Stop the exaggerations about Brexit

Most days I hear or read a news item that tells me something has happened because of Brexit, or something has happened despite Brexit. Usually the item has nothing to do with Brexit whatsoever, would have happened without the Brexit vote and would have been given a different explanation then.

Some of the media and political spin post Brexit were classic examples of fake news. The commentators , forecasters and journalists put on their dark Brexit glasses, and decided that anything bad which happened happened because of Brexit, and anything good which happened happened despite Brexit. They went out looking for negative stories. The property commentators and some of the valuers wanted to show commercial property was down 15-20%. The only problem was there were plenty of buyers and no sellers at such discounts. They wanted to show housebuilding declined and home prices fell. Apart from top end prices which had been in freefall ever since Mr Osborne’s anti Non Dom anti dear property budget  in April,  home prices stayed up. Housebuilders, often gloomy themselves, had to report good levels of sales and expand their production to cater with rising demand. There were plenty of large company executives prepared to say they were worried  and reviewing their investment in the immediate aftermath of the vote, but when actual news came out about investment it was of new investment being made in the UK to reflect the good levels of consumer and business demand.

So here’s a thought for the gloomy commentators. Most of what is happening on jobs, inflation, investment, car buying, homeownership is nothing to do with Brexit. The price rises we have seen come from higher oil and commodity prices and are in line with similar rises in the USA and Germany which are not undertaking an exit from the EU. Just as joining the EEC did not lead to any increase in UK GDP, just as completing the single market did not lead to any increase in GDP, leaving it should not lead to any fall in GDP. I think leaving the EU is a most important political and constitutional event, but it is not for the UK much of an economic event. It is a bit bigger economic event for the rest of the EU, as they are the ones who will lose our contributions and need to secure their favourable access to our market which they use to such good effect at the moment.

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  1. Iain Gill
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 5:06 am | Permalink

    It’s not just brexit as a subject, across all subjects the BBC and mainstream media are increasingly useless. I am very worried about how bad they really are.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 5:15 am | Permalink

      But then I think the whole political process has become a bit of a joke too. I dispair at how badly the people are being let down. Even commenting here just strikes me as a waste of time.

    • Bob
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      @Mr Redwood
      The petition for abolishing the BBC Tax has exceeded 100,000 signatures, which means it will be considered for debate in the House of Commons.

      I would like to urge you to get involved in order to prevent the debate from becoming a formality and ensure that it leads to the abolition of the anachronistic TV Licence system.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      I’ve been reading a book published in 1945 which came with a dustjacket with this on its back:


      “Men, women, and even children, risk imprisonment and death to hear broadcasts from London. They are the inhabitants of the occupied countries of Europe. They do so because they have learned that the British broadcasts tell them the truth.”

      And so forth.

      Of course that claim would not have been fully justified then, it being wartime, but it certainly could not be justified now in peacetime: the BBC has become a national disgrace. The only defence which they can offer is that the other channels are just as bad, but then we are not compelled by law to pay for ITV and Sky.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 8:35 am | Permalink

        “The BBC has become a national disgrace”.

        Indeed it has. Overpaid, lefty, art graduates and irrational, airhead, luvvies pushing for ever more regulation, ever more state, evermore dire NHS, more EU, more “equality”, a hatred of Trump & the USA (indeed of anyone rich or worse still a landlord) and endless peddling of the exaggerated quack science of climate alarmism at every turn. Channel 4 news is perhaps worse still.

        They are desperately PC and pro diversity, regardless of merit or ability (except of course when it come to political diversity). No one who works there can ever be other than centre left or very left. I am surprised that they have not fired Andrew Neil yet for being both good at his job and being rather too centre ground politically for them.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      The BBC are working hard for the liberal position. The thing is that they have become too transparent in their bias and people are rejecting it. There are even now online petitions calling for debates on the abolition of the licence fee.

      Their bias seeps into virtually everything they do. They even have sport cornered politically with Gary Lineker being a top remain commenter.

      The assumption among Remainers that everyone thinks like them is utterly breathtaking.

      • Tweeter_L
        Posted February 25, 2017 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

        Yes- and similarly, there is a nauseating assumption among BBC Radio 4 “comedians”, panellists etc that everyone thinks like them, so they feel able to make the most outrageous comments about e.g. Tories; Brexit; anyone who supported “Leave”; President Trump the usual list of targets. (I think I may have made this comment in replies here before– if so, I apologise for the rant!)
        And now BBC News will be up in arms about its exclusion from a White House live briefing, and doubtless will treat this as further evidence of Presidential petulance. But I was appalled at Laura K’s “question” at the Trump/May press conference, and frankly disappointed with John Sopel’s attitude in his recent on-camera engagement with the President, so I can absolutely see what the President’s recent impression of the BBC has been.
        The BBC will maintain that it is impartial of course- but when its “fans” over many years like myself start to notice, and feel embarrassed, and start to switch off, then something is definitely wrong!

        • Anonymous
          Posted February 26, 2017 at 8:27 am | Permalink


  2. Leslie Singleton
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Dear John–How wonderful that Trump should have simply not invited selected media outlets to his latest briefing–including or rather not including the wretched hyperactive bent Left BBC. And I for one think his talking direct to the people each day on Twitter is nothing but good. There may be hope for us yet–Yippee-ki-yay.

    • rose
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      I quite agree Leslie. The fakest news at the moment is the BBC’s outraged reporting of this welcome development.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted February 25, 2017 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

        Dear Rose–You show good taste

        • Cheshire Girl
          Posted February 25, 2017 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

          I must admit, I smiled when I heard that President Trump had barred some of the media (including the BBC). I could hear the howls of outrage!

          In my opinion, the trouble with a lot of the media is that they want to put their spin on the news and not just report it. Some of the reporters have got above themselves (Laura K is one) and think they are God’s gift to the world. They need to be taken down a peg or two, and remember who pays their salary!

          • Leslie Singleton
            Posted February 26, 2017 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

            My Dear Girl–I cannot begin to imagine why some of these media entities should imagine that they have a right or whatever they think they have to take part in meetings where they are not welcome, and explicitly not welcome at that. Trump is right again–there is precisely nothing The New York Times, The BBC et al can do about it–who cares that they regard what Trump is doing as unacceptable? Two fingers to them I say. The Right Wing fights back.

  3. Old Albion
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    JR. It’s very difficult for ‘remainiacs’ Their forecast of Armageddon, should the public vote ‘leave’ didn’t happen. Some are so anti (dis)UK freedom, that they can’t stop hoping Brexit is a disaster. (which it won’t be)

    • Les Buchanan
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      When will Brexiteers realise that we are still in the EU? – let us wait for 2020 and beyond before we pass judgment on Brexit.

      A Remainiac

      Reply So why did Remain predict a recession this winter?

      • bratwurst
        Posted February 25, 2017 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

        So why did Remain predict a recession this winter?

        Perhaps because they could not believe the ineptitude of the government In progressing Brexit. Wait for May’s ‘walk away’ scenario to happen – cliff edge will be as nothing compares to what then happens.

        Oh, forgot. We can fall back on WTO. Ha ha, ROFL

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted February 26, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

          Dear brat–Exactly how bad can becoming like every other country in the World be? And that’s without considering what a bureaucratic nightmare the wretched so-called single market is and what a joy it will be for all but a few to be out of it, cliff edge of no cliff edge

          • bratwurst
            Posted February 26, 2017 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

            @ Leslie Singleton
            A walk away scenario does not put us ‘like every other country in the world’. It leaves us as a third country in respect of the EU with no trade agreements (& btw, the US for example has a number of trade agreements with the EU) & has a risk of us no longer enjoying the benefits of trade deals with other countries that were negotiated by the EU.
            Not unsolvable but the Tories appears to have no idea what they are dealing with and the potential ramifications.
            Result? Cliff edge crash of our economy.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 9:26 am | Permalink

        Yes, Armageddon was scheduled to start on the day after we voted to leave the EU. Not the day after we left, but the day after we voted to leave.

