Dr Roy Spendlove moves to the Brexit department

When you get one leak, suddenly another turns up. Dr Roy Spendlove has apparently written back to Dame Lucy to tell her why he has moved departments.

Dear Lucy

I thought I should let you know privately my reasons for putting in for a transfer to the Brexit department. I can assure you I was not unhappy working for you and will be sad to go. I felt, however, that it was important the new Department should have some people like me well versed in the ways of the EU. They need to understand the immense complexities of the relationship, and appreciate the difficulty of severing these important links.
It was not as easy as I expected securing the transfer. There was a surprising amount of interest in the jobs. I guess it was the thought of working closely with Ministers in a new venture, based in Downing Street itself. Fortunately I can speak a bit of Brexit, which I needed to do to secure my place. I studied what these Ministers had been saying on the Leave campaign, as I do need to know where they are coming from if I am to give them hard hitting advice that is grown up and realistic.
I am pleased to report that it has been decided that we will need a substantial staff to deal with all the aspects of the relationship, though I think current numbers will prove inadequate and we will need to revert on that when it becomes clearer just how much is at stake here. I am also pleased to report on this occasion that we will be using external consultants, as they may assist us in mapping all of the difficulties. They also include a large number of Remain voters who understood in advance the magnitude of the task.
I will not be allowed to offer a running commentary on the negotiations. There are quite strict rules about all that. However, as the negotiations get underway there will be plenty of people in business, in the European Parliament and in the Commission who will want to put out their view of it all, which may in due course force some kind of reply from ourselves. In the meantime the danger for the government is a continuous and one sided briefing about where we are, coming from those on the continent who want to make it painful for the UK. We have warned them this could be the result of their policy.
We are proposing that the government shows flexibility on migration, on budget contributions and the supremacy of UK laws in order to secure continuing membership of the single market. I can’t believe they think we can simply turn our backs on the whole thing. There will be powerful voices for compromise, and many pieces of advice stressing the weakness of the UK position.
The Department has accepted the need to talk widely to people in business, the academic world and the arts about what they fear and what they need from the discussions. I am quietly confident that we will get across the need to have very wide ranging negotiations where all aspects of our relationship with the EU are on the table, and where therefore there has to be very thorough examination of all the downsides before committing ourselves to an irreversible course.I am sure the rest if tge EU is watching listeningvery carefully as business and UK commentators point out all the problems and troubles with our exposed position, which will push us to Brexit lite. As the Canadian trade deal showed, these apparently straightforward things can take seven years, and may still have an unexpected hiccup in the end. Rome was not built in a day, and the Treaty of Rome cannot be repealed in a day, whatever some in Parliament may wish.




  1. Lifelogic
    October 30, 2016

    I am sure this is almost exactly what is happening in the civil service. Will the ex(?) remainer T May be strong and determined enough to defeat them? I have considerable doubts.

    Two excellent pieces from Matt Ridley a couple of days back and C Booker today on the disaster that is UK energy policy and the vast cost of this economic lunacy. Just where does our government stand on this? Are they going to continue to tip money down the drain on this insane job destroying, expensive & unreliable agenda? Why no comment from government on the bonkers and hugely harmful Uber ruling? Surely they need to mitigate the damage from this ruling as soon as possible.

    1. Lifelogic
      October 30, 2016

      I see that a headline in the Telegraph business section today is:

      Inconceivable lagoon will not get the green light, says tidal power boss

      Let us hope that he is wrong. Surely Theresa May’s government is not going to show us all, yet again, that it has no grasp of economics, science, engineering or common sense.

      The project is, like nearly all of the totally misnamed “renewables” an economic nonsense. It needs huge tax payer subsidy and will thus be a net destroyer of jobs for the UK. May has made far too many duff economic decisions already for comfort, surely not another one on the way?

      1. fedupsoutherner
        October 30, 2016


        ‘The project is, like nearly all of the totally misnamed “renewables” an economic nonsense. It needs huge tax payer subsidy and will thus be a net destroyer of jobs for the UK. May has made far too many duff economic decisions already for comfort, surely not another one on the way?’

      2. stred
        October 31, 2016

        This chart shows tidal and wave as by far the most expensive form of generation. Here we go again. Poor dears just don’t get anything technical.


        1. Hope
          October 31, 2016

          What are we to make of a May supporting Carney? That he is doing a good job conditioning the minds to scare people to stay in the EU? He is doing a good job to talk the country down or devaluing the pound?

          The solution is for May and Carney to be sacked.

        2. stred
          October 31, 2016

          Note that the UK is also choosing offshore wind as it is also very expensive, more than nuclear, and intermittent, also needing renewal after 15-20 years.

    2. Hope
      October 30, 2016

      There is a a lot of talk that Greg Clarke meant the UK would be staying in the customs union and single market as part of the assurances to a Nissan. Is this correct ? Cable thinks the same when he was asked.

      I think you need to demand this is not the case as 17.4 million of us voted otherwise. Meanwhile other political traitors are repeating the vote to be overturned. Get rid of the uncertainty and send in article 50 forthwith.

      Reply No, not true

      1. acorn
        October 30, 2016

        I am assuming JR, that Mrs May’s Article 50 button push, awaits a complete set of tariff schedules being prepared, by the techies, by end of March 2017???

        As said on brexitcentral.com , “… the UK could adopt the EU Common Customs Tariffs (CCT) on an [WTO] MFN basis.” [The CCT being the EU acting as the “29th member” of the EU.]

        “In a speech to the WTO on 27th September, Dr Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade, seemed to indicate that this was the option the UK planned to adopt. For agrifood products generally, and especially for those subject to tariff peaks, this would mean very significant costs and supply chain disruption.”

        “The Article 50 negotiations are not simply about extracting the UK from the EU, but about replacing current UK-EU legal relations with new ones. In order to have any trade relationship at all, the UK cannot simply sever ties with the EU, it needs to replace the current legal framework with a new one within which trade can take place.”

        As one of my mentors told me a long while back. “If you are not confused by the situation, then you don’t understand the system.”

        In the clear cool light of the post Brexit referendum, it is becoming obvious that referendums, give a wild card result from a proletariat, that does not understand the detailed implications of the question and prefers to answer its own question instead. They will fall foul of political snake oil salesman and media Barons with their own agenda for the 1% elite.

        If this proves anything, it is that representative democracy still beats direct democracy, even Swiss style. You have to have a highly educated citizens to make referendums work for the good of society.

      2. Lifelogic
        October 30, 2016

        To reply:- well we shall see.

        I have little confidence in geographer T May and what little I have declines by the day. If she gives the go ahead to the absurd “lagoon” in Wales and if Hammond fails to undo most of the damaging Osborne tax & tax complexity increases then we will know for sure she is just another Heath, Major, Cameron faux Tory.

        Some drivel about modern day slavery in the fishing industry and expensive boats for the “Border Agency” on Country File just now. What planet is the government/BBC on? It is rather like T May’s absurd & offensive mobile truck “Go Home Illegals” adverts.

        PR over reality & substance every time, just like Cameron.

        1. Hope
          October 31, 2016

          Rather than spend £14 billion each on overseas aid the money could be used for a few frigates or destroyers to protect the country.

    3. turboterrier
      October 30, 2016

      @ Lifelogic

      Are they going to continue to tip money down the drain on this insane job destroying, expensive & unreliable agenda?

      Don’t be silly, cause they will.

      Too scared to admit they got it all so wrong and even more afraid of being ripped to pieces by the Greens and the BBC. They haven’t got a clue.

    4. Ed Mahony
      October 30, 2016

      ‘Why no comment from government on the bonkers and hugely harmful Uber ruling?’

      – Why is it bonkers?
      We need to give the red-carpet treatment to car manufacturers and others in the UK exporting goods and services abroad. Not to Uber. Although they’re not making much money at moment, if they do in future, a large chunk of it will go to multi-millionaires in California as opposed to millionaires here in the UK, taxi drivers and the Inland Revenue.

      1. Anonymous
        October 30, 2016

        Uber relies on ‘cheap’ migrant labour which is having their meagre wages topped up in various benefits paid by the taxpayer.

        I was driven by one who had 9 kids and I asked how he could possibly afford it (I know I couldn’t.) He said (benefits ed)

        I have no issue with returning the balance in favour of knowledged Hackney carriage drivers, whose simple wish is to make a self funded living from their trade.

