What we need in 2017

2017 can be a year of new beginnings on both sides of the Atlantic. The Brexit vote in the UK and the election of a new President in the USA offers  great opportunity. Between us we can promote prosperity. Faster growth, more and better paid jobs and more investment should be the watchwords in London and Washington.

The UK can develop a new foreign policy as we leave the EU. The Prime Minister has set out her wish for the UK to be a leader of free trade worldwide. That should mean we turn our backs on military interventions that can prolong or intensify civil wars and work with the new US Administration to reduce conflict and reduce tensions with Russia and Iran. I doubt that a negotiated lasting peace for all  is in sight in the troubled Middle East,but 2017 begins with a fragile truce in Syria which could be extended. 2017 could at least see the West recognise that past military engagements and regime changes have not helped stabilise the region. Everything the West does should be designed to ease the killings and help rebuild the shattered economies of the war torn countries. Many Middle Eastern countries may not be ready to settle all their disputes in the ballot box as we would recommend, but at least we can encourage them to choose jaw jaw over war war more 0ften.

The UK can also develop a new domestic policy based on generating more better paid jobs, promoting more home ownership and assisting with improvements to education and training. Welfare reform is now seeking to help the disabled into employment, and prison reform needs to concentrate on reducing re offending and equipping prisoners for regular jobs. Not all of this will be new, but it will be aided by reflationary policies in the USA. If Mr Trump goes ahead with major tax cuts and tax reform it will be even more important than the UK does something similar to keep us competitive. The UK too needs tax reform and lower tax rates on work, enterprise and investment.

I wish you all a great New Year celebration, and a successful and prosperous New Year.






  1. stred
    December 31, 2016

    Hopefully, 2017 will see the smart meter communication system finished, after long delays, and customers will be able to change energy company while not saving power. According to this website, 4.8m smart meters have been installed so far but are now ‘stranded assets’. this means that the billions spent so far have been wasted and they will have to be changed to communicate between suppliers. Not that they will save money anyway, as the £11bn cost will be added to bills and they do not change energy use significantly.


    1. alan jutson
      December 31, 2016


      Simply do not see the point of so called smart meters at all, other than savings to be made by automatic meter readings for the companies concerned.

      They do not allow you to manage anything, they just show how much energy is being used at any one time, and the old fashioned ones used to do the same, as the disc spun faster the more power you used.

    2. Original Richard
      December 31, 2016

      Smart meters are a device intended to reduce energy consumption at times when the renewable sources of energy are failing to produce sufficient electricity.

      Energy consumption will be reduced by initially raising the prices at peak usage times and finally by simply cutting off the electricity.

      This will all be possible at the touch of a button and set individually for each consumer.

      I would expect there to be differing levels of service. The more you pay the less likely it will be for your electricity to be cut off.

      1. Lifelogic
        December 31, 2016

        Indeed, the meters are all about charging different prices depending on the demand. This to cope with the idiotic renewable/unreliables agenda and the very expensive greencrap energy agenda. It is yet another pointless cost of this daft political/religious/group think agenda.

        May alas it seems as pro-greencrap as Cameron, Bliar, Brown, Milliband (who was energy secretary when the insane climate change act came in) and John Major were. Perhaps £50K per home is a bit high but then over a few years, plus the jobs exported then perhaps about right.


  2. Prigger
    December 31, 2016

    So we are exporting more sparkling wine. Good. The chalk soil in the south-east of England is growing grapes similar to the chalk soil in parts of France. Good again.
    But you don’t need chalk soils.

    What is not clear is why we have been waiting like feudal farmers for the weather to change. Why we haven’t imported grapes and made wine. Do we really believe supermarket shoppers are holding up glasses, swirling wine around, quaffing it and spitting the taster into a spittoon before buying and remarking “A cheeky little wine with moorish tints!” “Quite palatable!”

    Well we have had elderberry bushes growing like weeds which could have been made hybrid producing larger berries for decades. Makes better wine than grapes, in my opinion, with the right recipe!

