The SNP should admit there is no single market to belong to for non EU members – the issue is access

It may suit the SNP to spin the myth that the UK can stay in the single market whilst leaving the EU, but we know that is wrong. The Single European Act which helped create the EU’s version of a more regulated and coordinated market has long since been folded into the Treaty of European Union. No-one on the continent is proposing splitting out single market laws from the rest and letting the UK belong to that. Nor are they wanting to do a side deal with Scotland rather than the UK, given the problems that could create in Catalonia, Venice, the Flemish part of Belgium and the rest.

The EU’s internal market, wrongly called a single market, comes with freedom of movement, budget contributions, the supremacy of EU law and the all the rest as part of the deal. It only comes with membership of the whole EU. Many of us explained at length in the referendum campaign that we would leave the single market as well as the EU as they are the same thing. The government also warned people that was true. The issue was always what access we will have to the EU internal market once we have left, not how we could “stay in” it, when “it” has no separate legal identity from the EU.

That was why the Remain campaign not only warned we would be out of the single market, but kept saying we would need to do a Norway or Swiss type deal to buy access to the market with concessions on budget contributions and freedom of movement. Again the Vote Leave campaign endlessly ruled out such an approach, as more importantly now has the new government. Vote Leave always pointed out all other countries have access to the single market through world trade rules, and there is every reason to think the rest of the EU would want a better trade deal than the average with the UK given the large amounts they sell to us.

The one ray of hope in the SNP blizzard of propaganda is they would like more powers for the Scottish Parliament when the EU powers are removed. That is a more productive conversation to hold. It is a of course a contradiction of their wish to stay in the so called single market, which would leave the power to decide firmly in Brussels. When the UK comes out, then of course Scotland can discuss with the Union Parliament what powers it should have over its own fishing, farming and other policies that are currently controlled from Brussels. Coming out of the EU is about taking decisions that matter closer to home, so it is a good conversation to have on the balance of power returned to the UK Parliament and given to the Scottish Parliament.


  1. Brexit
    October 15, 2016

    “The issue was always what access we will have to the EU internal market once we have left, not how we could “stay in” it, when “it” has no separate legal identity from the EU.”

    Well said. Coincidentally this morning we published a 10-part, 10-minute guide to the Single Market which emphasises many of your points above.

    For example, a search of the EU legal database currently shows over 31,000 documents relating to the ‘internal market’ – treaties, laws, directives, etc.

    If this doesn’t show that the Single Market is an inextricable part of EU membership we don’t know what does.

    Interested readers can view our Single Market series on our news page or on this special link:

    We hope your article above gets widespread coverage in the media.

    1. David Lister
      October 15, 2016

      Dear John,

      Many in Vote Leave advocate a more gradual exit from the EU known as a Flexit. This enables the UK to establish the bilateral trading arrangements with the EU that will be essential. It is incorrect to claim that all those in Vote Leave take a view that a hard exit is achievable and fall back to WTO is credible.

      I am certain you are aware of the dozens of bilateral trade agreements between the EU and all other major trading blocs including US and China which have been established over the course of several decades. You have contributed to drafting EU laws so these must be familiar to you.

      Why do never make reference to these existing bilateral agreements , and continue to claim that WTO rules are sufficient?

      We will also need to invest in BPIs in the UK, as will our European colleagues if they wish to continue to trade with us. Have you accounted for the infrastructure investment that will be required in your 2 year exit plan.

      Reply Existing EU trade deals by EU novate to both the separating parties, and both are subject to reaffirmation by the third parties to them.

      1. Chris
        October 15, 2016

        Another problem with adopting the Flexcit/EEA approach is that, even if it were to be accepted by the EU, it would provide an all too easy platform to launch a bid to rejoin the EU should a pro EU Party in the UK come into power. We have to make a definitive move to leave and not adopt a halfway house which could mean that Leave could be fairly easily reversed. I see it as a very dangerous option.

        1. Jerry
          October 15, 2016

          @Chris; “the Flexcit/EEA approach is that, even if it were to be accepted by the EU, it would provide an all too easy platform to launch a bid to rejoin the EU should a pro EU Party in the UK come into power. “

          That would then be what is called democracy… Nor would it need the UK to be members of the EEA, if there should ever be pro-EU political party with a manifesto pledge to rejoin the EU and they gain a governing majority at a GE then they have every right to explore the possibility and even sign us up again.

          1. Andy
            October 15, 2016

            No that would not be ‘Democracy’. It would be if there was a Referendum before we joined and before negotiations were opened. But I favour making the Remainiacs wait a decent time before another Referendum is held – think 41 years.

          2. Jerry
            October 16, 2016

            @Andy; Nonsense, but if you want to have it your way then best we repeal all anti Trade Union laws passed during the last 44 years of so, that all previously nationalised industries that have since been privatised be returned to state ownership, and all council housing that was sold off be returned to LA control because such government policies of the time were only passed into law via a governing majority gained via a GE and not via a referendum majority. Admittedly we would still be outside of the EEC as Heath only took us into the “Le Club” on a government majority too and not via a referendum.

            Funny how so many ‘Breakiters’ and eurocrats are so very much alike, just opposite swings of the same undemocratic pendulum, both despise democracy unless it tells them what they want to hear…

      2. David Lister
        October 15, 2016

        Dear John (response to reply). The UK does not have any trade deals with the EU. Surely these need to be negotiated which demonstrates that WTO is not an option.

        1. bluedog
          October 15, 2016

          A complete misunderstanding of the situation. A large number of nations successfully carry out trade with EU members under WTO guidelines. There is no need for a free trade agreement with the EU, indeed, negotiating and implementing an FTA with the EU is possibly beyond its competence. Witness the CETA negotiations between the EU and Canada. Put to the vote of EU members, plucky little Wallonia vetoed the treaty. The French are trying to get some sense into this French speaking province of Belgium, but you may appreciate the point.

          1. David Lister
            October 16, 2016

            Can you please provide a single example of a major trading country that does not have bilateral trade arrangements defined by Europa on the EU Trading Database. You might be surprised to learn that the US, China et-al already have bilateral agreements to facilitate trade. It is a myth that they operate under WTO alone.

          2. libertarian
            October 17, 2016

            Dear David Lister

            You might like to try reading the EU’s own website where it lists who they have bilateral agreements with, who they trade with under WTO rules and who they have frameworks with. There are also a large number of countries not on any of those lists

            Again if you bothered to read the EU’s own site its you who would be surprised to find that the EU/USA does NOT have a bilateral trade agreement in place that has been signed.

            If you actually looked it says quite clearly on the Europa Trading database that currently the EU trades and I quote

            “The EU has specific trade policies in place for all its partners and abides by the global rules on international trade set out by the World Trade Organisation.”

            It lists dozens of countries including the USA


            You dont seem to have much of a grip on this.

        2. libertarian
          October 16, 2016

          David Lister

          If a country does not have a FTA with another country or trading block in the case of the EU then WTO rules apply.

          So for example currently after 8 years the EU still doesn’t have a FTA deal with Australia ( due to Italian tinned tomatoe producers) therefore trade is conducted under WTO rules.

          Once A50 has been triggered the UK can then commence trade talks with the EU. If any of the 27 members do not want to have a FTA with the UK then none will have them, therefore WTO rules ( in both directions (thats important to note)) will apply.

          What problem do you think this will cause UK exporters to EU ( by the way thats only 8% of UK companies)

          1. David Lister
            October 17, 2016

            Dear Libertarian,

            Please do some independent research and have a look at the Europa Treaty Database. There are 83 EU-Australia Treaty covering a wide variety of international aggreements to facilitate trade and cooperation. These date right back to 1945 with the Constitution of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).

            In comparison there are 4 EU treaties that appear in the Treaty database that cover the UK which include provisions to avoid double taxation, relations between Norway&Iceland, and non-nuclear proliferation.

            The point is for the UK to leave the EU Single Market it would need to create treaties that Australia, China, the US, and all other major trading blocs have with the EU.

            It is simply incorrect to assume that trade is conducted soley under WTO rules. The 83 treaties are proof of this if needed.

            Regards your question on problems there are many. Product conformance, BPI’s, veterinary inspection of animals, mutual recognition agreements … etc. All these need bilateral trading arrangements and are not covered by WTO. As it stands today, if we left the EU our manufactured products, food, and livestock could not legally be imported into the EU which is why the WTO fall back is not an option.

      3. Hope
        October 15, 2016

        Brilliant questioning and put down yesterday (unusually by the BBC) of Sturgeon when questioning her over Scottish economics, GDP, public spending and highlighting how their economy without the UK is worse than Greece! She tried to say this was about Scottish people and the questioner was Scottish and pointed this out to her and how it was a concern to him. She could not answer and asked to put it to one side so she could spout her nationalist nonesense. This needs to be pursued so the Scottish people can see how perilous their economy is without the UK.

        1. Chris
          October 15, 2016

          Thanks, H. There is hope yet, with the BBC? Sturgeon has had far too much of a free rein. She needs some rigorous questioning and scrutiny, and her case would soon fall apart, I feel.

