Freedom is the prize

The endless and repetitious debate about the consequences of Brexit put out before and after the vote by Remain campaigners is depressingly narrow as well as wrong. They concentrate all the time on alleged short term economic losses. They have been comprehensively wrong with their gloomy short term forecasts for the aftermath of the vote, and are busy revising the timelines for the same old false forecasts. They are unwilling to engage in the much bigger issue of how we can now restore our democracy and reinstitute our freedoms.

Fortunately we do not have to choose between economic loss and freedoms gained, as Brexit can secure economic gain with the right domestic policies. We need to remember just how important our vote and voice used to be, and h0w they can again count for more when we have  cast off EU lawmaking.

The history of England and the United Kingdom that came together in 1485,1603,1707 and 1800 is the history of the long march of every man and every woman to gain voice and vote. As we work to restore the sovereignty of the people and to give powers back to the UK Parliament  and to devolved administrations and Councils we would be wise to remember the struggles to get us our democratic system.

Freedom from the tyranny of a monarch who ignored Parliament was the cause of the Parliamentarians in the civil war. The 1660 settlement entrenched rights and powers for the limited franchise of voters and their MPs to control a wayward King. The 1688 settlement when a new King and Queen were invited to assume the throne added  to these limits on arbitrary power further. The early nineteenth century saw popular pressure to widen the franchise to all men, leading through the Reform Act to later completion of the task. In the early twentieth century the cause of female suffrage took to the political stage and finished the revolution.

These gains were hard fought and should be  valued. The campaigners  were right to dedicate their lives to ensuring all adults had voice and vote, that governments had to heed public opinion and needed the approval of elected representatives who could demand redress of grievance and improved conduct of public policy.

Membership of the European Union reversed part of this process. The country was signed up to a system which meant laws could  be created and taxation raised and spent without the UK public and their directly elected representatives having the final say or even an effective voice. The proponents claimed that the European Parliament met some of the democratic deficit, but in truth a single country block of MEPs was never strong enough to assert the UK public will when this was at  variance with the EU wishes. Nor does the European Parliament have sole or even at times any sway on things that matter.  They claimed that Ministers and the  Prime  Minister represented us at the Councils of the EU,but they were often outvoted or persuaded not to oppose something the UK public did not want.

The UK Parliament became a bystander, watching large volumes of law passing through which Parliament could neither amend nor reject. The voting public became powerless to change any of that law. If they voted out of office one party who had allowed the EU  laws and taxes to pass, they voted into office another party that would do the same and uphold the EU laws and taxes.

When we leave the EU our vote to choose an MP and a governing party will once again have more power and authority. Government will no longer be able to say we have to tax green products and domestic fuel  because the EU demands, or have to organise our fishery in a way which is damaging both local  fishermen and fish. We will take back control. Either the elected government then changes things as we please, or it will be replaced by another government that will.

UK governments will not always  be wise or get things right. What Brexit brings us is the ability to press them to change, or to change them if they refuse. The thing I most want to change as we leave the EU is to nurture this precious flower of freedom.

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  1. Leslie Singleton
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 5:19 am | Permalink

    Dear John–You are so right about the noises going off about the short term. I wrote the below to the Torygraph last week not expecting it to be published but to do my bit to show my disgust, viz
    Heseltine has it precisely the wrong way round: there will be obvious short term difficulties as everything painfully re-equilibrates; but long term the world is our oyster once we escape the tentacles and over-regulation of the protectionist EU racket.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      We also need to escape all the tentacles and over-regulation from the the UK government. Especially under its current, essentially socialist, PC, endlessly interventionist, anti-landlord, anti-gig economy, over taxing and endlessly piss down the drain government.

      This is perhaps the only way to avoid Corbyn’s Venezuela. Interestingly this AM I heard Vince Cable suggesting that HS2 might not go ahead. Let’s hope it does not it is an absurd project.

      Anyone who wants to be bored and depressed today should read May’s dreadfully tedious, misguided and dishonest speech as below. She even make the entirely bogus “44% of our exports and only 8% of the EU’s exports”. It is the volume of trade that matters dear not the relative percentages! How can someone lead the country with a broken compass & such a lack of drive or any positive vision?

    • Bob
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

      A year ago Goldman Sachs forecast sterling would fall from $1.25 to $1.14 in 2017. In fact, it rose to $1.35. Goldman also forecast 10-year gilt yields (cost of government borrowing) would rise from 1.28% to 1.65%. They fell to 1.19% by end-Dec.

      [from Andrew Neil’s Twitter account]

  2. Peter Wood
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    “Freedom from Tyranny’ surely a reason to join a struggle.
    Dr. Redwood, in your first paragraph you correctly identify the, fortunately unbelievable, forecasts of those that sought to manage our vote on Brexit. What is missing is identifying the motivations behind these efforts and those that made, and still make them. There will come a time when that is necessary. I will identify one; he who would happily sell out his nation of birth, in the hope of being enthroned as the first president of the United States of Europe. May he be forever vilified.

    • jerry
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      @Peter Wood; Indeed, but let’s not forget that much selling out happened in the 1980s, and it was the left (not the right) who protested back then, to be shot down in flames by those who saw the then EC and their dream of a single market (as part of the “Four Freedoms”) as not only the UK’s economic but political and social saviour from ruin.

      I have always wondered what position those in the UK who opposed the ERM/Euro would have taken in that debate had all other EU27 currencies were to be pegged to the GBP, & the ECB located in the UK under City of London and Westminster influences rather than that of Frankfurt & the Bundestag.

      Far to much Euroscepticism appears to be simply political fits of peak & foot stamping!

      • NickC
        Posted January 1, 2018 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

        Jerry said: “Far to much Euroscepticism appears to be simply political fits of peak & foot stamping!” That’s odd – so Messrs Heseltine, Adonis, Umunna, Clegg, Osborne, Khan, are all eurosceptics? They will have to join the oh so eurosceptic CBI chief, Paul Drechsler, who told a City of London Corporation party that Brexit is the “most serious issue any country in the world has ever had to face”. Evaahhh!!

        • jerry
          Posted January 1, 2018 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

          @NickC; Well if you must lift my comment out of the context in which it was made, add some equally context devoid quotes from others, then provide a context of your own, to draw a conclusion about something I did not say….

          You should write Minsters ‘come-backs’ when at the Dispatch Box, having been asked a ‘difficult question’ – perhaps you do!

          • NickC
            Posted January 2, 2018 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, No, your comment was in a separate paragraph, without caveats, and I quoted it in full. None of your other questionable statements ameliorates your peculiar view that Leaves are having “fits of political peak” [pique]. The reverse is the case. It is easy to see Adonis’ ranty letter, or Remains shrieking their project fear, on the internet.

          • jerry
            Posted January 2, 2018 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

            NickC; “No, your comment was in a separate paragraph”

            It’s called punctuation!……………..

          • NickC
            Posted January 3, 2018 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, No, a paragraph is not normally understood as punctuation. A paragraph is a “distinct section of a piece of writing, usually dealing with a single theme” (Oxford Dictionaries). You wrote your claim in one paragraph and I quoted it in full.

            Plainly, it is not Leaves who have had “political fits of pique” as you claim, but Remains. You have been caught out inverting reality. Even the first two paragraphs of your peculiar version of history provide no caveats to your subsequent extraordinarily silly claim.

          • jerry
            Posted January 3, 2018 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

            @NickC, Oh stop talking utter nonsense, whole books have been written on just a single issue or subject, they are not just one paragraph 100 plus pages long with goodness knows how many sentences in just one paragraph! Your suggestion fits better for a Chapter description, not paragraph.

            As for your second paragraph, anyone who is willing to consult unbiased political history, how ever shallow, would not be able to deign the fact that the Tory party was pro EEC/EU in the 1970s & 1980s, heck the leader even campaigned to remain in the EEC in 1975, and then suggested how the EEC could create a “Single Market, you would not do those things if you detested it. By contrast the Labour manifesto of 1983 pledged to leave – to suggest otherwise, NickC, is laughable. Even our host has had to admit in the past that Mrs T was pro the EEC but changed her opinion in the late 1980s.

