The UK should stop negotiating with itself

If I went  to an auction with a business partner we would not spend our time at the auction bidding against each other.  We would agree the best course of action for buying the item at the lowest price, and stick to that. Only one of us would bid. We would not advertise in advance how much we wanted the item or what our bidding strategy would  be.

Many in the UK think we do need to negotiate a settlement over trade and residual financial matters with the EU when we leave. Yet there are businesses, senior officials past and present, many Opposition MPs and others who ought to know better, trying to tell the other side in advance how generous our offers might be, and trying to bid us up all the time to make better and better offers!

There is no point in making any offer until the negotiations begin. Nor should we offer to pay for things that are properly ours without paying. We have every right to leave the EU, under our own laws and under the Treaty we signed. We have every right to take back control of our laws, our money and our borders without having to pay for the privilege, and without having to dilute that control.


The only thing we need to discuss with our former partners is what new relationship we will have on departure. The main part of that is trade. I see no need to offer money or EU control of our borders in order to carry on importing from the continent. I think they will  be all too relieved to be able to carry on exporting to us after Brexit. Some people in the UK need to wake up to the reality of how you do well in an auction or a negotiation. They also need to understand that no deal is better than a bad deal, as there is little we awnt from the EU. Our trade is not at risk, and can be pursued successfully one way or another as soon as the rest of the EU decides whether they want to pay tariffs on their exports to us or not.



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  1. peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    I very much agree.
    It does help however to take the concerns of all in various parts of the country very seriously and not overrule them at the outset.
    The referndum decision is: “leave” (Brexit).
    The “will of the people” may not have changed much from the 52% – 48% outcome, and the 48% haven’t become foreigners overnight.
    For instance, if Scotland were to propose a “reverse Greenland” option (part of Denmark is EU member, part is not) it should be studied and not just refused. It might also work for Gibraltar. A more inclusive preparation group in which more parts of the political spectrum are included might work?

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      I don’t understand why if as you claim you are a retired Dutchman you are so free with your advice for we British.
      Many of your comments are made in different guises on other blogs.
      We are leaving the EU and if any political party tries to stitch us up they will be annihilated at the next election.
      Holland has enough problems for you to worry about.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted December 19, 2016 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        @Ian Wragg: It is true that the Netherlands have enough problems to worry about and Brexit (which hasn’t yet been invoked) is not an issue to grab any headlines over here. I just notice that Britain is still fighting with itself and that is really not anybody’s doing here on the continent. On top of that it is not in our interest as it might drag out the inevitable process over a longer period. I actually don’t comment on may blogs and I always use my own name (in full or just PetervL).

        • Anonymous
          Posted December 20, 2016 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

          With the sad news of yesterday it looks like fighting is going on in Europe to me.

          • Hope
            Posted December 21, 2016 at 9:07 am | Permalink

            JR, this not about the UK but your party. Get on with it.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      Out is out Peter.

      No one offered me the chance to have my own ex – EU deal in the last 40 years. Quite mischievous of you to introduce this further obfuscation.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted December 19, 2016 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        @Narrow Shoulders: Actually, I don’t “introduce” this, I have already read such ideas and wouldn’t be surprised if the emerge in a Scottish plan later this week. And how does Gibraltar have to cope, a place where the remain vote was over 90%?

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted December 20, 2016 at 6:34 am | Permalink

          As I wrote yesterday Peter, there was no accommodation made for those of us who did not want to be in the EU previously (and we were the majority). There should now be no accommodation made now for those who wish to remain subjugated.

          Gibraltar wants our protection from Spain, she gets it under our terms.

          Scotland wants the Barnett formula, she gets it under our terms

          All in or all out. It is quite simple.

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted December 20, 2016 at 8:19 am | Permalink

            @Narrow Shoulders: Even if it were to become impossible for Scotland (I just read a number of practical objections), I would think that for Gibraltar it would be quite simple to implement.

          • Narrow Shoulders
            Posted December 20, 2016 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

            Splitting up of the regions is most impractical Peter although I do recall this is an aim of the EU

    • Iain Moore
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      In the last thirty years , since Maasticht , it has been clear there was no mandate for further EU, but that didn’t stop the EU supporters forcing EU and more EU upon us, with Amsterdam , Nice and Lisbon treaties , the latter of which was signed up to by reneging on a promised referendum.

      The EUphiles dragged us into this political EU without any regard to the people who valued our sovereignty and nation, and as such have set out the rules of consultation , in other words precious little. In spite of this lack of consultation tradition on matters EU, it seems the Leavers are being a lot more inclusive than the EUphiles ever were.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted December 19, 2016 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        @Iain Moore: You (i.c. the UK) DID actually sign up to the ” ever closer union among the peoples of Europe” (the openinng line in the 1957 Treaty of Rome) in 1972 and confirmed it with a convincing referendum in 1975. So much for being dragged in against your will. Now you want out and I would agree, but you can hardly blame the Europhiles in your country, as it is you, not them who has second thoughts and wants out. Turning this into a dictatorship of the 52% (not having regard for the concerns of this large minority) is not going to be good for you nor for the rest of Europe.

        • Hope
          Posted December 20, 2016 at 8:19 am | Permalink

          No we have no second thoughts, the polls show that. Out of the EU dictatorship. We have Europhile like yourself interfering trying to change the will of the people. Worry about your own country and mind your business would be good advice.

          Merkel’s open door policy and freedom of movement will be popular this morning after yesterday’s tragedy. She should hold her head in shame Nd resign along with the five EU presidents.

        • Narrow shoulders
          Posted December 20, 2016 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

          In the Road to Serfdom Hayek wrote:

          It is the price of democracy that the possibilities of conscious control [over society] are restricted to the fields where true agreement exists and that in some fields things must be left to chance.

          The majority chose in 1975 to believe that the EEC was indeed a common market. This was used by those who would sell our sovereignty out as carte blanch to sign us to to further integration using the rationale you infer above.

          The majority has now had a further say as circumstances have developed. We voted to leave, that was what the majority democratically decided.

          Hayek further wrote

          But in a society which for its functioning depends on central planning this control cannot be made dependent on a majority’s being able to agree; it will often be necessary that the will of a small minority be imposed upon the people, because this minority will be the largest group able to agree among themselves on the question at issue.

          This “agreeing minority” sound to me like the dictatorship of the EU and its many sycophants.

        • Anonymous
          Posted December 20, 2016 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

          The people were told explicitly by British politicians that there would be no changes other than trade in 1975. I agree that this was not the EU’s fault.

          • Anonymous
            Posted December 20, 2016 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

            PvL – One thing you surely cannot deny is that the British people did NOT agree to ever closer union with eastern European countries in 1975.

            The EU has changed repeatedly since and there ought to have been referenda at every stage.

          • Anonymous
            Posted December 20, 2016 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

            PS – a decision to follow the choice of 52% of voters is not a ‘dictatorship’.

        • John Fitzgerald
          Posted December 20, 2016 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

          Peter I voted in 1975 to stay in. However we were sold a lie by Edward Heath! Nothing was ever mentioned about the “Ever closer union” at the time. We were sold the “Common market” ideal by Heath! If the truth had been told too us at the time we would have exited in 1975, you can bet your life on that! However at that time there was no UKIP to tell us the truth!!!!

        • Lifelogic
          Posted December 22, 2016 at 5:58 am | Permalink

          We were taken in to the common market without any authority by the dire Ted Heath. This before the 1975 remain referendum, when people were deceived by Wilson and the rest into thinking it was just a free trade agreement.

      • Andy
        Posted December 19, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

        Quite so. As I tell many ‘Remainiacs’ there will be another Referendum in 41 years time – that is how long they made the British People wait before allowing us to give a view. They stuffed ‘more Europe’ down our throats without so much as a by your leave.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted December 20, 2016 at 9:22 am | Permalink

          I recall that at the time of the 1975 referendum there was a rumour put about that even if we voted to stay in we might have a chance to change our minds in another referendum in five years’ time.

    • agricola
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      Although there are only around 30,000 Gibraltarians there is an argument for saying that they should have a different from the UK, working relationship with the EU. Additionally their geographical position makes it possible while remaining British from choice.. As you point out, Greenland, population about 57,000, managed a different arrangement to that of it’s parent country Denmark.

      Scotland is different in that there is a land border creating many potential difficulties. We know that from a recent referendum that the Scots wish to remain part of the UK. That decided, they cannot vote to join a rugby club and then insist that they play boule. It is the Scottish National Party that , having got a majority in their devolved parliament, insist that they remain in the EU, because in the UK in/out EU referendum the majority in Scotland wished to stay. They are in the UK because they voted to be in it. At best 5 million in a total electorate of 65 million less those under age. Even if we English, Welsh and Northern Irish wanted rid of them, which we do not, in practical terms it would be a very difficult severance. We might be able to continue in essentials the relationship between Northern Ireland and Ireland based on the fact that a practical relationship has existed since well before the EU was ever thought of.

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      Daily Telegraph today “Murdo Fraser, the Scottish Tories’ Shadow Finance Minister, said: “After complaining for years about the United Kingdom, this analysis blows a hole in the SNP’s grievance agenda. “As this paper shows, there will be an extra £800 million for the Scottish Government to spend on public services and infrastructure next year. None of this extra cash is due to the SNP’s own decisions, it is all due to the Union dividend we receive thanks to being members of the UK.”

      Does this mean that it would be the EU responsible for topping up Scotland’s tax take rather than the RUK?

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted December 19, 2016 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

        @a-tracy: Sorry, I have no idea. I suppose that Scotland could only claim from structural funds for areas that fulfill certain (poverty) criteria, but they would already do that, so this 800 million could be lost?

    • Bob
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 10:04 am | Permalink


      “A more inclusive preparation group in which more parts of the political spectrum are included might work?”

      thank you for the kind suggestion Peter, we know how much you love the EU and hope it all goes well for you once the UK ceases contributing £1 billion/month. Will Holland will be increasing it’s contributions to support the CAP or will Germany take up the shortfall? Also, since you have so many empty jail cells in NL, could we send a few migrant offenders (here from other parts of the EU) over to you, because our prisons are full to bursting.

      BTW, if you have any more bright ideas, be sure to let us know.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted December 19, 2016 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        @Bob: Yes the Netherlands would have to pay more. I believe that it was already the highest contributor per capita, so I expect that the Dutch will fight for some reduction.

        • APL
          Posted December 23, 2016 at 10:35 am | Permalink

          PvL: “Yes the Netherlands would have to pay more.”

          The EU might consider cutting its budget?

    • James Matthews
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      No, you realy don’t agree PVL. All your subsequent paragraphs contradict your first and are your usual mischief making.

      Scotland, in particular, should have only one choice. Leave the EU in the same way as the rest of the UK or leave the UK. The same applies to NI. Wales made the same choice as England in the referendum. Period.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted December 19, 2016 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        @James Matthews: Scotland still remaining part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland might be a better option than leaving the UK. Would a hard border between Scotland and England be very different from the hard border between N. Ireland and the rest of Ireland? I don’t think so.

        • James Matthews
          Posted December 20, 2016 at 9:08 am | Permalink

          Not relevant PVL As I said. the choice for both should be go or stay. period. You can’t have a UK which is divided into parts which are in or out of the UK. That is political, economic and constitutional nonsense and not remotely in the interests of the English. if hard borders it has to be, hard borders it is.

          In passing, the present evidence is that the Scots would choose the UK over the EU, but it is their choice. The English can be entirely relaxed about them going the other way.

        • John Fitzgerald
          Posted December 20, 2016 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

          PVL: A hard border already exists between the rest of the UK and Scotland, it is called Hadrian’s Wall. You see the Romans built the wall that Trump could only dream of. All we need to do is add a few courses large stones! Job done, no more Scotland!