        1. Ed Mahony
          October 31, 2016

          ‘Uber relies on ‘cheap’ migrant labour which is having their meagre wages topped up in various benefits paid by the taxpayer’

          – and then the profits go to California – no training, skills or exporting of goods involved.
          Make Uber’s management sweat for their money … And in the meantime, may the government support entrepreneurs and companies here in this country, leading to exports and proper jobs here for our British workers!

          (Whilst also giving the red-carpet treatment to foreign companies such as Nissan, providing great jobs and things to export, as opposed to Uber).

      2. Denis Cooper
        October 31, 2016

        We don’t yet know for sure what kind of red-carpet treatment we may have to give to car manufacturers and others in the UK exporting goods and services to the EU, because we don’t know for sure whether your chums in the EU will carry out their threats of imposing trade sanctions because we have voted to leave the EU or they will eventually think better of it.

        Today’s letters in the Telegraph are headlined:

        “Brexit negotiators cannot afford to ignore the markets on our doorstep”.

        It would be interesting to know just how many people in the UK believe that we should ignore the markets on our doorstep, given that the initiatives for obstructing our access to those markets seem to be coming from abroad, even if they find some unpatriotic sympathisers in this country.

  2. Jerry
    October 30, 2016

    For someone who only a week ago informed us that he was very busy on parliamentary and constituency work you seem to have found rather to much free time in the last four days! Or perhaps you are just honing your writing skills for your impending memories – but will we learn why you did not resign after your expert, and correct, advice with regards not signing up to the SEA was rebuffed by Mrs Thatcher?

    But just remember John, or perhaps this should be directed towards your doting readers, jest and farce is so often rooted in hard but uncomfortable truths, after all wasn’t the character of ‘Basil Fawlty’ based upon a real hotelier…

    1. James Matthews
      October 30, 2016

      The hard but uncomfortable truth in this case being the capacity of Civil Servants to obstruct actions for which they have no enthusiasm. I an sure Mr Redwood needs no advice on this.

      Most of us grateful for his work this weekend.

      1. Jerry
        October 30, 2016

        @James Matthews; Or for some who support Brexit to simply not understand the complexities of both leaving the EU, (effectively) rejoining the WTO and then negotiating trade agreements as a sovereign nation once again – trade agreements, humbug, who needs then you might cry, and you might be right but all the time other nations want to use them so must we.

        1. Deborah
          October 31, 2016

          @Jerry; Or for some who support Remain and cannot accept they lost the democratic vote, who have so little faith in this country (that they they are paid to serve), considering it to be just a pathetic, incompetent has- been-sovereign nation, that they refuse to accept and rise to the challenge of reasserting our sovereign rights, preferring instead to sneak around behind the scenes using their position to undermine the will of the people.
          I too am grateful for John Redwood’s work. Shame on you, Jerry.

          1. Jerry
            October 31, 2016

            @Deborah; Funny how right-wing Brexiteers keep talking about the democratic vote but then decry anyone who suggests that there should either be further parliamentary votes or referenda, you talk of sovereign rights (being returned to the UK) but are scared of allowing the UK parliament to use those rights in perhaps binding vote never mind allowing the people to decide what Brexit should be.

            As for Mr Redwood’s work, both here and in parliament I to am very grateful, it is usually great insight, but unlike you I do not hang on his ever word because it is (at the end of the day) not just his personal opinion but a partisan one at that.

            So if there is any “shame” it is on the likes of yourself, that you talk about democracy but then so openly detest others having the democratic right to disagree with those opinions and views you subscribe to personally…

          2. zorro
            November 1, 2016

            Thumbs up aplenty Deborah!

            Jerry, read what the WTO president says about our membership….. and weep!


  3. Anonymous
    October 30, 2016

    The Mail on Sunday is leading with “The price of a cup of tea going up is a true measure of the costs of Brexit” (to that effect)

    To which I would reply, national freedom bought so cheaply ? Usually we have to achieve that sort of thing through war, not the ballot box and a bit of economic hardship !

    Please extend to your sources that the ‘child’ migrant fiasco is not about foreign men trying to cheat the system but our own ruling elite trying to cheat us. The BBC fool no-one but themselves when they call these men ‘children’. Incidentally, they often call the Rotherham victims ‘teenagers’.

    This issue, the habitual cheating and smearing against the British public by our own establishment and celebrity class – like no other issue – is increasing the desire for fast Brexit.

    The problem with the ruling elite is that it is NOT as clever as it thinks.

  4. TimmyTime
    October 30, 2016

    Off Topic
    Today’s internet headlines.

    “What time did the clocks go back in the UK last night – and why do we have Daylight Saving Time?”

    “You’ll get an extra hour in bed in the morning as British Summer Time officially ends”

    “Is it time for a time-shift?”

    A whole lifetime, a boredom inflicted twice per year. A time (s) when journalists can take a day off and simply regurgitate last year’s nonsense.

    It is all testament to British indecisiveness and petty argument lasting a generation and more.

    1. Denis Cooper
      October 30, 2016

      And no mention of the fact that while we are in the EU we cannot change it anyway, not unless Parliament expressly decides to disapply the Directive.


      I certainly wouldn’t leave the EU merely to regain control of our clocks, it is just one of many such minor irritants; but it is a briefly topical example of the many areas of everyday life where at some future point we will have to resume making our own national decisions, rather than automatically accepting EU decisions taken by transnational majority voting. But I guess that even we have left the EU we will stick with the EU prescription for quite a few years.

    2. Brigham
      October 30, 2016

      I remember during WW2 double British Summertime. A two hour time change. As a small boy I hated going to bed in, as it seemed to me, the middle of the afternoon.

    3. turboterrier
      October 30, 2016

      @ TimmyTime

      testament to British indecisiveness and petty argument.

      Bit like getting out of Europe then.

      1. TimmyTime
        October 30, 2016


        In all fairness, there was a vote to enter the Common Market.It was Enter. It was writ plain on the gates to the hell that it would get more and more intrusive. Bit like the British, oh me or my, it’s not fair, it’s not fair, it’s quite warm in hell and I thought it would be like a beach in Tunisia. The British can be slow, so slow, like a nationalised railway or a LibDem speech

        1. Brigham
          October 30, 2016

          I remember somebody in 1939 thought the British were slow.

        2. Denis Cooper
          October 31, 2016

          “In all fairness, there was a vote to enter the Common Market.”

          If by that you mean the 1975 referendum, that was on whether to stay in not on whether to join.

  5. David in England
    October 30, 2016

    Once Dr Roy and his mates have been identified, and he has given several helpful clues in his letter, it would be wise to give them the opportunity to spend more time with their families. That would allow the democrats and grown ups to get on with making a smooth Brexit without unnecessary complexity .

    1. Deborah
      October 31, 2016

      There has long been talk of moving some of the Governement offices to the provinces where rents and salaries are cheaper. Isn’t it time to set up a new “missionary” government office in the provinces where such important people as Dr Roy could mingle with the locals (who clearly do not understand the complexities) and spread the good word? Perhaps relocation to Stoke or Hull would give them an opportunity to exercise their extensive diplomatic skills?

    2. bratwurst
      October 31, 2016

      “That would allow the democrats and grown ups to get on with making a smooth Brexit without unnecessary complexity .”

      I think you mean “will allow the uninformed to screw up the UK economy”

      Be thankful for people like Roy Spendlove- they actually know what they are talking about.

  6. Sara
    October 30, 2016

    This is tragically funny. Tragic because it’s a perfect caricature of senior civil servants, and comic because we have to laugh or we’d cry.

    What your ‘leaks’ of Dame Doolittle’s and Dr Spendlove’s letters demonstrate so colourfully is that Article 50 should be invoked on New Year’s Eve this year, which makes it much easier for everyone because of the EU accounting year.

    Then if Mr Davis won’t do it, you and someone like Peter Lilley should go to Brussels, look them in the eye, and tell them that they can continue their one-sided trade with us without tariffs if they want – take it or leave it.

    No payments, no jurisdiction of ECJ or EU laws or treaties in any way, no immigration compromises, nothing. Just normal trade the way the rest of the world does it. The UK conforms fully to all their rules, as the Great Repeal Bill will transpose all EU nonsense into UK law anyway, so they have nothing to complain about.