        “Speaking at B&Q in Eastleigh, Hampshire, the Prime Minister and Chancellor set out the Treasury’s analysis of the impact on the nation’s economy over the immediate period of two years following a vote to leave.

        This analysis shows that such a decision would cause an immediate and profound economic shock across the country, creating instability and uncertainty which would be made worse by the complex negotiations that would follow to agree the terms of Britain’s exit from the EU and its new relationship with the rest of Europe.

        Echoing the recent warnings from the independent Bank of England and the International Monetary Fund, the central conclusion of the Treasury’s new analysis is that the effect of this profound shock would be to push the UK into recession and lead to a sharp rise in unemployment.”

  4. Ian Wragg
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    We have a rump of rabid remainiacs who will do anything to derail Brexit.
    Yesterday I listened to a RollsRoyce executive questioning Corbyn about staying in the single market. Rolls sells in dollars, trades with 160 plus countries and its second largest production facility outside the UK is Singapore.
    Why do we have to keep chained to the corpse of the EU one asks.

  5. Richard1
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Excellent article by economist Allister Heath explaining why the Brown bank bailout was such a disaster and pointing out that had there been a restructuring led by bond holders at the time RBS would surely not now be making losses:-

    RBS shows why bank bailouts don’t work

    • Bob
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 11:01 am | Permalink


      “the Brown bank bailout was such a disaster”

      the Brown bank bailout was such a disaster his decision to encourage drivers to switch to diesel was another one, and his sale of UK’s gold reserves at a historic low price, and don’t forget tax credits.

      And despite all this, his downfall only came when he was caught on an open radio mic calling one of his supporters a bigot for raising the issue of open borders.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

        Dear Bob–And was it not he who managed single-handedly to destroy the best pension system in the World?

      • hefner
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

        I just wish that next time there is a major problem with one or several banks, no politician nor government intervenes, and let the happy savers in those banks lose everything, and let possibly the financial system get stuck. What a laugh we will all have. Allister Heath is so clever. What has he to do apart commenting after the facts and collecting the bravos from his admirers?

    • Tad Davison
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 6:00 pm | Permalink


      I agree it’s a good article, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the author visited these pages for his inspiration.

      It shows how incompetent the self-proclaimed ‘Iron Chancellor’ really was. And I don’t have much faith in the present Labour Shadow Chancellor either, but given the company he keeps, nor did I have a lot of faith in Osborne.

      I’ll go further, I can’t say I’m much more than lukewarm about the present incumbent of No 11 either, and would argue there are better qualified people on the back benches who could step into that role. People of solid conviction who are in tune with the mood of the country and have been consistent all along, not turning their political direction to go with the prevailing wind.

      Sometimes, politicians forget that there is but one master to serve – the great British public, and their vital interests, not, as in Brown’s case, those of a US bank at our expense. At a time when our public finances are so stretched, it is absolutely ridiculous that we keep giving money to a failed institution like RBS. Perhaps we need to dig a little deeper to find out why.


  6. Mick
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    BRUSSELS wants to push back the Brexit cut-off date for EU migrants being allowed to stay here permanently — opening the floodgates to thousands more.
    Is there any truth in this Mr Redwood, if so then the cut off date to stay in our country should be the the date of the referendum 23rd June 2016, I don’t think the British people will except anything less

    • hefner
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      Only the Sun puts it this way, other papers and news agencies say that UK wants to set a date. Not the same thing.

  7. alan jutson
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Not only do we have fake news now, we have exaggerated news and opinionated news.

    In decades past we simply had the media reporting of the facts and you were left to make up your own mind, it would seem that in this Nanny State of our times we need to be spoon fed opinions as well, because it may be dangerous if they allowed us to think for ourselves.

    Problem is we now do not have to rely upon the Broadcasters and Large Press Barons for our news, the internet is a growing source of information, and whilst that is not always correct, it is another source and a varied alternative.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      Even the Daily Mail’s been banned from the official White House press briefings.

    • Timaction
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      Totally agree. The ITV news have started this now as well as the BBC and Sky. I can research and discover the facts bow from other reliable sources. Glad to see Trump removing fake news sources. They will learn quite quickly or go bust. Shame the BBC wont.

  8. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Quite correctly BBC now on the banned list from Trump press conferences. They can’t just carry on spouting rubbish and be graced with access. No doubt BBC will now go into overdrive as they are suffocated from getting first-hand real news.

    Perhaps a succinct list of all the “stories” they’ve put out in 2016-17 might guide them as to where they’ve gone wrong?

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      Great. It’s comments like this that make people think the Conservative Party is autocratic and out-of-touch and that gives a lifeline to Labour, socialism and social liberalism.

      If we want to keep Labour and co out, then please stick to the pragmatic, centre right.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      Sir Joe Soap. This is the first I have heard about the BBC being denied access to Trump but, oh boy, did it make me smile!! It’s about time they were put in their place. They think for us and speak for us and I don’t like what they are saying. Considering trading with the USA is so important why don’t they cut him some slack and shut the hell up? Talk about rude and arrogant!

      • Anonymous
        Posted February 25, 2017 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

        I think Trump is right to do so.

  9. Richard1
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Labour are concluding that they have failed to ‘get their message across’, and BBC interviewers are asking them why they ‘can’t get their message across’. Maybe their problem is that Labour’s message is getting through loud and clear – and the electorate are rejecting it.

    • libertarian
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 1:33 pm | Permalink


      Exactly. its the pure stupidity of politicians that frightens me. These people run the country. Any business or indeed any activity that stops producing the desired results is analysed and adapted. Politicians when faced with the same thing just blame the customer. Its bizarre how inept they are

  10. Excalibur
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    “… is not for the UK much of an economic event.” Yes it is, JR.

    We have in our hands an opportunity to increase our GDP substantially. Whether the politicians have the political courage to grasp these opportunities is another matter. An immediate dramatic decrease in corporation tax, for example, would give huge benefits to the forthcoming bilateral agreements

    The poisonous press will seek to undermine the process in any event.

    • Enoch
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      The Augean stables will need to be hosed down before much changes. Lords may introduce blocking amendments at next stage, should start there.

  11. agricola
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Well that change saves me from forgetting who I am.

    As long as negotiations remain understandably confidential the rumour machine will speculate endlessly. Mrs may and her team just need to be left to get on with it and come to a sensible deal with an EU on the back foot.

    What really concerns me at the moment is the growing witch hunt or vendetta over diesel engined cars. If the stories currently being given air are only half true, it is government at it’s worst. While allowing the case against diesel cars to grow in the minds, such as they are, of the great unwashed, does government understand what it is getting into. Apart from private cars, virtually all commercial transport, most buses, most taxis and a good portion of our rail transport is diesel powered.

    If there is a problem with what these engines emit then would it not be better to put government and engine industry resources into finding ways of minimising it. Destroying our whole transport system would seem idiotic.

