The problem for the rest of the EU when discussing the UK’s exit from the EU

The rest of the EU clearly has a much bigger problem with Brexit than the UK does. They are the ones who lose our budget contributions, who need to keep access to our very lucrative market, who want full access to our successful jobs market to place more of their people who are unemployed or in lower paid work, who want to keep their surplus on public health payments, and enjoy the remittances from EU workers working in the UK.

There is likely to be strong disagreements between many member states who will want full tariff free access to our markets, and the EU Commission who want to design some kind of punishment settlement. The EU officials seem to want to prove a member state leaving wil be worse off, but would only succeed in proving the rest of the EU will be worse off if they have their way.

The strength of the UK position is its simplicity. Most of the things we want – freedom from paying contributions, control of our own borders and laws – do not require consent from the rest of the EU and are achieved by simply leaving, as we are entitled under the treaties to do. When it comes to trade we know trading under the most favoured nation status at the WTO works just fine, as that is what we do for the rest of the world at the moment. It is the rest of the EU that would suffer from the tariffs WTO allows. All our services and much of our goods exports are tariff free. Cars attract a 10% tariff, and agricultural products, where the rest of the EU sells us a lot, attract some high tariffs.

It will be interesting to see how the differences between the Commission and member states pan out in the forthcoming discussions. If the Commission succeeds in demanding tariffs, we need to know that soon so we can get on with an early exit and establishment of the WTO system to regulate our trade. As Civitas has pointed out this week, because we will collect around double the tariff revenue from them that they will collect from us, the UK can offer tax breaks and grants in compensation so we are no worse off. The pain will be felt instead on the continent, in a futile attempt to make the EU Commission’s nasty political point.


  1. Mick
    January 12, 2017
    There you have it from the horses mouth, what other whoppers did the remoaners try and tell us, and off topic as for the just over a million of our citizens being in the eu abroad they are scattered over the 27 other countries were as we have over 3 millions from the 27 into one here and still more if we had voted to stay in the dreaded eu, just invoke article 50 now Mrs May

    1. Anonymous
      January 12, 2017

      Our citizens, scattered over the EU have taken their wealth and pensions with them and have no recourse to hand-outs if things go wrong for them.

    2. Bob
      January 12, 2017

      @Mr Redwood

      Presumeably Mr Carnage will now be required to provide the data + WORKINGS which formed the basis of his apocalyptic forecast.

      This is very important in order to identify the flaws in the BoE’s methods which led to the erroneous predictions and prevent a recurrence of the same mistakes.

      Lessons must be learned!

      1. matthu
        January 12, 2017

        Soros learned his lesson the hard way after having reportedly lost $1 billion by betting the wrong way in the wake of Trump’s victory.

      2. stred
        January 13, 2017

        Can’t help wondering what effect Mr Carney’s decision to cut rate and print more fiddled money has had on asset inflation. The SE is now at record levels and housing outside the Osborne tax attack is still booming. It was reported that he was known for pushing when he should have been pulling in his previous job, before becoming Gideon’s ‘world’s best banker’.

    3. Jane Moorhouse
      January 12, 2017

      You have hit the nail on the head regarding our citizens in the EU and EU citizens coming here. How many of our citizens have gone over to Europe in the hope of finding a job compared those from the EU coming here with the same ambition.

      1. fedupsoutherner
        January 12, 2017

        @Jane Moorhouse.

        Too right in what you say. Look at this. Care home being taken over for ‘refugees’. I thought some of the problems in the A&E depts. was because old people have nowhere to go!!

    4. Ed Mahony
      January 12, 2017


      – Calling people ‘remoaners’ is only going to create more division. This country is already divided enough over the Referendum as it it. We need to build bridges / win people’s trust, not name call.

      1. rose
        January 12, 2017

        Ed, it wasn’t the referendum which divided us but the EU. That is what foreign rule does to a subject nation.

        1. Ed Mahony
          January 13, 2017

          Hi Rose. My main argument wasn’t who did or didn’t divide us (I accept your argument to an important degree). My main argument is where we are now, and name-calling with ‘remoaners’ just doesn’t help bring people together. It’s just negative and self-indulgent, and only adds to the division (and thereby simply making Brexit that bit harder to achieve for all the country).

          1. stred
            January 13, 2017

            How about ‘insurgents’. Clegg thought of this name, as he is no longer ‘establishment’. He seems to be part of a Breverse club including Bliar, and other wealthy folk who want to be the establishment again. They bring the milder Remainers into very bad odour.

        2. dglckwd
          January 14, 2017

          YES, YES, YES, 100%

      2. getahead
        January 12, 2017

        Project fear helped create the word ‘remoaners’ . I prefer remaniacs.
        It was the remaniacs who created the division in the first place and continue to do so with their challenges to the referendum result.

        1. Ed Mahony
          January 13, 2017

          ‘Project fear helped create the word ‘remoaners’ . I prefer remaniacs.
          It was the remaniacs who created the division in the first place and continue to do so with their challenges to the referendum result’

          – Cain and Abel, Shakespear’s Wars of the Roses plays, The English Civil War, The Irish Civil War, The Spanish Civil War.
          If the Bible, Shakespeare, History (and family life) show us anything here, it is that blaming everyone else except oneself, and dualistically / in a black-and-white white way turning your opponents into enemies, only causes more division in the long-term, and only protracts not resolves the problem!

          In other words, it achieves absolutely nothing. Nada. Except the opposite to what you really want to achieve.

      3. matthu
        January 12, 2017

        If they voted for remain and are still moaning more than 6 months later about the result, what would you call them? Call a spade a spade.

      4. A different Simon
        January 12, 2017

        Ed Mahony ,

        It’s got to be better for all concerned if those who really cannot reconcile themselves with Brexit are helped to leave the UK .

        They have shown they do not believe in the UK so should do the decent thing and leave .

        1. Ed Mahony
          January 13, 2017

          ‘They have shown they do not believe in the UK so should do the decent thing and leave’

          – What all 48% of the population who voted Remain (who do you decide whose a ‘Remoaner’ and who isn’t)?
          Surely, that’s taking things a bit far? Bit over the top?

          And surely, there’s more to life whether you’re right about Brexit? Or Wrong? Or half right / half wrong? Surely, there’s even more to life than what anyone of think about Brexit and the EU.

          Surely, there’s more to life?

      5. Richard1
        January 12, 2017

        I agree – the country is divided on this issue, there were good arguments on both sides. This kind of language is foolish and unpleasant.

      6. zorro
        January 13, 2017

        Stop moaning then and crack on…..


      7. Mick
        January 13, 2017
        I will continue to call them remoaners which is being polite when we have muppets like clogg and all the other un democratic muppets including all the other self interesting remoaners especially the remoaners who try all the dirty tactics in the book to try and overturn the democratic vote by over 17.4 million, so yes they are remoaners and if they love the eu that much they can pack there bags and go move to Europe bye bye you’ll not be missed

      8. Denis Cooper
        January 13, 2017

        The epithet “remoaner” is pretty mild compared to the violent and vile abuse hurled at those who voted to leave.

        1. APL
          January 13, 2017

          Denis Cooper: “is pretty mild compared to the violent and vile abuse hurled at those who voted to leave.”


    5. Mark Watson
      January 12, 2017

      And most Brits living in the EU are in Ireland and France,the latter expats.

    6. Lifelogic
      January 12, 2017

      This is the problem with “experts” in the state sector. They are not independent experts but hired guns or rather puppets, dancing as instructed by their masters.

    7. Peter D Gardner
      January 13, 2017

      In addition to that distribution of numbers is the fact that, unless immigration is tied to an EU construct such as the single market, immigration is NOT an EU competence. The EU constitution (law) is that immigration from outside the EU is a national competence. Whilst member states are bound to some extent by EU wide rules they are free to agree bi-lateral agreements.