    1. Hope
      October 30, 2016

      Of course it is not difficult as you suggest and anyone agreeing a deal on a personal basis would take the same course. This is about smoke and mirrors by EU Tory May to con the public how difficult the negotiation is and how hard they tried but had to accept associated membership or the world would end. No one would accept Carney’s behaviour as an employee. He would be told to get in line or jog off. The same with Hammond.

      Rudd would need gentle correction from her pro EU stance- who continues mass immigration under the guise of refugees from Calais.nshe even told reporters last week she was always careful in the language she used, did she forget her language of hatred or bile towards Boris in the TV debate only a few months ago?

      May claiming the UK would play a full part of the EU while it remains should be a worry to every and sheer delight to Dearlove. This means continuing HS2, energy policy madness, mass immigration, handing over billions of our taxes to be wasted, £2 billion of overseas aid handed to the EU to promote exotic mating programmes for fish etc. And she readily accepts being excluded from EU meetings! She, like Cameron, happy to stand by while Hollande and others make threats to our nation!
      Dearlove must be wetting himself with delight at the freedom he has to cause further misery to the UK public with May in charge.

    2. turboterrier
      October 30, 2016

      @ Sara

      Then if Mr Davis won’t do it, you and someone like Peter Lilley should go to Brussels,

      You are joking, Mother Teresa wouldn’t let them. Basically she can’t make up her mind what she wants for them or us

    3. stred
      October 31, 2016

      Lord Kerr is the leading judge/civil servant? leading the Lords Committee into Brexit. I found this lecture, in which he explains his justification for judges using their own conscience- or beliefs.Utter anti- parliamentary arrogance. Refer to the last paragraph. A brilliant mind misused.

    October 30, 2016

    Mild mostly self-suffocated chuckles are in many people’s experiences on hearing their CEO and equivalent saying as exasperation and proof of his labours: “Do you know I have 50, yes fifty emails waiting for me when I get to work! It takes me a whole morning to get through them.” ( Looks at faces around him for appreciation and disbelief at his horrendous workload. )
    Naturally everyone under him in the multi-million pound company gets far more emails, usually pointless and time-consuming every day which they must deal with in addition to work. They cannot take a morning to deal with them and it is true, I dare say, with the likes of Dr Roy Spendlove. The rot starts at the top in many walks of life and “cascades down ” ( an IN phrase ).
    It was stereotypically nationalised industries and Local Authorities who were chockablock with such salary-consuming layabouts. Local Authorities still breed them battery hen fashion. But private companies are not to be out done and having these layabouts uselessly stuck at the top. Free enterprise emailers ( FEEs )

  8. T Southwell
    October 30, 2016

    Someone else who obviously receives largess from the system.

    1. graham1946
      October 30, 2016

      Yes, another such, Nick Clegg is at it again today, saying we must have a soft Brexit and keep paying up and really being a non influential member, or if we are to have a hard Brexit we must have another referendum.

      This is typical of the EU infection, but I daresay if my lucrative EU pension depended upon saying all this nonsense, I’d probably do it , but as it is I am a payer, not a receiver.

      I do think all those like Clegg, Mandelson, the Kinnocks and all other supplicants of the EU should have their payments announced every time they venture into the news with their pro EU views.

      1. peter
        October 30, 2016

        cant disagree with that. Anyone who spouts their views in the media should have a kin of pre amble explaining their vested interests

  9. Richard1
    October 30, 2016

    90% of Uber drivers are reportedly perfectly happy with their situation as self-employed capitalists and have no wish to be quasi-unionised by the GMB and left-leaning judges. I’ve never met one who said he wasn’t happy with the set-up. the Government needs to change / clarify the law in order to prevent the statist left from stifling innovation in this way. No point leaving the EU at all if we have laws working like this.

    1. Lifelogic
      October 30, 2016

      Indeed the uncertainly is hugely damaging and not just for Uber. I assume Uber will win on appeal or re-arrange things a bit, perhaps spitting things up into payment system, marketing system, navigation system (perhaps as three companies) then the bonkers tribunals can try to decide who employs the driver? Is it one of the three above or perhaps the manufacturer of the car, the supplier of the petrol, the smart phone they use or even the customer who want the ride?

      We seem to be governed by complete and utter idiots. No one forces driver to buy the uber service. If they did not like the terms they should have walked away. It is a contract freely entered into and the government should get lost.

      Still lots more parasitic jobs for lawyers, bureaucrats and tribunals and lots less overall UK productivity. We thus become even less competitive. Hammond wanted higher productivity and the state sector does this!

    2. Jerry
      October 30, 2016

      @Richard1; But surely if 90% of Uber drivers think they are happy being self employed then they are wrong as they do not actually understand what being self employed means! Also 99.99% of people in the old USSR were also happy with communism, or so we (and they) were told, should we celibate communion simply because such regimes extolled its virtues?…

      the Government needs to change / clarify the law in order to prevent the statist left from stifling innovation in this way.”

      You do realise that regulation of taxis (and a lot more bedsides) was first brought in by the statist right because they realised that a free for all dog-eat-dog market was neither good for the customer or the capitalist entrepreneur and that is the real stifling of innovation.

    3. graham1946
      October 30, 2016

      I can’t understand the problem. When you register as self employed, the Revenue have a very simple and clear definition of what this means – from memory it is something like you must be in charge of the business, have full decision making discretion over the work taken and when done, you take responsibility for the business and its success or failure, among other things. Clearly the drivers do not have any management control of Uber.

      You can’t be self employed just because you say you are, to obtain preferential NIC and tax arrangements which en employee cannot claim (and the self employed cannot claim unemployment benefit and much else besides). If you work predominantly for one firm, doing only their business you must be employed. The judges are not left wing, just clarifying the law. If that needs changing then that is a different matter. It’s been this way for all my working life when I spent most of it as self employed and as employer.

      1. Richard1
        October 30, 2016

        The problem is many Uber drivers do different things and use Uber to fill in. It is the flexibility which appeals both to them and to Uber. If the full panoply of employment law starts applying to them there will be 2 results – the price of Ubers will go up and there will be far fewer opportunities for innovative businesses requiring and able to use such labour resource – both Uber and others. Great, the GMB will probably say, let everyone work for a state owned or at least state regulated enterprise with prices & incomes and conditions determined by agreement between them and the government. It’s not in consumers’ interest and therefore not in Society’s.

        1. graham1946
          October 31, 2016

          That’s no excuse to allow law breaking. Every business can claim that if they didn’t have to pay Employer’s NIC, holiday pay, sick pay and all the rest and if they could make their employees self employed they would be more competitive. Uber are just sidestepping their obligations according to the judge and as a multi billion pound organisation are costing the exchequer loads of money which ultimately you and I have to make up.

        2. Jerry
          October 31, 2016

          @Richard1; That argument has been tested in a court of law, the facts are that Uber drivers do not have the same flexibility to decide when and were to work etc. as you wish to believe – no doubt as a user of Uber or perhaps investor…

          Also innovative businesses doesn’t just equal being “Cheap”, indeed it is often the exact opposite [1], stop trying to conflate two different issues. If those behind Uber can not make it pay because employment laws, regulation or what ever then they are free to innovate and invest in some other business model.

          [1] for example Apple Inc is a innovative business, but no one would claim that their innovative products or business models are cheap, indeed there is often a hefty price premium yet they have changed the entire landscape of personal computing and mobile telecoms

  10. Know-Dice
    October 30, 2016

    He sounds more like a “fifth columnist” than somebody who is going to work for getting the best deal for the UK from any negotiations.

    We really don’t need people like this in the Brexit department, do we?

    This is all very worrying as the “Establishment” closes ranks…

  11. AnarchoMoaner
    October 30, 2016

    Mrs May told Parliament, in triumph, more people were employed now doing heaven knows what in regard to Brexit. Nods, so many nodding nods, on the Tory Front Bench nodded and smiled as though the Holy Grail had been found stuffed at the back of a House of Lord’s toilet along with the usual odd books with photos.

    Bigger departments and longer paragraphs and sentences are so often heralded as progress. As with one simple Why did the chicken cross the road question, a very senior colleague of mine decided to hold a group discussion of senior people within my earshot and disapproving glance and, as he put it with a sideways smirk to me “What we need to do is discuss all the parameters before we can even begin to understand the problem let alone do anything about it.” He may have got a MBE by now. He was working as hard as most everyone else who gets it via Local Authority recommendation and impartial Labour Party scrutiny.