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      Dear Mr Van Leeuwen–I do not normally read your pieces but I inadvertently didn’t notice this one was you till I had read it. You would do well, apart from in general doing a much better job of minding your own business, to appreciate that it is the Brussels so called elite that is showing and massively has shown (in particular to Cameron) the inflexibility rather than the UK, and I don’t mean vis a vis just the UK, far from it. That said, I for one have no interest in being part In and part Out–yet another nightmare. If there were any way I could arrange it I should like to see the split we already have (ie with Ireland) healed and with the whole of the British Isles thereby Out. Now that would be something and Yes I realise it is unlikely–but at least pointing in the right direction.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted December 19, 2016 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

        @Leslie Singleton: Healing the Irish split doesn’t seem likely from what I’ve read and seen. I really don’t know whether Mrs. Sturgeon would propose something like a “reverse Greenland” option but I wouldn’t be surprised either. From my perspective there has been huge flexibility towards the UK over decades (rebate, opt-outs from Schengen, EMU, charter of fundamental rights, from most judicial and police cooperation), so we obviously don’t agree on that matter.

        • a-tracy
          Posted December 20, 2016 at 8:59 am | Permalink

          Unlike some other posters here Peter, I like to read your thoughts, why anyone would want to shut down a debate and not want to sharpen their own arguments is beyond me, it’s this sort of problem created by some of our political leaders stopping people expressing their views that can cause so much upset.

          I don’t think our Country needs the Berlin type walls (hard borders) and in the main the Irish do like to be friends, live and work freely in the RUK with us, being an island the hard checks need to be on points of exit of the island and on working permits, benefits, use of public services. Mrs Sturgeon needs to remember the MAJORITY of her Country voted to REMAIN in the UK.

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted December 21, 2016 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

            @ a-tracy: So Mrs Sturgeon has 2 majorities to serve: a majority of her country wanting to be in the UK and a majority wanting to remain in the EU.
            I don’t think that it is as impossible as it sounds. Both Greenland (out) and mainland Denmark (in) has created a precedent which could and should be studied for e.g. Gibraltar (easy) and Scotland (more complicated).
            Very linear thinking won’t provide a solution, but the EU has a track record for creativity, nick-named “EU-fudge”, which may help Mrs Sturgeon to serve her Scottish people.

          • a-tracy
            Posted December 21, 2016 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

            Oh I think it is Peter because the English get a say too, it’s not just about Scotland.

            Ireland is in the EU not the UK and should be only negotiated with as if it were France?

        • APL
          Posted December 20, 2016 at 11:21 am | Permalink

          PvL: ” I really don’t know whether Mrs. Sturgeon would propose something like a “reverse Greenland” ..”

          Nicola Sturgeon has no authority to propose anything relating to the external relationship of the UK to any third party.

          Or rather she can prattle on as much as she wishes on the topic, but her prattling carries no authority.

          Her authority derives from the powers delegated to the Scottish assembly, by the UK Parliament under the devolution settlement, and are restricted to domestic Scottish matters.

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted December 21, 2016 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

            @APL: Some tweaking of the Scotland – UK relationship may be necessary in the process, but I don’t see why Scotland could not remain a UK member and still have a slightly different relationship with the EU than e.g. England.
            A smart politician should be able to network, lobby, make proposals and find a willing ear.
            England will have not much to gain in the longer term from suppressing clear Scottish demands.

          • rose
            Posted December 21, 2016 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

            I am Scottish, Peter, and I don’t apppreciate your confusing the SNP with the Scots. Scots used the SNP to get rid of the socialists and will now have to find a way to get rid of the SNP. Mrs Sturgeon is not admired for anything other than low politics. Many Scots say they voted Remain to avoid giving her another excuse to have an independence referendum.

          • APL
            Posted December 23, 2016 at 10:27 am | Permalink

            PvL: “I don’t see why Scotland could not remain a UK member and still have a slightly different relationship with the EU than e.g. England.”

            That’ll be because you are ignorant of 1707 act of union between the two sovereign states.

      • Chris
        Posted December 19, 2016 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

        Well said, LS. I have found PvL’s posts increasingly patronising, and also irrelevant to those in this country. It seems he rather enjoys being given a platform.

        • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
          Posted December 20, 2016 at 8:21 am | Permalink

          @Chris: You’d much rather be in a eurosceptic play-pen, only talking to the like minded and radicalise in the process? You’re welcome to completely ignore me.

      • rose
        Posted December 22, 2016 at 2:10 am | Permalink

        Ireland followed us out of the Schengen Area and voted against EU treaties. They are now net contributors and don’t like being bossed about on their tax. They greatly value their trade with us and their relationship with us, so it is not inconceivable that they might follow us out of the EU. The only thing aginst is that their politicians love prancing around on the EU stage and bossing us about.

    • graham1946
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      I would think the EU will be thinking what is best for the EU when the UK funding stops, not what Scotland wants.

      Even if Scotland were a sovereign nation I doubt the EU would want them, as they are not financially independent and would be a further drain on resources. The English would not stand for Scotland being an EU member and paying her membership fees, having voted for Brexit.

      Scotland relies entirely on the UK to keep it afloat financially and can only fund its social services by sending the bill to London, thus the average Scot gets about £1400 per year more spent on him/her than the English get via a funding scheme called the Barnet formula which is 40 years out of date, but no UK politician has the nerve to oppose it, even though no party other than the Scots Nats. has any worthwhile representation there. Do you think the EU would like to take this on?

      The Scots will never vote for independence because they are canny and know this despite all the shrill cries from Mrs. Sturgeon. She is already heavily over represented at the UK Parliament, whilst the English have no say in what goes on in the Scottish parliament.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      I’ve always been a Europhile. But never a big fan of the EU, particularly in the last 20 years or so. But, now? I’m getting to the point where I couldn’t care less about the EU. If they want to play hardball and cut of their nose to spite their face, fine – let them.

      I think perhaps continentals do not really understand the British character. When we have the negotiation – if we get kicked in the teeth, and we have a second referendum on pitiful ‘take it or leave it’ terms – trust me, the next vote will be 80% for leave. Yeah it will cause a bit of an upheaval – but I think we’ll probably just about get by if we don’t buy any more goods from BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Volkswagen, Ford, Vauxhall, Citroen, Peugeot, Renault, Bosch, Neff, Siemens, Zanussi etc. etc. and we lose our export markets. Once reality sinks in – and cross country supply chains become disrupted, the politicians running countries in the EU will soon bring the EU leaders to heel.

      But, as I say, who cares? When the Second World War broke out, this country turned itself inside out. Half the country were making munitions and the other half were ‘digging for victory’. People were moved around the country like pawns – and worked where they were told. Personal freedoms were sacrificed in a common cause. I think that is what will happen when we leave the EU and the EU tells us to ‘get lost’. We’ll have a common cause then – and we’ll be fine.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      PvL – We’ve had the debates and any attempt to continue with them is viewed as a sly way of keeping us in the EU.

      Europhiles have had it all their way and, thus far, still do.

    • libertarian
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 5:35 pm | Permalink


      Where I live , Kent, was an independent Kingdom for 329 years and self ruled for a further 89, should we get a special settlement too? The UK which includes Kent and all the other areas you mention voted to leave , so leave we will.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted December 20, 2016 at 8:25 am | Permalink

        @libertarian: Not quite the same as Scotland or Gibraltar (or N. Ireland) which all have a distinct status within the UK constellation.

        • libertarian
          Posted December 21, 2016 at 10:20 am | Permalink

          P vL

          Yes, EXACTLY the same as Scotland etc, we are all part of the UK and the UK voted out. No matter which weasel way you try to cut it , that is the fact

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted December 22, 2016 at 10:21 am | Permalink

            @libertarian: That is not a very strong argument. Greenland and mainland Denmark are both part of the (united) Kingdom of Denmark and provide a nice precedent.

          • libertarian
            Posted December 22, 2016 at 2:42 pm | Permalink


            Oh but it is a strong arguement

            Where isolated parts of the UK that have some autonomy they werent asked in isolation they were asked as part of the UK. So to use your analogy if Denmark had also voted on Greenlands referendum to leave then you would have a valid point.

          • a-tracy
            Posted December 23, 2016 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

            @pvl you think Greenland sets a precedent for Scotland?
            An Island with 56,000 residents the majority of which have ancestral links to Canada. An island that is independent of the EU not wanting to be in the EU? So you think the RUK is like Greenland and Scotland like Denmark? I think you’re undermining our nation.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 20, 2016 at 10:17 am | Permalink

        Under remainer, small majority Theresa May? Well perhaps but I rather doubt it.

    • DaveM
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      “It does help however to take the concerns of all in various parts of the country very seriously and not overrule them at the outset.”

      But, PvL, they are. Have you not noticed that the only people’s concerns our erstwhile politicians have taken into account are their masters in the CBI and the City financial institutions? The same way they only consider the 46% who voted for Scottish independence whilst ignoring the 54% who voted against.

      They choose to ignore those who have genuine concerns about the way their communities are changing beyond recognition due to uncontrollable immigration. They care nothing for the fact that whole towns have been ruined by the destruction of our fishing industry. In other words, if you’re not a Scottish nationalist, a CEO of a multinational, or a member of the London financial industry, you get ignored by the “people’s representatives in Westminster”.

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted December 20, 2016 at 8:30 am | Permalink

        @DaveM: I think I see your point, but I don’t think that large parts of your people who felt disgruntled and left behind would necessarily align with “Brexit” if their plight had been met in other ways. I can see a similar phenomena in the US election results and “Brexit” doesn’t exist over there.

        • NickC
          Posted December 20, 2016 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

          PVL said: “… large parts of your people who felt disgruntled and left behind …”

          You have been listening to the Remains again. They have no idea. Which is why they got it wrong in the first place.

    • APL
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      PvL: “It does help however to take the concerns of all in various parts of the country very seriously and not overrule them at the outset.”

      Peter, are you eligible to vote anywhere in the United Kingdom?

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted December 20, 2016 at 8:33 am | Permalink

        @APL: As I am a European citizen and not a Pakistani, Indian, Common Wealth African or Australian, no, I would not have been eligible to vote in your referendum had I lived in the UK, even if though this was a referendum about the relationship with also my country.

        • NickC
          Posted December 20, 2016 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

          The Referendum was nothing to do with the UK’s relationship with Holland, or Holland’s with the UK. It was to do with the UK’s relationship to the EU – an artificial, corrupt, self-appointed oligarchy that is demonstrably bad for all of Europe.

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted December 22, 2016 at 10:17 am | Permalink

            @NickC: Actually, it may have slipped you attention, but Holland is part of the EU, Pakistan, India and African countries are not.

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted December 20, 2016 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

          Our relationship with your country Peter. That is why you would rightfully have been excluded.

    • Freeborn John
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

      The population of Greenland is only 56000. That is 0.1% of that of Scotland. Also Scotland trades more than 4.5 times as much with the rest of the UK as it does with the EU27 and cannot benefit from from a customs border with England in order to avoid one with the EU27. That is very different from Greenland which is seperated by a vast sea Fromm Denmark.

      The reality is that the SNP are not trying to make any coherent case for a different trading with the EU than the UK. They aren’t simply engaged in agitation hoping to stir up animists between their electorate and the rest of Britain in order to advance the primary goal of Scottish independence. It is a dangerousness game for them because to lose another indyref would surely sink that main aspiration and all the signs are that is what would happen.

  2. Alan Jutson
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    Like many of us out here John, you must be getting absolutely frustrated at the continuing comments we seem to be getting from even the three so called Brexit musketeers now, let alone those who still really want to remain, in all but name.

    Just what part of LEAVE do they not understand.

    All we now seem to be getting are reasons for complication, delay and expense.

    Are they really that frightened of taking back control ?

    I cannot help but feel we are slowly being conditioned to accept far, far less than we voted for.

    Why are we even trying to negotiate before we LEAVE, the time to negotiate is immediately after we leave, as you then start from a freedom/independent/fully in control position.

    Seems to me that it looks like we, the public, will have to take matters into our own hands at the next general election.