            We will continue to play a responsible leading role in the development of the Community, while safeguarding our essential national interests.

            That is a quote from the 1987 Conservative Manifesto, pledging to play a full role in what the EEC was by then and what it intended to become during the Delors Commission (the Four Freedoms, that eurosceptics now detest), by contrast even in 1987 the Labour party was still somewhat frosty towards the EEC, only fully embracing it after Jacques Delors pledged to uphold the rights of Trade Unions in a speech at the 1988 TUC conference.

    • hans chr iversen
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      Petr Wood,

      Extremism does not help anybody nor your arguments.

      • NickC
        Posted January 1, 2018 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

        Hans, Well, it certainly isn’t helping yours. Having tried resurrecting the Roman Empire by war in the past, the EU is the attempt at the same goal except by technocrat and centrally imposed bureaucracy. Your support for such an extreme ideology tells me more about you than your comment does about Peter Wood.

        • hans chr iversen
          Posted January 1, 2018 at 10:07 pm | Permalink


          I am sorry but I am not prepared to continue a conversation at this level

          • NickC
            Posted January 2, 2018 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

            Hans, Don’t be sorry: the EU is rotten to the core; and the truth hurts. If you cannot see the animus to recreate the Roman Empire by stealth and bureaucracy in the EU then you really need to face reality.

          • jerry
            Posted January 3, 2018 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

            NickC, Don’t be sorry: the hard right is rotten to the core; and the truth hurts. Ho-hum…

            Now, care to tell us when and were the EU “tried resurrecting the Roman Empire by war in the past”, if you’re thinking of the Balkans (Yugoslav Wars of the early 1990s), sorry but that conflict was caused by events in the first half of the 20th Century and then the fall of Communism that had kept a lid on ‘unfinished bushiness’ – nothing what so ever to do with the EU, other than the peace since…

            The words “History” and “Facts” do not seem to registrar with you, are you a UKIP PPC by any chance?!

      • Non-moaner
        Posted January 1, 2018 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

        Extremism? Calling arguments different from your own extremism is not an argument. Just a moan.

        • hans chr iversen
          Posted January 1, 2018 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

          Very happy to call it a moan as long as I do not need to ahve a conversation at that level, thank you

    • Timaction
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      He was not alone but joined by the majority of the legacy parties in Westminster who sold us out for their dream of a United States of Europe by lies, deceit and stealthy Treaty change over several decades. Have we heard one word of apology? No. Our voting system needs to change from fptp, so every vote counts. Our democracy deserves better, it can’t be left to those who sold us out in the first place (Messrs Heath et al)

  3. David Cockburn
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    Happy New Year, JR.
    Freedom is what’s all about, so a ‘damage limitation Brexit’ which precludes opportunities would be the worst of both worlds.

  4. eeyore
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Hear hear. With the exception of your reference to the Royal Martyr, murdered for defending the rule of law and the liberties of his subjects, I agree with every word.

    In the 1640s a left-wing, dogmatical, puritanical London sought unlawful domination by armed rebellion. It overturned the Constitution and destroyed the economy. All who opposed it were ruined. Plus ca change. Will it do so again after 2022?

    A very happy New Year to you Mr Redwood, to your great cause and to all who believe in it.

    • jerry
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      @eeyore; There will be one big different between the 1640a and the 2020s, one was Tyranny, the other (if it happens) will be the elected and thus democratic will of the people!

    • zorro
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      Are we talking of Oliver Corbyn or Jeremy Cromwell?


    • James Snell
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      Where you have subjects you have no freedom..England and the English people will never be free unless they overthrow the class system and become a Republic.

      • NickC
        Posted January 2, 2018 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

        James, When socialists give up their wealth and their excessive pay, reducing their income to the average, I will believe you. Until then , don’t bother.

  5. Peter D Gardner
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Membership of the EU was an anomaly in the trajectory of English and British history. It took centuries to ensure freedom of the individual from state oppression. Only when that principle was enshrined in the constitution and the law of the land could democracy flourish. Most people have cause and effect back to front. They think democracy leads to freedom. No, freedom that is your birthright by the law of the land underwrites democracy. Many countries have votes. They do not gain freedom for the voter.
    EU governance is based on the principles of technocracy and the supremacy of the state. People have freedoms only as allowed by the state, which alone is qualified to make such decisions. People like Lord Adonis.
    On that basis, consideration of economic issues related to Brexit is really of minor importance. We should be looking 20 or even 50 years ahead. The world has yet to produce a superior entity to the self-governing democratic nation state. The EU is not and cannot be because it has no demos and because it is founded on technocracy.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      Hopefully your first sentence is spot on. It will have been a long anomaly, so long that for many younger people it has come to resemble normality, but nonetheless it has just been a passing anomaly. I don’t think the British people as a mass ever really fitted into the EU’s proto- or quasi- federal system of government, but they were told by the elites that membership of the EEC/EC/EU was economically indispensable – a brazen lie which is still being propagated now, and which the government has not yet started to vigorously rebut even though officially it has reversed its previous policy. I suppose it may be too difficult for many of those involved to switch around from the false story they’ve been telling us for decades to the opposite, truthful, story, which is that overall the economic effects of the UK’s membership of the EU have been pretty marginal one way or the other.

  6. Martyn G
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Congratulations John. This is by far the best summary of the reasons for leaving the EU that I have seen to date and ought to be shouted from the rooftops. No doubt the BBC, with its seemingly fixed view that the ‘EU is good, those who think not are bad, mad and deluded’ would not dream of giving your cogent blog any air time, it being so contrary to their opinion.
    Happy New Year to thee and thine……

    • Raymond
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      I concur. Happy New Year.

    • alan jutson
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      Martyn G


      Such a huge opportunity to move us forward as a Country,.

      I simply do not understand why so many Mp’s are fighting against gaining more power and influence for themselves, surely that is why they stood for election in the first place, or are they frightened of responsibility because they know they are not up to the job.

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    “When, (you are perhaps rather optimistic here given the make up of the Lords and Commons) we leave the EU our vote to choose an MP and a governing party will once again have more power and authority. Indeed hopefully it will also attract a better quality of MPs once they do restore real power to Westminster.

    But there are also significant powers that unelected judges are stealing away for government by endlessly rewriting/extending laws. This with some totally absurd readings and extensions of vague statutes (like the Human Rights Act.). Generating a massive and “essentially parasitic” litigation industry and compensation culture in very many areas.
    Yet another damaging tax and massive inconvenience loaded on the productive and tax payers.

    “UK governments will not always be wise or get things right”. That is certainly an understatement. Are many MPs & Lords even trying to “get things right” for people’s genuine interest interests? Are many just feathering their nests, filling in their expenses claims, using their subsidised bars and restaurants & collecting the daily tax free allowances, acting in the interest of their paid “consultancies” or trying to buy votes with tax funded propaganda or fighting to retain absurdly unfair constituency boundaries.

    Indeed they seem to want to build HS2, Hinkely C, are obsessed with an “imagined” gender pay gap due to “discrimination”, attack the gig economy and want to regulate everything to death. They also seem to like seeing pensioners to freeze, with their absurdly expensive and impractical energy policy presumably for some misguided sadistic or religious reason.

  8. agricola
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Our freedoms should extend to the point where they do not infringe on other peoples freedoms. To maintain this equilibrium we have the law which ultimately should come from the people via their representatives in Parliament.

    One thing is clear, the long march to democracy is not over, and will have to be fought for because those who have power will not relinquish it willingly. If there is one thing the referendum taught us, it is that the power we hand to Parliament is too freely given. Five yearly elections are an insufficient brake on those who would wield power. In future referendums should be a more frequent norm so that those who represent us know what is expected of them on our behalf. The lesson is that government and Parliament cannot be trusted with absolute power.

    Returning power from the EU puts the onus on the people, their chosen representatives and government to take full responsibility for the governance of the UK. A principal that conservatism should advocate right back to the individual, with state support only where it is really needed. Time for some original thinking and New Year resolution.