      4. Sam Stoner
        October 16, 2016

        ” Existing EU trade deals by EU novate to both the separating parties, and both are subject to reaffirmation by the third parties to them”

        O dear! A large plank in Mr Redwood’s case is rotten. This is completely wrong as a matter of law. There are not two separating parties. There is one, the UK. The EU-27’s deals with third parties continue. The UK has to negotiate every single deal from scratch. It had protection when a member of the EU but if it chooses to leave, it chooses also to lose all the rights that came with EU membership

        1. Denis Cooper
          October 16, 2016

          “The EU-27’s deals with third parties continue. The UK has to negotiate every single deal from scratch.”

          Actually it’s been reported that some of those third parties are already questioning the continuing validity of their trade deals with the EU once the UK is no longer part of the EU. Of course it only needs an exchange of diplomatic letters for all parties to confirm they are content for the agreement to stand even though the UK has left the EU; and the same applies for the position of the UK vis-a-vis those deals, there would be no need to renegotiate them unless one of the other parties insisted that must happen.

        2. David Lister
          October 17, 2016


          Thankyou. I’m sure Mr Redwood will respond in due course!

    2. getahead
      October 15, 2016

      Widespread coverage in the media? The Daily Express possibly and on-line.
      I’m not sure about the Daily Mail. It doesn’t seem to know where it stands nowadays.
      But widespread? John R. is of the wrong persuasion, I don’t think so.

  2. Nig l
    October 15, 2016

    This is the wrong discussion. Please tell me what the benefit is to have Scotland as part of the Union. If the English are subsidising them let us have a referendum to see if we want to continue with such support or not. Then they can join the EU as another country for Germany to keep afloat or suffer from a drop in living standards. I am fed up with their interference and whinging. Let’s call their bluff.

    1. majorfrustration
      October 15, 2016

      Spot on- the SNP will never give up on their pie in the sky dream. Hoist them with their own petard – put up or shout up.

  3. Lifelogic
    October 15, 2016

    You make good points.

    The Scottish anyway would be very foolish to leave the UK and yet remain in the EU. They certainly could not do it while retaining the UK pound, as they suggested last time. The SNP are anyway becoming less and less popular. This as their bonkers, tax borrow and waste, economic policies start harm the economy and kill jobs north of the border.

    The Scottish people are not daft and will see through the SNP quite soon.

    1. Lifelogic
      October 15, 2016

      Meanwhile it seems from reports that we will get a runway at Heathrow, perhaps announced on Tuesday.

      Zak Goldsmith (Cameron’s rather foolish choice as a candidate for London Mayor) said we did not need a hub airport, just competition between airports. Thus showing his complete lack of understanding of the logistics, economics and maths of air transport. Why on earth does he want people to do all the traveling between airports to make connections. It does not sound very energy or time efficient or very environmental.

      Most people will just go the hubs in Paris, Holland or elsewhere instead.

      A great shame Jeremy Paxman declined to stand as Mayor, he would surely have beaten Sadiq Khan who was always a rather weak candidate.

      What we actually need is one at Gatwick and Heathrow with a fast shuttle link to give a five runway hub. The sooner the better and cancel the economically bonkers HS2 and Hinkley C.

      1. Lifelogic
        October 15, 2016

        While they are at it they need a large increase in the capacity of the M25 and many other roads, flyovers, tunnels & bridges too. People do not want to sit in endless traffic jams, they just want to get from A to B quickly and efficiently.

        Motorists pay billion in to the system in fuel and other taxes and the government spend just a tiny proportion of this on decent roads. While diverting huge sums to, usually bonkers, rail schemes. Just allow road and rail to compete on a level fiscal/subsidy playing field and see where the real demand is.

        1. hefner
          October 15, 2016

          Seeing the bit of the M3 between Bagshot and the M25 in the last two years being made as a “smart” motorway, I am afraid I do not share your optimism for “a large increase in the capacity of the M25”. It is already mainly a 2×4 lane motorway and any work on it will just create huge problems for people having to take it regularly.
          Beware what you wish for!

      2. BOF
        October 15, 2016

        New runway also badly needed at Birmingham too LL. There are daily delays and on a recent flight to Dublin was kept in the ‘holding pen’ before boarding for half an hour!

    2. getahead
      October 15, 2016

      If not already.

    3. Richard1
      October 15, 2016

      I think it could be time to call the Scottish Separtists’ bluff and have another referendum. This would surely lance the boil of Scottish separatism for a century.

  4. James Matthews
    October 15, 2016

    Almost all of that seems to be entirely valid, but there is a sting in the tail is the final paragraph. Nicola Sturgeon doesn’t want to hold a referendum and lose it and all the indications are that if she were allowed to have one (still a matter for Westminster) that is exactly what would happen.

    The purpose of her proposal to hold one is therefore:

    1. To paint Westminster as oppressive if it refuses to authorise one and:

    2. To extract even more privileged treatment for Scotland.

    There seems to be whiff of further appeasement in that last paragraph. This would not only be to the detriment of the English, but another significant stage in the progressive destruction of any meaningful United Kingdom. The Scots should be told unequivocally and without delay that there will be no more concessions. If they can’t accept that they should vote to go and go.

    1. formula57
      October 15, 2016

      Hear, hear! Well said.

  5. agricola
    October 15, 2016

    I often wonder how long one has to go on explaining the Single Market as an element of EU membership, and that on leaving the EU all we wish to do is trade with them in as mutually beneficial way as possible. Both Remain politicians and political commentators seem to wallow in this confusion. Some I suspect to serve their own ends, or are they all just stupid.

    Whatever powers (Sturgeon ed wants after her divorce from the EU, they would be better concentrated on how to get Scotland into profit, or does she, like most socialists , thrive on the culture of dependency. I do not see the electorate supporting her programme for impoverishment for long.

    1. getahead
      October 15, 2016

      Dependency on whom, if England’s gone?

      1. agricola
        October 15, 2016

        Anyone else’s money is normal socialist thinking.

  6. bluedog
    October 15, 2016

    ‘Nor are they wanting to do a side deal with Scotland rather than the UK, given the problems that could create in Catalonia, Venice, the Flemish part of Belgium and the rest.’

    A dangerous assumption now that Brexit means Brexit, Dr JR. Without question the EU sees Brexit as an existential threat and seeks maximum leverage in terms of raising the price for the UK in implementation of same. It follows that offering an independent Scotland fast-tracked entry to the EU could easily become an EU pressure tactic despite earlier assurances to the contrary. Such an offer would of course be manna from heaven for Sturgeon, and validates her calls for a second referendum. A natural counter for the British government would be to up the ante by threatening repeal of the Scotland Act; not something to be done by way of bluff.

    1. oldtimer
      October 15, 2016

      If the EU decided to take this course (offering to fast track Scotland into the EU) that would rightly be seen as a hostile act as it would amount to gross interference in UK affairs. It would also rest, rather oddly given the EU Commission’s apparent contempt for democracy on other occasions, on the argument of a democratic vote in Scotland.

      In the circumstances the chances of achieving a FTA would seem minimal. In the circumstances one alternative UK government response could be to offer Scotland that choice but with the prospect of border control, tariffs on its trade with the rest of the UK. More likely, it seems to me, is that the government would reject such interference out of hand.

      1. Roy Grainger
        October 15, 2016

        The domination of the SNP in the Scottish parliament tends to make one forget they lost their independence referendum comfortably. There is little reason to expect they could ever win another predicated on the idea they would then join the EU and adopt the Euro (as is a requirement for new members).

    2. Denis Cooper
      October 15, 2016

      Apart from anything else, while the UK was still in the EU it would still be able to veto any such scheme. If the UK had left the EU before there was another Scottish referendum that would be a different matter, the newly independent Scotland could then apply to join the EU, with the euro and Schengen and all. Of course before it could do that it would have to set up its own central bank and currency.

      1. turboterrier
        October 15, 2016

        @ Denis Cooper

        would have to set up its own central bank and currency.

        Take it from some one living in dictatorship Scotland the country is almost broke without the rest of the UK it would be.

    3. Chris
      October 15, 2016

      Fast track for Catalonia, too then? Not on the cards, I think for the EU.

    4. getahead
      October 15, 2016

      Hypothetically speaking.

  7. fedupsoutherner
    October 15, 2016

    Yet another great post John telling it as it really is. Of course, we all know that Brexit and the issue of the single market is just an excuse for the SNP to find a way to split the union again. The majority of the Scottish people are fed up with the whole independence issue and wish Sturgeon would actually get on with doing something to improve Scotland’s lot regarding education, trade, housing and policing. They are all a mess under Sturgeon but she is more intent on concentrating on independence 2. Just another case of bigots not liking the result of a vote and wanting another one until they get what they want. They have no interest in Scotland – only their egos and their selfish agenda. There has been so much rubbish spouted by Sturgeon lately concerning Brexit that people are switching off.

    etc ed

    1. JoolsB
      October 15, 2016

      “They have no interest in Scotland – only their egos and their selfish agenda”

      Change Scotland for England and you could be talking about our self serving UK politicians squatting in English seats. Why else would they turn a blind eye to the rotten deal England is getting out of this so called union?