    Therefore let us not celebrate 2017 as the year of British wine. Wine has been made here for a very long time indeed. The next British brand should be titled “Sloe-coach wine”

    Judgement Days in January in the Supreme Court. Donald enters the White House. The FBI/CIA formal report comes out “Before January 20 ” according to Obama. Just before Donald’s inauguration when 16 year old Jackie Evancho sings. Like the voice of an angel.

    What happens if Obama blocks the inauguration and the Supreme Court blocks Brexit on the same day? Interesting times.
    Happy New Year! God Bless the United Kingdom!

    1. Lifelogic
      December 31, 2016

      If we leave the EU will we then be able to call English fizz, “English Champagne”? Also we we be able to use the word “wine” for wines made from other fruits, sugars and flavours in than just grapes and some oak shavings?

  3. Mark B
    December 31, 2016

    Good morning.

    Many Middle Eastern countries may not be ready to settle all their disputes in the ballot box as we would recommend, but at least we can encourage them to choose jaw jaw over war war more 0ften.

    I fear our kind host really does not understand the MENA. Blood letting is very much a part of their life and has not, and will not, ever change.

    The mass immigration we are seeing is an invasion. They may not have guns, as yet, but they are and will conduct war against us, as witnessed in France, Belgium and Germany. And unless those we elect to protect us from harm actually recognise this and seek to change it, I am afraid 2017 is not going to be a happy year as I most certainly would like it to be. To import these people is to import their problems as alluded to above.

    I think the new POTUS will seek to lower tax rates in order to ‘repatriate’ a lot of US Corporations money back into the USA. This will have to be offset by Federal spending cuts and, more importantly, interest rate rises. The latter will have an effect on the UK as the USA is the UK’s largest export market. A lower pound will make our exports their cheaper but, the price of oil and other items bought with dollars will be more expensive. Including all those wood chips we are buying for our power stations. 😉

    Higher fuel and raw material costs will lead to inflation. Higher inflation can be curtailed by increasing interest rates and, as so many people have maxed-out to buy a home this will hit disposable incomes. Which in turn will have a knock on effect and will hit the high street etc.

    Over the next few years there is going to be some harsh economic realities to face. And the sooner the better in my view.

    1. Dung
      December 31, 2016

      I completely agree Mark but I can not see our host agreeing ^.^

  4. Lifelogic
    December 31, 2016

    You say:- Faster growth, more and better paid jobs and more investment should be the watchwords in London and Washington. Well perhaps but a lot of the policies in the UK mean it is rather better to invest overseas. Particularly the expensive religious energy policy and the over taxation and piss down the drain policies of Osborne, Cameron continued in spades by May and Hammond.

    UK investment will happen, as night follows day, if the government do sensible things for a change. But May is not doing these at all, quite the opposite. Taxes are far too high and complex. They are even taxing profits that are not actually being made in the case of landlords. Red tape is strangling almost every business (and the state sector). T May is adding more red tape with workers on boards, gender pay reporting, quarterly tax reporting, workplace pensions and endless other damaging burdens.

    State sector service such as the NHS, education, law and order, the police, social services are generally dire and dysfunctional delivering very little. The sate is spending nearly 50% of GDP and delivering very little of any real value at all. HS2, Hinkley, the grants for unreliable energy are all a huge waste of money delivering very poor value.

    The Banks still lack any real competition and are getting away with huge margins and fees.

    1. Lifelogic
      December 31, 2016

      We need at the very least an clearly indication from May and Hammond of a sensible direction. A move towards lower taxes, cheaper energy, real competition in banking, a bonfire or red tape, easy hire and fire, far less government waste and a smaller more efficient state sector. May and Hammond are so far are giving the complete opposite.

      Meanwhile we have the new years honour list, which as always rather depressing reading. Perhaps 30% richely deserved and 70% dire/PC state sector, often incompetent state sector time servers, political donors and hangers on together with a few air head celebrities and actors.


