There is no evidence joining the single market boosted UK growth

If you look at the ONS figures for UK growth you discover that the UK grew by around two thirds in the two decades before we  joined the EEC, but grew by only around  a half in the two decades that followed.  The growth rate then declined a little more for the two decades from 1992 when they “completed” the single market.

Those who seem to think leaving the single market will cause growth to slow need to explain why there was no visible boost to growth when we joined. Indeed, the completion of the single market included the worst period of the Exchange Rate Mechanism, a crucial part then of their construction of a single market, which pushed us into a nasty recession.

The latest leaked reports about slower future growth have all the reliability of those Treasury forecasts of a recession in the winter of 2016-17 which proved to be so wrong.

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  1. Iain Moore
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately the BBC is reporting this ‘leak’ as the gospel truth, and we are going to have to fight the whole argument all over again.

    • Mockbeggar
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      Jacob R-M on Newsnight suggested that if this ‘forecast’ was based on the ‘gravity’ model used by the Treasury for years then it was indeed the same faulty model tht produced such ridiculous forecasts as those you mention, Mr Redwood.

      Could an economist who follows this blog explain the ‘gravity’ model in simple terms and why it is unreliable?

      • acorn
        Posted January 30, 2018 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        You can read the original version of the document at and the CEP critique of it. The latter and some other think tanks, reckon the gravity model underestimates the dynamic effects. See the conclusion section.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted January 31, 2018 at 11:19 am | Permalink

          That refers to the totally discredited Treasury report of April 2016, not to the “new” “secret” report based on the same or a similarly defective Treasury model which has just been leaked and is being treated as if its contents were “facts” which have emerged since the referendum.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 30, 2018 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

        It probably unreliable because:

        1. They are just part of project fear III.

        2. long term economic forecasts always are unreliable (unless they get lucky) after all anything could change them. Wars, falls of governments, extreme weather, an epidemic, meteor events, deaths of leaders, earth quakes, terrorism, a change of government policy, technology innovations, sensible moves by a new chancellor for cheap energy, lower taxes, less government and deregulation or the disaster of a Corbyn government.

        The whole course of the UK was altered (hugely for the worse) by Gove’s knifing of Boris after a brain storm. Without that we might have had a sensible PM & chancellor.

        • am
          Posted January 31, 2018 at 9:05 am | Permalink

          your last para shows the trgedy of personal ambition and envy amongst brexiteers spoiling unity for brexit. It is why JRMogg has become in public perception the true brexiteer. Most of the rest are seen as fudging and constrained by personal ambition.

      • WinstonS
        Posted January 30, 2018 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

        Trade is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between the trading countries (like a lot of phenomena in physics, among those gravity)
        T ~ 1/ (x^2)
        so the shorter the distance, the stronger the attraction (or the trade).
        As for why it is unreliable ask JR to explain it.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted January 31, 2018 at 5:11 am | Permalink

          Actually this is no longer really true, this as air travel is now quite cheap and we have digital communication. This especially for light goods that can be flown from say Hong Kong to London in less time than getting from say West Wales to East Sussex. For digital goods and services the distance make no real difference at all (other than perhaps the different time zones).

          Also the huge container ships and bulk carriers are now very cheap per container or ton. So long as the time taken is not too important.
          It is not very important where a continuous supply of non perishable items or bulk items (coal, grain, oil, iron ore for example…….) is required.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted January 31, 2018 at 11:23 am | Permalink

            And it was never entirely true anyway … but there were many other flaws in the Treasury’s doom laden prognostications published in April 2016 to great fanfares, which flaws may or may not have been carried over to this “new” study.

      • robert lewy
        Posted January 31, 2018 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

        The idea of the gravity model is simple i.e that the proximity, relative sizes and costs of doing business affect trade. In simple terms if you are near to a larger market than a smaller market with similar costs of doing business, the larger market is likely to produce more trade for you. The gravity model attempts to reduce this to a mechanistic relationship and surely this is the basis for its unreliability.

        It might be useful for simple changes but as this article concludes:

        ” trade creation and trade diversion are not captured by the
        basic gravity model”

        What more do I need to say?

        Can you imagine what probability of economic success would have been applied to Japanese economy immediately after World War 2. Japan is 10,144 kms from USA!

        Gravity theory is excellent example of RIRO.

        Moreover this seems to be a clear case of conclusions arriving very neatly from assumptions. No account is taken of trade diversion and creation which are what Brexit is intended to stimulate.

        Brexit is a challenge for the UK. It is how we respond that will determine the success or failure of the venture.

    • Hope
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      JR, I think you need to get Liam Fox to clarify his reported comments in the press today. It appears Fox and Davis have taken a funny mind changing tablet.

      Letwin is right, parliament needs to uphold what the public voted for because it is more important than any issue before it. Eleven in your party need to take note.

      • Hope
        Posted January 30, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

        Why is there so much talk about trade equating to leaving the EU. Only six percent of people who voted leave did so with this in mind. The majority voted leave without trade being the biggest issue. This is a narrative created by remainers to scare us about economics again. As a surprise the Treasury, headed by Hammond, is at it again, as a surprise HMRC targeting leave donors, outrageous, as a surprise Carney still at it, as a surprise May is allowing it to go on. Another day more insults from the EU and leaders of some of the countries in and France and Germany.

        May ought to have more backbone, savvy, dignity, patriotism to tolerate all this nonsense. Why is she not sacking a few in the civil service, start with Hayward and Robbins, they have not done a particularly good, we voted leave two years ago by 2019 three years would have passé giving business all the time it needs to prepare. As the amount of businesses that trade with the EU is small there is no need of any extension, let alone two more years taking it to five years, totally restricting the U.K. From leaving the EU. Bad deal by anyone’s view.

        As for intelligence, security, police etc what does the U.K. Get in return. What has Davis secured from the assets the U.K. Owns? How about the 16 percent share of the EIB capital it has, when do we get this back march 2019? I still have not heard what the EU gave in exchange for the capitulation of May in phase one? When will we be told?

      • jerry
        Posted January 30, 2018 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

        @Hope; How many times, the public voted to leave the EU, that is all, they did not vote on How nor When the UK should leave, thus we could have left the same day as the ref result or we could leave at some date before 2099…

        If you want to cite what the public want, what the public voted for then you’ll need to ask us first, time for that second referenda, asking the How and When questions perhaps?

        Liam Fox is correct, some people will be disappointed, just as you can’t fool all of the people all of the time nor can you please all of the people all of the time.

        • Edward2
          Posted January 31, 2018 at 9:05 am | Permalink

          Our Prime Minister during the time prior to the referendum date, made it very clear what voting to leave meant as did the Leaflet sent to every home.
          Two years after sending the Article 50 letter was said to be the point at which the UK would have left under its terms.
          So I think the timescale and the main points on what leaving meant were explained to voters.

        • NickC
          Posted January 31, 2018 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

          Jerry, How many times . . . . There was no option for a half way house. It was either Leave, or Remain under the terms negotiated by David Cameron. The English language is quite clear: Leave cannot mean remaining. Even in bits of the EU.

          Moreover, Cameron stated in the HoC, 22nd Feb 2016, that the Referendum is: “a straight democratic decision . . . Having a second renegotiation followed by a second referendum is not on the ballot paper.” . . . “If the British people vote to leave, there is only one way to bring that about, namely to trigger article 50 of the treaties and begin the process of exit, and the British people would rightly expect that to start straight away.”

          The governments white Remain propaganda booklet stated that the terms included: no euro; border controls; no more political integration; welfare restrictions for immigrants; reduce EU red-tape. And that was for Remain! The booklet also stated: “The government will implement what you decide“. No ifs or buts. “How?” and “When?” are Remain questions. It’s just that you don’t like the answers.