    We have given our politicians the opportunity of a lifetime to actually take back control of our Country, the politicians from their actions so far, seem to want to try to frustrate that opportunity through lack of vision.
    They will of course eventually pay the price by losing their seats, but not before they have lost us the opportunity of a lifetime.

    History will show a fantastic opportunity and bargaining position simply thrown away through total and utter incompetence

    Disgraceful, simply disgraceful.

    • Excalibur
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      Quite so, Alan. What a huge opportunity David Cameron had to write himself into greatness. His lack of vision and ultimately of political cowardice has cost us dear.

      • alan jutson
        Posted December 20, 2016 at 8:26 am | Permalink



        Agreed he could have put his name down in history for the right reasons, instead of the wrong by choosing to go with his own thoughts, instead of representing the Country as the peoples spokesman.


        He looked good, but no one believed a word he said.

    • Jerry
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      @Alan Jutson; “Just what part of LEAVE do they not understand.”

      In the contexts of Brexit “LEAVE” means what someone wants it to mean, this is because (in the rush to get their referendum the europhobes) forgot to demand that its meaning be actually specified on the tin (ballot paper), so unless you want that second referendum were the ‘When’ and ‘How’ questions are asked perhaps you should stop complaining….

      • NickC
        Posted December 19, 2016 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        There was no option on the ballot paper to remain partly in the the EU. The options were Remain, or Leave the EU. Everyone on both sides before the vote accepted the Electoral Commission’s wording. Stop trying to rewrite history.

        • Jerry
          Posted December 20, 2016 at 9:10 am | Permalink

          @NickC et al; I’m not the one trying to rewrite history, unlike those who wanted to Remain and those who expect “Brexit”. As for understanding, it is you who do not seem to understand [1] that as there was at least 28 different campaign groups for Brexit all seeking people to vote for the same LEAVE option means that Brexit will mean at least 28 different things to voters, just as there was something like 24 different Remain groups.

          Of course had the various groups all agreed to have just the one Remain and one Leave campaign then you might have a point but they did not as they all wanted different things, all wanted their own political land grab.

          The LEAVE vote does indeed mean leave, but it doesn’t tell us How nor When. Want to claim a mandate for those two options, then call that second referendum and put those opinions on the ballot paper – if you dare….

          Europhobes need to start accepting the result, the UK will be leaving the European Union, but the we might not be leaving in the fashion you and the manifesto you voted for want, but that’s democracy.

          [1] either the referendum process or basic democracy

          • Edward2
            Posted December 20, 2016 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

            Your assertion that because there were 28 different campaign groups must therefore equal 28 different versions of leaving the EU is ridiculous Jerry

          • NickC
            Posted December 20, 2016 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

            The Referendum voting paper itself offered a binary choice between Leave the EU or Remain in it. There was no option on the paper to remain in part of the EU. Both sides accepted the question was fair and clear. However many groups there were on either side is irrelevant.

            Our constitutional process is occasional referendums where the choice is binary, as in the Scottish independence, and the 1975 EEC, referendums. Following the result the government – which instigated this Referendum – carries out the wishes of the winning side in good faith and to the best of its ability. In this case the decision was to leave the EU.

            I am all for more direct democracy, and would like a referendum to decide on the terms of our leaving the EU. The question would be along the lines of: “Should the UK leave the EU under the terms negotiated by the government, or free ourselves from the EU without let or hindrance?”

          • Jerry
            Posted December 20, 2016 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; Are you seriously suggesting that, for example, the “Socialist Party of England & Wales” or the “Trade Unionists Against the EU” groups want the same Brexit (polices/terms) as UKIP or Vote Leave?! Oh and how many who support -vote Brexit because of- either of those latter two groups will want anything to do with those wanting “Flexit” seeing that “Flexit” would likely mean the UK still being hitched to the EU by way of the EEA or EFTA and the EU’s Four Freedoms?…

            Reply And are you seriously suggesting the Labour and left groups who voted to remain in 1975 wanted the same EU/EEC as the Conservatives who voted for it, but both got the same EU, which turned out to be very different from the one they told us about in the referendum.

          • Jerry
            Posted December 20, 2016 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

            @JR reply; That’s my point!

            The result of the 1975 referendum was merely that the UK should stay in the EEC, rather than an any more detailed road map. As such the following Thatcher government wasn’t tied to any specific policies or visions found within the 1975 referendum result, or the Labour parties vision of what our membership should be – for that matter, other than internal Labour party strife, nor was Jim Callaghan when he took over from Harold Wilson as PM a year after the referendum.

            Had “Out” won in 1975, would Mr Powell have welcomed Mr Benn claiming that the Labour left now had a mandate for even greater Socialist political land grabs, would Mr Benn have welcomed Mr Powell claiming a mandate for a radical shift to the right? Of course not, and I doubt either would have made such crass political claims anyway on the back of a single issue binary referendum, because (unlike so many politicians and activists today) such great statesmen of that era understood what democracy is and is not.

            Had Remain won in 2016, would eurosceptics and europhobes have meekly accepted without protest had certain now ex politicians, the LibDems, the SNP or who ever started to try and claim that the referendum result was a mandate for the UK to not only remain in the EU but to abandon opt-outs from treaties such as Schengen, never mind joining the Euro?

            Eurosceptics, never mind europhobes, would be in danger of bursting blood vessels with rage I suspect and quite understandably too.

            Reply Absurd wriggling

          • Edward2
            Posted December 21, 2016 at 1:58 am | Permalink

            Pointing out that your claim of 28 different versions of leaving the EU is ridiculous Jerry
            There were many different versions of remaining too.
            Some far more enthusiastic than others.
            Some wanted to join the Euro some did not for example

          • Jerry
            Posted December 21, 2016 at 9:49 am | Permalink

            @JR reply.; Yes, YOUR wriggling is absurd, and to think you have the audacity to call yourself a democrat.

            No one in the UK is arguing about what the 2016 referendum result means, other than right-wing eurosceptics and europhobes!…

          • Edward2
            Posted December 21, 2016 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

            Abusing the host of this site now Jerry.
            A new low point in your rudeness to others on this fine site.
            Free speech comes with responsibilities.
            Debate don’t heckle

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 19, 2016 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

        The Cameron administration decided the question and had it written into the referendum Act – in English and in Welsh – and then proceeded to explain its meaning, emphasising that it included leaving the EU single market:

        So are you saying that Cameron and Osborne are europhobes?

      • alan jutson
        Posted December 19, 2016 at 1:18 pm | Permalink


        Brexit was not on the ballot paper, LEAVE was.

        You cannot half leave anything sensibly, be it a golf club, a social group, a house party or even half get off a bus or a train.

        Try asking HMRC if you can only pay half of your tax due.

        We should simply agree to leave, and then and only then, talk about areas when we can co-operate and agree.

        • Jerry
          Posted December 20, 2016 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

          @alan jutson; “Try asking HMRC if you can only pay half of your tax due. We should simply agree to leave, and then and only then, talk about areas when we can co-operate and agree.”

          To carry on with your tax analogy; I take it that you are an advocate for a Flat/simpler tax coding system, and as such you tell the HMRC that you would be happy to pay more tax than you perhaps legally need to currently, or perhaps you would be happy for the HMRC to place you on an emergency (super) tax code for the next 5, 10, 20 years, just until they find time to sort out your proper tax code, and perhaps never to receive a tax rebate?…

          Few things are as binary as you seem to think and that includes the UK’s future relationship with the EU27 post Article 50 and after actual Brexit.

      • a-tracy
        Posted December 19, 2016 at 2:10 pm | Permalink


        The Governments £9m leaflet told us what Leave meant it was quite clear. Out of the Single market, unlikely to secure a deal. This leaflet was printed by our government for every household. We know we will leave and any two-way negotiation will be just that. If the EU doesn’t want free trade with us then we need to pay the tariffs and move onward.

      • Patrick Geddes
        Posted December 19, 2016 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        All major leave supporters and even our then PM made it quite clear.
        It’s just a remain smoke screen to try to claim no one knew what leaving the EU meant.

      • libertarian
        Posted December 19, 2016 at 5:47 pm | Permalink


        Only someone as befuddled as you could come up with an explanation like that.

        So if you were in a building that was evacuated and theres a sign on the door that says EXIT, you wouldn’t take it unless it said and the options are A) run B)walk C) Crawl AND once you are through the door you should D) turn left E) Turn right F) Find another building to enter.

        As you obviously missed it the message on the tin leading to the referendum was very explicit

        Leave the EU, the single market and the customs union. Negotiate our own free trade deals and take control of our borders by ending the free movement of people. Now which part of that do you not understand ?

        Even if like me you dont agree with all of that , it was what was on offer and you either vote for the package or against. I voted to leave and accept that it means giving up some things which are useful, but thats the nature of it. You on the other hand never specified nor the remain camp in general what the ramifications of remaining were , in fact you tried to pretend there weren’t any like a Federal state, EU Army etc. Just like the rest of the remoaner brigade you are running around in desperation trying to invent ANY excuse to overturn a democratic vote. Rather than do that , why not shut up, start a party like UKIP and campaign to rejoin the EU ( good luck with that) The polling with all its caveats now shows Leave at 60-40 and 80% think we should just get on with it.

        • Edward2
          Posted December 20, 2016 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

          Excellent post I agree with all you say.

        • Jerry
          Posted December 20, 2016 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

          @libertarian; You used 282 words just to say that you do not accept the historical facts! It is you who is the befuddled one. 🙁

          As for your rather silly analogy about building evacuation, if you had ever worked in an essential service (or even broadcasting) you would know that there can be phased levels of evacuation. Also if you were being told to evacuate the building or your section, would you take offered advice and/or use common sense, evacuating in such a way that places you and other at the least risk or would you be in such haste that you would ignore all such advice and thus place not only yourself in danger but others who then have to try and rescue you from your own stupidity when you arrogantly ignore the “IN CASE OF FIRE DO NOT USE THE LIFTS” signs but also those you have unintentionally trampled in your selfish haste…

          • Edward2
            Posted December 21, 2016 at 2:03 am | Permalink

            There is no such thing as phased evacuation.
            If a building alarm goes off all in that building must leave.

          • Jerry
            Posted December 21, 2016 at 9:53 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; You are wrong, yet again…

          • libertarian
            Posted December 21, 2016 at 10:41 am | Permalink


            What has working in broadcasting got to do with it? You are odd.

            There is no such thing as a phased evacuation , you leave, exit go etc.

            As it happens I’m in a BBC studio this morning and I checked , the sign above the door says EXIT , there are no further instructions, thats it.

            Historical facts ( i think you meant your hysterical ‘facts”) What would they be then? The fact of the referendum is vanishingly simple and straightforward . Leave or Remain were the two options. Remain didn’t offer or agitate for a third or fourth option if they had the ballot paper would have read


            Remain fully

            Join EEA

            Join EFTA

            Leave but negotiate a new model

            However the PM of the country tried ALL of that BEFORE the referendum and was totally rebuffed.

            Therefore the two options were

            Leave or Remain.. We opted to leave. No amount of weasel wriggling from you will change that fact .

            You are now left in the same position we have been in for the last 40 years. i.e. in a position we dont like, therefore you have to do the same as us, start a political movement to JOIN the EU ….. good luck with that….

            Merry Christmas

            Here are the full instructions for having a merry christmas so you aren’t confused

            send cards, to friends and family

            buy presents for family

            buy turkey or goose or vegetarian alternatives ( this needs to be negotiated with stakeholders)

            buy wine, beer spirits and non alcoholic alternatives

            attend parties, depending on invite status

            consume mince pies

            watch Queens speech

            negotiate with all stakeholders TV /film viewing schedule

            Clear up the mess afterwards

            ps Your broadcasting jibe is aimed at not believing I own radio stations. Well just to make you weep , I’ve just completed the purchase of another regional FM station too.