      At least Scotland has a voice – something denied to England.

      1. fedupsoutherner
        October 15, 2016

        Jools Yes too much of a voice. They need to be told that the end of the freebies is nigh.

  8. Alan
    October 15, 2016

    There is still confusion over what the Leave side was and is proposing. I can remember Leave supporters saying that we would get full access to the single market; there would be no tariffs on our exports and no payment into EU funds. The EU was said to gain so much from our trade that they would be anxious to allow this. I can remember Mr Redwood writing that he had spoken to German car makers who had assured him this would happen. A retired leading industrialist when asked about the danger of tariffs being imposed on our exports just waved his hands airily and said this would not happen. The Remain predictions that our export trade and finance industries would be damaged were dismissed as scare mongering.

    Not that it really matters who said what in the past. We are now committed to leaving and will eventually find out whose predictions were more accurate.

    1. stred
      October 15, 2016

      Alan. The key word is ACCESS. Not to stay IN the single market. It may be with zero tariffs if the EU is sensible, or it may be with low tariffs if not. But the UK will still have ACCESS. Hopefully, some Remainers will gradually latch on to this.

      1. Leslie Singleton
        October 16, 2016

        Dear Stred–Cannot understand why we need to worry much if at all about tariffs. First, all agree that tariffs, if they indeed arise at all, would be small as anything else would be bizarre given that the continentals net export to us. Secondly, the decline in the pound alone compensates many times over for any tariffs. Thirdly, our Danegeld, sorry “contributions” to Brussels would cease, again, and on its own, more than compensating us as a whole. Perhaps there is something to talk about on the third point in that the cessation of Danegeld would not go directly to exporters, but even as regards that exporters would benefit along with the rest of us and in any event perhaps some way can be found to benefit them directly.

    2. David Lister
      October 15, 2016


      It is ridiculous.

      After the referendum Mr. Mr.Johnson stated that the only change would be a gradual transition of certain legal powers from the EU to the UK, certainly no mention was made of reverting to WTO trading arrangements. The impression given was that EU trade would continue with unhindered.

      Mr Davis has also insisted that tariff free trade will remain possible with the EU, which is inconsistent with WTO rules.

      Mr Redwood has insisted that we can operate under WTO rules alone and this is our fallback position in negotiation.

      It is sad to see that there is no honest debate over what is forcing positions to be changed. There is certainly a distortion of the pre-referendum messages being drop fed into conversation. My recollection from the referendum was that trading under WTO terms alone would catastrophic and this was a point made by many in the Vote Leave campaign as well.

      Reply Untrue. Three of us produced a critique of the so called single market to show ceasing tobe a member could be a good idea, along with sensible access.

      1. David Lister
        October 15, 2016

        Dear John,

        According to YouGov Smith Institute on 7th June when questioned on future relationship outside of EU, 57% supported a relationship similar to Norways. I’m not sure what you claim is untrue in my statement.

        Your response that it is a “good idea .. with sensible access” does not sound like the WTO. You must be assuming a successful bilateral trade agreement, otherwise what does “sensible access” refer to?

        Is WTO only “sensible access” in your definition?

        1. bluedog
          October 15, 2016

          Carping over past statements and opinion polls is pointless, the situation is fluid and evolving, requiring a flexible approach. As ministers have said, there is no need to use existing precedents such as EFTA or the Norwegian model, it is simply a question of the British model, which may be WTO.

          You need to understand that the EU is powerless to enforce its diktats. If a post-Merkel German government were to negotiate its own bi-lateral trade agreement with the UK sometime in 2017, one can scarcely imagine Juncker or his successor taking effective action to stop it.

          A further point. If the EU acts as the diplomatic enemy of the UK, it is in the British interest to ensure the dissolution of the EU. Such a measure may become the underlying premise of Brexit. The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, would understand in the light of the CETA debacle. Trudeau’s mockery of the EU could prove to be very useful to the UK in terms of managing international opinion with regard to the EU.

          1. Denis Cooper
            October 16, 2016

            If the EU acts as the diplomatic enemy of the UK then we must make sure that the whole world knows that they are breaking their own treaties by doing so.

      2. Denis Cooper
        October 15, 2016

        “Mr Davis has also insisted that tariff free trade will remain possible with the EU, which is inconsistent with WTO rules.”

        Inconsistent with which WTO rules? Chapter and verse, please.

        How come Norway can have tariff free trade with the EU? Why doesn’t the WTO step in and put a stop to that breach of its rules?

        And how come Turkey can do the same, even though it would supposedly be inconsistent with WTO rules?

        Or, to take a topical example, how come Chile can export its wine to the EU tariff free, when other countries cannot?

        1. David Lister
          October 16, 2016

          The basic premise of WTO is that same terms have to be offered ad Most Favoured Nation.

          It’s impossible to operate solely under WTO and to expect no tariffs. The only way this could happen is if the EU eliminated tariffs with all other Third Countries and amended WTO schedules. This can’t happen in 2 years.

          Norway has a trade agreement with the EU which means they don’t follow WTO rules.

          I would suggest you refer to the WTO website for chapter and verse as Mr Redwood prevents links.

          1. Denis Cooper
            October 19, 2016

            I’ve already done that long ago, thanks, and discovered that most of the Remainers’ objections based on “WTO rules” are misrepresenting those rules.

    3. Denis Cooper
      October 15, 2016

      Yes, Alan, we will find out which imperative rules within the EU: the economic imperative which demands that no new barriers should be put in the way of the existing trade, or the geopolitical imperative which demands that nothing should ever be allowed to obstruct the project to create a pan-European federation.

  9. Old Albion
    October 15, 2016

    The SNP has simply been waiting for an opportunity to declare the ‘need’ for a second independence referendum. Sturgeon believes the ‘leave’ vote in the EU ref. is that opportunity.
    I wish her well. I hope she gets her chance soon and I hope the Scots vote to ‘leave’ the UK.
    Like many in England, I’m sick to death hearing about what Scotland wants. I’m rather more keen to to see England get the same recognition as that which has been given to Scotland, Wales and N.Ireland.
    The departure of Scotland will hasten English recognition whilst removing a huge financial burden from the rUK.
    The stupid lop-sided devolution granted by T. Blair was always going to lead to the break-up of the UK. It could have been avoided by creating a new UK federation. But Westminster refused to even consider this. Prefering to abuse, insult and attempt to regionalise OUR “proud and historic country”
    Imagine this, an England free of the EU and Scotland. It starts to look Eutopian.

  10. JoolsB
    October 15, 2016

    So Scotland can discuss what more powers should be devolved to the Scots Parliament can they? Meanwhile, their army of SNP MPs sitting at Westminster will continue to meddle and vote on what are becoming more and more English only matters, matters which bizarrely they have absolutely no say on for their own constituents. Disgracefully they have already stated they will oppose grammar schools even though this proposal only applies to England and what is even more disgraceful, is that no doubt your colleagues will not utter one word of protest when they do. After all, they don’t want to bring the English Question and the rotten deal the English get to the attention of their constituents do they?

    When is England going to discuss what powers they might like? Oh of course, there isn’t any England is there, because there isn’t anyone in the whole rotten bunch of self serving UK MPs to speak for England, let alone consult us just once on what we want.

    1. Timaction
      October 15, 2016

      To think that UKIP had more votes than the SNP, Liberals and other minor parties combined at the General Election but has but one MP. Therein lies the democratic deficit and why the SNP pipsqueaks from across the border have too much say in Westminster!
      UKIP also happened to have secured the referendum or we wouldn’t be having this debate!

  11. Ex-expat Colin
    October 15, 2016

    “Canadian PM Says ‘What’s the Point of the EU?’ As Belgian Region Votes Down Trade Deal”

  12. am
    October 15, 2016

    Opportunism characterises SNP policy.

  13. Newmania
    October 15, 2016

    I`d like to examine the theme, that Leave presented a coherent and consistent manifesto including leaving the single market. They did not .
    After the referendum in an article in the Telegraph Boris Johnson , Leaves most influential spokesperson spake thusly
    ….. As the German equivalent of the CBI – the BDI – has very sensibly reminded us, there will continue to be free trade, and access to the single market”…..I quote this to demonstrate was the tone of Leave throughout ..”Oh the Germans will still sell us their cars and the French their wine” as they put it …well thats alright then.
    John Redwood will argue that by “ access to the single market” Johnson clearly meant access on the same terms as Belize or Antigua under WTO rules . I suggest he knows perfectly well that people thought that meant leaving would not harm our ability to trade. You decide.
    Daniel Hannah must take the palm and the man who more than anyone make the UKIPs dream a reality over the years .On the 25th of June he said
    “Frankly, if people watching think that they have voted and there is now going to be zero immigration from the EU, they are going to be disappointed. “Mr Hannan said the UK would have to accept the free movement of people in order to remain in the European common market.
    “The idea of staying within a common market but outside the political integration, I think that is feasible,” said Mr Hannan. He clarified that whilst he didn`t think our deal would be exactly like Norway as we were a much larger country we would be in the same area .He went on to stress that Leave must recognise the limits of their mandate.