      1. Mitchel
        December 31, 2016

        Nikolai Ryzhkov,premier of the USSR in it’s final years under Gorbachev wrote:-

        “We stole from ourselves,took and gave bribes,lied in the reports,in newspapers,from high podiums,wallowed in lies,hung medals on one another.And all of this-from top to bottom and from bottom to top”

        Doesn’t that sound horribly familiar?

        1. Lifelogic
          December 31, 2016

          Indeed and of the EU too.

    2. Lifelogic
      December 31, 2016

      Also HMRC’s head of customer services, received an MBE “for services to taxpayers”.

      This, I assume, is the service that when you ring HMRC with a query they keep you on hold for about twenty minutes they give you a message say go away we are too busy to be bothered with you and you cannot even leave a message! Or perhaps they answer occasionally but do not have a clue what they are talking about. The tax system being far too complication for HMRC staff to understand.

      Or the one where you write three of four letters to them, they reply to non of them. But when you ring and finally get through they can confirm they have them all on file, but have just not bothered to address any of them!

      An honour richly deserved indeed. How much does this incompetence harm productivity (that Hammond claims he wants to improve but is going completely the wrong way about it). All those company directors and tax payers wasting hours of their time dealing with an absurdly complex system, paying accountants or hanging on the phone!

      1. Lifelogic
        December 31, 2016

        As always government is the problem not the solution.

        1. Nigel
          December 31, 2016

          Exactly. What we need in 2017 is less Government.

          1. Lifelogic
            January 1, 2017

            far less!

      2. Lifelogic
        December 31, 2016

        Also a CBE Philip James Duffy. Chief Operating Officer. Border Force Home Office. For services to Immigration Policy and Border Security.

        Would this be for getting down to the tens of thousands?

        Or perhaps he can he explain why I had to wait nearly an hour to get through Gatwick immigration with a British Passport, a while back? After all they know well in advance how many people are coming through. So why is their no proper provision for these paying passengers? The same work has to be done anyway, it does not save anything by making them all wait for an hour first. It just annoys them and further damages productivity.

        Billions spent on the bonkers HS2 to save five minutes (actually not door to door even that), yet you still have to wait an hour at immigration which could be avoided for next to nothing just a little better organisation.

        1. Lifelogic
          December 31, 2016

          After this queuing for nearly an hour at Gatwick, it took them all of 5 seconds. So thousands of people lost an hour queuing just for the sake of a little better organisation of the staff rotors and numbers. The checking still has to be done after all.

          Still I hope he enjoys his CBE, but gets caught in a such a queue himself.

          A few decent scientists (with a rather childish & pathetic PC bias towards women), a few good medical men and the odd other deserving person I suppose.

          The 70% dross rather detracts from those who genuinely deserve the honours.

  5. Horatio McSherry
    December 31, 2016


    Excellent words as ever. Let’s hope that Mrs. May listens to people like your good self.

    As ever, many thanks for your blog over the past year. The work you put in here and elsewhere is much appreciated and enjoyed.

    All the best for you and your family in 2017.

  6. Eh?
    December 31, 2016

    It would be nice if the Remoaners leave Parliament and the Country. The last lot like them made something of themselves in Kenya, as seen in African Patrol ( 1958) a British TV series starring John Bentley as Inspector Paul Derek.

    It is all the rage on You Tube and reminds my generation of how the Remoaners started with the idea of selling our country down the river.We all used to watch it with great concentration and a quarter of Uncle Joes.
    Happy 2017 to everyone!

  7. Robert Petulengro
    December 31, 2016

    A very Happy New Year to Mr Redwood.
    And thanks for a very clear, well researched and interesting blog too!

  8. alte fritz
    December 31, 2016

    Well, I, for one, will walk into 2017 with a spring in my step for the time in many years.

  9. alan jutson
    December 31, 2016

    Happy new Year JR, let us hope we can make progress such as you outline.

    Another year, another opportunity !

    Can someone grasp the nettle ?