            Oh and my fire exit doors in all 6 studios just say EXIT

          • Edward2
            Posted December 21, 2016 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

            Check the HSE website and look at Fire and Buildings Regs.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted December 21, 2016 at 5:28 pm | Permalink


      • Hope
        Posted December 19, 2016 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

        Well said Alan. It was ever going to be thus with May as PM and her cabinet full of remainders. This was the plan B.

        Oh Jerry, do you talk twaddle. It was spelt out loud and clear in the debates and by the then govt. The ballot question was written as simple as it gets, and, yet sadly, you lack the intellect to understand.

    • majorfrustration
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      Its the blame game – when out of the EU our politicians will become accountable something that will not hang well with them.

      • Mark B
        Posted December 20, 2016 at 5:09 am | Permalink

        Exactly !!

    • stred
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      Not only are the Reversit politicians to be watched, but the civil servants too. DC named Sir Ivan Richards as the civil servant who advised Mrs May to start the citizen’s bargaining chip needless argument, rather than reading the Leave and UKIP proposals in which EU citizens without a criminal record would be allowed to stay.

      A list of those in Brussels is shown in the article below. Two are British and one is working for Junker, along with an EU official named in the Telegraph as a hardliner. The Sir Ivan was preceded by a Sir John Cunliffe, described as a European and an excellent choice for Mark Carney as deputy BoE governor.Both went from the civil service to work for banks.

      Brexit ministers might as well employ civil servants who are not British. Certainly, their pensions will be paid from Brussels and will be added to the bill they are negotiating.

    • stred
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      Sir John Cunliffe- the European and an ideal helper for Carney

    • stred
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 10:46 am | Permalink
    • Lesley Barker
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      Very well said and exactly mirrors my opinion, as does everything John says. Oh! What a lost opportunity we are facing if we don’t have the courage to grasp the metal and fight for our freedom.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    Indeed but they are politicians. Politicians who largely think that money grows on trees and have no understanding of negotiation, logic, maths or game theory at all.

    Rather like Gordon Brown who sold the gold reserves at the bottom of the market and was even so daft as to announce his intentions in advance.

    Politicians who can be so daft as to call for “higher productivity” while heaping red tape, artificially expensive energy, daft employment laws and ever more taxes onto businesses, inevitably destroying their productivity.

    Politician who say they have “a passionate believe in free markets” yet they rig the market in almost every area they can causing huge harm and inefficiency. How can anyone who claims to have such a beliefs want to remain in the anti free market EU?

    • JimS
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      Remember that other financial genius, Vince Cable, who warned everyone that Northern Rock had a liquidity problem, which led to savers taking their money out, which ensured there was a liquidity problem, which collapsed the bank and took other with it?

      Politicians should keep their feet firmly in their mouths.

    • Bob
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 11:13 am | Permalink


      “Gordon Brown who sold the gold reserves at the bottom of the market and was even so daft as to announce his intentions in advance. “

      indeed, Gordon Brown set a new low, in more ways than one.

      Defined benefit pensions RIP.

    • alan jutson
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 1:23 pm | Permalink


      Correct, an excellent example of stupidity and lack of commercial common sense:

      Gordon Brown giving advance notice of our gold sales.

      He got the worst possible price at the time as a result.

  4. Nig l
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Liam Fox was at it yesterday suggesting joining a customs union, Hammond is doing his best to sabotage everything. This needs strong leadership from Mrs May but as we see with the Unions she does not seem capable of providing it.

    • Chris
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

      Tragically, she seems weak and a ditherer, and not committed to Leave.

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    What are “British Values”? Surely one of them is not having to swear such silly oaths. What would these values be and who would define them anyway? I assume they we be a dire version of “BBC think”.

    Would one have to believe in the current climate alarmism religion for example or in having so much damaging religion and greencrap in schools for example? Who we have to “respect” the views of people who hold irrational belief systems and often want these belief systems forced onto everyone? Would we have to respect judges who so often come up with damaging & irrational legal judgements?

    Javid should forget this silly distraction immediately. It is even dafter than putting workers & customers on company boards, the sugar tax, gender pay reporting, stamp duty at 15% or Osborne’s central wage controls.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      Listening to Lord O’Donnell on radio 4 just now was a hugely depressing. How on earth did such a man get the top job in the civil service, well I suppose that is the type that is drawn to he civil service.

      If people like him are in charge is will be surprising if we ever get anything done at all especially under dithering ex(?) remainer T May. Jeremy Heywood seems to be yet more of the same too.

      Simon Heffer was surely dead right on Osborne.

    • Jerry
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      @LL; The only danger I see, for those on the political right, in this “Pledge of British Values” is that it will mean that we will have to have a written constitution (in effect if not in practise), as you say how else would anyone know and understand what values they are swearing a pledge to as it could chance with government ~ coming to think about it, just as your so called “BBC Think” does…

      • libertarian
        Posted December 19, 2016 at 5:51 pm | Permalink


        Not that I agree with Javid’s proposal but you do know that there is already a group of people that has to swear an oath of allegiance ?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted December 20, 2016 at 2:39 am | Permalink

          I assume you mean MPs?

          I… swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law.

          Then they tried to kill UK democracy and make us all citizen’s of the anti democratic, socialist disaster that is the EU.

        • Mark B
          Posted December 20, 2016 at 5:14 am | Permalink

          Yes I do. And it has never stopped them once from breaking it over the last 40 years or so.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted December 20, 2016 at 9:29 am | Permalink

          Several groups: MPs, peers, Privy Councillors, judges …

        • Jerry
          Posted December 20, 2016 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

          @libertarian; You really do not have a first clue. Those who you suggest swear an oath an allegiance to the country actually swear an oath of allegiance to the reigning Monarch (and successors), not the country. Quite different to what is being suggested, swearing an oath to “British Values”, after all it is these very same British Values that allow some people to freely and publicly hold the belief that the United Kingdom should become a Republic and that the Monarchy should be abolished…

    • James Matthews
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      The fact that such a suggestion can even surface is an indictment of the immigration policies of every government since 1948, but in particular those of Edward Heath (the last Prime Minister who could have prevented the problem relatively painlessly) and Tony Blair (who turned the taps on as hard as he possibly could, to “rub the noses of the right in diversity” – a deliberate attempt to destroy our remaining national identity).

      But we are where we are. We have already had far more migration than can be genuinely assimilated. If we have become a nation of divergent immigrants like the United States, quasi-American measures like this one, repellent as they are, may be the only way to keep some vestigial common identity.

      We should never forget who is responsible, or forgive them.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      ‘Would one have to believe in the current climate alarmism religion for example or in having so much damaging religion and greencrap in schools for example?’

      – Let’s look at some of the things religion has given this country:

      – Oxford and Cambridge universities (with the Catholic Church playing a key role in its foundation.
      – The Rule of Law (the development of our legal system is heavily in debt to the influence of Christianity during the Middle Ages and later).
      – The Crown (the Crown finds its ultimate authority in Christianity)
      – London (most of London’s most beautiful buildings were built by the Catholic Church / Sir Christopher Wren).
      – Shakespeare (the influence of religion in Shakespeare, in particular from my experience, in the Tempest with things like Shakespeare evoking glimpses of divine grace, ‘the clouds methought did open up and show riches ready to drop upon me that when I wak’d I cried to dream again,’ and other examples too, including the unconditional, divine love of Cordelia in King Lear and more.
      – So much of our arts, from Handel to Gerard Manley Hopkins.
      – Science. Many of our greatest scientists were devoutly religious, Christian men and women, seeing science as a talent they had to use for the benefit of others: Sir Isaac Newton (and a biblical scholar in his own right), Michael Faraday, Maxwell, and many others.
      – The concept of the Just War (our participation in WW2 is great, clear example of that).
      – In business, in particular the Quakers and the many great businesses they set up, as well as demonstrating the value of Protestant work ethic
      As well as those in politics, healthcare, charitable organisations, and so on.

      Lastly, religious people have no right to impose their beliefs on others. At same time, i’d challenge non-religious people to remember the good done by religious people to our country – our fatherland (fundamentally a Christian concept derived from Plato and others) – and to be inspired by them rather than feel threatened by them.
      Best wishes.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      ‘Who we have to “respect” the views of people who hold irrational belief systems’

      – I think religions are both rational as well as containing mystery.
      Why should non-religious argument be more rational in explaining the rational in life than religion? I mean, Christianity claims that there is a rational Creator behind our universe. And one reason for believing in such a Creator is to be found precisely in the existence of such mysterious things such as love and beauty (beauty for example found in non organic matter such as the moon and the stars – where there is no need for beauty – or in the great music of Bach for example, who, as it happens, was devoutly religious).
      How can a non-religious argument trump a religious argument on the existence of mysteries such as beauty in the universe (and why people love in extraordinary ways?). How can a non-religious argument explain how rational order can originate from complete Nothingness – and how is such an argument more rational than that of the religious argument for the origin of such things?
      Best wishes

  6. Jerry
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Of course two business partners would not intentionally bid against each other, but why is that, because they meet and decide a joint policy before the auction… This is something that the government (and more importantly, the eurosceptic wing of your party) do not seem to want to do, meaning those with legitimate but differing opinions, rather than being listened to in private behind closed doors [1], as should be happening, have no option other than to ‘bid against’ their own government in public via the MSM etc. – much in the same way as the eurosceptics and europhobes had to do when they were not being listened to, so stop complaining about others doing to you what you have done to others, otherwise you might just end up being called a hypocrite.

    [1] unless of course are you suggesting that these Brexit issues are being discussed and debated “In Camera” between all shades of opinion, but some are still choosing to make their case in the public domain too?

    • a-tracy
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      Did you watch any of the debates?

  7. Mark B
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Once again I find myself in the position of having to remind our kind host that we are NOT dealing with ‘normal’ people. These people are trying to build a Supranational nation called the EU or, to give its now more common name, Europe.

    If they gave the UK the deal it wanted then all the others will start to demand the same, and that would spell the end of their dream. So it is in their and not the peoples or business’s of Europe that they must make sure that the UK suffers.

    I know for our kind host this makes no sense and that he keeps looking at the problem from his own quite sensible and pragmatic point of view. But these people in the EU Commission are un-elected and unaccountable. And it is this that makes them immune to the world around them.

    So when cutting a deal we need to be a bit cleverer. Going for the EEA for a short while will enable the UK to get good trade deals with everyone else. Once that is done we can demand a better trade deal with the EU or, ask for the EEA to be amended. If not, we walk and far less damage will be done to us as a result.

    Slightly off topic.

    I read that, Liam Fox MP thinks being in the Customs Union would be a good thing. In fact this would be the worst thing as we would not be able to source cheaper goods from elsewhere.

    I really wonder sometimes where these people get their ideas from.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      But if I was on the other side, and I shared their apparent vindictiveness born of a fanatical eurofederalism, worship of the “four freedoms” and all, then I would be looking to shut off any exit route which might make life easier for the UK. Let them suffer as much as we can arrange, I would say, let the deterrent lesson to any other potential escapees be as harsh as we can possibly make it. And as some in the UK have been publicly urging that we should seek to stay in the EEA as a convenient transitional state after leaving the EU I would already be well aware of that cunning plan, and I would already be prepared to scupper it in one way or another.

    • Mark Watson
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      Given the pathetic performance so far from the Government in Brexit,I have to say that I do agree with Mark B’s assessment and approach. The EU wont hesitate to harm everyone to prolong it’s dream.
      Can’t believe what I’m hearing from Fox about staying in the Customs Union- what is that all about?
      It’s looking like Government would have been a better bet for PM.

      • Mark Watson
        Posted December 19, 2016 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

        Gove would make a better PM,not Government (not so smart phone)

  8. Brexit
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Well said Dr Redwood. We couldn’t agree more.

    Your readers might like an upbeat news item this Monday morning? If so, we published an article with videos, about Australia’s highly positive assessment of Brexit. It’s on our news page:

  9. Roy Grainger
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    No-one involved strikes me as knowing the first thing about negotiating, except maybe Davis but even there I’m not sure.