      Removing immigration, ie free movement, from the agenda of negotiations the emotional temperature, complexity, and EU’s leverage over UK in the negotiations would all be reduced and a positive rational agreement could be reached.
      Once membership of the EEA or Customs Union are off the table, the whole business becomes very, very simple.

      Unfortunately too many of those involved keep on discussing these issues for no better reason than that they can and because the bureaucratic mind steeped in EU relations still thinks this way.

  2. bluedog
    January 12, 2017

    EU negotiator Michel Barnier’s early comments about his thinking leave no room for optimism at all. He has already inferred that any deal has to be ratified by all relevant parties, such as non-EU member Wallonia which capsized the Canadian FTA until massive pressure was brought to bear. One can hardly take a serious view of an entity which grants right of veto to non-member organisations. Mrs May has dropped hints that we will negotiate from outside rather than inside the EU. This seems an excellent plan and applies maximum pressure on the individual EU nations and provinces such as Bavaria which are heavily dependant on British custom.

    1. Sir Joe Soap
      January 12, 2017

      You have to be able to walk away. So walk away Mrs May.

      1. Lifelogic
        January 12, 2017

        It seems from the excellent book “All out War” that May and Hammond were largely the ones who helped ensure that Cameron’s deal was as pathetic as it clearly was. I am not sure I have much confidence in them, though perhaps we should be grateful for the pathetic deal which helped get the right result.

    2. Narrow Shoulders
      January 12, 2017

      Yes, hope for the best but plan for the worst.

      I particularly like the option of tax breaks to reduce the price of our exports to the EU to offset tariffs charged there. All the sweeter in that they would be subsidised by increased prices (resulting from WTO import tariffs) of imported EU goods whose greater prices would make home grown products more competitive.

    3. bratwurst
      January 12, 2017

      Wallonia is a region of Belgium & is therefore part of the EU.

      1. matthu
        January 12, 2017

        But not a member organization, just as you and I are not member organizations and therefore should not have a right to veto an EU trade treaty.

      2. Beecee
        January 12, 2017

        So is Kent?

    4. Ian Wragg
      January 12, 2017

      We are starting from a position of no tarrifs. If we declare that to be the status quo and reserve the right to reciprocate on any tarrifs it’s entirely in the EU,s court.
      As John says we don’t need to negotiate over our payments or control of the borders.
      We have nothing to fear of only fear itself.
      Of course despite the bluster it will hit the EU worse than us.
      We are the second largest net contributor and run a massive deficit with the EU.
      Carney and company were working for Brussels despite Britain paying his salary

      It’s time he was gone.

      1. getahead
        January 12, 2017

        Carney was working for Cameron – which amounts to the same thing.

    5. oldtimer
      January 12, 2017

      M Barnier’s opinion (about the need for many parties to agree) is also supported by an official of the ECJ. It thus seems likely to prevail. It looks, at this point, as if future terms of trade will turn out to be the most contentious issue within the EU and thus take the longest to resolve. That makes M Barnier’s objective of completing everything within 18 months ambitious by EU standards.

    6. mikebravo
      January 12, 2017

      The final agreement of the deal after Art 50 is subject to QMV not unanimity. Wallonia or some other minor player could not stop it.

    7. Jagman84
      January 12, 2017

      What is there to negotiate? We are cancelling our EU membership and the rest can be sorted in an adult way. If some elements of the other 27 nations are unable to do this, WTO rules can kick in and we can forge trading Jalliances with nations who actually like us!

    8. alan jutson
      January 12, 2017


      Guido Fawkes web site shows an excellent chart on which Countries pay contributions and who takes the money out of the EU today.

      Realism may strike home when the EU do their sums and find their budget is 11 billion Euro’s short.

      Some countries are going to have to pay out more, and some will have to take out less in the future, when we are gone and all done at the same time as their exports to us are under threat if they want to play silly games.

      We need to recognise the strength of our position.

      1. getahead
        January 12, 2017

        It is the remaniacs who refuse to recognise the strength of our position. The bankers are howling because services have a positive trade balance with the EU. They are the most vulnerable if sacrifices are to be made.

    9. Peter D Gardner
      January 13, 2017

      Michel Barnier’s view that Brexit should be completed BEFORE negotiating a new relationship is enormously advantageous to both UK and the EU. I wish it were also the view of the UK Government.
      There are many reasons.
      1. Brexit itself requires agreement in the EU by QMV not unanimity.
      2. Brexit issues are narrowly defined as arrangements for withdrawal, eg, outstanding cases before the ECJ, dividing assets and liabilities, applicability of directives and law in the pipeline, existing residence permits etc and therefore can be agree quickly or at least circumscribed to be agreed later within specified constraints and with specified objectives. Therefore the whole process can be short – in my view months not years – and less controversial.
      3. Rushing to agree a new partnership or association agreement is extremely difficult to agree in the same timescale as Brexit and therefore concessions are more likely to be made by the UK that are not in the national interest, especially if linked to strictly Brexit matters to which the 2-year time limit applies – when that expires any deal is off completely, unless all EU states and UK agree to continue negotiations.
      4. Prolonged negotiations risk continuing membership causing further damage to UK and events disrupting the entire process.
      5. Extended negotiations prolong uncertainty for businesses and individuals.
      6. Extended negotiations divert resources from the development of UK as a self-governing independent sovereign nation and preclude any formal treaties with trading partners until any new EU agreement comes into effect.
      7. In strategic terms, both UK and the EU need to adapt and develop on new paths independently. We will diverge. Consideration of any new formal entanglement should wait until we have clarity of what our new selves are and in what direction we want to develop. This does not preclude co-operation as independent sovereign powers in security, defence or any other matter.

      In short, I do believe Mrs May lacks strategic vision and is making a meal of Brexit. This was clear from David Davis’s evidence to Parliamentary committees last September and I have heard or seen nothing since then to indicate that things have improved.

      1. Peter D Gardner
        January 13, 2017

        Oops. My point 6 is incorrect. It should read: “6. Extended negotiations divert resources from the development of UK as a self-governing independent sovereign nation and preclude any formal treaties with trading partners until Brexit and depending on the content of a new EU agreement that also comes into effect.”

    10. stred
      January 13, 2017

      If we say goodbye and let’s have no tariffs, how long will M. Barnier take to persuade his various Wallonias to raise tariffs on their produce sold to the UK? Will they seek to put tariffs on produce where their neighbours sell cheese but not for those selling cars? In fact, most EU countries produce a range of agricultural and manufactured goods and it would be difficult for any majority to agree to mess up their economies. After a few years of indecision, they may become bored with the process and just leave us unpunished, especially if the UK is providing a prosperous link to money coming in from the US, Canada, Australia and the Rest. They are also unlikely to wish to block the ferries and Channel Tunnel with queues of lorries and trains being inspected for EU spec compliance- as they own most of them and need to trade.

  3. Mike Stallard
    January 12, 2017

    I am a Brexiteer and have been for some years now.
    This is not about tariffs!
    The EU does not care about Brexit! It has a lot of other problems to put before it considers us! We are not the centre of their world at all. When Nigel Farage stands up to speak in the hemicycle, everyone either jeers or turns off. For many MEPs, I suspect, he speaks for UK.
    Just before the referendum, when you might have thought a few concessions were in order, Mr Juncker made a couple of important speeches in which UK was mentioned almost as an afterthought. Spinelli’s new constitution put our associated membership along with Turkey at the very end. Mrs May is being sidelined and her speech not listened to (the dinners are of course secret) and it is written into Article 50 that the decisions about the terms of leaving will be taken without the UK being present.

    Cutting out the EU from UK is like a surgical operation. It is not a case of just cutting stuff. We need to be very careful with our documentation – especially with the banks. If that goes wrong, of if our documentation on exports and imports from the continent is simply reduced to third country status suddenly, all hell will break loose. Bureaucracy is just that – kratos. If we don’t comply, trade ceases.