        • fedupsoutherner
          Posted January 31, 2018 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

          Jerry, Cameron told us that we would be leaving straight away and article 50 would be implemented. I am sure that all of us that voted to leave never thought it would take this long and are not happy about it. We just want to get on with it.

        • libertarian
          Posted January 31, 2018 at 2:09 pm | Permalink


          How many times, the public voted to leave. The when is mandated by the EU so we know that already, no more than 2 years after triggering Article 50. The how we leave is totally fixed. We leave the EU and all of its institutions. Thats what we ALL voted for or against. What happens next, i.e. so called soft Brexit , EFTA, EEA, Canada style and all other permutations are negotiations that can or might and currently are taking place. If no agreement on anything else is reached we will still do what we voted to do that is leave by 2019 . Do try and understand what is a very simple concept

          • jerry
            Posted January 31, 2018 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; @fedupsoutherner; @Libby; There wasn’t just one Brexit group but 28, meaning 28 Leave manifestos, meaning people will have or might have voted for all number or reasons to leave. Do try and understand what is a very simple concept.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 1, 2018 at 9:11 am | Permalink

            There were many different arguments made by the Remain side during the referendum campaign so those that voted Remain could well also have different reasons for voting the way they did.
            And more importantly may have had very different future expectations as to what type of EU they would envision.
            For example are all Remain supporters in favour of a United States of Europe or giving up the Pound or a EU Armed force or further large scale expansion of numbers of member states?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      And it seems that once again we are having to fight the civil service as well as many ministers, with both liberally supported by taxpayers’ money.

      I suppose in a strange way it is reassuring that at least the government’s preferred economic models give fairly reproducible results, it’s just that their predictions are fairly reproducibly wrong:

      According to the Treasury’s doomladen prognostication issued in April 2016 our economic loss from going to WTO terms to trade with the continuing EU could be 7.5% of GDP after 15 years, now that’s being quoted as 8% of GDP, in both cases with lesser but still significant losses for other options.

      And once again we are being told that this is the consensus view of mainstream economists with just a few cranks disagreeing … interestingly the first chapter of the book I have mentioned:


      “Was There Really an Economic Consensus on Brexit?”

      and concludes that there was only a consensus among those economists who were using similar, and similarly defective, models.

      As mentioned before that book’s critical analysis of the Treasury’s April 2016 report runs to nearly nine pages and highlights more than twenty significant inadequacies, and I don’t suppose this new report will be any better.

    • Richard
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 6:38 pm | Permalink
  2. Oliver
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    The leaked report shows 5% less growth over 15 years with a FTA.

    First, 5% over 15 years is EXACTLY 1.0033 ^ 15, which shows they’ve just made the figures up, and extrapolated them forward.

    Second, is it is the price in growth, isn’t it worth paying for self-determination?

    A lot cheaper than a war.

    • Richard
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      The UK’s Goods & Services exports to the EU are (i) around 40% of all UK G&S exports and (ii) around 12% of UK GDP (after adjusting for the misallocation due to the Rotterdam effect, which estimates put at 2-4%).

    • NickC
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      Oliver, Frankly anyone who thinks he can forecast 15 years ahead is an idiot by definition.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted January 31, 2018 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

        Yes, who can see that far ahead when world affairs can affect everything at home. Recessions can start anywhere in the world and then spread. Crystal ball reading is not very helpful.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 31, 2018 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        If they thought they could do it (even just for tomorrow or next week) they would surely be betting on it in the markets and not making forecasts in the civil service.

  3. Duncan
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    “Leave voters are more supportive of Theresa May to stay (49%-32%) than those who voted to Remain (37%-38%);”

    Yougov poll today – this is pure invention by May and her grubby advisers

    This PM is openly despised by 17.50m Leave voters and this poll is political marketing paid for Theresa May trying to play mind games

    We are sick and tired of this crap. these pathetic mind games being played. these lies to incite fear

    and the BBC – well, what else is there to say about this poisonous organisation that has been infected and given up any pretence of being impartial. it’s sole mission is to destroy Brexit and ram feminism onto the public to neutralise white hetero-male

    When are Tory MP’s gonna speak out?

    • Alison
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      Duncan – Re your question – also, can I repeat a late post of mine under the Darkest Hour yesterday: I think it is crucial that we as individuals harangue, remind and re-state, simply and clearly, why it is critical for the UK to leave the EU (Single Market, Customs Union, ECJ).
      And get others to harangue and remind our local MPs.

      • Alison
        Posted January 30, 2018 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

        PS: Dr Fox is wrong to refer to the current apparent parliamentary arithmetic, and tell us to accept disappointment. We are talking about the good of the nation. And the spirit of the nation.
        Aside from due diligence, the Lords should not thwart the HoC, and MPs should be acting to execute the referendum result, and do so promptly. A soft Brexit is not Brexit at all.
        I realize it is difficult, but either Mrs May appoints a Brexit cabinet NOW, with able commanders, and a clear plan to match the objectives and vision set out in the Lancaster House speech, or she must go. There has been far too much compromise in too many arenas. I pray the plan and actions to remove her are underway, now. It is NO GOOD being afraid of Jeremy Corbyn.

    • rose
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      We can all openly despise her and yet not want the kaleidoscope of a leadership contest. Do the arithmetic.

    • NickC
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

      Duncan, Not the Leave voters I know, just to confirm your view of Mrs May. Although I persist in thinking that the real culprits are the Remain civil servants leading the Remain politicians by the nose.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      This site is a microcosm of political thought. It is no more representive of general populous than the BBC. So I can forgive the polls. Most of which gave been proven to be rubbish anyway .

    • Anonymous
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

      Get my wife trained up doing my work and shifts in all weather.

      I could do with the early retirement.

      For every bloke that gets hammered by this there is usually a wife he’s supporting. The feminists are hurting their own.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted January 31, 2018 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        Agree Anonymous. As a woman I am fed up with all this gender equality. I enjoy being a woman, I don’t want a mans job if it is menial andwould only want a mans managerial job if I knew I was completely capable of doing it. It’s alright promoting women as long as they can do the job as well and don’t have to keep taking time off for children or childbirth. Our female GP has been away from her post more than she has been at work due to having 3 children in close succession. This is a nuisance in many posts. Let’s get real.

  4. hans chr iversen
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 12:01 pm | Permalink


    Does anybody say that history has to repeat itself, what we need is certainty and with only WTO that is not necessarily what we ahve, so a good deal for Britain is much better than WTO as businesses need certainty for their future planning and it takes more than 3 years to build up completely new markets further away, as you also know from your past career.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      hans chr iversen

      ….”future planning and it takes more than 3 years to build up completely new markets further away”…

      What utter nonsense and devoid of business acumen or international experience. Remainer fairy tale again!

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted January 31, 2018 at 6:27 am | Permalink


        it depends on what you sell and what you offer but how would you know?

        • Dennis Zoff
          Posted January 31, 2018 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

          hans chr iversen

          ” but how would you know”

          I sat on the board of a £3.2Billion global business, directly responsible for EMEA, Asia/Pac, and the Americas for 30 years, some of which was as CEO. Personally developed multi-million businesses globally, working and living in Europe, Australasia, Asia/Pac and the Americas.

          Currently, CEO of a global business consulting company (specialising in enabling international businesses develop their operations; along with initiating long-term contracts in new territories) based in London, Cologne+, Singapore, Hong Kong, New York, Los Angeles, Mexico City, etc. Industries and experience inc: Telecommunications; Mobile; Cable; Pharmaceuticals; FMCG ; design and manufacture, dealing with the intricacies of in-country competition and local Political dynamics.