    • Martyn G
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Don’t forget the tens of thousands of huge vessels that supply the world – other than a small number perhaps of coal-burning steamers (heritage, turbine-driven etc) almost without exception diesel-powered. Just think of how crowded the English Channel is every day and night of the week, with hundreds of diesel-powered ships crossing it or passing through en route to somewhere else.
      The way that the anti-diesel saga is unfolding seems out of touch with reality. Wouldn’t be surprised if someone soon suggests that we must every diesel vessel in our waters – pay a penalty for polluting our sea channel and with prevailing westerlies, our land? Daft I call it….

    • BOF
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      In spite of the Fake News and lies being spread about diesel cars, our household now sports two nearly new, new to us diesel cars. We have no intention of driving into the poxy cities thank you. What else gives you 600+ miles on a tank, under 110gms emissions and 180hp. No contest.

    • stred
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      The witch hunt about diesel is very odd, as pollution of particulates and NO2 has been decreasing by over half over the past 20 years, as engines have improved, despite the number of diesel cars increasing in response to government requirements for CO2 reduction. The claim that diesel causes 40k deaths is misleading. The pollutants are one factor in the shortening of lifetimes as estimated statistically., often by just a few %. If all diesel vehicles were to be taken off the road tomorrow, there would still be background pollutants from other sources. Our air is far cleaner than in the days when London was known as ‘The Smoke’ in other parts of the country.

      Have a look at the ministry graphs. The hot spots can also be seen on the Kings College website and the worst are where there is congestion alongside the new cycle lanes, where cyclists are doing exactly what we are advised not to ie take exercise and breathe it in.

    • Enoch
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      ‘Destroying our whole transport system would seem idiotic.’

      But consistent with previous actions and may be the plan.

    • Jon Davies
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      This is not a vendetta against diesel. It is a realisation that the current emissions testing does not reflect the real nitrous oxide emissions of the latest diesel vehicles. See

      The problem is that diesel vehicles are more fuel efficient and release less carbon dioxide than petrol vehicles but they produce localised Nox emissions which appear to damage lungs. Children are particularly vulnerable. There are new emissions tests (real world driving tests) planned but it will take years before the benefits of these hit the streets in modified new diesel vehicles. In the meantime people’s health suffers. Politicians are trying to balance this issue. A short term solution may be to ban diesel near schools in built up areas. Maybe you have a better idea. Long term then non polluting forms of vehicles are essential in cities and near schools.

      • alan jutson
        Posted February 25, 2017 at 7:32 pm | Permalink


        All the government will do is bring in new emissions standards, and raise the tax on existing vehicles.

        The problem could be solved by simply taking step one, after allowing a decent time for engine manufacturers to develop new systems.

        But they will introduce step 2 immediately because it will raise more money for them to spend elsewhere.

        Problem is scrapping a vehicle before its is properly time expired, will cause more pollution than letting it run its full lifetime before it is replaced with new.

        • Jon Davies
          Posted February 26, 2017 at 9:02 am | Permalink

          I think your solution is inadequate. Breathing clean air is a right of everyone on this planet. If a factory produced the NOx emissions seen in some parts of London it would get shut down tomorrow. If my family lived next to that factory I would not tolerate them sorting it out by 2025 at the latest. Maybe you feel differently but I suspect you would be in a minority.

          Introducing new diesel emissions tests is an obvious and long overdue step. However other action needs to be taken in the next few months; not the next few years. That is not just my view. It is the view of the High Court that ruled that the government’s AQP (Air Quality Plan) had been far too optimistic and the government must aim to achieve compliance by the ‘soonest date possible’. See

          I am not pushing for new taxes or a scrappage scheme for diesel. What I want is for the government to address more urgently the issue of poor air quality in our major towns and cities (primarily nitrous oxides and PM2.5 particulate matter). There is an opportunity to be radical and innovative with these solutions and they need to deliver the legal requirements for clean air. There will inevitably be some economic pain somewhere but the challenge to the government is to deliver clean air rather than extra taxation. I hope JR will put them straight.

      • stred
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        The graph above, based on air measurements, not false vehicle tests, shows NO2 reducing since 1990 and 1996 from 100 to 35%, despite the huge increase in the number of diesel cars and vans. Particulates have fallen too but the fall has levelled off over the past ten years. Cars were fitted with particulate filters since 2005.

        The high pollution measurements in London and elsewhere exceed limits set by the EU during anticyclonic weather when very light winds blow in from the east and are at roadside locations. General pollution can be from other sources such as woodburners, beloved by green voters.Now the Eu wants to fine us for breathing their air.

        Given that these pollutants were 65% higher in the past, how is it that adults are not 65% more sick than today’s children and if all diesel cars were to be banned what estimate in improved health has been made? I can’t find anything other than assertions made without reference to papers already available.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      My car has a 2 litre diesel engine that produces less around 98 grams and does 65 miles per gallon without even trying. I won’t say what economy I can get under ideal conditions because no-one would believe me. As for the problematic soot particles, it has a particulate filter, and when it gets full, the engine goes into an automatic cycle where they are burned off as Co2 – the stuff plants need to grow – so it’s much cleaner than some of the smoky old rot-boxes of yesteryear.

      Some day, all cars will be made this way, so I can’t see why there’s an issue.


      • Jon Davies
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 9:23 am | Permalink

        Hi Tad

        I appreciate you took a responsible decision based on the data available. However many of us feel conned by current lab based emissions tests that do not reflect the real world emissions produced by your car on UK roads. Typically Euro 6 diesel engines, which pass current emissions tests, produce 5 times more NOx than expected. That is why Air Quality in major European towns and cities is still a problem, despite huge efforts to improve apparent standards on vehicle emissions. We are 10 years behind where we thought we were on NOx emissions in diesel engines; contrary to what the manufacturer’s claimed.

        I don’t know your make of car so can’t comment on how far it is away in reality from the claimed standards. Some cars are better than others in real driving conditions. This is not about carbon emissions or fuel economy; for long distance driving diesel is better at both. However, on air quality, short journeys in town with a cold diesel engine are disastrous as far as NOx emissions are concerned.

        As an example of what is lacking: current emissions testing is done with the air temperature above 20C in a test building. If you live in the UK I don’t imagine your car often sees this temperature except maybe in the summer months. Put that car on a real road at representative air temperatures and you see a totally different emissions picture.

        Personally, I don’t think diesel will survive as a technology for cars much beyond 2030 so some manufacturers may just withdraw from the market rather than redesign engines. However the right for people to breath decent air is the immediate issue. That’s what we need a solution to now; especially for schools close to major roadside traffic pollution.

        • Tad Davison
          Posted February 26, 2017 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

          Interesting piece Jon, and I thank you for it.

          I have a Vauxhall Insignia, and I’m pretty pleased with it. We do a fair bit of motorway driving, and get a very good return that petrol engined cars can only aspire to (I wasn’t going to say, but I roughly get 60 at 80, and 80 at 60, which isn’t far away from the manufacturers claimed figures).

          I’m in contact with the UK sales director of Vauxhall and I keep him posted of how the Insignia is running, so I’ll run your observations past him and see what he says.


  12. The Prangwizard
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Bang on!

    But look what is happening to President Trump with his accusations of Fake News. Do you expect a similar outbreak of hatred towards you?

    Large sections of the media are indeed dishonest and they go further than that.

    It was good to learn that Mr Trump excluded the BBC from a briefing. I don’t expect a similar outbreak of courage here, sadly.

  13. Mark B
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Apart from the fact that we have not exited the EU yet, so no BREXIT, I would like to point out to our kind host and my fellow readers this simple truism.