    I repeat, I am not a remoaner. But I can see that we are heading for disaster.

    1. Chris
      January 12, 2017

      Your comments about Farage are inaccurate and seem to indicate how divorced you are from reality.

    2. getahead
      January 12, 2017

      Mike, to say that the EU does not care about Brexit is nonsense. When the UK quits the EU, Brussels will lose a third (my estimation) of its income. You think that does not create a problem for Brussels?

      I will repeat the old adage, They need us more than we need them.

    3. forthurst
      January 12, 2017

      Mike, how many EU farmers produce for the British market? Putin demonstrated how to deal with globalist scum.

    4. Anonymous
      January 12, 2017

      The World is worried about Greece going bust. So why won’t it be worried about the UK going bust, Mike Stallard ?

    5. Peter D Gardner
      January 13, 2017

      If we are heading for disaster it will not be because we are exiting the EU but because UKG makes a hash of it. On that I share your concerns. But hanging on to bits of the EU is not the answer. To extend your surgical analogy, a clean swift cutting off of a leg or arm will greatly facilitate healing and rehabilitation. Anything less leaves festering sores, infections and damage to the rest of your body and eventually the need for more surgery to clean up an even bigger mess.

      For example, under WTO rules Britain would have Most Favoured Nation Status, that is not third country. It also has the advantage of the necessary ‘documentation’ readily available. Its services and goods exports to the EU already comply with EU regulations including content from non-EU states. The WCO has for a while been funding development of technologies to reduce the time needed for conformance checks at customs boundaries, and these are now very fast and inexpensive. Immigration rules (not an EU competence) are matters reviewed continually on a bilateral basis around the world and easily applied as a basis for agreement between UK and EU member states.

      As for EU law, it would take only one simple short sentence in an Act of Parliament to make it all UK law. There would be exceptions of course, some obvious and important but the majority would be enacted to be reviewed as the need arises over time – decades. All wold then be subject to adjudication in British courts and the eCJ would have no jurisdiction over UK, none. All in one short sentence.

    6. Ian Wragg
      January 13, 2017

      Here speaketh R. Norths man.
      According to him we are poor suplicants waiting for crumbs from the EU table of plenty.
      How do we possibly trade with the 140 countries that aren’t in the EU.

      1. APL
        January 13, 2017

        Ian Wragg: “According to him we are poor suplicants waiting for crumbs from the EU table of plenty.”

        Not at all. Just pragmatism, the world and the international trading arrangements have moved on in 43 years.

    7. Denis Cooper
      January 13, 2017

      “… it is written into Article 50 that the decisions about the terms of leaving will be taken without the UK being present.”

      You keep saying this, Mike, but it is not true. There will be negotiations and the UK could not reasonably expect to be on both sides of the negotiating table, hence we will not be allowed to help decide the common negotiating position of the others. But that is not the same as them alone deciding the terms of leaving, which obviously will have to be agreed by both sides.

  4. Roy Grainger
    January 12, 2017

    John: Some time ago you mentioned you had asked government lawyers whether it would be legal under WTO rules for the tariff money the UK government would collect from EU imports to be used to directly subsidise UK exports to the EU (effectively paying those export tariffs on behalf of the company concerned). What was the answer ?

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 13, 2017

      “Provided the UK establishes mitigation schemes which are non-specific, economy-wide measures, foreign governments will not be able to retaliate.”

  5. Mark B
    January 12, 2017

    Good morning.

    Another one of my posts from yesterday did not make it up again I see.

    It is the rest of the EU that would suffer from the tariffs WTO allows.

    That is assuming that the pound does not rise and the Euro fall.

    . . . . we will collect around double the tariff revenue from them that they will collect from us, the UK can offer tax breaks . . .

    Effectively bribing people with their own money. Nothing changes I see.

    “Oh look, free money”

    And the Me262 was the first jet fighter in the world, not the Meteor.

    1. Jagman84
      January 13, 2017

      The ME 262 was designed as a long range bomber so you are not technically correct. First, operational, military jet aircraft, maybe?

      1. Mark B
        January 13, 2017

        Ah, ah, ahhhh ! 🙂

        You’re having a laugh !

        The reason my post previous to this was not posted, was because I linked to a site which clearly stated it was.

        Go and Google it for yourself and lean something.

        The Me262 came in many guises. it was designed as a daylight fighter / interceptor but because Hitler wanted revenge he demanded that it was used as a bomber instead. It carried two bombs that were so small that it was practically ineffective. There was a two seat night-fighter variant and one that mounted an extra large cannon.

        The Me262 entered front line service ‘before’ the Meteor and saw active service against the Allies. The two aircraft never met in combat.

        All this form well researched memory and no internet cheating.

        Bloody cheek !

        1. Mark B
          January 13, 2017

          Oh ! and as for long range ? Rubbish !

          After every flight the engines had to be practically rebuilt as they were so unreliable.

          1. Jagman84
            January 13, 2017

            I did not say that it was successful did I? It was fortunate (for us) that it was not used to the best advantage. I am always happy to be corrected but I cannot understand why you feel the need to be so rude about it? It seems to be a common trait on forums lately.

          2. A different Simon
            January 13, 2017

            Modern alloys , ceramics and microprocessors make a lot of previously marginal engineering concepts viable .

            At full chat how long would it take to empty it’s fuel tanks ? 15 minutes , 20 ?

            Nevertheless it got round the problem of not having any high octane gasoline for piston engines .

  6. Lifelogic
    January 12, 2017

    Indeed, but with EU, politics, bureaucracy and stupidity usually wins out over doing what sensible and best for the EU public.

    The EU structure is so cumbersome, slow, dysfunctional and incompetent that they seem to be incapable of doing anything much that is sensible, efficient or speedy. It seem the interests of the bureaucrats is their main motivation.

  7. Richard1
    January 12, 2017

    I suggest you come up with a good answer to the issue of non-tariff barriers, raised by Sir Andrew Cook in his response to your open letter. It seems to be widely accepted that tariffs are unlikely and in any event no great threat on a net basis. But there continues to be great concern and uncertainty in business on the effect of non-tariff barriers, the need for customs clearance procedures etc.

    Reply I have not experienced problems with such barriers exporting to non EU states

    1. mikebravo
      January 12, 2017

      You’ll be lucky!

      This is one way street. JR is on permanent send!

    2. zorro
      January 13, 2017

      You have to assume that the EU are going to take a kamikaze approach to this matter…… Is that realistic? If so, we need to be out sooner as they are clearly unstable!!


    3. alan jutson
      January 13, 2017

      Richard 1

      I share some of your concerns about customs clearance.

      I can just imagine French customs officials holding up our exported fresh food deliveries on the border until they are rotten, with the excuse ,the paperwork is incomplete, as they have a record of this in the past.

      We thus need to be prepared for the above with a solution and action.

  8. WingsOverTheWorld
    January 12, 2017

    It seems to me that the EU Commission is still going through the five stages of grief. They appear to be stuck somewhere between the first two: denial and anger. I have high hopes therefore that eventually they will realise that Brexit is actually happening and will finally arrive at the next stage: bargaining.

    1. Mitchel
      January 13, 2017

      Grief suggests an emotional connection;I would say it’s more a hard-headed assessment that they are about to lose one of their most important tribute-paying provinces.

  9. Denis Cooper
    January 12, 2017

    What the EU Commission thinks is less important than what the Empress Angela (or any likely successor) thinks, and she has already made her view clear enough. Putting it in the simplest terms, unless we continue to accept open door immigration from the other EEA countries she will deliberately seek to put obstacles in the way of the two-way trade between the UK and the other countries.

    These are unnecessary obstacles to trade which have been long abolished, but for purely geopolitical reasons she will press for them to be reintroduced. So be it; we must just make sure that governments in the rest of the world understand who is responsible for this unnecessary, spiteful, backwards step in trade liberalisation.

