In his book Sustainable Energy without the Hot Air, he carefully worked out that, even if we built wave machines right around the coast, there would only be enough energy to supply a few % of the total requirement.

          I would like to see a small institute set up in his name where engineers and physicists of his quality would analyse the options and give real calculations of the efficiency of these expensive policies, many of which are about to be built. It could be in Cambridge, where he worked and his students would know what is required.

        Posted August 6, 2016 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        If only Brazil were an EU member, it could be awarded an automatic grant at UK expense for preserving the right-to-live, have kiddies, exist in symbiotic harmony, the very lifeblood of the Zyka virus mosquito.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted August 6, 2016 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        Instead of lecturing the rest of us on climate change maybe Brazil should stop destroying the Amazon rainforest. Just an idea.

  4. agricola
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Your last two sentences say it all. They is a customer with a requirement. Satisfy it and you have a sale.

    I suspect that within all their regulation there is a degree of protectionism, some of it wise, most of it in self interest. I have in mind here things agricultural in particular. I feel it has been wise to be cautious in relation to GM crops until the effect if any is measurable. I suspect that the self interest of the EU is what has made trading treaties with the major world players such a lengthy negotiating process. In trade you cannot have protectionist fortress EU and free trade with the rest of the World. The speed with which the major players in the World have started knocking on our door, having stood in the cold outside the EU door, is indicative of a bright future for the UK if we get on with it.

    By now our team should know what they want in a future relationship with the EU, so lets get it done and dusted asap while there are trading concerns within the EU that want the same thing. It would be a mistake to wait until the political climate in the EU changes which surely it will.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      Well, allegedly they don’t even know whether or not the UK should stay in the EU customs union, a question which Open Europe describes as a “no-brainer”:

      But then the allegation has come from the Remoaners at the FT, citing “The UK prime minister’s office”; a week ago I emailed said office and asked whether there had been any official statement on this, but have received no reply.

      • Mark B
        Posted August 6, 2016 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

        No to Customs Union.

        Like the Remoaners barb.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      It is all about power grabs, money and the expansion parasitic regulation & the endless growth of largely pointless bureaucracy. These kill the the ability to compete.
      Hence the UK & EU’s poor productivity.

  5. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Its not about a market is it? Its about making jobs for yourselves…for life. And fails with too many rule making and costly participants.

  6. Ian Wragg
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    The single market is the embryo of world government on the Soviet principle.
    One code (usually defined by Germany) tarrifs to exclude competition (CAP) and stifling of innovation.
    A system so beloved by governments and large corporations as it perpetuates their dominance.
    No wonder there are no large digital names associated with the EU such as Apple and Google.
    The EU positively discourges innovation.
    It is also cover for churning and displacing indigenous populations thus weakening democracy.

    • forthurst
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      “It is also cover for churning and displacing indigenous populations thus weakening democracy.”

      Yes, the most egregious and unnecessary Single Market rule of all, having nothing whatsoever to do with trade, but everything to do with the destruction of national identities, which under no circumstances, whatsoever, is an acceptable item for Brexit negotiation, free movement of persons (including terrorists, rapists and murderers).

      • rose
        Posted August 6, 2016 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

        And unlimited numbers from other continents who have acquired EU passports and then shop around for the most generous and tolerant welfare state. Guess what the most popular answer is.

  7. Newmania
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    Thus with an airy wave of the hand done John Redwood decide that the lives that will be wrecked do not matter

    If I am a UK Insurer under the single market and subject to the new solvency 2 regulations ( which have taken years to work through) I am able to offer my products within the EU both by passporting capital requirements and compliance. Outside the single market I cannot . The only way around this would be the set up a subsidiary in Europe and find the same amount of money again . Why set up in London ?
    Large existing Companies may have to do something like this ,all of which costs will be passed on in Brexit`s rip off Britain , but new and small ones will not .

    This will create two problems . Firstly the EU licensed Insurers will not be able to trade in the UK which will immediately send up Premiums for small business and personal lines. Secondly , UK Insurers will not be able to sell into the EU. Just incidentally the economy of Gibraltar will stop dead. tghey also don`t count
    Many American Companies set up their “ European HQ” in London for exactly this purpose ( I could list examples) as do Swiss Banks ( all banks in fact) , so Does the China , incidentally although they are small players

    I noticed with a grim smile that John Redwood was happy to throw all these London and South East Jobs away in return for a deal that would allow motor manufacturing to continue . That is because sending a whole community into poverty in one go is a political problem whereas individual families in London and the South East can be ignored . I cannot express the way I feel about this thinking in terms likely to see the light of day

    In each sector you speak to they will tell you the disaster coming their way Banking is the obvious one ) soemtimes its personell , soemtimes tarriffs above above all pan European compliance and capital

    Reply Today you add personal unpleasant attacks on me to your rant against the decision of UK voters. There is no evidence for your gloomy view. I believe we will be better off once we have left the EU, and want to get on with it so we can spend our own money on our own priorities. I do not accept that jobs are at risk in the way you describe, or that we will be unable to sell insurance policies in the rest of the EU on leaving.

    • zorro
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      Get a grip, your lurid fantasies are just that. If you really think that the EU will decide to exclude the UK from their economies, you need to go on a hard reality course.


    • Richard1
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      There is no reason for UK insurers or other financial services businesses to be denied financial passporting – nor is it in the interest of their current and potential customers in the EU that they should be. If the EU does decide to deny financial passporting to UK-based financial services businesses then I suppose the UK will have to treat the action as a tariff and retaliate appropriately, perhaps by taxing German car imports. None of this is in the interest of with the EU economies nor of the U.K. Of course, so let’s hope they aren’t so silly once people have calmed down.

    • Paul H
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

      The idea that leaving the EU will suddenly make the UK insurance market less competitive is nonsense. I don’t see many Romanian insurance companies over here keeping the likes of Direct Line and LV= on their toes.

      On the other hand, the UK could choose to rescind the ludicrous sex-discrimination ruling. This would mean that insurers could target their rates more precisely at each sex, without the need to be cautious in their assumptions on the gender-mix. That way they will no longer need to charge UK policyholders for that caution, meaning that – over the whole range of different insurances – both sexes will benefit from overall keener rates.

    • stred
      Posted August 7, 2016 at 6:50 am | Permalink

      Axa and Allianze will probably have a word with Herr Junker about this, as they do quite a bit of underwriting here. Why not have a word with some Swiss colleagues before you leave, hopefully soon.

    • Peter Davies
      Posted August 7, 2016 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      The issue you describe is financial passporting which is as important to the eu to get access to capital which flows through London as vice a versa so can’t see what point your making.

      Capital and services are interconnected in or out of the eu

  8. Lifelogic
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    The BBC assures us that the Olympic Cauldron had been “designed to be small and environmentally friendly” so that’s OK then.

    Perhaps they used all the wasted heat to cook a few sausages or something?

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      Or run the air conditioning units for all the extra accommodation needed and heat all those swimming pools.

  9. alan jutson
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Politicians and lawyers have made business more complicated than is necessary, oh and also include the Inland Revenue and Customs with their varying degrees of tax applications not only to the price of goods, but how they define profits, costs, losses, and expenses.

