The German election

The latest polls put Mrs Merkel’s party on 39%. She has opened a good gap over her main rival, the SPD, but only because their vote has fallen away. The two main German parties sit on just 61% between them. On this basis Mrs Merkel is likely to lead the larest minority party, but will once again need to be in coalition to govern. She is currently in coalition with the SPD. In present polls the SPD who might like to try to form a coalition with the Greens and Die Linke, would not be able to do so. IT is not clear who would need to be willing to serve in a Merkel led coalition and what they might demand.

Germany has a less acute version of the pattern of the collapse of the combined vote of the two main traditional parties that we see in most Eurozone countries. Germany has prospered better than the others, by locking into the single currency at a competitive rate for her and then keeping wage growth and deficits down to retain competitiveness. IT is clear from the sharper decline in most of the other Eurozone countries by the old established parties that there remain unhappiness about what is happening on the economic front. In Germany the anti EU vote is still quite small at around 10%.

This situation contrasts with the last UK election where Mrs May’s Conservatives got over 42% of the vote and the Labour opposition got 40% of the vote, making a total for the two main parties in excess of 82%. The Conservative vote was higher by a decent margin than at any time since the full impact of the European Exchange Rate mechanism policy became apparent in late 1992 with a nasty recession. That policy was recommended by the CBI, the Labour party and the Lib Dems, but the Conservatives understandably took the hit for actually implementing it. It took the banking crash of 2008 to get the Conservatives back with a chance of winning with a better rating for economic competence.

The German election provides the background to the recent unfortunate comments by EU Commissioners and to the briefing to the German media about the UK’s negotiating position and abilities over Brexit. Clearly the German audience wants to hear that the UK will make a larger financial contribution for longer, as Germany will have to pay more once the UK has left as the EU does not seem keen to cut spending.

Meanwhile the government has rejected claims that they have offered a substantial financial settlement to the EU as some have briefed the press to say write. Judging by the remarks of the Commission and some Germans in recent days the UK clearly has not offered to pay anything other than our legal obligation to pay the running contribution up to the date of exit.

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  1. Lifelogic
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    Why are the Conservatives winning “a better rating for economic competence” I wonder? We have 15% stamp duty, absurdly high and complex taxes, endless and increasing red tape, a PM & Chancellor who think that Hinkley C, HS2, renewable energy subsidies, imported bio fuels, compulsory gender pay “gap” reporting, minimum pay laws and “building on EU worker rights” are just great ideas.

    They are clearly both economic illiterates – just not quite as bad as Corbyn and McDonnell.

    We shall see what the UK will pay, but I have little doubt that the UK government will cave in under May & Hammond. She lacks both a working compass, any common sense, vision, charisma or backbone. She is also too weak and robotic after her “vote for me and I will tax & punish you” manifesto.

    It was, yet another sitting duck election for the Tories but she missed.

    • margaret
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      What combination of PM and chancellor do yo suggest ?

      • mickc
        Posted September 4, 2017 at 9:33 am | Permalink

        Margaret Thatcher and Nick Ridley!

        • margaret
          Posted September 4, 2017 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

          That would be a little ghoulish

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 4, 2017 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        Difficult to see how we can get to a decent pair given that half the Tory MP’s are essentially socialist/greencrap/remainers, as May and Hammond clearly were and probably still are.

        What is needed is a pair who actually are “low tax Conservatives at heart” and not just a liars who pretend to be in the Cameron/Osborne mode. People who can provide an uplifting vision with lower simpler taxes, a bonfire or red tape, is pro-business, goes for a far smaller & more efficient state sector, cheap reliable energy, plenty of jobs, selective immigration, out of the EU and with the far higher standards of living that would follow.

        Someone with the courage to cancel absurd vanity projects and tackle that appalling NHS which can never work efficiently as currently structured.

        Someone with a real understanding of economics.

        Is it too late to clone Norman Tebbit? Or perhaps we just need Rees Mogg, JR Kwasi Kwarteng. But the MPs are too daft. They were even daft enough to re-elected John Major so he could bury the party for many terms!

        • Paul
          Posted September 5, 2017 at 9:00 am | Permalink

          LifeLogic why don’t you stand for office if you know what this country needs so much?

      • Dave Andrews
        Posted September 4, 2017 at 11:37 am | Permalink

        David Davis for PM
        John Redwood for chancellor

      • rose
        Posted September 4, 2017 at 11:58 am | Permalink

        JRM and JR.

        • fedupsoutherner
          Posted September 5, 2017 at 5:41 am | Permalink

          Rose, Agree with your choice.

    • mickc
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      Yes, a very good summary of the position. Heaven knows who will be stupid enough to vote for more of this!

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      LL I see the government is to resurrect plans for hydrogen gas for energy at a cost of £50b. How do they ever expect people to pay their energy bills in the future?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 4, 2017 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

        Insane, but then no one in government seems to have a clue about science, engineering, energy systems, physics or the economics of it all. If they can grab the tax payers cash to pay for these absurd schemes then what do they care?

        • APL
          Posted September 4, 2017 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

          fedupsoutherner: “resurrect plans for hydrogen gas for energy at a cost of £50b.”

          The problem with that is, there is a very dangerous by product of the combustion of hydrogen. Di-hydrogen monoxide is know to be lethal under some very common circumstances.

          As many as 320 people died in 2015 from accidental exposure to di-hidrogen monoxide, if they start to burn hydrogen in combustion engines, it is likely that very many more people might be exposed to this dangerous substance.

