The EU’s unemployment problem

EU has come to mean European Unemployment. The Euro seems to stand for European Unemployment and Recession Organisation.  One of the main reasons the Euro and the Euro elite are under attack in so many Euro countries by new political forces challenging the project is their insouciance to the economic problems created by or co-existing with their single currency and single market.

If the Euro and the single market were all they are cracked up to  be by the EU elite governing parties and senior officials they would have banished high youth unemployment and general unemployment in Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal and others by  now. They would have boosted the zone’s growth rate up at least to that in the USA, UK, and the other leading non Euro advanced western countries. Instead Greece remains mired in a long recession punctuated by the odd quarter or two of slow growth. Italy languishes well below the levels of GDP achieved before the 2008 banking crash.  They have no convincing explanation of why half the young people in Greece are out of work, or why one fifth of the Spaniards are still out of work after a year or so of recovery.

I first realised that the single market was not going to add jobs and incomes to the UK or anywhere else when I became the UK’s single market Minister. I had accepted the verdict of the referendum in 1975 that UK voters wanted to be in a common market free trade area, though I  had cast one of my first votes against, as the Treaty did not say it was going to be a free trade area. It looked in those early years like a Customs Union , with asymmetric relaxation  of trade in goods where the UK was relatively weak and little or no relaxation in services where the UK was strong.

So it proved, with our big balance of payments deficit with the EU becoming a permanent feature based on the continental car industry and others outcompeting the UK.  I tried to make it more like the free trade common market people had been promised. With so many matters settled by majority vote it  became more and more difficult for the UK to stop measures which simply added to costs and made the EU less able to create jobs.

Instead the single market became the method by which large multinationals based in the EU lobbied to secure rules, laws and regulations that suited their existing way of doing business, and made market entry for competitors dearer and more difficult. The Common Agricultural Policy was well protected by heavy tariffs against cheaper food from poorer countries, and the Common Fishing Policy turned the UK with one of the richest fisheries in the world into an importer of fish. The single market was invoked as a reason for the EU to undertake wide ranging legislation on the environment, movement of people, transport, research and much else. The UK growth rate slowed after we joined the EEC and slowed again after the completion of the single market. The EU’s Exchange Rate Mechanism did particular damage to our economy, costing us many jobs and lost output. The Euro crisis more recently hit the Euro badly and had some knock on effect to us.

The EU elite tell all those who are unhappy about Euro area growth rates, unemployment and wage levels that it works fine for Germany so the others just need to get their national governments to cut wages more and get on with competing. They’ve been trying this for years and it doesn’t work economically. They may  be about to find  out it does not work politically for them either. The future of  Euro and the zone’s economic policy is now effectively on the ballot paper  in national elections in several countries.



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  1. Lifelogic
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    You are spot on with this the EU is a job destroying machine unless you are a bureaucrat, some lawyers or consultants on getting round red tape. More over paid parasitic jobs and less productive & real ones.

    The EU does seem to be falling to pieces rather more quickly even than I thought it would.

    As you say “Instead the single market became the method by which large multinationals based in the EU lobbied to secure rules, laws and regulations that suited their existing way of doing business, and made market entry for competitors dearer and more difficult.”

    The jobs destroyed and productivity lost as a result of misguided red tape, both from the EU and the UK, is massive. One of the very few positive things Cameron’s government did was to abolish the absurd home information packs. Except that the bonkers energy performance certificates remained – they should go now too.

    The jobs destroyed by the expensive energy & the “carbon pollution” religion are perhaps even greater. It has not warmed for 19 years. The Greenland ice sheet is now at a size well above the average for the past 26 years – as Tony Heller’s excellent blog reports.

    So why are we still paying any attention to these soothsayers? Theresa May is failing here too. Trump’s people are soon going to expose the fiddled science and temperature records, she should start moving now.

    Just saying she intends to move to cheap reliable energy would give the economy a huge boost, what is she waiting for?

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    Having been in New York I had missed Gove’s idiotic – put VAT on school fees, scrap their charitable status and soak the rich agenda. Gove really has lost the plot after his foolish knifing of Boris.

    Clearly it would raise no money (as many more would be forced to use state schools) and it would destroy many excellent private schools. What is needed is fair competition between all schools, not further entrenchment of a virtual state monopoly in education.

    Give everyone an education voucher and let parents use it (and top up as they wish) at private or state schools. That is the way to improve education and get more choice. Make the state schools compete with the private ones for pupils on a fair basis. The same is true for the dire NHS.

    Yet on “Any Questions” only one guest, Lord Lamont actually opposed Gove’s bonkers, socialist, state monopoly agenda. On “Any Answers” the new BBC presenter (needless to say yet another BBC think, lefty, arts graduate – Downing/English) gave us his silly views on the issue too.

    • Richard1
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      Er yes although an ideal result would be the privatisation of education with parents free to spend vouchers anywhere they want. The resulting choice and competition would surely raise educational standards higher and faster than any number of thousands of regulating bureaucrats. In such a world one would have to think through how a level playing field would be created between profit making educational companies and registered charities.