    It should be so simple really, you want what I can provide, and we agree a price.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      Few if any have increased tax complexity, tax levels and the damage that over complex and arbitrary taxes can do to the economy more than George Osborne. At least he has gone. But when is the damage he did going to be undone? Nothing at all yet.

  10. DaveM
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Your last two sentences are all you need to say. The problem is that the UK is still a member of the EU in spite of the fact that it voted to Leave. 6 weeks.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      The legal impediment built into the very last section of the referendum Act has now expired, but been replaced by a more dangerous legal impediment in the form of cases before the High Court which will almost certainly go on to the Supreme Court and conceivably could be referred on to the EU’s Court of Justice.

      We have no choice but to be patient for a few more months (or years?) and hope that the judges will not rule that the government must get further parliamentary authorisation before it can serve the Article 50 notice that we intend to leave the EU. If the government loses then we could well be sunk, because the pro-EU majorities in both Houses would probably deny that authorisation.

      I see that Theresa May has been muttering about reform of the House of Lords; it seems a moot point whether that would encourage those avidly pro-EU unelected legislators-for-life to submit to the will of the people, or it would tell them that they would have nothing to lose by blocking Brexit for as long as they can.

      Reply Please stop playing up every Remain stunt. Parliament can and should act to take us out quickly. It’s nothing to do with the UK courts.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 6, 2016 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        Well, JR, I’ve asked you before how you propose to assemble the necessary majorities in both Houses. And as for stunts, I only wish that the court had dismissed these cases out of hand and refused leave to appeal rather than taking them seriously and allowing them to proceed.

        Reply I Assume there will be a majority in the Commons for Brexit, given the clear government promise to implement the results of the vote, and given the new PM’s stated intention. There are enough independent or rebel MPs on the opposition side to take care of any few Conservatives who defy a 3 line whip on this. The Lords will have to bow to the will of the people as expressed both in the referendum and in the Commons vote. I would be a bit surprised if Labour put a three line whip on against leaving the EU anyway given the result and given the polling in their heartlands. It would seem to be a bit of a suicide mission for them if they did so.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted August 6, 2016 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

          Dear Denis–Great pity Cameron didn’t do what he said he would do and invoke Article 50 the same day. Either that or go the whole hog and just leave that day. Had he done so it is beyond belief that anyone would have mounted a challenge and in effect tried to maintain that we had legally or otherwise never left–this after a good deal of unwinding had been done. By the same token the sooner we now just leave and get on with it the better. Failing that, the EU’s legendary inflexibility is going to tie us up in a Gordian knot which we should cut using the bold action we are anciently told is necessary for such; also did not Churchill, after Nelson, say that the boldest move is the safest? We have to get on the front foot.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted August 7, 2016 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

            Agreed, even though in view of that very last section of the referendum Act he would have been taking a bit of a risk by doing so. That is what he had said he would do, but then when he had lost the referendum he went back on that.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted August 6, 2016 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

        Parliamentary approval shouldn’t be a problem. May and Corbyn should impose the whip (Corbyn has said he wants A50 invoked) and let’s see which MPs dare to defy that and risk deselection or loss at the next GE.

    • Mitchel
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      And the bastions of Remain treat the Referendum as if it were but a minor skirmish.

  11. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    As I’ve said before, ad nauseam, the only substantial reason for staying in the EU Single Market is that we are already in the EU Single Market and bound up in its complex practical arrangements for trade, both with our neighbours in Europe and with other countries around the world, and it would not necessarily be easy to extricate ourselves from those practical arrangements and establish alternatives.

    From the point of view of economic benefit, that is insignificant even by the estimation of the EU Commission; a one-off 1% or 2% enhancement of GDP is negligible against the background of natural growth of the economy at a trend rate of 2.5% a year. I cannot imagine that in say 2030 people will be bitterly lamenting that we left the EU in 2020 because if only we’d had the sense to stay in the EU then they might have achieved their current standard of living some months or a year earlier.

    So what is a price which is worth paying to avoid the short term disruption of leaving the EU Single Market? Well, if the other governments say that to stay in the Single Market for goods, services and capital we must continue to offer a new home to any one of the half billion citizens of their countries who care to come here then that is not acceptable.

    That was always a crazy idea – a politically rather than economically driven idea – even before its inherent craziness was fully exposed by extending the right of free movement to 74 million people in much poorer countries in eastern Europe.

  12. Lifelogic
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 7:51 am | Permalink
    • A different Simon
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      So we should just give up and consign it to the “too difficult bin” ?

      Belgium confronted it’s problem , why not the U.K. ?

      I reckon some of the accused , for instance Ted Heath were innocent but there is plenty of evidence that institutional child abuse existed .

      Worse still the ring leaders have been protected by the establishment ; e.g. Jimmy Savile . The BBC tried to destroy Jerry Sadowitz’s career when he accused Savile .

      Look at the case of downs syndrome sufferer Hollie Greig in Scotland .

      The recent revelations about Clement Freud got an easy ride through the media . The apology his widow gave is not enough . She should be prosecuted too .

      Now that homosexuality has been decriminalised , the only remaining taboo is pedophilia . This is a powerful tool for the security services as well as (in the past?) for whips .

      Former whip Tim Fortescue admitted that they would try and fix things for MP’s who were involved in scandals including those involving young boys because they would then be beholden to them .

      A fish rots from the head and the general public knows there is one rule for the British/EU establishment and another for the masses .

      It’s bad enough that this applies to finance and tax abuse but when the powerful prey on the most vulnerable members of society that is just sick .

      I don’t see how public faith in the establishment can be restored when the law is not applied to the powerful but instead to silence the victims .

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 6, 2016 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

        We should use the money to improve systems and try to prevent these dreadful crimes happening in the future. Not endlessly rake over the past and waste millions funding the bureaucrats, legal, printing, paper and litigation industries. That way produces virtually nothing of any value and causes further distress to may people in the process.

        Release all these lawyers and the likes to get a real & productive job.

        • A different Simon
          Posted August 8, 2016 at 7:57 am | Permalink

          Those dreadful crimes will only be prevented if there is some deterrent to committing them .

          The way to signal that is to jail some members of the establishment who have been at it .

      • zorro
        Posted August 6, 2016 at 5:44 pm | Permalink



      • Andy
        Posted August 6, 2016 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        I’m sorry, but the proposed inquiry is a monumental waste of time and money. Many of the claims I have read of are just too silly to be credible and why should people have their reputations (both the living and the dead) trashed merely to appease the Great British Public in one of its moments of hysteria. The stories of multiple murders by a certain individual and a ‘Westminster pedophile’ ring are twaddle and those making these allegations ought to face the full force of the Law. The light of common day needs to be shone just as much on those who accuse as those accused.

        • A different Simon
          Posted August 8, 2016 at 8:18 am | Permalink

          Would you say the stories about Jimmy Savile are “the Great British Public in one of it’s moments of hysteria” ?

          Pedophile rings do exist and operate in both Wokingham and London as the case of schoolboy Mark Tildesley showed .