    It appeared a compromise would be reached ( and he was not alone in making similar statements ) with some sort of membership of the single market , perhaps the EEA being the basic format.

    Didn’t he get the memo ?

    EEA membership would take back significant powers cut contributions a great deal and allow some control of EU migration that seemed to reflect the extreme narrowness of the result . It would leave the door open for a sensible staged withdrawal if that is what the country wanted. Bad thought it was it could be a lot worse .

    A lot worse is what it has since become with Theresa May choosing the Conservative Party conference, not Parliament , to announce that we would be quitting the single market entirely. It has since become clear that this would entail the worst possible trading arrangement imaginable, an attack on the City jobs a plunging pound inflation and a swelling National debt. God knows where we go from here, the UK will last as long as Oil is low. Predictably this dreadful news caused the Pound to take a further tumble and it is not clear where it will stop. The sight of John Redwood purring in the background was chilling enough for the currency to drop another cent.

    In that well known lefty rag Her Majesties Daily Telegraph Remain Traitor Philip Johnson wrote on the 20th of September
    “It is asserted that the 17.5m who voted to leave did so with a particular vision of the UK’s future in mind but that is simply not the case. I argued for Brexit but would be content if we rejoined the European Free Trade Association (Efta) which we helped found in 1960 and belonged to before entering the Common Market in 1973. This, indeed, is what would have happened if the UK had voted Out in the 1975 referendum”

    As I am not politician I can tell the truth, those who understood the implications of leaving the single market ( which is part of but not co extensive with the EU) voted not to almost without exception.
    That is the truth so why did so many vote Brexit really ? Many reasosns , John Redwood may not like racist and disgusting language on his blog. I can only note the irony that were I to quote some of the appalling statements made by this end of the campaign they would certainly not be published. Quite how this fits into retrospectively imagined faux manifesto I am unclear.

    The reality is that it is the collapse of the two Party system that is driving us into this. Parliament has been reduced to talking shop in which to blow off steam.. and remain are a crushed bitter constituency angrier by the day.

    “Unless Theresa May takes a firm grip on what her ministers are up to, by insisting on them going for the simple option of remaining in the EEA, we could even face the ultimate disaster …….The stakes could not be higher, but none of our ministerial negotiators has yet shown any sign of being aware of the dangers to which they are exposing us”
    (Remain Traitor Christopher Booker In Lefty Rag Telegraph- also did not get the memo)

    1. alan jutson
      October 15, 2016


      You still do not seem to accept us leaving do you.

      So Once again:

      The leave side could not give promises, because it was not in government, simples.

      The leave side outlined a lot of possibilities and options that could take place should we leave.

      The People voted by a majority to leave, as that was the only thing you could vote for if you did not want to remain.

      So far nobody has started negotiating anything, or even drawn the first line in the sand, all we have had are threats and suggestions, so neither side have yet made a proper approach to anything, so how do you know what, and what cannot be achieved.

      Once the negotiations are over then you can make your point, in the meantime I am fed up with listening to the doom mongers who simply say its not possible to get a good deal for either side.

      Anyone with experience of any sort of serious contract, commercial, or financial negotiations, would understand the stance both sides are taking.

      At the moment the EU is in the name calling phase.

      1. Newmania
        October 15, 2016

        The leave side outlined a lot of possibilities and options that could take place should we leave.

        I agree , any number of rosy tinted possibilities were floated none of which ( understandably) emphasised the real choices to be made between Freedom of Movement sovereignty and continued prosperity within a Free Market area .
        If you say that it was the job of “Remain” to explain and persuade then I agree with you and by the way the sickening way the Conservative Party has turned its coat for personal gain we begin to see why Remain was such an appalling campaign . Theresa May ,as we read was worse the useless and Jeremy Corbyn persuaded 45% of Labour voters he supported Brexit…….

        Anyway that betrayal is past but we do agree that John Redwood is not right when he says there was mandate for the extreme Brexit he favours with no better deal than that enjoyed by the Congo.

        That’s all I am saying

        1. bluedog
          October 15, 2016

          The EU is about the only political entity which demands freedom of movement as a condition precedent for a free trade agreement. If the EU dropped this position its chances of survival would be increased. Note that a number of former Soviet occupied nations of the EU have already unilaterally suspended freedom of movement but have not yet been expelled from the EU as a consequence.

        2. Anonymous
          October 15, 2016

          Remain had a very good campaign. It had the PM, Nicola Sturgeon, President Obama and many international bodies on its side.

          It lost – for the simple reason that it was wrong.

          1. Anonymous
            October 15, 2016

            Newmania. Do stop being arbiter of what is ‘extreme’ and what is not.

      2. Roy Grainger
        October 15, 2016

        The Remoaners insist on saying the Leave campaign “had no plan” for what to do if they won. Of course they didn’t, that was the job of the government which none of them was leading. The Remain campaign then managed to get on of their own in as PM and yet still they are complaining ! Mrs May is a Remainer so we are getting a Remainer’s plan, no point blaming Leave if you don’t like it.

        Reply But we did have a big plan, published as advice to the government prior to the vote!

        1. Newmania
          October 15, 2016

          Oh please don`t short change yourselves ,as I have shown you had about 10o plans one for any occassion

    2. Denis Cooper
      October 15, 2016

      Newmania, why are you now quoting something Boris Johnson said after the referendum, when only yesterday you dismissed something David Cameron said before the referendum on the fatuous grounds that politicians lie?

      You remember:

      “I’ll pull UK out of the single market after Brexit”

      “He said the Brexit campaign had made it clear to voters that voting to leave also meant pulling out of the single market.”

      The prime minister said: “What the British public will be voting for is to leave the EU and leave the single market.”

    3. Anonymous
      October 15, 2016

      You miss the point entirely, Newmania.

      The referendum was a two sided debate and all reasonable views were aired. The People were able to hear them all. I personally did think Leave would have a deleterious effect on our trade and did not make my decision lightly – as every Leaver I know.

      No-one wants ‘zero’ immigration from the EU (nor anywhere else) just *controlled* immigration.

      Some of the most disgusting language I’ve heard on this blog is actually YOURS.

    4. Yudansha
      October 15, 2016

      @ Newmania

      Donald Tusk has confirmed that there is no such thing as ‘soft’ Brexit. They only ‘remedy’ I think that would satisfy you is if we have a second referendum and vote to Remain.

      This would be a mistake and a pitiful demonstration of weakness and fear. We would be shafted far worse than if we go ahead with full Brexit.

      I suggest your best option – seeing as you like the EU so much – is to take your talents to the Continent and live there instead.

      Otherwise please do quieten down and back the decision your country has made, even if you dislike it. That’s democracy. That’s true patriotism.

      Clearly the EU hasn’t worked for most people as well as it has for you. Please be more understanding.

      1. Newmania
        October 15, 2016

        I would certainly like a second referendum but given the awful prospect in front of us I would be relieved if we were able to carry on trading in some version of the EEA

        The WTO baseline is unthinkable as the business friendl;y side of the Party agree . I gather that sensible Conservatives are ready to die in a ditch that let this happen and I only wish more had the wonderful principle of Anna Soubry.

        1. Yudansha
          October 16, 2016

          1 million people voted BNP and said “Will you listen?”

          4 million people voted UKIP and said “Will you listen?”

          17 million people voted Leave and said “Will you listen?”

          You are still not listening

          You will not be asked again

        2. Anonymous
          October 16, 2016

          ‘Sensible’ and ‘business friendly’

          Again, Newmania positioning as arbiter of reasonableness.

          How pompous.

        3. libertrarian
          October 16, 2016


          You just do not have a clue what you are talking about. You have no idea what the WTO options is ( you know the one every other country lives by). You have no idea about business or international trade. You can’t provide any sensible or logical business reason to remain as a member of the single market with the restriction that places on us

    5. Sam Stoner
      October 16, 2016

      Excellent post.
      Mr Redwood periodically claims that the LEAVE campaign put forward a single clear vision, which should now be implemented.
      As your excellent post makes clear, this is untrue.

      1. Anonymous
        October 16, 2016

        The vote offered on the ballot paper was a single vision: Leave the EU

        Be up front and admit that you wish to ignore public opinion rather than inform it.

  14. alan jutson
    October 15, 2016

    Afraid I am getting rather fed up with the demands of Scotland.

    Yes I would much prefer the UK to remain together, but not at any cost.

    At the moment it seems like Scotland is getting special treatment time and time again, and they are still not satisfied.

    Time for the gravy train to end for them I am afraid, and to let them go their own way if they want to.