    We could also do without all these “reports” by vested interests passing themselves off as experts. For example the Lords report over the weekend saying we’ll have to continue to give EU boats access to UK fishing grounds to be able to sell fish to the EU, and anyway we’ll have to import fish from the EU because our fleet is so small (and, by implication, will remain so these “experts” assume), and anyway as there are only 10,000 UK fishermen their views can be ignored as part of the bigger negotiation.

  10. Richard1
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    There will be a negotiation and all negotiations involve compromises on both sides. The EU will need to achieve some face saving concessions from the UK, which might include money (eg to Eastern European countries rather than the general budget) and easy immigration eg for those with jobs or money to support themselves. But you are right, there is no point announcing in advance what we will give, as otherwise that’s the starting point for negotiations.

    But there is no possibility of a successful outcome unless Mrs May states very clearly that no deal is better than a bad deal, and gets the Country (or most of it) comfortable with what no deal looks like. She must be able to look her EU counter-parts in the eye and tell them that the UK will walk away with no deal if we don’t get the right deal. The politics of this means the Government must start laying out the consequences of no deal soon.

    • ian wragg
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      Why should we be negotiating which may involve money for Eastern European States. We are leaving the EU and we wish to trade with them. We can announce free trade or reciprocal tariffs, it will then only be the intransigence of Brussels if they introduce tariffs.
      We are not divorcing the wife and paying maintenance for the kids, we are getting back our freedom which my family and too a lesser extent I fought for.

  11. Peter Wood
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Good morning,

    We have all these voices and suggestions, mostly ill-informed and unhelpful, because we didn’t issue the notice for departure in a timely manner. Leaving it for nearly 9 months following the decision is too long. Why? We may not have had a departure plan then, but so what; had we issued notice and repealed the 1972 EU act, we’d be in a far better position today because we’d be know what the EU really plan, and Mrs. May and the nation would not had to suffer the insults from the office clerks in Brussels.

  12. acorn
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    For success at auctions, you need to be able to spot when you are bidding against the clock on the wall and the fire extinguisher at the back of the hall.

    JR says, “… there is little we [want] from the EU. Our trade is not at risk, and can be pursued successfully one way or another as soon as the rest of the EU decides whether they want to pay tariffs on their exports to us or not.”

    You are not getting this import export tariff thing. Imports to the UK are a benefit to UK citizens; AND, UK voters like having them BMW and Miele ovens. They are a loss to the citizens of the country that exports them things. The exporter reduces its unemployment in exchange for a bag full of Pounds Sterling. The exporters’ workers don’t want paying in Pounds Sterling, they are not accepted by shops in down-town Frankfurt etc. Hence, other things have to happen to make the trade work, end to end.

    “… whether they want to pay tariffs on their exports to us or not.” That sounds like this government is unconcerned with putting up the price of those beloved imports. Not exactly a vote winner on the doorsteps, come the next General Election.

  13. Richard W
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    I agree that what is currently happening isn’t looking good, but then again the auction analogy is probably misguided. Actors in this, or even government ministers, are not “business partners”. The reality is that the UK collectively doesn’t know what it wants. That is not a good basis for a good deal.

  14. Dave Andrews
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Though I agree with you to a point, the difference here from an auction is that at an auction if you get a good deal, you rub your hands in glee and go your way. With the EU, we have the prospect of a continuing relationship. If one side negotiates badly, then the resulting treaty will be vexing on the part of those that got the worse deal and will ultimately fail, so we are back to the negotiating table again.
    I believe that what we want is a fair and sustainable deal with mutual terms. I’m rather fond of our European cousins, and want them to get as good a deal as us for our mutual benefit.

  15. Fred
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    The trouble is we have a government and bureaucracy that does not want to leave the EU and will give away every advantage and bargaining chip it can. It will delay as long as feasible and come up with as many schemes and problems as humanly possible to prevent Britain becoming independent.
    Once upon a time in the days before misconduct in public office became completely acceptable this would have been called treason.

  16. Graham
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately we have unwilling boys trying to do a mans job. This team couldn’t negotiate its way out of a paper bag – I would have liked to have come up against them in my business days – and will cost us dear.

    As mentioned earlier this is just a softening up phase to accept, years down the line, a weak proposal only acceptable to politicians and civil servants.

    I predict civil unrest if this pathway appears to be adopted further.

  17. Ian Wragg
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Just an update on our precarious power situation. Wind contributing less than 1 gigawatt on a rising demand of 45 gigawatt.
    STOR diesel generators are either on line or warming up ready producing some of the most polluting generation on the planet.
    We now have the head of Ofgem telling us we may have to pay a premium for reliable supply so the poor will freeze to death. 21st century Britain. You couldn’t make it up.

    • Alan
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      On the other hand, as I write, we are exporting about 6GW to France, the Netherlands, and Ireland, so things are not that bad.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      @Ian Wragg

      Crazy policies from the government regarding energy.

      When is Mrs May going to wake up and smell the coffee? We need to get out of the EU and repeal the climate change act NOW.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      Why is the scam over bio mass and renewable heat only being highlighted in Northern Ireland? This scam is being repeated all over the UK. Farmers are heating barns 24/7 to receive the generous subsidies being paid by you and I on our energy bills. I despair over the mismanagement of these rip off schemes.

    • graham1946
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      How exactly does paying a premium for reliable supply work? Either we have the equipment in which case it should be available to all, or we don’t. Looks like yet another power rip off the useless regulator will allow (indeed encourage) so that the dismal power companies get even more revenue to spend on their directors.

      Isn’t the regulator supposed to champion the user rather than the supplier? Just like all the others, useless and never any reprimand or accountability from government who like to use these organisations to pass the buck and absorb the heat for their policies.

  18. Nigel
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    The other problem is that the people negotiating this could well be a combination of those who negotiated the Southern Rail franchise agreement, and the fellow who advised David Cameron on his putative negotiations, and who now says the process will take 10 years.

    Get some hard nosed business people involved.

  19. agricola
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    You are right in every respect, however the noises off either wish for a different result and will warp every argument to achieve it, or they are professional talkers conversing with other professional talkers just to justify their existence. It fills a few inches in a newspaper or ten minutes on the box.

  20. margaret
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    I have not ever been to an auction as I find dealing with money and negotiating anything difficult. I was brought up, like many other young British girls not to talk about money .Service without reward was the objective . I attended the Brownies and the girl guides and money was something never discussed in the family. I wonder how many other women of my era find this the case?
    I would like to attend an auction to buy a small house to renovate and let , yet the thought of going to an auction fills me with dread and even as I write and talk about money I get ‘ butterflies’ . I suppose once a surf always a surf.

  21. A.Sedgwick
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Quite so, it is beginning to look like this Government couldn’t negotiate themselves out of a wet paper bag. The plan should have been simple, invoke A50, 31/12/16 should have been the latest date. Why 31/03/17? Let the EU come up with their plan, the negotiation will go right to the wire and we can only hope there is not another Cameron non deal. Some bullet points for Brussels and our Government to understand are:
    We are out of their internal market,
    We control our immigration and will treat EU citizens working here fairly as is our way through history,
    We are out of the customs union,
    We are not paying any exit fee,
    We are out of CAP and CFP,
    We will not be subject to the ECJ.

    George Osborne on the AM show yesterday shows he hasn’t learned anything from the EU result and he is a distinct background problem in the negotiation, as is Clegg and many others, quite simply aiding the opposition and running down this country.

  22. Iain Moore
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Given an opportunity for British jobsworths to complicate matters is an opportunity they will gladly accept . As a country we excel at this, we will make complicated the simplest of tasks , opportunity is considered a threat to the little world these jobsworths have constructed. What is bad in the wider society is endemic in the Civil Service, if we allow them to rule the roost over our Brexit from the EU, nothing will happen.

    Brexit can be made very simple or extraordinarily complicated. The nine month pause between the referendum vote and our implementation of article 50 has been a mistake, for all it has done is to allow the opposition to Brexit to marshal their forces, and the jobsworths to create their own little empires. With the record of Mrs May in the Home Office poor and one where we are told she went into the minutiae of a decision, makes me concerned that Brexit will completely stall. If you give these people ten years, they will make the job fit the ten years. The Australian High Commissioner said yesterday that they managed to agree a free trade deal with the USA in 15 months. What we need with Brexit is for someone to get a grip and get on with it, and tell our negotiators they have a year to finish it.

  23. majorfrustration
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Agree but we are talking about politicians and civil servants – hardly the track record to inspire confidence

  24. Shieldsman
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Can the Swiss now restrict migration (AFMP) by control of the job market? Will applications have to be made and work permits issued? 16 Dec 2016. Swiss Parliament errs on side of caution in EU immigration dispute

    Switzerland approved a law today (16 December) aimed at curbing immigration by giving local people the first crack at open jobs, skirting voter demands for outright quotas that the country’s lawmakers feared could disrupt close ties with the European Union.

    After parliament passed the new immigration law, the European Commission reacted positively to the development.
    “Today the result of the parliamentary process is known. At first sight, we say the law appears to go in the right direction,” spokesman Margaritis Schinas told a news conference.
    “It is a good sign that the law is not intended to impose quotas on the free circulation of EU citizens and does not envisage restricting their access to employment in Switzerland, contrary to what was in the initial draft of the text,” he continued.
    Schinas said that the EU intended to have a close dialogue with the Swiss over the application of the law and would continue its analysis in the next few days, also consulting the EU’s 28 member states.

    Brussels so far has shown scant flexibility on the free movement of people, the principle underpinning Swiss access to the single market (note the Swiss trade through bilateral agreements), so as not to encourage Britain as it negotiates its EU divorce.

    The lack of upper limits on immigration to a country of 8.3 million, whose population is already a quarter foreign, prompted the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) to assert that politicians had defied the people’s will in a 2014 referendum. The SVP, the largest party in parliament, accused other parties of kowtowing to Brussels and shirking their duty to stand up for Swiss sovereignty. Its members held up signs protesting the final vote reading “constitutional breach” and “mass immigration continues”.
    But a clear majority in parliament did not want to risk a row with the EU, Switzerland’s main trading partner, which could retaliate by abrogating other bilateral accords easing trade in sectors that account for 7% of Swiss economic output.
    Nearly 1.4 million EU citizens live in Switzerland and another 365,000 commute in from neighbouring countries.

    The Swiss believe that gives them leverage with Germany, France and Italy, whose leaders may not want to have to explain to voters, especially those in border regions with strong populist party support, why they can no longer work in high-wage Swiss jobs.

    Passage of the law clears the way for Switzerland to extend free movement of people to the EU’s newest member, Croatia. That in turn will restore Swiss access to the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, which funds research projects.
    In any event, Swiss voters look set to decide for a second time whether to impose curbs on immigration or reaffirm close economic ties with the bloc.

  25. Mitchel
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    From The Independent :”Michael Sheen is quitting acting to oppose far right populism.The star said he would be leaving Hollywood for Port Talbot in order to fight Trump.”

    Honestly,you couldn’t make it up!Playing Tony Blair so often must have addled his brain.

    • ian wragg
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Who’s Michael Sheen.
      Another deluded B lister.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      He’s not mentioned standing for office. At least right wing actors do this rather than just agitating.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      He is back-pedalling like mad on that today, claiming he was misquoted. I read the original interview in the Times and to me it seemed quite a good summary of what he said. I suppose he is terrified in case Holywood casting agents really do think he has retired from acting. It is a common delusion amongst actors that by playing a real person, or appearing in a film about some issue or other, they automatically become experts on the person or issue. For example Trump met Leonardo di Caprio to discuss global warming.

  26. Newmania
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    The two Nations this awful,referendum created are not partners . We are more like a divorced couple stuck in the same house.
    One of this most absurd aspects of this Nationalist government are the various versions of ” Now everyone shut up and agree with me ” . Frog marching half the country out its European citizens ship and in the opposite direction of job security is not an occasion when such an attitude is plausible and instead of trying to keep the decisions being made away from Parliament , representing , as it hopefully does, all of us, an agreement with Parliament on the way forward should be reached .