          Those in children’s homes probably felt unwanted and doubted their self-worth to start with . An adult who treats them as a sex object is telling those children they are sub-human and what their position and purpose in life is .

          These children have had their lives destroyed .

          Look beyond the hysteria and there have clearly been some nasty goings on .

          There is no need why reputations of the innocent have to be trashed if investigations are conducted properly .

  13. Mark B
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    All very well and good. But our kind host really rather seems to have missed the point of the EU and its creation. All he merely does is touch upon it. For example:

    . . . . the main aim seemed to be to establish EU control or involvement in the particular area covered by the draft law.

    The EEC was no more an Economic Community than the Single Market is a marketplace to buy and sell goods and services. The European Coal and Steel Community (please Google it) was itself a power grab. The Architects of today’s EU, Jean Monet and Sir Arthur Salter, new that they had to assemble their European Superstate piece by piece and over time. This way people would not be made aware, until too late, as to what was really happening.

    The problem is, as I keep saying, is that we have come a long, long way into the EU. We have allowed them to do so much for us that we have forgotten or have not got what we need to exit the EU successfully. A sort of atrophy for countries. And that was the plan all along and the so called Single Market, which I agree is not a market at all, was created to destroy the capacity of the nation state and create dependency on the Central Authority the EU.

    Exiting the EU will not be easy. And that was the whole purpose all along with this EVER CLOSER UNION that I keep banging on about.

    The Single Market represents and very small percentage of our trade but, when it comes to rules, treaties and all manner of things it really, at least for now, is very much needed. This is why I advocate FLEXCIT.

    Getting should not be one giant step, but a series of steps along the way. Once we have regained much of which we have lost we can either demand the Single Market changes or, we leave it.

    The rules regarding the standards by which things are made are not made by the EU. The rules are made by a host of international bodies. See below if our kind host allows:

    It is these bodies that dictate what is what. At the moment the EU sits in for the UK in many, if not all of these, a whilst in the EU we are bound by them. If we leave we can sit on the very top, top tables and make the rules for the Single Market much like Norway and many many others do. The ONLY thing that the Single Market offers the UK is pass porting services.

    EFTA / EEA for now. Full independence later.

    • acorn
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      No Standards body international or otherwise, can overrule a nation state. European Standards are technical specifications defining requirements for products, production processes, services or test-methods.

      These specifications are voluntary.

      They are developed by industry and market actors following some basic principles such as consensus, openness, transparency and non-discrimination. Standards ensure interoperability and safety, reduce costs and facilitate companies’ integration in the value chain and trade.

      European Standards are under the responsibility of the European Standardisation Organisations (CEN, CENELEC, ETSI) and can be used to support EU legislation and policies. (European Commission > Growth > The European Single Market)

      • Mark B
        Posted August 6, 2016 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        This is all true. But if enough nations adopt a common standard throughout, and you are one of the few that are not, then you are going to have a hard time selling your wares.

        Take the humble plug socket. There are a vast array of different types. But I understand that China is to adopt the British 3 pin. If this is so, and more countries do so, then that would bring down costs a facilitate better trade.

        A UK government and industry promoting British standards around the world would make things easier for UK manufactured goods and services.

        • acorn
          Posted August 6, 2016 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

          Too late, the Australians got there first. China uses three different plugs and sockets, (types A; C and the Australian type I). UK is type G.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted August 6, 2016 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

          Dear Mark–Yes yours also is true but the point is or should be that there is no coercion either for or against–Those that want to comply comply, those that don’t don’t

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      Very interesting comment. I agree with much of this. Except i don’t see the point of ‘independence later’ if we end up getting the best of both worlds: having a strong foot in Europe with all the obvious benefits of that (in particular, trade and geopolitics) without being fettered by it in general. Seems to me that ‘independence later’ is based in ideology not pragmatism.

      • Mark B
        Posted August 6, 2016 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

        The problem with the EEA is that it is outdated. It was born in a time where there were fewer members of the then EEC and they all had similar wealth levels, so migration was not a problem. No one foresaw what was to come and the accession of all the former Soviet Bloc countries.

        At the moment we need the EEA. But once on our feet and running such an set up does not work for us, so I suggest that we either leave it or, demand that it be reformed into a proper market.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted August 6, 2016 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

          I agree with you entirely, including ‘or, demand that it be reformed into a proper market.
          And would like to add, the real thing we should be focusing on is how to reform the EU. I don’t mean getting special treatment. I mean reforming it so that everyone benefits from that reform, including us. There have been no real attempts at this, I mean by British people in the EU, people with real political ability, and over a long period of time, and I mean people who want to remain in the EU with the EU reformed, as opposed to those who just want the UK to leave.
          Instead, we get 99% of the time, either: 1. Leave the EU or 2. Remain but with no real ambition to reform it.

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted August 6, 2016 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

            Dear Ed–That’s all very well except for the minor point that all the evidence and without a shadow of doubt is that internal unforced reform is absolutely and completely impossible

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted August 7, 2016 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

            “There have been no real attempts at this”

            Come on, Cameron spent months on that, and even though it was known to the other governments hat he would be facing a referendum he achieved nothing.

      • David Price
        Posted August 7, 2016 at 8:13 am | Permalink

        What exactly are the obvious benefits of being entangled in the present and upcoming morass of EU state?

        My understanding is that only 5% of UK companies export to the EU yet all must comply with EU regulations, dictats etc. Also we import far more from the EU, and paying them for that privilege, than we export to them. It is costing us large amounts directly and indirectlly to maintain “a strong foot” in a political project where the majority of us probably don’t benefit materially at all.

        A politician, lawyer or bureaucrate may see this differently but offered no compelling, positive nor thorough picture or argument when it counted the most in the referendum.

    • forthurst
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      “This is why I advocate FLEXCIT.”

      I’m beginning to think that Mark B is a pseudonym of Dr. R. North.

      • Mark B
        Posted August 6, 2016 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

        Then you are wrong. And Dr. North has appeared on this site under his own name. If you do not believe me, pop over to EUReferendum and ask him.

        Dr. North opened my eyes to another world. A world that has been hidden from us in plain sight. I never understood why a trading organisation (EU) needed a flag, an anthem, a parliament, a court and an executive, to name just a few bodies. He explained.

        • forthurst
          Posted August 6, 2016 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

          “I never understood why a trading organisation (EU) needed a flag, an anthem, a parliament, a court and an executive, to name just a few bodies.”

          Don’t forget an army and a warmongering foreign policy, all vital for any self-respecting Customs Union, Mark.

      • ian wragg
        Posted August 6, 2016 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

        I think Mike Stallard under his many guises is Richard Norths bag carrier.

      • acorn
        Posted August 6, 2016 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        forthurst, you can dismiss Mr North. It has become obvious from his extensive bloging, that he has no idea how a sovereign fiat currency economy actually works. Put him in the Lifelogic basket of numpties.