  12. The PrangWizard
    October 30, 2016

    Sky News did a short piece on how well Blackpool’s tourism is doing after the fall in the pound.

    The reporter stated though that it had had received much ‘European money’ to help its development in recent years. If was left to an interview with a local stallholder, I think, who said we send more money to the EU than we get back and that we will have that to spend when we leave.

    The reporter should have stated the financial facts as they can quite easily edit that interview out in future re-runs of the piece if they choose to do so.

    1. Lifelogic
      October 30, 2016

      Indeed they can & do always use edits to give exactly the line the BBC wants to project.

      It is always the same – pro the EU, big government, magic money tree, green crap, climate alarmism, bikes & tenants and always anti landlord, cars, planes, bankers, the rich, rational and hard working, planes, cars & trucks.

  13. bratwurst
    October 30, 2016

    More common sense from a civil servant! It does begin to look as though common sense & acceptance of reality are beginning to gain ground in this. We may yet see a successful Brexit that doesn’t damage us significantly.

  14. zorro
    October 30, 2016

    Indeed, when you at the background of some of those in the Brexit department these fears are not mislaid! Please keep them very accountable, and they love mapping complexity (particularly the consultants) as it is a licence to print money…..


  15. formula57
    October 30, 2016

    I for one am not at all surprised that Spendlove has crawled from beneath his stone to board the Brexit gravy train. More staff, more problems, more advice, procrastination galore and all with the glorious benefit of directing external consultants who will be able either to echo Spendlove’s wishes or take the blame as needs drive.

    Is it true Spendlove is working on a proposal to retain the Brexit department post actually leaving, although with necessarily increased budget and staff, as it acts as a monitoring unit on EU liason in the future?

  16. Ex-expat Colin
    October 30, 2016

    Whats more negative than negative…negative++ ?

    1. Simon Platt
      October 31, 2016


  17. Short Cummings
    October 30, 2016

    Dr Spendlove needs to take a leaf out of Local Authority thrifty practice.
    Pick out his relations and friends and friends and relations of his relations and friends, and deeply consider if it is more economical for them to work from home.
    It cuts down on office space. No-one sees what they do so work of the most vital importance can be attributed to them at the click of the mouse and a cut-and-paste if questions are asked.
    They can also apply and get a “Working from Home Allowance” ( tax-deductible too. ) Most important of all, other office based staff will not lose motivation to work by seeing them doing nothing but polish their nails and go to the private gym to lose weight on lengthy lunch-hours.
    Oh, the work????. Well Dr Spendlove can come to some compromise on that one if he employs the sons and daughters of his superiors or the sons and daughters of their friends which is harder to trace by any would-be-journalist-cum-investigator.
    Oh Brexit. It will take a long time, obviously.

  18. Antisthenes
    October 30, 2016

    Dr Spendlove epitomises the mind set of so many, conventional thinking. So often a barrier to achieving satisfactory outcomes. It is especially prevalent in the public sector as the incentives are not there to be efficient and innovative. If the approach to Brexit is as Spendlove believes it must be then it will fail by being bogged down in years of wrangling and legal red tape. It will be never ending meetings, long waits for decisions that never come or are perverse, tea, biscuits, off the record briefings and spin which of course civil servants revel in. That will delight remainers and Brussels and cause anguish, disappoint and moral being eviscerated for everyone else. A veritable cauldron of opportunities to scupper Brexit altogether.

    You have set out the means to circumvent this scenario but as it does not fit in with conventional thought it is most unlikely to be adopted. Theresa May and the Brexit three have to be as convinced as you about the dangers of Brexit negotiations applying conventional means and go for your more radical approach. If they go for the conventional approach the best they are likely to achieve is something like the EFTA/EEA solution as sticking out for more will take far to long to be practicable.

  19. Dave Andrews
    October 30, 2016

    We are told by some that exiting the EU will be difficult and complex, and by others it will be not that difficult.
    Can we have a schedule of works for the process, detailing where the problems lie, whether they are political or practical? We can then have an informed understanding of the challenges. At present, the process is vague.

    1. Denis Cooper
      October 30, 2016

      The apparently insurmountable problems are political, not legal or practical. We want to carry on trading with them without introducing any new barriers, but they don’t want to trade with us in the same way unless all of their citizens continue to have the automatic right to come and live in our country.

      1. Deborah
        October 31, 2016

        It seems to me the apparent insurmountable problem is the political will to get on and do it.

  20. Denis Cooper
    October 30, 2016

    “However, as the negotiations get underway there will be plenty of people in business, in the European Parliament and in the Commission who will want to put out their view of it all, which may in due course force some kind of reply from ourselves.”

    Leading continental politicians have already given the most important part of their view, which is that the EU Single Market is founded on four fundamental freedoms not just three, and those four freedoms are indivisible, and they will readily accept significant economic losses and calmly break their EU treaties and wider “international law” in defence of that geopolitical, but quasi-religious, dogma.

    The question is whether the British people have the stomach for this fight which they are not seeking, or they would prefer to give in to bullying and try to appease the bullies.

    1. fedupsoutherner
      October 30, 2016

      @Dennis Cooper

      I know where I stand. I would rather my pound didn’t buy so many euros/dollars and that we had a bit of inflation rather than be under the thumb of the tyrants in the EU. I feel that some of the problems we are experiencing will be short lived anyway and some were avoidable but Carney and Hammond have made things worse. Still, I suppose they want to punish us all for making the ‘wrong’ decision.

      1. Denis Cooper
        October 31, 2016

        I think that when potential problems are seen in a proper perspective then most of them turn out to be vastly, and deliberately, exaggerated.

    2. Deborah
      October 31, 2016

      Against the backdrop of Project Fear the British people made it clear they have the stomach for it. It is the politicians who lack courage.

  21. Chris S
    October 30, 2016

    This is a very good impression of how the current batch of Sir Humphries are trying to push our Brexit ministers ably assisted by the entire Remain establishment.

    To get the very best out of Brexit we must be free to do our own trade deals and that means we have to be outside the Single Market and the Customs Union. Nothing less will do. Mandleson knows full well that this is the case yet he is pushing for us to stay in both because it would mean we will not really be leaving the EU.

    His ilk are desperate for us not to succeed because if we are seen to be more successful outside the EU that will almost certainly mean the end of the whole sorry edifice.

    The first sign of success will be when we sign the first trade deals with Australia, New Zealand and Canada that should be ready to be signed the day after we formally leave.

    That will really demonstrate just how unwieldy it is to try and get agreement between 27 countries and will cause the more trade oriented states amongst the 27 to question continuing membership

  22. acorn
    October 30, 2016

    JR, the word is, Dr Roy has left the Department of Smoke and Mirrors after an altercation with the National Accounts boys and girls!

    A couple of days back I commented on your post concerning BoE additional monetary QE, TFS and other antics; and keeping them off the Chancellors fiscal (budget) deficit. Apparently, Roy [expletive deleted] and the techies won. See the following that supports my comment:


  23. Bob
    October 30, 2016

    Westminster Swamp needs draining.

  24. Lifelogic
    October 30, 2016

    The massively anti-grammar school, Sir Michael Wilshaw was very unimpressive on Marr this morning. He even seemed to think education now is better than we ever had. Just how deluded can one be?

    Six in ten now get the top GCSE’s he claims, I assume by “top” he means A* to C. But he surely he must know that this is entirely due to the massive lowering of standards, the pass rates and the quality of the exams. Just look at maths (and science) O level exams for the sixties and seventies and compare to current exams, the difference is huge. Then you have the pass rate distortions on top.

    Surely he can see this after all his years experience, if not why not. Then again perhaps he knows this full well but is just not letting on. The position is after all very clear indeed if you just look that the statistics and all the data.

    Why was he appointed or kept on by the “Tories” was it under lefty Cameron? I assume so.

  25. Anthony
    October 30, 2016

    This is extremely worrying. What can be done to make sure that our so-called independent civil service don’t push the Government into accepting EU law?

  26. bluedog
    October 30, 2016


    Coming hard on the heels of Blair’s comments, it seems that Remain is mounting a well-planned and co-ordinated campaign to ensure the failure of Brexit. The writer of this letter seems to be joining the Brexit executive with the sole aim of undermining the policy of the British government. It is to be hoped that the letter will be brought to the attention of the PM who should immediately revoke Dr Spendlove’s job offer.