    • NickC
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic, I agree wholeheartedly with most of your points. You can add to the list of foolish spending the money that will be wasted on devolution to the English regions. No one I know in the regions wants this. It will be less use than the useless RDAs and only the usual assortment of Common Purpose and cultural-marxist carpetbaggers will benefit.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 4, 2017 at 5:09 pm | Permalink


    • Mitchel
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      If you want a good laugh(and he’s usually good for a few!) there’s David Cameron’s favourite fake Tory,Matthew D’Ancona,writing in in today’s Guardian (“On Planet Tory,the radio signal from Earth is growing weaker by the day”):-

      “Pity a party that has the likes of Ruth Davidson,Amber Rudd and Matt Hancock in it’s ranks and yet is taking seriously the idea of Jacob Rees-Mogg as May’s prospective successor”.

      Matt Hancock?(seriously?- or is he just a PC afterthought – the token male).

  2. dame rita webb
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    ‘Germany has prospered better than the others’ that might be the experience 0f corporate Germany, however walking around some of its big cities this Summer there was lots of poverty on display. Beggars on street corners, respectably dressed pensioners digging through litter bins to retrieve drinks bottles to reclaim the deposit on them and the asylum seekers with nothing to do. If this is the most prosperous member of the EU what is the point in anyone remaining a member?

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 6:14 am | Permalink

      Very good points – The EU impoverishes!

      Just look at te state of our country – the streets are so scruffy, and everything run down – Compare this to the countries that have been receiving our money as wealth transfer, like Poland or Spain, and see how beautiful their streets are.

      • Dame Rita Webb
        Posted September 4, 2017 at 9:51 am | Permalink

        Absolutely correct I had a nice holiday touring around Wroclaw last Summer too. All the tourist attractions had been refurbed from the last time I was there in the 90s and the motorway to the German border was ribbon smooth to drive along. As you would expect a signs with the EU flag on them stated who had paid for it all.

      • Terry
        Posted September 4, 2017 at 10:23 am | Permalink

        Dont know where you live but down here our streets are clean. In fact the Council sends round a motorised gutter cleaner every so often. Council Tax is high but most of it goes on salaries and pensions.

        • Bryan Harris
          Posted September 5, 2017 at 6:09 am | Permalink

          I live North Kent – where do you live – yes we get the motorised cleaners too, but I’m not just talking about the rubbish that gets left in between cleans by the the thoughtless drunks, and others… I’m talking about the pavements and roads – patched so many times and uneven.

          The overall impression is one of neglect, as though the sink estates have spread everywhere

          • rose
            Posted September 5, 2017 at 8:05 am | Permalink

            Our streets and pavements are now beyond scruffy – they are dangerous. Huge potholes and patches, smashed pavements, rocking stones, kerbstones lying out in the road, and all covered with chewing gum, as well as broken glass, sick, and urine here and there. It all comes from overuse and disrespect, a lack of common ownership, not just underinvestment and lack of maintenance. And of course there is the rubbish everywhere, in and out of dustbins which never used to be visible.

          • Terry
            Posted September 5, 2017 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

            In the The West Country where local councils might be more inligned to sevice the wishes of its tax payers rather than follow the whims dictacted by those unelected suits in Brussels

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 6:33 am | Permalink

      Yes, I think Merkel should be (penalised ed) for what she has done to her country, and now she wants the rest of Europe to assist her in clearing up the mess. I dont understand why the German people are not up in arms about it.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      Fascinating comment. Thank you.

    • oldtimer
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      In view of your recent visit you may be interested in this Spiegel interview in which the attitudes of some German voters were explored. The sample was too small to be considered fully representative of all strands of opinion. Yet what came out was a universal concern among the sample about an issue that apparently is not discussed by the main parties, namely immigration.

      It looks as though Merkel will win by default – in the absence of any wholly convincing opponent.

    • Mitchel
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      Isn’t that because the prosperity has been given/loaned back out to the poorer members in order for them to buy the things that make Germany prosperous rather than spent on it’s own citizens.And do the German people realise how much of their accumulated savings are represented by loans to countries that can’t repay them.

      Wasn’t the realisation that Russia’s inherent wealth had been frittered away on the poorer Soviet republics and the Eastern bloc satellites in order to sustain a failing political project one of the reasons why the Soviet Union was dissolved when the people stopped believing in the project?

      Old Soviet joke – get me an eye AND ear doctor-I can’t see what my ears are hearing!

      • Andy
        Posted September 5, 2017 at 7:44 am | Permalink

        It is certainly true that the huge Target 2 balance Germany has will prove to be a mirage – the vast majority of it is lost but old Merkel can’t tell the Germans that. Nor can she tell them that she has agreed to Macron’s plan for an EU Treasury which will mean EU taxation and that means more of their wealth will be heading west and south. All in all she has made a right mess of Europe.

  3. fedupsoutherner
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 5:41 am | Permalink

    I wonder if Mrs Merkel’s popularity would dwindle if the Germans woke up to the fact that our contribution upon leaving will not be as much as they expect it to be. It sounds as though you are saying that many of the rumours going about at the moment saying we are stomping up a load of dosh may be originating in Germany and the German press. This would explain the mixed messages the British public are getting and it would be good if DD would clarify our position on this publically. Interesting post John.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 6:17 am | Permalink

      Good Morning,
      Yes I think this idea has some merit; let’s say what we shall pay to the EU between now and 29/3/19 (and thereafter no more). We clearly have done the work to calculate it, so why not?
      This amount should not be ‘an offer’, but as the final correct amount according to our binding commitments, substantiated to the final penny. We, I think, all agree that we pay our due bills. Then lets see if the EU has any interest whatsoever in trade. This might put the EU Commission in an awkward position, being seen to prevaricate on agreeing simple trade terms with the closest large trading partner.