    • Ken Moore
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      I have much time for Richard North that advocates the Flexit strategy.
      I can’t pretend to understand it fully, as like I suspect most people, I haven’t found the time yet to trawl through thousands of pages of text and endlessly cross reference facts.
      It seems that we are being drowned in complexity – just like a telephone is far more complicated than it used to be so is politics. Even an exceptional hard working and able Mp like John Redwood cannot possible read and understand the thousands of pages of treaties, agreements etc. there just isn’t enough hours in the day.

      Thankfully the internet has made it easier than ever before for the ordinary citizen to access information…unfortunately there is just too much of it for normal human beings to comprehend it seems…

      Richard North’s view on trade implications of leaving the Eu..

      ‘Without formal arrangements for testing and recognition of the associated documentation, consignments which were previously allowed through on the basis of documentation checks alone will have to be physically inspected. In many instances loads will have to be sampled and detained while testing is carried out.

      The effects will be drastic. By comparison, the current delays in Dover are a minor disturbance, but they do show how quickly even small disruptions can turn into a crisis’

      Probably about as weeks worth of part time reading and cross referencing there alone…

      Richard North
      ‘John Redwood, we are told, has come up with a plan to get Britain out of the EU “in just a matter of weeks”. This “simple solution” involves repealing the 1972 European Communities Act and then informing the EU that the UK is no longer a member but intends to trade tariff free.

      If the EU then decides to impose tariffs (which, of course, it would have to do under WTO rules) then Britain would respond. But because the UK has a trade deficit with the EU of almost £24 billion, Redwood has it that a trade war would be more damaging to European countries especially Germany which could lose its biggest car market’.

      I have to say I find John Redwood’s case more compelling….

      • Ken Moore
        Posted August 6, 2016 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

        I should have included Richard North’s summary in case anyone is interested :-

        ‘There is no point in beating about the bush here. Such nostrums are insane – they drive a cart and horse through treaty and international law, and would precipitate a massive crisis in the UK, bringing EU trade almost immediately to a halt. Why, after the years of debate on exit strategies, is anyone even talking about immediate repeal of the ECA?’

        North is similarly dismissive of Daniel Hannan who he brands ‘dangerously irresponsible’.

        Where is the truth…..I’d be interested in hearing Mr Redwood’s response to Mr North’s criticisms (not a small ask bearing in mind Mr North’s prolific output on Eu matters!)

        Reply Of course legislating our way out will not end trade! Remember that Scotland was told if she voted to leave the UK she would be out of the EU immediately, with no delay, yet no-one suggested she would no longer be able to trade with the EU. All these so called international law issues are in practice international politics. The route I have proposed is anyway legal under Art 50 of the Treaty, taking advantage of its clear statement we can leave using our own constitutional arrangements. Why doesn’t Mr North get up in arms about all the EU countries who regularly violate the Treaties by exceeding the budget deficit limits, or failing to transpose Directives into their own law, or failing to hit their agreed carbon dioxide targets if he is so worried about observing every detailed and often narrow or selective definition of what the Treaty means.

        • Duyfken
          Posted August 6, 2016 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

          One must understand that Richard North is always right, and anybody who is minded to disagree with his pronouncements shall be forever stigmatised and be presented with the black spot. Some have collected more black spots than have my roses.

          • Ken Moore
            Posted August 7, 2016 at 8:48 am | Permalink

            ‘One must understand that Richard North is always right, and anybody who is minded to disagree with his pronouncements shall be forever stigmatised and be presented with the black spot. Some have collected more black spots than have my roses’.

            It seems either you agree with Richard North or your an ‘idiot’ as Daniel Hannan found out. The world is never so black and white in my experience… which makes me question Mr North’s credibility.

            Not really the way to win friends and influence by using insulting language.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted August 7, 2016 at 3:08 pm | Permalink


            Every so often somebody gets fed up with it and announces that they’re not going to bother with it in the future.

          • Ken Moore
            Posted August 8, 2016 at 8:03 am | Permalink

            Sir Patrick Minford joined John Redwood and Daniel Hannan on Dr North’s naughty step this weekend. There soon won’t be any ‘right wing eurosceptics’ left.

        • Ken Moore
          Posted August 6, 2016 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

          Thank you Mr Redwood for your reply,

          I do hope that these are just matters of interpretation and politics as you suggest .
          It does seem curious that the community would wish to ‘gold plate’ policies that would harm the Uk… but are quite happy to tear up the rule book when it suits the German steel industry or Greek overspending. I don’t think the spite and unfairness of the Eu commission can be underestimated – why would we want to be a part of this sort of club anyway?

          Mr North’s view seems to be ;-

          -Under WTO non-discrimination rules where the UK acquires Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status it cannot impose tariffs on Eu countries without imposing them on the rest of the world.

          – By contrast , EU barriers apply automatically to “third countries”,ie the Uk built into the EU acquis. So in effect the Eu has the upper hand…..

          – Compliance would no longer be assumed outside the single market.
          The Uk would have to use specific ports that have the capability to make rigourous and expensive checks on goods where previously document checks alone would have been sufficient. In many instances loads will have to be sampled and detained while testing is carried out’.

          If Mr North is correct, and I have my doubts, your article today could not be better titled – the Uk is indeed caught in a ‘snare’ so designed to be near impossible for member states to extract themselves from…

          Reply The Eu has neither the power nor the unity to shut us out from their markets, and many of them need our goodwill as customers.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 7, 2016 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

          I would certainly endorse this one part of JR’s reply:

          “All these so called international law issues are in practice international politics.”

          Or, as I have put it from time to time:

          “Where there is the political will there is generally a legal way”.

          Here’s a rather funny thing I happened to find out this morning: even though it joined the EU more than three years ago Croatia is not yet part of the EEA, in the strictest legal terms.

          “Agreement on the participation of the Republic of Croatia in the European Economic Area”

          “Signature 11/04/2014: Brussels”

          “Provisional Application from 12/04/2014.

          Ratification Details … ”

          About half of the contracting parties, including the UK, have not yet ratified the agreement, which is therefore not yet in force but has been applied provisionally for more than three years.

          Nobody seems much bothered, nobody is objecting to the agreement being applied as if it was legally already in force.

      • Mark B
        Posted August 6, 2016 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

        Do you not have to know it all, and I certainly do not. But as I say above, the EU has been doing all our work for us. If we simply jump of the EU train at the next stop, we will not only fall flat on our faces, we will have no idea where we are, what to do, or where to go. We will be stuffed. That is why the EU want Art.50 now, they know we are not ready and do not have a plan. All this talk from those in government that things are just working out fine I find hard to believe.

        A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

        Reply Leave and we will walk tall with new friends and opportunities.

        • ian wragg
          Posted August 6, 2016 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

          Why does everyone try to make things more complicated than they really are.
          We could be out of the EU within weeks if there was the will. Declare a tariff free trade policy with reciprocal tariffs for all who didn’t want to play.
          When I sell something to the USA, I have no difficulty and the recipient pays the taxes, and vice versa.

        • forthurst
          Posted August 6, 2016 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

          “If we simply jump of the EU train at the next stop, we will not only fall flat on our faces, we will have no idea where we are, what to do, or where to go. We will be stuffed.”