    • hefner
      Posted February 28, 2017 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

      I could almost agree with you but for a point. If competition is to be opened, the private schools should lose their charitable status. Right now, they benefit not only from the parents fees but also from not paying the full amount of tax that the turn-around of money should deserve. Furthermore why is it that donations to private schools can (rather easily) be taken out of one’s tax return via paying in one school trust or another?
      Fair competition, level-playing field, fully agree, but a really fair competition, a real level-playing field.

      • libertarian
        Posted March 2, 2017 at 11:23 am | Permalink


        Of the 1267 private schools 280 are NOT charities

        1) Your point about tax exempt school trusts isn’t correct

        2) All charities pay tax and independent schools are no exception. Charities benefit from tax exemptions and reliefs, but estimates of charity tax reliefs are inherently unreliable. There are at least 18 different taxes that can affect charities, the single largest category being employer NICs, followed by irrecoverable VAT.
        VAT alone is estimated to cost the charitable sector between £1 billion – £1.4 billion each year, all to the benefit of the Exchequer. Unlike academies, independent schools are unable to reclaim VAT on costs associated with educating their pupils.

        3) The WHOLE point of charitable status was Education or health so why not scrap all charities ?

        4) There are currently 700,000 children who the state DO NOT pay to educate despite collecting the money saving £3billion per annum

        5) School fees are paid out of taxed income

        6) Funnily enough the Bursar at the public school that my kids went too said they would be better off financially from a tax point of view not being a charity but their founding charter insists that they are not for profit charitable institution

  3. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Well, they seem to be kicking off a whole arms industry to supply a threat just to the east of the Russian border. Thats apart from stuffing the Greek military with German weaponry. Any chance of complaining about that and the way NATO is behaving.

    I was hoping Mr Trump would kick the legs from under NATO…the threat created so far is intolerable apart from very costly.

    I also hope the EU is not present by the time we actually exit in approx 2 years time.

  4. eeyore
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    JR often tells us that EU treaties make no provision for debts to follow a leaving country out, so Britain need make no payments such as the EU wants. This must apply to other leaving countries too. Will the last country in the EU be left holding all the debts?

    And when they realise this, will there be a stampede to the exit?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Hopefully yes.

    • John B
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      The issue of an exit payment is about future supposed unrealised liabilities such as pensions and other EU budget spending commitments – that has nothing to do with debt. It is not the EU per se which has debt but the Countries in it.

      Those debts are held by the creditors which are the banks. It therefore does not matter whether a Country is inside or outside the EU as far as its debt goes.

      • eeyore
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

        Thank you for this, but I struggle nonetheless. Isn’t a pension commitment a debt? How is it held by a bank? Banks don’t pay EU pensions any more than the Bank of England pays our state pensions. The EU pays them.

        When Britain leaves, JR assures us that our commitment to pay our share of that pension evaporates because the treaties do not say we must pay, HMG has no authority to pay, and unless Parliament gives it that authority (fat chance, one hopes) it cannot and will not pay.

        What holds for Britain surely holds for other EU countries, so I remain unconvinced. The debts belong to the EU. Will the last man in cop the lot?

  5. Anonymous
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    We are told by Europhiles that we need the flow of young Eurozone refugees for continued growth in the UK.

    What sort of growth do they mean ? No all growth is good, surely ? Especially if these workers are going into the domestic economy rather than the exporting (wealth generating) one.

    Don’t those good European Europhiles – who purport to care about the state of the nations from which the young European refugees escape – care about the elderly left behind and their ailing economies ?

    Is the plan that the young European economic refugees continue come here, to live in sweatshop conditions, causing us to live and work for depressed wages, in the most densely populated country in Europe ?

    The next step then, surely – if these are good Europhiles who believe in the prosperity of people in the EU – is redistributive taxation from this country so that those nations which have been asset stripped of their wealth-creating youth can be supported.

    If so then I ask what economic benefit for us ?

    If no redistributive taxation then I ask in what way are those who purport to be good Europhiles being fair on the rest of the EU ?

    Keep all the work, steal all the youth, keep all the tax… how self centred !

  6. Nig l
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    I continue to be bemused by the hold the EC has over much of the political intelligentsia. All power corrupts maybe? Talking of the future, you might like to share with us your thoughts if you lose votes in the Lords which effectively will shackle your negotiations and give them a veto over the final deal.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      By “political intelligentsia” I assume you mean “career politicians”, large companies (trying to strangle smaller ones with red tape and lobbying for helpful rules), some human rights and “EU law” lawyers, red tape “experts” and lots of bureaucrats.

  7. agricola
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    The fault lines are numerous. A common currency does not work in a collection of countries without common law, regulation, and fiscal control. Without such the wealthy countries resent paying for the poor ones or shifting wealth creating industries to them..