    Before the referendum I was among those arguing that ultimately common sense and financial self-interest would prevail, but the chances of that have receded; and as for the EU’s various international commitments to free trade, they will count for little.

    1. stred
      January 13, 2017

      Looking at a picture of Angela and Theresa together recently and eyeing each other up rather grimly, something struck me. They both have names with a religious connection and are daughters of vicars. They have risen to the top with their interpersonal skills and ability to make friends and put the knife in when the time comes. Angela has produced the biggest bungle in the history of modern Europe and Theresa seems to be trying to catch up, if her series of decisions are anything to go by. They will try to outwit each other but so far Theresa seems slow on the uptake.

      What they both seem to want is delay, as far as possible in order to avoid any possible loss of support. While this delay is continuing, Angela will avoid having to find the missing £11bn pa and can give EU passports to her guests.

      What a shame they did not decide to follow in their father’s footsteps. They would have been ideal vicars.

  10. David
    January 12, 2017

    I would go stronger than that, I would tell the EU that if an attempt is made to harm us economically, it would be hard to encourage British soldiers to defend Eastern Europe from Putin.
    (Of course if they did damage our economy we would have to cut some type of public spending – it could be defence, that would not be good for them)

    1. Peter Davies
      January 12, 2017

      I was thinking that myself

    2. zorro
      January 13, 2017

      Indeed stop the money and bring the solduers back!!


  11. Bert Young
    January 12, 2017

    We have nothing to fear or to lose . If our determination is strong and our communication is straightforward , all EU countries will get the message . Our contribution and role in NATO is also a feature of the influence we have – particularly in Eastern Europe . The last thing we should do is to have Cameron as our NATO representative ; his background record of trying to achieve things speaks for itself .

  12. Prigger
    January 12, 2017

    Six months after 23rd June 2016 and we are still speaking of what negotiations may be like.
    We should have a Soviet style poster with a Biggles-like airman complete with goggles on his brow staring longingly, hopefully upward and into the distance with our slogan writ large: The Bright Future of Possible,Maybe , Perhaps, Weather-Permitting Talks With EU”
    The Russians waited 1917 to 1991 for Communism to arrive. But it never did. So the omens are not good, perhaps.

  13. acorn
    January 12, 2017

    “As Civitas has pointed out this week, because we will collect around double the tariff revenue from them that they will collect from us, the UK can offer tax breaks and grants in compensation so we are no worse off.”

    As the IfG Brexit Brief says, the WTO defines three types of allowable “Trade Defence Measures”:

    Anti-subsidy: Some countries make financial payments to producers tied to levels of production or exports. If a second importing country can show that these subsidies are undercutting its own domestic producers, it can take an anti-subsidy measure. When the EU determined that US tax credits for its biodiesel industry undermined European producers, the EU put a 237 €/tonne tariff on imports from America. Also:

    Anti-dumping: for instance, the EU’s 74% tariff on Chinese steel imports was an anti-dumping measure. The 74% tariff on Chinese steel is judged to be the tariff that is required to return European producers to the ‘normal’ level of profitability. And:

    Safeguards: sudden and unexpected increase in an import, for instance, when Thailand found that imports of ‘Hot Rolled Steel Flat Products’ were increasing faster than its domestic sector could adjust, it applied a 40% duty to the products.

    1. Narrow Shoulders
      January 13, 2017

      @acorn what about all the state subsidies that were not punished or reported. I suspect there are many.

  14. Juliet
    January 12, 2017

    EU countries all have different agendas, they want to keep status quo: retain freedom of movement at whatever cost to host country, open borders yet tighten up immigration whenever the not thought through plan comes unstuck.

    I expected the status quo would be challenged, and everything you mentioned in this post be on-track and going in the direction to forming a better trade deal, but the floundering, uncertainty, going around in ever decreasing circles seems to be the order of the day. No real change will take effect other than we will no longer be a member

  15. Geoffrey Bennetts
    January 12, 2017

    The opening paragraph of John Redwood’s article tells it all. These words should be replicated by every newspaper throughout the land so that even the Remoaners can see sense. Well done sir!

  16. Newmania
    January 12, 2017

    trading under the most favoured nation status at the WTO works just fine

    No it does not , which renders the rest of this blog thing redundant . No-one who works in any industry dealing with the EU agrees with you .
    Why do you think you know better than the entire exporting business community , the City of London , Economists anyone in Europe related services , high tech industry and so on ?
    Can you conceive how irritating it is for those of us with real life problems to solve( thanks to you and you kind) to read such complete nonsense.

    The Conservative party used to be a Party that valued business , but then it used to be Party that valued working institutions and experience over waffle

    Reply I base it on my experiences leading two multinational industrial groups in tge 1980s and in the last decade

    1. Edward2
      January 12, 2017

      Err…well I’ve worked in manufacturing industry for decades and we have during that time been exporting to non EU countries using WTO regs or trade agreements quite satisfactorily.
      So your claim is simply wrong.

    2. Anonymous
      January 12, 2017

      Newmania. You can always quit your job and let someone younger and fresher do it.

    3. zorro
      January 13, 2017

      Again Newmania, ad hominem attacks and no substance. Why does MFN WTO not work? Come on – be specific!!


    4. Peter D Gardner
      January 13, 2017

      Newmania, I have been an exporter too (mostly in the Far East) and it has always been the case that for most in industry exporting is more complex than selling in domestic markets. It is also true that once you have got approval for your first exports follow-on sales and development of new products for that market are much less troublesome on that score. This is true of both services and goods.

      UK has an enormous advantage over other countries dealing with the EU. It starts from full compliance with all EU requirements.

      The issues, I suggest are practical ones of implementation, which come down to the will and competence of the government and also individual businesses on the one hand and the longer term issue of maintaining compliance.
      Nobody is suggesting that no business will find the adjustment painful but governments must take a macro view. And at that level, John Redwood’s statement is quite defensible, especially as he concedes, perhaps elsewhere, that there may be a short term dip in the economy as a whole.

    5. libertarian
      January 14, 2017


      Not for the first time you are WRONG

      I trade with the following countries

      Canada, Japan, Brazil and Spain. Spain is the hardest to deal with. WTO rules are just fine

      Tell you what why dont you tell us what experience of business and international trade you base your, rude, patronising and totally wrong comments on?

  17. Antisthenes
    January 12, 2017

    You have pointed out many times how leaving the EU can for the UK be a relatively simple exercise. Backing up your claim with reasons that appear blindingly obvious and easy to understand and difficult to refute. It make a refreshing change from the notoriously inaccurate claims and assertion made by the remainers and Brussels. The smoke and mirrors of complexity is on the remainers side as they have nothing to argue against Brexit or to tie the UK to a deal of their choosing. Which they use to undermine confidence in Brexit. Unfortunately with far too much success.

    For the UK no deal is an excellent deal after which the bureaucrats on either side can just get on with their re-branding exercises. Who owes what is as we already know going to be a negotiation that can not be dodged. However we can take a leaf out of France’s and the EU’s book if necessary when they wish to gain advantage or not face up to their obligations. Just keep procrastinating constantly kicking the issue into the long grass.

  18. Time is money
    January 12, 2017

    We can discover “The problem for the rest of the EU when discussing the UK’s exit from the EU” when some action is taken by Mrs May to honour 23rd June Referendum of the previous year to this year of our Lord 2017.

  19. Graham
    January 12, 2017

    Can we please please get closer the the exit and give notice – knowing that the real negotiations can then start and be prepared for the punishment line.

    At the moment it’s akin to a fantasy football game – everybody’s right until they are wrong and meanwhile the MSM take every opportunity to reduce any minimal momentum there is.

    As JR has pointed out many times a private business couldn’t function at this snail pace and the best (rather than political) team would have been assembled to fight the good fight.

  20. Original Richard
    January 12, 2017

    We are being fleeced by the EU.