    There is no mandate for an extremist section of one Party to make it up as it goes along and many of its own MPs ( the excellent Mr Osbourne for example ) are vainly calling for a rational cool headed cost / benefit discussion before we lurch into the unknown lead by a team in whom no-one has any confidence whatsoever
    Can we have a bit less of this ” Get with the programme ” nonsense and a bit more respect for the fact the “people” is not just half the people

    Reply Parliament debates little else other than Brexit. Yesterday we had a long statement from the PM on Brexit, followed by a full day debate on science and technology and Brexit! Many Remain voters are now urging us to get on with it to get rid of the uncertainty.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 20, 2016 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      You’re trying to rerun the referendum, Newmania.

    • Mitchel
      Posted December 21, 2016 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      Given how much you appear to be in thrall of Osborne,I would have thought you would have learnt to spell his name correctly by now!

  27. Antisthenes
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Logic and reason is always in short supply and never more apparent in those making wholly inappropriate demands on government to reveal the substance of the Brexit negotiations. It is understandable that all interested parties want to contribute and list the outcomes they would prefer. However those lists can only be wish lists and cannot bind government in anyway which is what they are demanding. Government must take account of them and factor them in but the referendum was voted on by the whole country not just those vested interests currently clamouring for their voice to be heard above all others. So the whole electorates demands must take priority and other vested interests can only be fitted in around that and if they cannot be then that is just one of those things.

    What the country as a whole want is the return of our sovereignty and all law making processes, the right of self determination, complete control over our borders and to trade freely with the EU and the rest of the world. Only the dumbest cannot read that as being the result of the referendum as a vote to leave cannot be interpreted as anything else. In doubt look up the dictionary definition of leave. We the public voted for those things however at the end of the negotiations it is quite possible we will not get them all in there entirety. We have not choice other than to trust government to obtain the best deal possible and that they will do so being firmly committed to do so.

    Any attempts to control, delay or curtail the process is a cynical attack on our democratic principles and our civil rights. Yet there are many who are quite prepared to stoop that low on the remain side and other vested interests which is an indictment of their characters and ethical values.

  28. Horatio
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    I think the only fly in the ointment is access to the financial services market. I’d love to hear more about how you imagine the negotiation over this will go JR.

    • Robert Christopher
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      Wouldn’t we just do what the Americans have done: create a bridgehead in the EU and workout from there?

      It would cost money and effort, but it not rocket science.

  29. Alan
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    It is absurd to say our trade is not at risk. Over 40% of our exports go to the rest of the EU and a lot of our manufacturing is dependent on imports from them. If customs duties are imposed on imports and exports our trade will certainly be damaged.

    Those who are keen to leave the EU should remember that the UK is deeply divided on this issue. Nearly half the voters voted to stay in. You need to take some account of what we want, if you intend to lead a united country.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      According to the EU Commission the EU internal market has added about 2% to the collective GDP of the member states.

      According to one German study the benefit to the UK has been less than that average, at about 1% added to per capita GDP.

      Compare that to the natural growth of the UK economy at a trend rate of 2.5% a year going back to the 1950’s and without any perceptible enhancement as a result of the UK joining the EEC or of the EU creating its internal or single market.

      And look at what the SNP says to justify their threat that they will hold an illegal independence referendum to keep Scotland in the EU internal market:

      “… warned that a hard Brexit which takes Scotland out of the free trade bloc would be a “national disaster” costing 80,000 jobs over the next ten years.”

      About 2.6 million people are employed in Scotland:

      and 80,000 divided by 2.6 million = 3%; spread over ten years, average 0.3% a year; even if it happened it would not exactly be a “national disaster”, but the kind of small change which could easily be lost in the statistical noise.

      What Remoaners need is a sense of perspective about the overall value of the EU internal market, backed up by an ability to do some simple arithmetic.

    • Post-Communist
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      The EU is not stable. Some of its member states are in fact fragile and would not be able to withstand even a confined “trade war” with the UK. Their elites exist by their own very vested interests.
      I know, we love to think of former communist countries in eastern Europe and the Baltics as liberated. In some ways they are. But please do not take their “democracies” as…well…but a mirage or facade. Better than communist dictatorships certainly but not democracies as we would wish. Unutterably corrupt. So much “treasure” was open for pillage when the communists were ousted. Their present elites cannot withstand scrutiny and even a slight rocking of the EU boat.
      Our negotiating position is far stronger than even the most adamant of the Brexit team perhaps realise. The EU will of course try to bluff to the very last dot and be absolutely supported in that bluff by the Remainers and their allies in the media. The elites in the UK/EU and former communist states have so very much in common. They are undemocratic to the nth degree but have the respectability of being non-communist and an ally of the USA. No one dare mention they are dictatorships. The USA officially does not do dictatorships, it is against the US Constitution.
      Rosy tinted spectacles will become less tinted under Trump. There will be surprises. The Remainers have so little time, best they stop stalling, it will be worse for them with every minute passed in moaning.

    • Andy
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      But when have ‘Remainiacs’ ever taken account of what the 52% want ? You lot have shoved ‘more Europe’ down all our throats without any democratic consent, and when that has been half heartedly promised over the Constitution/Lisbon Treaty it was soon welched on.

    • DaveM
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 3:53 pm | Permalink


      I was a staunch Leave voter and still am. And if the referendum had been about leaving an organisation that was exclusively about free trade I would probably have voted to remain. But it wasn’t. It was about political control by a largely unelected foreign bureacracy, uncontrollable immigration, laws being passed which don’t suit the UK, a future foreign policy decided by people unqualified to do so, and ever closer political and fiscal union.

      If the EU was a non-trade organisation consisting of bureaucrats who sought to take political control of the UK, I very much doubt the Remain side would have attracted 48% of the vote.

      But, by stealth, the politicos have somehow now managed to make it all about trade once again. Probably because they’re just the minions who are told what to do by CEOs and bankers.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 20, 2016 at 9:43 am | Permalink

        Even worse they’ve consistently made it just about our exports, not trade in both directions. Did you ever Cameron saying that while our car industry has a good export record overall its surplus is with the rest of the world, not the EU where the value of imported vehicles is three times that of our exports?

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      Dear Alan–Maybe it is 40% of our exports (I have no idea) but exports are not everything and one reads that it is only 13% of our GDP which puts a slightly different slant on matters–As I said the other day I cannot see, even in a worst case, our losing more than half of that and against that there are the effects of a) No more contributions, b) Extra trade with rest of world c) Net benefit on tariffs).

    • David Price
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      Would it make you feel better of someone were to promise you exactly the same level of consideration shown to leavers and EUsceptics over the last 40 years and especially in the months leading up to the referendum?

    • libertarian
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 5:57 pm | Permalink


      If customs duties are imposed on imports and exports our trade will certainly be damaged.

      Please explain in what way and how it will damage trade? Please then explain why it doesn’t damage trade with the other 164 countries in the world.

      92% of UK businesses do NO trade with the EU at all yet have to bare the regulatory burden a figure that the EU themselves put at 600 billion Euros per yer across the EU.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted December 20, 2016 at 4:27 am | Permalink

        Dear libertarian–What I read said I think that it is 94% not 92% and furthermore that this is just companies, that is presumably not including sole traders, so that would make businesses as a whole not trading with the EU (much?) less than say 5%.

  30. J Melford
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    The EU must negotiate with us in good faith according to the UN Charter (which it officially recognises and is the world’s overriding treaty).

    UN Resolution 2625 bars the use of economic or political bullying, so it would be wrong of the EU to demand payment of fees or permissive immigration controls for continuing their trade surplus with us. (This is all distinct from sanctions against rogue states).

    The EU would also have to observe its commitments to free trade and reciprocation in the EU and WTO treaties. These include balanced ‘fair and free trade’ and maintaining an area of prosperity with us.

  31. J Melford
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    I am not in favour of trading on “WTO-only” terms. Tariffs may not be the end of the world but non-tariff barriers and customs delays could prove very costly.

    I favour a clean Brexit based around a comprehensive free trade agreement (commentators as diverse as Steve Baker MP and the federalist former MEP Andrew Duff seem to agree). How long would it take to replicate our current trade agreement with EU and EEA partners?

    The EU does not insist on open borders for most of its trade relationships, so we should take back control here, with sensible adjustments for nationals already resident abroad and international firms rotating staff.

  32. formula57
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Just as it has become appropriate to regard the EU as a power hostile to the UK, so should those Remoaners employing tactics to undermine, delay and otherwise frustrate Brexit be so regarded and policy and behaviour shaped accordingly whilst paying lip service to the very proper notions of healing the wounds caused by the referendum. Let us hope that someone in government will in due course wake up to the threats posed.

  33. Michael Keating
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    There is a powerful fifth column working on behalf of the EU. The fight to leave the clutches of Brussels is far from over. The 2020 General Election could be fought between leavers on one side and remainers on the other. BREXIT may define British politics for a generation.

  34. James Matthews
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Continuity Remain understand perfectly well what they are doing. Causing as much obstruction confusion and delay as they possibly can, working assiduously for a second referendum on the “terms” of leaving and by holding out the hope of one encouraging the EU to be as openly punitive as it possibly can, to enhance the chances of Parliament authorising such a vote and of changing the electorate’s decision.

    Demanding that the Government lay out its negotiating position in a advance is as absurd (and treacherous) as Parliament agreeing to a war, but demanding that the battle plans be published before it commences. A certain recipe for failure, which is of course the intention.

    • James Matthews
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      The underlying problem though, is the half-hearted approach of a government consisting of people who, in the main, did not want to leave the EU. We need more people who really believe in what they are doing to be involved.

  35. DaveM
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,

    I don’t care about these petty Westminster squabbles and machinations. Neither do I care about citizens of EU countries who are being shafted by governments that they’re too weak to vote out of office. If I’m perfectly honest I don’t care about Aleppo and I don’t care that Putin is doing whatever he’s doing. I don’t give a monkeys about celebrities prancing around a dance floor on a Saturday night and crying constantly, and I don’t give a toss about 35 year-old “children” being dispersed across France where people aren’t rolling out red carpets for them.

    As far as I’m concerned, most politicians at the moment are weak, naïve, ignorant people in the pay of banks and corporations who are scared to change policy in the interests of their electorate, and worried about making any kind of constitutional change in case they miss out on a seat in the HoL. In short, they are motivated by short term personal interests.

    What I do care about is that we voted to Leave the EU and we still haven’t left. I care that politicians are veering to a soft exit which still leaves us subject to EU laws and fees. I care that we voted out 6 months ago and yet we are still paying a fortune to the EU and still don’t have control over our borders . I care that my taxes are being vaporised by an NHS which spends half the time treating foreigners.

    I care that England is ignored and derided. I care that Scotland, Wales, and NI have (effectively) double representation in UK politics and that England has practically none. EVEL? What a joke. I care that billions of our taxes are squandered abroad with no visible geopolitical or economic return. I care that unelected judges are swaying our democracy.

    I also care that the public broadcasting organisation which I have to fund has a Corbynite agenda and that the Conservative government does nothing to adjust it. I have a major problem with servicemen being prosecuted and (more importantly perhaps), things like this:

    I also care that our police are hand-tied by political correctness and that white anglo-saxon males are routinely abused in the media.

    This is the tip of the iceberg. Now, I don’t claim for a second to be representative of all English people, as clearly I am not. What I have done, though, is correctly predicted every election and referendum result since 2005 (including Trump – I wasn’t at all shocked by that result). The reason being is that I actually talk to people, listen to things, read things (including the Guardian, Observer, and Mirror) and have a sense of moods. And this year I’ll be writing to Father Christmas and praying to God, Allah, Buddha, Krishna, and any other gods I can think of, that he injects a force of nature into UKIP and Paul Nuttall and that his party gets itself together and blows a typhoon through Westminster and wipes our current crop off the face of UK politics. The good ones will be strong enough to withstand the hurricane, but the others……good riddance.