    Time also for EQUAL devolution for all Countries in the Union, and that includes an English Parliament.

    1. a-tracy
      October 15, 2016

      Lets just encourage Nicola Sturgeon to carry on, more and more as pressure will build on the Conservatives to give the English their manifesto promise of English Votes for English Laws. Why isn’t this being sorted out John?

      1. JoolsB
        October 16, 2016

        Got to agree with Alan. England needs the same devolution deal as Scotland, Wales & NI, ie. it’s own legislature with it’s own dedicated MPs fighting it’s corner unlike now.
        Not only is EVEL a giant sop which serial ratter Cameron promised on the streets of Downing St. and immediately dropped but EVEL would not stop Scotland, Wales & NI determining who governs England. England hasn’t voted Labour since 2001 but thanks to the votes of the rest of the UK, England was governed by a Labour Government it didn’t vote for, a Scots dominated one at that. That is of course before Scotland, Wales & NI then go on to choose a quite separate legislature for themselves. Why should they get two votes, one to decide their own self determining legislature and then one to decide who governs England when England only gets one vote and that has to be agreed by the rest of the UK to get the government of their choosing.
        Don’t believe an English Parliament will cost more money either (although what price democracy? No-one complained about the exorbitant amount of money it cost for the Scots Parliament) Our self serving politicians will have you believe this but if anything an EP would cost less. The buiding is there, nowhere near 650 UK MPs would be required and of course the 800+ and growing Lords and Ladies in the other place on their £300 a day tax free allowance just for showing up could be given their marching orders and a much smaller senate put in place instead.
        An English Parliament in a Federal UK is the only democratic way forward but don’t expect any of our self serving MPs to deliver democracy for England. They can’t even say the word England let alone stand up for it.

    2. Liz
      October 15, 2016

      The biggest joke is. that with a straight face, Nicola Sturgeon calls we English zenophobs! How many times in a speech/interview does she mention Scotland and the Scottish people and disparage the English at the same time? Pots and kettles are called to mind.
      One interviewer yesterday unusually managed to make her lost for words – Peter Smith of ITN when challenging her about the Scottish budget deficit. She is usually given the patsy treatment.

  15. Antisthenes
    October 15, 2016

    The SNP rate as a clown group or at least one that is considerably misguided and would be lumped together with nearly all other left wing groups. SWJ’s, Momentum, Greens, democratic socialists and progressives as they are on the wrong side of the economic, social justice and national interest argument . All have objectives that it would be difficult to fault. What is at fault is the means they would employ to achieve them. Means based on ill founded thinking, misunderstanding of cause and effect and faulty logic.

    Unfortunately none of these groups can can be ignored as they should be as they have convinced too many to believe in their views. They have the power to influence even from time to time gain power over us which we always in the end regret. So we have to take into account some of their wishes often compromising what would be the right thing to do. Sometimes what they want is not wrong even fools can have lucid moments. Devolution is one thing that they want that has merit but is obviously something they do not actually understand.

    Devolution is a means of decentralising government and placing more political decision making in local hands. So the SNP insisting that the UK should remain in the EU flies in the face of reason as the EU stands for the very opposite. Where is the logic of loosening ties within the UK only to have them taken away again by the EU who will bound them more tightly than Westminster has ever done. It is the perfect example of the muddled and totally incomprehensible thinking of the left. The type of thinking all left wing groups are guilty of yet some of us listen to them and follow their advice. It is a crazy world we live in as we let so many crazies dictate our lives.

  16. Mark B
    October 15, 2016

    The EEA Agreement, or Single Market, was always envisioned as a half-way-house for those countries wishing to join the EU. It is therefore not surprising that those wishing to really leave the EU would seek the path of least resistance. And that path is EEA / EFTA membership.

    The EU was always about political union. To facilitate that union, usually against the will and wishes of the people, some sort of cover story needed to be used. That cover story, or stories, were trade and peace. And by looking at the EU now one can see that neither are on the cards. It is a dying project.

    The thing is, as I keep saying, we keep talking about the EU in terms of trade and trade alone. What we do not talk about is all the trade bodies, international organisations, treaties and administrative and regulatory frameworks that go hand-in-hand with membership of the EU. Once we are both out of the EU and the the EEA we lose access and have to build and forge new links. This would create great uncertainty and could well lead to an economic downturn, although I believe we would benefit in the mid to long term. But EEA membership, albeit temporarily would smooth they path to full independence.

    As for immigration, I do not believe anything will change even if we went for so called, Hard BREXIT. That is because non-EU immigration, which the UK government controls, is running far higher than EU immigration. So all this talk about controlling it is absolute nonsense !

    What I believe, and many more are coming to the same view, is that both the UK and EU governments wish to have tariffs as they both get to receive the monies from it.

    1. Newmania
      October 15, 2016

      There is a Brexit case for the EEA. We we to go for an off the peg option at least the cxountry would not suffer and over time arrangements might be put in place to smooth a transition from memership
      If we come out on the currently propsoed basis the mayhem and economic suffering may be anything from bad to catastrophe , the name Brexit will forever be hatd and the country will quickly inch back ino t the EU just as France has with NATO.
      The terms would be poorer but the route would be one way this time

      I need hardly say that I regard all of this as self harm of a lunatic sort but anything to avoid the cliff edge we are hurtling towards

      1. Richard1
        October 15, 2016

        I do wonder, reading your posts, how it is that many of the c. 160 countries around the world which are not members of the EU manage to achieve the prosperity they do?

        What is clear so far is the market reaction to the direction of travel post Brexit is negative. We are all poorer today due to the collapse of the pound, and I don’t buy the argument this is somehow brilliant news. This should concentrate the govts mind, and mean a relentless focus on productivity and competitiveness, which should drive tax, social & welfare, and ‘industrial’ policy. The combination of Mr Carney’s self-justifying Monetary policy and Mrs Mays interventionist gimmicks is not going to do the trick. A lot will depend on the autumn statement to signal a more sensible direction.

        1. Andy
          October 15, 2016

          You have a valid point. There could be a possibility of reviving EFTA just so long as it has no free movement of people, coughing up towards the EU budget and no ECJ. A free association of sovereign states and I think other countries would be attracted to this.

        2. Anonymous
          October 16, 2016

          Richard 1 – The BBC/Sky simply have to stop doom mongering and bias against Brexit. I often watch bulletins without a single Leaver asked for their opinion.

          Even Countryfile seems to have its doom mongering Brexit section.

          There is a danger that this is wishful thinking and the prophecies self-fulfilling.

  17. David Lister
    October 15, 2016

    Dear John,

    Many in Vote Leave advocate a more gradual exit from the EU, or a Flexit, enabling appropriate bilateral deals to be established. It is incorrect to claim that Vote Leave endlessly ruled out such an approach.

    You continue to peddle half truths regards all other countries trading with the EU under WTO rules when in reality there are bilateral agreements between all major trading blocs to facilitate trade. These agreements have been established over several decades of trade, and we will need to establish something similar in the space of 2 years if we wish to continue to trade with the EU at all.

    I am sure you are aware of these as you were close to EU legal drafting. Can you please explain why you do not think we will need something similar?

    It is also likely that there will be substantial investment required at BPIs by both our EU trading partners and at our own ports and airports. Have you factored this into account in your 2 year exit timetable?

    It is critical that your fall back position of WTO trading is fully achievable without resort to additional trading arrangements. If we need trade agreements then so be it, but that will take more than 2 years.

    1. Denis Cooper
      October 15, 2016

      How long would it take to draw up an agreement saying in essence:

      “The existing trade with the UK will continue on its present terms and conditions for the time being, until all parties agree to vary them, and all practical arrangements which have been put in place for facilitation of that trade will be maintained”.

      Days? Weeks? Months? Certainly not years.

      Where there is the political will there is almost always a legal way; the problem that the UK, and the rest of the world, seem to face is that the EU institutions and some of the other member state governments do not have the political will to avoid any disruption of trade, on the contrary their crazy political ideology drives them to cause as much economic harm as they can, even if that involves self-harm.

      Which in my view proves the wisdom of voting to get out of their project.

      1. Sam Stoner
        October 16, 2016

        So you want to get out of the EU because it is driven by crazy political ideology. But you also think the UK can strike a simple trade deal with the EU in days or weeks.
        To be clear – you live in cloud cuckoo land

        1. Denis Cooper
          October 16, 2016

          I believe that if both parties wanted their existing trade to continue without any interruption or new impediment they could agree on that and formalise it in a new agreement within a very short time. Why not? What is so complicated that it would take years to arrange that, keep the same trade for the time being, but on a different legal footing?

          What you are saying is that while we would be happy to do that they would not, and the reason for that would be their stupidity and spite and, in view of what the treaties say, untrustworthiness.

          Well, maybe you are right, but if so we should deal with them at arm’s length not enter into a federal union with them.