          Additionally, during this time, I was an international speaker to these industries and spoke at many events globally on business matters that included Government Ministerial participation.

          So I speak from direct experience that some would consider substantial. However, I am always open to advancing my knowledge and gaining from other’s personal experience and welcome your input as to how you gained your international business experience and why this leads you to believe I am wrong in my assertion that your comment is, in general, nonsense?

    • libertarian
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 5:53 pm | Permalink


      If you’d ever run a business you would know theres no such thing as certainty in international markets including the EU

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted January 31, 2018 at 8:24 am | Permalink

        I have run loads of businesses I was talking about certainty in trade agreements between nations, which has nothing to do with business acumen,

        Read it again

        • Dennis Zoff
          Posted February 1, 2018 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

          Hans Christian Iversen

          Business interests

          It is always interesting when one is aware of an individual’s vested interest and material stake in ensuring the UK remains part of the EU?

    • NickC
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      Hans, The rest of the world (98%) trades using WTO rules. We can too. Indeed over 60% of our exports are achieved under WTO rules, and only c39% UK exports go to the EU under EU/WTO rules. We already have the systems in place to use WTO rules. Only the WTO deal exists. There is no EU deal (yet). That’s the certainty.

      • Iso
        Posted January 31, 2018 at 7:42 am | Permalink

        Dangerously false. Our non EU trade is done thanks to the EU’s many trade deals. We lose them all on brexit

    • getahead
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      WTO rules will be fine Hans. Sovereignty comes before trade.

  5. LukeM
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    There is absolutely no sense in going on with these figures..JR as a financial genius would otherwise tell us that past results is no guarantee of future performance

    • hans chr iversen
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      I will allow to question that assumption fundamentally, if you do not mind

      • Edward2
        Posted January 31, 2018 at 9:09 am | Permalink

        It is worth considering how successful these experts have been at previous predictions.
        And if you do hans you would see they have not been very good.

  6. Epikouros
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    A report of course can tell you nothing unless the assumptions used to compile them are known, understood and are accepted as reliable. The latest Treasury and their allies other remain supporters report like all their previous ones, which incidentally have been proven to be completely bogus, have no doubt used assumptions that are purely speculative and biased so as to paint the worst possible picture.

    Using that trick leavers could use different no less superficially convincing assumptions to produce the same report to reflect a very rosy picture for Brexit. It is telling that leavers do not have resort to the dirty tactics that remainers do. No doubt due to the fact that those who wish to leave are nicer people and the case for leaving does not require lies or deceit to make it. As it is self evident.

    • hans chr iversen
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      I mentioned a report I did not say I endorsed it so just hold your cannons, but your argument is not really persuasive either

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Indeed doubtless the forecast was done by some of the same people who wanted to join the EURO and the ERM. The idea

    What will really boost the economy is a sensible economic agenda or deregulation, cheap energy, smaller government and lower taxes. Just fire Hammond get a working compass for May and get on with this. Then watch the economy grow.

    As you say “The latest leaked reports about slower future growth have all the reliability of those Treasury forecasts of a recession in the winter of 2016-17 which proved to be so wrong”

    Or indeed of all the climate alarmist forecasts of large temperature rises for the past 19 years which have also not happened.

    Group think quack soothsayers or people on the make.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Anyway what matters to workers is GDP per cap and not the overall GDP.

      • Andy
        Posted January 30, 2018 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

        The report was done by DexEU. David Davis, slimey Steve Baker, Suella Fernandes. It is not from the Treasury.

        The report also only deals with the economic consequences of Brexit. It does not look at the devastating social consequence it has already had.

        It does not look at the huge diplomatic and constitutional damage either.

        And, amusingly, it does not assess the political damage to the Conservative Party. Most sensible Tory MPs understand what is happening.

        For those who don’t: Bye bye Tories, bye bye. Wipeout time.

        • rose
          Posted January 30, 2018 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

          Baker only saw it this am and Davis last night.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted January 31, 2018 at 11:28 am | Permalink

          “The word in Whitehall this morning is that the leaked document forecasting doom-laden outcomes in every Brexit scenario was put together by civil servants from the Treasury and the Cabinet Office Brexit unit. Fingers are being pointed at the Brexit team based in the Cabinet Office, run by the Remainer Olly Robbins, with suggestions work was led by Treasury mandarins.”

        • Dennis Zoff
          Posted January 31, 2018 at 1:40 pm | Permalink


          “It does not look at the devastating social consequence it has already had.”

          What “devastating social consequence” are you referring to? Please be a little more specific, or is this just another piece of puerile nonsense?

        • libertarian
          Posted January 31, 2018 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

          Dear Andy

          Stop lying theres a good little chap. Baker & Davis not only didn’t write the report they only saw it for the first time shortly before it leaked.

          By the way do you have a view on yesterday. 600 mostly males in their 70’s 80’s etc all arguing about Brexit

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted January 30, 2018 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

        tehre is no difference if you divide per head so that does not stand up

        • mancunius
          Posted January 31, 2018 at 1:06 am | Permalink

          Actually, Hans, there is a big difference: the way the two different stats are compiled, gross national GDP is not the sum of GDP per head. In recent years UK national GDP has risen, and GDP per head has not.

          You can find a very useful article on the (considerable) difference between the two different stats by googling ‘Difference between GDP and GDP per capita’. I quote: ‘A country with high GDP but with an overwhelmingly large population will result in a low GDP per capita.’ This has measurably happened in the UK since immigration started to intensify after 2003: national GDP increased accordingly, but GDP per capita did not.
          Employers used the influx of foreign workers to offer ever-lower wages (enabled by in-work benefits at the taxpayer’s expense) using those lower costs as a quick and easy means of profit – instead of reinvesting, automating, and up-skilling, which would be necessary for a more finite workforce.
          So we have nearly full employment, but low GDP per head.

  8. Derek Henry
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Supply side monetarism has a lot to do with the slow growth.

    When we used fiscal policy correctly as a country instead of what we have now.

    Which is gold standard (even though we left it decades ago) self imposed constraints on fiscal policy.

    Our economic growth was a lot higher.

  9. English Pensioner
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Other useful statistics would be as to whether we lost any export trade with the rest of the world as a result of joining the EU and whether the EU tariffs prevented us from importing goods from any country where they would have been cheaper than from the EU.

    • Kevin Lohse
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      Remember New Zealand Cheddar and Australian Apricot jam in large tins? I think the answer is, Yes.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      I read that there was indeed massive trade diversion when we joined the EEC, and trade diversion which added little or nothing to our GDP.

  10. Dennis Zoff
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 12:24 pm | Permalink


    Shocking EU demands greeted with acquiescence from UK government.

    Two weeks ago BREXIT FACTS4EU reported on a leaked draft of the EU’s latest demands. Yesterday those worst nightmares were realised, when the EU’s General Affairs Council approved the recommendations of the EU Commission and issued its mandate for negotiations of the transitional period.


    – UK will become a vassal state of the EU on 29 March 2019
    – It will be under complete EU law and must obey all EU rules and procedures
    – The Court of Justice of the EU will be supreme
    – Full freedom of movement will continue, no control of borders
    – UK will have no representation at EU Council, EU Parliament, EU Commission, EU agencies
    – UK will have no say over laws, directives, rules or procedures
    – The British Parliament will not be sovereign
    – UK will continue paying vast annual contributions in full

    What the hell is the UK Government doing; this ludicrous acquiescence is very worrying indeed!

    Full text:

    • Andy
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      Amusing isn’t it? It is what you voted for – and the hard-Brexit Tory government has delivered. What – you didn’t read the small print? Shame.