    One is left with the firm view that Lord Mandelson’s idea’s on the evolution of a post-democratic society are both accepted and widely-held in the upper reaches of the political class, as well as in the Civil service. Time for a purge.

  27. hefner
    October 30, 2016

    As funny and pointless as Dame Lucy’s contribution of a few days ago. Nothing better to do, JR?

    1. Brigham
      October 30, 2016

      Nothing wrong with a bit of irony in a serious situation.

      1. hefner
        October 30, 2016

        Nothing wrong, I fully agree. A bit of a shame anyway that so many here do not see it even when so obviously put in front of their nose. It could also be thought as some kind of a joke at the expenses of those poor blind souls. Not very charitable.

    2. fedupsoutherner
      October 30, 2016


      I think the long hours JR puts in show us all he is capable of doing not only his job but this blog too. Well done to him too. I am sure there are many who appreciate his efforts and I wish more of our ministers were as hard working.

    3. leavewon
      October 30, 2016

      Against all the odds, leave won and has given hope to the ordinary people of many other countries. He deserves a rest.

      1. Lifelogic
        October 31, 2016

        Against, above all, the sloped pitch arranged by broken compass Cameron, Osborne, Carney, the BBC, most of academia, Obama, “we have control of our borders through Schengen” T May……all using tax payers money to try to deceive the same tax payers.

  28. graham1946
    October 30, 2016

    We already have a big department for Brexit. Why? I cannot see why we need more than one secretary with a Word Processor and a sheet of A4 and a minister to dictate a short letter saying we are leaving and offering free trade as is at present and if they wish to complicate things they can come to us with their counter proposals, which if not in agreement with what the British people voted for will be vetoed after a short meeting of the Brexit Dept. We should say we shall be then ending our membership and especially payments to the budget forthwith. Why do we pussyfoot around inviting them to get us to plead with them to sell us their stuff and pay for it into the bargain?

    The BBC are at it again today, saying that as the signing of the Canadian Trade deal was held up by some Waloonies, the small countries are more than capable of causing trouble for Brexit. What they did not say was that The Waloonies did not get any Treaty Changes, just a clarification of what they did not understand and it was all over in a few days.

    When are the government going to get on with it? I know we’ve been told end of March, but that is still 5 months away and nine months from the referendum is a ludicrously long time, unless delay is wanted by Mrs May to allow he Remain side to build up their head of steam.
    Less than half that time was taken over the Falklands war. Good job we had Mrs Thatcher in charge then and not Mrs May or we’d still be getting our Task Force together. It seems Sir Humphrey is still ruling the roost in Mrs, May’s government and as usual government business moves at a glacial pace. No change there. What a disappointment she is proving to be. We always hope for improvements when we get a new PM and we are always let down.

    1. fedupsoutherner
      October 30, 2016

      @Graham 1946

      ‘ We always hope for improvements when we get a new PM and we are always let down.’

      I feel very let down at the moment and was only saying to my husband this morning that we need another Thatcher. I don’t think Mrs May is anywhere near tough enough to see this through. If Brexit negotiations fall flat on their face and we start getting an influx of immigrants by order of Merkel then watch this space at the next election. I think a bigger shock than the Brexit vote will hit the UK.

    2. Lifelogic
      October 31, 2016

      Indeed, she looks to be just as dire, lefty, greencrap and as dithering & misguided as Cameron. We shall see if Hammond comes up with something sensible and decisive in his Autumn statement, and what happens on the lagoon lunacy. If we get no sense with these decisions I will give up completely on the ex(?) remainer and “to the tens of thousands” failed Home Secretary.

  29. Denis Cooper
    October 30, 2016

    “… as business and UK commentators point out all the problems and troubles with our exposed position, which will push us to Brexit lite. As the Canadian trade deal showed, these apparently straightforward things can take seven years, and may still have an unexpected hiccup in the end.”

    I see two fallacies in Dr Spendlove’s thinking here.

    The first fallacy is that negotiation of new treaty arrangements between the UK and the EU can be compared to the negotiation of new trade arrangements between Canada and the EU, while the second fallacy is that if we seek some kind of “Brexit lite” arrangement then that will avoid any “unexpected hiccup in the end”.

    As pointed out last week in the specific context of “passporting” for financial services, notwithstanding their obligations under the EU treaties and wider “international law” leading continental politicians seem set upon harming our trade as an economic reprisal for our political determination to regain control of our immigration policy:


    “They seem keen to enter what will in effect be anti-trade negotiations. Normally in trade talks you start with barriers and each side negotiates to reduce them in order to increase trade. Here, we start with virtually no barriers and the negotiations will be about which barriers to put up. This economic irrationality is highlighted by the fact that while the EU27 governments are trying to reduce trade barriers with the US and Canada, they want to put up trade barriers with their biggest trading partner, the UK.”

    If they had the opposite attitude then it wouldn’t take seven years to sort out how to put the existing trade UK-EU on a new legal footing; arguably it might take seven days, or seven weeks, or seven months, but not seven years.

    Secondly it is a fallacy to suppose that if we sought “Brexit-lite”, by which is most often meant that we would leave the EU but stay in the EEA, then that would circumvent the risk of the regional parliament of Wallonia, or any other of the 38* national or regional parliaments with vetoes, scuppering the deal at the last moment.

    While it is true that the UK is listed as a separate party to the EEA Agreement in its own sovereign right that is on the premise that it is a member state of the EU, which itself is also a party. And while it is true that the necessary adjustments to that Agreement would not necessarily be technically difficult they would still have to be agreed and ratified by all of the other existing parties to the Agreement, which legal requirement would inevitably feed straight back to Wallonia having a veto on the treaty to amend the EEA Agreement just as on a new amending treaty for the EU or an EU trade deal with Canada.

    1. Denis Cooper
      October 30, 2016

      * 38 is the number being peddled, for example back in July:


      “At stake is whether a total of 38 different national parliamentary chambers, including in some cases regional assemblies, should have a binding say. In addition to the commission’s belief that this is not required under the EU’s treaties, a pressing political concern is that it could be the death knell of a deal that took five years to negotiate.”

      And more recently:


      “Even if ministers approve the CETA on Tuesday, this would not be the final hurdle: the agreement would have to be ratified by 28 national and 10 regional European parliaments.”

      “The Labour MEP David Martin, who sits on the European parliament trade committee, said the Wallonian response to the CETA should send shivers down the spine of Brexit negotiators in London.

      “Britain’s final deal with the EU will too be subject to the whim of 38 national and regional parliaments. As we have seen in Francophone Belgium, public opinion in the rest of Europe is volatile on questions of trade, and deluded Brexiteers will get a shock if they think our partners are going to give us an easy ride.”

      Supporters of parliamentary ratification say leaving the decision to the EU would have been undemocratic, because the wide-ranging trade agreement affects national politicians’ competences.”

  30. Bert Young
    October 30, 2016

    I think Roy you should get out of it altogether . There are complexities in the build up to negotiations but there are certain “no go” zones . One of them – certainly at the top of the list , is control over immigrants ; it was the strongest feature in the referendum result and opinion polls today still show this today . I have no doubt that business influences within the EU will pressure to keep a free zone ; if they do not succeed they know they will suffer enormous consequences . The Brexit negotiators need to pay more attention to this group than to the “political”presenters who will always put emotions ahead of common sense .

    Fortunately David Davis does have a business head on his shoulders and will be positive in the way he conducts his negotiations ; he should only be supported by like minded individuals , so , if you are not in this mould keep out of it .

  31. ian wragg
    October 30, 2016

    Just on cue as I read Mandeldon and Zahawi in the Sunday Mail and Booker in the Telegraph.
    Only in the UK would our political class expect us to leave an organisation and continue paying the subscription.
    Booker as ever is acting as spokesman for Richard North, pushing the EFTA,EEA line as the only solution.
    The same terms as now with no representation.
    Zahawi aa Tory MP saying we should pay our net contribution of £8.5 billion as the EU cannot survive without it.
    Mandelson of course following on from Bliar inferring that we are all stupid for voting leave.
    As Denis Cooper so succinctly tells us times many, the so called single market has no material benefits for us in terms of growth. The only countries appearing to benefit are France & Germany as all the rules are tilted in their favour.
    A straw man has been created using access to the single market which should be demolished asap.
    We voted to leave, not become associated members which will be offered.
    Leave means Leave.