        2. bluedog
          October 16, 2016

          Coud cuckoo land indeed. Apart from such luminaries as Andorra, San Marino, Monaco, Lichtenstein and any dependencies of EU member states such as Gibraltar, there are precious few trade deals between the EU and major trading nations. US? No. China? No. Canada and Mexico? Trying hard but obstructed by part of Belgium (CETA). India? No. Russia? No. The list is long and simply highlights the sheer incompetence of the EU. It follows that there was never any prospect of a trade relationship between the UK and the EU as a bloc. Individual nations will inevitably break ranks and strike their own bilateral trade deals with the UK, starting with Germany. The disintegration of the EU is at hand.

    October 15, 2016

    The EU is not benevolent to individual nation-state independence. You can understand why any Scot loves Scotland.
    Though it is easier to fight England, Wales and Northern Ireland for Scottish Independence than the 27-EU-nation-state. See how EU legions and cohorts array themselves against the UK even now. How they threaten.

    1. bluedog
      October 15, 2016

      Correct. The EU has become the diplomatic enemy of the UK. Confound their knavish tricks etc.

  19. Antisthenes
    October 15, 2016

    On the BBC at the moment their main story is about the death of Hilda Ogden in second place is the SNP conference and the puerile utterances of Nicola Sturgeon. Her death is worth sympathy and a mention as she did bring pleasure to many. However it does point to the fact that either the BBC or the people of Britain have got their priorities wrong. Her death is sad but what Sturgeon says and does is far more important to the British people but is not given the prominence it deserves. Are the BBC or the people so shallow as to not see the ridiculousness of the fact that that which is of material national importance is relegated in favour one that is not.

    1. bigneil
      October 15, 2016

      The BBC’s mix up yesterday was hilarious. Mentioning Nicola Sturgeon at the same time the video behind showing the “escaped” gorilla.

  20. mick
    October 15, 2016

    I don`t dislike the Scot`s in fact they are very nice people when you meet them and very friendly, it`s the SNP i cannot stand you only have to listen to them in westminster so very anti British and any excuse to vote against anything in parliament, so i would give them a vote on independence only this time let the rest of the UK vote, i for one would vote for GO because i`m sick to the back teeth of hearing them whinging all the time, but i think the Scottish people will see through the SNP and would vote to stay in the UK, then hopefully the SNP would be wiped out in a General Election along with Labour/Lib-Dem`s/Greens

    1. Anonymous
      October 16, 2016

      I’d vote GO too.

      In fact they’d have a very hard job staying with us if the rest of the UK were included.

      The Scots I know and work with are fine and occupy some high positions in the capital. I doubt it’s as easy for a Londoner to relocate and succeed in Edinburgh.

  21. Brian Monteith
    October 15, 2016

    It needs to be understood when Scotland leaves the EU as part of the UK through the process of Brexit, then by the legislative authority of the Scotland Act 1998 the Scottish Parliament would find itself AUTOMATICALLY with greater responsibility over areas of devolved policy that are currently managed by the EU. These include aspects of employment law, industry, environment, fisheries and agriculture. This is because only those responsibilities that are LISTED are reserved to Westminster. Competencies currently held by the EU – such as fishing – would therefore go straight to Edinburgh.

    The UK Government should be killing Sturgeon’s campaign stone dead by expressly confirming this will be the case and that Brexit will therefore be of great benefit to Scotland (same goes for N.Ireland and Wales). This would leave Sturgeon looking foolish and put her on the back foot. Why May & Mundell don’t do this only feeds suspicions they will attempt to keep such powers at Westminster, stoking the flames of petty grievance-based nationalism.

    1. alan jutson
      October 15, 2016


      You make a simple and good point about more power for all Countries within the UK when we leave the EU.

      Hence the argument by Nicola Sturgeon of wanting to join the EU to give a so called independent Scotland more power to control its own affairs, an absolute nonsense.

    2. Denis Cooper
      October 15, 2016

      That argues strongly for the UK government to simply refuse legal permission for any repeat independence referendum until after the UK has left the EU and there has been enough time for the Scots to absorb the consequences. If they turn out to be as bad as the SNP predict then there should be no trouble in persuading a majority of Scots to vote for independence, so that Scotland could then apply to rejoin the EU in its own sovereign right rather than being in/out of the EU as part of the UK.

  22. Prigger
    October 15, 2016

    Scots coming to believe Independence is impossible practically is not good. Yorkshire does not even regard itself as a nation. But “prove” to Yorkshire she does not have the power or possibility. Oh dear! Not a wise move.

    So, Scotland, who we all love for it is part of us should be facilitated to Independence if she so wishes without suggestion of paternalism or being humoured. A little less of the SNP sticking the Scottish spanner in the UK works…at every opportunity would be appreciated.
    But the SNP are politicians and Scots or not are as wonky as any English politician could be.But Scots know that. They will not allow them to lead them up the garden path to EU domination.

  23. Bert Young
    October 15, 2016

    If I recall correctly Scotland is subsidised by £2,200 per capita compared to those of us in England . It is only reasonable that we should all be treated the same including the range of benefits enjoyed . Scotland penalises English students at Universities there while allowing EU students to attend free of charge ; as long as these anti – English things exist , Westminster should impose restrictions on Scotland . The bottom line is – let Scotland go its own way ; let it find out that the EU would no more want an additional financial burden any more than we do .

    Truth is of course that the rhetoric from Sturgeon does not represent the will of the majority of Scots ; she knows this and dare not expose herself to another referendum . She is hell bent on stirring up trouble and cannot see the wisdom of a proper united Kingdom . I would like to see the end of regionalised government , it is a scar on our democracy and must be brought under control .

  24. graham1946
    October 15, 2016

    Our skewed electoral system gives far too much prominence to the SNP.

    At the GE the SNP polled 4.7 percent of the vote with less than 1.5 million votes and got 56 seats whilst UKIP polled 12.6 percent of the vote with almost 4 million votes and got 1 seat. How is that democratic?

    Please don’t bother anyone saying we had a chance at proportional representation and voted against it. That vote again was skewed to get that result the government wanted by offering the worst possible option of the proportional systems. If politicians will insist on gerrymandering, mostly because most of them have nice safe seats and don’t want any other system which might challenge their cosy sinecure, this kind of thing in Scotland is what you will get. The English will never get a fair look in because it suits the big parties just fine as it is. Whether or not Scotland should remain part of the UK is surely a national vote, not a regional one, but the English were kept out because the government did not want the result that would most likely ensue.

    Cameron, terrified of the vote in Scotland gave all sorts of extras away, which he had no right to do (carved up by 3 party leaders, not parliament) in order to buy the referendum result and look where it gets us. Danegeld never did work. Blackmailers always come back for more.
    Just tell them to get lost or call their referendum and see what happens. Meantime spend as much on English voters as we do Scots or get rid of the ridiculous Barnet formula which was only ever supposed to be a temporary measure, invented on the back of a fag packet and long past it useful life. If Scotland wants independence’ let them first show they can stand on their own feet, rather than sucking the teat of Mother England.

    1. stred
      October 15, 2016

      The Scottish SNP minister for Brexit was on LBC this morning explaining why their membership of the EU would be more democratic than the UK. He said that in Westminster, Scotland is outvoted because of the greater number of other MPs, whereas in the EU, all countries have an equal vote. Malta sits equally with Germany.

      He would apparently like the Scots to have an equal say to England despite having 1/10th the population. Imagine the result. The Germans would love Scots vetoes too if Nicola arrived with her proud argumentative nation.

      Another advantage of ridding England of the Barnet formula and the McCameron bribes would be ridding ourselves of the duty to take their excess wind generation (not Nicola’s personal, though that would also be nice) and supply backup when it fails. Their nuke is aging fast, they closed the big coal station yet they expect English customers to pay the expensive subsidies to run huge numbers of windmills when working or paid not to work. They would be building gas stations and fracking away in noo time at all.

      Reply Votes in the Council are weighted by population.

      1. fedupsoutherner
        October 15, 2016

        Stred, look forward to paying even more for excess wind (in all forms) from Scotland in the future. They are ramping up more wind turbines than ever. They are getting bigger and noisier and more expensive as the more they erect the more are turned off when not needed and that costs mega bucks which you correctly state, is being paid by the English and paying towards their community benefits too. A double wammy. They have recently allowed the monks on Holy Island on Arran to erect 6-8 tall turbines in an area which is rich in wildlife including birds. Where there’s easy money, there’s a way. It will look like a disaster zone from the mainland. The joke is that a group of Monks at a place called Tharpaland in Lanacshire got paid thousand to move away from an area of turbines because of the noise and yet this group of monks just seem to want the money. The turbines will be on their land and so they reap the benefits so noise is not an issue. Same as every landowner who hosts the turbines. They put up with the noise for the thousands they get paid every year while those around them have to put up and shut up for nothing in return..

        You would think that as Sturgeon is always going on about the Scottish people and doing her best for Scotland that she would be fracking to replace some of the jobs lost in the oil industry. Again they are a party of dogma and not facts and sensible policies. Wind farms are another way of benefitting from English hand outs.

      2. graham1946
        October 15, 2016

        Scotland out voted in Westminster.