  9. Des
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    First of all Happy New year and I wish you well with the strength to carry on this next and important year. I thank you for representing my views which, after all, is what this is all about.
    Your latest analysis and description of the issue is the clearest I have yet heard and for me captures the essence of what this is about.
    As I recall we joined the EEC explicitly for trade not political union – although for many that was an obvious and furtively held end point. We here know the rules had changed but it has required great courage to resist.
    I am sure that one day, the 2019 date and your name too will be added to that historic list of England’s key dates and great Parliamentarians.
    Thank you.

  10. Mark B
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Good morning, and Happy New Year to our kind host and all my fellow contributors.

    . . . . restore our democracy and reinstitute our freedoms.

    I am therefore to take it that we do not indeed live in a free, fair, just and democratic society ?

    An admission if ever there was one.

    We are not leaving the EU, not under the current so called terms. We are being set up for, Soft Remain. The UK sees no need to be at the EU parliament, as our kind host points out. It is a worthless talking shop design to give it a thin veneer of democratic oversight. All the power is with both the Commission and the Council of Ministers. The UK will still be present at the Ministers meetings but will not have a vote. Whilst in the EU / Transition (sic) Period the EU could change the treaties to suit themselves and make life for the UK very, very difficult. It is far better to have a clean break and negotiate anything from a position of strength.

    I watched on YouTube last night the first of a 4 part series on Black Wednesday. The EU for the UK has been described as a, Poisoned Chalice and that is exactly what it is and, the title of the documentary. I strongly recommended that as many people watch it as one will be most surprised as the similarities to how governments of the past have behaved with regards to the EU and their behaviour to us. 😉

    • Richard Evans
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      I am in TOTAL agreement with your fist paragraph that we, the people are being set up. I keep stating that MAY is going to sell the UK “down the river” regardless. If the recent speculation in the MSM relative to her New Year cabinet reshuffle are true then the BREXIT team will be even weaker as MAY wants to have TOTAL control. The whole cabinet will be full of career politicians.

      I n 1973 the UK joined the European Economic Community, etc ed

      • Peter D Gardner
        Posted January 1, 2018 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

        The extraordinary thing is that the agreement is in writing and has been published. What Mrs May and her supporters say it means simply does not square with reading it as plain English. Like the Lisbon Treaty, this ‘set-up’ depends on people not reading the published documents. The EU referendum debate was characterised by people either not reading or just ignoring what has been published, eg. Article 50 itself, the Five Presidents’ report on completing economic and monetary union, trade deals, EU armed forces, Juncker’s five year plan. All freely available.
        Mrs May’s aim is a deep, comprehensive and special partnership with the EU. How that will differ from membership will be very hard to discern and begs the question, if that is what she wants how is she going to explain the difference to her colleagues in Brussels? I sympathise with them. No wonder her negotiating position is difficult to understand.
        So far, all she has achieved in continuing membership in all but name without British representation on any EU institution after March 2019. Presumably this is the starting point for the next round of negotiations. No doubt a clear aim will emerge of achieving British representation. It would only be fair after all.

    • Timaction
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      An very good documentary series. I’ve watched 3 of 4 and find the behaviour of the political class astounding in their lack of judgement and foresight.
      We can only guess what is going on now behind the scenes with the collusion and dishonesty. We really do deserve better with absolute transparency from a political class who need to regain respect and belief from the electorate.

  11. Iain Moore
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Happy New Year.

    I agree that with Brexit we will know where the buck stops , which should improve the standing of politicians in our national discourse , stopping the ducking a diving we saw over Tata steel and energy prices, where we never did find out the source of the legislation that determined their high energy costs. In this it is important that our Government doesn’t go signing up to more treaties that binds the hands of future Governments. We don’t want to find that having liberated our selves from the EU, only to find ourselves locked into other arrangements.

    The democratic theme has been dealt with, here the talking heads of the MSM have dismissed it as populism.

    In regards to the restoration of Parliamentary democracy, there is one further issue to be confronted, the issue of A listers, which has resulted in the representation of the political establishments interests , not the electorates, as seen by the lack of MP representation over Brexit, which is at odds with how people voted in the referendum.

  12. rick hamilton
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Many of the Remainers that I have talked to have a very poor grasp of our country’s history and many were children, or not even born, at the time of the 1975 referendum. Very few of them even understand the structure of the EU (and the way in which it mirrors that of the USSR). No wonder they think of the EU as a benign institution whose citizens can skip happily from country to country without let or hindrance. Sadly few of them speak the languages necessary to work effectively over there and they have no idea that there is still control and paperwork, for tax purposes if nothing else.

    I expect them (especially the BBC and the other usual suspects) to transform themselves into Rejoiners after Brexit, endlessly yearning for the impossible utopia which they believe to exist beyond Calais and blaming every setback on Leavers.

    There is a fashion for judging history by today’s standards and demanding apologies from those who had nothing to do with the evils of centuries ago. Is it not time for the two major political parties to apologise to the British electorate for misleading them about the EU and attempting to rob them of their democratic rights, decade after decade, treaty after treaty?

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      Dear Rick–I don’t have much time for “today’s standards” on anything at all and it’s not nuclear physics to understand that, especially intentional, diversity, a la Labour Party, and respect for a country’s history do not go hand in hand. Imagine trying to teach our history today–Ye Gods! Everything to do with anything relating to the Empire for example is vilified when all we did was win in accordance simply with the way it was and had been since the beginning of history. Till a relatively short time ago colonisation was the norm. Think Garibaldi overrunning Sicily: does anybody sneer at that? We were just too good at it and if it hadn’t been us it would have been the French or the Dutch or worse. If the remainiacs had their way (Think Ukraine) colonisation would be fine so long as it was the EU doing it.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted January 1, 2018 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        Postscript–And more Ye Gods!, having just read Nigel Farage’s piece in the Torygraph, how indeed can it POSSIBLY be true–It is totally BONKERS–that the Liberals have an “astonishing and quite ludicrous 100 members in the Upper House” — In case of doubt, “quite” here means “totally” not its modern floppy usage of “fairly”–And to think we are supposed to be proud of our system of government–What a joke–Beyond parody.

      • rick hamilton
        Posted January 1, 2018 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

        How the inhabitants of a small group of damp islands off the shores of Europe came to control 25% of the world’s population, and then transformed it into a voluntary organisation of more than 50 countries called the Commonwealth, should be one of the greatest stories ever told. Naturally the Left don’t want our children to know about our historic successes, or our discoveries and inventions. Only our failures and defeats matter to them. What a contemptible rabble they are.

      • rick hamilton
        Posted January 1, 2018 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

        Leslie – Indeed, the Liberals seem to be rewarded endlessly for failure, and UKIP punished for their achievement. Brexit has shone a bright light on the political class and millions of voters are now paying closer attention to their trickery. The next GE will be very interesting.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 1:55 pm | Permalink


      – People in business are very practical and the business community is overwhelming in support of the EU.
      – The EU has also helped build up prosperity in Europe as a whole, helping to provide peace and security (wrapped up with prosperity), since WW2, as well as providing the UK with more trading partners closer to home, i.e. Ireland.

      And, of course, EU far from perfect. It needs to be challenged constantly, but not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

      – And talking about ‘freedom’, for most people, above all the young who largely voted remain, ‘freedom’ is about being able to buy a house, pay off your mortgage, have enough money to start a family, having a job you like, a neighbourhood you like living in, freedom from crime, money saved up in the bank for emergencies and medical care and pension, freedom to go on holiday and to easily buy a house somewhere sunny in Europe, and so on.

      Leaving the EU would make all this worse for next 10 to 20 years, and there is no guarantee that leaving the EU would make Europe safer, in the long run, thus making the UK more vulnerable to conflicts on our continent on a small or large scale.

      We’ve had the referendum, one of the most shoddy bits of governance in the long history of our nation (i mean there was no clear indication what we were voting for, no strong leadership to implement Brexit, no clear strategy, and when our country is vulnerable, economically). We must leave the EU, and we must TRY and get restrictions on borders (that’s what most people seem to have voted for). But people didn’t vote for our economy to go into decline for years (and already, our economy is 1% smaller than it would have been if we’d still been in the EU.