    • rose
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      DD did clarify in the Marr programme.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted September 4, 2017 at 9:11 am | Permalink


        Not everyone watches the Marr programme as some are in church etc and it is a sunday. It needs to be on the major news net works to get better coverage and on the front pages of the newspapers.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted September 4, 2017 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

          Best watched on Iplayer then you can skip all the tedious bits – most of it in fact.

    • NickC
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Fedupsoutherner, Yes it’s a good point that the recent German abuse of us may be largely for their domestic audience.

      Unfortunately our civil service has form on capitulating to the EU over the last 45 years. The EU demands, and we concede to show how terribly reasonable we are. The Germans, and the EU, can hardly believe their luck, normally.

      However a rotten deal now (transitions deals, paying Danegeld to the EU) will be seen as capitulation by Leave voters, and will be a festering sore on the British body politic. We have appeased for 45 years. No more; this time it must be different.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 5, 2017 at 4:50 am | Permalink

        “We have appeased for 45 years. No more; this time it must be different.”

        Well I doubt it will be with May notionally in charge.

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    Yet despite all these very high taxes with have public services (police, fire regulators, the NHS, criminal justice, social services, public housing, the courts system, banking & financial regulation, the BBC, planning, education, transport, defence, energy systems ….. that are, in general, extremely poorly run, inefficient, misdirected and hugely dysfunctional.

    May’s biggest fault is that she fails ever to address the huge failings of the state sector while still wanting to interfere in the private sector in hugely damaging ways.

    Much of the UK government delivers negative net good as its output. That of inconveniencing, over taxing and nobbling the productive. In the case of the NHS & fire actually killing many of them or preventing them from working too. What is she even doing in the Tory party let alone leading it?

    She should also address the absurd litigation and compensation culture we have in the UK. It is totally out of control and is yet another tax on the productive. We need to cut out the countless largely parasitic jobs in government, consultancy and the law and encourage the truly productive to produce and compete.

    • Spratt
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 7:03 am | Permalink

      There are plenty of things wrong with our state sector but your habit of seizing every opportunity to post negative comment is not justified. That said, you are spot on with the need to address the litigation and complaint culture. This has been progressively whipped up by politicians since Mr Major who think that telling people they have endless rights is a cheap route to popularity. But it isn’t. The effect on the NHS has been terrible.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 4, 2017 at 11:53 am | Permalink

        Basically the state spends approaching 50% of GDP and yet produce so little of any real quality or value for it. Furthermore they endlessly inconvenience, misdirect, tie up in red tape and over tax those who do produce things of value.

        They kill more efficient competition with their “free” at the point of use NHS and education, subsidised housing and augment the feckless by paying them money not to work (or even not learn how to work). They also piss endless money away on bonkers vanity projects, greencrap and political lies & propaganda.

        On balance they probably thus have a net negative output from this expenditure.

        Surely it is not unreasonable to point this out occasionally?

        • Turboterrier.
          Posted September 4, 2017 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

          @ Lifelogic

          They also piss endless money away on bonkers vanity projects, greencrap and political lies & propaganda. Surely it is not unreasonable to point this out occasionally?

          When are our host and his like minded supporters in the house ever given the chance in debate to highlight the areas of concern especially relating to the green crap phenomenon which has become something to a religion with members of the house.

          It seems that never anytime is given to highlight the true cost of all this nonsense.

          The real cost of constraint payments.
          The real cost of land rents for turbines and solar.
          The real cost of Bio Mass payments.
          The real cost of “community benefit”
          The real cost of Renewable Obligation Certificates.
          The real cost of the Carbon Floor Tax.
          The real cost of Upgrading the Grid.

          People wonder why there are food banks and millions in fuel debt and poverty.

          Not to worry the government it is being reported have found £50bn for Hydrogen it would seem. What will be the interest on that be I ask myself?

          You cannot make it up.

          How many in Westminster and the devolved parliaments listen and really care? Paul Daniels had it about right: Not a Lot.

        • hefner
          Posted September 4, 2017 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

          Occasionally … about twenty times per week?

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      LL You mention energy systems in your last post. The latest concerns from National Grid are highlighted here.

      NG does identify that there is no longer an elephant in the
      renewables room. There is now a herd.

      Major concerns comprise;

      Diminishing inertia (rotational energy) in the network following retirement
      of large power stations causing lack of control of the Rate of Change of
      Frequency as supply/demand balance becomes increasingly susceptible to
      renewables surges or collapse.

      Wider frequency response control difficulties because “the grid now needs
      response that acts faster than we have today” which “need to be designed
      and implemented”.

      Avoidance of voltage collapse as we progressively reduce the capability to
      locally control wattless power which may lead to countrywide construction
      of large-scale synchronous compensators to offset .

      The threat to the UK’s ability to re-start areas of the country after a
      major fault (Black Start) as big power stations close. (The industry has
      yet to demonstrate that this is solvable.)

      Reduction in reserve power now “needed to meet frequency response so this
      capacity is lost to reserve … to cover unexpected losses” , for example
      wind turbine output collapse and upward reserve power needs of 4GW today
      rising to 10GW by 2021/22 ( equivalent to 10 Tornesses.) Additionally, the
      present interconnector trading arrangements with Europe change in Q3 2018
      from three hours ahead to just one hour, “introducing increased uncertainty
      in our generation and demand”.