          Clearly there are risks associated with a colony of the Brussels regime, without experience of self-rule, except before we became colonised, committing UDI; I seem to remember that Ian Smith of Southern Rhodesia complaining that they lost their access to Marmite; of course S Rhodesia was subject to a trade embargo as well and we make Marmite in any case, but, yes, there will be a learning experience for both sides as our civil servants and politicians learn for the first time how to run a country and negotiate on its behalf, as the Brussels regime will also have to learn that they will no longer be able to order us about or make rules which benefit them and damage us like the CFP, the CAP and free movement of persons.

  14. Antisthenes
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Markets generally do not need external regulation as they tend to be self regulating. However they have to be policed because not everyone is honest or wise. So the rule of law is required to discourage dishonesty and to encourage high standards. Problems arise when regulation is equated with policing which we so frequently do.

    The EU does but with an added twist as you explain it is also using it as a political tool to further the aims of creating a European superstate. It also does it like so many other governments as a means of protection against foreign competition. A most misguided action as markets do best for producers and consumers if they are free and open.

    That means the EU common market is unnecessary and should like the EU be done away with. All it does is serve vested interests and therefore not the common good which is in most cases the consumer as it is everyone of us.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      ‘It also does it like so many other governments as a means of protection against foreign competition’ – to a degree this is true, but what’s wrong with that? What the EU is really trying to create is a strong trading block (within Europe) built on economic stability (in the long-term). The USA and China are happy with this because they want a stable and peaceful Europe mainly because this helps to steady the world economy (which is why the USA and China were both supporting the Remain campaign).
      Only Trump (and Putin) supported Brexit as he has a narrow view of trade and the world economy (and world geopolitics). By the way, it was Trump who said ‘bad trade deals cost jobs’ so let’s hope he doesn’t become President, otherwise our trade negotiators are going to have a nightmare time (and China isn’t too happy with us at the moment because we’ve caused: 1. uncertainty in the world economy to a degree 2. we’ve upset their plans of investment in the UK where they were using the UK as a gateway into Europe). Better off with Mrs Clinton as President, even it that means we’re at the ‘bottom of the queue’ than Trump and his ‘bad-trade-deals-cost-jobs’ approach to the UK.

      • ian wragg
        Posted August 6, 2016 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        China isn’t too happy with us at the moment because we’ve caused: 1. uncertainty in the world economy to a degree 2. we’ve upset their plans of investment in the UK where they were using the UK as a gateway into Europe).
        Not a bad thing at all, China is ruthless in stealing our technology and I certainly wouldn’t want them involved in our nuclear industry or ant sensitive area come to that.
        As for the gateway to Europe I think that’s a non starter with the rest of the EU.
        if we’ve upset them all well and good.

      • rose
        Posted August 6, 2016 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

        Putin didn’t tell us what he thought about the EU: he said he wasn’t going to interfere in the referendum. But Gorbachev did: he said he couldn’t understand why on earth we were busily engaged in recreating the Soviet Union in Europe.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 6, 2016 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

          Indeed and he was surely quite right, whereas “back of the queue” Obama was surely wrong.

        • Antisthenes
          Posted August 7, 2016 at 7:37 am | Permalink

          It would be difficult to agree with Putin on much but that statement is one that I cannot disagree with.

          Ed Mahony@ There is much misconception about free trade because it does cause job losses. So unfortunately a few lose out. However many more gain and that is us the consumers. The losers can gain employment else where in many cases and the tax payers can support those who cannot until they can. The one of the few cases where welfare has a place. I cannot do free trade justice in the limited space available to me here so I suggest you read Adam Smith, Mises, Hayek and the like for better understanding.

          As for Trump marginally a better choice for president than Clinton his ideas on trade will take us back to the stone age.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted August 7, 2016 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

            ‘There is much misconception about free trade because it does cause job losses’ – I’m not against trade deals. I’m against bad trade deals. Bad trade deals cost jobs (to quote Trump – he’s absolutely right). There seems to be a massive misconception about free trade deals with the rest of the world as if the rest of the world really wants to ‘help’ the UK. This is complete nonsense. What the rest of the world wants is access to our market (whilst doing everything they can, in negotiations, to keep us from theirs!). We complain about France, Germany and the rest of the EU but the Rest of the World will be far more ruthless in negotiating things in general. Why? Because of the absence of geopolitics. Germany, France and the EU want to be nice to us for geopolitical reasons. But geopolitics, concerning the UK, is way down the list for China, the USA and others. Again, Brexiteers seems to totally ignore geopolitics when geopolitics is crucial, in so many ways (from peace to prosperity), to our future.
            (And loads of other misconceptions about trade deals, e.g. that they’re pretty straight-forward – they’re not, they’re really complicated and take time, and you need clever and experienced negotiators which we don’t have as they’ve been working for the EU – if we’re going to take on China and the USA in trade deals then we’re going to have to be at our best and we’re no-where near that point right now, could take years. Do we have the time? And the money whilst we try and pay back our national debt and go through more years of austerity? And do we have the political support to win elections through the time period to make all this work? Whilst having to deal with Scotland, N. Ireland, Gibraltar, and all the other non-Brexit issues of the day, e.g. Hinkley Point, so on, and do we have the leadership for something so complicated and challenging? And lastly, is it worth it? I mean will we really be able to bring down immigration significantly as well as all the other concerns regarding Brexit?).

            Reply The UK is quite capable and big enough to run its own affairs. Just when did Germany or France do the UK any favours? They offered us nothing in EU negotiations.

  15. David Lister
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Hi John,

    What is your view of trade in services, financial and dugital passporting. This seems to be where the main benefit of having access to the Single Market resides.

    Have you given any thought to conformance testing. Will we have to duplicate all testing performed in EU countries in order to be able to sell into that market?

    Reply I wrote a blog on passporting. The index will get you to it.

  16. Ian Wragg
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    O/T but somehow relevant. Yesterday wind was supplying 1.4% of demand and Scotland was importing 7gw. Are we going to get a sensible energy policy anytime soon.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      Ian, Yes, and England was importing 2GW from France as they always do at this time of year. God help us if we have a hard winter at the same time as France. Will there be enough to go around?

    • turboterrier
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      If Scotland was importing from the rest of the UK where were they getting it from. France’s nuclear power plants.

      When is the government going to tell the HoL that the subsidies have got to be stopped. Not later but now. The millions being paid out in subsidies , constraint payments and land rents alone would be enough to start to address the problems in the NHS.

      Scientist are now questioning Bio Fuels and their usage. Not before time, another con sold to the governments by self serving lobbyists.

      Why hasn’t in the last six weeks the climate Change Act been repealed to send out a very clear message that the carnival for payments is well and truly over?

      What are our politicians afraid of?

      If Scotland went independent they could never raise the money for all these renewable payments, but still they are throwing them up and relying on the rest of the UK to pay for it. They are extracting the urine and our politicians are letting them do it.

      It has to and must be stopped now.

    • anon
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 12:48 pm | Permalink
      • hefner
        Posted August 6, 2016 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the reference.