      • Edward2
        Posted January 31, 2018 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        If you look at Conservative MP’s opinions on the EU you will see that they cannot possibly be labelled “hard Brexit Tory Govt”

      • NickC
        Posted January 31, 2018 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

        Andy, What we’re getting is what you Remains, and the Remain politicians and civil service want namely remaining in the EU for longer, staying in the single market and customs union, and paying the EU lots of our money, all while being subject to EU laws and courts. By definition that’s not leaving.

      • Dennis Zoff
        Posted January 31, 2018 at 2:05 pm | Permalink


        On this for once, I agree with you.

        The majority of the electorate did not democratically vote to leave the EU, with all its inane bureaucratic apparatus, to then have a pro-EU government negotiate on its behalf.

        As it stands, it is an abysmal display in the lack of courage from T. May et al that will most lightly be detrimental to both leavers and remainers! Which is amusing to no one!

        But then I guess you would be happy for a Remainer pyrrhic victory?

    • Martyn G
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      It is aimed, I think, at frightening our disastrously weak and supine government to withdraw from the A50 letter and say, sorry, we got it wrong so please, please let us all just drop the idea of leaving the EU…..

    • hans chr iversen
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      what is the real definition of a vassal state before we start using really big words?

      • Mitchel
        Posted January 31, 2018 at 10:07 am | Permalink

        A state that pays tribute in money or goods under pain of punishment and probably forgoes an independent foreign policy.

    • jerry
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      I agree that if not amended those EU terms would be surrender, the UK would indeed be a vessel state for at least two years (nor do I accept the idea that the EU is unlikely to create new laws between now and the end of 2020), if that is the EU’s final terms then we are better having a clean Brexit on WTO rules as of 23:00 hours GMT on 29 March 2019 – what ever short term problems might follow.

      It is plainly daft, even vindictive, that the UK could not even start negotiating trade deals, never mind sign any, that would only come into effect after the end of the transition period.

    • NickC
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      Dennis Zoff, That’s a good summary. The appeasement by our government is astounding. It is a train wreck of incompetence and treason. It’s certainly not what we voted for. Just on its own our Danegeld will be about twice what we would have paid net for the 21 months to Dec 2020.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      Ah, the self appointed Ministry of Truth speaks. Not you Denis.

      I am always sceptical of those that label themselves in such a way.

  11. Peter Wood
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Just so ref the Italian; is it not the same with the EU? How much do we pay the ‘mafia’ in Berlaymont to allow us free trade?
    I see the new UK PM has ‘discovered’ China, again; why is it that our PM’s think that a visit to the middle kingdom will result in a pot of gold? Mrs T has serious problems at home, if she had a plan to sort those out and was seen to be in control of her government she’d be less of a laughing stock for foreign governments (Germany).

  12. Dennis Zoff
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    An interesting analysis on THE NAIVETÉ OF MRS MAY? by Michael Donnan

    He provides a fascinating commentary on what is going wrong with the British government’s Brexit strategy.

    …….”it would appear that Mrs Theresa May, in common with many others in the UK Parliament, fails utterly to understand that the EU is represented, not by reasonable and well-intentioned people but by zealots obsessed by and committed to the ideal of “ever closer union” of the member states towards the putative paradise of a United States of Europe.”………

    Full text:

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      I think Theresa May and many other Tories, but not our host of course, face a serious psychological problem. As one of her constituents I am sure that somewhere I still have at least one letter from her in which she reassured me that EU membership had brought great economic benefits to the UK. Until she can shake off that long held but misplaced faith and admit the truth as propounded in this article she is always going to be at a major disadvantage in her negotiations.

      Why Michel Barnier will be laughing up his sleeve:

      “… he knows that the official Tory party line has always been to grossly exaggerate the economic benefits of the EU Single Market … and it would now be very difficult for a Tory Prime Minister to start to tell the unvarnished truth about it.”

    • alan jutson
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 7:26 pm | Permalink


      The real problem is that Mrs May actually wants to be friends with them, and thinks that they want and will be friends with us !

      Given the above, she will sign up a disaster deal for us, which will far outlast the sudo friendship she THNKS she has with Politicians on the opposite side of the fence.

      Negotiation is a tough business, you have to be hard nosed, and be prepared to upset people, and quite honestly she has absolutely no experience of any sort of negotiations at this level.

      We are I am afraid to say sleep walking into a Disaster, unless someone with real life commercial experience takes the lead.

      A fantastic opportunity for the UK is slowly, very slowly, being absolutely wasted.

    • NickC
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      Dennis, Yes. I did try to warn on here and elsewhere that if anyone thought the EU would be reasonable then they haven’t been paying attention for the last 45 years. The EU is essentially an admitted conspiracy to defraud ordinary people of their rights and democracy to impose a crony-capitalist etc oligarchy upon us. It is that bad.

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted January 30, 2018 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

        never have so few articulated so much rubbish in such a short time NIckC

        • NickC
          Posted January 31, 2018 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

          Hans, Fortunately we are escaping the EU, however badly we do it. But you are left trapped in it. The EU is a faulty ideology where it thieves democracy and rights from its subject nations. It is far less obvious than a military takeover, and far more comfortable. But the result is the same. Your country is lost. Wake up before it’s too late.

          • hans chr iversen
            Posted January 31, 2018 at 10:18 pm | Permalink


            We Danes do not feel lost but then you would not understand, you should concentrate on the problems in Britain

            -intergenerational problems of wealth
            -productivity problems
            -NHS funding
            -educational standards and problems

            instead of minor EU issues because these are the real problems in teh UK today, so wake up

        • Dennis Zoff
          Posted January 31, 2018 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

          hans chr iversen, you are personally speaking from your own utterances no doubt?

  13. oldtimer
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Is this yet another unreliable forecast produced by Oxford PPE graduates?

  14. Lifelogic
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Well so few of them live in the real world (or have even worked in the private sector).

  15. Duncan
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    And now today there are reports the British civil service is acting against Ministers to deceive them, the British people and conspiring to circumvent democracy

    This cannot surely be legal or constitutionally acceptable. When are we going to see these EUfanatic, bureaucratic snakes put to the proverbial sword, sacked and their pension rights removed?

    We elect MPs to govern and hold the State to account. It is time to neutralise the unelected and the unaccountable – both the Civil service and the Lords who are conspiring along with Hammond to prevent Brexit

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      Be glad that there are a few professionals making sure that those amateurs (politicians) do not make too much of a mess of the task of government.

    • hans chr iversen
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      can we please just stick to facts instead of unsubstantiated conspiracy theories, please

      • NickC
        Posted January 31, 2018 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

        Hans, Yes please stick to the facts. The fact is Policy comes from the people by electing their representatives to run the UK. Not from civil servants. You may do things the reverse way round in the EU, but it sure ain’t democracy.

        • hans chr iversen
          Posted January 31, 2018 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

          Again look at the real problems in Britain instead of the small one’s like the EU

        • hans chr iversen
          Posted February 1, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink


          I am not the Eu so stop this ridiculous argument

    • Mark B
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

      This should come as no surprise.

    • Loudbarker
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      “We elect MPs to govern and hold the State to account”

      Indeed. The problem is that most current MPs think (rightly) that Brexit will be a disaster. The Tories are held hostage by those who want out and Labour is too busy trying to take advantage.

  16. David Cockburn
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    What is disturbing is to find that our elected government has so little control over its civil service that we continue to get such leaks, helping the EU to win the negotiation. Heads should roll.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      David Cockburn

      These Civil Service leaks are delusively contrived and part of a concerted effort to destabilize public opinion!

      Project fear is revving up again by the usual suspects…..just ignore!