      By 2021/2 , the grid is forecast to incur a Rate of Change of Frequency
      control risk that will be “too high” over 25per cent of the year requiring
      it to reduce losses and/or dump wind and start up synchronous generation.
      Today that figure is around two per cent.

      NG strategy is to establish a “Balancing Services Market” with the
      generating companies on a “you build and we’ll contract for the services”

      So who will ultimately pay for this?

      Our politicians should consider inviting NG to give them a brief, and
      sobering, talk through reality.

  5. Tom Rogers
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    We will not see the political changes needed in Western countries unless and until the main political parties collapse.

  6. zorro
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    I wonder when Mr Clock Tick will inform us of the ‘very serious consequences’ (increased German budget?) of us leaving the Single Market?


  7. Mark B
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    . . . . European Exchange Rate mechanism policy became apparent in late 1992 with a nasty recession. That policy was recommended by the CBI, the Labour party and the Lib Dems, but the Conservatives understandably took the hit for actually implementing it

    I find the above really quite disgusting. The Conservative Party was the party of government. It had sole responsibility for what happened regarding the ERM. Please Mr.Redwood MP sir, do not embark on this Stalinist revisionist of history. Your party brought us into the then EEC. It was your party that created the Single Market. And it was your party that brought us into the ERM. Do not attempt to even partially blame others, that is not a good look.

    Merkel will win. But even if she did not, as far as the EU and the rest of the EU are concerned, it business as usual.

    Thank God we are leaving in : 81 weeks, 3 days, and 18 hours

    • matthu
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 6:26 am | Permalink

      “It had sole responsibility for what happened regarding the ERM.”

      I think that JR was simply drawing attention to the deplorable lack of any effective opposition on either side to almost any element of EU policy over the past 40 years.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      There seems a collective failure to admit what you say Mark.
      The same for immigration which has risen inexorably under the Tories. Even non EU migration which they control.
      Only last week I read they expect it to remain circa 155,000 annually.
      They better get Brexit right or they’re finished.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      Possibly leaving – and rather likely that this will be fudged under ex(?) remainers T May and the even worse P Hammond?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 4, 2017 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        “a very nasty recession” and entirely government inflicted for no good reason!

    • rose
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      The passage you quote doesn’t revise history. It sums it up. It is not saying the opposition and CBI implemented the policy, merely that they recommended it. Which they did. That is not blaming them.

      • Mark B
        Posted September 4, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

        You have to take it in the whole. The inference was that the Conservative Party took the blame for the policy that others recommended. No ! Took the blame for ignoring the good advice, some even from our own kind host, and led this nation on a path that we are still paying for one way or another.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      True it was the Tories and lefty EUphile Tories and the Major disaster in particular that did all this pointless damage (though certainly not JR). Still no apology from the dreadful John Major not has he learned anything from it!

      But it perfectly fair to point out how wrong Labour, the Libdims, the CBI, the FT, the BBC ….. all were!

  8. Nig l
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    If you are correct about our contribution being solely the annual payment we make now please ensure our negotiators get the rebate written into the agreement. I do not trust them and can envisage a situation where they hold it back on spurious legal grounds supported by the in their pocket, ECJ.

    Reply Yes, I have pointed this out and suggested we knock the last rebate off the last payment rather than relying on them to send the money back later

    • Turboterrier.
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply.

      Now that is the way they should be doing it. very well said John.

  9. Bryan Harris
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    It’s quite right that merkels vote should go down, for she has failed the people of Europe, not just Germany – She was the great hope for Germany, but why an ex-communist was catapulted into becoming leader of the CDU so soon after Germany was reunited, is a mystery.

    So she will head yet another coalition – which means, I suspect that the worst of her policies will be curtailed, a little, but she still holds a great deal of power in the EU.

    I have never been a fan of proportional representation – simply because it all but imposes a coalition government – I’d much rather have a FPTP election that provides a strong government, so that we, the voters can clearly see the true character of those we put in power ….. rather than a great confusion of responsibilities.

    If merkel was unrestrained, God only knows what would happen, but it wouldn’t be good, and even the German people would see what she was really intending, and kick her out at the first opportunity.

    Merkel, by the way, as we know, encourages multi-culturism, which basically means no single strong component of society can fight against government, because there won’t be one united group. She believes, and keeps pushing for a single world government, unelected of course, to rule us all – so we should all be wary of this woman and any international treaties that reduce our power or tie us into decisions made by the UN.

  10. Duncan
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    I couldn’t care less what Merkel says or indeed does. My only abiding concern is that this atrocious and increasingly socialistic PM and her equally idiotic Chancellor we have been lumbered with in the UK does the decent and honourable thing and delivers Brexit in its entirety. And then they can trot on their merry way and the Conservative Party should then elect a leader who is all the things May isn’t

    I did note that Mr Redwood proffered your support for May as leader of the Tories and PM of the UK. Considering she’s an interventionist, socialistic and with a disturbing obsession with the politics of identity, I find that quite unnerving and is an indication of just how successful the poison of the liberal left has been in Britain

    Let’s get out of the UK and then ditch this dreadful PM and her posturing with left leaning policies…she’s an embarrassment to the Tories

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      Hear, hear!

    • getahead
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      Like Cameron, Hammond works for the Tory corporate sponsors, all of whom it seems, are well placed to benefit from EU membership. At the tax-payers expense.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 5, 2017 at 4:58 am | Permalink

      Exactly. Why did she ever join the Conservatives when there is nothing Conservative about her? She and Hammond are clearly just as economically illiterate as Cameron and Osborne. As bad even as John Major even with his ERM & cones hot line.