        Well, English MP’s get no say whatever in Scotland although their MP’s vote on English only matters at Westminster. Latest one is on Grammar Schools which they will not even be getting, yet they reckon on vetoing England having them if it wants.

      3. Denis Cooper
        October 16, 2016

        “… all countries have an equal vote. Malta sits equally with Germany.”

        In principle Malta sits equally with Germany in the increasingly rare cases where a decision requires unanimity or consensus, but of course in practice Malta will be wary of going too far in its defiance of German wishes. As I recall there are also some special cases where all countries have a single vote and the decision is by simple majority.

        1. stred
          October 17, 2016

          Someone in Edinburgh should inform McBrexit about this. He seems to think they would be in veto- heaven in Bruxelles.

    2. Peter Parsons
      October 15, 2016

      The UK electorate have _never_ been given a chance at proportional representation. The Alternative Vote is a majoritarian system, just like First Past The Post.

  25. Denis Cooper
    October 15, 2016

    Off-topic, I wonder if one of the more experienced MPs could explain to newbie Sir Keir Starmer that if MPs want to ensure they will be always to vote on statutory instruments arising from an Act, such as the forthcoming “Great Repeal Act”, then they should pay attention during the passage of the Bill and demand that this be written into it.

    “Parliamentary procedure on SIs”

    “Whether an instrument is subject to parliamentary procedure is determined by the
    parent Act. Some … are not subject to any parliamentary procedure and simply become law on the date stated in them … Many SIs are subject to parliamentary control; these SIs will follow one of the procedures laid down in the Statutory Instruments Act 1946. The type of parliamentary control will usually be prescribed in the parent Act … ”

    Then having thus ensured that they will be always be able to vote on statutory instruments arising from the “Great Repeal Act” they should be prepared to insist on votes, rather than just routinely allowing bundles of SI’s to be nodded through at the end of the proceedings each day without any debates let alone votes.

    Reply All SIs can be debated and voted on. The issue is whether they need the negative resolution procedure or require a positive procedure. Labour does understand that!

  26. Scrawler
    October 15, 2016

    Off Topic:

    A pitiful pathetic sight: British media aping US media’s political commentary. Utterly biased. One sided. No attempt presenting balanced analysis.

    You see British journalists and studio audiences condemning Mr Trump on a kind of synonymous theme of Miliband-not- eating-a-bacon-sandwich-with-affected-pomp-plus-a-side-order-of-sexual-innuendo-with-mental-frailty.
    Ask any of them to name five of Mr Trump’s policies or those of Mrs Clinton and their jaws would drop wide open . Then quote daft soundbites.
    Do any of them understand Trump’s references to Sanctuary Cities, or Heroin trafficking, or veterans begging for food without accommodation of any kind? Do they know anything of Mrs. Clinton’s alleged desire to control banks, to open US borders, to ban isolated individuals who lack any police support through distance in violent murderous areas from owning a gun, to fundamentally increase welfare benefits for the poor?

    No. Our media just chants nonsenses without reference to the American flawed democratic system. Worse still, our journalists appear genuinely foggy-minded to American English usage and react crankily. Scrawlers! They would never have understood Auberon Waugh. Yet he wrote in British English which for the most part is foreign to them except in literally literal terms. Good job Private Eye has cartoons and funny photos with speech bubbles for them.

    1. Mitchel
      October 15, 2016

      Reporting from the USA,Robert Hardman in today’s Daily Mail has an interesting article on the Trump campaign and the US media’s coverage of it (effectively collusion with the Clinton campaign).

    2. Timaction
      October 15, 2016

      I agree on the bias nature of the British broadcasting media in favour of Clinton in the forthcoming American election. This reflects the way the news has become more propaganda than news in the last 15-20 years. The BBC and Sky are simply awful with ITV catching them up quickly having appointed the former BBC employee Peston and the chat in’s with newsreaders opinions, not facts.
      It is the American peoples choice and the media should simply report the news.
      We witnessed this appalling behaviour with “trumped up” documentaries against UKIP and Units being created to distort news, individuals and policy in the build up to the European and General elections and the EU referendum.
      We just witnessed the biggest conspiracy by the elites, legacy party majorities, corporations, international organisations and foreign leaders ever, to try and dupe us into staying in the unelected dictatorship, called latterly the EU. It was never about trade but the creation of a superstate by stealth. Fortunately the British people saw through the deceit and it will take many years for trust to return to any of these organisations or people.

      1. Chris
        October 15, 2016

        Well said, Timaction.

  27. A different Simon
    October 15, 2016

    John ,

    Quote “all other countries have access to the single market through world trade rules” .

    Isn’t Britain a only full member of the WTO through it’s membership of the EU and not a full member in it’s own right ?

    Doesn’t that mean that although the UK would have guaranteed access , it would be on worse terms that a full member of the WTO ?

    Wouldn’t it take several months/a year even for Britain to gain it’s own full membership of the WTO ?

    PS , the slide in sterling already makes German cars which are expensive to start with 15% more expensive than in May 2016 and with higher tariffs would make them perhaps 25%+ more expensive overall .

    Personally I can’t understand the middle classes obsession with German cars but the UK is one of their best export markets . A reduction in sales here would cause redundancies in Germany .

    The EU’s animosity proves the British masses were right all along .

    Reply The UK is a founder member of WTO

    1. Denis Cooper
      October 15, 2016

      As with the EEA the UK is a WTO member state in its own sovereign right but on the premise that it is a member state of the EU. In both cases any other member state could object to the UK continuing to be treated in exactly the same way when that premise of EU membership no longer applied. Conversely, it has been reported that a number of countries around the world have already written to the EU Commission raising questions about the continuing validity of their agreements with the EU and its member states once the UK has ceased to be an EU member state. All these things potentially cut not just “both” but “many different” ways; technically the problems are easy enough to resolve, but if other EU countries or the EU institutions choose to play stupid and destructive political games and create unnecessary legal obstacles then that is another matter. However the UK would not be completely powerless, if they played those games so could we.

  28. Denis Cooper
    October 15, 2016

    “It may suit the SNP to spin the myth that the UK can stay in the single market whilst leaving the EU, but we know that is wrong.”

    This debate is bogged down in semantics. It is indeed technically wrong to say that the UK could “stay in” the Single Market after leaving the EU, although colloquially it could possibly be seen as correct.

    If you seek reliable elucidation by looking at what the Norwegian government says about Norway’s position then it is this, at least on its “official site in the UK”:

    “The European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement ensures that Norway can take part in the EU single market … ”

    Some would see a subtle distinction between “take part in”, and “be a part of”; moreover the single market is not described there as the “EEA single market”, of which Norway could be seen as a part as an EEA member state, but as the “EU single market”, of which Norway cannot be a part because it is not an EU member state.

    And then:

    “It gives our companies access to the single market and ensures that they can compete on the same terms as companies in EU countries … ”

    So Norway is not a party to the EU treaties and it is not a part of the EU or a part of the EU’s Single Market, but it is a party to the EEA Agreement and therefore it is a part of the EEA, and through that Agreement it has unrestricted access to the EU’s Single Market for those sectors covered by the EEA Agreement.

    If/when the UK leaves the EU the UK including Scotland will cease to be a part of the EU Single Market; there can be no question about that, and it was repeatedly emphasised by Remain campaigners before the referendum, for example here are both Cameron and Osborne saying it:

    The question is what kind of access to the EU Single Market we will have when we are no longer part of the EU and part of the EU Single Market, and clearly it cannot be access on similar terms to Norway’s.

  29. MickN
    October 15, 2016

    I went to bed early last night.
    I watched the BBC news with a sense of deja vu.
    There was in between the real news the same articles that I have been watching all week. A long article on something Donald Trump is alleged to have said a couple of decades ago followed by a long article on how Brexit is to be responsible for a 10% increase in the price of Marmite followed by harrowing footage more in the form of a documentary of children being pulled from the rubble in Alleppo.
    Finding Graham Norton amusing on occasion I thought I would watch his show.
    His first line was a snide pop at Trump, his second a snide pop about Brexit.
    I could take no more and hit the off button with my index finger before I felt the need to hit the centre of the screen with my size 11. It was a close run thing
    Oh and the “conservative” speaker on Questiontime next week is to be Ken Clarke.
    Can no one sort the BBC ?

    1. Chris
      October 16, 2016

      It is long overdue, re the BBC. One can only surmise that it is still in the Government’s interests to have the BBC behaving as they do?

  30. Roy Grainger
    October 15, 2016

    Off topic I warmly recommend Matthew Pariss’ Times column today as Peak Remainer, the poor chap is practically having a nervous breakdown in print.

  31. simple soul
    October 15, 2016

    My sincere sympathies to you at having to spend your days listening to the strident clamour of the SNP members. It brings to mind the old quip about the Irish members in Victorian times. “They have no idea what they want and they will stop at nothing until they get it.” Nothing has changed except the country.