    In 2015 we contributed £13bn to the EU budget with £4.5bn spent in the UK by the EU bribing many institutions and people to constantly promote remaining in the EU.

    The balance went towards building infrastructure in other EU countries and bribing their people and institutions.

    We run a non-contributory/non insurance based NHS and welfare system which is available free to every EU citizen and which means that hundreds of millions of pounds each year are sent to eastern EU countries in the form of child benefit.

    Our EU budget contributions have been used to subsidise the movement of factories from the UK to poorer EU countries, at same time as taking in millions of EU migrants because of low wages and high unemployment in many southern and eastern EU countries, whose competition reduces the wages of our own indigenous workforce.

    It cannot be good socially or economically for either the recipient or donor country for 1m people to move from one country to another, especially when the recipient country has already a high population density. The fast rate of population increase has led to more overcrowding in hospitals, schools, roads, prisons etc. and a severe housing shortage in the UK.

    We further subsidise the EU by giving away 80% of our fishing rights and by importing £70bn/year more than we export to the EU.

    The benefits of leaving the EU to be able to control our money, laws, immigration, trade and external affairs is a “no brainer”.

  21. Chris
    January 12, 2017

    Latest reports seem to suggest that Philip Hammond and others in the Treasury are fighting to keep us in the Customs Union. this not what we voted for. (Jonathan Isaby newsletter Brexit Central, D Express article). I have always been puzzled by why Hammond was made Chancellor as he was a declared Remainer. It did not augur well at the time, and I believe it is a grave problem still. Combined with a formerly declared Remainer PM, the whole approach to leaving the EU looks shaky to me.

  22. Road Runner May
    January 12, 2017

    PM May’s adrenalin-fueled race to Brexit in statuesque.

  23. turboterrier
    January 12, 2017

    Is it not amazing that politicians on both sides of the channel did not apply the words wise words of Rudyard Kipling’s 6 honest serving men commonly know as Force Field Analysis to the question “What if we lose the referendum”?

    The remainers will imply that we do not have a plan well even worse is the fact is nor do they. Had they even considered the fact that they would possibly lose, a process such FFA would I feel prevent all the sour grapes and threats that are coming out of Brussels as when properly applied it highlights: Improve any situation requiring change. Understand what is working for and against the proposals. Identify forces which cannot be changed.

    They are perceived by many to be running around like headless chickens and their actions will gladly only increase the resolve of those of us wanting out from the whole debacle that the EU has become. The 27 countries will all want different things and have different concerns and it the so called one brush stroke covers all will not appease everybody. The cracks have appeared and they are not going to self heal and the EU will implode and member countries will then feel the full effects of not together discussing a plan B or even C and to their amazement find out that they are not really united and that every decision comes from the very top of their organisations with little or no input from the smallest members.

    We must then give thanks to the Ms Miller, Soubry, Abbott and Sturgeon. Mr Clegg, Farren, Clarke to name but a few who by their disruptive actions are increasing the resolve those of us who want to leave to get us out as quickly as possible. For they too do not have a plan and now it is all knee jerk reactions. It is all beginning to be seen as such.

    As all businesses and industries have found it pays to always expect the unexpected and have plans in place accordingly. Too many politicians are sadly not street wise regarding contingency and forward planning skills as many in business and industry are.

  24. Julien Tabulazero
    January 12, 2017

    Dear Sir,

    For argument ‘s sake, let’s make the assumption that the UK revert to the WTO rules and tariffs are indeed imposed.

    While the rest of the EU may end up paying more custom duties in aggregate than what the UK would pay, wouldn’t the EU also be in a much better position to weather such an impact because the latter would be split amongst 27 countries compared to only one in UK’s case ?

    I would like to respectfully point out that the rest of the EU economy represent 7.0x the size of the UK economy.

    I would also like to add that the EU represents a far larger share of the total UK exports than what the UK represents for the EU.

    Could it be possible that, while the imposition of trade barriers may indeed translate into a net contribution to the UK tariff-wise, their ill-effect on the economy might also be far more keenly felt on its side of the Chanel?

    Best regards

    1. David Price
      January 13, 2017

      But the economic impact wouldn’t be spread evenly throughout the 27 would it. There would be a larger impact on German manufacturing than say on Maltese farming. Also, the loss of our contributions would have to be made up by someone, Germany is already the largest contributor with us second so there may well be a further economic impact on a few countries.

      If the EU bureacrats are not focused on this impending budget problem then events will force them and the more spiteful and uncooperative they are towards the UK the worse their situation will get.

      We have decided to be a vassal state of the EU no longer, we are leaving and need to alter our perspective to one of independent thought and action, especially those in positions of responsibility.

      The EU also needs to adjust it’s perspective also because we shall not forget their attitudes and actions towards us, or our representatives. Their behaviour over the last 40 years is what has brought us to Brexit after all.

      1. David Price
        January 13, 2017

        edit: it will of course only be 26 remaining states of which only 10 who are net contributors will carry the load.

    2. alan jutson
      January 13, 2017


      Given the EU is about 10x times the UK size in population their percentage will be smaller because they export to us less value per person than we do to them.

      However that percentage is not evenly spread, Germany, France and Italy will suffer the most within the EU should there be a trade war with us, and they are all net contributors to EU Funds.

    3. A different Simon
      January 13, 2017

      It’s a sop to English Heritage who now run Stonehenge .

      English Heritage charge £18 per person to get close to it and are miffed that people can just pull up on the layby and walk almost as close to it themselves .

      £18 to get within 10 metres of it is an extortionate charge and few are prepared to pay it when attractions like the Tank Museum in Bovington are less than that for a full year access , employ more people (and are much better too) .

      They are denying children their birth right of seeing Stone Henge by pricing it out of their parents range .

      English Heritage appear to be just like all the other politically motivated quangos in providing jobs for the posh kids who were not smart enough to do a real job .

      Screw em all .

  25. turboterrier
    January 12, 2017

    The problem with the EU is the EU itself.

    Headlines today in the Express:

    Guy Verhofstadt: More power and financial control.
    Junker: Bought about a irreversible march to federalism.
    Joerg Meauthen (AfD) Euro must split in two.
    Sturgeon. Norway style plan slapped down by Norwegians politicians.

    Still people want to stay in this madhouse? CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY

  26. Mike Wilson
    January 12, 2017

    On the subject of money, I read today the government has approved the building of a tunnel next to Stonehenge to put the A303 in. We have people waiting on trolleys in hospitals for 12 hours, council budgets slashed so the elderly have no care provision and are bed blocking in hospital, appalling care levels generally where people with chronic disabilities – who rely on other people to get them up, dress them, take them to the toilet, wash them and feed them – get two 6 minute visits a day by someone on a zero hours contract who doesn’t get paid for the time between patients (and who must, therefore, drive like a lunatic between appointments), a housing crisis, people in work who rely on food banks … and we have no money to help them … but, MIRACULOUSLY, we have 300 MILLION pounds to put a road in a tunnel just because it is next to a pile of old stones! (All the A303 needs is to be changed to a dual carriageway on that stretch – there is loads of land there. If people are worried about the stones, move them half a mile away. That would take a weekend with a big crane and a couple of low loaders. Oh, sorry, have I sworn in church?)

    We have 12 THOUSAND, MILLION pounds to fritter away on foreign aid. We have 50, THOUSAND MILLION pounds to spend on the completely pointless HS2 … yet we don’t have the money, according to a government which spends it like water, to spend the money providing the elderly and infirm with decent care.

    Why does the government have the WRONG priorities Mr. Redwood?

    1. fedupsoutherner
      January 12, 2017

      OMG Mike, when you put it like that it is jaw dropping. All our governments seem to be able to find money for pointless projects (Swansea Lagoon being the latest) but nothing for actual people living and paying taxes here.