    There are cases where countries should not have been allowed to join the EU or the Euro. Greece, Romania and even Italy come to mind. Trouble always was that the driving force has been political rather than practical. There should have been an associate box in which they rested until they got their act together.

    The largest industry in Spain is tourism mostly from northern Europe . Of recent years, until the advent of terrorism there have been too many options around the World for the tourists. The arrival of the Euro inflated prices. I remember a “café con leche”, going from 100 pesetas to 1 euro at about 235 pesetas to the euro. With the reduction in competition, due to terrorism, the situation has improved a bit. Too much corruption in government and the property market have not helped.

    Your arguments in the last three paragraphs are valid. I would add that the UK is an odd case re fish. We have a very limited idea of what is edible. Try buying Morecombe Bay clams in the UK, damn nigh impossible. I can get many varieties by the kilo here in Spain. If we controlled our fisheries it would be for the enhancement of an export industry, not for home consumption despite the best efforts of Rick Stein.

  8. Richard1
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    It’s amazing how well Germany is doing – growth nearly 2% – as high as the UK’s – a budget surplus > €20bn and of course a huge trade surplus (which may not be all good news for them). I guess the other side of that is how badly much of the rest of the Eurozone is doing. The odd thing about this debate in the UK is the extent to which the Remain side and its continuing supporters overlook all these problems with the euro. Nor, if you go by documents such as the Five Presidents’ Report, does there seem to be the slightest intention by the EU to change direction.

    • hefner
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      Maybe people should also be reminded (or learn) that the most accomplished reducer of the German welfare state was the SPD (socialist) Schroeder with the cuts he brought to the national health insurance, the unemployment payments and pensions, all of those parts of his so called Agenda 2010.
      Yesterday somebody was commenting on the ease with which West Germany took over East Germany after 1989. Seen from Britain, maybe, not from over the Rhine.

      • Richard1
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

        Yes the Schroder Govt did implement some sensible reforms. The great strength of Germany is both the SDP and the CDU have pursued broadly sensible economic policies ever since WW2. They were never cursed with an equivalent of the Labour Party in govt as we were in the uk.

        • hefner
          Posted February 27, 2017 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

          I mainly agree with you, with the addition that the German trade unions seem to have always been accepted as partners in meaningful discussions and not as people to be got rid of as thoroughly as possible as during the Tatcher years.
          Obviously this problem is not specific to the UK, France has not been able to go through such a transition either.

          • Richard1
            Posted February 27, 2017 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

            That is true although Germany never had anything close to the trade union militancy that the U.K. Had so there was no need for Thatcher type trade union reforms.

  9. Richard1
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    Off topic but we hear there is a huge threat from hundreds of jihadis who are likely to return to the UK followimg the imminent defeat of IS. How can this be so? Surely these people have committed appalling crimes (and if they are UK citizens, treason). They should in the first instance be kept in Iraq to face the legal consequences of their actions. In the event we cannot avoid readmitting some to the UK then they must be held in custody pending prosecution. The Government will rightly face public fury if they are allowed to roam free and potentially launch attacks here.

  10. fedupsoutherner
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Yesterday, someone commented about the BBC licence fee being discussed in parliament. It already has been and this is the result if anyone is interested.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 12:57 pm | Permalink


      That’s only the government response, “Waiting for 4 days for a debate date”.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        Not holding out much hope in the debate after reading their remarks.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      It should be abolish liberal bias in BBC reporting. Not abolish the BBC overall. The BBC is much bigger than its news and current affairs dept. It’s about creating great original TV – both arts and entertainment. Please don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, destroying a British cultural icon with much potential for the future.

      • libertarian
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        Ed M

        Wrong , again the BBC outsources original content creation to independent production companies…. read the credits at the end of programmes

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted February 27, 2017 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

          I’m sorry but there’s a world of difference between commissioning and production … Independent produces produce, they don’t commission.

          Plus, the BBC – as far as i know at moment – is only required to commission 10% of its programmes from independent producers (not

          Currently, the BBC is required to commission only 10% of programming from independent producers (with a further 10% open to competition between the BBC’s in-house production arm and independent suppliers).

          Personally, i think it would be better for the sake of art and creativity if it was done 100% in-house. But, anyway, at most, only 20% is outsourced (and even then it is commissioned by the BBC – independent products don’t get last word).

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted February 28, 2017 at 11:20 am | Permalink


          Sorry, but you’re wrong twice:

          1) You fail to differentiate between commissioning + production. World of difference. And independent produces produce only – not commission.

          2) The BBC – as far as i know at moment – is only required to commission 10% of its programmes from independent producers (with a further 10% open to competition between the BBC’s in-house production arm and independent suppliers).

          Saying that, i think BBC would be more creative / original if allowed 100% control over creation of its content (excluding news + current affairs, undermined by liberal/lefty journalists).

          • libertarian
            Posted February 28, 2017 at 6:08 pm | Permalink


            Oh my word , who fails to understand the difference between commissioning and production? I think you’ll find its you.