  10. Iain Moore
    December 31, 2016

    It is wishful thinking to hope that we can stabilise middle eastern countries and their economies , or blame their instability on Western military intervention, for I believe at the heart of their problems is the doubling of their population over the last 30 years . In places like Yeamen it was said a decade or more ago that they didn’t have the water resources to sustain their population and things have only got a lot worse since. Syrian conflict can be traced back to drought and the depletion of their aquifers. Don’t worry about peak oil, worry about peak water.

    Well ordered societies can make the necessary decisions to overcome problems, that isn’t so easy where they don’t have the culture to create the order to sustain a large population. As a result we get conflict and populations get on the move to take some of their neighbour’s resources . When you step back from the minutiae of the worlds problems and look at the larger picture it becomes clear why millions of people from the Middle East and Africa are washing up on Europe’s shores or trampling across their borders.

    Unfortunately Europe’s political classes have for a long time been suffering from white man’s guilt, and rather than understanding that our success came from the well ordered societies we created, and instead sought to turn us into multicultural societies, that invariably means we import cultures that haven’t been proven a success, have to spend fortunes on security to try to keep a lid on cultural conflicts, and have to worry about such things as corruption and the integrity of our electoral system.

    1. getahead
      December 31, 2016

      I’ve always said that foreign aid should be in the form of clean water and contraception. Where the land cannot support the population more money increases the birthrate.

      1. getahead
        December 31, 2016

        Adding to the problem.

  11. Newmania
    December 31, 2016

    Trump spent considerably more time with Piers Morgan than Ms May. He has signalled his intentions to make the protectionist USA even more protectionist and abandoned the US/EU trade deal that would have propelled the next decade of global prosperity . His intention to cease underwriting European Security is hardly good news and his wish to take UK trade has also been explicit.
    How leaving the EU makes us free-er to develop a new foreign policy escapes me, and as the foreign Policy recommendation seems to be sticking our fingers in our ears, leaving Putin to get on with it and hoping for the best I`m not sure that counts as a Policy at all .

    Then what? In favour of good against evil yadda yadda …

    Great I`m fit for the future now.

    1. Anonymous
      December 31, 2016

      “Trump spent considerably more time with Piers Morgan than Ms May”

      And Nigel Farage.


      Ever thought that you are behind the curve and not in front of it ???

  12. formula57
    December 31, 2016

    Before the benefits of new foreign and domestic policies can be realized, we do of course actually need to leave the EU otherwise so much of what could be achieved will be constrained by the Evil Empire’s demands and rules.

    I am also concerned that new policies formulation will be less successful than it ought to be because ministers and others will fail to acknowledge that the Evil Empire is no friend of post-Brexit Britain.

    2017 will at least reveal to us whether Mrs. May is up to the job and if not, how much of a disappointing and dangerous failure she might be.

  13. Antisthenes
    December 31, 2016

    On the face of it 2017 could be the year that reason and common sense returns to politics in the West at least parts of it. The left will of course work hard to undermine that as that does not fit in with their agenda. The never ending battle between reality and fantasy/idealism is to be fought on a more level playing field. The grown ups who have not grown up have had it all their own way for too long. The public is waking up to the fact that their policies and actions are no more than childish antics and thinking and it is past time that they are allowed to tell us grown ups what we should do. It is time for the centre right to dominate for a change and free us from the constraints that the left have entrapped us in. Let us hope that Trump and Theresa May are up to the challenge. Unfortunately I have my doubts but at least the public are becoming much more aware of the awfulness of the left.

    1. Lifelogic
      December 31, 2016

      Theresa May (just like Cameron) is clearly of the left in nearly every regard.

      1. getahead
        December 31, 2016

        Theresa May, like Cameron, appears to be restrained by the wishes of the corporate elite. We need a clean, total exit from the EU not the halfway house the corporates would wish to save their low-tax bonuses.

  14. Denis Cooper
    December 31, 2016

    Off-topic, I see that just before Christmas a junior minister, Robin Walker, provided a Written Answer which inter alia reiterates the government’s legal understanding of what will happen to the UK’s current membership of the EEA when we leave the EU:


    “As the UK is party to the EEA agreement only in its capacity as an EU member state, once we leave the European Union the EEA agreement will automatically cease to apply to the UK.”