  17. stred
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    As you say, the advantage of a heavily regulated single market is that manufacturers and services can sell a single product to 500m customers. If they want over regulated merde, then sell it to them. The disadvantage is with the 500m customers within the market who have to put up with a product designed by deluded eurocrats.

    For example, low-suck Dysons which don’t actually save energy. Or high price electricity which does not actually reduce much CO2, such as burning American trees and counting this as zero emissions.. Or building huge wind turbines in the sea, which have huge carbon content and last 15 years. Or cars that conform wit EU economy tests but actually use 30% more fuel.

    As regards the EU demanding that the UK pays for the pensionsof British eurocrats who designed this stuff, when they took their jobs, they were told that they worked for the EU- not the UK. If the EU wants to sack them, then the EU can pay them off. They are supposed to employ the best person for the job. We paid our share when in the EU but when we leave, if ever, we should not pay their employees. Don’t let any remainiac civil servant or minister sign the cheque please.

    • Andy
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      We are entitled to a share of the EUs Assets – buildings, machinery etc. We paid for them and as the third largest contributor I would say we own a large chunk of these assets ! The EU will have to buy us out.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 7, 2016 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        Apparently most of the buildings are leased.

  18. acorn
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    “I soon concluded it was all based on a false premise, that you can legislate to create a market.” You didn’t say that when you privatised the electricity industry. That market is so artificial, it has been investigated and re-designed several times, and we are still paying 30% above continental wholesale electricity prices!

  19. rick hamilton
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Indeed. You would think the single market was some kind of earthly paradise which only the insane would ever question. The very nature of successful business is that it adjusts continuously to external circumstances and if our relationship with the EU market changes then business will find a way to survive.

    I think there has developed in our 40+ years with the EEC/ EU a serious failure of national self-confidence. You even hear Remainers saying that yes, the EU is not perfect with its endless regulations, but rules made by our own government might be a lot worse. Well who knows, the world might end tomorrow too. They don’t believe that a small group of Brits could possibly work out a better solution to any challenge than a committee of 27 countries all with axes to grind.

  20. James Munroe
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    If being part of the Single Market means:-

    – Accepting Freedom of Movement of people,

    – Severe restrictions on the trade deals we can craft, with the rest of the world,

    Why on earth are we talking about wanting to be a part of that cabal?

    Surely we need to negotiate a deal just to trade, tariff free, with the Single Market and also resolve the financial ‘passporting’ issue?

  21. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Headline of FT article today:

    “UK job market ‘in freefall’ after Brexit vote”

    Much less prominently in the article:

    “The REC’s index for permanent job placements fell from 49.3 to 45.4 between June and July, the lowest reading since 2009. A number below 50 indicates a decline in placements. The index has been declining gradually from a peak of over 65 in 2014, but July’s drop was unusually sharp.”

    So basically as in other cases there has been a negative trend running over recent years, since before it even seemed likely that there would be an EU referendum, and now on top of that established trend there has been a sharp downwards movement associated with the referendum – which may, or may not, prove to be a temporary blip.

    Meanwhile the Sun is urging May to crack on and formulate her plan for Brexit, to be announced at the Tory party conference in October. Andrea Leadsom brought the Tory party leadership contest to an early end, and that time should not be wasted.

  22. Ed Mahony
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 8:57 am | Permalink


    But the single market is far more than (short-term) trade. Over a long period of time, there’s probably not much in it, from a trading point-of-view, whether we were in the single market or not (may be better or worse, no-one really knows for sure – but nothing dramatically worse or gloriously better). But what is more certain is that a more prosperous Europe (I’m talking 20+ years ahead), is going to benefit the UK economically (just consider how Ireland was boosted by EU investment and is now one of the UK’s most important trading partners). (And consider how EU immigration into the UK would drop, in the long-term, anyway once the wealth of the poorer EU countries picks up overall – but anyway, first let’s focus on immigration from outside the EU which we’ve failed to address).
    – It’s not just that the poorer countries of the EU benefit in economic development which is good for us, economically, further down the line, but that the EU benefits overall from us trading with them more than say the USA or China, which again benefits us further, economically, down the line.
    – And then, of course, economic prosperity prevents some soft dictator (or worse) getting into power somewhere in the EU. In other words, a more prosperous EU, is a safer, more peaceful Europe.
    OK, so we leave the single market – what are the glorious benefits? The case can easily be made we’ll be worse off (although I don’t necessarily accept that). Meanwhile we have all sorts of serious headaches to deal with with:
    1. Paying off our massive national debt (can we afford the risk of Brexit at moment), and years of more austerity (how can the Conservative Party sustain this at general elections?)
    2. The union (Scotland + N. Ireland), Trident in Scotland, and Gibraltar.
    Why are we going to get an easier time with trade deals with the USA and China say compared to what we have with Germany, France and the rest of the EU (the EU wants to be nice to us for geo-political reasons – the USA isn’t so interested, certainly China a lot less).
    And how certain are we that immigration from the EU is going to be greatly reduced? I mean we’ve failed to reduce immigration from outside the EU. Why is it going to be so much easier with Europe? And what kind of signal do we send to the rest of Europe, our nearest neighbours, not forgetting that a large proportion of trade is always with one’s nearest neighbours simply because some products are easier and cheaper to sell to one’s nearest neighbours than further afield.
    What concerns me about Brexit is not just that Brexiteers in general are uncomfortable about offering a detailed PLAN about how Brexit would work (including how to restrict immigration overall, including from outside the EU), they seem completely blank on the subject of GEOPOLITICS. Can someone please answer me on geopolitics.
    Lastly, I admit the EU strongly needs reform, but not like this.

    • Mitchel
      Posted August 8, 2016 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      “A more prosperous EU is a safer,more peaceful Europe”

      The EU,southern Europe’s woes notwithstanding,is already relatively prosperous but we are anything but safe.That prosperity has attracted a horde of newcomers from societies that may never be able to integrate or contribute economically,whilst earlier waves are now generating terrorist atrocities in France,Belgium and Germany.Not to mention the Ukraine war which directly followed on from the EU’s attempt to expand the market eastward.

      The geopolitics are that the West has been seeking to establish control of the East.Something that the West (in its various incarnations) has been attempting-regularly and vainly -over the past thousand years.Not only are the EU and NATO both cold war institutions and past their sell-by date but they are both imperial in nature and empires need to expand until they hit overreach and the process of decay sets in.

  23. Adam
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    There is a bigger single market, its called Agenda 21 Sustainable Development.

    Yet United Nations University is teaching that there is no moral case for fossil fuels. –

    If that is the case why are they happy to take our dirty money. Why do they want us to pledge money to them at these climate conferences. Money built on fossil fuels. Why dont they just take money from ecological civilizations

  24. A different Simon
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    I was looking for the best brush cutting head for a brush cutter (strimmer on steroids) .

    The best one available was made in Australia and had blades which were hinged and extended out due to centrifugal force and retracted a bit when they hit something solid .

    Some years earlier , a crude , un-engineered , badly designed “chain flail ” blade came apart and caused loss of life in an EU country .

    The response of the EU was to ban all non-fixed blades brush cutter heads .