    • Anonymous
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      Such as Newmania weight the young Remainers as ‘educated’ therefore knowing better.

      Many went to universities that should not be called universities and have degrees that should not be called degrees in soft arts and sports.

  13. Dioclese
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Well said John. A Happy New Year to you.

    I was appalled this morning at the continuing Remain bias of the BBC as they reported that 4/10 people polled thought that Brexit would effect their personal finances in 2018.

    This of course means that 6/10 people think it won’t. More BBC anti-Brexit propaganda.

    • Anonymous
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      75% of the electorate did not vote to Remain in the EU.

      Hardly a ringing endorsement for it.

      • Dioclese
        Posted January 2, 2018 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

        Your 75% includes the ones who didn’t vote at all so not a true figure. This is a typical manipulation of remainers.

        Presumably the ones who didn’t vote at all couldn’t decide one way or the other or simply didn’t care and were happy either way, so you need to adjust your figure to include the non voters 50/50 to each side in which case it still comes out at 52/48.

        And while we’re at at it – sorry John slightly off topic – we should remind the students that tuition fees were brought in by Labour not the Tories. That’s another inconvenient fact they chose to ignore while soaking up Project Fear and picking the sacred fruit of Mr Corbyn’s magical money tree…

    • Tom
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      Sure it will affect their finances, but mainly to their benefit.

  14. am
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Hopefully the issue of freedom becomes a key negotiating principle in the months ahead. And we do not end free in name only as negotiators month by month cave in to eu demands.

  15. Old Albion
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Perhaps you would send a copy of your piece to the Prime Minister, as she seems a little confused.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

      Dear Albion–I say throw her out–She has proven appallingly bad judgement, the latest manifestation being that loser Clegg

  16. formula57
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Very well said. Just the sort of New Year message the whole country should have heard from No. 10.

  17. Epikouros
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    As you say parliament got rid of the absolutism of monarchs and steadily ever since the march to democracy progressively made impressive gains. However absolutism has never been completely eradicated and is in fact on the rise and the march to democracy far from reaching its ultimate goal “government of the people by the people for the people” has stalled and is now in retreat. The reason being we put too much of our trust in politicians.

    They were the ones who wrestled power from the monarchs but then found they liked it so much being human decided to keep it for themselves. Certainly they passed on some of it to the rest of us but only enough to keep us from demanding more. At the same time devising ways to accumulate more by bribery, fooling us into believing they were indispensable and recruiting supporters by giving them special privileges by inventing cronyism.

    The EU was a massive step forward for them to capture even more power and now we have voted to leave the EU they do not like it one bit. It can be noted that those who are most vociferous, aggressive and devious in defence of the EU are politicians, their cronies like big business and other vested interests and those who have fallen for the falsehoods that they have been fed by the power hungry establishment. We have reached a point in our democracy whereby we find getting rid of tyrants is relatively easy but getting rid of tyranny is not easy at all. The EU is making the latter impossible.

  18. Norman
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    “The thing I most want to change as we leave the EU is to nurture this precious flower of freedom.” Here, here, John!
    “UK governments will not always get things right.” Always good to hear that from an MP. It is thee best assurance that although parliament will grapple to do the right thing, it will always be sincere and benign in its efforts, with due humility – virtues which are noticeably lacking in some parts of the world.
    “What Brexit brings us is the ability to press them to change, or to change them if they refuse.” Its good to acknowledge that democracy brings responsibility to everyone, and we also do not always get it right. But to have the chance to flourish through our best endeavours, or to learn by our mistakes, is a precious gift indeed: may we find the grace to live up to it!

  19. Caterpillar
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the powerful summary. It should make the case for a clean Brexit transparent to the remaining Remainers and the Soft Leavers.

    (To make votes matter even more when not living in a marginal constituency might I again suggest two vote MMP, abolishing the Lords and a reconsideration of an English parliament. If the democratic argument is to be used w.r.t. EU it ought to be completed.)

    • Norman
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      The Lords are getting a bad press these days, probably because of the effects of cronyism, but at its best, the institution is a great counterweight of ‘advisory’ wisdom. From recent dealings, I’ve come to realize that there are many great things being done by hard-working peers that most of us never hear anything about.
      I also think we should jealously guard the integrity of the United Kingdom!

      • Caterpillar
        Posted January 2, 2018 at 12:21 am | Permalink


        Yes, “at its best”, but not at its most frequent. The implication is the best is known, thus we need an alternative route to reliably produce this, an alternative system to the HoL must be viable.

        I agree guarding the integrity of the UK, but this requires equity (if not equality of treatment).

  20. Duncan
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    All worthy sentiments and I applaud them and indeed the author for whom I have the greatest respect but I fear this great nation’s sovereignty, independence and the people’s will be sacrificed on the altar of political expediency

    We have a PM who is weak and susceptible to pressure from pro-EU actors (EU, UK civil service, Labour, CBI, BBC). She’s a politician without principles and convictions. Therefore she will renege at some point and our dream of absolute independence will be crushed

    Such an event will herald the rise of UKIP once more, of that I have no doubt. Brexit voters in the north, betrayed by politicians with zero dignity and respect for democracy, will seek to punish those parties who have tried to dismiss their vote and indeed their voice

    Voters from both sides entered into this ‘referendum agreement’ in good faith and in the secure knowledge that the result would be respected and adhered too. This has been shown to be a sham. Indeed, it is a betrayal of the worst kind. It is the betrayal of an elite who believes it can treat ‘the people’ with absolute and total contempt bordering on hatred

    If the British people had a revolutionary soul then this elite wouldn’t dare to treat our vote in such a manner. I believe this elite see the UK public as compliant, idiotic and far too easily manipulated.

    You know the problem as I see it? The Brexit voter is deferential. They’d think differently with 2-3m people descending on London in a march of rage against political treachery

    We can only hope that decent politicians impose maximum pressure upon this appalling PM to do the decent thing and get us out of the EU and return this nation to an equal footing with the likes of the USA, China, Russia, NZ, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, Jamaica, Cuba, Tonga, Fiji, Georgia, Israel, Syria, Iran, Paraguay etc etc etc……

    Good fortune in 2018 and fingers crossed by this time next year this PM will be a distant memory and we can return my party to its natural state

  21. BOF
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Happy New Year John and great to see that we do have MP’s that know and understand British history.

    I also think it of the utmost importance that the UK retains its legal system and that system does not become subordinate to ECJ which is based on Roman and Napoleonic system.

  22. hefner
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    1918, 1928: two steps in granting the vote to women?

  23. hans chr iversen
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    let me quote John from the first paragraph as I think it is well written:

    “The endless and repetitious debate about the consequences of Brexit before and after the vote by Brexiteer campaigners is depressingly narrow as well as wrong”

    • libertarian
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 2:59 pm | Permalink


      Typical remain type post

      An outright lie, and fake….

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted January 1, 2018 at 5:09 pm | Permalink


        thank you for the compliment, I am not a remainer (as I cannot vote.) but I am a strong European,

        • NickC
          Posted January 1, 2018 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

          Hans, I am a strong European too. That’s why I loathe the corrupt EU which betrays everything that’s best in Europe.

          • A Briton
            Posted January 3, 2018 at 7:56 am | Permalink

            Hans Christian, NickC, Edward2: I’m not any kind of European – I’m a British Subject, loyal to my Country and my Sovereign, DETERMINED to recover our National Sovereignty, reclaiming the right to make our own laws and to trade with whomever we like without ‘Let or Hindrance’ from or by a Foreign Parliament of 27 Nations. ‘One size fits all’ may be your way forward Hans Christian as a strong (staunch?) European and ‘lost soul’ and that’s why we are different and we will never be reconciled in this matter which is why ‘you go your way we go ours’. Not that I’m in the slightest bit interested – What puzzles me is why you are even here? No jobs over there Buddy Blue?

        • Edward2
          Posted January 1, 2018 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

          I’m a strong European too.
          It’s the EU I don’t like.