  11. Sakara Gold
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    John never mind Brexit for the moment, some words of wisdom from yourself on the N Korean nuclear crisis and whether we should get involved with a nuclear war over there would be appreciated.

    Reply No, we should not get involved, and No, there will not be a nuclear war.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply. Surely John there will be if that nutcase Kim whatever drops the first bomb?? The world will not stand back and allow him to pick off various countries. He will have to be stopped somehow.

      Reply I don’t think he is about to set off a bomb, just out to seek attention and provoke more.

    • margaret
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      I simply cannot see how any country which has the science to make nuclear missiles can have the intelligence to fire them over other Countries. The fall- out will be over Japan, so they suffer whilst this fat imbecile postures to the USA. We in the west as a supposedly educated hemisphere need to stop these warmongering nations into senseless nonsensical threats. Never mind Juncker trying to condescendingly point out that we need educating . It doesn’t take much intelligence to stop being aggressive, but so many seem to stoop to it.

      • Mitchel
        Posted September 5, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

        Shall we start with the USA then?It is their regime change exercises that have encouraged Kim to go nuclear as an insurance policy-and I’m sure there are others that will seek to follow him.

        A declining USA thrashing about trying to disguise it’s decay and reverse it’s decline is a much more concerning prospect,particularly now that the Generals appear to be in charge.

  12. Ian Wragg
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    So Barnier is going to educate the British on the perils of leaving the EU.
    I see on motorway junctions near here there are signs…….Brexit makes you poor ……..
    No doubt they are financed by the fifth column in our midst.
    I will remove them today

    • Know-Dice
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      As I said yesterday, for “educate” read “punish”…

  13. Mike Stallard
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Will we pay money to Baltic and Romania etc countries to get rid of the “push” factors on immigration?What about Erasmus and Galileo?
    What about the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) for the period 2021-2027? How much are we up for there? (RAL payments, for instance – including the pensions for Mr Kinnoch and his wife, Lord Patton and so on). This is a massive 313 billion euros for the whole of the EU.
    These and several other payments are officially arranged and if we break them, we are under the judgement of the Vienna Convention.

    Just refusing to pay anything at all is not a legal option.

    Reply There is no legal base to impose payments for years of spending when we are not in the EU and not receiving some of the benefits of the spending. We either leave Erasmus and Galileo at the same time or come to a separate agreement about future contributions and receipts from those programmes as non EU members of them.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 9:31 am | Permalink


      Who employed Mr Kinnoch etc?

      Who pays the MEPs?

      Is it the EU institutions or their own national countries?

      Remember, Herr Juncker said “you leave your national hat at the door when you enter the EU”, for me that makes the EU responsible for ongoing pension liabilities, which they should have made provision for at the time within their budget…

      • Turboterrier.
        Posted September 4, 2017 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

        @ Know Dice

        they should have made provision for at the time within their budget…

        Will that not be a tad difficult in that they have never signed off the accounts for years?

  14. AndyC
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    I’m flippantly moved to wonder why we don’t just agree to whatever figure Barnier pulls out of the air, and then just print the cash. Seems to work OK when giving money to bankers.

  15. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    The preponderance of legal opinion is that when we leave the EU we will have no liability for any irregular payments into the EU budget unless such payments form part of a withdrawal agreement, there being nothing in Article 50 TEU or anywhere else in the EU treaties about a withdrawing state being expected to pay any kind of exit fee. Such a requirement could easily have been included in the agreed Article 50 withdrawal procedure but it wasn’t.

    Similarly there is nothing in Article 50 TEU or anywhere else in the EU treaties about the need to settle the amount of any such exit fee before negotiations on more important long term issues such as trade can commence, and nor is there anything to say that the chief negotiator for the EU side will be entitled to act as a kind of presiding officer setting the order of business for the negotiations.

    It is argued by some EU adherents that David Davis agreed to go along with what the EU wanted and give the relatively unimportant priority over the important. I’m not sure their argument is supported by any hard documentary evidence available in the public domain, rather than just unsubstantiated rumour, but if David Davis did make that concession then clearly it was a big mistake to encourage the EU negotiators in their arrogance and that concession should now regarded as spent.

    They have had their chance to produce a detailed invoice to back up their still vague claim to a massive bung from the British taxpayers and they have signally failed to come through on that; and this is what David Davis and our diplomats should be saying around the world to anybody who will listen. I see no reason why our international reputation should be trashed because our side still wants to maintain a friendly atmosphere while the other side is getting increasingly, and characteristically, vicious in its propaganda.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 8:21 am | Permalink


      I cannot imagine how the European Union came up with a figure of €100 billion as a putative Brexit “divorce bill” but, given the EU’s inflexibility, I cannot see how it is going to be possible to negotiate this down to a level that will be acceptable to the British people.

      I agree, therefore, that the matter should be sent to an independent court to arbitrate. Submitting this sort of case to arbitration or to independent specialists is common in the business world. It seems the right approach in this case and both sides could then argue that the resulting settlement is fair.

      In the meantime, perhaps the negotiating teams could start talking about a free trade agreement. That is what I voted for in 1975.”

      Of course the last paragraph presumes that the EU would be prepared to proceed with a modicum of common sense, against all the evidence accumulated over the decades since the project was first started up.

  16. Richard1
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    We should hope the free Democrats in Germany hold the balance and get into power. They seem much the most sensible voice in German politics on Brexit and other things

    • rose
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      My German friends are using their second vote to achieve that.