  17. Emperor Commodus
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    In my time the single market led to great wall building growth and diving about in the Scottish lowlands in nettle patches in order to keep warm in winter. But the Irn Bru was good.

  18. Chris
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Regarding your title, Theresa May and her so called Brexit team should be shouting this from the rooftops. That she is not doing this indicates that she does not have the political will or competence to effect Brexit. The D Telegraph article by Nigel Farage today is pertinent, and so are the letters to the D Tel. Judging by the comments, it would appear that the electorate is deserting wholesale Conservatism under May and will deliver a stark and rude message to the Conservatives at the next election. However, there are MPs urging other MPs not to rock the boat and simply to carry on with this disastrous, in my mind, course. That will simply deliver the Cons to their ignominious fate and sooner rather than later.
    Thatcher would have been appalled by May’s handling of Brexit. Why would anyone vote Tory now?
    Letters: Tory MPs must act now to find the leadership that Mrs May cannot give

    • forthurst
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      Dialogue reported by Robert Peston in Davos; Merkel to Theresa May: “what do you want?” May to Merkel: “make me an offer”. Merkel: “but you’re leaving, we don’t have to make you an offer”.

      People should not put themselves forward for leadership roles unless they are prepared to lead. No wonder the Tories are making a pig’s ear of the negotiations (or do I mean supplications?) to the EU.

      • rose
        Posted January 31, 2018 at 12:03 am | Permalink

        This is hilarious: Frau M is notorious for not making decisions that she ought to make. (I say nothing here about the ones she ought not to have made.)

      • Loudbarker
        Posted January 31, 2018 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

        “Dialogue reported by Robert Peston in Davos; Merkel to Theresa May: “what do you want?” May to Merkel: “make me an offer”. Merkel: “but you’re leaving, we don’t have to make you an offer”.”

        Beautifully illustrating the UK’s disastrous negotiating position. Not just as against the EU, but also against the USA, China and all the big trading countries.

        It’s time to get used to being rule takers rather than rule makers

    • Mark B
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      The possible implosion of the Conservative Party over exiting the EU was discussed as long ago as 2013 over at EUReferendum.

      Nice to know people at kong last are beginning to catch up.😉

  19. Dick Tawphone
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    We must find comparable countries who had growth who were not part of the EU boondoggle.

    #I hereby propose the word “boondoggle” should be the official Tory and rational term for Corbynista Manifestos and EU hanky-panky

  20. Rien Huizer
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    It is entirely plausible that specific scenarios show lower growth than the UK’s neighbourhood (EU, EFTA, NAFTA). For two reasons: adjustment costs (for instance, some scenarios would make EU-oriented export businesses unviable and given foreign ownership in many of these, investors would relocate). The second reason is the logic behind large trading areas: scale, factor mobility and inherently lower friction. That the EU is protectionist is not an issue. All large trading areas (US, China, Japan are protectionist except when bilateral agreements make it less so.

    • John
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

      I have a hunch that if we all were not talking about the UK leaving the EU that you could give an intelligent response to a subject.

    • NickC
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      Rien, So EU protectionism is “not an issue”, yet the EU negotiates RTAs to overcome the limitations of protectionism? Nonsense. Moreover, large trading areas that use mutual recognition are more agile than the sclerotic EU model based on harmonisation. As well as not needing a central organisation such as the EU at all.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted February 3, 2018 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

        Protectionism is the norm in Europe, the US and Japan. The mere existence of trade agreements is proof that free trade is very rare. One can belive that it exists or should exist but the reality is different.

  21. Ed Mahony
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    ‘If you look at the ONS figures for UK growth you discover that the UK grew by around two thirds in the two decades before we joined the EEC, but grew by only around a half in the two decades that followed’

    – that argument only works if being in or out of the single market is the ONLY factor which determines the growth of one’s country. There are many different factors, therefore (sorry), i think your argument is largely invalid.

    • mancunius
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      There are indeed many different factors, but EU adherents claim that belonging to the single market is all-important, and yet – if we are to believe your point – it is not.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted January 31, 2018 at 12:00 am | Permalink

        ‘ but EU adherents claim that belonging to the single market is all-important’

        – I’m frankly embarrassed by them and by the lies/exaggeration of ‘Project Fear’.

        I could have voted Brexit (v. good arguments). But finally came to the conclusion that our economy wasn’t strong enough (at the moment) to finance Brexit (in the long haul) whilst trying to keep the socialists out. I, also, had concerns about the lack of leadership (I could never take Boris Johnson and some others seriously enough). And the lack of proper planning / strategy. I also had global political concerns as well. I think the EU has helped to keep Europe more peaceful and secure and this helps the UK as well.

    • acorn
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      The economy may not have appeared to have been growing that much in the EU; BUT, how much would it have shrunk, if it had not been in the EU? (circa 8.6 – 10.6%)

      The EU membership exposed the decrepit UK economy to continental competition which hit it hard. Remember Thatcher’s 1988 Lancaster House speech; launching the “Europe Open for Business” campaign?

      “It is the first step along the path of preparing Britain’s companies to take the opportunities presented by completion of the Single Market in the European Community in 1992.” Alas, the UK households went for them duty free BMWs and them Italian and Spanish fitted kitchens and tiles. Giving the UK a massive trade deficit.

      If the UK had not joined the Single Market, would we still have a British Leyland making Austin Maestro?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      OK, Ed, I think you’re a reasonably honest chap so I simply ask you: if this chart of the UK growth rate going back to 1956 had no dates or other indications of time marked on the horizontal axis, or you had no prior knowledge of when the events took place, would you be able to pinpoint when we joined the EEC, or when the EU Single Market was created, on the basis of subsequent improved growth?

      You will need to click it on to “MAX” to get the full picture, which has the average growth rate from 1956 until 2017 equal to 2.45% a year but with major excursions up and down from that average.

      And there is a good reason why it is not obvious from that chart when we joined the EEC or when the EU Single Market was created, which is that those events had only marginal overall economic effects.

      I tire of quoting various EU Commissioners, including Michel Barnier himself, and doing simple sums from what it says on the Commission’s own website, and adding on bits and pieces of information from other studies, all of which say that the gross overall economic benefit of the EU Single Market to the EU has been maybe 1% or 2% of GDP, but possibly less than that for the UK, while the net effect taking into account its costs may easily be negative and with a similar magnitude.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted January 30, 2018 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

        ‘I like to look to Germany. But also to the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark’ – and above all California and other high-tech hot spots in the US and other parts of the world (and not just consumer high tech like in S. Korea or wherever, but consumer and business-to-business, like IBM, Oracle, Siemens and so on).

        Yes, of course, the City of London is important and hopefully will remain so. But that we also get the balance right between this and other key industries like the high tech industry which provides such great returns in revenue, high productivity, job satisfaction and a even a sense of patriotism (whether it was the IBM team behind Deep Blue that beat Kasparov at chess – and great marketing for IBM or being patriotic about being involved in building a BMW car, etc – harder to be patriotic about watching numbers on a screen, at least that’s the sort of things my friends say in the City).

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted January 31, 2018 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        This horse is very dead. No one believes there is a way to prove that the UK would have been better off by not joining the EU

        • Edward2
          Posted January 31, 2018 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

          The opposite logic of that Rien is that no one believes there is a way to prove that the UK was better off by joining the Common Market.

          • Rien Huizer
            Posted February 3, 2018 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

            Of course, there is no counterfactual. I might have been better off than if I had won the lottery and since I do not buy lottery tickets, we will never know. And may be my saving money by not buying lottery tickets, year in year out is a wise decision, in hindsight. It is a mischievious argument for anyone who understands economics. Politicians use it and their supporters.