    Whilst we have been members of the EEC / EC/ EU, the UK and others, have, or continue to have, negative economic outcomes. The UK has had, to my memory at least, four recessions. The last one being particularly severe. We have also had some very good boom times whilst in the Stupid Club. It is worth pointing out that, when things were going either badly or well the media and / or the government would levy responsibility elsewhere. eg When going well, it was down to government policies. When badly, it had nothing to do with government policies but something else. People saw through this sham and they will do the same with this.

    I predict that, once Art.50 has been sent we will hear no more of this or any of the nonsense we have seen elsewhere. I suspect though that the battle ground will be shifted elsewhere, mostly on maintaining the Single Market and MASS Immigration.

  14. Jack snell
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    We shouldn’t give so much time to obsessing about the EU because they are big boys and i have no doubt that they will be well able to look after themselves and push into other markets to make up the difference with losing trade with the UK..what we have to think about is what new markets we are going to have after March 2019.. I am a little concerned that we havn’t had any great news on this front yet?

    • zorro
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      The EU need not lose trade with us – we are offering them free trade but wish to do likewise with others….. The choice is for them.


    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      I read that thirty-odd countries have expressed an interest in negotiating new trade deals with the UK, once the UK is free from the EU’s common commercial policy and so the government is free to formally negotiate and conclude such deals. However the priority must be to seek agreement that for the time being the practical substance of the existing trade deals will continue to apply to all the contracting parties – us, the remaining EU member states, the EU and the counterparty third countries – even after we have left the EU. In any case for the reasons given below I would not expect those new trade deals to have a great impact on our economy.

      • acorn
        Posted February 25, 2017 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

        Ooh! sounds like you are getting cold feet Denis.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 26, 2017 at 9:46 am | Permalink

          I’ve no idea why you should think that. On the last point I’ve been saying for years that we seem to be into diminishing returns for the potential contribution of further trade liberalisation to increased prosperity. I repeatedly pointed out that TTIP would be of marginal economic significance, and other deals such CETA will have close to zero benefit for our economy. And by the same token I am not expecting too much from new deals that we might make after we leave the EU. However even if I am correct, and the benefit of new trade deals would be low, disruption of the presently established trade flows would have a more significant negative impact for all concerned and so should be avoided. Fortunately it will be very easy to avoid it, provided there is the political will to do that.

  15. Lifelogic
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Indeed but why is May failing to set an agenda of lower taxes, smaller government, cheaper energy, cancel HS2, Hinkley and the green crap and huge cuts in red tape?

    She has very belatedly come round to leaving the EU (this despite trying to deceive the public that we had control of our borders, while in the EU, through Schengen during the referendum). She and Hammond (in his budget on 8th March) needs to show they are finally coming round to economic sense too and not the absurd socialist lunacy May especially has been indicating so far.

    What the bye elections have shown is how very, very stupid the Conservatives were to be pro EU under Major and Cameron. Major buried the party for 3+ terms with his ERM and Cameron certainly would have won both his elections comfortably had he not be a Europhile (occasionally pretending not to be) and had he put a sensible, low tax, low regulation, pro growth, real Conservative agenda to the country.

    At 60 can May really now be turned round and show some sense on economics too? Someone who says she want to keep the EU employment regulations and build on them, wants central wage controls, workers on company boards, green crap energy, stamp duty turnover taxes at 15% and enforced gender pay reporting is clearly as daft as a brush. Do the government not have any sensible, sound economists to advise them, they need to get one and listen to them?

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      Let May carry the can for a couple of years-there will come another day of reckoning, where the re-moaners and half-in half-outs like May will need to choose which side they are really on – will they follow the will of the majority or (Corbyn like) think they know better?

      If the latter, they will be swept aside, Labour-like in Copeland.

  16. Yossarion
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    The Remoaners want to talk the Economy down, they only wish the EUSSR integration at all costs, the project must succeed in their eyes. Personally I think the New labour cronies and allies are trying to slow down a quick article 50 so they can carry this over into the next election, thus having a referendum by default.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      I’ll go along with that, and just maybe, some Tories rather wish that too.


  17. A.Sedgwick
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Quite so and the BBC are up there with the worst. So many news items unrelated to Brexit get a tag line “but we don’t know the effect of Brexit yet”.

    In my view in the last year the quantity of publicised barmy EU proposed/actual directives has dropped significantly. There are exceptions e.g. insurance for lawn mowers but I am sure had we voted to Remain a deluge of pent up barmy bureaucratic directives would have winged their way on to our statute book. The EU as it is currently known is collapsing, the Euro cannot survive in several states without Germany paying off their debts and the likes of Blair, Mandelson, Clarke, Heseltine, Clegg, Soubry will one day not too distant have to admit they nearly ruined this country for generations by supporting the Euro and Remain.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      The tag line “but we don’t know the effect of Brexit yet”, it is just the same with “as a result of climate change ….” Can someone please tell the BBC that the climate has always changed and always will do – time the BBC just got over it.

      They could also tell the BBC (and T May) that men and women do not on average choose to do the same jobs nor have the same motivations, and that there is no real gender pay gap. Just look at gender breakdown of A level subjects.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      ‘Quite so and the BBC are up there with the worst’

      I agree with commentators here about BBC’s politics. But far more to the organisation than that. Over years, they’ve made great programmes – documentaries, arts programmes, comedy, films, children’s programmes and drama, in particular, the great Pride & Prejudice production of 1995 with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth, representing this country, culture and Conservatism at its best (Jane Austen being a Conservative and someone whose values has had a profound effect on this country).

      Let’s challenge the BBC, objectively, but not throw the baby out with the bathwater, rather try and encourage and build up what it is best at and what makes it a UK cultural icon.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted February 25, 2017 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

        I’d also add, we need cultural icons to look up to and be inspired by (e.g. the cultural production side of the BBC, Shakespeare, Jane Austen etc ..) which are important in creating a sense of Britishness and love of country – a fundamental part of Conservatism. Putting money in people’s pockets / saving money etc .. is important. But there’s more to our country than money, laws and good governance. People ultimately love their country because of arts, nature and people – people at ease with themselves, and with each other, reaching their full potential in work and in their public and private lives in general – good for the economy, family values and the soul ..

        • Lifelogic
          Posted February 26, 2017 at 2:54 am | Permalink

          I think we had Shakespeare and Jane Austen before the tax payer funded BBC came along – with its lefty, big state, dumbed down, climate alarmist agenda.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted February 26, 2017 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

            methinks Lifelogic doth protest too much

  18. Bert Young
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Last night Farage referred to the ” liberal media ” and the bias that existed ; the attacks he suffered have injured his personality and , sadly , it showed in the interview with Piers Morgan . When someone is in the focus of the media they may suffer form whatever angle they choose to pursue ; there is little the individual in the spotlight can do about this unless they have some other sympathetic conveyor .
    In my early days BBC and its radio broadcasts were neutral in the views it took ; the news at 6 0’clock was always a traditional ” must hear ” in our household and the announcers always spoke in an accent that everyone could understand . Today this is no longer the case ; whenever possible I switch to other channels .

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      Piers Morgan certainly isn’t ‘liberal media.’ In fact, Piers Morgan is one of very few, if any, of the media in Trump followers in Twitter (and he only follows 43 people overall).
      I simply fail to see how Nigel could lose his cool with Morgan. The programme remit is after all looking at people’s lives, close and personal. He should have known that before going on the programme and not got so hot-under the collar about Morgan’s questions.

      • Anonymous
        Posted February 25, 2017 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        A man can only take so much, Ed. Quite often the person who bears the brunt of the erruption is the least deserving of it. The crust at the top of a volcano is quite thin, you see.