  32. michael
    October 30, 2016

    Many people assume that WTO terms should be our default position in negotiations with the EU. But do we really need to subscribe to any set of international trade terms? Why cannot we proclaim free trade with all countries and only consider imposing a tariff if they insist on imposing tariffs on us?

    1. forthurst
      October 30, 2016

      “Why cannot we proclaim free trade with all countries and only consider imposing a tariff if they insist on imposing tariffs on us?”

      The reason we want trade deals is so that we can export more easily, not vice-versa and don’t overlook non-tariff barriers.

      1. michael
        October 30, 2016

        Successful sustainable trade should result in a win win situation.

        Wether you have a trade deal or not there will always be non tariff barriers which the exporter has to manage in order to meet the requirements of the local market being sold into.

  33. Denis Cooper
    October 30, 2016

    A very good, well-balanced, realistic article from Liam Halligan today:


    “Invoke Article 50 quickly and make a clean break”

    Unfortunately the government has to wait upon the Supreme Court to hear and deliver the verdicts on the various vexatious legal cases aimed at keeping us in the EU, thanks to Cast-iron Cameron breaking the promises he made before the referendum.

    Meanwhile in the same newspaper Christopher Booker once again publicises the view of his researcher who wants us to stay in the EEA and the Single Market, and furthermore it is now becoming increasingly open to question whether this would still be intended as no more than an interim solution to be followed by a succession of further steps.

    I have an alternative suggestion here, which is that rather than seeking a transitional state like the EEA on our way out of the EU we should try to get transitional provisions built into new treaty arrangements “concluded for an unlimited period”, that is to say as a final destination for a few decades or until circumstances warrant modifications.

    After all that is a commonplace device in treaties; as a directly relevant example, the 1957 Treaty of Rome said in its Article 8:

    “1. The common market shall be progressively established during a transitional period
    of twelve years.

    This transitional period shall be divided into three stages of four years each; the length
    of each stage may be altered in accordance with the provisions set out below.

    2. To each stage there shall be assigned a set of actions to be initiated and carried
    through concurrently.

    3. Transition from the first to the second stage shall be conditional upon a finding
    that the objectives specifically laid down in this Treaty for the first stage have in fact
    been attained in substance and that, subject to the exceptions and procedures provided
    for in this Treaty, the obligations have been fulfilled … ”

    So why not do a similar thing for the reverse case of a country leaving?

    1. Sir Joe Soap
      October 30, 2016

      Well that’s fine but do we need unlimited immigration for a few decades?

      1. Denis Cooper
        October 31, 2016

        No, we don’t, but we will probably still have it if we opt to stay in the EEA, supposedly as a temporary, transitional, arrangement before we move on to something better – there are six separate phases in the most developed plan on those lines – but potentially as the final arrangement. Even advocates of that route admit that the EEA could only give us “some limited” control over immigration, and I doubt whether the other parties to the EEA Agreement would willingly allow even that. It would only take one to say “We do not agree with the proposed changes to the Agreement to allow the UK to stay in the EEA after leaving the EU”, and “Especially when we have read that the UK intends to abuse Article 112 to restrict migration of our citizens to the UK”, to scupper that plan; and if that EEA party was Belgium its refusal to go along with the plan could be because Wallonia or one of the other regions and communities would not allow Belgium to ratify the treaty.

  34. Richatd Butler
    October 30, 2016

    The root cause of remainer ignorance is that they assume the UK is a weak petitioner and that European workers would deliberately go along with hampering thier own export sales and putting thier own jobs at risk

    They are profoundly ignorant to the aces we hold.

    Thier latest hysterical warning is that the economy will tumble the day A 50 is triggered. Watch how they then have to once more move the goal posts as we continue to prosper

  35. turboterrier
    October 30, 2016

    With all the wheeling and dealing going on within the party, cannot but think we would have been better off with Mr Cameron. He put himself between the rocks and a hard place but he would I feel made a better job of respecting the result. He had nothing to lose, but everything to gain especially in political stature if he had forged ahead and JFDI and not as his replacement seems to be doing trying to all things to all people. She is playing straight in to the hands of those that are taking over the media in the form of Blair and Clegg.

    Never do we hear from one Brexiteer just on what the “if we had stayed scenario” as if all the reports are even half right the EU is just starting to slowly descend bow first beneath the waves.

    1. Denis Cooper
      October 31, 2016

      There is a view that Cameron’s resignation, contrary to his promise before the referendum and before putting in the Article 50 notice straight away as he had promised, was just his last throw of the dice to keep us in the EU.

  36. NoMoreEU
    October 30, 2016

    Analysis of the writing style, used by Dame Lucy and Dr Roy, has shown a suspicious similarity…

    Whatever did become of the aspiring Helga Petersen?…

    Reply Civil service memos draw on a house style

  37. Chris
    October 30, 2016

    There is much talk of a grand betrayal by Theresa May and that we are going to be kept in the Single Market. Apparently Greg Clark let something slip…?
    “UK to STAY in single market? Business sec lets slip PM’s Brexit negotiating strategy
    BUSINESS Secretary Greg Clark appears to have let slip Theresa May’s Brexit negotiating strategy on the Andrew Marr show.

    This would represent an utter betrayal for those who voted Leave. Another fudge, whereby we are still controlled by Brussels.

  38. Denis Cooper
    October 30, 2016

    Before the leaders of some other EU countries urge unwarranted and arguably illegal trade sanctions against the UK, for no reason other than to punish the British people for their democratic decision to leave the EU, they would do well to remind themselves of solemn commitments that their governments have made under the EU treaties.

    The consolidated treaties, TEU and TFEU, may be checked here:


    Article 8 TEU:

    “1. The Union shall develop a special relationship with neighbouring countries, aiming to establish an area of prosperity and good neighbourliness, founded on the values of the Union and characterised by close and peaceful relations based on cooperation.

    2. For the purposes of paragraph 1, the Union may conclude specific agreements with the countries concerned. These agreements may contain reciprocal rights and obligations as well as the possibility of undertaking activities jointly. Their implementation shall be the subject of periodic consultation.”

    Article 3(5) TEU:

    “In its relations with the wider world, the Union … shall contribute to … free and fair trade …”

    Article 21(2) TEU:

    “The Union shall define and pursue common policies and actions, and shall work for a high degree of cooperation in all fields of international relations, in order to …

    … (e) encourage the integration of all countries into the world economy, including through the progressive abolition of restrictions on international trade … “

    Preamble to TFEU:

    “DESIRING to contribute, by means of a common commercial policy, to the progressive abolition of restrictions on international trade”

    Article 32 TFEU:

    “In carrying out the tasks entrusted to it under this Chapter the Commission shall be guided by:

    (a) the need to promote trade between Member States and third countries … “

    Article 206 TFEU:

    “By establishing a customs union in accordance with Articles 28 to 32, the Union shall contribute, in the common interest, to the harmonious development of world trade, the progressive abolition of restrictions on international trade and on foreign direct investment, and the lowering of customs and other barriers.”

    Not that these treaty obligations should necessarily be taken too seriously, as we know that when any treaty provision is getting in the way of the eurofederalist project there are few scruples about bending or breaking it.

  39. Ed Mahony
    October 30, 2016

    Does Nissan deal confirm government is going for soft Brexit (Ghosn isn’t thick, he’s not going to press ahead in UK if doesn’t get commitment from government regarding tariff-free settlement, and surely EU will only offer tariff-free agreement with soft Brexit? And now things shift a bit more into the EU hands as the UK government would dread seeing Ghosn and others pulling out, furious by having to pay tariffs into EU, and the EU knows this, at same time, they don’t want to risk seeing the EU flounder and break up because of Brext so they too are going to be tough)
    (And at end of day, doesn’t matter what anything of us think, it’s what Ghosn and others think that really matters – realpolitik).

    Reply Nonsense. He has a great plant which has just got 15% more competitive!

    1. Ed Mahony
      October 30, 2016

      ‘Nonsense. He has a great plant which has just got 15% more competitive!’

      – I agree. He does have a great plant.
      But i think he was promised something regarding a tariff-free Brexit deal.

      Reply No money was promised.

      1. Ed Mahony
        October 30, 2016

        ‘No money was promised’

        – I know, I said something was promised in terms of tariff-free Brexit deal (not money).