    That seems the obvious answer, although I might say instead that the UK is party to the EEA agreement in its own sovereign right but on the premise that it is a member state of the EU, or of the EC as the agreement still has it:






    Hereinafter referred to as the CONTRACTING PARTIES …”

  15. Dominic
    December 31, 2016

    It surely is no coincidence that the Syrian conflict came to a slow grinding halt in the very week Trump crushed the liberal left in early November

    The Syrian conflict has been raging for over 4 years without respite and then Trump is elected POTUS and wallop, a Syrian ceasefire and talks in Kazakhstan in less than 6 weeks since the Trump victory

    Obama is nothing more than a petulant, weak ‘victim’ child of the 60’s who appears to find Putin abhorrent. The Syrian conflict represents Obama’s pathetic attempt to confront and undermine not Assad but Putin

    In 2017 I want to see the intellectual snobbery of the liberal left exposed for what it is, a mirage and an attempt to dismiss the opinions of all British people not just those with a so called ‘proper education’..In essence an assault on free speech

  16. Bert Young
    December 31, 2016

    Looking back at the past year is a mere fragment of history . Forecasting where we go and why has also shown that many of the better informed that “they got it wrong”.Who can we really trust ?.

    I join the ranks of those who believe that free trade with the world is justified and right ; I also believe that the restoration of our sovereignty will give us the sort of identity we have not enjoyed for a long time .

    Prioritising how we allocate our funds has to be high on the agenda ; we have thrown away much of our wealth needlessly and we ought to focus more on domestic issues .

    Re-sparking our relationship with the USA will create a safer place for us and for the world . Putin has reacted positively to the Obama petulance and has given a sign that it wants to come back into a conciliatory ring .

    A “Happy New and Prosperous New Year” to everyone and particular good wishes to John .

  17. Original Richard
    December 31, 2016

    “Everything the West does should be designed to ease the killings and help rebuild the shattered economies of the war torn countries.”

    Provided this no longer involves military action as such action has been proved time and time again to make the situation even worse.

    The West also needs to stop the mass immigration of people from the Middle East and Africa or otherwise the West will inevitably end up looking like a combination of the two.

  18. Iain Moore
    December 31, 2016

    Brexit might offer us great opportunity that is if the Courts don’t somehow block it . If Obama can get worked up about Russian intervention in their Presidential elections, ( though he didn’t worry too much about intervening in other people’s plebiscites when he intervened in our referendum) then shouldn’t we be concerned about all the anti Brexit Court cases which are being brought by claimants who remain hidden behind client lawyer privileges?

    If MP’s in Parliament aren’t allowed to get any funding from foreign nationals for their campaigns or offices, then it seems wrong that foreign nationals, foreign governments, or foreign money even the EU could be using the courts to intervene in our democracy. If we can’t bar them from using the courts to meddle in our democracy, at the very least we should have a right to know who they are and who is funding them.

    1. backofanenvelope
      December 31, 2016

      It is also wrong that foreign nationals, organisations and governments are allowed to finance religious activity in this country.

  19. LordBlagger
    December 31, 2016

    Transparency on the debts you’ve run up would be a good starter.

    Why should anyone trust politicians who have stuffed a 10,000 bn debt down the back of the sofa?

    Until that debt is on the books nothing with change, and the disaster gets bigger.

    That’s why you are holding consultations on how to make the state pension more ‘affordable’.

    In other words how to cut it.

    What’s amazing is that throughout the whole consultation there is not one mention of how much is owed and its rate of increase.

  20. NA
    December 31, 2016

    Everything the West does should be designed to ease the killings and help rebuild the shattered economies of the war torn countries

    The military want endless war, even if they have to invent fake enemies. It makes money.

  21. NA
    December 31, 2016

    I wish you all a great New Year celebration, and a successful and prosperous New Year.

    Happy new year John and thank you for all your hard work.