    • rose
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

      Nigel Farage was angry because Morgan was repeating the media behaviour which over the last 25 years has led to Nigel Farage being unable to go out as the rest of us can. I didn’t interpret this as a personality injury. He wanted an intelligent and relevant conversation. Can you imagine Morgan pinning down Corbyn on what various socialists have said over the decades? One after the other?

  19. Lifelogic
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    I rarely disagree with very much that Charles Moore says (though he does suffer from religion) but today he is totally wrong.

    It is a reward for the Conservative party for having, very, very belatedly, been finally forced back to a Brexit position by the public, this after the hugely misguided years of Major and Cameron (assisted by remainer, open door immigration T May). Also a reaction to the barmy socialism of Corbyn.

    Brexit was against May’s will, she even lied to the public to try to remain in the EU. She finally did come round (if we can trust her) I suppose. She now urgently needs to change her economic agenda from tax borrow and waste to a real Conservative one that would work.

    Currently she sounds more like a half witted, big state, socialist on the economy.

    Hopefully Hammond will finally make some sensible moves in his budget. IHT ratter Osborne has left an absurd tax system that needs to change hugely. Many taxes are way above even the Laffer point.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      Giving May the credit for the bye election is rather like giving Cameron the credit for taking the UK out of EU. This when he did everything he could (including blatantly sloping the referendum pitch using tax payer’s own money) to prevent it.

      • hefner
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

        Even if you criticizes everything else, you should recognise that, for whatever reason, David Cameron gave the possibility of a referendum. No need to go on and on on that particular point.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted February 28, 2017 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

          Only as he could no longer avoid doing so and thought he could win it (by sloping the pitch with tax payers money, Osborne’s threats and all the power of the state).

          Still he did the decent thing and went – unlike Osborne.

    • SDJK
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      I agree with much of your less government message however it seems to me that the Conservative party is much more likely to move left to gain the Labour vote orphaned by Corbyn.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 25, 2017 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

        Well, if they just sound lefty it is not so bad.

        But if they do bonkers lefty things as they are. Thinks like more red tape, endless waste & yet higher taxes, more government still, HS2, Hinkley, greencrap energy, gender pay reporting, workers on company boards and the rest they just kill the golden goose and damage the economy hugely.

    • John Finn
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      It is a reward for the Conservative party for having, very, very belatedly, been finally forced back to a Brexit position by the public

      Blair’s very pro-EU Labour party won 3 elections while the Conservatives were squabbling over Europe. An anti-EU stance between 1997 and 2010 would have cut no ice with the electorate. It was a non issue throughout that period.

    • hefner
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      Inflexion point in the Laffer curve.

  20. WingsOverTheWorld
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    I find that the news media often tries to be contrarian in order to poke holes in policy. This is useful, but should really be the job of a robust opposition party. The problem comes when the media get locked into a narrative and find boogeymen where none exist. The news goes from having a useful purpose of showcasing other views, to peddling a fictious story which undermines their impartiality. Sensible people do not want to be fed lies or live in a bubble. There are plenty of works of fiction and alternative reality on the bookshelves. The media needs to properly display both sides of the argument; everything has nuance, no matter how abhorrent they find the subject. Brexit really is only but one recent example where the media has let us down in that regard. They disregarded all the upsides, or at least gave them short shrift. There still is hardly any digging into the libertarian ideas that surround Brexit or the failures of the Single Market and Customs Union; still no in depth reasoning to why the Euro is failing so many countries and why the challenge is so hard for Brussels to master, and how we, as an independent country can forge a stronger and more optimistic path in the years ahead. Instead, people are fed a hubristic, lazy, thin veneer that the Single Market must be good, the Euro cannot fail and immigration works for all.

  21. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Some off-topic, JR, please could draw this to the attention of Liam Fox:

    “Incredibly, the Dept for International Trade is trying to persuade foreign business people and corporations to invest in Britain using a video from 2014, stating the advantage of the UK being in the Single Market and EU.”

    • hefner
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      Don’t you get it, DIT and Liam Fox are in fact all closet Rem(o/i)nears.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 9:52 am | Permalink

        Many in DIT certainly will be, for decades the civil service has selected for the eurofederalist gene and it is in their DNA.

    • alan jutson
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 7:33 pm | Permalink


      Almost unbelievable, but not quite !

      Why am I not surprised, these people would not last 5 mins in the real competitive business World.

  22. Den Perrin
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    A lot of the anti Brexit bias coming from the BBC and many news organisations is down to poor journalism. The need to criticise is coupled with a need for drama. It’s assumed that unless news is highly emotionally charged, people won’t be interested. Then there is the issue of distraction and diversion. All the time people are focussed on one area they will be unlikely to look at areas that are more important but well hidden. This would include areas such as the financial system itself never discussed by the media because doing so would be a bigger threat than the seeming threats of sideshows. The effects of the economy are regularly shown in statistics but don’t reflect the underlying system itself. The democratic system based on finance is not up for questioning because it’s assumed that nothing can be thought of that is better than Plato’s system. The EU elites will say the same as the British elites: ordinary people cannot understand how the system works. The system, especially the financial system, must be kept mysterious and highly complicated, since it can only work really well for a very few.

    Brexit, Middle East Wars, and even politics in general are mere media sideshows to prevent people looking at how the system works, using distraction and emotional themes. Diversion and distraction also includes repetition. While the elites have money and people working for them, the masses work for the elites, so “having a job” is made to appear a privilege.

    Simply put, the way the system works fundamentally is never discussed. The work hard ethic is cleverly disguised slavery.

  23. Newmania
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Being the worst place in Europe to do business in Europe is a disaster, and paying 20% more to import goods is inflationary. Throwing sand about will not change that, and the first… “It has nothing to do with Brexit” of Spring, certainly won`t.
    John genuinely puzzles me. He is compos mentis , presumably, and yet he believes fairy stories; why? Well, we are all more than rational. We are souls living in faith hope and dreams. Unfortunately this yearning can, at times, overwhelm sense.

    I recently met an otherwise sane man, who informed me he was a Creationist, and that my more orthodox views were just an opinion. Of course you may believe the sky rests on the forest canopy if you like, but you will not invent an aeroplane.

    Brexit will collide with truth. The only question is when

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      “Being the worst place in Europe to do business in Europe is a disaster”

      What’s with the “is”? At least say “will be”, if that is what you predict. But we will see, won’t we, whether your dire predictions come true. If they don’t, as I expect, then no doubt you will come on here and admit that you got it totally wrong.

    • Richard1
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      Certainly the future depends on what sort of policies are adopted post Brexit. But it is difficult to see how, if the UK pursues small govt, low tax, free trade & free market policies, the U.K. Should not be prosperous like all the other countries in the world which have such policies. Of course if the UK elects a Corbyn type govt and a new collectivism takes hold, Brexit will be a failure – but looking at the EU it is the infantilised electorates of the Eurozone with their increasingly powerless parliaments which tend to elect the Corbyn types (although they make little difference as important policy is determined at the EU level.) I was a floater in the referendum, I thought there were arguments on both sides. But how you can look at the unfolding disaster of the EU / Eurozone and continue to think it obvious it would be better if the UK were closer bound in it is difficult to understand.

    • zorro
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      Not quite sure why you think that we will be the worst place to do business…. I suspect that the opposite will be the case, and you may be proved wrong Newmania. I am sure that you will be glad to have been proved wrong and become an enthusiastic supporter of a truly independent UK ??, master of its own future and subject to no foreign powers…. 🙂


      • Anonymous
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

        Actually I think we’ve been of the most successful economies in the EU precisely because of our difference with it, ie being out of the euro. We have been absorbing European economic refugees from the EZ for decades now.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      You would not have invented an aeroplane either, Newmania. You’re no cleverer.