            CREATING CONTENT is the phrase you used. The content is created by the producers , commissioning just means buying in…. good grief

            On point two, suggest you take a look at the BBC accounts and see how many of their creatives are actually self employed or work for external production companies

      • Anonymous
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        Of course the problem isn’t just with the news and current affairs dept. ALL of its output is hideously politically correct and agendared.

        So called comedy on Radio 4 assumes all listeners think alike and quite ordinary opinion (outside of the BBC bubble) is routinely mocked and demonised.

        The BBC has to go.

        Trump is right to snub it and it imperils our relations with the US.

        Surprisingly Bridget Jones’ Baby is a good film and cocks a snook at lefty producers. Aside that Huge Grunt is NOT in it ! Unfortunately Emma Thompson (playing Emma Thompson as usual) is.

      • getahead
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

        Then let those who watch it pay a subscription. But not those who don’t.
        The government’s response was muddled.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      In other words get lost, the government intends to retain this outrageous tax – giving the BBC a huge and totally unfair competitive advantage over other providers. Many more efficient providers then go out of business as a direct result.

      Just the same as with the NHS, education, housing …… They have to slope the pitch or nearly everyone would go elsewhere. The NHS and BBC thus get worse and worse as they have no need to compete.

      Then the BBC can continue to indoctrinate the nation in left wing, big state, pro EU, PC, fake “equality”, high tax, red tape pushing, climate alarmist drivel.

      Which is pretty much T May’s lefty agenda. Though she claims to have changed he views on the EU.

  11. rick hamilton
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    When we voted to stay in the EEC in 1975 we were promised tariff-free access to all those continental markets, but very few pointed out that they would also have free access to the UK market. Since then our fishing has indeed been ruined and our manufacturing industries have been reduced to a shadow of their former selves.

    Our motor industry has become almost entirely foreign owned, which if anything was encouraged by governments of both sides. But it has not happened in Germany, France or Italy. I assume those countries’ leaders do not take their guidance from the FT or Economist with their ‘it doesn’t matter who owns what’ mantra.

    • hefner
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      FT, Economist? Sorry, but not that long ago, JR was saying just that.

  12. turboterrier
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Very good entry John.

    I sometimes wonder why you bother especially when you have to contend with the politicians, high profile millionaires and non elected members of the HoL all the time hell bent on destroying the hopes and aspirations of the people of this country.

    You can tell it’s Sunday when you see the Marr show and as true to form the bias against people like us. When are the BBC going to do a What If programme on the fall of the EU and the impact on the millions of the young unemployed across the bloc. They can spend millions on presenting a drama on the Germans being in England in 1941 based on a novel. If there was more presented to the public on actually how bad the EU bloc position really is.

    Lets stop and stop fannying about and make push go to shove and start with getting rid of the unelected chamber and all that it entails. It has been said on this site too many times that the backbenches are full of members with the experience, knowledge and stature that could and would make things happen but are corralled where they are because of their anti EU beliefs.

  13. acorn
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    All true JR, that’s what happens when you run your economy using a foreign currency you have no control of. Every currency union I have read about ends up with the same problem. Africa has the same problem with the CFA Franc, pegged to the Euro to add insult to injury.

    Staying in the EU, I would be fighting to firstly get rid of the Stability and Growth Pact, removing all debt and deficit limits on member states. Secondly all member states would reintroduce their original currencies that would be initially pegged to the Euro on a one for one basis. Member state treasuries would return to being their own monopoly currency issuer and fiscal regulator. ECB Euro assets and liabilities sharing … subject to negotiation for the moment. 😉 Also, get rid of the EU parliament and replace it with 98 proper Ambassadors, one per EU region.

    Anyway, have you got your head around EU Regulation No. 1303/2013? The FT has had a good go at it and has come up with three scenarios for the “Cost of Brexit” calculation. Anywhere from €24 billion to €73 billion! The EU budget has a commitments budget (appropriations to spend money for a specific purpose or project) and an anual payments budget (to actually execute those commitments). The former is always bigger than the latter hence. What is the UK share of commitments … stay tuned for the next exciting episode.

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

      What does this regulation say about refunding of paid contributions to EU assets.

      • acorn
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        Enoch, UK share of the assets is slated as €3.4 billion. But, possible 2018 rebates and UK project receipts are nearer €15 billion extra, assuming a March 2019 Brexit. I would give you some links but, very few are getting published on Brexiteer sites currently.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      Before you call this the “Cost of Brexit” just answer one simple question: could we avoid paying it by staying in the EU? If not, if we would still have to pay it even if we stayed in the EU, then it cannot be called the “Cost of Brexit”, can it.

      • acorn
        Posted February 27, 2017 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

        “just answer one simple question: could we avoid paying it by staying in the EU?”