      1. cornishstu
        January 12, 2017

        Precisely, money wasted on the non essentials from local to central government, never cutting out the non essential nice to have elements, then saying we need more taxes to fund the essential, which is what our taxes should be for first and foremost, any surplus then we are paying too much tax and they wonder why we look on them in contempt.

    2. forthurst
      January 12, 2017

      There was one thing I liked when driving along the A303 was looking over to see a ‘pile of old stones’ (Stonehenge) in the distance; so now we are to look at a tailgate and inhale exhaust fumes, instead? Is that progress?

    3. alan jutson
      January 13, 2017



      Foreign Aid needs to be totally and utterly re-thought, as it is not fit for purpose at present.

      The Stonehenge Tunnel is just a daft waste of money, all you need do is cut a road through a little lower and bank up the sides to hide it from the Stonehenge view, and when it eventually needs to be widened again in a few decades time, then it can be accommodated, unlike a tunnel.

      HS2 also a waste of money given so many other better options exist to unblock the system.

    4. stred
      January 13, 2017

      The Stonehenge tunnel will also have to be lit and ventilated permanently for ever. It seems odd that, at the same time as wasting £300m (it will actually cost far more) to avoid disturbing some Druid chuckouts on the pig farm, it is approving the extremely expensive Swansea lagoon as ‘cost effective taken over a century’, in order to produce intermittent energy to save the planet, as we need to light road tunnels.

      By the way, there are Druid chuckouts all over the place.And who cares what a bunch of human sacrificing version of new age hippies were doing anyway. And the archaeologists could scrape the stuff off the surface before the dual carriageway was built anyway. There seems to be no end to Tory financial and technical incompetence and waste.

  27. Denis Cooper
    January 12, 2017

    I’ve just been watching a Lords committee meeting where the government minister says unequivocally that after we have left control of immigration from the EU will reside with the UK Parliament. Which of course it should do, but if that is the fixed intention why not say now that this will be one of the UK’s immovable “red lines” during the negotiations with the other EU countries? What is to be lost by doing that, when on their part the EU has already made clear that one of their “red lines” is the inseparability of their “four freedoms”?

  28. oilfeet
    January 12, 2017

    Spot on Mr Redwood.
    Total (global) remittances = 2.9% of Poland’s GDP. 52% of recipient household’s income. Remittances to Poland from UK have fueled property development there since 2004 and grown their economy.

    Let’s watch Tusk Juncker and Draghi try to sell penalty Brexit to EU27….

    1. Mitchel
      January 13, 2017

      Some rather grand,if somewhat gaudy, mansions have been similarly funded in Romania too!

  29. Peter D Gardner
    January 12, 2017

    Quite right, the UK not only does not need to ask, it would be a tactical error to ask for anything at the start of Article 50 negotiations.

    Leave it to the EU to ask for future trading arrangements to be discussed. That will put the EU on the back foot, and it is true that UK does not need to ask so it can walk away with WTO MFN status and the future relationship can be left indefinitely.

    There is much to be said for the Article 50 letter to state, in regard to the future relationship, that UK has no demands to make, however the EU may wish to continue free trade in goods and service as at present, and then in the letter to turn to matters that are strictly terms of withdrawal, eg, cessation of budget contributions, settling liabilities and dividing assets, exempting UK from upcoming directives and regulations, settling outstanding cases before the ECJ, immediate/early agreement on current rights of residence, lifting of public procurement rules and other matters.

    Alternatively, the Article 50 letter need not say anything about a future relationship and confine itself strictly to arrangements for withdrawal – again being careful not to ask for anything but only to offer things the EU might like to consider. As the EU raises issues outside the scope of arrangements for withdrawal, UK would defer them to a series of intended discussions to be held in due course. This series would constitute the ‘framework of a future relationship’ referred to in Article 50.

  30. Richard Butler
    January 12, 2017

    I envisage a free trade Anglo sphere emerging amongst grown-up can-do nations where trade deals are done rapidly. This axis of free trade could perhaps encompass Commonwealth nations such as Singapore and even extend to Japan.

    Not that trade deals are needed of course.

    The lumbering EU squabble shop will look hopeless and quaint by comparison.

    From the get go I argued the new nimble British Tiger will absolutely thrive, any talk of a downturn is utter nonsense.

  31. Sue Doughty
    January 12, 2017

    The Today prog this morning talked of the banking services the EU nation states depend upon. Nobody does it better, and nowhere is big enough to do what Britain does for them.
    I was surprised. I know the City of London is enormous but didn’t know it really is running the world’s finances.

  32. turboterrier
    January 12, 2017

    Still the madness goes on!!

    Elzbieta Bienkowska Europe’s Finance Chief has today been reported as stating that the Single Market in Services does not work well for countries like Britain.

    Well slap my thigh, who would have ever thought that?

    Did our new and ex Chancellors never make a point of talking to this woman?
    Disgraceful behaviour.
    Shows it all up for what it really is Stuff and nonsense.

    Just get the **** out of it.

  33. Elaine Turner
    January 12, 2017

    What I don’t understand, from those wishing to keep similar EU ties to those we have currently is why they think it is acceptable for the EU to take a view that punishing us will discourage others from leaving. Surely all free nations should have that right and if they wish to exercise it, should be allowed to do so. As Dan Hannan says, who would want to belong to a club like that?

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 13, 2017

      Why should somebody insist on an amending treaty which inter alia introduces an exit clause, if they are then going to get stroppy if any member state decides to make use of it? That being Merkel, of course, she who insisted that the Irish must vote again on her “Reform Treaty” aka the Lisbon Treaty and then pressured the Czech president into signing it off.

  34. Julian
    January 12, 2017

    Whilst fully supporting Leave I would point out that for businesses which export to the EU there are issues to resolve for example we currently do not have to bother with export documentation – this would be a big nuisance to have to adopt.
    Our business employs EU workers and the UK government requires all employees to be enrolled in a pension scheme – if they are enrolled can they stay in it when we Leave?
    These are things that a simple exit strategy does not address -there are of course many others – hence the negotiations.

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 13, 2017

      Personally I don’t think we should even negotiate on that pensions question; the UK government should simply make a unilateral decision that foreign people who are working in the UK with the full consent of the UK government, and who have been told by the UK government that as workers they must be enrolled in a pension scheme, will have the right to remain in that scheme if they wish. We should not be mucking about with people’s lives just because they are foreign citizens when they have done nothing wrong, they have just made use of rights which the UK government decided to grant them with the approval of the UK Parliament, and nor should we be waiting to see whether other countries will also do the right thing or they will unjustly victimise UK citizens resident in their territories.

      1. Julian
        January 13, 2017

        Whatever way you do it it has to be decided and implemented is the point.

  35. Lifelogic
    January 12, 2017

    It was reported on radio 4 that the Swansea Lagoon project is now likely to get given the go ahead.

    There can now surely be no doubt whatsoever that we are governed by complete innumerate idiots. People without any grasp of energy engineering, physics or economics. Indeed people unable or unwilling to do even the very basic sums that show it to be economic insanity. How on earth did we end up with such low calibre, lefty, tax borrow and piss down the drain, greencrap leaders at the top of the Conservative Party?

    It is hardly as if they have money to burn, or services such as the NHS, roads, schools, police ….. are running just wonderfully.

    C Booker has a good take on Hinkley C, he asks:- Which now will come first? The completion of Hinkley Point (if it ever gets built at all)? Or the release in 30 years time of those secret papers explaining just why in 2016 Mrs May’s Government decided that it could not cancel this lunatic project when it had the chance to do so?

    1. Lifelogic
      January 12, 2017

      Surely either these decision makers are totally incompetent or there is some serious “consultancy” or corruption going on? Can anyone see any other explanation?

    2. Lifelogic
      January 12, 2017

      If, as seems to be being recommended, a small lagoon makes sense then a larger one would make far more sense still. This due to substantial economies of scale. The power output from tidal is proportional to the area of “lagoon” enclosed. As everyone numerate knows the length of the expensive barrier needed to enclose a given area only doubles to get four times the area, and thus four times power output. Also you only need one one larger turbine plant rather than four smaller ones for the same power. Thus it costs far less than half per KWHour.