        • libertarian
          Posted January 1, 2018 at 7:59 pm | Permalink


          You think being called out for lying is a compliment? Blimey .

          Oh and we are ALL European, theres 51 countries in Europe, only 27 of which are currently in the EU

        • Starlet
          Posted January 2, 2018 at 1:16 am | Permalink

          “…a strong European…” Don’t you thing that the British have much more in common with America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand than countries in Europe, pleasant though they are?
          We have been to war with…am I right..with every country in Europe?
          We did have a war with what now are Americans but that was before they were in an independent country and most of them regret winning as you can imagine and are very sorry about creating such an unnecessary fuss, which drove them off a cliff edge.

          • Rien Huizer
            Posted January 3, 2018 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

            Having lived in the US and Australia and very familiar with Canad a and NZ, I can assure you that the only thing the UK has in common with those countries is a language.

  24. MikeW
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Yes, the Irish know all about the fight for freedom, having spend centuries trying to throw out the English kings and english 1922 we largely succeeded but with only a little way to go now. 1649 brought us Oliver Cromwell with the murder and slaughter of tens of thousands..1689..brought us william of orange and more murder and 1798 tens of thousands were killed,.1800 the act of union brought about by bribary and corruption..subterfudge jf the worst kind and so on. Even though we were part of the UK in 1845 to 1851 millions perished through famine and millions more we Irish know all about the fight for freedom..but you english should be aware freedom always comes with a price that i am not sure everyone will be willing to lose access like you currently have to the biggest economic blic on the planet and become a third country is a big price indeed- Up to you

    • John C.
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      Your last three words are your truest.

  25. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    First rid ourselves of the EU, then we must rd ourselves of the current ruling class which governs for itself and its ilk.

    Even the momentum driven Labour party pitches high taxes above the level an MP earns and so acts for itself.

    The simplest way to rid ourselves of government interference in our lives would be to make public services chargeable, and to make benefits covered by insurance (National Insurance perhaps).

    If government can not justify levying taxes it can not then make a case for spending our money to get re-elected.

  26. Cynic
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately it was Parliament that gave away our freedoms, far from being a safeguard, it colluded in selling us down the river. Who guards us from the guardians?

  27. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    A man who casually dismisses what is still the founding constitutional document for our national parliamentary democracy as merely “some law dating from 1689”:

    should have no hand in the government of our country and certainly deserves no public honour – I for one will never call him “Sir” Nick Clegg, any more than I will refer to “Sir” John Major – and arguably it should be for a court to decide whether he should lose his citizenship or just have his electoral rights suspended for a period or what.

  28. Bert Young
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Well said . When we “leave” we must LEAVE . I have no faith in any transitional period – especially if such a period includes the continuation of EU law over-riding ours . A representational democracy must be just that ; the voice of the people through a proportionate system of representation is the very heart of it .

    The divergent character of the countries in the EU make it impossible for any system of centralised government to work ; populisim has been the result and its symptoms are out there in abundance . No matter what the EU does now in an effort to maintain a degree of central control will fail ; the power lies in the hands of its individual countries each with its many differences and priorities . How long will it last ? – well , I would give it 2 years at the most ; forecasters are more wrong than right so I am mindful of making such a judgement .

    I am now in my 90th year and I would like to go on receiving Johns’ blogs for some time . His efforts are a demonstration of his public service and wide intelligence ; long may he continue to serve .

  29. Edward2
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    A wonderful article to start the new year.
    Most I spoke to who wanted to leave the EU prior to the referendum spoke about freedom and independence.
    Nothing is more important.

  30. Peter
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Wise words.

    However, I still worry about the numbers in parliament. I fear Brexit in Name Only.

    Mrs. May seems to be getting too comfortable in power and I am afraid I do not trust her to act in good faith on behalf of those of us who voted leave. It seems to be all about consolidating power for her.

    • nigel seymour
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      Agree and disagree – I think you will find Farage coined the phrase ‘Brexit in name only’ so you may ‘respectfully’ be behind the eight ball on this one. I don’t think TM is comfortable at all but answered a few questions after her Florence speech of which some I was comfortable with and some not…

      • Peter
        Posted January 2, 2018 at 11:20 am | Permalink

        Mrs. May is confident that no challenge is emerging within the Conservative party. She has survived Christmas against the odds. She noe talks about being in it for the long term.

        Of course confident does not describe her dealings with the EU. Quite the opposite.

        I make no claim to have coined the phrase Brexit in Name Only. I still fear it though.

        • rose
          Posted January 2, 2018 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

          If she caves in to the left over rigging the immigration figures, then she will demonstrate beyond doubt that she has no character.

    • NickC
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      Peter, I think you are right. I too think that Mrs May is betraying the Leave voters. It just seems so obvious to me that I wonder how others can still have faith in her government. It is a shame we have a colluding Opposition rather than one to hold the government to account for its betrayal.

    • Eh?
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      3 million foreigners from the EU voting here, staying here, is the only thing achieved so far. Oh and a million British scattered over 27 nation states having their vote there divided by 27 of course. Mr Davis can’t sum up.

      • hefner
        Posted January 1, 2018 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

        Eh! Apart from some Irish citizens, most of the 3 million EU foreigners (obviously not having a UK passport) cannot vote in general elections or referendum. It is only if they have registered with their local councils that they could vote in local elections.

        • rose
          Posted January 2, 2018 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

          I think it is the future settlement, not the present position, which is meant. and I think we will find it is quite a bit more than 3 million.

  31. old salt
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    “Freedom is the Prize” not if those like a leading influential member of the Labour MEP’s have anything to do with it allegedly saying “ILLUSION’ to think UK will get control of waters”.
    With so many opposed to Brexit what hope? Thought the much delayed triggering of Article 50 was the transition period now extended even further so will we have ‘pay and obey’ with no MEP’s after May 2019.

  32. Newmania
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    So John Redwood is claiming to have been on the side of the revolutionary Chartist movement all along? Magnificent!!!
    There had been calls for universal male suffrage from the civil war onwards (Oliver Cromwell was an opponent) but they were resisted by the Conservative faction . After the French Revolution the Conservative Party was entirely convinced of the dangers of the mob. The Duke of Wellington spoke forcefully against even the cautious reforms proposed by the Whigs .Peel later accepted 1832 but the Peelites were unable to stay with the “rump” of the Party and went on to become part of the Liberal Party ( see corn laws et). Universal Male suffrage was called for by the Chartist movement from 1838. The Conservative Party were prepared to use any force necessary to prevent it.
    My own view is that Britain was well governed in the 19th century and that constitutional gradualism was a good thing, but this history has nothing directly to tell us about Brexit. The history of the Conservative Party does. Uniquely in Europe, as mass democracy emerged, the Conservative Party were able to organise a strong grass roots organisation, elsewhere the old ruling classes fell into alliance far right populist, latterly Fascists. That mass Party has now withered to a mere 100,000, less members than the Liberal Democrats
    It is no coincidence in my view that the Conservative Party has finally embraced the far right and been subject to what Lord Adonis called a reverse takeover by UKIP. Many will see echoes of the Peelites in the expulsion of Liberal centrist thinkers form what is now Bluekip.

    • libertarian
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink


      You are so devoid of analytical skills that you fail to realise that the Conservative Party for the most part has been pro EU. Just drivelling about a made up far right….. ha ha what far right…. in so far that there is a far right or alt right in the UK it consists of about 100 or so people . Whereas you and Adonis and your communist friends are all barking mad, harking back to a 20th century set of policies in a 21st century world

      Meanwhile some of us are still real Liberals

    • Edward2
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      The Conservatives have embraced the far right…you claim.
      They are less right wing than any time in their history.
      Your ridiculous attempt at smear fails at the very first hurdle.

    • Anonymous
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      I enjoyed this comment until ‘far right’.

      A) Do you seriously know the meaning of the words ?

      B) If you do, are you trying to criminalise moderate opinion that is widely held ?

      How do we get 75% of politicians voting to Remain and yet only 25% of the population doing so ?

      How do we end up with a win for Brexit ?

      Easy. It’s a backlash against being told that we are extremist.