            By the way, there is a very elaborate way to construct counterfactuals. It has been tried on the UK case and the result was that the UK would have been even worse off (world trade codsitions being equal) had it not joined the Common Market.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 1, 2018 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

          The burden of proof lies with those who claim that EU membership has been economically beneficial for the UK. For decades it has been mere assertions without any proof, when on balance the evidence points in the opposite direction.

          I look forward to a reply from Ed, and from time to time I shall remind him that I have asked this question.

          • Rien Huizer
            Posted February 3, 2018 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

            “the evidence points in the opposite direction”. There is no evidence either way, as you should know.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted February 8, 2018 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

            That does not stop the Remoaners making their false claims.

    • John
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

      If you were a Brexiteer you would have already looked at the growth rates of the world and the EU and the UK amongst many others to come to your conclusion.

      You as a remoaner present a typical argument that you didn’t research there fore you don’t know and therefore no one can.

      We do know, we aren’t as ignorant as yourselves.

      And the truth will prevail for the next 100 years. I look forward to that, I hope you look forward to the truth.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted January 31, 2018 at 12:04 am | Permalink

        ‘If you were a Brexiteer’

        – I’m about 45% Brexiter / 55% Remainer (And could easily be a Brexiter if our economy was stronger, we had stronger Brexiter leadership in general, proper strategy in place, and so on).

        ‘You as a remoaner’ + ‘ignorant’ – I’m always wary of people’s ‘arguments’ when they are high on this kind of language and low on arguments, facts + figures.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted January 31, 2018 at 12:42 am | Permalink

        Also, I’m sorry you feel that way. But i want the best for my country. And at the moment (not necessarily), Hard Brexit could mess things up a lot for our country – economically, politically and socially. There are already enough problems in life as it is. And so many other thing we could focus on to make our country great.

        But i accept Hard Brexit wouldn’t be a disaster. And again I don’t accept Hard Brexit would never work. Not just now because our economy and other important reasons.

        Also, i agree we must leave the EU now. But the conditions of leaving were pretty open in the referendum. Therefore to call me ‘remainer’ is completely untrue as well as being a bit us versus them.


      • Rien Huizer
        Posted January 31, 2018 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

        Will you be around a hundred years from now?

  22. Ian Wragg.
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    The same conclusion that surfaced during project fear.
    I repeat, they can’t give an accurate forecast for next quarter let alone over 15 years.
    What’s the nonesense of Fox saying that the remainiacs should be allowed to win and we should live with the disappointment.
    Doesn’t he know that’s the quickest way to destroy the Tory party and provoke civil unrest.
    May has to go together with Hammond.

  23. Ed Mahony
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Why can’t we just make great high high tech products that the Californians and Germans make, then we can sell wherever we want, at great profits, and productivity and so on. And then we’re economically free to decide whether we want to be in the EU or not.

    Instead, we’re tied to the financial services industry (important as that is), with failed banks, boom/bust, mass unemployment and poor jobs in the north of England and so on.

    Let’s focus on getting on getting the economy right. Strong + stable. National deficit paid off. High productivity. High exports. No so dependent on financial services. And then find a strong leader with a proper strategy to get us out of the single market (if that’s what people want).

    • miami.mode
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      EM…you’re wrapped up in your own ideas. We do produce world beating products but all too often the companies are snapped up by foreign buyers who then have unlimited access to the technology and often ship the jobs abroad. This is sometimes assisted by big wheels in the financial services industry who should, at times, be renamed the financial disservices industry.

    • libertarian
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      Ed M

      “Why can’t we just make great high tech products that the Californians and Germans make”

      WE DO ! Please do some research before posting this kind of guff

    • NickC
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

      Ed, Why don’t you set up one of these high tech businesses you keep on about? You know . . . put up or shut up? Leaving the EU is to get our independence back precisely so we can make our own economic (and other) decisions without being told what to do by the EU. Independence first, effort second, rewards third.

    • Anonymous
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      Why just hi tech products ?

      I was disappointed to buy my favourite brand walking boots (the previous pair only just worn out after 14 years of good use. )

      So why the disappointment ?

      The new boots (bearing the same name) are not a patch on the old ones. Oh, they’re designed to look good in the shop but get them out in the field and it’s another story.

      A little research shows that the brand were bought by a corporation and manufacture was outsourced to China.

      These are licensed fakes and I wouldn’t mind, they’re not much cheaper than European made boots of far higher quality.

      Why couldn’t Britain have kept making really good boots. Brasher used to be iconic and created near perfection once. Why let that go ???

      Britain is full of spiv capitalists – all they know how to do is make fast bucks and clear off afterwards.

    • getahead
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

      It’s the single market that is holding us back, Ed. Didn’t you read the article?

  24. David L
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Many “leave” proponents told me that leaving would/should be a simple process. No one forecast the current mess and division faced by the UK. The main beneficiaries will be Labour and that Momentum crowd should Conservatives desert their party as they threaten. I am very worried.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      You are right but no one here will join you.

  25. mancunius
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    From 1970 until 1995 I worked in Germany, Italy, and several other countries of the EU, north and south. Everywhere one had to combat protectionism, jobs-for-the-chosen-few, and – outside a few pockets of liberal fairness in Germany – outright chauvinism and anti-business prejudice and the worship of taxation, particularly targeted at foreigners.
    I once had to console a professional associate who burst into tears when she found her fee for no more four hours of work in another European country had suffered deductions not only for income tax, but for tax on her (c0ntractually provided) air ticket, social insurance, medical insurance, unemployment insurance, a ‘solidarity’ tax to pay for German re-unification, and even an enforced state pension contribution. There was almost nothing left. I raised the matter with the employer, and was told that was their ‘normal procedure with foreigners’.

  26. Alison
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    It seems a bit of a coincidence that these ‘latest reports’ are ‘leaked’ the evening before the Eur Commission has a fanfare, parading economic growth of 2.5% in EU28 and in euro zone in 2017. (About which growth one could say much.)

    Like Iain Gill, I can provide horrific example, in industry, of the ‘nonsense of the supposed benefits of the Single Market’.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

      Its not just industry.
      The vast sums being spent feeding approaches to keeping the MOD “clean” when it comes to VAT are outrageous. If the MOD buys stuff abroad (say when the soldiers are on operations somewhere) then they bring the stuff back here they have to pay the appropriate VAT when the stuff enters this country. Now any idiot can see this is one arm of government handing money over to another arm of government for no net gain. Yet we are forced to jump through a million hoops to do this with ever greater precision, at great admin expense, only because the EU breathes down our neck threatening court action if we don’t spend big sums feeding this bureaucracy.
      They always try to keep this kind of stuff out of the press, but its there for all to see if you only care to look.
      There is another massive Brexit saving if all this kind of nonsense was knocked on the head.

      • Loudbarker
        Posted January 31, 2018 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        VAT is a sales tax. Yes it has an EU origin – but very many places outside the EU have sales taxes as well. IF you believe leaving the EU will result in the abolition of sales taxes in the UK – good luck!

        • Iain Gill
          Posted January 31, 2018 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

          The UK govt could easily be made VAT exempt, especially in cases like the one I mentioned. For no impact on the public finances, except saving big admin bills.

  27. agricola
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Same old negative vibes putting the knife in when they sense that Brexit is at a critical point. Gives the commentariat fodder for comment, but that’s about all.

  28. nigel seymour
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    So, As Elizabeth Cree once said “here we are again”…
    Enter the Lords into the bill debate. My rough calculation is that if 600 peers attend the 2 day 2nd reading on both days (even if they have hailed a taxi and then popped in, signed the att reg, then popped back to their taxi) it will cost the tax payer £360,000. Can this be acceptable when the elected commons have voted through the bill after 12 days of debate!!