      So why on earth would anyone competent and numeral recommend a small “lagoon”? I assume because they know full well it is economic nonsense, so a cheap nonsense is better than an expensive one.

      In reality neither make any economic, engineering or environmental sense whatsoever. The government would just be pissing tax payers money into the sea. Did Hammond not say he wanted to improve UK productivity expensive energy and high taxes for waste like this will hardly help?

      Go for cheap reliable energy now and get real man. Surely even another PPE graduate sums this basic. Hammond seems to have help some proper jobs in the past, surely he can see the bonkers project either works without state subsidy or should be killed dead?

      1. fedupsoutherner
        January 12, 2017


        Didn’t Swansea Lagoon have something to do with the steel works nearby? Wasn’t there some kind of deal between them??? I can’t remember now but feel sure the steel works came into it somewhere. Never mind, the energy bill payer can foot the bill for all this nonsense.

      2. turboterrier
        January 12, 2017


        surely he can see the bonkers project either works without state subsidy or should be killed dead?

        Nobody ever mentions the cost to the taxpayer and the energy bill payer. At least we had a figure given to us over Hinckley and still they gave it the nod. How many billions have been wasted on all this green crap and still it goes on?

        This lot haven’t only fell for the five card trick they did it with a full deck.
        Until we get on top of the real problems in the NHS, rebuild our infrastructure and armed forces so depleted over the last few years to the point they are all but useless should a crisis rear its ugly head no more of these self glorification projects should be allowed to go ahead.

        Cut out all the green crap subsidies and constraint payments etc, get fracking and have a dash for gas power generation stations to drive the costs down and fully support our industries. Will will need a fast response power generation network to take account of all the electric cars that will be forced upon us. Has any minister yet worked out the supply needed to accommodate this demand? Not holding my breath. Please can we plan with some consideration towards applying common sense to address these future issues

    3. Beecee
      January 12, 2017

      Another waste of tax payers money cast on the alter of Climate Change caused by me breathing.

      Oh! another 34 wind turbines are proposed for the Thanet Wind farm to provide electricity in the depth of Winter when the wind is not blowing.

      Do we really have intelligent people running our country?

      If we do – are they capable of running a business?

      And why do I have to pay for their incompetence?

    4. Mark
      January 12, 2017

      The estimated cost of this project has risen from around £900m to £1.3bn, so we must assume that the subsidy required will have increased to cover the extra and the added financing costs. We are being fobbed off with spurious calculations about how much this will cost households daily for the next 120 years. The last time I saw figures they were hoping to get guaranteed subsidies for 90 years at a price above that offered to Hinkley Point (which is only supposed to be subsidised for 35 years).

      Reporting in the press and by the BBC is lamentable in failing to highlight the absurd cost, and also in failing to e plain how variable the output will be.

  36. NickC
    January 12, 2017

    Is the WTO tariff level imposed by the EU for imported cars really 10%? The WTO file – tariff_profiles16_e.pdf – shows a transport equipment category which has a 4.3% average MFN tariff, with a max of 22% for imports into the EU. With such a low average I am struggling to understand the 10% figure.

  37. Colin Garrett
    January 12, 2017

    Those who want us to stay in the EU and are making the most noise about the difficulties of negotiating an exit (10 yrs!) are the Eurocrats who will lose their jobs which have substantial pay, perks and pensions, Or am I getting cynical in my old age ?

  38. Dung
    January 12, 2017

    In any normal business contract all penalties and the situations in which they are triggered, must be clear to all parties from the outset. We should tell our ‘friends’ exactly what they can do with their sudden desire to penalise the UK when it leaves.

  39. Treacle
    January 12, 2017

    Your points make perfect sense as always, Mr Redwood. But you keep on saying them month after month, and still the government does not take us out of the EU. If matters are as simple as you say, what is holding them back? It can only be that they are still hoping for some half-in half-out status that will please no one. And meanwhile we are still handing over £350m a week that we can ill afford. The only thing that gives me cause for cheer is that at least Mrs May has stopped saying that we want “some controls” over immigration and now seems to accept that we want full control (like any other proper grown-up country).

  40. Christine Irone
    January 12, 2017

    Security in this country is so lax I’m going to start using as from now, my correct name Christine Irone. Stuck-on beard and moustache are really itchy anyway.
    Sorry to put you all back of the queue again.

    1. alan jutson
      January 13, 2017


      Welcome to the real World !

      One of the biggest problems we have as a society is lack of real factual information and truth.

      So many weasel words used by those who have power, and who want to hide their real agenda.

  41. John Booth
    January 12, 2017

    Very good Mr Redwood. Have you shared your numerous and informed views on the simple and beneficial way of leaving the EU with the Prime Minister? Is she interested? If no, then she should not be in office. If she does but refuses to act (witness, the last 6 months of lack of progress on enacting Article 50), then she is incompetent and unfit for office or deliberately trying to sabotage Brexit. Either way, she should step down.

    Why aren’t you and similarly minded Eurosceptics not up in arms about this and reassuring the British public that there is still some backbone and patriotism in the ranks of Conservative MPs?

  42. nigel seymour
    January 12, 2017

    The outcome of Brexit will be a complete political fudge to placate remainers. As a leaver, I can see some merit in this as we are a democracy. There’s not much coming out of the EU that sort of confirms they also don’t have a clue what’s going on! Anyway, my Mercedes is coming up for replacement and I’ll be looking to trade it in for a Nissan (jokes welcome!!)

    1. turboterrier
      January 12, 2017

      ‘ Nigel Seymour

      Good for you and buy British built, if the government to allow the company to pass on the savings as there will be no exporting costs and not tax them on the base figure I am sure that more people would buy British.

      Depending on what size Merc there is always the Jaguar range and they are coming out with an all electric range. Exciting times methinks. My new Discovery Sport is the dogs danglies.

      1. stred
        January 13, 2017

        A huge increase in licencing tax, especially for larger cars, comes in on 1st April. Better buy now , as cars bought before will continue to pay zero, even though the mpg figures are fiddled.

  43. agricola
    January 12, 2017

    The simplicity of what should be our negotiating position is very attractive. Our removal from EU controls and a reversion to national sovereignty are not matters for discussion. On trade the choice is with the EU, do you wish tariff free trade or trade under WTO rules. The ball is in their court.

    Those subjects that require discussion/negotiation are those where continued cooperation is of mutual benefit. I would mention but a few, no doubt there are many more.

    1. The rights and security of UK and EU citizens living and working in the EU and the UK and their health access rights.
    2.Continued cooperation re. air navigation and maritime navigation.
    3.Control and dealing with criminals who operate in each others territory.
    4.A realignment of fishing rights to conform with international boundaries with adjustment times and a recognition of existing mutually beneficial agreements.
    5.Security and military cooperation.

    No doubt all your contributors can think of other subjects where continued cooperation would be of mutual benefit. These are the subjects for discussion /negotiation, not the basics which I have outlined in para one.

  44. Denis Cooper
    January 12, 2017

    Interesting little item here:

    “Saint Vincent & the Grenadines ratifies the Trade Facilitation Agreement”

    Meaning that only another four national ratifications are needed before the agreement will come into force (for the states which have ratified).

    “Concluded at the WTO’s 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference, the TFA contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit. It also sets out measures for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues. It further contains provisions for technical assistance and capacity building in this area.”

    The hypocritical EU, which is now publicly mooting that for purely political reasons it will deliberately reintroduce unnecessary obstacles to the two-way trade with the UK, ratified this trade facilitation agreement on October 5th 2015:

    That was on behalf of all 28 member states, including the UK which wishes to continue, and improve, the existing well-organised and easy trade after it has left the EU, and the other member states like Germany which plan to wantonly disrupt that trade.