        Answer: Yes.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 28, 2017 at 9:15 am | Permalink

          How? If we stayed in we would still have to help bridge the gap between the commitments budget and the payments budget that you highlight, year after year, and in perpetuity, and we would still have to help pay for the present and future pensions of EU officials, year after year, and in perpetuity, and so on. Whatever we pay when we go, either as a lump sum or maybe as staged payments, will just be a part of what we would pay anyway if we stayed in. The claimed cost has only arisen because we joined in the first place, not because we are leaving.

  14. Prigger
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Germany cannot survive without unemployment, without.

  15. Original Richard
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    We have been well and truly fleeced by the EU.

    £10bn/year net payments to the EU when most countries either contribute next to nothing or are even net recipients . A figure that will increase as the EU expands further to the east.

    £100bn/year trade deficit caused by the way in which the Single Market is operated (goods but not services) and the EU subsidising the movement of our factories to eastern Europe.

    The loss of our valuable fishing grounds so that we have become a net importer of fish instead of a net exporter with again the loss of many jobs.

    The CAP not working for the benefit of our agriculture or countryside.

    Large scale immigration from not only the newly admitted eastern European countries but also the unemployed from southern European countries as a direct result of the Euro.
    This has put pressure on our environment, housing, schools, hospitals, transport, utility infrastructure, police and prisons as well as the loss of £7bn/year to our economy as money sent back to home countries.

    Thankfully we did not join the Euro, despite being told by all the “experts” that this would bring economic disaster to the UK, but it has however had a detrimental affect on the UK economy.

    This is all before considering that membership of the EU means loss of sovereignty and democracy.

    Leaving the EU is a “no brainer”.

    • acorn
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      Did you not mean “an EU leaver” is a “no brainer”? Just asking.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      Indeed and the only reason we did not join the EURO was the entirely predictable disaster of Major’s ERM.

      An apology from Major to all the people whose businesses went bust, who lost their homes, jobs, marriages and even lives (and to the Conservative party that he buried for 3+ terms) is still awaited. He (& Heseltine) seem to have learned nothing from this fiasco even now.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted February 27, 2017 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        Dear Lifelogic–And if memory serves he it was that devalued the Universities at a stroke and at the same time removed much of the vocational value from the Techs. Disaster of a man.

  16. Bert Young
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    The EU institution was never about fellowship and sharing ; if it were true there would not be huge balances in Germany and impoverishment in places like Greece . The ECB is prevented from apportioning its financial responsibility due to the restrictions placed on it , a restriction that makes the value of the Euro baseless . No wonder now that Holland is considering ditching the Euro .

    Today Heseltine reportedly intends a revolt in the Lords . It shows what a deluded individual he is . He has never outgrown his disappointment in not reaching 10 Downing Street and overcoming his disgraceful role in the Thatcher affair . Why he should now believe that he knows better than public opinion is another indication of his bloated ego !. When the letter is finally sent to Brussels I hope he will be man enough and admit defeat .

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      Dear Bert–Holland can’t exactly be said to be considering ditching the Euro (If only!). What little has happened is clearly designed simply to queer Wilders’ pitch. Considering whether to consider considering might be a fairer description.

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      No chance he will.

  17. Libertarian
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    People with no money,- no work they may threaten to leave, are powerless. It suits dictatorship.
    Not one carp from Labour here nor from Leftie-Liberals in the EU about unemployment.

    • libertarian
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      Er Why are you using my login name ?

      • hefner
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

        Everybody should be at liberty to choose whatever name suits him or her. Do you own the name? What’s your right?

        • libertarian
          Posted February 27, 2017 at 6:20 pm | Permalink


          Of course , except it then becomes very confusing as to who is posting, but as you offered I’ll post as hefner from now on… Cheers

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

          Thanks for the heads up on that.

          Another freedom afforded to us by this glorious government and its excellent Brexit plan

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted February 27, 2017 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

          Hefner–So if we all call ourselves hefner (Don’t all rush) that would be all right would it? Tosh of a high order.

          • libertarian
            Posted February 28, 2017 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

            Leslie S

            I’m hefner, no I’m hefner

      • Libertarian
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

        Sorry about that. I picked a word at random.

        • libertarian
          Posted February 27, 2017 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

          Hi thanks for responding, it just causes confusion

          Call yourself Libertarian2 or some other differentiator and its fine.

          Or hefner as he’s happy for anyone to use that name

  18. Ed Mahony
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    I agree with you to a degree but i also think an important part of the problem with these regions you mention is cultural – local corruption and a lack of work ethic – compared to the more prosperous northern Italy, Catalonia, and Bilbao.