  22. Denis Cooper
    December 31, 2016

    According to this chap in the FT, what we need in 2017 is a transitional deal to save us from economic catastrophe when we leave the EU:


    “Brexit transition deal may avert UK economic ‘catastrophe’”

    Apparently a new trade deal with the EU “would comprise “thousands of pages and hundreds of articles” and there was no chance of it being completed before a scheduled Brexit in 2019”. It would probably take ten years to negotiate, maybe longer, or just possibly four to eight years, “but that is if people have goodwill on both sides”.

    OK, for a start let’s accept the implication that there will only be goodwill on one side, that of the UK, because the EU leaders are so ideologically intransigent, so extreme in their eurofederalism, that they will want to punish the UK for voting to withdraw even though by doing that they would also harm the EU and its remaining member states.

    These are the type of stupid, spiteful and untrustworthy people who the Remoaners want to have a large hand in the government of our country, but let that pass.

    However that doesn’t explain why it should be seen as necessary in strictly practical terms to negotiate a new trade deal running to thousands of pages and hundreds of articles, when the requirements for free trade have already been put in place by virtue of our present EU membership, and the only material changes we are likely to seek relate to certain limited sectors, namely agriculture and fisheries.

    Everything that has been painstakingly agreed over seven years of trade negotiations between the EU and Canada, and much more besides, has already been agreed between the EU member states including the UK, and does not need to be agreed afresh; so the only question is what unnecessary obstacles to trade the EU will wish to create.

    Of course the deliberate creation of unnecessary obstacles to free trade, especially with a neighbouring country, runs directly counter to commitments made by all the EU member states through their treaties; and doing so as a form of economic sanctions against a country for political reasons, without any justification, runs directly counter to UN rules; moreover I note that the EU and its member states have actually signed up to a new WTO initiative to facilitate trade:


    even while they are threatening to actively disrupt existing trade with the UK.

    1. Roy Grainger
      December 31, 2016

      I suspect the EU will have bigger things to deal with next year than Brexit negotiations, you can postulate various feasible scenarios whereby the EU won’t even exist in three years time.

  23. ian
    December 31, 2016

    Have a happy new year.

  24. Atlas
    December 31, 2016

    Happy New Year to our host, John, and to everybody else who contributes here.

  25. fedupsoutherner
    December 31, 2016

    A very Happy New Year John.

  26. zorro
    December 31, 2016

    Happy New Year to you too John, and thanks for your steadfast, always relevant, engaging and interesting blog, and the same goes to all the regular contributors. May you all embrace the opportunities which will come as we break free from the EU shackles 🙂 !!


  27. McCloud
    December 31, 2016

    This is the only part of the greater media where we haven’t got Obama on fifteen times per day in various permutations. He’s on nearly as many times as the Weather. Telling us it was mixed weather yesterday, a long explanation how it’s mixed today, and a detailed explanation sometimes featuring a second opinion of how it will be mixed weather tomorrow. Each episode a good five minutes with graphics showing drifting clouds so we know where rain comes from.
    Come February I bet we get Obama as our next Weather reader. We’ll hear about Donald once a month just to tell us how bad he is.

  28. getahead
    December 31, 2016

    Mrs May would appear to have a difficult task on her hands with the corporate elites and bankers all wanting to stay in the EU Single Market. Not to mention the undemocratic persons who are trying to use the courts to override the referendum result.

    The courts should refer to Vernon Coleman’s proposition that Britain’s EU membership is and always was, illegal

  29. getahead
    December 31, 2016

    Happy New Year John. An my rellies in Froghall Drive.

  30. getahead
    December 31, 2016

    And my rellies in Frog Hall Drive.

  31. Pig in the middle
    January 1, 2017

    “Pope, in year-end message, urges action on youth unemployment” Reuters 31 December 2016
    So he has noticed.
    The Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury could not be further apart in being conscious: the former being unjointed and the latter being disjointed.

  32. Dioclese
    January 1, 2017

    I admire your boundless optimism, John.

    A happy new year to you and the family.

  33. ian
    January 2, 2017


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