  45. Brexit Aboriginee
    January 12, 2017

    Judging by media events in regard to Brexit, Trump. It appears the Establishment in the USA and UK are mildly-speaking averse even to a modicum , a veneer of democracy. A single X which does not prevent the utmost violation from its intent of individual voters is still held in absolute contempt by them.
    Hopefully, we will soon be rid of the media Fake News dregs, here and in the USA. They do not have the moral liquidity of the contents of an Australian nineteenth century beer shack outback spittoon.

    1. rose
      January 12, 2017

      Obama has just said democracy is in danger; but he didn’t mean from “Democrats” rioting in the streets because they won’t accept the result of the election. He meant from people like us, who go quietly and soberly to the polling station and make a cross beside the name of our chosen candidate.

    2. Anonymous
      January 12, 2017

      It beats me how a Left wing President can have confirmed sex in the Oval Office and still be a hero – a Right wing President (elect) can have baseless accusations of sex in a Russian hotel and is damned already.

      It beats me how a Right wing newspaper can be closed down for hacking a minor’s telephone but a Left wing broadcaster can have decades of institutionalised child abuse by its employees on its premises and yet be thriving and still allowed to sully a US President (elect’s) reputation.

      The Left are spoilt brats and insist on everything their way.

      1. Mitchel
        January 13, 2017

        The Left are in control of the levers of power of the Anglo-American Establishment what’s why.Why has there not been a serious effort to dislodge them when the “right” have been elected to power?”The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves”-Lenin.

        1. rose
          January 13, 2017

          Emily Maitliss has just been discussing with two American reptiles the problem of the next president communicating directly with his fellow Americans and what to do about it! The last word was that he wouldn’t be able to go on doing that.

  46. hefner
    January 12, 2017

    Bloomberg’s Ian Wishart’s “Seven Strategies” (12/01/2017) might offer less wishy-washy approaches to discussions with the EU than read here.

  47. fedupsoutherner
    January 12, 2017

    Off topic

    Just heard that Swansea lagoon looks like it will go ahead. Question. How much is this going to cost and how much in subsidies will be paid out? 10% of our electricity by 2030 is nothing if we are all to be driving electric cars by then and not using gas appliances. I just hope Mrs May consults those in the know without vested interests before going ahead.

    1. Lifelogic
      January 12, 2017

      Total lunacy, get some decent engineers on the job and kick the potty greencrap priests, alarmist and politicians out now.

      Put someone like Peter Lilley in charge of it.

  48. snowstorm
    January 12, 2017

    Let every MP, Peer and whoever of us can access information spreading
    forget about being ridiculed and stand up now.
    What’s the percentage of the corrupt v the just ?
    Straight talkers /writers stand out a mile.

  49. Echo
    January 12, 2017

    What a sad little echo chamber this is….

  50. as from now
    January 12, 2017

    David Lidington MP, answering a question in Parliament today stated “we do not know” exactly when the Supreme Court will come to its decision.
    I think it is too early still to place them under house arrest and prevent food entering.

  51. OAP Superman
    January 12, 2017

    The possibility of the BBC and Sky News journalists being able to motivate the British people in a genuine war of defence is greatly diminished by their present Batman/Superman comic coverage of hysterical American comment and, echoing it, of the alleged antics of Donald aged 70.( seventy years of age ).
    Should I require a lead pencil in my older years I shall buy American.

  52. James neill
    January 13, 2017

    What a bunch of’ll all know soon enough how things are going to work out- when the europeans circle the wagons- there is absolutely no way that the uk is going to be allowed to be in a better off position following brexit than before- the eu will most definitely see to that.

    In a short while mrs May will call in her lieutenants messrs /Fox, Davis and dear old Boris and ask them to give an account of their endeavours over the past six months
    and threafter there will be a govrnment shuffle and then the seriousness of the situation will be better realised..the daily mail and other british newspaper rags will start a retreat..and so then God help poor old’ll be a bit like back to the future..back to the 1950’s? A time of warm bitter and fish and chips wwrapped in old newspapers but of course it wont matter to JR and his class as they will be well sheltered when things get too tough- they will still be well cushioned….james expat penang malaysia

    1. James Matthews
      January 13, 2017

      The fish and chips we used to get wrapped in newspaper (an environmentally friendly practice) gave us better fish (caught by British fisherman) and better chips at a relatively cheaper price. As a publican’s son I can verify that the bitter wasn’t warm, it was at an appropriately cool cellar temperature, but not chilled to a point at which the drinker could not taste it properly (thus also saving the environment). Not ideal for Penang, but then it wasn’t meant for Penang. If you are correct two extra benefits from leaving right there. Thanks for drawing attention to them.

      I am fairly sure Brexit will not prevent trade between the UK and Malaysia, or in any way harm the extensive educational and other links.

  53. P
    January 13, 2017

    Dear John,

    Thank you for your overview here.

    I think that for existing companies and individuals engaging in trade with Europe, there will be a way of continuing and a simple arrangement can be found.

    However, the European “system” (meaning everything EU, EEA, ESA etc…) includes many cooperative agreements that are not so simply discarded. For example, there is a mature established framework of mutual recognition of qualifications at an agreed level between the European countries. US driver’s licences cannot be automatically exchanged for a local EU license across the EU: in every country there is a local interpretation. Turkish qualifications are not officially in the framework and it is necessary for skilled and trained people from there to re-qualify if they want to improve their chances in the job market here.

    The foreign lecturer participant rate varies highly across European Universities by country in spite of the recognition of qualifications, but Britain is very open to foreign researchers. The European research grant system is explicitly set up to oblige participants to form research coalitions with participants in other countries and relies to a large extent on mobility clauses for researchers. The scope and duration of individual projects can be multiple years and in fact proposal submissions roll over continually as alliances are built.

    I am aware that non-EU countries have successfully bought in to aspects of the European system, such as Erasmus, but the question of how we are legally bound to each part of this system is important. If we are a member of multiple institutions VIA the EU membership, how easy is it to extract our participation as an EU member and rejoin as Britain? If the institution/schema membership is covered by our redistributed general EU contributions, what would the correct British contribution be? Would we even be welcome to join certain parts of this system at all if we refuse to participate in other aspects that the EU believes are essential to its ethos? And if the EU upgrades their own treaty, would we therefore lose participation in possibly valuable schemes? It is of course possible to adopt parallelisation of certain legislative pieces, but we won’t be obliged to do so and the legal systems will diverge.

    Legal completion of very simple property purchase transactions in England can take over six months, albeit with small-town lawyers rather than a whole department of experts. I think that is altogether possible to declare our intention to leave fast in the manner you state, but actually doing it may be rather longer and may contain some legal surprises all the way along, even if we do agree on which parts we will continue to fund or even be a member of at all.

    Would you recognise this as a major issue for the economy in general or is this a minor problem in your eyes?

    Best wishes,


  54. JM
    January 13, 2017

    For my part, as long as we get unfettered access to the single market and complete control of or laws, borders and territorial waters, I would be prepared to pay an access fee of, say, €5bn for that unfettered access. We just pay a fee but are not subject to any law, control fetter or restriction and are free to negotiate our own trade deals elsewhere in the world. They need our money. We need the unfettered access to their market in all sectors. Simple really.

    1. Denis Cooper
      January 14, 2017

      Rather, they should pay us for access to our lucrative domestic market.

  55. John
    January 13, 2017

    Now I know Mrs Merkel is out of her depth.

    I read that she said the EU needs now to move towards a common corporation tax level (Daily Express). This is not unexpected at some point, it has to happen sometime for the sake of the Euro. But now! Brining in a common corporation tax policy for the EU and negotiating tariffs at the same time?

    1. rose
      January 14, 2017

      Chancellor Kohl took on German reunification at the same time as the single currency. Both disastrous for everyone else but didn’t seem to harm the Germans. That party has form.

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