        1. Denis Cooper
          October 31, 2016

          It must be upsetting that the government is prepared to act to defend our economy from the malice of foreigners. I hope to see a lot more of it, should it become necessary, and I hope our government is already systematically planning how to defeat those who up to now have been presented to the British people as our lovely “European partners” but are now unmistakably showing their true colours. If they want to treat us as some kind of rogue state we must be prepared to hit back.

  40. Ed Mahony
    October 30, 2016

    Also, something Brexiteers are in denial of is:

    1) The EU has admitted Brexit is bad for the EU (and the UK). Brexiteers won’t admit Brexit will be bad for the UK financially. In denial.
    2) The hit from Brexit, e.g. tariff barriers will hit the UK worse than the EU, as the hit will be spread over various countries where as the UK will have to absorb its hit by itself, and so much greater.
    3) The EU’s chief goal isn’t deal with the UK but how to stop the EU floundering because of Brexit (the EU breaking up would be far more costly than bad deal with the UK). Therefore they have more to lose than the UK by a bad deal, therefore they’re going to be tough with the UK not to be mean but to stop the EU floundering as a result of Brexit.
    4) Tariffs, of course, are only a small part of it, there is also, non-tariff barriers, passports, creating new trade deals with other countries that can take years, whilst trying to pay for the transition of the UK to a new economy whilst we’re still trying to pay off a sizeable national debt. At end of day, it will be investors (using UK as gateway into the EU), British exporters, traders and the pound sterling that will determine the success or not of Brexit (but please tell me, what’s stopping strong British economies exporting well outside the EU if the UK were still in the EU? Doesn’t make sense. And if our companies have prob.s exporting then how is going to export further afield to countries with often very different cultures to ours going to make things easier?).
    Yes, we must press on with Brexit, but we must also be prepared also if Brexit doesn’t work out and our economy sinks / declines over years. We must be PREPARED for that and do what we for the sake of jobs and economic stability in this country (whilst looking at ways of trying to really reform the EU IF ever we had to return in the future).
    (Again, i hope Brexit works, but it would be madness not to have a contingency plan if things don’t work out).

    1. Ed Mahony
      October 30, 2016

      ‘The EU has admitted Brexit is bad for the EU (and the UK). Brexiteers won’t admit Brexit will be bad for the UK financially. In denial’

      – at least in the medium term, and certainly in the short term – i don’t deny Brexit COULD work out well economically in the long-term future (but would all the pain be worth it, whilst we still seriously risk sinking our economy in trying to getting there, as well as destabilising the EU and Europe geopolitically and long-term consequences of that in terms of economic stability, peace and security in general).

      Reply So how come there are lots of prosperous countries that are not in the EU? How do they manage?

      1. Ed Mahony
        October 30, 2016

        ‘So how come there are lots of prosperous countries that are not in the EU? How do they manage?’

        – Japan, China and USA, for example, have different types types of economies (and cultures and and approaches to life and work in general and geographical locations that affect those economies and the results of those economies).

        (And sure, there are important similarities, but important differences as well – we are far more similar to the Germans, the French, the Dutch and the Scandinavians – not just in our approach to life and work and our culture, but also geographical location, and with very important common geopolitical goals affecting our continent in a whole which in turn affects the UK.

        1. fedupsoutherner
          October 30, 2016

          ED, it is quite obvious you have no faith in Britain. Watching The Antiques Roadshow tonight where they were highlighting the Flying Scotsman and saying how Britain achieved the fastest time in rail travel in the world at that time I despair how far we have fallen but am convinced that given the chance we can fight back once again. We were world leaders in so many things and this can be achieved again with a bit of hard work and faith.

          1. Denis Cooper
            October 31, 2016

            I’m afraid Ed is close to being a cheerleader for countries whose leaders wish us harm for no good reason. What would we think if say Putin came out and said that he would like to destroy the City of London, whose side would Ed be on? How can this be the conduct of a friendly state?

          2. Ed Mahony
            October 31, 2016

            ‘ED, it is quite obvious you have no faith in Britain’

            – this is a complete strawman argument – manufacture a point-of-view the other person doesn’t hold and then argue against it!

            ‘We were world leaders in so many things and this can be achieved again with a bit of hard work and faith’

            – Goes without saying you need these. But in order to be successful, you also need to be a realist and a pragmatist.

          3. Ed Mahony
            October 31, 2016


            ‘I’m afraid Ed is close to being a cheerleader for countries whose leaders wish us harm for no good reason.’

            – This is nothing but an ad hom because you’re incapable of addressing the argument. People only resort to ad homs when they’ve lost the argument. As a historian, I know too well about faux patriotism. A true patriot is someone who looks at a subject from all angles – the pros and cons, the hopes as well as the realities. And isn’t afraid to take an alternative position even if the majority disagree.
            If we’d listen to the much more popular Lord Halifax over Winston Churchill in 1940, we’d probably have lost the war. So throw sticks and stones but there’s no honour in it and it doesn’t mean you’re right or that your more patriotic than me. I want what’s best for my country, even if that means say things other people don’t like.

          4. Denis Cooper
            November 2, 2016

            Nope, it’s a fair comment on what you write, from which one could easily conclude that you are on the other side.

      2. BobE
        October 30, 2016

        So Ed Mahony are you are happy to be ruled from Europe?

        1. Ed Mahony
          October 30, 2016

          ‘So Ed Mahony are you are happy to be ruled from Europe?’

          – I think ‘ruled’ is an exaggeration!
          Realpolitik dictates – in my view – that the best we can hope for is to be inside the EU but reforming it, in particular on immigration and other things to. However, I fully accept we must accept the will of the people and press ahead with Brexit (and I hope Brexit works – economically for us in the long-term as well as not upsetting the geopolitics of Europe – but we must also have a contingency plan in case it doesn’t – in other words to be pragmatic about what might (or might not) happen. As opposed to be completely ideological about it. Regards

          In reality, we’re far more ‘ruled’ by politicians such as Tony Blair and David Cameron than the EU – with Mr Blair taking us into Iraq and Mr Cameron introducing this referendum at a mad time (when our national debt is still huge).

      3. zorro
        October 30, 2016

        Ed, you do realise that there is life outside the EUdon’t you? If we are the 5th largest economy in the world, how is it that it would be so dangerous for us to survive when there are so many other smaller countries that are very successful? I am intrigued…..


        1. Ed Mahony
          October 30, 2016

          ‘Ed, you do realise that there is life outside the EUdon’t you?’

          – Exactly, and lots of British companies (the best ones) have been doing really well exporting goods and services to outside the EU. You don’t have to be outside the EU to trade outside the EU!

          But by remaining inside the EU we’re giving more chance to our not so competitive companies to trade with countries nearer to us geographically as well as culturally as well as in terms of having common trading laws (to make things easier to trade within the EU), as well as contributing to the geopolitics of Europe which affects the long-term economy, peace and security of the UK.

          Lastly, the EU needs reforming. We could have played a key role in that to our own benefit (as opposed to just getting concessions for the UK). But you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

          (And i accept we must press on with Brexit but we must also have a pragmatic contingency plans as opposed to just being carried by a wave of idealism/ideologically and hoping – this is how businesses work and we must be more business-like in our approach to Brexit if we’re serious about it working and be prepared in case it doesn’t – just common sense – surely?).

          1. Ed Mahony
            October 30, 2016

            Also businesses don’t depend on flag-waving and wishful thinking, they scrutinise everything, and if we’re serious about Brexit working, we must scrutinise everything the Brexit leaders are up to.

      4. Newmania
        October 30, 2016

        Equally irrelevant is the fact there are also lots of very very poor countires not in the EU ( eg Malawi , the poorest which is in the WTO),
        Countries are not the same or in the same place . What we are doing is akin to NewYork creating trade barriers between itself and the rest of the USA.

        1. zorro
          November 1, 2016

          It is not us who are threatening to create the trade barriers. I think you will find that it is the EU which is threatening us. Your analogy concerning New York and the rest of the USA is nonsense on a par with your Malawi rant.


      5. Lifelogic
        October 31, 2016

        There are far more opportunities in leaving fully than remaining shacked to this anti-democratic, socialist disaster area.

        But to take real advantage we need some real Tory leadership, a bonfire of red tape, far smaller government, lower taxes, cheaper energy, sound money – T May seems not to have realised this at all yet?