    The regions you mention have come a long way since the 50’s and 60’s when so much of their economy was peasant-based. Perhaps the sun/heat doesn’t help either … Saying that, these people have their great strengths – including charms – as well and great places for us Brits to buys houses, go on holiday, and enjoy a bit of culture which often gets stifled in our more busy industrial north.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      And don’t forget all these places are Christian and share similar languages (compared to Chinese) and European culture as ourselves. We need to help those poorer regions so that we don’t get little dictators returning to power and destabilising Europe like they did in the 1930’s in particular in Spain. In fact, we need a strong Europe overall to stand up to Russia, terrorism, mass migration from the Middle East and Africa, as well as share our resources to construct the big technological/scientific projects of the future – that we can’t afford to do on our own – in particular in building planes and technology to take us into space. And there are obviously advantages to having close trading ties as well in particular for the less competitive companies who find it too challenging to trade in distant parts of the world which costs more in transport, travel as well as understanding people with very different work cultures and languages.

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

        Lastly, don’t forget, when we help to build up the poorer regions of Europe, we’re not just making Europe more stable in general, including security and defence, but we’re also building up close trading partners for the future. Don’t forget the poverty of Ireland in the 50’s and 60’s. It’s now an important trading partners of ours – not forgetting it has faced teething problems from developing from a relatively poor country to a relatively rich ones in just a few decades. And the EU played an important part in kick-starting and supporting the Irish economy (and yes, the EU made mistakes too).

        • Original Richard
          Posted February 26, 2017 at 6:42 pm | Permalink


          The problem with your argument is that the EU intends to keep expanding at our expense.

          Firstly to include Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and the Ukraine.

          Then all the “stan” countries to the east of Europe as outlined by Mr. Cameron in his “Atlantic to the Urals” speech in Kazakhstan July 2013:


          Then Turkey and beyond.

          So the EU is on course to make Europe both poorer and less stable as it becomes the Tower of Babel, eventually losing any ability to control its borders.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted March 1, 2017 at 8:18 pm | Permalink


            ‘the EU’ is made up of individuals, many with different ideas about the EU and Europe, ideas that have been reshaped by the election result in the USA, Brexit, as well as a general concern throughout Europe about globalisation and the loss of national identity and sovereignty.

            I guess it’s the macro – micro debate that we see in so many other spheres of life, including companies and organisations in general.

            Personally, i think the right pragmatic balance between macro (the UK’s place in the world and how we can achieve things in Europe / globalisation) and micro (the UK’s status as a nation state and how we can achieve things without the EU / globalisation) is essential. Which is why i’ve always thought it best we remain in the EU BUT playing a key leadership role in reforming the EU, in particular over immigration, but other things too to reduce bureaucracy as well as challenge bureaucrats in general and mad-cap ideas such as expanding the EU and closer unification (no, no, no to both – just to be clear).

            But for now we MUST ALL (and that includes the Lords) support Brexit, hoping it works out great. Which it has a GOOD CHANCE of doing, i think. HOWEVER, we must have some sort of contingency plan in case things don’t.


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

      ‘local corruption and a lack of work ethic’

      – but things are changing. You only have to go to southern Spain to see this, as i do. But it will take a while for these changes to filter through to society and economy in general and improve things such as employment for the young.

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

        changes funded by UK money.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        Ed Mahony

        Well, I do hope you are right because when we lived there 13 years ago it was still very corrupt. The local notaries were corrupt, the building regulations were flouted, we had no drinkable water and we bought our pet’s drugs from the pharmacy which were the same as people used. That had been stopped in the UK but it seemed to us Spain had its own ideas. If it’s changed then its all to the good.

  19. Ian Wragg
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    So now it’s official. The unelected HoL is going to veto Brexit and ensure that all the millions of East Europeans can keep flooding in and we stay tied to the single market.
    I hope you call a general election and abolish this anachronistic care home.
    Farage and UKIP will be back with a vengeance.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      The days of the Prime Minister simply deciding to hold an early general election off his/her own bat are gone, for the time being; it can still be done, but it is much more complicated now with the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011:

      But leaving that aside obviously a general election will not touch the House of Lords with its unelected legislators-for-life, and there is no guarantee that they will still respect the Salisbury Convention if the Tory manifesto commitment is for their abolition; if they resist abolition there will be a delay of over a year before they can be by-passed using the Parliament Acts, that is if the Supreme Court agrees that the Parliament Acts can be used to force through a Bill for that purpose, which it may not; meanwhile the current Bill to provide further parliamentary authorisation for the government to send in the Article 50 notice will not have been passed, and indeed it will fall because it has not been passed before the general election:

      “The wash-up period refers to the last few days of a Parliament before dissolution. Any unfinished business is lost at dissolution … ”

      Having got so far with the Bill it must be better to carry on with it, while keeping abolition or drastic curtailment of their powers as a threat against the Lords, and an early general election as a threat against Labour MPs during “ping pong”. Public opinion has already shifted strongly in favour of the government just getting on with the process of withdrawal from the EU, and it will be become more hostile towards the Lords the longer they wantonly obstruct that.

      • hefner
        Posted February 26, 2017 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        As (almost) always, a rather sensible detailed rebuke.

      • Mockbeggar
        Posted February 27, 2017 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        An easier solution might be to abolish the £300 daily attendance allowance. That could separate the sheep from the goats.