    No effort was made to distinguish between unsafe chain flails and properly designed non-fixed blades like the Australian brush cutter .

    This was partly protectionist as all major EU manufacturers of brush cutter blades were manufacturing fixed blades .

    This is a great example of blunt regulation killing innovation .

    Another example of regulation killing innovation would be the British post war “RAC horsepower” rating of cars for taxation purposes which was based on bore size X number of cylinders .
    It forced engineers to build wheezing long strong small bore engines when they wanted to build short stroke over-square ones .

    The result was that almost every British between 1945 and 1960 had rubbish engines .

    Another example would be the EU’s attempt at mining regulations about 5 years ago .

    These insisted that production licenses be put out to tender if exploration was successful . Maybe they were trying to ingratiate themselves to the big players ?

    The student bureaucrats even suggested the right way of compensating the exploration license holders for the loss of right to produce was to pay them a geological documentation fee . One wonders whether they would have recommended paying them a fee if exploration was unsuccessful .

    They tried to reinvent the wheel and got it wrong .

    • alan jutson
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 4:17 pm | Permalink


      Agree with you about the safety of properly engineered blades which work on centrifugal force.

      Given the blades retract when hitting something solid, it reduces snatch back/kick back of the equipment being used, and thus increases the safety from an operator aspect.

      Some Chain saw manufacturers actually have this feature incorporated within the machine in the form of a trigger type hand guard, indeed one German manufacturer recognises this fact and incorporates this feature on some of its more highly specified models.

      Thus your point is absolutely valid.

  25. Anthony Makara
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Snare is the right word for the European Single Market. It restricts trade and costs jobs and is a layer of political control that we do not need. The European Single Market is the father of regulation and bureaucracy, its been bad for Europe and has been a magnet for increasing statism from day one. In contrast a UK Internal Market that is run on the principles of free enterprise and deregulation with the state taking a far less intrusive role would work to the benefit of our country. The Common Market was set up as being a bastion of open trade but became the very worst example of statism since the Soviet Union. Our decision to leave on June 23rd was the best thing we ever did. We are no longer hitched to a falling star. The future is ours if we make the right decisions and create markets that are free from state interference.

  26. Bert Young
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Vacuum cleaners that don’t do their job efficiently , light bulbs that don’t fit and give out poor light , taxes that add to a cost burden are but simple examples of what happens in the controls of a single market . The bureaucracy that operates within the EU has done much to ridicule its intent and to make it the laughing stock of the sensible world .

    Across Europe there is a general complaint of interference and the subsequent higher cost of living ; many are crying out for the withdrawal of the Euro and the return to their previous currency . The ideal of pooling and sharing of wealth and reserves existed on paper nut never in practice ; Germany sustained its dominance purely through the low based Euro and clinging on to its surplus . The ECB is merely a manipulative tool sustained by the IMF .

    The list is endless when looking in at the EU from the outside ; we were foolish to get involved in the first place even though we only joined a ” Common Market ” enterprise . The world is an open place and we are free to exploit its advantages .

  27. Atlas
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Quote: ” It also brings the disbenefit to members of the zone that if the EU decides on unsatisfactory requirements and specifications you are lumbered with it, whatever world companies may be able to produce which is better outside the EU specification.”

    This to me is one of the real bugbears of the EU and indeed why its economy is failing. The Single Market stops innovation. What has the EU pioneered that the rest of the world wants? – Answer very little. Apart from spreading the ball and chain of Climate Change Alarmism that is.

    I agree about the real aim being a power grab – but try telling that to the Remainers who whinge!

  28. fedupsoutherner
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    When is Mrs May going to invoke Article 50 and show the world we are serious about leaving? It would put a lot of people’s minds at rest.

    • DaveM
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      She made a great hoo-har about being prepared to press the nuclear button. She hasn’t even got the sand to invoke Article 50.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 7, 2016 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      When the courts say she can, if that is the way it pans out.

  29. The Active Citizen
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    I am but a simple entrepreneur with small businesses, trading with all EU countries and about 120 more around the world. Things like the Single Market are therefore a bit beyond me, and I need your advice.

    I’m thinking of investing another £75,000 in one of my businesses in the next month, but the current uncertainty regarding Brexit has damaged my confidence, because:-

    1. The PM has done nothing to make me believe she will actually take us out of the EU and naturally I can’t invest in a country which stays in such a failing bloc, and

    2. I’m worried that the extra tax I’d pay on my increased profits (as a result of the investment) may not be enough to contribute towards Mr Carney’s increased expenses on weekly haircuts, manicures, sharp suits, and topping up his tan, so that he can continue with his regular media appearances.

    Do you have any advice?
    ‘Worried English Entrepreneur’

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      More worrying is that any country which seems monetary policy changes more important than supply side changes is putting cart before horse.

    • Mark B
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      We will not be leaving for at least another 2 years. If ever !

  30. Iain Moore
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    “Too many still seem to think the single market is some priceless creation.”

    And that is what people need to be disabused of .

    As I have said before the Single Market is uttered as some sort of religious mantra, no one, least of all the media, ever bothers to question its value to us, especially when an EU fanatic is prattling on about its wonders. More likely than not the Single Market value to us is confused with the benefits we get from trade, rather than its added value to trade, which the EU themselves put at no more the 2% for the EU as a whole, which equates to a great deal less economic benefits for the UK.

  31. Gary
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    A single market should just be a non inflating single currency and tariff free zone. The aim should be to let the price of products be purely a function of demand and supply of the products themselves , unencumbered by layers of currency price changes and bureaucratic taxes.

    Under such an environment innovation and productivity thrive, rates stay stable and financiers take a back seat to manufacturers. there is no interest rate casino, and the wrecking balls of inflation(rob Savings)and sharp deflation(rob capital).

    Politically the Eu is a nightmare, but show me one Western country that is not, including the UK. I cannot think of one disadvantage of the EU that we don’t also get in local politics. Immigration? That was a labcon policy too. Welfare handouts? We have a bigger budget deficit. Climate change? The so called science was home grown. Farm subsidies? Watch what this govt can do.

  32. Dennis
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    JR your post was very instructive so why were these views of yours not expressed during the run up to the referendum particularly in the media – whose fault was that?

    Reply I did express similar views, and accepted whatever media engagements were offered during the referendum. People on this website seem to think a) my publishing here is not publishing and b) it only counts if I publish in a well known paper and c) they usually forget I often do that as well. Take the Brexit budget, which I reissued here recently. Someone said why wasn’t it mentioned during the campaign! I did put it in the Telegraph in an article, and was given the 8.10 slot on the Today programme by BBC/Leave to launch it. The official campaign did regularly include the VAT on fuel and NHS spending proposals etc etc. Why does none of this count?

    • Mark B
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      I can confirm this. Only today I saw Mr. Redwood MP having a debate (pre-result) on the YouTube channel. Did really well actually.

    • acorn
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      “Why does none of this count? ”

      Because it was a pathetic, Mickey Mouse response. You were talking about less than 1.5% of government total managed expenditure (TME).

      It has now become very obvious that not only Brexiteers, but also May’s Remainers; haven’t got the first idea of what to do next.