  24. Antisthenes
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Beware of pundits bearing prophecies that are meant to predict the future so as to avoid possible calamities. As one cannot be sure if they are made out of good intentions or malice or just to alter behaviour so that it will gain them benefit. Often it is a manifestation of strongly held beliefs that have little basis in fact based more on revelation. Once the preserve of religions, scriptures and the words of god or gods. These day based on the ideologies of the left, the writings of the likes of Paul Mason, Own Jones, Polly Toynbee and the words of Marx. Blessings of god be upon you progressive socialism be it’s name.

    The left wing media and pundits have now taken on the role of rabble rousers so much so that those who are not of their persuasion must fear a metaphorical lynching. From a mob who have been fed a propaganda of fake news and poisonous invective. In the USA because of the election of Trump it has reached epidemic proportions so that some of the media have to be excluded from press conferences because of their aggressive and highly biased stance. The BBC being one of them which does not surprise as their left wing bias is so blatant. This exclusion is unfortunate even if justified as it only makes further propaganda ammunition for the left to use against those they with which they disagree.

  25. Tad Davison
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    All thinking, cogent, people will be impervious to this pro-EU BS. But therein lies the clue to the problem.

    Biased broadcasters and other media, know there’s a huge motivation deficit amongst an apathetic public who merely touch fleetingly upon matters relating to the EU, rather than fully research it, and so they manipulate the situation for their own ends.

    Generally, the older a person gets, the wiser they get, so it isn’t for nothing that those who wish to leave the EU tend to be more senior and less likely to be ‘persuaded’ by fanciful unsubstantiated tosh than their young and more gullible counterparts. And the naked, unbiased, untainted truth is out there for any of them to search it out if they are so minded.

    Having researched it, my advice to anyone is to be deeply suspicious of any broadcaster who tries to slant or taint their stories in a particular way, for there is undoubtedly an ulterior motive, and where the EU is concerned, it’s clearly a very sinister one.

    Tad Davison


    • hefner
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

      Really funny: Like with Trump, all problems for you are with others, the media, the Remoaners and the young and gullible.
      Becoming more senior is not a proof of becoming wiser, unfortunately. Becoming more (small c) conservative, more entrenched, very likely? Maybe having too much time to spend on blogs?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      “Generally, the older a person gets, the wiser they get”

      Indeed, as the saying goes:- “If a person is not a socialist when he is twenty, he has no heart; if he is not a conservative when he is forty, he has no head”.

      Clearly I had no heart even at 13, or rather my brain overrode my heart and told me that you had to be cruel to be kind sometimes, and the state was rarely the solution to anything. Ted Heath was PM at the time, so it was easy to see what a complete disaster his economic approach was. E Powell made this very clear at the time.

      So what about May at 60 and Hammond at 61 what is their excuse?

      • Tad Davison
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 7:55 pm | Permalink


        I was careful to use the word ‘generally’ LL.

        It isn’t necessarily so in every case that people get wiser as they get older. Some politicians it seems, need to feel the breath of change in the political wind to alter their otherwise inherent stated point of view, and that makes me suspicious of their motives.

        Best to weigh all the evidence and come to a conclusion that way, and it stands to reason that the more years a person has, the more experience they would have gained. Those of us who have witnessed first-hand all the pro-EU duplicity and treachery, have a distinct advantage over the young ones who have never seen it at all.


  26. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    It’s exaggerations all round, isn’t it?

    The benefits of the EU internal or single market are vastly exaggerated as a matter of routine, but then so are the potential benefits of new trade deals around the world when the existing and proposed deals have actually been of minimal benefit to the EU and the UK. The benefits of EU funding are exaggerated by a factor of infinity, given that it starts out as our money anyway, but so are the costs of the EU regulations which we could safely scrap … I am not casual about the potentially adverse economic effects of leaving the EU, but I am sanguine about them because I know that when the overall economic effects of membership are put into a proper perspective they turn out to be pretty marginal.

    I doubt that in twenty years time anybody will be saying “If only we had stayed in the EU we would now be a lot better off”. However I would issue one word of warning: we have to get there without too much short term damage on the way, and that will mean that when we leave we must have the new legal agreements, and insofar as they are necessary any new practical arrangements, in place ready to take over in a seamless transition. That could well mean including transitional provisions in the withdrawal agreement(s), and it may also mean relying on provisional application prior to full ratification:

    “The provisional application of a treaty is a specific situation where a treaty or a part of a treaty is applied provisionally pending its entry into force.

    Article 25 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties provides that this may be the case if ”

    (a) the treaty itself so provides; or
    (b) the negotiating States have in some other manner so agreed.”

    • Peter D Gardner
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

      There are many ways agreements can be put in place prior to the full treaty on withdrawal is complete, eg., exchange of letters, Heads of Agreement, MoUs. There are many things that should be treated this way such as exempting UK from the requirement to advertise jobs in the EU, public procurement rules, regulations and directives in the pipeline, status of residence of citizens in each other’s territory, outstanding cases before the ECJ and so on.
      There is much merit in agreeing small easy matters early on. Doing so creates good will and better understanding of each other’s requirements. It is far better than starting with red lines, which immediately creates ill-will and hostility and invariably leads to a climbdown, making one look rather foolish. The EU is making this mistake with its 60 billion ‘divorce bill’. It is confusing this with another tactic of shocking with your opening offer, which only works if you are actually offering something, which the EU is not. It still seems to imagine the UK can leave only by the grace and favour of the EU.

  27. John Finn
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 1:48 pm | Permalink


    I don’t disagree with anything you write – except the perhaps the GDP issue.

    You are correct to say that there was no acceleration of GDP growth following 1973 (EEC) or 1993 (single market) but I’m not sure we can use this fact to assume there will be no impact when we leave.

    Over the past 43 years trade with the EU has been gradually absorbed into the UK economy – probably at the expense of other non-EU trade. Because of this gradual change there has been no sudden impact. This won’t necessarily be the case when we leave. Any loss of EU trade can’t be replaced overnight so unless we have an immediate FTA or some sort of transitional arrangement there must be some risk of a shock to our economy.

    I take your point about it being in the interests of the EU to negotiate a mutually beneficial deal with the UK. In fact Sir Ivan Rogers in his evidence to the select committee this week used words like “nuts” and “insanity” to describe the actions of either side which would prevent a UK/EU deal. However, he also suggested that wouldn’t stop the EU doing just that. (Rogers has gone up in my estimation, by the way).

    Reply The trade is more imports than exports! Buying things more cheaply from elsewhere by lowering tariffs or sourcing at home will boost our economy

    • John Finn
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      Reply The trade is more imports than exports! Buying things more cheaply from elsewhere by lowering tariffs or sourcing at home will boost our economy

      Yes – but this surely can’t happen overnight. The loss of our export trade to the EU, on the other hand, can happen on the day we leave.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        And so can the loss of their much greater export trade to us.

        It’s interesting that our previous ambassador to the EU seems to think we will be dealing with people who are at least half crazy, but nonetheless he would still prefer to allow those deranged people to have a large say in the government of our country.

        Well, when negotiations start we will see if they come to their senses.

        If they want trucks laden with their exports stacked back to Brussels, and ships and aircraft turned back at the border, they can have that. Or if they prefer they can have all of those vehicles admitted to the UK for their first post-Brexit trip, but then prevented from going back.