  29. Chris
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    I think the article in D Tel yesterday by Matthew Goodwin has huge significance (or should do) for Theresa May, and the Tory Party. He has done in depth analyses of voting patterns including the dynamics behind Cons and UKIP split. I think he is one of the few people that has come near to understanding what went on, and is going on with Conservative and where UKIP got its votes. He is not being over dramatic when he states that a soft Brexit will mean electoral suicide for the Tories. He is absolutely right.
    The Mogg is right – a soft Philip Hammond Brexit would be electoral suicide for the Tories

    Also, the message in an earlier article would be well worth the Tories taking on board:
    Whether the Tories meet triumph or disaster depends on immigration reform

    Whether the Tories meet triumph or disaster depends on immigration reform

    Matthew Goodwin

  30. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Chuka Umunna was on TV earlier claiming that our vote to leave the EU had pushed CPI inflation up to 3%. So I had a look to see whether the Brexit department had rebutted that false claim by pointing out that CPI had started to rise from zero in late 2015, and maybe if we had voted the other way it might now be a little lower, perhaps 2.5%.

    Well, of course nobody in the Brexit department has put him in his place.

    Basically anybody is allowed to spread whatever false propaganda they like about Brexit without the Brexit department ever reacting in defence of the official government policy which is the very reason for its existence.

    Whether this is because David Davis has decided off his own bat that they would always turn the other cheek, or Theresa May has sent him down that instruction, or his own civil servants have advised him against reacting in any way – that is, when they are not too busy leaking information to the media – I don’t know.

    I do know that it’s a really stupid communications policy if the aim is that we should leave the EU, and leave with the best possible arrangements.

  31. Bert Young
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    I voted against joining the “Common Market” because I could not see the sense in doing so at the expense of our trading relationship with the Commonwealth . At the time there was a proposal for a North Atlantic trade pact and it seemed much more attractive ; I’m sorry nothing became of it and we joined a bureaucratic mess .

  32. Adam
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Another thing there is apparently no evidence for is the BBC election narrative that youth turnout increased and the youth were inspired by Corbyn. After Corbyn lost this was the main talking point in our national media, relayed as fact. Yet that story has recently been called into question by electoral survey data in the Guardian. Surely the BBCs entire election narrative wasn’t fake news…

  33. Helen Smith
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Garbage in garbage out with Treasury predictions.

    Any impartial look at the UK/SM would deduce that it has been very bad for us since a lot of our trade is in services and they are not covered by the SM. It was designed to be good for France and Germany, not us.

    • Loudbarker
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      services ……. are not covered by the SM

      Not true . Here’s what the EU has toi at about the Single Market and services:

      Think about all the argument over passporting rights for Banks in he UK being able to trade freely in EU27. Passporting rights are the manifestation of the single market.

  34. Iain Gill
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    Good to see Mike Fabricant voting against HS2, all MP’s should do the same.

    Its just expensive virtue signalling.

    • Chris
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

      It’s just kowtowing to the EU transport Directive. We don’t have to, of course.

      • Loudbarker
        Posted January 31, 2018 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        “It’s just kowtowing to the EU transport Directive. We don’t have to, of course”

        I’d love to see chapter and verse for this one. Which Directive are you taking about please?

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

          When was the last time you provided chapter and verse for anything?

    • rick hamilton
      Posted January 30, 2018 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

      It’s just out of date before they lay the first sleeper.

      China is planning a 600kph maglev between Shanghai and Beijing starting in 2020. Our MPs are mostly technological ignoramuses who are more interested in social engineering than actually competing in the real world. We are the country that invented both the railway and the linear motor, for heaven’s sake. It seems there is no realistic vision anywhere in politics.

  35. MPC
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    All part of the increasingly successful looking campaign to make the WTO option completely unacceptable. I would suggest to all those people who seem to spend all day on Mr Redwood’s site and sending multiple posts – try going to work. It gives some perspective and makes it easier to come to terms with the near certainty now that we won’t properly leave the EU.

  36. Ed Mahony
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Looks like Liam Fox, David Davis and Boris Johnson all want out.

    Let’s really test Brexit by getting rid of Theresa May, and put a hardliner Brexiter in charge (and replace Fox, Davis and Johnson with three other Brexiters).

    Then we can see whether Brexit really will work. If it does, great. If not, then we can get on with really focusing on the other really important parts of our country:

    – paying off our national deficit
    – keeping the socialists out of power
    – increasing productivity
    – building up our high tech industry
    – building more homes for young families
    – get working on the big challenges facing us transport and energy
    – if Brexit doesn’t work, then create a long-term strategy for reforming the EU, making it less bureaucratic etc, and how to get control of our borders etc (not easy, i accept)
    And lots, lots more.

    Let’s make the UK great again – now. We’re running out of time / falling quickly behind other countries.

  37. hans chr iversen
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    Can somebody please explain to me how we ahve gone from top of teh G 7 growth league to the bottom in about two years, we are down at the bottom with Japan and Italy?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      Like other similar conundrums that has been explained on here before, eg:

      “Maybe you’d care to glance at this chart of the annual growth rate quarter by quarter back to January 2015 … “

    • NickC
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      Hans, Economic cycles. And who’s “we”, the EU?

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted February 1, 2018 at 8:34 am | Permalink


        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 1, 2018 at 12:15 pm | Permalink


  38. Andy
    Posted January 30, 2018 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    Robert Peston’s analysis is excellent.

    Of course we can take back control. But the more control we have over our borders and over divergence from EU regulations the poorer we get.

    So there’s the question for you Brexiteers.

    What is taking back control worth to your wallet? Brexit will come at a cost to YOU. How much is it worth.

    Give us a figure. Share this figure. Tell this clueless, shambles of a government a £ value of how much you would pay for Brexit.

    The DexEU research shows there will be a cost. Most Parliametarians accept there will be a cost (even many Leavers). Virtually all business leaders and economists accept there will be a cost. It is time for you all to accept it too and to put a figure on it.

    So how much is Brexit worth to you? £500? £1500? £5000? More? You pick. You voted for it.

    PS – should we deduct the cost of your Brexit from the NHS budget, pensions or schools?

    Reply I voted Leave so we can follow policies that will make us better off

    • hans chr iversen
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink


      I am afraid your answer to Andy does not stake up and you ahve not yet proven your argument with fats and figures as one would expect.

    • Andy
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      8% poorer is not better off. And that is the verdict of the Brexit department.

      So how much is it worth? Simple question.

      I genuinely have no qualms with any of you getting poorer. Your vote, got fault.

      But you are making my children poorer too.

      How much?

    • Edward2
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      You need to explain why controlling our borders will make us poorer.
      I can see no such correlation.

      PS not zero immigration simply a controlled level as most nations in the world do.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      I’ve given you and others my range of figures and translated them into months of typical natural growth of the UK economy, and I’ve done that many times, but you and other Remoaners ignore it because it does not fit with your prejudices.

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted January 31, 2018 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

        I am not even a so-called remoaner, but you are obviously very fixed in your ideas and there is very little I can do about that, but one can always try

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted February 1, 2018 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

          I’m not that fixed in my ideas … as I mentioned some time ago:

          around 1995 I was reading up about the EU in Whitaker’s Almanack and my eye lighted upon this sentence:

          “The Single Market is expected to result in at least a 5 per cent increase in the collective GDP of EC member states.”

          At that time I took the 5% plus projection at face value. It was only much later that I found out that it had not materialised, and it was only about 2 per cent, or maybe 1%, and even less for the UK.