  33. JM
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    The lie that we cannot have access to the single market needs to be firmly nailed. There is no question of whether or not we will have access. It is all about the terms of that access.

    Posted August 6, 2016 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    The Hansel and Gretel house that is the EU only ever looked sweet to our Lords and Masters. They fooled us in the first place. MPs and our free media told us we must go take a walk in the darkness, turn our backs on Australia, New Zealand and Canada where millions of us had emigrated. Our children and grandchildren were over there. Instead, and here is where the Hansel and Gretel story shows itself only a mildly entertaining tale for little children, we enticed other peoples children to come to our own houses well away from their Mums and Dads and Grand-Parents. Truly another monstrous tale of Germanic proportions.

  35. The Prangwizard
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    When are we to get a statement confirming Brexit still means Brexit and the progress so far? The initiative wil be lost and the Remainers will get the upper hand if we suffer more of what seems to me to be drift and a lack of leadership and direction.

    • DaveM
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      Hear hear.

  36. David Cockburn
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Good to see you saying this, JR. I hope you are communicating this insight to the Brexit team so they don’t feel obliged to trade the benefits of the single market for anything valuable.

  37. Bryan Harris
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Nice insight John, and reaffirmed my idea that we do not need to be in the Single market.

    I hope Boris for one is subscribed to your blog, but more importantly that David Davis fully understands the points you made.

  38. Kevin
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    JR writes: “It is true that there is a benefit in the single market legislative programme. If you have a product which is of marketable quality for country A within the single market, that same product will meet the legal and technical specification needed in country B if also within the single market.”

    If this is true, why is it possible (at the time of writing) to find, for example, the following clause heading in an Adobe Personal Computer Software License Agreement:

    “17.1 Limitation of Liability for Users Residing in Germany and Austria”?

    How is the existence of this clause compatible with the statement that a product that meets the legal specification in one country within the single market will automatically meet the specifications for all?

    Reply Good question – try asking the custodians of the single market magic.

    • APL
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      JR: “Good question – try asking the custodians of the single market magic. ”

      Probably because the single market isn’t the straight jacket you make it out to be. It includes after all, Norway which isn’t in the European Union, the single market includes Lichtenstein which has legitimate and legal restrictions on freedom of movement* – permitted under the single market measures.

      In fact for all its shortcomings, the single market is the best ‘off the shelf’ package – that we are already in available.

      *To the commentator who pointed out that Lichtenstein was in the Schengen area, well, I can only assume that people have free movement across Lichtenstein’s borders but no automatic right to settle in Lichtenstein.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted August 7, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

        My point is that Lichtenstein didn’t say for many years that it was all in favour of the unrestricted free movement of persons within the EEA and then change its mind, instead it said upfront before it joined the EEA that it would need to have those restrictions and has managed to keep them since then. It would be another matter to persuade the eastern European governments to agree to relinquish the established right of their citizens to migrate to the UK.

        • APL
          Posted August 8, 2016 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

          Denis: “It would be another matter to persuade the eastern European governments to agree to relinquish the established right of their citizens to migrate to the UK.”

          The other commentator was someone else, Denis. Who raised the point that Lichtenstein was in Schengen, a point which I agree seems to conflict with it’s ability to restrict cross border movement. The thing is, I imagine it doesn’t, but it probably does restrict the ability to of migrants to settle in Lichtenstein.

          As to your point about East European migrants and their governments, I don’t have too much beef with them, although I know some folk do. But the grounds of Lichtenstein’s disagreement with the right to settle in the country, is that significant settlement might irrevocably change the demographic composition of the country, a phenomena that we see all too clearly in some areas in the UK.

          The principle is established. If its available for small countries like Lichtenstein then its available for all. For example Germany and France might benefit from such an legal capability.

          In any case the ‘Lichtenstein clause’ ( for want of a better description ) is available and any country may invoke it legally at any time.

          The grounds for doing so might not have existed ‘many years ago’ but perhaps they do now. It’s there as an option within the EEA agreement, we can invoke it.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted August 9, 2016 at 10:20 am | Permalink

            The UK is a separate party to the EEA Agreement in its own sovereign right, but as an EU member state. Technically it would not be difficult to draw up an agreement that the UK would continue to participate in the EEA even though it was no longer in the EU, in fact in principle such an agreement could say that the UK need not be a member of EFTA either. However that agreement would need to be accepted by all of the existing EEA states, any one of which could exercise a veto. So for example I could envisage the Polish government saying that Poland would not agree to the new agreement unless the UK somehow guaranteed that it would not use any of the EEA provisions to unduly restrict the future migration of its citizens to the UK. There would have to be a negotiation, with the Poles and others aware of any cunning plan for the UK to stay in the EEA and then restrict freedom of movement through EEA measures which are not available to the UK now while it is still an EU member state.

  39. APL
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    JR: “I soon concluded it was all based on a false premise, that you can legislate to create a market. Markets require willing buyers and willing sellers.”

    Yes, but.

    We are already in the single market. With the acceleration of the integrationist process in the EU, it encompasses so much more that it did ‘in your day’.

    The point it, we are in the single market, we can stay in the single market as an interim measure. Which buys us the time to kick our civil service into shape ( after all we have a couple of generations in the civil service who’s only function has been to robotically implement what their brethren in Brussels spew forth ) and negotiate our bilateral agreements with other countries.

    The first task is to break the political half nelson the EU has held this country in for the last 43 years. And that means giving some of our politicians a good kicking too (metaphorically speaking ) – just in case the thought police are reading ( Hi Cheltenham ).

  40. Original Richard
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    “It is true that there is a benefit in the single market legislative programme. If you have a product which is of marketable quality for country A within the single market, that same product will meet the legal and technical specification needed in country B if also within the single market.”

    This “benefit” enabled VW to dupe the whole of the EU over its vehicles’ emmissions performances.

    • DennisA
      Posted August 9, 2016 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      The issue showed that dogmatic regulation based on a flawed paradigm, AGW, results in people making real things work regardless.

      Disclaimer: No-one was harmed in the evasion of the EU emission controls. (the NOX claims do not stand investigation, the streets of Europe should be littered with dead bodies from NOX)

  41. Original Richard
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    The time consuming and difficult negotiations concerning the UK’s access to the single market will not be between the EU and the UK but between the remaining 27 EU countries themselves.

    And also within some countries, for example in France where its current President will find his opposition to free trade with the UK is likely to be unpopular with his powerful farming community.

    For this reason we should trigger Article 50 immediately as it will be the EU who will have difficulty in deciding upon the details just as they do with all trade deals.

    We should also not make any final decisions concerning major projects such as Hinckley C or HS2 until we have left the EU and have finalised our trading position with the EU.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 7, 2016 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      I think you’ve made a very good point there.

  42. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted August 8, 2016 at 1:37 am | Permalink

    I wonder if you agree with what I have written many times, namely that free trade in the EU was at its zenith on 1st January 1987, when the Single European Act came into force. Since then, at Maastricht and afterwards, there have been the Euro, more EU competences, EU laws and directives, and QMV, all of it to the detriment of the UK.

  • 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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