        An encouraging sign is that Juncker has now said that he wants to keep one part of the UK border with the EU effectively as open for trade as it is now, even when it is being controlled, and if there is the political will to work that out for the land border with the Irish Republic then it can be worked out for cross-Channel trade as well.

  28. Dennis
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood’s position that the UK has no EU exit fee to pay has now proved to be wrong.

    The 60 billion is from previous committments the UK has made in the past.

    • ian wragg
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      This is manifestly not true, the EU wants to continue funding projects after we leave and thinks we should continue paying. There is no treaty obligation to pay an exit fee. As for future payments they are calculating on the total EU personnel, good luck with that. We can take on UK citizens pensions and pay nothing more into the EU money pit.
      Cutting ones cloth accordingly springs to mind.

      • Peter D Gardner
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 1:17 am | Permalink

        If we do take on the pension liabilities, we should take the opportunity to reduce them in line with other UK public sector pensions – still cushy.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      Dennis – They can’t impose usurious levels of debt on us. If they want the money from us they are going to have to allow us to be successful.

      If they won’t allow us to be successful then we won’t pay.

  29. rick hamilton
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    The BBC may continue with its own agenda – Newsnight sums it up perfectly – but is anybody except lefties listening anymore?
    The scandal is not so much their inherent bias but the fact we have to pay for it. It’s like being forced to subscribe to the Guardian before being allowed to read any other newspaper.

  30. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Off-topic, I see here:

    “When combined with details of smaller spenders released last November, this means the Remain campaign outspent Leave by a margin of £19,070,566 to £13,436,241.”

    But that doesn’t include the expenditure of the second Remain campaign, the one headed up by David Cameron and using public resources. Just adding on the £9.2 million cost of the official government leaflet recommending a Remain vote it becomes £28.3 million for Remain versus £13.4 million for Leave, a factor of more than two.

    • Mark B
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      Yeah, and they still bloody lost !


  31. Roy Grainger
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    You are right, commentators have the whole thing out of proportion, we are just changing some trading agreements with Europe, no big deal. When one considers that the break-up of the Soviet Union and the reunification of Germany have been managed relatively smoothly from an economic perspective simply leaving the EU should be no big problem from a practical perspective.

    • hefner
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      “The reunification of Germany” was “managed relatively smoothly from an economic perspective”. Tell a German about that. Either you don’t know anything on the topics or you are wearing pink glasses.

      • hefner
        Posted February 25, 2017 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

        A total of €2tn over 20 years, about €100 bn/year for the German people. It always is interesting to see how crude the views of an average British person can at times be on most non-UK topics. Britain is not an island for nothing.

  32. Aaron Martin
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    You’re right that many of the problems faced today are not covered by Brexit.

    Before the referendum, we found that Millennials are the first generation in British history to have less money than their parents, with a general increase in the cost of living, laughable pensions, and extreme costs in education and property that force people to rent for much longer.
    Earn less, pay much, much, more.

    Before things were bad but through our position in the EU they were improving, but Brexit will halt any significant progress on these issues until we’ve recovered the economy. Which by every realistic estimate will take more than a decade.

    Millenials were already crippled by the mistakes of their predecessors. Now, thanks to a decision they overwhelmingly voted against they must also face a massive recession.

    They cannot expect a high quality of life.

    Reply The EU has forced many young people into unemployment. It is the problem, not the solution

    • Aaron Martin
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      They cannot expect a high quality of life. Not in the short term, not in the long term.*

      • rose
        Posted February 25, 2017 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

        Our son has a lower standard of living than we have; we have a lower standard of living than my parents who had a lower standard of living than their parents; their parents had a lower standard of living than their parents…It is nothing to do with Brexit. Nor is the return of the Poles. Poland is doing better now, thanks to our money and their hard work, and is much less crowded than here.

        • Aaron Martin
          Posted February 26, 2017 at 2:04 am | Permalink

          I’d suggest re-reading the post. The entire point was that there were issues before brexit, that mean we can ill afford it.

          On general decline, If you’re thinking outside of the past 3 generations, you should keep in mind that world wars were responsible, not economic decisions.

          The baby boomer generation (born before 1960) absolutely had a better standard of living than their parents.

          While Generation Y did indeed have it worse, the level of decline was much smaller when compared to the jump for millennials.

        • hefner
          Posted February 26, 2017 at 11:17 am | Permalink

          I certainly have a better standard of living than my parents ever had, and a much better one than my grand’parents. I went to University at a time when it was free (end of 70s) and got a good job out of it.

          Now two of my sons do reasonably well, but I still think I am better off than they are. The third one after university cannot find a long-term full-time employment.

          It does not have anything to do with Brexit, nor with immigration, but certainly with gradual changes in society where a lot of companies are now not British-owned (even if British-based) and with the continuous reduction of what was called the bargaining possibilities between employees and employers, particularly taking account that the present “employers” are most of the time only rather low-level cogs in much bigger machines they can hardly influence.

        • Mark B
          Posted February 26, 2017 at 11:21 am | Permalink

          Good reply.

          The EU, as we can see from what is going on on the continent, is an inhibitor to wealth generation. The problems we are seeing have its roots also in Globalism which is nothing we can do realistically about. Asia is rising and the old world, like to Roman Empire, is on the wane.

        • fedupsoutherner
          Posted February 26, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink


          Our family’s fortunes are exactly the opposite. My daughter and her husband have a fantastic standard of living and they are only 32. Home owners, on holiday in Sri Lanka at the moment, weekends away, eating out once a week, cinema, etc etc. Nothing like my life at that age where I was broke all the time and living a very basic life. They have achieved this through hard work and not inheritance. I would say my life has been better than my parents though.

    • Aaron Martin
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 1:44 am | Permalink

      I’d be curious to know why my response to the reply added to my comment was removed/not validated.

      It was relevant, and contained no objectionable content (strong wording, insults etc).

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      Insofar as “millennials” are “crippled” by far their biggest problem is the high cost of accommodation, exacerbated by the uncontrolled mass immigration which some of them think is so self-evidently wonderful that anybody who dares to speak against it must be a bigot if not an outright Nazi.

      • Aaron Martin
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        That’s not the full story.

        While more demand does of course contribute to higher house prices, most migrants rent rather than own. This includes 75% of recent migrants.

        Renting gives landlords the capital to build more housing, which lowers demand, and in many cases in fact lowers house prices.

        Using data based in surrey, a economist found that a 1% increase of immigration lowered house prices by 1.7%.

        Much more of the problem comes down to policy.

        People don’t enjoy watching the value of their home fall, so the previous generations have actively voted against proposals that would make homing more affordable.

        Another issue is how restrictive the government have been about where you can build homing. Even with 0 immigrants the population would still grow.
        Unless more land is opened up for development, or birth control steps taken, prices will, and already are, inevitably rising.

        Tl:DR: Immigrants don’t effect it as much as you think.

        It’s also worth mentioning, that ruining the economy means that the government can’t afford to invest into fixing the problem.

        • rose
          Posted February 27, 2017 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

          “Even with 0 immigrants the population would still grow.”

          On the contrary: when the population was at 55 million, it was projected to fall to 35 million. This was because family size had fallen compared to previous generations. All that changed with mass immigration and the greatly increased family size which has accompanied some of it.