    • Prigger
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      Andy, taking back control is worth the wallet if it were made from snippets of our very skins!!!!!

    • NickC
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Andy, Most of the worlds nations are not in the EU and are perfectly satisfied to be that way. Try Economists for Brexit who have a better record than the Treasury. In any case why do you insist we have to pay the EU for them to deprive us of our liberty and independence? You never answer that, perhaps because you can’t.

  39. mancunius
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 1:10 am | Permalink

    I wonder – perhaps JR knows the answer? – how much of that 50% of growth we underwent between 1973 and 1993 was down to the City’s deregulatory Big Bang in 1986? My impression at the time was that it suddenly supercharged the economy.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      No one knows what the economic performance of the UK would have been without EU membership. Likewise no one knows what the EU would look like today without that UK membership, Counterfactuals are very difficult. But common sense tells you that the UK that was nearly broke in 1974 could have done a lit worse than joining a trade bloc as soon as soon as membership was available.

      • mancunius
        Posted February 2, 2018 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        What basic history (if not ‘common sense’) should have told you is that we were of course already part of a trade block, EFTA, together with Austria, Denmark, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland. and that we did not join the EEC in 1974.
        We joined in January 1973. The ONS charts/tables show that we had enjoyed strongly rising GDP for the previous two decades, up to the very day of joining the EEC. In 1972, the year before we joined, we had a 4.69% spurt in UK growth – which was even stronger than our 3.95% growth the previous year, 1971.
        We put on a strong spurt in the first quarter of 1973, but only six months into our membership of the EEC, for the first time our GDP went into reverse, and recovered to the 1973 Q1 level only by the last quarter of 1976.
        Some advantage that was!
        The defeatist and mendacious myth of Britain being ‘broke’ when it joined the EU has been so often repeated that nobody bothers to check the facts, which show that UK business and trading had in fact been extremely healthy up to joining, and only began to suffer losses after we joined.

        Still, why let the facts get in the way of plausible-sounding propaganda, eh? 😉

  40. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    JR, the government’s official responses to this latest nonsense have been pathetic.

    There is obviously no guarantee that the government will get any kind of bespoke trade deal with the EU, but even if we did achieve something like that it would almost certainly still slot somewhere into much the same predicted range of GDP losses when its terms were fed into the same or similarly defective models used by the Treasury.

    And it is equally pathetic to pretend that this is just a preliminary study and a work in progress and that is why it has been kept under wraps for the moment. The question then is why ministers even allowed the civil servants to waste time and effort running repeat simulations with the same discredited Treasury models.

    We now have Remoaners claiming that this assessment has been kept secret because its conclusions are so damning, when in fact its conclusions are similar to those previously obtained by the Treasury using the same or a similarly defective model, which were not just published but loudly proclaimed by George Osborne in April 2016:

    That had the following central predictions of percentage GDP loss after 15 years:

    EEA 3.8
    Negotiated bilateral agreement 6.2
    WTO 7.5

    While I read that this “new”, “secret,” study, which is now being presented by Remoaners as part of the “facts” which have emerged since the referendum rather as just a repeat of the completely unreliable projections made the Treasury before the referendum, has these rather similar central predictions of GDP losses after 15 years:

    Stay in the Single Market 2
    Free trade agreement 5
    WTO 8

    JR, I can only conclude that the weak and silly response from the Prime Minister’s office reflects her continuing belief in the validity of these models and their projections, in which case it is time that she was re-educated to understand that the economic assessments from and following the Treasury have always been and still are wrong.

    As I have mentioned before, in this recent book:

    the author’s critical analysis of the Treasury’s April 2016 report runs to nearly nine pages and highlights more than twenty significant inadequacies, and I see no reason to suppose that this new official report will be any better.

    • Loudbarker
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      Sorry Denis Cooper. there’s no reason to believe the author the recent book you refer to. S/he’s just an expert – and therefore will just get everything wrong

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 1, 2018 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

        There are two authors, who admit to starting out with opposing views.

    • hans chr iversen
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 12:07 pm | Permalink


      You are really very fixed in your trench are you not?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 1, 2018 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        As far as possible I prefer to deal in facts, not unsubstantiated fantasies. I’m sorry if you find that uncomfortable.

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      Mr Cooper, thanks for the link. I’ve just ordered this book and will read it as soon as it arrives. Not a very prestigious academic pedigree but it will be interesting to look at a British attempt to make models less opaque, at least that is what I hope my money will buy. There is a paucity of non controversial material from UK sources.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 1, 2018 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

        Well, I’ll be interested in your opinions on what they say.

    • Northerner
      Posted February 1, 2018 at 5:10 am | Permalink

      Authors from Preston Polytechnic. You’re joking, right?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted February 1, 2018 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

        No, they are not from Preston Polytechnic, as you could easily see, and you no doubt did see, from the information given on that link. But even if they were that would not invalidate anything that they said. Basically you are appealing to authority because you can’t be bothered to argue from the facts.

  41. stred
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Has anyone ever seen a British bank or insurance company operating in any street in France, Germany, Holland, Belgium or anywhere else in the EU? Is Mrs May putting the country through this embarrassing expensive humiliation because she thinks we can get a better deal for financial services? For the big companies, don’t they already have offices in the EU, just as AXA and French and German banks have offices here? What is all this dithering for? Barnier has said he sees no problem with a deal in goods- where they sell us more than we sell them. This has to be about delaying until a second referendum, then back in to join fully, in the Euro as big business and Europhiles always wanted.

  42. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    I think know the answer to this one. Mrs Thatcher negotiated the Single European Act in the mid-1980s, intending it to be a simple free trade agreement. The EC and the powerful Member States insisted on adding clauses allowing the EC all sorts of regulatory powers in the name of “completing the Single Market”. I can remember Enoch complaining that “You don’t need to share someone’s bath water in order to have a trade agreement”. The EC progressively made use of these powers from 1992, the time of the Maastricht Treaty. Mrs Thatcher’s Bruges speech was intended to stop the process, to no avail.

    Between 1992 and 2017, the cause of free trade inside the EU has gone backwards. Not surprisingly, economic growth has reduced.

    • Andy
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

      Mrs Thatcher created the single market. She would be appalled that hard-right Tories claiming to act in her name are trying undermine it. Despite the bluster Maggie was pro-Europe. She would have campaigned for Remain – though if she were in power there would not have been a referendum in the first place as she would have faced down the hard-right long before it had infected the Tory party with its poison.

      Reply Just not true. Before her death Mrs T had come to the view that the EU was far from being a common market which she had supported.

      • hans chr iversen
        Posted February 1, 2018 at 7:40 pm | Permalink


        I am sorry but you did not really answer the hypothesis that Andy raised, but I suppose the is nothing new in that

        • mancunius
          Posted February 2, 2018 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

          A ‘hypothesis’ that flies in the face of the facts and of Mrs Thatcher’s known views, both at the time and later.
          I suggest you read her essays: ‘On Europe – Dreams and Nightmares’, and ‘Britain and Europe – Time to Renegotiate’ (published 2002). Her passionate loathing of the EU’s plans and direction, the idea of a ‘European state’ and her contempt for the notion of a pooled single currency will disabuse anybody of the idea that she would have ‘campaigned for remain’. Her arguments are those of the most determinedly hard Brexiteer.
          And before you infect the gullible with the idea that she would have ‘faced down’ opponents of Maastricht – she was knifed by pro-EU Tories in 1990 because she openly opposed its preparatory plan in meetings with Delors, Kohl and Mitterand.

    • Northerner
      Posted February 1, 2018 at 5:09 am | Permalink

      Thatcher’s Bruges speech was in 1988

  • 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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