    • Dame Rita Webb
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      You have got to be joking! The FDP membership is mostly made up of very rich liberals of the Hampstead/Quislington variety that you find in the UK. They also describe themselves as being “business friendly” so they are usually detrimental to the well being of ordinary Germans. The polls show that the Alternative für Deutschland should get over the 5% threshold which would be more beneficial to those of us that want to see an end to the EU.

      • Richard1
        Posted September 4, 2017 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

        Amazing that people who regard themselves as right of centre think ‘business friendly’ is bad. The nativist anti immigrant UKIP type of eurosceptism is the wrong kind.

        • Dame Rita Webb
          Posted September 5, 2017 at 3:18 am | Permalink

          Business friendly usually meaning crony capitalist i.e the variety that uses tax payers money to bail out insolvent banks and then prevents the miscreants from facing up to the consequences of their actions?

    • acorn
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      A common theme on this site is everything or anybody, who is not of the nationalist far right, must be a “socialist”. Hence, in the UK, there is an embedded basic understand that comes from a two party (binary) monopolised FPTP, two centuries out of date, democracy.

      “The FDP’s program is founded on the principle of individual freedom and civil rights. While it has always campaigned for more tax cuts, it opposes leaving the financial markets unbridled. It is also a staunchly pro-European party, and its most recent manifesto calls for deepening ties with the European Union. Preferred coalition partner: CDU.” (Deutsche Welle).

      Free bonus feature. About 1.7% of UK goods imports come from Japan, £8.2 billion worth. UK exports 1.5% of its goods to Japan, £4.9 billion. About one eighth of the total trade the UK does with Germany. Mrs May and the Flying Fox trade minister, will have to clock up a lot more air miles in the next two years. 😉

  17. Peter
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    I am amazed Merkel has not been booted out yet for flooding Germany (and the continent) with illegal immigrants.

    • rose
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      It is amazing. The German people are the most brainwashed in Europe, more even than the Swedes. They think they have to undergo this because of their history. So the rest of us have to suffer too.

      Apart from that, many of them see the SPD and the Greens etc as unspeakable, and therefore go on voting for Frau M.

      • James Matthews
        Posted September 4, 2017 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        “They think they have to undergo this because of their history. So the rest of us have to suffer”. That seems to be about it. The Fuhrer’s revenge. Not just on Germany, but on western Europe.

        • Mitchel
          Posted September 5, 2017 at 9:23 am | Permalink

          Perhaps it’s war guilt ,perhaps it’s cultural Marxist-Leninism imbued from her East German upbringing.Just as Lenin wanted to destroy Russian-ness(but ultimately failed-Stalin was a great Russifier),she gives every impression of wanting to eradicate German-ness.

          Lenin’s “Nationalities”policy is well worth looking up-it’s the origin of modern multiculturalism and the practice of putting minorities above the majority.One of the reasons he has been denounced in recent times,whilst Stalin is being rehabilitated.

  18. agricola
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    If and when she returns to power in Germany she can lean on the EU to adopt a more pragmatic common sense approach to Brexit. Their present stance is flat out up a cul de sac.

    • Andy
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      I doubt it. She is the chief dictator of the present silly approach the EU has adopted. I’ve no time for her at all. And actually I have come to the conculsion that she is a rather stupid woman.

      • Turboterrier.
        Posted September 4, 2017 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        @ Andy

        I have come to the conculsion that she is a rather stupid woman.

        You missed out sad!!

  19. Nerwmania
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    In our sclerotic first past the post system, in which MPs are all too obviously, selected not elected, a large vote for the two main parties is generally an expression of heightened mutual loathing. That is clearly the case now.
    As a seeker of consensus I deplore the angry fractious state of our politics as much as John celebrates it. In Germany, thanks to their modern representation, such an impasse is unlikely.
    Our fossilised elections also have the effect of giving the tiny band of extremists who are members of each immoveable Party, an inordinate share of power.
    Thus it was that 100,000 ancient Conservative members were addressed by Theresa May at conference when she adopted UKIP`s policies. When she asked the country for a mandate she was humiliated despite an unelectable opponent.
    Somehow the rejected policies are still being imposed on us ,(again , in Germany they do things better and this sort of brutal political subjugation is almost impossible )
    Corbyn gives the crucial 4,000,000 Conservative remainers no option which saved May ,but he has rebuilt the Labour Party which, on the ground, His decision to give remain a seat at the table is masterly . The elements are in place for a centrist figure such as Kier Starmer to uncork the pent up loathing fro Blue Kip and I anticipate a landslide revenge election at that point .

    That is the day Mr Redwood will retire

    Reply MRs May led the Conservatives to receive 42.4% of the vote, up by more than 6% on David Cameron’s pro EU and pro referendum vote in 2015. Mr Corbyn boosted Labour’s vote by more compared to the poor showing they had under Mr Miliband. So both did well, with a notable choice for the UK voters. The Lib Dems following your kind of approach to the EU did very badly.

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      JR kebabs Newmania

    • Peter Parsons
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      The Electoral Reform Society have calculated that around 20% of those who voted in the 2017 general election did so tactically (i.e. they voted, but didn’t vote for who they actually wanted elected). They also calculate that 68% of the votes cast (22 million) were wasted (i.e. made no difference to the outcome).

      FPTP has delivered hung parliaments in 2 out of the last 3 elections (something it is, apparently, designed to avoid). It has seen parties suffer a significant decline in MPs despite increasing their share of vote (and vice versa) across the whole politicial spectrum, so clearly does not deliver an outcome which is reflective of the wishes of the electorate.

      The time for proper representative democracy in the UK, where all of us have a vote that is worth using, is long overdue.