  36. Ed Mahony
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    ‘I see no need to offer money … in order to carry on importing from the continent’

    – This is a strawman argument! (Any economic plan based on strawman arguments won’t work / can’t work ..).

    The real argument is we need to offer money if we want to carry on EXPORTING into the EU with favourable trade conditions.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      – Apologies, sir. I don’t mean to be rude. Just trying to cut to the chase .. All the best.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 19, 2016 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        OK, you win, we’ll pay to export to them, provided they pay to export to us.

    • ian wragg
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      What a defeatist attitude.
      We have a £80 billion deficit with them, we should be charging them for access to our markets.
      I expect you expect we should pay to fish in our own waters.

    • Andy
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      Why ? Are the EU, who have a huge trade surplus with the UK going to offer money to continue to export to the UK ?? I suggest we insist on this.

    • zorro
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      Ok brains, how come we are so successful in exporting outside of the EU with a healthy surplus as oppised to our huge deficit in traded goods with the EU?…. Not a scooby doo…..

      You are totally blinded by your EU slant.


    • libertarian
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      Dear Ed

      With your vast knowledge of business and trade please supply one shred of proof, evidence or even an idea of why we would need to pay the EU to export to them? This is to so fundamentally not understand what trade and business is as to be laughable.

      You also seem to be completely unaware of the WTO rules that the EU signed up to which completely forbid this.

      Just so you know, even IF you were somehow right it is the most simplistic thing in the world to get around this. I sell my goods as components to customer in Singapore, customer in Singapore assembles into a good and sells via their FTA with EU the product… job done…

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted December 20, 2016 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        Dear Libertarian,

        There are lots of smart people within the EU exporting out of the EU. Germany does a great job. In fact, it’s the third largest exporter in the world – exporting 2.5 times more Japan with Japan being 60% bigger per capita than Germany.

        So what’s the big deal about getting out of the EU for economic reasons?

        On the other hand, not all people in business are equally smart. The law of Darwin applies to business as much as other things. Therefore our weaker business, companies and brands need the protection of the EU as well as the advantage of geographical closeness to survive and do well, not forgetting, of course, 43% of exports are to the EU, and that the EU are going to be more favourable to us for geopolitical reasons than are the Japan, China or the USA (‘bad trade deals costs jobs’ – Donald Trump). (And at a time when we have a whopping 93% national debt when we can’t afford to take any big risks with the re-jigging of our economy and waiting for new trade which could takes years, and when Germany exports perfectly well now, anyway, without trade deals we’re looking for).

        • libertarian
          Posted December 20, 2016 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

          Dear Ed

          I note you were unable to answer my question. However here are some facts

          As I said its illegal under WTO rules for the EU to apply financial sanctions on trade with the UK

          Yes , lots of European companies export successfully, so what?

          The big deal is that the 92% of UK companies that DO NOT trade with EU will no longer have to bare the cost of regulatory compliance

          The big deal is that we would be able to negotiate free trade deals that suit us not 28 individual countries

          The big deal is that the 43% of exports to the EU represents a paltry 9% of economic trade

          We are more likely to have a “geopolitical” affiliation with USA, Australia, India, Canada, New Zealand than Luxembourg , Romania Slovakia or Slovenia

          Considering 80% of all trade is in services geographic closeness is of no benefit what so ever. In fact as far as services are concerned common language, legal and cultural systems are far more valuable and they exist with the Commonwealth and Anglosphere and not the EU

          Please explain what protection exactly weaker businesses get from the EU and why exactly that would be useful

          Once again I’m afraid Ed you show your lack of business knowledge and experience , trade happens between buyers and sellers not between countries.

          So are you going to answer the question , why would we need to pay to export to them?

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted December 20, 2016 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

            Dear Libertarian,

            ‘The big deal is that the 92% of UK companies that DO NOT trade with EU will no longer have to bare the cost of regulatory compliance’ – but please break down these stats. I mean 8% of the companies that export could be the size of IBM, and the other 92% could be your local newsagents. I don’t mean to be facetious – i’m exaggerating to make a point (plus, I’m just back from Christmas party with few drinks on board but trying to answer your questions).

            ‘The big deal is that the 43% of exports to the EU represents a paltry 9% of economic trade’ – if it’s 43% of exports is paltry then why make such a big deal of making trade deals to export outside the EU (and when we have 93% national debt and trade deals can take years, and when Germany does perfectly fine anyway, being the 3rd biggest exporter in the world by quite a margin to Japan in 4th place?

            ‘We are more likely to have a “geopolitical” affiliation with USA, Australia, India, Canada, New Zealand than Luxembourg , Romania Slovakia or Slovenia’ – I think you’re mixing up cultural with geopolitical. They’re connected, but essentially, in the case of Europe, they’re about geography.

            ‘Considering 80% of all trade is in services geographic closeness is of no benefit what so ever’ – I think it’s 70%. Anyway, being able to hop onto a plane to Paris is much easier than plane to Japan. And it’s much easier selling your services to the French or the Germans than the Chinese or the Japanese (my father did most of his business with the Japanese, and he said that so many European business people just didn’t get business in Japan – even though he was from an older generation).

            ‘trade happens between buyers and sellers not between countries’ – not sure how this is relevant with anything i said, anyway

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted December 21, 2016 at 12:38 am | Permalink

            And a good Christmas.

    • Edward2
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

      This doesn’t meet the usual definition of a strawman argument.

  37. Bert Young
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Well , to take the analogy a step further – I would use the auctioneer’s hammer on a few heads !!. To enlighten our good friend PvL , – opinion polls have now weighted the case for leaving at over 60% ; it would seem that nothing has happened to change the minds of the public .

    That woman in Scotland seems to think that the economic state there is so strong that she believes she can ignore the purse strings that feed her and make another case for separating from the UK . She is a deluded individual who needs to go back to school . Theresa has , so far , exhibited her matronly good natured side and allowed all sorts of digs and variances to go on from her children ; she now needs to establish a firmer discipline in the house- hold and have her home cleaned up for Christmas .

    • Andy
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      I’m all for abolishing Barnett and making the Scottish Government spend taxes raised in Scotland. If there is to be a huge subsidy let it be transparent so the people of Scotland know how much English gold is lavished upon them.

    • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      @Bert Young: You might better chose for not believing any polls, because 40% is a rather huge minority which still wants to remain! One would have expected the remain-conviction to more or less evaporate after a democratic decision to leave.
      I have seen polls which still puts remain higher than your 40%, but I will not believe in polls either. 🙂

      • Anonymous
        Posted December 20, 2016 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

        After all the BBC propaganda one is surprised that Leave has not collapsed.

        • Anonymous
          Posted December 20, 2016 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

          …a rather huge majority wants to Leave and the EU doesn’t do compromise, so where does that put us ?

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted December 22, 2016 at 10:13 am | Permalink

            @Anonymous: I just read at Bloomberg that a YouGove polled Britain on what Father Christmas would have voted on 23rd of June: 63% for remain. 🙂

      • stred
        Posted December 21, 2016 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

        PvL. Reading all this about Scotland, a brilliant idea came. Scotland is not highly populated and has mountains. Holland is the most densely populated country in Europe, along with SE England, is congested and has citizens that Mr Wilders wishes lived somewhere else. Both countries like having windmills all over the place, even though not much use.

        At the same time Mz Sturgeon is keen to stay in the EU, but can’t. Why not offer to merge with the Scots in a United Queendom, with the Scot Nats MPs coming to the Hague and Dutch MPs possibly commuting to Edinburgh every other week, like the MEPs do to Strasbourg. Sturgeon would jump at the chance of getting in by the back door, as she would wait for ages to be accepted otherwise. And the English would be only too pleased to see you take over subsidising their freebies and stick up a fence as quickly as a Hungarian. What’s not to like?

        Why not have a word with your contacts in Brussels. If it helped to get UKIP out of their hair more quickly, they may be keen to assist and you would be well thought of.

        • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
          Posted December 22, 2016 at 10:08 am | Permalink

          @stred: It is certainly funny to read, but I value the Scottish pride for their independent identity! I’d be very happy if they just send us regular batches of bag-pipers and teach the clumsy Dutch to throw away their clogs and learn to dance! Exchanges of single malt whisky and tulips would also be welcome.
          I’m not very proud of having this power mongering Dutch politician (who blonded his hair to cover up his Indonesian ancestry) as a fellow Dutchman. I do not even wish him on you.

          • rose
            Posted December 24, 2016 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

            “I value the Scottish pride for their independent identity! ”

            But are the English not allowed an independent identity to feel pride in? Scotland, N Ireland, and Wales have suffered very little immigration thus far – though that may change – but England has been overwhelmed. Too many people have expressed their anglophobia by promoting mass immigration into England and destroying its spirit.

          • rose
            Posted December 24, 2016 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

            Thank you Peter for shedding light on the mystery of Mr W’s hair. I suppose it is too much to ask for a full-blooded Dutchman to go through what Mr W has done in defence of the Dutch inheritance. We have the same phenomenon here, where foreigners see and speak of what is in danger of being lost, but the natives are too cowed to put their heads over the parapet.

  38. NickC
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    As an independent country I am unclear what the UK needs to negotiate with the EU about? Apart from a trade deal which would be nice, but is not essential. All other issues I have heard of will certainly cause much work for our government but are a decisions for us which do not involve the EU at all.

  39. British Spy
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    The attachment Remainers have to their cause is mysterious. One looks around for conspiracy theories, their behaviour is so outlandish.
    They are quite OK with flouting democracy, the referendum vote. Many of the comments they come out with are unpleasant, flying in the face of local democracy, national democracy and frankly good manners.
    In some northern Labour constituencies I know, the Remainer MPs have been told to shut up at branch, district and constituency party level. Even their own MPs are being seen as tyrannical and selfish.

  40. Doug Powell
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    JR, much today’s discourse fits nicely into the old saying:- “He/she, who considers everything, decides nothing!”

    And deciding ‘nothing’ is exactly what the remoaners want! Until we have left the EU, the remoaners will swamp the process with legal challenges and red herrings ad infinitum! So HMG needs to be bold and side step Article 50, pass the Great Repeal Bill and get us out asap. We know our non-negotiables, so no work is required there. Any other areas where negotiation is required will be incidental and can be conducted at leisure.

    Speed is essential for the well-being of the nation. It will remove uncertainty for business and the people. And will be of paramount importance for our social cohesion, because, despite all the mealy-mouthed utterances of “I accept the result of the referendum”, there can be no reconciliation in the nation until after we have left the EU – the remoaners would not permit it.

    As a good joke bears repeating, so does a good saying:- “He/she, who considers everything, decides nothing!”

  41. The Prangwizard
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Our democratic vote to leave the EU will be betrayed by your party’s leadership and government. It will be partly deliberate and partly ineptitude and weakness. Why else is it that all we hear is talk of compromise, and not of resolve?

    There is no resolve because it has been poisoned by the toxicity of the obsession to be ‘inclusive’; all views must be acknowleged, mustn’t risk upsetting one must we? It is ridiculous to imagine accommodating every view is possible; in the end everyone will feel aggrieved.

    And no matter how much preparation is done, which is becoming something of a joke to me, something will be forgotten and the ruthlessness of the EU will be underestimated. If we don’t have resolve, I can almost guarantee government will surrender.

    Citizenry should start stockpiling sticks and bricks.

  42. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    “There is no point in making any offer until the negotiations begin.”

    I’m not sure we should even make them any offer at all, now or later.

    Rather in response to their oft-repeated dogmatic insistence on the indivisibility of their “four freedoms” we should say now that we do not accept their quasi-religious creed, and so we are simply not prepared to allow the EU Commission to control any aspect of our immigration policy; so what do they propose so they can continue to have easy access to our market for their exports, if that is what they want?

    On no account should we go down anything like the Swiss route of bartering control of immigration into our country for preferential trade arrangements which are in reality of very marginal benefit to our economy, or for sure we will later end up with this:

    “Swiss parliament errs on side of caution in EU immigration dispute”

    “After parliament passed the new immigration law, the European Commission reacted positively to the development.