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      I have felt for years that political parties have missed an open goal with HoL. Blair bottled it, Cameron no doubt because of his heritage baulked at acquiescing to Clegg’s boundary change ultimatum and Miliband waffled a bit, as is Corbyn. UKIP’s job is effectively done as the Stoke result could have proved, but they have the opportunity to stay the radical party with policies to eliminate the unelected Lords along with the very anachronistic nomenclature and rectify the other massively undemocratic situation – EVEL.

  20. Antisthenes
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    You have provided indisputable proof that the EU is dysfunctional and not fit for purpose. In retrospect it is obvious that would be the outcome of the banding together of nation states with such disparate economies and cultures. Whose self interests they would not willingly subordinate in favour of the common good. EU membership offered only gain. Sacrifice was never part of the package. Forgetting that for those who gain there would always be those who would sustain loses.

    So it has proved. Where those who got in first and were the major architects in it’s construction built in a bias that would work to their advantage. Foremost in that were Germany and France which is no surprise because it was for their benefit that it was first considered. Late comers were invited to feast on this table of opportunity only to find that they were the ones to be feasted upon.

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

      Not just obvious ” in retrospect” but rather clear when we joined. Rather like the ERM and EURO disasters, Cap, fishing, diesels, renewable energy, the work time directive and the very many other red tape insanities.

  21. Mark B
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Another good article.

    I especially like the last paragraph as it really sums up where we are now and where we are likely to be heading.

    Those that support the European Project consistently fail to talk about the points raised here, especially the ERM. To them the EU is all things good. That may be true for them but for many poorer people it has been nothing but a disaster.

    The EU is anti-democratic and and favours socialist-corporatism over plain simple capitalism. It protects,via the Customs Union, their interests and maintains a captive market. It stifles competition, innovation and growth. It burdens via regulations and costs upon both the people and smaller businesses. It is a Leviathan that needs slaying and, with our exit, maybe this will prove the catalyst.

    As for the unemployment figures, I must say this. If it were not for the UK, they would be far worse and, countries like Poland would be much poorer. They clearly need us more than we need them.

  22. alte fritz
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    And this on the day that Lord Heseltine’s battle cry echoes across the media.

    It really is striking how mass unemployment, and financial instability in the Eurozone have become hidden news since our referendum campaign. Maybe it’s all in our imagination.

  23. Futurist
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Why is not Capitalism advantaging itself with the cheap, resident, literate and skilled labour available in high-unemployment EU states? Similarly, why is Socialism also failing?

    It has little to do with the merits or otherwise of the mechanical constitution of the EU.

    European peoples and a certain measure in our own land have values across the board, historically, which are not commensurate with economic and political success.

    One prays the reformation …Trumpism…Brexiteerism…can rid our Continent of ongoing failure in ideas and aspiration.

  24. Focus
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    For the northern English, it was never understood along with the late Harold Macmillan who said “Despite my best efforts I was never able to solve or know the reason for the unemployment problem in Stockton-on -Tees”
    He served as MP for Bromley down south too. Knowing where you live and having a stake in it could help solving unemployment in your vicinity.
    In the EU, no-one is quite sure where they are, where they are coming from and where they are going. It is primarily a question of focus.

    • forthurst
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      Harold MacMillan, in his sympathies for the ‘workers’, never understood the damaging effects of rampant trades unionism, specifically those of restrictive practices in damaging competitiveness and employment. This was a failing of the Tory Party which ultimately resulted in the destruction of most heavy industry. They never listened to major industrialists who told them repeatedly of the consequences of their laisez faire attitude; they were much keener on interfering in other peoples’ business than solving our own far more important problems. This is still pretty much the case.

  25. turboterrier
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    The more one ploughs through the press and media reports I think it is time to accept the bleeding obvious to settle all this back stabbing and threats by failed politicians and business millionaires:-

    The Prime Minister should call a General Election especially with the other political parties in total disarray, the manifestos should have at the top of the list the abolition of the House of Lords, to be replaced with an elected chamber of less than 300. It will save the country millions in the long run.

    The way that the HoL is operated is something that was perhaps acceptable back in the 17th century but totally incompatible with the speed, changes, logical and radical thinking bought about by the latest technology available in the 21st century.

  26. Tony Sharp
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    The EU has ‘exported’ its unemployment problem, especially of the unskilled, to the UK to the disadvantage and the fundamental distortion of the labour market against our own working people. This has a depressing effect on wages and also productivity – when is the last time you saw a ‘auto car wash’ that was not five Lithuanians working for pence an hour? Again low wages mean we have ‘net’ benefits’and taxes because they are on ‘in work benefits’. When I cam to London as a young professional in 1983 I expected to meet multi-lingual bankers, accountants and lawyers from western Europe. I was shocked to find so many unskilled and English illiterate southern Italians as waiters, far more of them than the professioanls. At each expansion of the EU more and more unskilled arrived – more Spanish and Portuguese and Greek waiters and bar staff – now the Balts and the Balkans are occupying these jobs. All of this is to the detriment of what should have been regionally unemployed who would otherwise have been attracted by the only way the UK market could address the shortfall, by an increase in wages.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 26, 2017 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      I am Conservative by instinct but even I understand why people choose dole over depressed wages and shed/caravan living. They simply cannot compete and nor should they try. No-one here nor in politics would do so either.