    • NickC
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      Newmania, Your rant only goes to prove that most people who whine about “far right” don’t understand where the term right wing came from, or what it means. By the original definition Jeremy Corbyn is “far right”.

      • hefner
        Posted January 1, 2018 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

        The original definition refers to a semi circular French Parliament. I cannot see how Corbyn is far-right in the present configuration of the House of Commons. Please develop your argument. Thanks in advance.

        • NickC
          Posted January 2, 2018 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

          Hefner, In very general terms those on the right side of the hall, in which the French (revolutionary) Assembly (various) met, supported the concept of a powerful state; at that time ruled by a King (c1790). Those on the left of the French Assembly wanted a smaller, less intrusive, and less powerful state. In context, that meant abolishing the monarchy, the embodiment of state power.

          Jeremy Corbyn wants to make the state bigger, more powerful, with higher taxes and more spending, having more control over peoples’ daily lives. So under Corbyn we would become more like serfs. Just because the label (or slogan) says “socialism” doesn’t make it any less of a kingdom, with Corbyn as “king”. In the same way Kim Jong-un would be recognised as the King of N Korea.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 2, 2018 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      Fascism is Left Wing not Right. As is National Socialism.

      The Socialists want to to believe that because they want to distance themselves from the horrors of the Holocaust.

  33. Mark
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    I see that Amber Rudd plans to exclude student immigration from the statistics, making them utterly useless, since student immigration was 141,000 in the most recent data – about a quarter of the total recorded immigration. That is completely unacceptable: she should instead be seeking to improve the data on student migration, also ensuring that students do not overstay their visas. By ceasing to monitor the flows of students she is opening up once again a flow of illegal immigration through overstaying, and probably once again a weakening of the criteria for student visas as a back door when other immigration routes are made more difficult.. These were the tactics of the Labour party.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      I hope not. Excluding students is just a manipulation of the figures. With most University courses running for 3 years , means that after 3 years its a zero sum game, with those completing their courses and leaving being replaced by new students arriving. Excluding students is a way to exclude a route of immigration, via students staying over, with Universities, not just selling a degree, but an immigration status here as well, and that is not on.

      • ian wragg
        Posted January 1, 2018 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

        According to Migration Watch, about 50% of students stay on after completing their studies.
        This is the largest chunk of inward immigration and it is why politicians are so keen to have it removed from the statistics.
        I hope MW will continue to publish the numbers who continue to stay here after completing their course.
        The issuance of NI numbers is the gest indicator of immigration.

  34. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Anyway, today is a happy day when I can binge on Jane Austen repeats, and I will do so even though it was a BBC production and even though Colin Firth seems to have gone a bit mad since the referendum:

    As for Jennifer Ehle, well she’s an American anyway so we need have no fear that she will also throw her toys out of the pram and seek refuge in the continuing EU.

    It’s a pity that actors and actresses get so puffed up with their own importance that they can’t keep their (usually wrong) political opinions to themselves.

    Happy New Year, JR, and all others who deserve it.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      It will be amusing if BePpe Grillo’s party gets elected in the forthcoming Italian elections, then ask Colin Firth to express his pride at his new Italian nationality.

    • Newmania
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      I am rather a fan of Jane Austen. One reading of Emma is that it is a story in which a succession of fictions are created and believed by Emma and others before the truth is not so much revealed as realised.
      It is only when the consequences of this fictionalising and play acting become real to Emma ( ie when she realises she might lose Knightley ) that the obvious fact that they must be married is clear to her
      I think this is strong hint that Ms Austen would have ‘preferred’ the sense of remain, to the fantasies of Brexit.

      • sm
        Posted January 1, 2018 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        I look forward to reading your further essays, Newmania:

        Why Little Dorritt would have voted Remain

        Why Jane Eyre believed in the European Union

        Why Becky Sharp understood what Brussels stands for

        and How Nana would have supported the IMF

      • DaveM
        Posted January 1, 2018 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

        She’d have been on the losing side then.

      • John C.
        Posted January 1, 2018 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        Or alternatively, that Emma, long deluded about the virtues of the E.U., at last saw sense and settled for the basic home truths she had long ignored.

      • Anonymous
        Posted January 1, 2018 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

        Pride and prejudice would have seen her vote Leave.

      • NickC
        Posted January 1, 2018 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

        Newmania, If Brexit is a fantasy, it is a fantasy that the majority of the world engages in. Most of the world is not in the EU. It is your fantasy to believe that the UK cannot exist as an independent nation.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted January 1, 2018 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

          Dear Nick–Absolutely right–As I have scribbled elsewhere there may be blood tears and sweat getting there but anybody thinking we are too small, or whatever nonsense they think, to become independent again truly has a screw, possibly many screws, loose

      • Dioclese
        Posted January 2, 2018 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        Much is said of the fantasies or the leavers, but what about the fantasies of the remainers?

        May I remind them that Herr Schultz last year called for a United States of Europe by 2025 – the final realisation of Greater Germania that our father and grandfathers fought and died to prevent.

        People who believe that the UK cannot prevail as an independent nation are deluded and have no understanding of this nation’s great history and place in the world. They should leave now and go live in the EU if this is what they believe…

  35. Linda Jones
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for a very positive and uplifting piece, Dr Redwood. It always strikes me that the die-hard remainers would scupper the chances of the UK’s success if they could, simply to prove themselves correct. And sometimes it seems as if those having the power are trying hard to do so.

    • Iso
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      Leave won, Linda. If things are going badly – and they are, as the UK caves in on every issue – it is not the fault of Remainers. Leavers need to grow up and accept responsibility.

      • Tommy Thumb
        Posted January 2, 2018 at 1:41 am | Permalink

        What our negotiators are doing in addition to failing is avoiding barnstorming. We have 27 national egos with which to contend. Rightfully so. Each nation has its pride, honour, desire and legitimate worthiness. It would not do for us to crow about even the slightest success which may be seen by one or more of them an insult.
        But I sense there is good-feeling amongst many EU-nation states. Even if they would prefer us to stay, they know that our successfully leaving will give them more leverage on a very stubborn and insensitive EU High Command

  36. Prigger
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    One of my fears with this “freedom” is that we are as a nation are too efficient.The NHS gets it into it head that booze is especially bad, so we get laws taxing people in Scotland, prohibition of “drinking in public”, booze having warnings on bottles, pubs going out of business replaced by fast food joints, publicans bankrupted, staff sacked and ruined…ruined, communities with no focal point for gathering and so it goes no in all directions.
    The inefficiency in many countries allows people to breathe. Allows freedom through incompetence and disorganisation. The KGB cameras on streets rarely worked if ever. Not enough staff to process anything. Here all our surveiillance cameras work and we are digitally examined right up to and including our British buttocks!

  37. Rien Huizer
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    “Freedom” as you see it is a choice for being “independent”. It does not mean that the individuals living in Britain will be more free. Just the politicians who pander to nationalistically inclined people will be less constrained by international cooperation) but also less supported by that same cooperation. The British Paradox (title to be copyrighted soon): leaving the EU is an achievement (but may bring very costly economic adjustment and as yet unknown benefits) because it increases sovereignty. Leaving NATO (the equivalent of leaving the EU in military terms) is never considered as something doing the same, in a different area of policymaking.

    I’d rather see the UK in both of course and as an active, supportive member. Why can the British people be proud of a military that is completely integrated in NATO (unfortunately with insufficient standardisation, but that can be changed, the mentality is constructive) and not of a business sector that employs a big part of the population (much bigger than the military) that has become completely integrated in that other structure of international cooperation, the EU. The perfect opposite of Gaullist France.

    • NickC
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

      Rien, Then what purpose does the EU serve except to pander to European nationalism? Indeed individuals in the UK will be more free – as a demos we can democratically elect the Parliament that makes all our laws. Something not possible in the EU.

      NATO is not the military equivalent of the EU. NATO does not make new law; the EU does. The EU is not a limited treaty based arena for trade co-operation between sovereign nations. I think you know this, but you won’t admit it. But we do know it now. So stop peddling fake news, it won’t get you anywhere

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted January 3, 2018 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

        Unfortunately mr Redwood deleted my reply. Some other time perhaps. It is an interesting comparison.