    “Today the result of the parliamentary process is known. At first sight, we say the law appears to go in the right direction,” spokesman Margaritis Schinas told a news conference.

    “It is a good sign that the law is not intended to impose quotas on the free circulation of EU citizens and does not envisage restricting their access to employment in Switzerland, contrary to what was in the initial draft of the text,” he continued.

    Schinas said that the EU intended to have a close dialogue with the Swiss over the application of the law and would continue its analysis in the next few days, also consulting the EU’s 28 member states.”

    No self-respecting sovereign state can allow its immigration policy to be subject to the approval of another state or group of states, that is only for conquered countries.

  43. Tom Thumb
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    It says much about the UK that British people are given a straight Leave/Remain vote after months of debate, vote one way and Parliament has half a year ongoing of difficulty in accepting it. What a shower in Parliament!

  44. Talcum Powder Plot
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Vince Cable is back on the TV interview circuit. He’s on nearly as much as Obama.Clearly the LibDems expect an early election.Maybe they are in touch with friends in supreme places.

  45. Original Richard
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    “There is no point in making any offer until the negotiations begin.”

    The problem is that Article 50 was not triggered immediately after the referendum as promised by Mr. Cameron.

    This has allowed remainers to have the time to come up with various ways to prevent us leaving the EU and to produce reports from experts informing us of not only how difficult it will be to leave but how damaging it will be to the UK economy.

    It is a war of attrition.

    So the long delay of 9 months up until the end of March 2017 to trigger Article 50 gives the impression that either Mrs. May is waiting for planned/known or unplanned/unknown “events” to occur which will enable the government to ignore the referendum result or for the war of attrition to change the public’s mind.

    Or, perhaps for the Lisbon Treaty’s full implementation on 01/04/2017 to prevent the UK leaving the EU or for it to be sufficiently delayed (by referring to the ECJ for instance) for either “events” to occur or for sufficient older leavers to die to improve the chances of remainers winning a second referendum.

    We shall know by the end of March 2017 latest if the next GE will be fought on leave/remain lines.

  46. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Do you have confidence in Mrs May and her Brexit team because I’m afraid I don’t. We have had delay and obfuscation but no discernible action.

  47. Mike Wilson
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    This country is going to have to stand on its own again. Time to immediately mothball coal fired power station closures and get any back on line that can be resurrected.

    Steel making and energy production are ESSENTIAL and the government needs to start acting like it is IN CHARGE.

    Article 50 – NOW!

  48. Party Strategist
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    The abuse of Trump by the British Government and its media will not do the British Elite any good.
    Actually it shows their absolute despair.

    They long to keep the undemocratic jolliness with the EU. However, Trump favours, very much, that European nations pay for their own defence within NATO. Well the Baltics and Eastern Europe have got their NATO contributions paid for them in materiel by the American tax-payer. That will end once Trump and Putin have a little talk.

    It is not in the real economic interests of the USA nor Russia to carry on with the East-West standoff. It has cost US business mega-bucks and achieved zilch. The blackmail and covert support for many EU nation Elites including the British Elite is destined to end. Hence the hysterical outbursts from many here in the UK. It is unprecedented for British government Ministers to hurl abuse on any candidate for US presidential elections. That abuse started even before Trump got nominated along with a very large number of candidates with a 100-1 odds of him even getting the nomination for the Republican Party never mind being elected President.

    We have seen a growing nationalist movement in Western Europe. I predict some very hard falls in governments in the rest of Europe too irrespective of nationalism or usual left-right squabbles.
    Trump’s economic policies are not EU-friendly either. An exiting and exciting time, the next few years. The Remoaners aint seen nothin’ yet in terms of their own moaning.

  49. Mark W
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    I broadly agree with what you say. I get fed up with the constant undermining of our position that is no doubt part of some ruse to see us remain part tied into the EU by those that can’t accept the referendum result.

    However I think the governemnt has a duty to warn us that there’s a possibility that a trade deal can’t be reached and tarriffs will be put on goods both ways. I would not buy a BMW today in fear that the parts may be subject to a tarriff in a couple of years time. I imagine the CEO of BMW might see a drop in sales as a motivation to have a chat with his chancellor about any childish stunt by the EU we’d have to retailiate against.

    Also if our neighbours were hostile to us why would we wish to continue in an organisation like Nato where our troops and money would be called upon if tanks came rolling over the borders of Kaliningrad. As Nato was largly a response to the USSR what is the point now. Surely a Five Eyes military pact would be more suitable and with Trump in the White House this would be a possibility. It’s high time these smug arrogant officials in the EU stopped biting the hand that supplies the military blanket

  50. R. De Witt Jansen
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Calm down dears – We wind ourselves up too much which is EXACTLY what the EU want us to do – much more effective that way as they (EU) very rarely need to comment or get involved other than saying “not without accepting our 4 Principals” leaving us to Divide and Conquer. Foreign Nationals also do whatever it takes to destabilise the situation but their voice (and we should remember this) is insignificant because they are what they are – Foreign Nationals- and have no rights in determining in which direction this Country goes. They are ‘Guests or Guest Workers’ and only that and we welcome them here as such.
    The UK Government through the democratic processes of Parliament will decide and nobody else. Wait until the PM triggers A50 because that’s when the serious and important business and debate takes place. Say little – do much.

  51. Bryan Harris
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 4:49 pm | Permalink


    Would it be possible to use some money from the foreign aid budget to get this data put on billposts.

  52. Chris F
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Dear JR,

    I wonder if you can clarify please: I have read elsewhere, that as of 1st April 2017, in the event that a country (ie. the UK) wanted to leave, it would need the support of other countries to actively set in train the events to undertake Article 50 via QMV

    My apologies if I have missed your thoughts on this previously, but is this true and if so, is this (one of) the reason(s) that TM may have chosen the end of March to active A50, ie; to get the max breathing space before activating A50?

    Many thanks


  53. Roger parkin
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    John. An excellent article as always. You have always correctly argued that the vote to leave the EU gives us back our sovereignty. Control of our border,laws,money and future trading arrangements. This obviously requires us to relinquish membership of both the single market and customs union. Will somebody in government please state this as a fact in order to dispel uncertainty for business and close off the vacuum that the remainers are using to continually makes mischief. However a thought. Am I being naive here are we going to get a fudge instead (Liam Fox yesterday for example) If so the Conservative party will get a bloody nose at the next election.

  54. stred
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    The HoC library staff have been hard at work helping expedite Brexit, having made the referendum ‘advisory’ and helping the High Court decide that it was. Now a Hard Brexit has been defined, carefully not mentioning freedom of movement and even a Very Hard Brexit, where those awful WTO rules would make life so hard.

    The list of things to consider before anyone does anything stretches to pages. There seem to be an awful lot of librarians. Some even have their own blog where the lawyer librarians discuss the legalities and how much law there is to keep them and the courts going.

  55. No action taken
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Mrs May gave a statement today to Parliament :European Council 2016.
    Farron again took full advantage of the backward procedures which allowed him yet again to waste the time of Parliament and the nation by asking his usual dirge:EU. Again he was not banned from Parliament and fined.

    There followed the usual rhetorical repetitive questions from most MPs. A wasted time was had by all.
    Robertson (A ) took full advantage of the backward procedures which allowed him yet again to waste the time of Parliament and the nation by asking his usual dirge:Yemen. Again he was not banned from Parliament and fined.

    Later a Yemen update was given by Sir Michael Fallon

    Wishart took full advantage of the backward procedures which allowed him yet again to waste the time of Parliament and the nation by asking his usual dirge:Yemen. Again he was not banned from Parliament and fined.

  56. leave won
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Leave won against all the odds.
    The public are way more aware now than before the vote.
    The battle will be won.
    re the prisons. If I were in there I’d revolt.

  57. Qubus
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    What I don’t really understand is what would happen if, come the end of the two-year negotiating period, we have not reached satisfactory arrangements with the EU. Then,
    what happens at say the customs at Calais? It’s OK saying we can fall back on WTO rules, but what happens at the “coal-face”? Are the lorries just going to be held up indefinitely, perhaps for months, until eventually some sort of agreement is reached? Won’t this situation simply be replicated at all our points of entry, and in both directions?

    Reply. No. We trade successfully with non EU countries at the moment and will trade with EU countries on the same basis once out, if there is no deal

  58. getahead
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    “as soon as the rest of the EU decides whether they want to pay tariffs on their exports to us or not.”
    John, I’m trying to get my head round this. Are not tariffs not the same as customs duty?
    If this is the case, it is the importing shipping agent who will pay that duty and in turn his customers, not the exporter. So the government will collect the money but it is the British taxpayer who will be paying. Except, obviously, where the duty will push up the price of the imported item so far as to make it uncompetitive and not worth buying.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 20, 2016 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      The British consumer would pay, to the benefit of the British taxpayer. As almost all of us fall into both categories one change would be set against the other.

      • getahead
        Posted December 20, 2016 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

        “Our trade is not at risk, and can be pursued successfully one way or another as soon as the rest of the EU decides whether they want to pay tariffs on their exports to us or not.”

        So JR has it the wrong way round. The EU does not pay tariffs on its exports but on its imports.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted December 21, 2016 at 8:18 am | Permalink

          Yes, it is the wrong way round as he put it.

  59. M
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    If some of the people on this site who constantly moan about everyone else and elevate themselves were to negotiate with the EU we would lose contracts by the score.

    • M1
      Posted December 19, 2016 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

      The government IS elevated and has not successfully negotiated anything at all in six months. No contracts have been written, verbally agreed at all. That is called FAILURE

      • Anonymous
        Posted December 21, 2016 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

        A50 has not been issued so we haven’t started to leave the EU yet.

        I try not to criticise anyone who is active but the fact is that unlimited EU immigration has to be the worst deal ever negotiated.

        I call that FAILURE.

  60. Freeborn John
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    Dear Dr. Redwood.

    Is Theresa May aware that if she runs for election in 2020 with the UK stuck in a “transition arrangement” with the EU where we are still paying £350m a week gross, seeing unlimited migration and subject to EU law and the jurisdiction of the ECJ she is going to look like a complete loser who has achieved nothing in 3.5 years. The Remoaners are already saying the referendum result was merely advisory and that opinion has moved in since June 23. Clearly if they stretch this out to 2020 it will be the main issue in the campaign and UKIP voters cannot be expected to take kindly to a former Remainer who will have colluded through inaction in turning the next general election into the 2nd referendum that EU supporters are seeking.

    May needs to take us out of the single market and customs union and stop all payments into the EU budget and have some free trade deals with the US and others in effect enforce the 2020 general election such that there are benefits from brexit which Remoaners would have to forego in order to reverse brexit. I feel she is going at a snails pace and that Philip Hammond is the brake that simply has to be removed from cabinet if there is to be a united government that can push ahead at the speed required to deliver a successful brexit in time.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 20, 2016 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      Yes, last night I was rather idly watching the end of a Commons debate and I picked up this from a Labour MP:

      “Since the referendum I have been talking with the universities about the impact on science and research of a possible exit from the EU. ”

      Now it’s only a “possible” exit from the EU.

  61. Flubbber
    Posted December 20, 2016 at 1:51 am | Permalink

    Who wants free movement of people with Europe when today’s events have proved the treasonous folly of mass uncontrolled immigration?

  62. Ian Stafford
    Posted December 21, 2016 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    At present we do not have tariffs between Britain and the Continent. Surely the direction of any exit talks on tariffs should be directed to the EU to show what tariffs they intend to impose on the understanding that we match the tariff for their same class of goods coming into Britain. The idea is around that we need to start getting them to reduce tariffs in the same way that Canada had to when we should be throwing the discussion on to the possibility of imposing tariffs. Article 50 negotiations take place while we are within the EU, not after; so it is not necessarily the case that we leave in a nano-second before EU current tariffs have to be imposed.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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