    • NickC
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      Neither the Tories, nor Labour, and especially not the LibDems, won the recent general election. There was no outright winner, and no party anywhere near 50%, never mind 52%. So the only mandate any party has at the moment is to implement the Referendum leave vote.

      We either remain in the EU or we are out of it. It is a binary choice. No compromise is possible by definition. Remaining partly in the EU isn’t leaving. Not leaving the EU means you want Leave voters to experience the same “brutal political subjugation” that you complain about. Why should the experience of the 48% be more important than the experience of the 52% in your view?

    • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      @Nerwmania: It’s good to read some criticism on the FPTP system, resulting in parliaments which are no good reflection of the popular vote.
      A large proportion of “safe seats” only makes the system worse (not to mention unelected chambers). The German system at least leads to more consensual policies.

      • Edward2
        Posted September 4, 2017 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        They are only safe in as much the voters in a particular constituency vote for one particular party regularly.
        If voters voted differently the result would be different.
        Presumably they are content with their current choice.
        However, there are many examples of safe seats changing into non safe seats as the demographics alter.
        In PR systems I see minor parties with just a few seats, and sometimes holding extreme fringe views, holding disproportionate power.
        Or voters finding policies in the manifestos of parties they voted for being dropped in the post election trading.
        PR is not a perfect system either.

        • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
          Posted September 5, 2017 at 7:53 am | Permalink

          @Edward2: How about the system in Scotland, doesn’t that avoid some of the issues you raise?

      • ian wragg
        Posted September 4, 2017 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

        It makes no difference in Holland which system is used, the politicians just ignore democratic votes and does as Murky says.

        • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
          Posted September 5, 2017 at 7:56 am | Permalink

          @ian wragg: You mean the Netherlands? Holland only has two provincial administrations 🙂

      • Kenneth
        Posted September 4, 2017 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        Yes, Mrs Merkel and Mr Schultz agreed on nearly everything.

        Is that what you want?

        • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
          Posted September 5, 2017 at 8:03 am | Permalink

          To have only shades of differences on major issues is indeed preferable to me. It tends to raise the level of the debate (NB I haven’t yet watched their debate!)

      • formula57
        Posted September 4, 2017 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

        Although we should recall that the German constitution provides for two votes each election where:-

        1. in the first vote half of the Bundestag members (299) are elected by a first past the post system; and

        2. in the second, contemporaneous, vote candidates for the other half win their places depending upon the proportion of votes then cast for their party (a party list system, meaning voters cannot reject individual candidates).

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted September 4, 2017 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

        In 2011 almost 68% of those voting in the referendum chose to remain with FPTP. Is that consensual enough or are you going to tell me it was only advisory ?

        • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
          Posted September 5, 2017 at 8:07 am | Permalink

          @Roy Grainger: I agree, the AV system was rejected. I didn’t quite understand why PR wasn’t offered.

      • Anonymous
        Posted September 5, 2017 at 6:15 am | Permalink

        Yup. Thought you and Newmania would get along, PvL.

        (In company with Blair, Mandelson, Campbell…)

  20. Kenneth
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    The Conservatives may be seen as the least worst with the economy but let’s not get carried away.

    An economy that takes up to 50% of our money in taxes is a socialist government.

    Surely there is something very wrong when the state sector uses that money to employ so many people that we have to start importing extra people

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      Takes (nearly) 50% of GDP and wastes about 30% of pointless dross like HS2 and Hinkley C, uses say 25% to inconvenience and tie up in red tape and absurd tax laws the productive sector, spends perhaps 5% well and uses the other 40% encouraging the feckless to remain so with benefit payments, misdirecting farmers, running the dire NHS, paying for pointless wind, buying votes, PC drivel, bio fuels, the BBC, political propaganda, often corrupt overseas aid, payment to the largely corrupt EU, aircraft carrier (sitting ducks) without aircraft, PC gender pay gap drivel and other such absurdities.

      Have I missed anything much?

  21. Bert Young
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Germany has benefited substantially from the EU and the Euro . If its currency base had remained on the DM , its exports would have suffered and it would not have accumulated its enormous reserves . Its dominance in the EU has been entirely based on its economic strength ; if it had been a truly committed member it would have contributed to the plight of other EU members and not insisted on a common disciplinary pattern for all EU countries .

    On an international basis Germany has not paid a proportionate share in defence costs and has never contributed to foreign aid as we have . On these 2 facts alone it has no right to preach to others about “sharing”. Merkel’s foolish decision to allow uncontrolled immigration has driven a wedge into relations with the Czech Republic , Slovakia , Hungary and Poland . It has shown no respect for the ethnic differences that exist believing that what suits Germany should suit all EU countries in the same way . Overall Germany has cast itself into a position it does not deserve and it is time it was brought to heel .

    • John
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

      Well said. They have yet to wake up to a fair currency union and have my doubts they will ever.

  22. Epikouros
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    The dissemination of falsehoods by the EU, the Europhile media and remainers is appalling in it’s magnitude. Legions of doomsayers and narrative manipulators have been employed to assist in the blocking of Brexit or at least to make it meaningless. This sort of behaviour is wide spread. Used as the refuge of those who are losing the argument or know they have a weak one. Listen to the promoters of any progressive, left wing or climate change cause and demands for more rights and privileges and the same can be observed. Yet it is noticeable that the same cannot be said of classical liberal conservatives or Brexiteers as they do not need to distort the truth to prove their cases. They are self evident.