    1. A different Simon
      October 15, 2016

      For a start , their BlackWatch Regiment should be restored to it’s former glory and status .

      What Westminster did to it was crass stupidity .

      The SNP don’t seem to realise that Scotland would have to give up socialism if it wanted independence to be a success .

      Start praying the England Senior Men’s team do not lose their Football WC qualifier to Scotland in November or we’ll never hear the last of it from (Sturgeon) .

  32. simple soul
    October 15, 2016

    Do you think those responsible for these matters have sufficiently considered the case for the UK applying for membership of ASEAN? Possibly this might be done on the very day we post our article 50 letter. This would be what Canning famously called calling a new world into existence to counterbalance the old.

  33. Realpolitiker
    October 15, 2016

    Hardening hearts outside Scotland within the UK are hoping Mrs Sturgeon will get her wish. A wish to take Scotland out of the UK forever. Then become an obedient EU state with every possibility of independence gone. Not even a chance of a proper devolved Parliament. No chance at all of self-rule.. The fate of Scotland will then be sealed by open door immigration which will render Scots within just a year or two an ethnic minority group within its own former country. A political minority in EU-Scotland. Mrs Sturgeon must hate her country so much. What did it do to her? Foreigners will eventually vote her out of power.

  34. Anonymous
    October 15, 2016

    After a referendum Scotland voted to remain in Britain.

    In a later referendum on the EU (enacted by Scottish MPs) the British people (including the Scottish people) voted to Leave.

    I fail to see grounds for Nicola Sturgeon demanding a second referendum for Scottish independence. She (and disgruntled Remainers) seems to think that Scotland is a separate and distinct country – a situation that her countrymen actually voted against.

  35. Margaret
    October 15, 2016

    IT seems rather telling that Mrs Sturgeon got this differentiation wrong. If those with influence get it wrong what hope have the proselytes. I excuse myself from bearing political stupidity and put it down to ignorance , something which I am not ashamed of, as one has to accept that they know little ,to begin to learn. This is why I rely on my fellow commenters and JR. The ignorance I cannot accept is those whose job it is to steer the country in a particular direction in the pretension that they have adequate knowledge to do the right thing.

  36. JoolsB
    October 15, 2016

    When are we English going to rise up and say we have had enough of being treated like fourth class citizens in our own country by the Con/Lab/Lib parties? The Conservatives in particular, who only exist thanks to England, deserve extra contempt for deliberately ignoring the English Question. They will continue to get away with their blatant discrimination against our young, our elderly and our sick until we say enough is enough and demand equality with what Scotland, Wales & NI already enjoy, and that’s before our Tory Government is about to hand them even more powers, all denied to England of course.

  37. Lindsay McDougall
    October 15, 2016

    If only the SNP were the only people who want to force us into the EEA Norway style. There’s most of the Labour and LibDem parliamentary parties, the House of Lords, the Governor of the Bank of England, that part of big business that lobbies hard in Brussels to rig markets in their favour, the CEO of the IMF, the BBC, and even some Conservative back benchers (enough to threaten our majority).

    We need to do two things. The first is to win the economic argument or rather the financial argument. This is the one big thing that the Vote Leave campaign failed to do. Only Patrick Minford attempted it and he didn’t get much help. The task is simply to set down all the things that will be better once we are out of the EU – no contributions to Brussels, freedom to do trade deals with the rest of the world, recovering our fishing grounds etc., and add them up.

    The other task is personal and unpleasant. There must be a cleansing of the Augean stables, of the Commons via deselection and elections, of the Lords by appointing 500 Eurosceptic peers, and of meddling international organisations by stopping our contributions to them.

  38. fedupsoutherner
    October 15, 2016

    John, I shared your article today with another Scottish friend and this is what he sent me back.

    Thanks for sharing – Redwood is 100% correct. However, the big bloody problem is that the SNP continually talk nonsense and tell downright lies in order to pursue their one aim – independence! Added to this is the problem of a huge chunk of the Scottish problem are so adamantly anti Tory that they will believe what Sturgeon says rather than what Redwood says and another chunk of the population want independence at any cost.

    Redwood obviously has some understanding of the SNP but does not see them for what they really are – a CULT! They are not a government in the conventional sense – everything thing they do and say is in pursuit of the one goal – independence!

    That said, I believe that more and more Scottish residents are seeing through them and want nothing to do with them – I also sense that the media is beginning to turn a bit – e.g. the Scotsman letters pages are predominantly anti SNP and their editorials are becoming more critical. The Police Federation is also up in arms at the government – as are many councils (non SNP controlled, of course). Some SNP MPs and MSPs are also starting to question the leadership.

    At least some people are starting to see the SNP for what they really are.

  39. graham1946
    October 15, 2016

    I listened to Any Questions this afternoon and once again was struck at how insular and self absorbed the Scots are. Just about whole programme was about Scotland and what Scotland wanted.

    Other weeks when the programme comes from any English town we get questions on all sorts of national and international subjects. The Scots have only one view – the Scots and getting England to pay for their excesses.

  40. turboterrier
    October 15, 2016


    Really appreciate it is your ball game and your ball but it seems that no matter what I send in the majority of my entries never see the light of day. I have taken to copying them and sending them around to others on the site by e mail just for some feedback and as none have come back with anything untoward especially in the light of some of the comments you actually do print I really find it odd to say the least.

    My view are based upon a person who lives and run a business in dictatorship Scotland that has had his property devalued by over £70k due to windfarms and seen his business over the last five years reduce due to the impact of demand on holiday cottage rentals due to a proliferation of windfarms in the south western corner of the country.

    We see the destructive impact of the SNP with all their policies and the real inefficiency of these turbines and how they impact on communities splitting them down the middle of winners if you have them on your land and losers for all of those that don’t. This is the real everyday Scotland and it sucks not what politicians in Westminster think it may be.

    That is why this government wants to get us out of Europe PBQ and start removing all these naff subsidies that are in real terms are doing three fifths of naff all. A lot of people voted to remain in the union and at the moment the general perception is we are expendable and nobody really gives a stuff as they keep bowing down to Sturgeon and her cohorts. The 56 at Westminster are wasting thousands on ridiculous debates that have no relevance in the real world added (words left out ed) All paid for by the hard working tax payers of this country

    Reply Try posting shorter pieces without unsubstantiated allegations or too many prejudicial adjectives. Overstatement can detract from the force of an argument.

  41. Lindsay McDougall
    October 16, 2016

    We should remind the SNP that Scotland’s present constitutional status is a province of the United Kingdom and that the United Kingdom Government will determine under what circumstances there will be a second Scottish Independence referendum.

    The first is that the SNP will need to demonstrate its continuing popularity in the Westminster elections of 2020 and 2025, and in the corresponding Holyrood elections.

    The second is that the SNP must accept what kind of independence is on offer and that a summary of this must appear on the ballot paper. It would be a far cry from the parasitic Devomax that they crave for, and would have the following characteristics:
    – No shared monarchy
    – No shared currency
    – No Barnett formula fiscal transfers or anything like them
    – No representation at Westminster
    – The England/Scotland border to become a frontier for immigration control
    – No defence alliance if we are forced to remove our Nukes

    Over to you, Nicola

    1. rose
      October 16, 2016

      Scotland is a kingdom in union with the kingdom of England and sharing the same monarch. Scots are subjects of Her Majesty, not of the English Civil Service, and they have a separate legal system and Church.
      But I share your impatience with the SNP.

  42. Norman
    October 16, 2016

    Of course, the EU has an interest in dividing and ruling, so the SNP must be really on message from an EU federalist perspective – they are exploiting old historical fault-lines. Really sad, and one hopes to see a reversal, as we, God willing, against all odds at last break free from this intuitive, EU ‘policy-craft’.
    Then, I would rather we build bridges, and integrate the UK as much as possible. Sorry, I am no fan of Devolution, and do not think, in the end, its serves the constituent nations well.

  43. ChrisS
    October 16, 2016

    There has been far to much pandering to Scotland.

    Mrs May must call Sturgeon’s bluff. She will never call another referendum while they are running a £15bn deficit and she has no answers to any of the questions they failed to address last time. The North Sea oil industry is never going to recover sufficiently to balance the books. As fast as the oil price rises, if it does, there will be less oil to pump.

    As for additional powers after Brexit, any powers agreed must be accompanied by full fiscal autonomy and no subsidy from England. There can be little doubt that there is a big majority in England to see Scotland cut loose on its own financially, especially why we have to put up with continuous insults and sniping from North of the Border.

    How can any UK Government allow Scotland to run a £15bn, 10% deficit, paid for by England and used to give benefits to Scottish people that are not available to those that pay for it all ?

    That is a scandal.

    1. ChrisS
      October 16, 2016

      Well worth watching Sturgeon’s car crash interview with ITN’s Peter Smith which took place on Friday.

      Sturgeon had no answer to his insistent questioning over the deficit, even asking him to put the issue to one side during the exchanges. To his credit, he kept on and brought her to silence.

      She won’t win another referendum like this !

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