    • rose
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      The whole thing is the opposite of what De Gaulle wanted: Une Europe des Patries.

      The Internal Market is a political project, not an economic one. De Gaulle must be spinning in his grave, and so must Margaret Thatcher, at what is being done in the name of economics: the eradication of the nations, and the subjection of their peoples to a single autocratic power. The destruction of European civilization for future generations.

      • rose
        Posted January 1, 2018 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

        When France wasn’t in NATO we co-operated militarily with her perfectly well, better than with the US in fact. Never any friendly fire either. If Macron has any sense, he will heed the advice of Sir Richard Dearlove, and let us go free so that we can co-operate more constructively in the future.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted January 3, 2018 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

        I believe the Thatcher and Major governments were among the most in favour of the Single Market. Those were not only UK governments but also Conservative ones. And they got what they wanted. What is your complaint?

        • rose
          Posted January 4, 2018 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

          The Internal Market as we know it today was not what Mrs T wanted. Not at all. She wanted free trade between sovereign nations, not a political project to erase the nations and subject their peoples to an autocratic central power.

  38. Prigger
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Our media, without stimulus, have decided to have a mock-debate on Cannabis. A Baroness has been shown who seems to have an advisory role on government in recommending the legalisation of medical use.
    We look forward to her and her committee noting what investigatory steps her eesearchers have done to finding ways of maintaining the alleged medical benefits of the drug yet developing a hybrid version which has its hallucinatory and momentary pleasurable use completely removed. Not that that version would in real terms still be bad for over all health.
    Oddly, one has not heard even a dull vague suggestion that such has ever been contemplated. Why not? It is a relatively easy thing to accomplish for a scientist with average A levels in bio-chemistry.
    For example, by boiling elderberries name but one of several eliminate the poison completely and then may use the resultant substance and liquid for making a fine wine, as is done regularly…and has been done for centuries.
    So let the druggies get real and stop advocating drug abuse on TV. We know what you’re at!

  39. Miss Brandreth-Jones
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Freedom . By this I presume you mean political freedom which underpins democracy but through this many other types of freedom are described . For instance freedom to act in a way to harm others or execute torts which are covered politically by the corrupt is not so precious. Essentially we all have our own ideas of freedom . I see the smokers deliberately smoking and putting two fingers up at me after advising them that smoking is not beneficial to health ( as though I were a tyrant ) and would take away their freedom of health. In other words non of us are totally free, being bound up within the trends of the day and social rules.

    We do though understand the differences between ourselves and some Eastern cultures which in our view are despotic.As we look at our small experiences in the UK many of us old enough will remember the sway of ‘ free love’ .We were in a way let out of our cages sexually and what is more we had the contraceptive pill . S T I’s flourished, marriages broke, our children who were the products of this did not fully understand the meaning of sexual constraint and to re educate them is and has been difficult as children to a great extent, learn by example. Our generation is re thinking as programmes such as Jeremy Kyle try and sort out ethical problems for those who do not grasp social rules . Their type of freedom has caused problems and a’ locked in’ living .They are locked in by ignoring the constraints. Such is the paradox of freedom.

    • mickc
      Posted January 1, 2018 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      Freedom as understood and conceptualised by the Enlightment is the freedom to do whatever you wish provided it causes no direct harm to others. Direct harm means precisely that; it does not include not being offended, or any other PC definition of harm.

      It is not a concept which has ever truly been accepted on the Continent; neither has democracy. The Continental countries have no long history of democracy and are extremely prone to fascism in one guise or another. They simply do not have the mindset to cope with the disorder which democracy often entails.

  40. miami.mode
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    To think, throughout history, how many people have fought and died for the sort of freedom some in the UK would casually toss aside to remain shackled to the EU.

  41. mike fowle
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    A more subtle form of control comes through “charities” and quangos, funded by the EU, i.e. with our money as a net contributor, with the EU’s agenda, superficially reasonable but actually leading to all sorts of undesirable outcomes, but never put plainly to the people.

  42. D Gardener
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    I never voted for “Brexit” and neither a ‘Hard’ nor a ‘Soft’ Brexit configuration.
    I, like 17 millions+ others, voted to LEAVE. For that was the key word on the ballot paper. “Brexit” was not written upon it.
    The Brexits, both Hard and Soft, have been introduced by those bad losers in the Remain group, who are refusing to accept the democratic will of the British citizens, are using them as a get-out-of-the-Referendum-result method of reversing and over riding our decision. That is anti-democracy.
    I say to them, that they cannot call themselves British when they would surrender this country to the profligate Oligarchy based in Brussels where democracy appears to be permanently on the back burner. Why would they want to do such a terrible thing to us? They can now be seen as Fifth Columnists for the EU – collaborating with the ‘enemy’.. What is in it for them?

    I voted to Leave, SOLELY to get OUR country back under the control of the British citizens thus to regain the our democracy. These side issues, like the Economy and that outrageous one-sided European Arrest Warrant et al, were irrelevant to me.
    It does not matter what our Leaving the EU costs because FREEDOM is PRICELESS.
    Millions have made the ultimate sacrifice to win it.
    I know of no other Nations in the rest of world who would commit to such an outlandish arrangement as that of the EU. True to their Marxist principles , they are using our money to retain voting control over us by funding the Eastern States and all those others who are net recipients of EU money. They always vote against us when we challenge our high level of payments. The Turkeys do get to vote against Christmas in Brussels.
    I have absolutely no doubt we will do much better having control of Our Money, Our Borders, Our Governing Laws and our International Trade deals.
    I can remember the days, post war, when when had nothing but we survived without the EU then and went on to become a Global Player again, without the heavy chains of the EU anchoring our growth.
    I cannot wait until March 2018 when Rule Britannia will ride again! As long as our Government does not renegued on OUR decision to Leave without any conditions attached – for they were not on the ballot paper, either. Leave means Leave.

  43. PaulDirac
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Well said.
    Hope that the 1922 committee will not be influenced by the honour list.

  44. Peter Parsons
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    The problem with our “democratic system” is it’s not actually very democractic. Most of us have no stake and no voice as our vote is not worth using. The Electoral Reform Society calculated that, of the 33 million votes cast in the 2017 election, 22 million served absolutely no purpose in determining the result. Brexit won’t change this, only fundamental constitutional reform with a fair and representative voting system will. Most of us will still be as voiceless after Brexit as we are today, and many of the politicians, especially many in the Consersative party, are more than happy to keep it that way.

    • NHSGP
      Posted January 2, 2018 at 12:36 am | Permalink

      Interesting isn’t that John Redwood demands he, as an MP has more power, but not that you or I have any power.

      Reply Not so. I want to restore the sovereignty of the voters!

      • Mark B
        Posted January 2, 2018 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply

        The only way sovereignty will be ‘restored’ as you put it, is to go over to Direct Democracy.

        But that will never happen, especially after what happened in the last referendum.

      • Peter Parsons
        Posted January 2, 2018 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        If you wish to truly restore the sovereignty of the voters, give us Proportional Representation such that Parliament truly reflects our wishes.

    • Edward2
      Posted January 2, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      By that logic we should have election results where one party gets a repeatedly large majority.
      But we don’t, we get different results every time.
      Recently we have had very small majority government and previously a coalition.
      So no vote is truly wasted as it has an effect.
      Perhaps what you mean is you feel your vote was wasted because the final outcome was not what you wanted.
      Bit like me when Blair won three times.

      • Peter Parsons
        Posted January 2, 2018 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        The final outcome did not accurately reflect the preferences of those who did vote. The outcome I want is that it does. i.e. make seats match votes.

        I suggest you read Tim Ross’ book on the 2015 Conservative campaign. If you live in a marginal, the parties will move heaven and earth to win your vote. For the rest of us, we are ignored as we are irrelevant to the outcome.

        • Edward2
          Posted January 2, 2018 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

          In fact had the last two elections been fought under PR the outcome would be little changed.
          Apart from less SNP and LDP
          And more UKIP

          • Peter Parsons
            Posted January 3, 2018 at 9:26 am | Permalink

            Little changed? Really? Not if you look at the figures.