  23. Terry
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    I wonder what is the 1922 Committee view on the proposed “Divorce Bill”? Do they think that we should not pay anything for leaving or do they believe we actually owe the EU something?
    And will any deal receive Parliamentary assent if it means Britain has to hand over more tax payers money after March 2019 ?
    If the proposed deal is not accepted what would happen after that? No deal and we revert to WTO tariffs?

  24. billR
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    When we leave the EU bloc in March 2019, and if we want nothing more to do with the EU, then clearly we will have nothing more to pay. If on the other hand we want a new deal with them we are going to have to pay one way or the other. So I don’t know what the whinge is about, nor do I understand why we are even discussing Mrs Merkel and German politics, i thought we were well past all of that.

    Reply No, I will remain interested in the actions and words of the main continental countries after we have left, and until we leave they remain of particular interest.

    • getahead
      Posted September 4, 2017 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      Why should we have to pay for a new deal? Why should not the EU pay the UK? The EU runs a trade surplus with us after all.

  25. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    I can’t recall exactly when and where I first read that the EU Commission plan was to split the UK withdrawal negotiations into two phases, with a demand that the UK must agree to pay an exorbitant exit fee before they would even start to address matters of longer term and greater importance, most notably the future arrangements for trade.

    I do remember that my immediate reaction was:

    a) How stupid; surely even they could not be so damn stupid?

    b) And surely this must be the least likely, and the most unreasonable, interpretation of the actual text of Article 50 TEU?

    “… the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union.”

    Still, that’s what the EU insists on doing, and so supposedly nothing can be negotiated in parallel as the UK government sensibly proposed, and even if different groups of people will be involved for different areas of negotiation each group will have to wait for all the preceding groups in the EU’s preferred sequence to finish their bits of work before they can start their own allotted parts of the overall task …

    Personally I think the day is now getting closer when we would be perfectly justified in saying “We’ve had enough of you deliberately* messing us about, do you think we are a bunch of fools, we’ve conscientiously tried to follow the withdrawal procedure laid down in the EU treaties but you’ve persistently obstructed it, so now we are just abrogating the EU treaties and leaving anyway.”

    * There’s a spot on article here today:


    “A leetle reminder of why we’re leaving, courtesy of Monsieur Barnier”

  26. Capt Mannering
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Germany is not geared up for an economic downturn

    • Mitchel
      Posted September 5, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      Who in the West is?!

      • Capt Mannering
        Posted September 5, 2017 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

        We are.
        Austerity is generally agreed that we have been on with austerity for years.
        A downturn and we immediately lose hundreds of thousands of economic migrants. Germany cannot expect her migrants to go away. They are largely asylum seekers. So they will need to pay for them. There is our edge. There is Germany’s demise.

  27. lojolondon
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Yes, John – which is why Merkel and Schultz never mentioned Brexit during the debate – because they are equally complicit. Will they sacrifice the German manufacturing sector to please the EU, or will they ignore the wealth, political and psychological stability of the EU to save German industry and exports? There is no third way!

  28. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    It’s quite amusing that Michel Barnier arrogantly believes he should “educate” us about the EU Single Market and teach us what it will mean to leave it, because five years ago he was inadvertently teaching us just how little value there was in being part of it.

    Here he is as the Commissioner for the Single Market providing the Foreword to a 2012 EU publication entitled “20 years of the European Single Market”:

    The most interesting claims were on page 13, under

    “Main Macroeconomic achievements and impact”:

    The collective GDP of the EU member states in 2008 was 2.13% higher than it would have been if the Single Market had not been launched in 1992.

    Over the same period, the Single Market helped to create 2.77 million new jobs, a 1.3% increase in employment across the EU.

    Interestingly those meagre improvements in GDP and employment corresponded to a very much larger increase in the volume of intra-EU goods trade – in other words, thanks to the Single Market a lot more stuff was being shipped around within the EU, but that had not actually made the inhabitants significantly more prosperous.

    This report did not try to gauge how the average or overall benefit had been distributed across individual EU member states, it was this other source:

    which suggested that for the UK the gain had been below the average, more like 1%.

  29. Roy Grainger
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    My German friends tell me Schulz started the campaign strongly with increasing support but has been badly found out during the campaign and now has no chance at all of doing well. So, unlike France then where they elected someone first and only then found out how ineffective and unsuitable he is.

  30. Tabulazero
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    ” Clearly the German audience wants to hear that the UK will make a larger financial contribution for longer, as Germany will have to pay more once the UK has left as the EU does not seem keen to cut spending.”

    No. Germans being Germans, they do not like too much the idea of Brexit Britain free ridding on the Single-Market as per the latest proposals from the current U.K. government. That is verbotten.

  31. Richard W
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    “Clearly the German audience wants to hear that the UK will make a larger financial contribution for longer”
    In yesterday’s 90-minute TV debate with Merkel and Schulz, there was not a single mention of Brexit. It’s not an issue the German public cares about a lot at the moment.

  32. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 4, 2017 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    “Conservative MEP is ‘ashamed to be British’ and has obtained an Irish passport as a result of Brexit”

    Well, I hope that he has remembered not only to resign his seat but also to relinquish his British citizenship of which he is now so ashamed … Do I have to even ask, “How did somebody like that ever get selected to become a Tory MEP?”

  33. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 5, 2017 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    You say that the anti-EU vote in Germany is small, which is not surprising because they have rigged the single currency and the Single Market to work in their favour.

    But what about the anti-Germany vote in other EU countries? Is that small? Greece, for example, has been demanding damages for the destruction wrought by Germany in WW2. This is caused by resentment over the way the Euro is being managed, and Greece’s wish for debt forgiveness.

  • 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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