        1. Ed Mahony
          October 31, 2016

          ‘socialist disaster area’

          – This is wild exaggeration. Chancellor Helmut Kohl (along with Mitterrand, but really Kohl) was the main architect of Maastricht.

          Chancellor was a CONSERVATIVE, and the Republican George Bush senior commented that Kohl was the best European leader of the last 50 years of the 20th century. So, let’s please put things into context – and not demonise the EU (although it comes with many important problems).

    2. Bryan Harris
      October 30, 2016

      Trade is only part of the reason for leaving the EU.

      Whatever happens, long term it will all settle down and we will be able to forge our own future.

      Even without BREXIT, the EU was/is a basket case – inept, corrupt and never following any real planning.

      In recent years the EU has turned into something more closely matching the old Soviet Union than a forward thinking democracy. The EU elite despise the fact that democracy can get in the way of their rule and ignore it frequesntly – a true and disgusting example of a socialist enity that has lost sight of what it should be.


      1. Lifelogic
        October 31, 2016


    3. Newmania
      October 30, 2016

      All very reasonable Ed , I shall tell you why Brexit are in denial about the economic damage their project is causing .
      John Redwood is, a constitutionally extreme conservative a position that has almost no support or interest outside the Conservative Party Membership and the odd kipper . The referendum was, as we know, focused on immigration with leave voters 8 times as likely to say it was there lead issue .
      So what John wants is not what Brexit voters want but to his glee he finds they are conjoined by the Freedom of movement requirement to be in the EU .
      For John ( for some reason) sovereignty or not sovereignty is more or less a binary choice but the much vaguer irritation with culturally disturbing immigration is astonishingly transactional for the majority of Brexit supporters .
      U Gov did some work on how much income Brexit voters would actually sacrifice to be rid of this terrible Freedom of movement and at even 2% most of the constituency melted away.
      The staggering fact is that Brexit voters believed they would be as well off or better of post Brexit .
      This of course is virtually impossible as most Brexit leaders are now admitting one way or another but during the referendum they denied any prospect of any tough times whatsoever and they were believed

      It would take very little bad news for support for Brexit to collapse – that why they have to desperately maintain the illusion until we are trapped .

      1. Ed Mahony
        October 31, 2016

        I look at Churchill, the people of Britain during WW2 including my two grandfathers fighting the Germans (and the Japanese), and I just think it’s such a different country. The people back then were more modest and humorous in their patriotism – when they were fighting a real war – against the Nazis. Now our patriotism has become more aggressive, more nasty, more self-indulgent. And that the real reason for this kind of patriotism we see now is really more to do with people being bored with the world they live in today (a common existential theme running through modern philosophy about why civilisations go into decline).

  41. Mick
    October 30, 2016
    1. Lifelogic
      October 31, 2016

      I hope JR’s “No”proves right but I remain unconvinced. Greg Clark is described on wiki as an “economically liberal Conservative with a social conscience”,

      I think this means he is essentially another Cameron type of Libdem. Why did T May appoint him? I assume because her views are similarly misguided.

  42. David Lister
    October 30, 2016

    Dear John,

    Whilst I am somewhat comforted by the common-sense approach from Dr Spendlove, what good do you think it does by putting this into the public domain?

    If the staff with Brexit can not trust each other to disclose private correspondence, then the inter-departmental communication will collapse.

    We do need proper debate in Parliament but this needs to be done in the correct fashion. Personally, I don’t think leaks in a personal blog are the correct approach even if they are quite insightful.

    1. Doh
      October 31, 2016

      Used to know someone who thought Mornington Crescent was real.

  43. Bryan Harris
    October 30, 2016

    “We are proposing that the government shows flexibility on migration, on budget contributions and the supremacy of UK laws in order to secure continuing membership of the single market. I can’t believe they think we can simply turn our backs on the whole thing. ”

    Sounds like a fifth columinist has been allowed in – is that really sensible?

  44. Margaret
    October 30, 2016

    Letter from a very important Humanitarian :

    Dear Roy,
    Lucy gave me sight of your letter and I think you have made the right choice. I myself have felt these strong links with our recent history. It is true that we don’t have a figurehead or a single person to relate to in the UK and the languages are too many to have a deep seated conversation about important matters with the other 27 Countries, but small matters of communication can be rectified by allowing our dear Brussels to make the decisions for us. This way we don’t really need to struggle with our lack of understanding.

    I also feel that we have to allow Rome to lead us into a more moral way of life and there is no one better than myself to connect with the elite organisations and sometimes the covert organisations, as I have been a part of many of these sects to understand how the insiders have nothing but the well being of mankind as a concern.

    I understand that Greece wanted to leave the EU some time ago, but they came to a better understanding when their need for money was conditionally helped for many years to come by the altruistic EU. They quite obviously wanted to give Greece it’s autonomous power back .


  45. Freeborn John
    October 30, 2016

    I am astonished the UK is considering continuing to make contributions to the EU budget. It was rediculous to pay the equivalent of a 7% tariff to avoid WTO tariffs of 3%. The U.K. also seems to have caved in already on applying tariffs to European car exports to the U.K. whuch should have been our main card in the negotiations to secure EU market access to our service services industries. It is also beyond laughable that the Uk has not ruled out remaining in the EU customs union. No EFTA country is in the EU customs union and to stay in it would prevent us negotiating trade deals with the rest of the world and allow the EU to negotiate access to the UK market to 3rd countries in its own interests rather than ours. I really think the UK government is a completely incompetent negotiator.

  46. Pro-American
    October 30, 2016

    The Remainer case for joining and staying in the EU could have been made with greater authenticity at the end of WWII had we volunteered instead to become a star on the flag of the United States of America and entered into intense trade negotiations prior to it with Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the rest of the then Commonwealth.
    I find it an interesting thought.
    Perhaps JR would/could try his hand at writing a novel rather than a straight analysis on that fantasy scenario? Would it have worked? Well if it had, I for one would be voting for Trump and my general politics would be Republican/Libertarian and my criticism of the EU would be similar.

  47. peterpiper
    October 30, 2016

    Started reading Breitbart.Good for American goings on.

    1. Chris
      October 30, 2016

      Try infowars and dismiss any sensationalism. There is truth there. Also the twitter account for the Republican. Fascinating reading.

      1. peterpiper
        October 31, 2016

        Drip feed . The truth is a shock to the system of uninitiated.

  48. miami.mode
    October 30, 2016

    Dr Roy needs to get his entrepreneurial thinking cap on.

    A lot of Remoaners, particularly among MPs, think the deal with the EU will be like some First World War “big push”, whereas we need Commando and SAS attacks.

    We need to maintain something like the status quo on cars going both ways (petrol only incoming?) plus French wine and cheese along with German whatever, Spanish whatever and Italian whatever in exchange for some or all of our financial products or anything else we consider important with perhaps keeping existing restrictions on imports from the rest of the world to the UK on those products ensuring of course that French wine is at the bottom of any list. Less important items can be dealt with at a later date or revert to WTO rules.

    With French and German elections coming up next year the incumbents would doubtless like to perhaps go out having secured jobs and guaranteed exports for some years.

    It would be a shame about the cars though, as I was cautiously hopeful of getting a good deal on a 5.o litre V8 RHD Mustang.

  49. Peter D Gardner
    October 31, 2016

    David Cameron got one thing right. His version of Brexit means Brexit was invoking Article 50 immediately after the referendum result in favour of leaving.

    It was after reading David Davis’s evidence to the select committees on Foreign affairs and the EU in early September that I became convinced that Mrs May is making a meal out of Brexit. Her government is almost exclusively focused on achieving a new deal with the EU that looks increasingly like associate or partial membership of the EU while unnecessarily delaying Brexit and exposing UK to all sorts of risks.

    It is very doubtful now that the UK will ever actually just leave the EU. Instead it will gain a few of the things that Cameron said in his infamous Bloomberg speech were minimum demands.

    Mrs May will leave UK locked into the EU on different terms. But UK’s new associate status will be perfectly optimised in her administrator’s mind to represent the referendum result: Britain will be formally 48% out of the EU, 52% inside the EU.

  50. Robin Smith
    October 31, 2016

    Nissan – British industry no longer free enterprise. New Welfare State for business – benefit scrounging by so called businesses. Enterprise emerging as ‘arm of government’. Tories turning socialist but unaware of it.

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