  27. Carrot drain
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    EU ( incl. UK ) migration to USA is quite low. The UK leaking almost exclusively skilled people. The EU as a whole much less so.
    Soon we in the UK will be all very adept at carrot plucking but need American teacher guidance in reading President Trump’s book “The Art of the Deal”

  28. John B
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    The UK clearly has distinct characteristics which make it more successful economically than the other EU members (the same reasons the Industrial Revolution started in the UK).

    Not being part of the euro does not explain the difference in fortunes: others in the EU are not in the euro and not doing as well.

    Germany has a budget surplus which means the Germans are consuming less so are poorer. It is German capital, labour and other resource that has been exported and so not available to provide benefits for Germans.

    By running a budget surplus, Germans are working hard for the benefit of the rest of us – can’t complain there. But where is all that incoming foreign currency being horded? German Government cronies I suppose.

  29. Juliet
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    How come 17.5m can see and understand

    “EU has come to mean European Unemployment. The Euro seems to stand for European Unemployment and Recession Organisation.”

    Yet the remaining population of the UK want to see and believe the opposite.

    Rich EU27 countries in th 90s are now struggling with high youth unemployment and depressed wages. Poor EU10 countries are slowing recovering with most of the young migrating across Europe

  30. The Big Ear
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    If you are unemployed you are not a member of the EU or the UK. You are in No-Mans Land.
    Soon, the EU itself shall be redundant. However it will leave a lasting legacy of twentieth century EU-Liberal Thought: the pro-active non-sexist, such as Doris and Ewan, naming of various botherings of wind.

  31. Straight
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Great to see Farage still with Trump. They know who is the enemy.
    Disdained by all old skool polits (even I feel by JR )
    Respected for their courage by the 98% who are awake.
    Ukip has served it’s purpose and must disappear now.

  32. Duncan
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    The question is will those people who are citizens of a EU member state have the courage to rise up and take back control from vicious bureaucrats like Juncker who will employ the race and nationalist card to shame decent people into accepting a set of circumstances that will ultimately inflict an existential damage?

    Have the Greeks no respect for their democracy, their sovereignty, their independence and their parliament? Why have they allowed themselves to be turned into nothing more than a transit route for migrants? It is indecent and morally offensive to those who believe in sovereign democracy

    And to see Blair and his allies..well, I have no words to describe the anger and contempt I feel for this most pernicious of political poisons

  33. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    As I said before, Gina Miller had a perfect right to take a case to the courts, but she should not have pretended that it was all about defending parliamentary democracy:

    “Gina Miller demands Lords show ‘backbone’ in changing Theresa May’s Brexit Bill on eve of critical debate

    Exclusive: The Supreme Court campaigner claimed MPs have shown ‘cowardice’ in failing to amend it in the Commons”

    “I am hoping the Lords actually do what they should be doing constitutionally – exercising their parliamentary sovereignty, being independent, scrutinising the Government and looking to put in amendments.”

    Including at least one which would enable her to go back to court later, complaining that the government hadn’t done this or that properly as required by the Act.

  34. Kumquat
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    Corbyn says he’s taking his share… of the responsibility for losing in Copeland. Me thinks only small beer of responsibility left for the rest of his Party to take.

  35. Jack snell
    Posted February 26, 2017 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    Don’t worry too much about the EU’s unemployment problem.. in a few weeks time article 50 will be activated and we’ll have much more to be concerned about then with the brexit talks and thoughts of our own economic future looming than having to worry about others..all of this talk about taking back control is all a nonsense anyway and will mean very little to the ordinary man in the street unless it is backed up with real economic wealth creation through growth, trade and meaningful well paid jobs …promises promises?

    Also talk about the EU ‘needing us more than we need them’ is becoming a tired old cliche and might well prove to be our very downfall. At this time michel barnier and the EU hold all of the cards and it seems we just intend to go in blindfolded with bravado talking.. well we won’t have very long to wait now before we see reality dawning and then watch out for the start of the blame fasten your seatbelts

  36. Peter D Gardner
    Posted February 27, 2017 at 3:49 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile back at the ranch, there has been little or no mention of recovering from the EU control of Britain’s resource rich national waters. The little information that has floated to the surface, indicates Mrs May is perhaps not minded to do this. Since Britain was in other respects a basket case when it joined, this rich prize was perhaps the main reason De Gaulle’s ‘Non’ changed to ‘Oui’.

    Something needs to be done to find out what Mrs May’s intentions are.

  • 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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