          We don’t even know what the population is now. Tesco will tell you one figure and the government guess at another. But you can be sure it is already well over twice what it should be to be environmentally sustained in these islands, let alone in the English cities. And it is still rising. 865,000 NInos given out to foreigners last year. Again, the figures disagree. The official figures just published are based on random interviews at some airports and seaports and omit a whole lot of people arriving in different ways and in different categories.

          It isn’t just housing and green land you should be thinking about but water, sewage, rubbish, food, energy, road and train space, employment, schools, hospitals, GPs, and of course, pollution. Think, too, of future generations who won’t thank us for what we have so carelessly allowed to happen. We inherited a sustainable, homogeneous nation, knowing full well what happened in countries which didn’t enjoy those two priceless advantages, and we have thrown them away.

      • rose
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

        Mystifying, isn’t it? I come across them all the time. But our son, who can’t afford a house in the city we are in, just as we couldn’t afford a house in the city my parents, grandparents, and great grandparents all lived in, was able to work this out for himself! Each generation works harder than the last and now we must add, the only certain things in life are death, taxes, and overpopulation.

  33. ian
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    You know that it going to be over two years before the final deal is announced and what you hear and read in between is all speculation and condemnation, you have not got over the first hurdle yet with politician making themselves all important and getting photo shoots with writ ups, milking it for all they can when you should already been out of the eu, just turn them off because they have nothing say till the announcement is made, as always their words are empty and lead you to a dead end.

    • Aaron Martin
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      With respect, that’s dumb.
      When a doctor tells you your condition is going to worsen, you don’t just say “pfft, what do you know? I feel fine”. You prepare.

      Businesses can’t transition with a snap of their fingers. It takes time to set up alternatives, and they operate off contracts which bind them for years.

      It’s to be expected that we haven’t taken too many hits yet. (ignoring the 12% drop in sterling against the dollar, workers crisis, and banks bailing).

      You should remember that there are many different shades of ‘speculation’.
      The pro’s on Brexit are “pure” speculation. They’re unprecedented, and there’s no plan.
      The con’s on the other hand are quantifiable. We can see what we have, and we can see what we will lose.

      I’d remind you that politicians are only one voice. Politicians, economists, the leaders of the very trade groups we are aiming for have all said this is a bad idea.

  34. hefner
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Overall very pleasant results at the by-elections. Brilliant success in Copeland, a big drop for Labour in Stoke. And finally the proof once again that without a change in vote procedure from FPTP to a more proportional system, UKIP has very limited chance of ever becoming anything more than a one-trick poney (successful with Brexit, but rather hopeless otherwise). I have been told in the past that UKIP has plenty of good people, maybe but those at the top do not seem to attract that many voters, or only a limited number of a very particular type of voters. (How restrained can I be!)

    As a lady in Copeland was heard to say “It is not because we voted Leave that I was to vote for UKIP”. I am fully with her on this one. With Brexit, it is to be hoped that the past fight on Europe within the Conservatives will die down.

    It is rather amusing that the only way for Farage to ever get an official mandate was through proportional representation in the European Parliament. Rather a good joke.

    • rose
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

      It looks as if the Brexit vote in Stoke was split between the party which is delivering Brexit and the party which is identified with Brexit. A rational choice by both sets of voters but one which let in the socialist.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      “successful with Brexit, but rather hopeless otherwise”

      Only successful with the primary, paramount objective for its existence …

    • Mark B
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      The UKIP hierarchy are a bunch of egomaniacs. They tried the same old tired and failed formula of putting the ‘Party Leader’ up for the post rather than someone local. You’d think that they would have learnt after the umpteenth time wouldn’t you ?

      UKIP has potential, but it is clearly in the wrong hands. Sadly.

  35. Redundant BBC
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    The BBC World Service is an anachronism. America, Russia, China India, Africa, South America and Europe are perfectly capable of telling lies about themselves without BBC Fake News

  36. Treacle
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    My chiropractor has just raised his prices by 20% “because of Brexit”, he told me. I can see this excuse for raising prices becoming widespread.

  37. Simon
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    The media is full of propaganda, rubbish and alternative facts often false.

    They often quote senior well known politicos who tell people we can leave the EU without paying a penny of the £60 billion and that trading on WTO rules is fine. Ridiculous isn’t it ?

  38. Peter D Gardner
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    Brexit will continue to be cause of all bad things and the barrier to all good things for many years yet. Now it attempts to prevent or delay the triggering of Article 50, it is already shifting restrict Brexit to partial Brexit. This will continue throughout the negotiating period with increased vigour because the uncertainty of Brexit will have shifted to Brexit definitely occurring even though we still don’t know what the alternative is. The Government is INSANE. Someone must DO SOMETHING to stop the Government. The EU’s propaganda will increase to infect public opinion through a very receptive UK media.

    Make no mistake, the pressure on Mrs May will be enormous, unrelenting and increasingly underhand and vicious. People like Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson are utterly ruthless, infinitely self-righteous and sincerely belief they know better than the public and that anything they might do could be justified as in the public interest.
    If all this results in a General Election, we can say good-bye to Brexit.

    • Peter D Gardner
      Posted February 25, 2017 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

      PS. Mrs May should aim to keep the withdrawal agreement to a high level and accept Michel Barnier’s position of Brexit first, new deal second. Not securing a quick Brexit is highly risky. It should contain an agreement to start negotiating the new relationship immediately and free trade in the meantime, with a cut off date.
      The agreement should avoid unnecessary detail.

      Similarly agreement on a new relationship can be brief, setting down aims, defined endpoints, timescales, means of progressing, and delegating details to a program of subsidiary agreements to be reached within the overall treaty terms

      • Simon
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

        Yes quite right. Let’s avoid unnecessary (or any) detail at any cost. We need big broad strokes. Brexit means Brexit. Details are for wimps.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 26, 2017 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

          This is above all a matter of political will.

  39. Jason wells
    Posted February 25, 2017 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    The news service is reporting that tens of thousands of school children are in danger from breathing in dangerous toxic fumes – nitrous dioxide– ànd that this dangerous level is a breach of EU toxic levels.

    Somebody should tell the EU authorities to bog off that we are not taking orders from them anymore..that we have taken back control and we’ll decide ourselves what level of toxic fumes is allowed.

    • hefner
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, right. Let our children prematurely die of our own-freely produced NOx fumes. Way to go, mate, that’s the spirit.

  40. Adam
    Posted February 27, 2017 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    It produces the opposite also, that nothing is caused by Brexit.

    I think the pound will fall in value and it is a major threat to our independence. Also N.Ireland will become a big prblem again. The other issues i dont put much by, pro brexi side need to develop policies to manage these problems.

    • rose
      Posted February 27, 2017 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

      “N.Ireland will become a big prblem again.”

      The IRA have never gone away, despite what many English people may think. Like the SNP, they will use any excuse to stir it. So if it hadn’t beeen Brexit, it would have been something else. Look how they are persecuting our soldiers while their people have been given immunity.

      The obvious solution is for Ireland to follow us out, as she followed us in, and as she declined, alongside us, to join the Schengen area. The only obstacle is that she joined the Eurozone, thinking we would do the same, and this will make it more complicated to come out.

      The advantages to Ireland are obvious: no more being a net contributor – this will worsen after we’ve gone; no more being bossed about on her corporation tax rates – this will worsen when we are not there to stick up for her; and no more free movement of people. No more currency problem. Her two main trading partners – the US and the UK – will both be outside the EU so why pay to be in the EU internal market? It makes sense to be free and independent alongside the British Isles rather than tied to the Fourth Reich on the Continent, and no doubt Germany would see it that way too. Firmly in with a UK and US defence system rather than the EU army.

  • About John Redwood

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

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