            In 2015 the Conservatives got just a 36.8% vote share yet ended up governing alone. UKIP, the Greens and the LibDems polled nearly 25% of the votes between them and got just 10 MPs out of 650.

            In 2017, surveys have shown that 20% of those who voted did so tactically. Where would those votes have gone if we had a system where those voters felt able to vote for who they actually wanted rather than against who they did not.

          • Edward2
            Posted January 3, 2018 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

            Well now you are into speculating how and why people would vote under the different systems.
            Which is a virtually impossible task.
            Your complaint about the Conservatives winning with a smallish percentage is replicated regularly in European nations that have PR of one sort or another where parties rule with similar percentages after cooking up a secondary deal and new manifesto with a few other minor parties who hold far more power than they are entitled to.
            People vote Labour and Conservative in the volumes they do because that is their choice.
            If they really wanted UKIP Greens ot Lib Dems to be their government they could vote them in.
            But they don’t.

          • Peter Parsons
            Posted January 4, 2018 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

            Under a system where every vote actually counted and there was no such thing as a “wasted vote” (how can such a concept be acceptable in the 21st century?) it is likely that people would vote differently. One thing is for sure, multiple studies show that voter turnout is 7%-8% higher on average under proportional systems. A recent poll for yougov showed 62% in favour of PR:


            People vote Labour and Conservative in the numbers they do because the current system is designed for a choice of two and the messaging is that they are the only choices. This is not the reality of today when you have 5 or 6 parties to choose from and expressions of support should deliver corresponding representation for that support.

            The Labour and Conservative parties are also constructs of the FPTP system, being coalitions of often diametrically opposing views (e.g. John Redwood and Jacob Rees-Mogg vs Ken Clarke and Anna Soubry on the EU). I suspect neither would exist in its current form under a PR system, we’d get more focussed and honest parties who don’t chop and change policies like the wind and steal from each other (e.g. 2015 – energy price capping was “socialist”, 2017 – energy price capping is Conservative manifesto policy, 2010 – raising the income tax threshold is “unaffordable” (quote: David Cameron in the election debates), 2015 – raising the income tax threshold is Conservative policy).

  45. Sakara Gold
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    I think my concept of *”freedom” and yours are different, but I’m glad that it is possible to express a range of views in this country and on your blog. In spite of the occasional editorial censorship.

  46. NickC
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    JR, A good, wise and thoughtful comment. Well done. May it be so.

  47. John Barleycorn
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    Your clearly argued article has prompted me to write the letter that I was considering in drafting over Christmas. I would like to know what trade dispute resolution system that you (Mr Redwood) would like to see in place after Britain leaves the EU. So far, I have heard much critiscism of the existing method, the European Court of Justice, but no description of the system that should be used.

    The ECJ is a court. Most of its proceedings are in public, and it can impose fines on EU member states so there is an enforcement mechanism. As far as I understand, anyone can end up in the ECJ by appealing for long enough on a point of European Law; cases can be brought by individuals, states, the Commission or private companies.

    The EFTA court is similar to the ECJ but it has no enforcement mechanism.

    WTO tribunals are not courts. A panel is composed of a three people selected from a nominated pool of diplomats/civil servants. The tribunal is held in secret, and (as far as I understand) only states and companies can take cases to it. As an enforcement mechanism, tribunals typically allow trade sanctions on states which are found to be violating WTO rules. These are typically in the area of trade that the dispute is about, but they can be in any area of trade. There is one precedent for imposing fines on states, but that was under the WTO’s predecessor GATT.

    Finally, most trade agreements include an inter-state dispute resolution system (ISDR). For example, NAFTA includes an ISDR which has a habit of ruling against Canada and the TTIP agreement failed partly because of German opposition to the proposed ISDR. I believe that the TTIP ISDR would only have been available to companies, and it would have had the power to force states to pay damages to companies whose business had been damaged by a state which introduced laws/rules/regulations that did not comply with the trade agreement. ISDRs are usually secret.

    In practice, trade dispute resolution systems over-ride national law. Parliament is still sovereign, but there is a tacit agreement that the international agreement will be observed and that law will be changed to comply if necessary. If Parliament refuses to comply, then it endangers the relevant international agreement – for example, it is likely we would have to leave the WTO if we attempted to circumvent its rulings.

    Please could you (John Redwood) explain what system you think should be used for EU/UK trade disputes following the departure of the UK from the EU? Should proceedings be in public (ECJ/EFTA) or in secret (WTO/ISDR)? Should it be able to impose fines (WTO/ECJ) or trade sanctions (WTO) or nothing (EFTA)? Who should be able to appeal to it – companies, individuals or states or everyone?

    It’s only 15 months until the UK leaves the EU, so this discussion needs to be had within Parliament and within the country, as well as within the Government. If you have written about this elsewhere, please forgive me for not finding it and post a link. Sorry this is a bit long, too.

    Reply We are currently committed to WTO procedures and will remain so once out of the EU. New trade deals will specify dispute procedures that are mutually acceptable

  48. rose
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    Happy New Year to you , Mr Redwood and to your family.

    In today’s New Year’s Day concert from Vienna I glimpsed Sebastian Kurz and, wait for it…Mark Rutte! Sitting together amicably, laughing and talking It isn’t long since this particular new Austrian Chancellor would have been boycotted and worse by a Northern European member of the EU. Is this a sign of tolerance and common sense breaking out? Of beginning the New Year as one means to go on? Or even a recognition by Mr Rutte that the future may be Conservative?

  49. Original Richard
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    We will become free of paying for EU misinformation and paying for the EU to corrupt thousands of our citizens and hundreds of UK organisations, including such august entities as the BBC and the CBI, through the subterfuge of research grants and the like, to work against the interest of the UK.

    Even today a Labour MEP is arguing the case for the EU over fishing rights in UK waters rather than working in the interests of the very people he was elected to represent!

    We will also be free to set up our own regulations and testing so that we are not again caught by fraudulent EU testing scams such as the German diesel emissions fraud and will be able to punish offenders.

  50. leavewon
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    Good Post

  51. getahead
    Posted January 1, 2018 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    Good one John. I concur with all the above commendations. Copied (with your permission).
    Happy New Year to you and your family ( and my family in Froghall Drive :-).

  52. Prigger
    Posted January 2, 2018 at 4:43 am | Permalink

    Latvia has just brought out laws which ban the visibility of alcohol from places it is sold. Is Latvia prepared for my local booze shop to remove Latvian vodka from the shelves or are they going to show our UK booze for sale? It is all about freedom and Latvia ran dry of it some time ago.

    • Prigger
      Posted January 2, 2018 at 4:55 am | Permalink

      Correction: Estonia not Latvia

  53. Rogm
    Posted January 2, 2018 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Am reading today where DD thinks that the EU is going to deliver a financial services package with whatever trade deal we do with them into the future..wherever he gets these notions from that the Barnier Junker crowd are going to agree anything like this is just all pie in the sky..when we leave we will really leave..there will be no cherry picking having your cake and eating it..DD is really so full of it now that some of us have lost all hope of any kind of an acceptable deal being we will start to see very quickly upon the resumption of talks in a few weeks.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 2, 2018 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      It would be better to have some kind of special trade deal with the EU, but it would be no more than a small loss overall if we had to fall back on WTO terms. We do need to avoid any interruption or major disruption of trade, just as we need to make sure that wherever we are now co-operating with the EU that kind of co-operation will continue without too much disruption, and those are more important considerations. If the EU is being awkward about a trade deal then it could well become more sensible to give up on that, accept that for the foreseeable future UK-EU trade will be WTO terms, and instead concentrate on the practical measures for trade facilitation. We would not entirely “walk away”, but we might walk away just from talks aimed getting a special trade deal.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 2, 2018 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      They will offer something along those lines, tarted up but not worth a bag of beans, in exchange for access to our fishing grounds.

      Merkel confirmed it ahead of the German elections when asked about it. She was certain that access would be guaranteed.

  • 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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